Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Run For Your Life by James Patterson

This book is part of the Michael Bennett series. A policeman who has an army of kids at home to manage on top of a busy job as a New York Cop.

When a madman snaps and decides he wants to take revenge he starts a killing spree across New York. Detective Bennett is called in to hunt down the killer in the midst of a crisis at home when a bout of flu rips through his house full of kids.

He has to juggle being a father to a group of sick kids, staying healthy himself and catching a killer. Will he be able to juggle his responsibilities and catch the killer before he strikes again?

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Danny Baker Autobiography Vol 3: Going On The Turn

The last in the autobiography series was just as easily digested as all the rest. Although this book had less in the way of funny stories and was more about how life can take a cruel turn sometimes.

Most of this volume focuses on Danny’s battle with cancer and he is very open and honest about what treatment is like in a way I think most people wouldn’t begin to imagine. Whilst it doesn’t make for an entertaining read at times it does connect you on a human level.

How many of us know people who have gone through their own health battles and tried to offer what we feel is support in some way. I think sometimes reading honest accounts like this help not only the people directly going through the treatment but also the people around them that are affected in varying degrees.

Because cancer doesn’t just affect one person, they get all the symptoms and treatment but the range of people it affects is much wider than that. Sometimes the immediate family and carers also need to be supported while the person they’ve known all their life changes into someone they never met before for a time.

I’m glad I read these books as I think I learned something from them. I bought into the journey and laughed and cried my way through it in to the very end.

If you enjoy the books then why not follow Danny on Twitter, he can be quite entertaining at times!

Danny Baker Going Off Alarming Autobiography Vol 2

I read the first volume of his autobiography a while ago but when struggling for items to add to my xmas list I put the next two parts down as an afterthought.

Honestly if you even vaguely know who Danny Baker is or ever watched and enjoyed Cradle to Grave the TV series then you need to read his autobiographies.

I eat up the pages just trying to get to the end of whatever mad story I’m in the middle of and it makes me laugh out loud. It’s hard to believe that one person could live such a crazy and hectic life with so little in the way of planning and so much in the way of luck but he makes no bones about the honesty in it.

He openly calls out the people who would disbelieve the tales as works of fiction and deals with the haters by saying he understands how people can have strong feelings about how he lives his life but it’s his life and he’ll live by his own rules.

I think that’s one of the things that draws me to the books most, he is someone who is living their life without fear of other people’s opinions of him and I think we’d all like to be able to do that a bit more. I don’t really know what called me to read the first book, it was a present and I heard about it after following him on Twitter and watching the TV show (which I think has a second series out this year) but I couldn’t say I’ve ever been a fan of his work.

I was probably too young in the 90’s to watch most of his TV shows, if I ever did I can’t recall now. I’ve obviously seen and long forgotten his TV adverts from the time, given that we couldn’t fast forward the ads back then! I’ve never been an avid radio listener and don’t recall hearing his shows at all. Hence why I can say I’m not really a fan of his work.

However, I read about his life with a touch of jealousy that my own isn’t littered with more exciting stories worthy of 3 volumes. I could probably condense all the good stuff into a pamphlet, there was the time I sung on TV to 15 million viewers in my school choir, the time I got on a plane with strangers I met online and flew to the USA to watch two Kings of Leon shows, the time I literally bumped into Gloria Jones in the foyer of the Shepherds Bush Empire before the start of the 30th Anniversary Marc Bolan concert, numerous footballing high jinks stories and quite a few random celebrity sightings with the odd conversation thrown in. I can probably conjure up a few tales of high jinks from my school days, mostly running from my friends older brothers. The romance side is light of interest given I’ve only fallen in love once and now he’s blocked me from his life. I was infatuated with a colleague for 4 years but even though at times there were flashes of something there nothing more than a pre-xmas hug that lasted too long ever happened between us.

2018 was to be my year, inspired by some of the tales in this book to cast off the doldrums and stuck routine that my life has slipped into and go out in the world and have more fun and adventures. It’s time I started thinning out my bucket list, but given I started the year being blocked by the love of my life, I don’t think the universe is ready to cut me slack yet.

I’ll just have to start volume 3 and see what inspiration I can get from that book! Maybe 2019 will be my year of fun!

A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett

This book is another masterpiece by Ken Follett, a story that stands alone instead of one of his epic trilogies.  I found it by chance when ordering the last book in his century trilogy and I’m glad I did.

It was full of suspense, murder and horrible people who you wanted to get their comeuppance. As I went to write this review I thought of what a good movie it would make and on googling the cover I noticed it has been turned into a TV movie released this year but it seems it was made for German TV. I hope one day it will find its way onto English TV!

As with all the books I’ve read by this author I couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late wanting to read just one more page to see what would happen. It really has everything you could want from a novel Murder, Mystery, Suspense, Betrayal, Love, Manipulation, Wealth and Business.

I’ve been trying to coax all my friends who enjoy reading into exploring Ken’s work and I’ve finally found a book to introduce them that is smaller than the trilogy tomes and I’m sure by the end they’ll be working their way through the rest of the catalogue!

I’m on a self-imposed book buying ban as I have piles of unread books to wade through. But once I have it down to a few books I’ll be looking into the rest of the books Ken has written that I have yet to enjoy and diving in!

More Moaning by Karl Pilkington

This book is another companion to the Moaning of Life Sky 1 series that Karl Pilkington creates. Had you not have seen the TV series you would still be able to follow the book as it includes still shots from the show.

The book is basically a guide for what happened behind the scenes and why he chose to explore the avenues he did in the TV show. I think this one covers the second series of the Moaning of Life and included some very weird and wonderful practices carried out around the world.

It’s a nice easy series to watch, you learn a few things and have a few laughs and the book is much the same.

Sometimes you just need some light entertainment for your mind and this sort of thing is perfect for that.

If you’re not a fan of Karl and his wonderful way of viewing the world then this book really isn’t for you!

A Place To Call Home by Carole Matthews

This book was very easy to read and managed to keep me hooked through some long nights of reading as I was unable to put the book down. In the end I think I finished it in about 4 days.

It is the story of a beaten wife who leaves her abusive husband in the middle of the night with their child, struck mute from the horror she has witnessed.

They find shelter in a house with a mixed bag of damaged adults existing rather than living in a house in Hampstead.

I could say that it’s a story of love and hope and it has a happy ending but it is more than that. Unusually it had surprises lurking in the pages, even to the point where my heart raced desperate to turn the page and start the next chapter – convinced I knew what would happen, only to be sent down completely the wrong path and breathing a big sigh of relief.

It’s a lovely story and it touches your heart. I would say with holiday season on the horizon you could do a lot worse than spending a day in the sun reading a book like this.

Alanatomy by Alan Carr

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I have to say I’m not an avid fan of Alan Carr, I don’t watch his TV Shows very often yet for some reason I’ve been given both of his books as presents.

I found both books very interesting. Alan comes across as being a genuine person, embraces his faults and is open about them in a way more people should consider. It’s like you’re having a gossip session in the pub, cafe or living room with an old friend at times!

People always talk about your flaws and the weird parts of your personality whether you choose to accept it or not and Alan decided to write an honest response to those comments.

This book gives you an insight into what it is really like to be a ‘celebrity’ and I think most people would find it a bit of a shock. Not everyone gets 5* treatment wherever they go and freebies handed out like water. There are darker sides to people knowing who you are and thinking they own parts of your life.

There is also a knock on effect of fame on the people you love, who everyone assumes are just there for the name most of the time and that true love and affection doesn’t exist for people who are on the telly. Alan talks about the struggles his boyfriend went through in a way that some people will be able to relate to on one level or another.

What I gained from reading Alan’s books is a sense that people on the TV are not that different from those of us not blessed by the celebrity star. I think we all forget that from time to time.

The media like to sell us a life that is out of our reach because we aren’t sexy enough, tall enough, thin enough or rich enough but that life isn’t always as sparkly as we believe it to be. The people aren’t always as sexy, thin. tall or rich as we think and even if they are it doesn’t mean they are happy.

To be a celebrity means giving a part of yourself over to other people and allowing varying degrees of your life to be dictated by the whims of others. You can’t always make your own decisions or decide to call in sick one day as you never know, by tomorrow you could be old news.

I think the people who endure are the ones who aren’t afraid to be honest about who they are. Who stand up and say, ‘You know what I do that too’ and make us laugh about ourselves in a positive way. We all have flaws, even the biggest celebrities and we can embrace them and love ourselves or we can let other people break us down and make us feel smaller than we are.

Read Alan Carr’s books and you’ll see for yourself that being honest about yourself can free you and embracing it makes you stronger.  Or failing that you’ll laugh at his stories and cringe along with him.

The Wedding Diaries by Sam Binnie

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I’m not sure what attracted me to this book. I was never the little girl who dreamed of her wedding and getting married one day and as an adult it’s never been remotely on the cards. But it is funny how little girls still talk about getting married. I saw my cousins 4-year-old at the weekend and she told me all about who she was marrying, their wedding and what they had worked out for their life.

But in the interest of playing along I did have a think while reading this book of what my wedding would look like. I met someone a while ago that I could see myself living very happily with so I imagined him waiting for me at the altar. Then I promptly thought, sod it, no big meringue dress and formal stuffiness for me. I would just want all my family and friends to be in one place and have a big party. I definitely can’t see myself going all Bridezilla. It would be nice to have a pretty dress though, just not one that required extra wide doorways and a lifetime mortgage!

The book was written in a way I hadn’t seen before. It is in part diary entries and therefore the layout is similar to a script that people might read out. It took a while to get used to but in actual fact I think it worked quite well.

It makes your head spin all of the things they try to organise and all the unnecessary items you pick in the heat of the moment. We recently threw a 40th Wedding Anniversary party for our parents and I can attest to the lists of things we had to have getting longer and longer and in the end half of it never saw the light of day!

What was interesting was at the end of the book the author added tips that she wished someone had told her when planning her wedding. I guess if you were going to be planning a wedding then it might help to read a book like this.

I’ve seen people get so caught up in organising things that it becomes the only thing they can think or talk about to the detriment at times of actual life. This book helps you to remember that in some way.

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart

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I was brought this book a while ago for my birthday. I was expecting it to be an autobiography charting her life up until this point, which it was but in typical Miranda fashion.

She muses on various areas of life in her typical awkward way and engages with her 18-year-old self to put her points across.

As a slightly awkward person myself, its nice to see people who don’t take themselves too seriously. We all make idiots of ourselves from time to time, but not all of us have the strength to own up to it.

If you aren’t a fan of Miranda’s humour, then I would say the book probably won’t appeal to you, as it is written in the same way as her TV show. I don’t recall ever laughing out loud watching the TV show or reading the book but nevertheless I found them entertaining.

The book was fun to read if you want something light-hearted that you don’t have to think about. I think it would make a good holiday read to dip in and out of whilst sunbathing.

As a side note, my friend was looking for a pen name a while ago and we were running through names together. Little did she know that I was referring to the books in my to read pile for inspiration. The name my friend chose was Kira Harte after I suggested Hart from seeing this book.

Round the Christmas Fire: Festive Stories by Vintage Classics

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I was given this book as a Christmas present last year and decided to read it in the run up to Christmas. The sleeve notes say that it is a tradition on Christmas Eve to read ghost stories.

It was a nice collection of stories by a variety of authors, some of which I had read before. There were ghost stories, diary entries, stories of Christmas carolling and feasts and each one made me want to read on.

At least at this time of the year you don’t have to get up early for work the next day, as I ended up reading well into the small hours. Sadly now the book is finished and the alarm clock is turned back on.

It also means tonight when I go to bed I get to be excited by which book I choose from my unsafely high stacked ‘to read’ piles. It doesn’t seem to matter how many books I have to read, I still seem to be unable to stop buying more.

I’m starting to dream of opening a book shop. Although sadly I think as a business plan it would be more fun in theory than practice given the competition of cheap book stores.

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