Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Uprooting Ernie - Pamela Burford

Uprooting Ernie Pamela Burford
While I'm all for serious books, when I'm in the mood, what I really love is a book that's lots of fun and can bring a smile to your face. A little while ago, I read a book that claimed to be a humorous, murder mystery. Sadly it wasn't very funny (it tried too hard) and the mystery part was quite lacking too.

Fortunately there are authors out there who can produce fun, funny books that also have a good mystery to try and solve. One of these authors is Pamela Burford.

I haven't reviewed any of her other books on here (yet) although I have read quite a few now. Most of her novels fall into the Romance or Romantic Suspense genre, but this fairly new series, the Jane Delaney mysteries are that, mystery stories. I was really lucky to get my hands on a pre-release copy to read and review (which I already have done on Amazon, Goodreads, and now here) before it was released on the 18th.

This is the second in the series, which stars Jane Delaney, also known as the Death Diva, and her poodle Sexy Beast. Jane is known as the Death Diva because of her unusual job, she does things for and to dead people, from visiting people's graves to deliver flowers, to stealing broaches from a corpse (in the first book, although she does say she'll never do that again) to giving a grave a 'drink' of cheap rose from a box. Along the way she becomes involved in some mysterious circumstances, and a once a dead body arrives on the scene, there's a mystery to solve.

The book is great fun and Jane's character is a great creation. She also has her ex-husband to deal with, who she's still sort of hung up on, and the very lovely Martin, or the Padre as she calls him. (If you want to know why, then read the first book, actually, read the first book anyway, it's good.) Both of whom more or less invade her life, for a while at least, on a day to day basis in this book. (Poor thing, two men after her.)

I didn't guess who-done-it until it was pretty much explained at the end of the book, which is usually a good sign, and it all made sense (an even better sign,) the mystery side of it certainly worked for me. I'm not sure if all the clues were there to work it out, I was too involved in the story to have done some kind of 'clue audit' but either way, it worked and I enjoyed it. I might try and read again at some point to see if I can spot the hints that point in the right direction.

I read the first book in the series, Undertaking Irene, last year when it came out, and I've been waiting for book two since. This is of course the main problem with books like this, when you discover the series in the early stages, you have to wait for the next one to come out. This was a great read, which I didn't want to put down, so I read it far too quickly, (greedy reading again) and now I've got to wait for book three...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

You probably don't want to read this

one of those things that drive me crazy
This is a moan post, one of those things that drives me completely nuts. The worst of it is that I am sort of doing it myself, but we won't worry about that right now.

Lately on facebook (and other places) there have been lots of links shared that say things along the lines of "she went out to do her shopping, but you won't believe what happened next" or "This boy patted his dog, but how he reacted will blow you away!" Except of course, it won't.

I do get it, whoever has written the piece or made the video want's you to look at it, they need you to make that click, but do I really need talking to as though I'm unable to decide what's worth my attention and what isn't. It's called click bating, trying to word things so people will click, which of course makes sense. But please people, enough of the ridiculous claims. If it really was that amazing or mind blowing, or unusual, you probably wouldn't need to tell me in title.

I've reached the point now that I ignore anything that has a crazy claim title. I don't want to know, even if it is just as amazing as the claims, because, let's face it, it probably isn't really. Surely everyone else is sick of them too by now? I'm not convinced that they would still work that well in getting people to read something, but I could be very wrong. 

I do get the desire to get as many people as possible to share and read their posts, I'd love you to share this or any of my other posts about on social media, but I'm not going to resort to cheap tricks to get you to. After all I'm pretty sure that anything I've written, or will written isn't going to blow you away or change your life view forever. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Five Minutes Alone - Paul Cleave

I'm starting to really like Paul Cleave's novels, this is the third that of the Christchurch novels that I've read. Although there is a common story thread that runs through them, particularly ones such as Five Minutes Alone, that feature Theodore Tate, they also work well in their own right.

The books are all set in Christchurch, although in many ways this is a fantasy Christchurch or one in a parallel universe with a darker and more sinister feel than the 'real' Christchurch. The New Zealand in the book is also a fantasy version of New Zealand; a referendum having reintroduced the death penalty.

Into this dark world, we are reintroduced to two characters who have featured in a number of the previous books, Carl Schroder and Theodore Tate. 

What I particularly love about Cleaves books is the ambiguity, in so many stories, both those that are crime novels, and those that have other main themes, we have a hero and an adversary. Good and bad fight it out. Of course life is not so clear cut and certainly Cleave's novels and characters are not so black and white. This is especially obvious in Five Minutes Alone, the question of who is good and who is bad is not clear cut one. Rather than a fight between good and evil it's a fight between the really evil and the not quite so bad.

The story focuses a lot on revenge, unlike many in the crime novel genre there isn't a question of who-done-it, more a focus on why, and if that reasoning is at all justified. I found myself rooting for different characters at different times and questioning things all the way through.

The story is cleaver and well written, without trying to be too cleaver. I enjoyed it and really must track down some more of Cleave's books.

Monday, 8 June 2015

My baby is three

My baby is threeIt's such a cliché that time goes so quickly when you have children, but like so many clichés it's actually true. Birthdays always serve to highlight just how fast that time is passing, especially ones that mark rights of passage, like going to school. 

For the youngest and oldest child in the family though, every birthday makes that passage of time all the more obvious. With your oldest child, it's the shock that they've reached such an 'old' age already. With your youngest, it's the realisation that you'll never again have a baby, toddler, pre-schooler and so on again. Today marked the end of the toddler years in our house.

Of course it's not really a sudden thing, little Miss A hasn't really been a toddler for a while now, but yesterday her age was still officially two. Toddler time. Today she turned three.

It's hard in many ways to get my head around the idea that she actually is three years old already, my baby, how has that happened. As is often the way with these things though, in other ways, it seems like her birth was much longer than three years ago. Time has this magical ability to fly and to stretch, while covering the same period. Has it really only been three years since we became a family of four children? Is it really only just over three years ago that I hadn't met her yet? 

Grub zombie birthday cakeOf course children are completely oblivious to all of this, time passes in a completely different way when you're small. Three years is forever, when you've only been around that long so far. All that having a birthday really means is that people make a fuss of you and you get lots of presents. Which of course we did. Saturday was fish and chips with the family and a birthday cake with candles (this year a 'log' with grubs all over it, because she loves her grub) and then today, the actual birthday was presents from us.

I think she's had a good day, she's gone pretty much straight to sleep, so either way the excitement of being another year older, has worn her out.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Runaway - Sandy James

Runaway - Sandy James
You may have noticed, that this is the second book by Sandy James that I've reviewed in the last week or so, (if you didn't notice then, you might want to check out the first review here). Seeing as I got the three 'Safe Havens' books in a three book set, and I enjoyed the first one so much, I couldn't resist diving into the second one almost straight away. That shouldn't really surprise you, as I have admitted to being a 'greedy reader' once or twice before.

There are a couple possible problems with books in a series. Either they quickly become samey, and you get bored of the story repeating, or you want to know more about the characters in the original book, so the whole thing is a let down. Neither of these things happened with Runaway though.

It's set in the same place as Saving Grace and features many of the same characters, although this time we have another member of the Shay family, this time running from her evil relatives. Our hero is a bit character from the last book, Ty Bishop (short for Tyrone maybe?) Of course, it is a romance books, so there's secrets to be kept, misunderstanding and lots of chemistry between our main characters.

The supporting cast of characters, who are mostly from the previous book add to the richness of the story and it's great to see what's happened next with them too. The books follows on from the last with enough information to help satisfy the 'what next' curiosity without being repetitive.

The main love story was great, with lots of chemistry between the two  main characters, you wanted them to get together and sort everything out. 

I've just got the last in the series to go now, looking forward to reading it, but trying to resit temptation to read it took quickly.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

There were ten in the bed

There were ten in the bedWhat is it about small children and taking things to bed with them? I can understand the soft toys, teddy bears, and even the security blankets that small children want to snuggle up with. Dolls and other toys you can cuddle also make sense, but it's all those other random items that children taken to bed with them.

When M was two I once went into his bedroom to check on him and found him cuddled up with a plastic fire engine. On another occasion it was a toy digger. Over time I've found him in bed with everything from boxes to tractors, trains to books and even once an old (clean) tin can.

With A, it's not so much what she takes to bed, but how much she takes to bed. Some times, when I go in to check on her at night, it takes me a few minutes to work out which head to kiss. The other night for example we had A (obviously) two dolls, a teddy bear, a soft toy and a pile of books. I've been in on other nights and found a whole flock of penguins tucked up in bed next to her, (not real ones of course).

Children and odd sleeping habits
It can't be comfortable surely? There are times that I really have to wonder how they manage to fit into the bed themselves.

I think all four of them have gone through this everything in the bed with them stage. I have no idea if it's a comfort thing, or just a way of making sure that the favourite toys are on hand the second that they wake up, (and of course that no pesky brother or sister has chance to make off with them).

Have your children gone through this phase? Or are mine just a bit odd?