Books, TV, Movies

This week I am going to review a book, a TV programme and a movie, so here goes.

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

I am a big fan of Mr King but it has always been his horror that has drawn me to him. Horror as in suspense, looking behind your shoulder and under the bed, bump in the night stuff, but, when a new Stephen King hits the shelves I have to have it. I already knew that Mr Mercedes wasn´t the normal Stephen King fare being as it is essentially a detective novel. In this case a retired detective novel which to start with left me feeling a bit cold. Seen it before, yawn, the detective now retired from the force, bored, drinking too much, playing with his gun, life now passing him by etc, etc, but boy does Mr King ratch up the suspense until I was left sitting on the settee at one am this morning desperate to finish, but also not wanting to.

The characters were sublime if perhaps a tad cliched, but, did I mind….not one iota and Mr Mercedes left me wanting more, much more.(less)

Happy Valley – BBC

There cannot be many of you out there who have not seen Happy Valley with the superb Sarah Lancashire.  If you haven´t do try to catch up it really is superb.

The basic concept is that Sarah Lancashire´s character, who is a police sergeant, is looking after her grandson after her daughter was raped and committed suicide.  The rapist is released from jail and comes back to live in the area.  In the meantime there is a plot to kidnap the daughter of one of the local business men which also involves the rapist.

This was a brilliant series which had us on the edge of our seats.  A lot of violence and there has been quite a bit of anger towards the brutalisation of women on TV, so bear this in mind if you decide to catch up.

Movie – World´s End with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

This apparently is a “cornetto” a phrase that I have never heard of except when eating a chocolate ice cream but it means that it is the last of a trilogy.  The other two movies were Shaun The Dead and Hot Fuzz.  Now I loved both of these and was really looking forward to World´s End.  What a lot of drivel, so disappointing.  I wanted so much to like it but just thought this is stupid and “grow up” Mr. Pegg.  Sometimes enough is enough.

So what have you been reading, and watching?

Book Reviews

I am going to do three book reviews today all of which I enjoyed.  I have been laid up on the settee for most of the week with a badly swollen and bruised foot so have had plenty of time to read.

Separation by Dinah Jefferies

I was lucky enough to be given this novel by Love Reading to review a few weeks ago.  I do love new novels which aren´t my usual genre as it broadens my reading experience.  Anyway Separation is set in the 1950´s in Malaya and is about a Mother and Wife who becomes separated from her daughters and her journey to be reunited with them.

Within the first couple of pages I was hooked hook, line and sinker.  It was beautifully written and I was immediately immersed in the beauty and horror which was Malaya in the 1950´s.  But it wasn´t just that it was…

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Book Reviews

I am going to do three book reviews today all of which I enjoyed.  I have been laid up on the settee for most of the week with a badly swollen and bruised foot so have had plenty of time to read.

Separation by Dinah Jefferies

I was lucky enough to be given this novel by Love Reading to review a few weeks ago.  I do love new novels which aren´t my usual genre as it broadens my reading experience.  Anyway Separation is set in the 1950´s in Malaya and is about a Mother and Wife who becomes separated from her daughters and her journey to be reunited with them.

Within the first couple of pages I was hooked hook, line and sinker.  It was beautifully written and I was immediately immersed in the beauty and horror which was Malaya in the 1950´s.  But it wasn´t just that it was the “separation” of a mother from her children that tore the heart in two, it was also the unhappiness of one of the children in particular who couldn´t understand why her Mother had deserted them.

This novel has best seller written all over it.

Sound of Crickets by Marissa Farrar

I will own up immediately to say that I am biaised in this review as Marissa is my daughter. However saying that I do think this is an interesting concept of four women from four continents who get together via the web to write a blog.  This then reveals not just their lives but also how people in general react to blogging in a positive and negative way, but mostly this is about friendship and love and I must admit to shedding a tear or two.  Marissa normally writes very successful paranormal fantasy and I think this move away shows what a great writer she is.

Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes

I was recommended to this book by a friend and I am so glad she did.  It is a psychological thriller with a difference as it is written by the two people involved.  Ellie comes to live next door to Cassandra and her family in an idyllic country village and immediately makes friends with Cassandra´s friends and in particular her husband Dan.  Then things start to change and Cassandra finds herself more and more isolated but is it her or is it Ellie?

I do love psychological thrillers but as I have blogged before some are more “thrilling” than others.  I highly recommend Nearest Thing to Crazy and beware that newcomer to your life, he or she might not be all they are cracked up to be.

So what are you reading next?  I am going to try Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes.  I absolutely loved Into the Darkest Corner but found it difficult to get in to Under a Silent Moon and abandoned it.  But I think I should give it another go.

Getting Older But What is the Alternative!

I was going to do a book blog this week but then got side tracked, don´t ask me how, possibly looking in the mirror and jumping back in horror!

Anyway I dont mind admitting that I am 65 this year and find it rather depressing as it is all downhill – a bit like the old face and bod.  I have now found myself trying NOT to look in the mirror unless  it is my own very kind one.  I just hate store mirrors why oh why do they have to be so unflattering and there is always stark flurescent lighting too making the whole experience of shopping hideous.  ps  surely they would sell more clothes if they addressed this issue!

It is also that much harder to keep slim, which I never used to have a problem with.  For years I was eight and a half stone and the shock when I was weighed at the doctors many years ago and the nurse said I was over nine stone and I argued with her saying that the machine was broken.  She did get her own back though when she said it was “middle aged spread”.  Grrr.  Since then the weight has slipped on gradually which doesn´t help as I loathe exercise except swimming.  Now it is a constant battle which will be lost on my soon visit back to the UK when I will be partaking in fish and chips, Nandos and the new patisserie which has opened in Exeter.  Oh yummy.  I do hope though that running up the stairs to my grandchildren will help!

The biggest benefit of getting older though is those same grandchildren, all four of them, which bring me the greatest joy.  I did find it very hard when my children flew the nest and I didn´t feel a lot of joy in my life at that time but life has a habit of going round and my only regret is that I am not nearer to them and the little ones.

I also hate wearing glasses and would love to have laser treatment but due to monetary limits and also cowardess I haven´t taken the plunge.

Would you have a little help in keeping the years away?  I would although looking at Rupert Everett this week, it does put me off a bit!

On the plus side I have discovered a wonderful product called Clinique CC cream.  It is amazing and I cannot recommend it enough.

My Mother even at the age of 80 used to say, “I am not old, and don´t you dare say I am” and I do think I am turning in to her talking to random people in the street for example.

Thank you for allowing me to waffle on a breezy but sunny morning.  Would love to hear from you all.




Psychological Thrillers or Are They!

Recently I have read quite a few novels which have been termed as psychological thrillers and I wondered which is your favourite and which have fallen a bit flat.  I am also getting a bit fed up with every new novel being phrased as “the new Gone Girl”.

So here goes with  three I have read recently.


Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas

ImageThis novel is about a dysfunctional family.  There is Violet a 16 year old girl who is being accused of being a danger to her family and her brother William who is an intelligent 12 year old with epilepsy and autism.  Then there is the elder sister Rose who has escaped or has she!  Meet the parents especially the mother, Josephine.  Is she the woman who wants what is best for her family or is there something more sinister than that!

I did enjoy Mother Mother, thanks to Love Reading, who asked me to review it but I did not find it particularly suspenseful and I guessed what was happening when more than half way through.  The author also didn´t seem to know when to press the end button.  After a particularly good scene towards the end it then waffled on for several more pages.  But saying that I would still recommend it.

The Book of You by Claire Kendal


Clarissa is being stalked by a colleague, Rafe, who is always there and when “presents” start to arrive she becomes more and more frightened.  She is then chosen for jury service and feels that the court room is a safe haven for six weeks where Rafe cannot get to her. However, she then starts to find parallels with the young woman who is the defendant in the case being heard.

This was written in the third and first person going back and forth to entries written in her diary.  I found it quite disconcerting and started to speed read.  I also found Clarissa to be a very irritating person and kept saying to myself for goodness sake go to the Police.  I also didn´t like the stereo typing of one of the jury members, Robert, who guess what, is a fireman.  All in all I found this as thrilling as being slapped about the face with a wet fish.

However, thank you Love Reading for giving me a chance to review this novel.

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

ImageNow this is what I call a psychological thriller.  Within a few minutes I could not put it down and was drawn in to the world of OCD and domestic violence.  I won´t put too much of the plot on here because if you haven´t read it, I just want to say to you drop everything you are doing and go out and buy it now.  It´s only 2.99 on Amazon and it is the best three quid that you will spend.

So what are you favourite psychological thrillers?  And what did they call them before Gone Girl!






Have You Gone Over to the Dark Side?

The debate has waged now for a long time e-books v “real books”.  So now I am going to throw my twopenny worth (does anyone except me still use that phrase!) in to the arena.

As I have said before I am an avid reader and have been since I got my first library card for Torquay Junior Library.  How I treasured it and how much pleasure it gave me over the years.  Saturday mornings for some in those heady days of the 50´s/early 60´s would have been Saturday morning cinema.  Who remembers that?  But not for me, Saturday mornings was a trip on the No. 30 bus to the library there to get my three books then the joy and anticipation of carrying them home and to spend Saturday afternoon on the sitting room floor (not lounge in those days) reading to my heart´s content.  But how life has changed how many people still use their library when we all have computers and can click and download within minutes.  So what is my opinion of e-books v real books.  Here goes.

I still love perusing the written word in hardback or paperback in Waterstones or W.H. Smiths to see the covers particularly and to turn them over to read the blurb, lovely but they are so inconvenient.  Sorry, I am sure I will be shot down in flames for this but after spending several days reading a big hardback which I will discuss in a later blog it really was a pain.  Just so cumbersome and awkward whereas I can pick up my Kindle, other e-book readers are, of course, available and I can eat my lunch with one hand and drink my tea with the other, stir the dinner, make the print larger or smaller.  I don´t even have to put a lamp on in the dwindling evening light unless I want to as it is back lit.  I can read in bed without disturbing the other half.  Plus we haven´t even mentioned the pluses of travelling with one small item in your handbag instead of at least six hardbacks in your suitcase because yes that is what I did before going on holiday.  I used to go through the best selling lists at the library and reserve as many as I could and take them away with me. 

On the other hand there is always a thrill of seeing that new book sitting in anticipation looking at you with the smell of new pages daring you to “come on in and stay a while”.

There is one downside of e-books and an e-reader and that is, for me, that it is a bit like being in a sushi bar there are all these tempting dishes running past your nose and it is so easy to try this and that one because hey it is only a matter of pressing a button and if after a few chapters you aren´t immersed well there is another right behind it.

A friend of mine swore blind she would never ever go over to the dark side but the devil was out there and he tempted her so hard that she succumbed and now all her beloved books which she has had for years are nothing but dust. 

So what do you think?



British Royal Family IMG_20140412_174830

I was looking at an old photo of me earlier today which started me thinking if I could change any part of me what would it be.

On the whole not very much but the one thing I would change, apart from my singing voice, which is another topic, is my chin.  I have always had a “weak” chin and loathe my profile because of it.  When young, I would like to think just a few years ago, but obviously much, much longer, I kept being told I looked like Gail from Corrie (shows how long she has been in the show) which I did not consider to be a compliment but also Princess Anne.  Now reader you might not believe it but as a very young woman she was quite attractive but again had this receding chin.  The photo above was taken on her 19th birthday and the one of me on the right at about the same time.  So on my next visit to this earth I am hoping for a firm attractive chin and a great singing voice.

Now to my “like” it must be my feet and hands, I am blessed with genes from my father on this score and have long fingers and toes.  It was often remarked on that I should be good at playing the piano……why?  Since I am tone deaf this would never have worked.

I also have a love/hate relationship with my boobs.  Oh how over the years I have yearned for little compact boobs where you can wear a multitude of clothes and bikinis and look stylish instead of trying to force them in to spaces they just weren´t meant to go and keep trying to escape!  Now that does sound a bit odd but you know what I mean.  Then there is running………..a very painful experience even though I have running sandals which I tell my girlfriends is for that one occasion when there is an emergency and I have to make a run for it.  You know when you are late for your train/plane etc.  Flipflops just won´t do it. So would I put my boobs in Room 101, nah I have had them for so many years now and have become quite fond of them so will let them stay. So is there anything about yourself that you particularly like or loathe that you would care to share.

Before I go I am just going to have a moan about passwords.  Now I expect you have all heard about the latest internet threat called Heartbleed and we are all being told to change our passwords and to have different passwords for every single thing we have on our computer/tablet/smartphone.  Now I don´t know about you but I do get fed up of the Password Gestapo telling me I can´t have this word or that word and it has to be a trillion zillion letters long and a capital here and a number there.  How the hell am I supposed to remember any of this, plus the fact that new software can detect your password practically instantly, so anybody got any tips on how to remember a hundred different passwords?

Thanks again gentle reader for taking the time to read this load of nonsense from yours truly.




So Many Books in My Life

I have been gently prodded and pushed in to starting a blog on my love of books mainly by my daughter, Marissa Farrar, a writer herself, that I feel I must give it a go but as my favourite author, Stephen King,  would say, “Be kind to me gentle reader” as I take my first steps forward.

I have been reading since I was a little girl, which is a thousand years ago, first on my Nana´s knee with her reading to me and then me reading to her.  The image in my memories is so vivid that I feel that was the start of a love affair with the written story that will be with me I hope for many years to come.

But now for a few of my favourite novels that have resonated in my life.

As I have previously said my favourite author is Stephen King.  I have read every novel except Cujo and Pet Cemetary.  The reasons for this is that I could not stand the thought of an animal being hurt.  Stupid perhaps but that is the way I am.  Have I missed out King fans or not?  The best in my opinion are The Shining and The Stand both of which I have read and re-read several times.  I do love a “big novel” which takes me on a journey and hopefully frightens me along the way.

In recent years I have discovered many new authors via friends´ recommendations and reviews, I will in this first blog just mention a couple of authors and their books which have made a mark on me.

Firstly, Jo Jo Moyes.  I had never read anything from this author but was introduced to her by a friend with Me Before You.  What a beautiful story which drew me in from the first paragraph.  I was hooked and when I had the opportunity to review The One Plus One by Love Reading I grabbed the chance with both hands.  I was blown away with this wonderful love story but not just that, there was the side story of a teenage boy who is different.  Once I finished I wanted to start all over again and not put it down.  Jo Jo you have a fan here.

The next author whom I have discovered this year is Lisa Jewell.  What a funny compelling author, I have a few more to read yet (isn´t it a joy when you discover a new author and have a backlog of his/her books to read) but my favourite must be Vince and Joy.  A teenage couple fall in love but will they ever become a couple in the years that follow.  If you want a good feel read on a wet winter afternoon or that one book to take on holiday, you must read Vince and Joy.

Well that is it for today.  My first baby steps.  Next time I will be looking at psychological thrillers and the e-book versus the paperback/hard cover.