Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Review – Do Not Wash Hands In Plates by Barb Taub

img_1852The ebook revolution has really transformed my reading habits. With more reasonably priced books available and a wealth of online book sites it’s so much easier to find little gems like ‘Do Not wash Hands In Plates.’

This book has some small illustrations but it’s the text that is the attraction; the author has a funny, endearing style that really makes you want to get to know her and her friends much more.

Barb Taub relates the real -life story of a trip to India with two life-long friend. The trio had apparently done this many years before when they met up to tour Europe but this time, with one of the group already living in India they meet again for the grand tour.

This is not an informational travelogue, there are no guides, facts or figures, but rather a very funny account of the ladies as they see some of the sights and very frequently sample the delights of Indian food. It’s light, it’s fun and a perfect short read in-between other more hefty tomes.

A real delight!

Review – Thin Air by Michelle Paver

img_1851Ooooh! I am so disappointed!

After reading the most excellent, Dark Matter, by the same author I came to this book with delicious anticipation. Also subtitled ‘a ghost story’ , Thin Air tells the tale of a 1930’s expedition to conquer the Himalayan mountain Kangchenjunga.

Steven Pearce, the expedition medic is the narrator and we learn very early on in the book that this group are following an earlier and celebrated, though ill fated, attempt to climb the mountain.

The story is told in Paver’s wonderful, brooding style, perfectly fitted to a ghost story and the descriptions of the place, its beauty and unrelenting harshness are very evocative. I listened to this book on audible and as a footnote Michelle Paver speaks about some of her preparation and research for the book which included going to see the great Kangchenjunga for herself. It shows in her writing that she has seen this place.

So why am I disappointed? Great title, great cover, great writing, what’s not to like? Nothing actually but the story, for me, was just too close to Dark Matter. It wasn’t just the fact that, obviously, there is a ghost! The author again explored the social snobbery of the era, the appalling handicap of not quite being ‘one of the chaps’. The main character, once again, has become  an expedition member as a ‘last resort’. I won’t say too much about the actual ghost but the slow realisation is again there as in Dark Matter.

Having said all that, if I hadn’t read Dark Matter recently I would have probably given this book a four star rating or even five but it’s just an honest opinion to say that, even though the descriptions of place (which are beautiful) are very different , the first book spoiled the second for me.

Review – All Fall Down by Tom Bale

img_1850It’s a nice day, great for a family barbecue and, on the face of it, all seems right for Rob and Wendy Turner and their family. They are out in the garden, enjoying the good-old British sunshine. This cosy scene is suddenly interrupted by at noise at the fence and when Rob opens the gate a greviously injured man staggers through, begging for help. An ambulance is called but, sadly, too late for the stranger.

So begins a nightmare for the Turner’s who, like many, have their issues and problems that, under these stressful circumstances begin to surface. What begins as an unfortunate and random incident for the Turner’s progresses to look like something more deliberate to Rob, whose business has suffered setbacks and the involvement of characters that are more than a little shady. There are other elements in play too, including their adopted daughter’s traumatic past and a son who has gone AWOL.

The already planned family holiday in Norfolk seems like a chance to be together and regroup but that is actuallly when the full horror begins.

The author throws a lot at this family, more than I expected, especially as there are a few well placed red herrings that led me to the wrong conclusion a couple of times. I certainly didn’t expect the reason for the Turner’s plight.

The situation in Norfolk was tense though, for me, a little fuddled and possibly over-complicated when it came to the outcome. Overall though, an exciting read and I did like the final twist. I would definitely go back to this author again.




Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – The Body in the Snow – A Bebe Bollinger Murder Mystery by Christoph Fischer

The latest book from Christoph Fischer and it sounds like a real gem! Just the sort of read to accompany a glass of red wine on an autumn evening.

7 Point Story Structure [Resources]

Such a wealth of information here. As I work through the 1st draft of my WIP I will be referring back to this again and again. Thank you to blogger, Hunter Emkay for such a powerful resource.

Word Hunter

In response to a question to me, I have not created a 7 Point Story Structure, but have shared many of them. Here’s an amalgamation of resource links. As we move into the big annual NaNoWriMo many of us may be looking for a quick method to plan out our new work.

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Review – Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

imageIn a word (or four), I loved this book. A wonderful combination, the brooding beauty of the Arctic and a menacing presence.

Set in the 1930’s, Jack is young, poor and lonely. He is disappointed with life and the class divide that seems to dismiss him. Then an opportunity arises to join a small arctic expedition as wireless operator and despite feelings that he is being taken on grudgingly by some, and that he is not their ‘sort’, he decides this is his one remaining chance to make something of himself.

The journey out to ‘Gruhuken’ is beautifully written with descriptions so evocative I could imagine I was there. Even at this early point there are some signs that things are not quite right at Gruhuken where the men will make their camp and ready themselves for the arctic winter but they are forgotten amongst the excitement of arrival and settling in.

Slowly the situation deteriorates and the menace builds. Jack finds himself alone, the only person fit to keep the expedition going and determined to prove himself by sticking it out. The arctic winter and darkness descend.

This is a really great ghost story, absolutely full of foreboding and a great story of endurance in the Arctic in that period of time. Look out for the Bear Post – it gives me a shiver to think of it even now.

Review – The Boat Man by Dustin Stevens

imageRight from the off, this book is a good, easy read. The story immediately gets into the action with a grisly murder that is clearly well planned.
The reader is then introduced to Detective Reed Maddox and his canine sidekick Billie. Reed has recently lost his human work partner, the details of which are never disclosed, though this story begins a series so maybe the author intends to reveal more background in later books. Continue reading