Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Jo Brand

Ok, so I said I wouldn’t be reading anymore celeb biogs, I’m a sucker for punishment I know. However, this was at the top of the ‘to be read’ pile and I quite enjoyed her first biog. As Brand was a psychiatrist nurse before being a comedian then at least she has some interesting stories to tell.

This book chronicles her career from leaving nursing to starting as a stand up comedian. She writes about her rise and includes chapters such as good and bad clubs which she has enjoyed doing her routines at. I quite like her, she seems very down to earth with a dry, sarcastic sense of humour.

In another chapter she says ‘I have narrowed down my favourite comedy moments to half a dozen, leaving out an incident in a hotel with two comics which I’m sworn not to repeat’. I personally find this annoying, why put it in the book without more of an explanation, even though she’s probably just letting the two comics know she hasn’t forgotten the incident, just send them an email, not mention it in your book!

The rest of the book ambled along nicely although I can’t help feeling it was written in ‘blog’ form. Naming her favourite books, films and plays in theatre’s. Disappointingly there wasn’t a list of her favourite cakes, one I would have enjoyed 🙂

This was an ok book, the usual comedian standard. Thankfully this has been written up to her life so far so we won’t be having another book for a good few years.


My new Kindle!!!!

Somebody has very kindly bought me a Kindle!!! I won’t be revealing my source though as he/she wants it kept secret for various reasons but a big huge thank you, you know who you are. It arrived on Thursday, here’s my opinion of it……

I love it. I have a cover for mine so it opens up like a book and I still have to move my hand to turn the page so it’s surprising how much like a book it is. The screen is fabulous, it’s like reading from a newspaper and you can change the size of the text to suit you. There’s also a handy % line at the bottom to see how far along in the book you are, some books even have the page numbers but I haven’t worked that bit out yet, I think it’s only for certain or newly released books though.

I’ve paid £3.57 for The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, more or less the same as in Asda but it’s £3.97 for the paperback version. Some ebooks cost more than the paperback version though so always check before you buy. I have one or two free books on there but the amount of book that you can get for under £2 is amazing. Other books I have bought have cost me 71p 86p or 49p, bargain!!

A little bit of advice, pick a very easy read or even a book you have read before for your first read. The book I’m reading at the moment is about cells taken from a cancer patient just before she dies from the illness. It does take a bit of concentration as the book tells about cell culture in the 1950’s, the book’s time frame is from (I think) 1930’s- 1990’s. I’m reading the book and then I suddenly wonder if I can get onto Twitter so I stop reading and I’m busy doing that. I start reading again but then I wonder if I can get on Facebook so bang goes the concentration/reading aspect!! All that will stop though as it’s easier to check the web from the laptop rather than the Kindle. I’m not going to review this book as it wouldn’t be fair as I’ve been so distracted by the Kindle.

Overall my opinion is buy one, when I’m reading it and I’m not too busy being distracted then it doesn’t make a difference wether it’s a book or a device as the story just takes you away. I shall still be reading paper books but only because of my huge tbr pile so I’ll be reading one ebook then 2 paper books. Not sure if I’ll buy any paper books after that, unless it’s something I really want and it’s cheaper to buy in tree form.

I led in bed in my underwear the other night and bought a book, I had the option of reading it 20 seconds after purchase. Why did I do this? Just because I could Smile


Fourteen Days Later – Sibel Hodge

Fourteen Days Later is P.S. I Love You meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

When accident prone Helen Grey finds a thong stuffed into the pocket of her boyfriend’s best work trousers, it’s time for her to move on. His excuse that he needed to dust the photocopier and just thought it was a rag sounds like a lame excuse.

Helen’s life is propelled in an unexpected direction after her best friend, Ayshe, sets her a fourteen day, life changing challenge. Helen receives a task everyday which she must complete without question. The tasks are designed to build her confidence and boost her self esteem but all they seem to do is push her closer to Ayshe’s brother, Kalem.

How will Kalem and Helen get together when she’s too foolish to realise that she loves him? How can he fall for her when he is too busy falling prey to her mishaps and too in love with his own perfect girlfriend? How will Kalem’s  turkish cypriot family react when they find out?

Is it really possible to change your life in fourteen days?

My daughter said I must read this book as it’s the funniest thing she’s read in ages. One look at the cover and I thought said daughter had gone doolally as it looks like this book is a deep, dark horror story but it couldn’t be more different. A pure chick lit is what this book is all about.

It’s got the typical, stereotype characters, Helen, the single, ditzy, thirty something girl with curly hair (why do all heroines have curly hair)?  Kalem, the dark brooding type. Ayshe, the best friend thats getting married.

All the usual things happens in this book that normally happen with characters like this, walking out of the toilet with her skirt tucked into her knickers. Farting while doing yoga and many many more.

It sounds like I’m describing just another of the thousands of this type of genre, run of the mill chick lit but nothing could be further than the truth. This book was a first class read, it had the magic to draw me in despite the conventional plot.

Told from her point of view, Helen was an endearing character and I was rooting for her all the way through, for her to get what she wanted.

There’s a sequel to this book, My Perfect Wedding but sadly it’s only available as an ebook but hopefully will be coming out in paperback soon. I’ll be first in the queue when it does.

Hard Girls – Martina Cole

Hard lives, hard lessons. It’s murder on the streets.

Danielle Crosby had a body to die for. A body she sold to the highest bidder. But she ended up paying for it with her life.

When a prostitute’s body is found lifeless, mutilated and brutally raped, DCI Annie Carr has never seen anything like it and never wants to again. Kate Burrows, retired DCI and now consultant, has plenty of experience when it comes to murder – after all she caught the Grantley Ripper and broke the biggest paedophile ring in the South East. She is determined to help put the killer bars. But whoever it is won’t be easily caught. And when another girl’s body is found, even more horrifically disfigured than the last, it’s clear the killer is just warming up.

In a ruthless world where everyones out for them selves, Annie and Kate must dig deep if they hope to catch a callous serial killer who knows no limits and makes no mistakes. For some, prostitiution is seriously big business. But how many people will pay the ultimate price?

In this book we see the return of old favourite Kate Burrows, a character from earlier books, The Ladykiller and Broken. She’s still living with Patrick Kelly although due to his owning the properties where the girls are being killed as a silent partner causes them to split up. The book does focus a lot on their relationship, a bit too much at times, it got kind of repetitive, if Cole had reduced this it would have made a much better book.

Told in the third person narrative, the dialect used takes you straight to the streets of East End London. If a little old fashioned by now, surely the slang used has changed over the last 6- 8 years, in fact I know it has.

Nice short chapters made this book easy to fly through, one thing I love about books like this, so easy to read, can pick it up at anytime. Not too many characters to get confused.

I did like this book, Cole writing of late has been quite sub standard but this book proves she’s back on form. If you haven’t enjoyed Cole’s books lately then give this one a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Followers, blogs etc…

I’m really getting into this blogging lark now, linking up with other bloggers and websites. After reading some of them out there on the www I realise I need to up the ante on my blog, not an easy task for me!!

The problem is by the time S goes to bed, I settle for the night in my comfy spot and it’s as peaceful as it’s going to be with 3 dogs, one 12 year old and two teenagers, I sit down to write, click on New Post and my mind goes blank! I put my Ipod on for inspiration then find myself miming along to Deacon Blue, The Buzzcocks (ask your Mum if you’ve never heard of them!)  The Script, Eminem or some other random songs I have on there. In between songs I hear the Eastenders theme tune so I’m peering over the laptop having a sly watch, I’m fascinated with Janine Butcher, hate her character but can’t stop watching her!

Anyway, where was I? Ah thats right, my mind going blank! (Slight pause while I mime along to Dead Or Alive, too easily distracted!) So this upping the stakes/mind going blank, I know what I need to do, I’ll have to start posting more personal/family posts so to give you a taster as to what we’re like as a family, here goes……

My darling daughter K went to the fair with her boyfriend yesterday and very kindly took along Little L (Little L is 12 and Big L is 18, not a wise move naming them with same initials was it!). Whilst there, they won two goldfish and bought a bowl for Ronnie and Miley to live in. K didn’t think I’d be to happy but it set mine and unbeknown to me, hubby’s mind in motion. Before I knew it we were both frantically searching the web for fish tanks, tropical fish etc etc.

Come morning we have a chat and decide to go and have a look at the fish in the local pet shop so off we go fish browsing. Less than 24 hours after Ronnie and Miley came to live with us we’ve picked our tank, paid for it (on hubby’s card you’ll be pleased to know) but now we have to wait for Saturday until we can get some fish as the tank needs to be settled etc before the fish can go in there.

So what does that tell you, we’re rather hasty people, not always thinking about what we’re doing but whatever we do is always done with plenty of love. We already have names for our fish, Bobby, Nemo, Squishy, depending on how many we get!

So I promise to post more, wether it’ll be of interest to you is another thing, I hope so!

Cathy Glass (a pseudonym) is the author of eleven works of fact and fiction. A foster carer for over twenty years, fostering more than fifty children throughout that time.

This book centre’s on one of the little girls brought to her called Alice, a sweet, well cared for four year old. She was due to come to Cathy but her mother snatched her and they were on the run for three nights, sleeping outside. Alice’s mother, Leah, is mentally ill and drug dependant. Alice had been staying with her grandparents, Leah’s parents but was being taken into care while her future was decided.  Also heavily involved in the story are Cathy’s son, Adrian, daughter Paula and foster daughter Lucy. All fabulous, unselfish children.

This book really was a pleasure to read, a pick up any time kind of read, in between cooking tea or bathing the kids. In fact it took me less than 24 hours to read this book! I’ve read a lot of stories of abuse over the last few years, to the point that they started to be unshockable. It was nice to have a different take on a child in care. While Cathy as a foster mother is obviously an official role, you wouldn’t get a story like this from other ‘officials’ eg: social workers.

It’s a book full of emotion, happiness, sadness and just plain joy. I think that Cathy has understandably captured all feeling into this book. She’s a remarkable woman, being able to express huge amounts of love to Alice but being balanced and honest about her future.

I will definately be looking at more works by this author.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

This is Larsson’s first of three books in the Millennium series. Tragically as you probably already know, journalist Larsson, unfortunately died suddenly and unexpectedly just after delivering the manuscripts to his publishers. He never got too see his work in print or see how popular his series became.

The book focus’s on three main characters, Henrik Vanger, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Vanger is the head of the multi million kronor Vanger Corporation. His great niece Harriet went missing over 30 years ago and he’s still obsessed with finding out what happened to her so he employ’s journalist Blomkvist to write the story of the Vanger family and also to secretly find out what happened to Harriet.

Blomkvist has just been found guilty of libel against financier Hans-Erik Wennerstrom after publishing an article about him in Millennium magazine where Blomkvist is a journalist. He’s been sentenced to 3 months in jail.

Also heavily involved in the story is Salander, a weird character but top class computer hacker, don’t get on the wrong side of her!

This is a heavy book to get into and I don’t mean weighty on the hands but a difficult read! Translated from Swedish to English, it’s difficult to comprehend at times and quite confusing with a character called Frode and some of the female characters being known as Froker Salander or Froker Berger which I’m assuming means Miss. Also the places were baffling with the main action being in a place called Hedeby and the (from what I can gather) next village being Hedestad.

It took 300 pages for the plot to grip me, I wanted to give up but other readers kept encouraging me saying it would pick up soon. It was getting to the point where I was dreading picking it up thinking ‘Here we go again’! 300 pages is a long time for a book to pick up and I wondered if other readers have given up on it. Another thing was the amount of characters, only a few main ones but a few too many minor ones that didn’t need to be in the story. Handily, there’s a family tree at the beginning of the book so it was easy enough to flip back to check who was who!

That being said, when it did finally get going it was fabulous, a clever plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Plenty of little plots coming together to give it one big ‘kapow’ towards the end.

Told in the third person narrative, I totally identified with all the characters, all of them believable even if Salander is a bit odd but that gets explained later in the book but only slightly.

I have the second book (and third) on my ‘to be read’ pile, at the top but think I’ll put it a few books down as I think it would be a bit to much to read them all in one go!


Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella

Life for Lara Lington isn’t going well, her boyfriend Josh has dumped her, her best friend and new business partner,  Natalie has run off too Goa!

The story starts with Lara and her parents going to the funeral of a relative she’s never met, 105 year old Great Aunt Sadie. At the service, which only Lara, her parents, her sister, uncle, aunt and cousin attend, the ghost of Great Aunt Sadie appears but only Lara can see her. Aunt Sadie wants her necklace which has gone missing and enlists Lara’s help in getting it back.

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me, some of the antics they got up too are funny, some of the situations are hilarious but generally the book didn’t ignite for me, I feel it’s one of Kinsella’s weaker works. I like a good chick lit but this was a bit sickly sweet. I believe, because I’m sceptical about ghosts in general then it put a question mark over the book.

The usual mix of characters are here, Lara, the struggling single girl, her parents (just known as Mum and Dad) who are worried to death about her, overbearing sister who only played a slight part in this book. Other characters include Uncle Bill who is Lara’s dad’s brother. A self made millionaire with a world wide chain of coffee shops. Diamante, Uncle Bill’s daughter is a pretentious brat.

Also there’s Ed. Aunt Sadie sets up Lara and Ed on a date, I won’t say no more as I’ll spoil the plot but the scene when Ed takes Lara to a business dinner is so funny, really made me laugh out loud.

I did finsh the book with a warm feeling, despite what I’ve said about it and the predictable ending. It’s a bit like spending an evening with a best friend, you know them that well that you can get away with only half listening sometimes!

Room – Emma Donoghue

Jack is five years old and lives in a room with Ma, a locked room.

It’s hard to give a good sypnosis on this book without giving the plot away so a single sentence will have to do!!  I’m finding it hard to describe my feelings on this book as well but I’ll try my best. Here goes…..

There’s been a lot of hype about this book lately, with it being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It’s also a book that’s being reviewed on Channel Four’s, The TV Book Club. I tend to read the hyped up books after all the buzz has died down so I get my own thoughts on it rather than being ‘swept up in the tide’.

Anyway, this book is fabulous, I know it’s only the beginning of February but it’s one of my top reads of the year so far. Told in the voice of five year old Jack, Donoghue captures the youngsters language in an amazing fashion with Jack saying things like ‘The tooth was rotted’ amongst others, it’s just how a five year old would speak.

A very moving story, slightly uncomfortable reading in places but not enough to make me squirm. The plot is original, I’ve never read anything like this., I didn’t want to put the book down. The book is 400 pages long but I could easily have read twice that but it probably wouldn’t have made a very good story then!

Highly recommended and I shall be looking for more works by this author. If you only read one book this year then make it this one.

Blindsighted – Karin Slaughter

Sara Linton, paediatrician and medical examiner finds a body while having lunch with her sister in the local diner. The victim, Sibyl Adams, is found with 2 deep knife wounds over her stomach that form a cross. She was also raped. What makes it worse is that Sibyl was blind.

Police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, Lintons ex husband is in charge of solving the murder. When another body is found, they realise that they are dealing with a violent serial killer.

This is my second time reading this, having first read the Grant County series in 2006/7. I love this book, the story is gripping and fast paced, I quickly got sucked in. Slaughter really is the Queen of Thrillers and has certainly done her homework in all matters in this book. Having a medical examiner in the story makes for some gruesome reading about autopsy.

The characters are believable and well drawn. The relationship between Linton and Tolliver is raw, even though they are divorced because he cheated on her, the feelings haven’t disappeared between them.

Also heavily involved in the story is Police Detective Lena Adams, identical twin sister of murdered Sibyl Adams. I was unsure of this character, she’s a woman with a huge chip on her shoulder and not very likeable. A bit like marmite, you either love her or hate her.

All in all a brilliant book, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the next in the series, Kisscut.

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