You Are Dead by Peter James

This book is another in the Roy Grace series but I don’t think I have been reading them in order, I’m not sure it makes much difference. The characters progress through the series and there is an element of linking but the investigation is mostly unique to the book.

This is the story of the hunt for a killer who brands his victims with You Are Dead. It takes a while to link all the cases together and work the timeline back to cold cases but it winds up to a dramatic ending past anything you could expect.

There is also a new lead to follow on the whereabouts of Roy Grace’s first wife. This sees him confronting some long-held feelings at a time when he believes he is moving on with his life after finally being able to declare his wife dead.

I don’t read much in this genre but these books are easy to read and hold your attention throughout. They are obviously written with an inside knowledge of policing due to the level of information provided which makes them more believable.

I’m sure I’ll read more of the series in the future, just maybe not in order!


Have You Ever Been Asked To Provide A Service Review?…

I know we are all asked to review service everywhere we go from Superdrug to your local restaurant and normally they offer you the chance to win £100 for leaving a review.

That isn’t the kind of review I mean, let me explain…

I recently went to a furniture shop to order a new settee. On completing the purchase we were told by the sales rep that we would be contacted by text for a review of the service we received. We were then asked to rate it as a 9 or 10 as anything below a 9 resulted in the rep being hauled in front of their supervisor for a debrief.

Now this put me in a quandary. As a shopper I make most of my purchases, as do most people online. I took the decision a long time ago to not review any purchases as it meant I would save myself half a lifetime in writing reviews. So whether something is good or bad I say nothing.

The same for shops who ask me to review to enter a prize draw, it always goes in the bin. I’ve worked in a shop and I know how hard it is to maintain a sunny disposition all day long and not look like you would rather be anywhere else but there. I don’t think people need to be pulled up over it. Some people see shop workers as their own personal servants and talk to them as if they are something you scrape off your shoe. The customer is always right, as the saying goes, only they are usually wrong and refuse to accept it.

So faced with the text message asking me to review my service of said furniture purchase I was torn between sticking to my guns and deleting without reviewing and helping the sales rep out. Even though the very suggestion of being asked to leave a certain review made me want to add into the comments – I left this review as I was told to.

When I thought about the service we received that day it wasn’t the best. We’d looked around 4 furniture stores in a row and came back to this one to order. The first time we were in there we had been approached for help we didn’t need at that time. As I predicted when we went back to order there was no one free to be seen. I wandered the store 3 times and then tried to log on to the website on my phone to do the order myself, only to find the website was practically unusable in the mobile version.

At this point my Mum came back from the hardware store next door and said she had seen someone not doing anything and called the guy over. We eventually placed the order after going through all the questions and possible extras. Then came the request for a review.

The honest thing to do would have been to say I was less than happy with the service I received and yet once we had a rep helping us it was all done with no fuss. The guy was good at his job and that was what made me feel guilty enough to leave a review.

I wondered if he had bad reviews in the past and if he was trying to avoid more trouble or if he was just playing at my heart-strings. It seemed harsh picturing him trying to explain why he didn’t give us a better service to his superiors.

But then it makes a mockery of the whole thing. It’s probably a company directive to avoid them getting negative reviews. I’m sure they are listed somewhere on the website or at least collated for company purposes.

If you are providing good service then you shouldn’t have to tell people to review you at a 9 or 10 as they will happily do it. As we all know the professional review writers and people who love to have a soap box will write in depth reviews on who to speak to and what day is best to get them. I find product and service reviews now are not as reliable as they were, especially when most are paid for writing them.

Sadly my review was just as redundant, I gave 9 out of 10 as I never review anything at the highest mark. There is always room for improvement. If it was up to me I wouldn’t have reviewed at all but due to not being able to find anyone to help us for about 20 minutes an accurate review would be 6 or 7/10!

Writing Tips For Authors…

I haven’t done this in a while but I came across a range of websites and articles that I thought might be helpful for fellow authors and I wanted to share.

How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know

Three Things Most People Don’t Know About Book Cover Design

How to create a book cover

6 Ways to Get Creative with Writing Your Blog Content

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017

Winter of the World by Ken Follett


Winter of the World is the follow on book from Fall of Giants in the Century of Giants Trilogy.

We pick up the same characters dealing with the aftermath of the first world war and watch them all try to navigate their way through their own particular hell in the second world war.

The book moves from the UK, to France, to Germany, to Russia, to America, to Pearl Harbour and back again so seamlessly tracking the characters on their travels.

You were connected to the characters in the first book and this continues on through the second. You want to keep reading to see what happened to them. The amount of detail makes you feel like you’re personally there.

I would imagine a lot of the historical content is accurate but that some of it is manipulated to include the fictional people. To be able to keep track of what is happening in different parts of the world to different characters at the same time and to keep the stories flowing takes a level of skill most of us could only dream of.

I can’t wait to read the final instalment in the series (Edge of Eternity) to see how the lives of the people I feel I know turn out. Although the book was over 800 pages long it in no way felt laboured to read, in fact it is the opposite, too hard to put down!

I found my copy of this book in the poundshop one day last year and I have to say it’s a travesty that it was there at all but my very good fortune to find it. I’m off now to order the last book.

Are You Planning Your 2017 Holiday?…

I came across this website the other day listing the best new hotels around the world and it made me want to book a holiday!

I thought I would share it for those of you out there looking for somewhere to catch some sun and relaxation this year!

The Best New Hotels in the World

Tuesday Cinema Club: Patriot’s Day

I ended up seeing Patriot’s Day earlier than I thought as Hacksaw Ridge was no longer showing. I guess I’ll have to wait till Hacksaw Ridge is out on DVD. I liked the look of the trailer, I love a good war film but my cinema companions said they felt like they’s seen the film already and it was boring.

Anyway to Patriot’s Day and the story of the Boston Marathon bombings. I remember seeing some of the footage at the time but I don’t spend much time watching the news. I find it all too depressing. So for me a lot of what I saw in the film I was hearing for the first time.

The film shows the lead up to the day, the day itself and the aftermath from the perspective of a number of key individuals from the police, FBI and general public.

It also shows background on the bombers themselves, which I imagine is from pieced together information, rather than accurate accounts.

They show some actual footage from the time, one of the most evocative scenes being Boston on complete lock down with deserted streets, like some sort of ghost town. When you think of the size of Boston is just doesn’t seem possible they could manage it.

The police in America get a lot of negative press and I’m sure in a lot of cases this is justified but it was interesting to see how they go about tackling the investigation of something so horrific. It’s hard not to want to react as a human being and lash out at anyone around you and seek revenge when something like that happens. It’s a spur of the moment reaction to your body being flooded with emotions all at once that you can’t process and control quick enough.

But as a professional you have to learn to get past that and engage your thinking brain to avoid loosing evidence in what it absolute mayhem. Where do you even begin to start controlling a crime scene and evidence chain under those circumstances when all people want to do is pile in and help.

As we know one of the bombers was killed whilst trying to be apprehended and attacking the police, run over by his own brother fleeing the scene. His brother is on death row, sentenced to lethal injection but it appealing his sentence. It seems he is no longer brave enough to take the consequences of his actions that day and what happened when he tried to escape the police.

The thing to take away from incidents like this is that the good in human nature will always come out when challenged and love with always overcome hate.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Hidden Figures

This film didn’t really come on my radar until I went to see Lion and once I saw the trailer I knew I would go and see it the following week.

There have been so many films made about NASA and their space missions that you think you’ve heard all the stories there are to tell, but this film makes you realise there is always something else to learn.

To see women excelling in high paced jobs and being given their proper recognition is something that should have happened much sooner. The black women in question are an inspiration to many others and rightly their story should be heard and now they have.

I found the whole film interesting and I’m glad I took the time to see it. I’m also glad that they didn’t try to explain any of the maths that they were constantly working on as it would have made the film very dull.

It was interesting to see that the very first computers were annoying and glitchy at set up and when you need them to be on top of their game, some things never change! But where would we be without them?

I believe it is especially important to show women as engineers. There is a shortage of people training to become engineers and in the future that could mean that we are left with little innovation in the world and that is a sad thing.

I worked for an engineering firm for 12 years and whilst I never trained, I was asked to look into mechanical engineering. For me it wasn’t something that held my attention. But after typing technical specifications for 12 years I could on occasion challenge something that didn’t feel right in the way it was included and more often than not I would be correct.

Even though I didn’t design any of the projects, I played my part and it was always nice to see the end photo’s and see it all come to life.

Maybe if we show more young girls and women this film we might capture the imagination of the next generation of women who decide to break down barriers to achieve their goals.

Tuesday Cinema Club: Lion

I’ve spoken to a few people about this film and not one of them had anything bad to say about it, me included.

I was told going in to have my tissues ready as it tugs on the heart-strings and they weren’t wrong.

It is the story of a boy who goes missing in India when he is 5 years old after falling asleep on a train and only being let out days later, thousands of miles away in Bengali speaking Kolkata. Unable to make himself understood he tries to walk home to his Mother.

You feel for this poor child alone in the middle of a strange town filled with people who don’t understand him, with no money and no way of knowing how to get home.

When you see later in the film the attempts adult Saroo makes to find his home you can only imagine the frustration he must feel.

I’m trying not to give anything away but most people know the broader aspects of the story. Never the less there was a very satisfying ending and most people had a chuckle and a smile on their face through the tears as they walked out.

I would recommend seeing this movie if you can, sometimes it’s nice to watch something real and not all CGI and blowing up cities.

Time to Talk Day 2017

Today is Time to Talk Day raising awareness of mental health issues and that is something that is close to my heart. I have a personal battle with depression, I have been quite open about it on my blog in the past, in the hope that it would help others not feel so alone in similar situations.

I wanted to share Time to Talk Day and ask you to have a look at how you can help. I’ve logged my conversations for the day and I want to share with you my thoughts.

If you’re struggling today and things maybe aren’t going the way you’d like then please use today to talk to someone about it and to reach out for help. There are no magic wands to fix people or situations but there are people who can be reached out to for help if you are willing to ask.

I believe in the power of having people you can trust to open your heart to without judgement, and how that helps to keep your mental health balanced. I find it a constant struggle to stop the darkness from over taking me when I am in emotional situations and in the past I have been guilty of self-destructive behaviour to make myself believe I am how others make me feel.

I found distancing myself from certain people helps in some ways but promotes the feelings of loneliness. At times it feels like I can either feel like a good person who has dreams they want to achieve and be around people or I can be around people and be made to feel like an embarrassment, figure of fun and someone to constantly put down. So to feel better about myself I stay away and feel alone.

I’ve been through a lot emotionally in the last couple of years and I’ve not really shared it with anyone. But last week I poured my heart out to a friend, via email because I was too afraid to say it to their face.  I didn’t want them to see me cry. I was scared at the reaction it would get, telling someone my deepest secrets for the first time but I trusted they would understand. The reaction I got was incredibly comforting. There was no judgement or making me feel inadequate, there was only love.

In truth that friendship has helped me to see that there should only be love. I’ve fought a lot in the past with that friend and tried to cleanse myself of them in many ways but years have passed and now there is only love. That love is allowing me to love myself for who I am and allowing me to be the person I want.

If people don’t like me or understand me then that is their loss. I haven’t met anyone like me so maybe that’s why people are confused. I’m not a screw up or an embarrassment – I just don’t walk everyone elses path. I’m an individual, I always have been and when you don’t feel the need to comply people don’t always get you.

My path is a little circular and lonely right now. It isn’t leading me towards my dreams but to some people it is giving them what they need at a time they need it. I need to find a path soon that lends me a kink towards my dream but I think in the long run things will work out for the best.

My horoscope is full of love connections at the moment and fun turning into long-term relationships. Even my fortune cookie advised me that a well-chosen word at the right time would bring miracles my way. I’m not sure I believe in these things but I don’t think it can hurt to hope for a while that they might be right.

For all I do for others and the person I am, I think karma owes me a little bit of happiness. One day it will have to be my turn to get my hearts desire, surely?!

So there you are, that’s how I’m feeling today. Why don’t you tell someone how you’re feeling. Let’s all use today as a Time to Change and a Time to Talk.

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton


I’ve always been a fan of Ben Elton’s writing but I seem to have lost track of it in the last couple of years. I saw this by accident when looking for Christmas presents for others and added it to my wish list. From the jacket it appears that I have missed one of his books being released so I need to get myself a copy of that now.

This book hooked me in and I didn’t want to stop reading. The story of a time traveller, trying to alter the course of history by changing the worst thing that happened is interesting.

How could you know if you were really making things better or not by altering the truth?

That is exactly what the book explores. There are twists and turns which keep you hooked. The characters are likeable and you become attached to their story.

It does make you think about whether or not time travel would be a good thing and what you would do if you were faced with similar choices. Maybe by the end you’ll be challenging your own earlier thoughts on the matter.

If you like a good, well written story with lots of drama then I think you will enjoy this.

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