Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

I finished reading a book by one of my favourite authors last night, just in time for National Book Day – which is today 🙂

Val McDermid is one of my ultimate favourite authors and whenever I come across one of her books that I haven’t yet read, I grab the opportunity with both hands. I don’t often get to read a book much these days what with one thing and another….like planning a pilgrimage or two LOL and getting some miles under my belt (or is that feet?) for the #walk1000miles challenge.

As mentioned many time before, I’m really lucky in that my job takes me to so many new places around the UK and so the temptation to get out and walk and explore is overwhelming. But what with my unsociable hours whilst on the job, I seldom get time to sit down and just read.

However with the recent appearance of the #beastfromtheeast I’ve had a good enough excuse to not go out too often during my breaks and have instead snuggled up under the covers and read….I finally reached the last page of my current read; Splinter the Silence just after midnight, unable to put the book down at a reasonable hour. It’s just such a good read.

Prior to that of course it was Shetland on TV before bedtime so by the time I settled into bed it was almost 10:30pm.

Splinter the Silence is one of many books featuring the psychologist Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan. Of course Tony Hill is a favourite character of mine every since watching the TV series The Wire in the Blood with Robson Greene for whom I carry a schoolgirl crush LOL

The latest book (2015) in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novels, Splinter the Silence is fast paced, full of detail that gives you a clear idea of who is who as it wefts and weaves the characters together; the killer, the victims and the crime fighters, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses with snippets of background in an easy to read recipe for excitement as your pulse races along with the desire to get to the end and see ‘whodunnit’.

national book day, val mcdermid, splinter the silence, tony hill

Splinter the Silence – Val McDermid

I’m not one of those people who can pick up a book and put it down numerous times, I have to read as quickly as possible to get to the last page, often reading a whole book in one night – although I don’t do that anymore. I remember as a young girl I picked up the habit of reading the last page before starting the book….something that drove my Mother mad and she soon ‘beat’ it out of me…metaphorically speaking, and insisted I read the book through from beginning to end. Hahaha.

Splinter the Silence is a thriller and thrilling. I can highly recommend this as a thoroughly good read.





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31 Days of Gratitude and today I’m grateful for reading; the ability to read.

Being able to read is a huge privilege and an incredible practical ability. Although it’s something we tend to take for granted, millions of people are unable to read.

Besides the lack of opportunity to learn how to read, physical disabilities can affect our ability eg dyslexia. “Britain has up to eight million adults who are functionally illiterate. The World Literacy Foundation said one in five of the UK population are so poor at reading and writing they struggle to read a medicine label or use a chequebook”.

Can you imagine that? Reading is such a fundamental function that we use every day. We grow up learning to read and it opens up opportunities we tend to take for granted without a second thought. What if we never had the privilege or ability to learn to read.

Could we apply for a job? Would we be able to write a job application? Would we be able to function in a work place where reading is fundamental to the job?

I was lucky enough to learn to read and write from a very young age. I’ve always loved books; a real bookworm growing up I spent every spare minute with my nose buried in a book….transported to different worlds. A voracious reader I went through school books like water through a sieve. My teachers had a hard time keeping me supplied and I went through the curriculum selection in no time at all.

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Going to The Chapel, and we’re…… having hot chocolate with oodles of cream. 🙂 The Chapel is a quirky bar/coffee/book shop. It’s actually a bar with hundreds of books that line the walls, from floor to ceiling in some places, where you can relax with a drink and read a book…you can also buy the books which is super cool.

Fundamental to reading is a good cup of tea and a packet of biscuits….my ideal day.

As a child my absolute favourite books were the Secret Seven or Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. Anne of Green Gables was a huge favourite and so many others. My Mother used to buy me comics every week when I was about 5 years old…I waited with anticipation for the latest to fall through the letter box. I loved all the fairy stories and the Brothers Grimm stories were read again and again. I remember in my teens and 20’s literally reading through the night and finishing a book a night. I used to read at least 2 – 3 books a week; spy thrillers, WW2 stories, conspiracy theory stories, love stories, historical novels, the list of my likes went on and on.

These are some of my latest reads as well as my fantastic collection of books about London. I adore London and love to read about her secrets and history.


book review

These days I don’t read hardcover books so much since most of my time is now spent writing, but I still read a lot via the internet – articles on travel – namely walks around the UK and the various Caminos in Spain. I read a lot about health and finance, as well as the occasional gossip column LOL Ergo, most of my day is spent in reading or writing.

Besides loving books, I love the English language; it’s such a rich repository of wonderful words that we’re able to play around with creating pictures using descriptive words to create an image or a story.

Alongside of reading comes writing. To be able to write is as much a privilege as reading. I can’t imagine not being able to read and write; it’s fundamental to my day to day life. My whole working life has involved reading and writing and even today in my current career reading and writing is a necessary ability. I’ve written poems, a short story and 3 London books, one of which is a travel guide.

I had a blind friend once who lost his sight when he was a young boy. He had to learn braille and over the years he managed to obtain a computer on which he could write using braille. He worked in the office of the Courier company I was working for and held down a most fundamental role in the company. But it was always a challenge for him.

If I was unable to read and write I wouldn’t have been able to take up most of the opportunities I’ve had in the past and certainly currently. My blog is a vip part of my day and besides sharing my stories, I’m able to follow the stories of those that I identify with. I’ve been able to follow walkers on the Camino, learn about health benefits and latest research. I’m able to follow articles on finance and learn about trends like Bitcoin and Litecoin…which I might add are bloody exciting.

I taught my daughter to read at a very early age and one of my most endearing and enduring memories of her childhood are the nights when I would read her bedtime stories. One of our favourite books (I still have the relevant book) was The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. An absolute favourite I would read two or three chapters, following the faerie characters on their many adventures. I would also invariably fall asleep…something that happens a lot these days too when I read a book LOL 2 -3 pages and I’m asleep.  Another favourite book was The Neverending Story….still a favourite and I hope to read these two books to my grandchildren one day.

One of the hardest of my possessions to give up when I packed up in South Africa was my books. I had to leave hundreds behind. But sadly I don’t have the space for them. I did keep many of the favourites though. One book I have is The Water Babies. An old book that belonged to my father as a boy….it’s a treasured item.

So today I am grateful for reading and alongside of that I’m grateful I can write. There are millions who cannot and I can’t imagine how debilitating and hindering that must be.

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 11 

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I love books. I have a weakness for books. I have a shelf of books (now in storage) that I love to look at and recall the tales between the covers. In South Africa I had hundreds of books…some as old as 60+. Sadly when I moved my possessions over from SA to UK I had to leave a great many behind due to lack of space in my current home and plans for the future….100’s of books won’t fit into a campervan 😉

I read voraciously as a child, seldom without a book in my hand, I read at every opportunity from morning till night and then some. At school my teachers were hard put to keep up with me….I’d get a class book and bring it back within a few days having read it right through. My teachers would get suspicious and ask me questions…..they soon learned to not bother but just kept me topped up.

Even today, I love nothing more than a quiet corner and a good book. As for organising them…..sometime, maybe, I may. But mostly they just live happily wherever they land. 😉 Most recently a very lovely and dear friend of mine sent me a book on the eve of my visit to Florence, Italy. – ‘A Florence Diary’ by Diane Athill.

a florence diary diane athill

One of the many fun things about coming ‘home’ after being away for 3 weeks is opening my mail. To my delight one of the envelopes contained this wonderful book ‘A Florence Diary’ from my lovely friend Lucy


What a delight. I started reading immediately, but unfortunately, once I actually arrived in Florence I was out from early morning till late a night, returning to the apartment only to brush my teeth, change into pyjamas and fall into bed till the morning; at which time I would repeat it all over again LOL So no time to continue reading in Florence I’m afraid.

But I have brought it with me to Ireland and with a few days of mucky weather in store I plan to read it…..Thanks Lucy my sweet, I shall treasure this little book and add it to my collection in the campervan 🙂

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I had a bit of a computer detox last week (in fact I didn’t open my computer for 9 days! – something of a record) and spent all my free time reading. I enjoyed both books tremendously.book review
1) recommended to me by one of my instagram connections… ‘The Gunner Girl’ by Clare Harvey – this story caught my attention in the very first sentence and kept me turning the pages, at times breathless with anticipation of which way the story was going to go. Set during the Second WW it follows the lives of 3 girls from very different backgrounds, thrown together by the war, the story twists and turns, at times happy, at others heartbreaking , the descriptions made me feel like I was right there with them…I could almost smell the air and hear the sounds of London during The Blitz. If I hadn’t needed to sleep and work, I would have read through the night till the last page. The story made me both laugh and cry and wail in despair…..sometimes life is just so bloody unfair.  Overall it was a wonderful read, ending too soon for me.

2) ‘Beneath the Bleeding’ by Val McDermid – one of my favourite authors, Val never disappoints and this book was no different, especially as I’m partial to our man Dr Tony Hill (of Wire in the Blood fame played by Robson Green). A thoroughly good murder mystery story line, I read till the wee hours and every spare minute during the day…a real page turner.

Prior to these two, just 3 weeks ago I read another two books… ‘Little Beach Street Bakery’ by Jenny Colgan and ‘Standing in another Man’s Grave’ by Ian Rankin.  The first book by Jenny Colgan was a first foray into this author’s writing, and what a delightful book it was. After finishing the book I felt like I wanted to jump on the first train to Cornwall and open a bakery on a small island…..not that I want to give away the story-line LOL.  It was delightful – again, one of those books that makes you laugh and cry and wail with despair. As with Val McDermid, Ian Rankin is an old favourite and I have read many of his books; his central character John Rebus is well-known to me….metaphorically speaking.book review

In my younger days (aeons ago) I used to read vociferously. Even as a very young girl, if my mother was looking for me, she would look no further than a corner in my room or behind a curtain. I remember reading a wide variety of books, mimicking my Mother’s favourite leisure activity…reading. In fact she was in the middle of a book; King Solomon’s Mines when she died…..I finished off the book some years later.  When reading I would be transported, my ears mysteriously filled with cotton wool, so absorbed would I be in the story.  I have been known to read through the night just to finish a book.  I also used to drive my Mother to distraction because sometimes I became so impatient to ‘know’ what happened that I would read the last page….LOL. But then I could just sit back and relax and enjoy the story.  At school I earned many a nickname, not all complimentary, because of my love of books.

The last few years have seen me busy online building my website and totally absorbed with social media…and precious little reading.  I’m glad I’ve taken some time out to get back into the life between the pages of a book.

When my daughter was a wee girl I would read to her at night before she went to sleep…oh wait….it was me who fell asleep!! hahaha. A firm favourite was ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. I can’t tell you how often she would wake me up during our good night ritual.  She learned to read pretty quick….I wonder why!! And still today, she will be transported to other worlds by the magic of a book and  I still fall asleep when reading out loud. 🙂 Some things never change.


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robbo worldtraveller

Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.


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