23 Aug 2016


How do you get Pikachu on a crowded train?
You Pokomon.

I know, what can I say? Sorry?

As I said I'm probably about to lose any street cred I ever had and believe me ever since I offered to look after the then primary school age Niece #1's Tamagotchi (I know, how cool of me was that?) only to 'kill it' (not quite so cool, eh?) that doesn't say much BUT I simply had to join in the latest Pokemon craze ...

Though created here, I first came across the Pokemon Go Book Tag meme here at Carol's NoteBook.

Not fully up to speed with the exact etiquette of the meme but it seems that as well as the book that started my love of reading I should also name my favourite Pokemon(????)

Not as easy as it sounds. Rumoured to have been born with a paperback in my hand, I guess my love of reading began with the very first story book ever read to me. As for my favourite Pokemon? Let's go with the one residing on the steps outside the church where Mr T worships. Don't know which one it is but, yes, that's my favourite.
Ooh! Possibly one of the first 'classics' I ever had read to me and certainly one of the classics I'll always love, The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. I still have the beautifully illustrated copy that belonged to my mam as a little girl. There is no date of publication but an inscription shows it was awarded to my mam, aged 6, in March 1955.

That's easier. A series I lost interest in reading because it was literally everywhere but have promised to read ... one day - The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.
Not normally at a loss as to an answer for these things but this one has me stumped. Mmm! Err! You know you can have too much of a good thing and after a while reading one modern 'vampire' book (lets say any of the True Blood books by Charlaine Harris) can became pretty much like reading any other modern 'vampire' story (let say the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer) and yet love them we still do.

This year Kelly threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to read at least 6 books of 600+ pages. So far, so good, I've read 3 (or is it 4?) but so far have put off reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl which, drat, I've only just realised, is only actually 563 pages.

I don't actually do scary books any more so if a book has kept me awake it hasn't been for that reason sooo the most recent books to keep me awake until silly-o-clock recently simply because I couldn't put them down were The Six Train To Wisconsin and, book 2 in the series, Highway Thirteen To Manhattan by Kourtney Heintz.

OTP? (Is that another piece of my street cred I see disappearing before my eyes?) Aah! One True Pairing. Of my recent reads I guessed that would have to go to Daenerys and Khal Drogo (Game Of Thrones)... what a love story.

Oh dear! A bit of a prude, I don't tend to do fire-hot, lukewarm being more my kind of read so with that in mind can I go with the aforementioned Kourtney Heintz books which were rather smokin'. 

Ooh! No matter how many Winnie The Pooh spin-offs there are I can't see myself ever really tiring of Eeyore.

If not because of its plot (which lets face it was pretty mediocre) so much as the wonderful character that is Cormoran Strike, I thought Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling's) The Cuckoo's Calling surprisingly awesome.

Agggh! The Harry Potter books????

I can't ever remember particularly wanting any collector's edition until I received a copy of Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats 7th Anniversary Edition by T S Eliot. 

Not sure if its a debut novel (Drat! A quick 'google' shows its not) but I'm so excited by the thought of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu.

I don't even have to think about this one, Philippa Gregory. 

That would have to be the paperback edition of the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. A book I've been waiting for so long that I've forgotten what its called.

Well that was a fun filled few hours and though I do say it myself, a bookish meme, perhaps I'll retain some of the street cred I (never) had ...

22 Aug 2016


THE WICKED MR HALL: THE MEMOIRS OF THE BUTLER WHO LOVED TO KILL by ROY ARCHIBALD HALL. (Click here for details on gaining permission to download the book.)

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: "I  have been called many things - 'The Monster Butler', 'The Butler Who Served Death', 'The Ladies Man'. In truth I am none of these things. I am Roy Hall. Before I die I want to tell my story."

Growing up in Glasgow in the 1930s, Roy Archibald Hall was a natural thief. After moving down to London, Hall - who was bisexual - became a familiar figure in the capital's glitzy, underground gay scene. Due to his lucrative criminal career, he led an extravagant lifestyle. Eventually the law caught up with him and he was arrested. He spent the majority of the next two decades of his life in a cell. 

"I had always enjoyed being 'in service'. Beside living in beautiful homes that I could rob, there was also the air of class."

Upon release from prison in 1975, he returned to Scotland and found employment with Lady Margaret Hudson, working as a butler at Kirleton House. David Wright, a former lover from his time in jail, arrived on the scene and was hired as a gamekeeper. The two men fell out over the theft of a diamond ring and a vicious argument ensued. They went on a shooting trip to clear the air...it was a walk from which Wright would never return.

After the killing, Hall moved back to London where he teamed up with small-time criminal Michael Kitto. Working again as a butler, he and Kitto then murdered Hall's new employers, an aged former Labour MP and his wife. But it did not end there - by the time he was finally arrested, he had carried out two more brutal murders, including that of his own half-brother. 

Considering the nature of his crimes it was obvious that Hall would never be released. Before he died, however, he decided to set the record straight and write his memoirs. This honest, harrowing and chilling book is the result.

"No one visits me. My few close friends still look out for me in my old age, but I have no part to play in the 21st century. Only death can release me now, and I wait for it as patiently as I can."

(Spoiler Alert: To view all of the text simply scroll over the darkened portions. TT)

FIRST SENTENCE {Introduction}: My home is a top security prison twelve miles of York.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 138}: I have never lived by society's rules and when I see rules and misguided beliefs, that force a young girl to run from her home and community for the sin of making love, I'm glad that I don't. When she asked me what I did for a living, I told her that I was a businessman.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

MY THOUGHTS: I don't know if it was the cover or the title (or a combination of both) but for some reason I thought this was a work of fiction (I didn't have my reading glasses with me at the time of purchase so couldn't read the synopsis.) Would I have picked it up if I had realised otherwise?

The title somehow hinting that this wasn't going to be a book of any substance. Combined with the 'dripping' blood red font I was expecting a spoof. 

A read the teenage me who had a vast collection of true crime books may have enjoyed it but, then again, a book totally devoid of any psychological insights (the very thing that drew me to read the accounts of various notorious killers), maybe not.

Boastful (and totally lacking remorse) of the crimes, the murders, he had committed. His younger self (pre-murders) totally in denial that his actions had any impact on his victims.

Should I have been counting, I'm sure I would have lost count of his sexual encounters.

Then there is all the name dropping.

But I digress.

Terrible writing. Without being too blasé (after all he did kill several people), quite frankly a crime against literature. It comes to something when you are put off a book not because of the heinous crimes detailed within but rather because of the poor penmanship and egotistical rantings of its author.

20 Aug 2016


A farmer wants to know how many sheep he has in his field, so he asks his border collie to count them. The dog runs into the field, counts them and runs back.
The farmer says, "How many?"
The dog says, "Forty."
The farmer is surprised and says, "How can there be forty, I only bought thirty-eight?!"
The dog says, "I rounded them up."

Working in a warehouse, I asked my boss what he wanted me to do with the six metre roll of bubble-wrap.
Just pop it in the corner, he said.
It took me four hours.

18 Aug 2016



BACK COVER BLURB: The monumental saga of one man's twelve-year search for his family's origins.

The man is Alex Haley, a black American.

Through six generations of slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lawyers and architects, he traced his ancestry back to Africa, back to Kunta Kinte, the sixteen-year-old youth torn from his homeland and brought to torment and anguish to the slave markets of the New World.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days up-river from the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a manchild was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 106/7}: 'When you return home,' said the kintango, 'you will begin to serve Juffure as its eyes and ears. You will be expected to stand guard over the village 0 beyond the gates as lookouts for toubob and other savages, and in the fields as sentries to keep the crops safe from scavengers. You will also be charged with the responsibility of inspecting the women's cooking pots - including those of your own mothers - to make sure they are kept clean, and you will be expected to reprimand them most severely if any dirt or insects are found inside.' The boys could hardly wait to begin their duties.

MY THOUGHTS: As the cover of my copy with its 'The International TV Sensation' sticker would suggest this is an old copy. A copy read many times since the 9/10 year old me first read it but probably not since I became aware of the revelations that Roots was not all I had thought it to be.

A book I'd once have recommended as a read that 'told it how it was' (or as much as the original oral storytelling as supposedly passed down by Kunta Kinte allowed anyway). If asked now I'd say read it if you so desire but only as the work of fiction it has been proven to be.

Once a favourite of mine. Now what I consider more well read than my teenage self, the passing the book off as fact, the plagiarism aside, I'm afraid Roots wasn't all I remembered it to be.

Certainly not as well written. I understand that the first portion of the book, the young Kunta's story, is a means of putting across the way of life snatched away from him but, dear oh dear, whilst in many ways (for me anyway) the most interesting part of the book, I thought it painfully drawn out.

Incredibly abrupt in parts. Seven generations. There is no overlapping. As the story of the next generation begins, there is no going back to the previous generation in order to gauge their reactions to what is now happening.

But what of the characters?

Ultimately I like to feel more than one emotion and, sadly, empathy aside, I found myself feeling relatively little else for any of the characters. Summed up, at a push I found them two-dimensional.

Read for the ...