Harry Dean update

I finished the 11 mini biographies of Harry Dean last month.  After spending another week producing evidence sheets I finally got round to combining the two sets of documents into a single .pdf  only to realise after a load of faffing and frustration that it wouldn’t upload to the online publisher because making the evidence sheets landscape and rotating them to fit the format, meant that they appeared to be a different size to the biographies. They weren’t, just looked like it .

Cutting a long story short, I finally sorted out a suitable upload, twiddled about to get a decent cover image, and am now waiting for the postman to deliver my book.  There will, undoubtedly be another post this week, claiming bragging rights. 😉


Ten days peace and quiet

….but it can’t last forever 😉

So what’s been going on here in the past ten days?

Well, a book has been crossed off the book challenge list, and I’ve committed to the one which ‘will improve a specific area of your life’.  There’re just short of 400 pages of literary rules – fascinating book, which will be really useful, but I just can’t imagine sitting down and reading it from cover to cover. So, the plan is to read a couple of sections a month, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have got through it.  January’s portion of the ‘New Hart’s Rules’ will be [at least] The Parts of a Book and Preparing Copy.

Whilst on the theme of reading and writing, I’ve finished the article for the local history group magazine [which involved heavy editing, as my word count was wayyyyyyyyyy to big!] and am just about ready to start committing Harry Dean to paper [well, computer, actually, but you get my drift.]

I’ve got through a couple of pairs of fingerless gloves for the 17 point challenge, and last night finished a pair of vanilla socks which fit into the ‘Something from Stash’ category. I’m thinking that there will be more socks next to use a different heel, for the ‘A pattern involving a technique that is new to you’ category.vanilla-socks

Asclepias and the Ripper

10 days into January and all challenges are at least started.

Asclepias hat and gloves completed this evening will count for a point in the FGF17 points challenge, as well as ticking one of the projects for the project challenge.

Shadow of the Ripper is a book published today, so it’s a box ticked on the reading challenge and one towards my Netgalley 55 books.

It’s too dark to take a decent picture tonight, so there’ll be a picture added for Asclepias tomorrow. image

1 genealogy post made using the prompt list,  and in the background a decent bit of progress towards one of the other genealogy projects I’m working on.

Good job I don’t have a day job!

So far, so good….

No more 2017 challenges!

This is definitely the last 2017 challenge I’m signing up for.

26 books from different categories, suggested by Hannah Braime, and taken up in the Chocolate Teapot group where I’ve signed up.  Updates should appear on the interminable list page 😉

The 26-book 2017 reading challenge from Hannah Braime

A book you read in school
A book from your childhood
A book published over 100 years ago
A book published in the last year
A non-fiction book
A book written by a male author
A book written by a female author
A book by someone who isn’t a writer (think Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson)
A book that became/is becoming a film
A book published in the 20th Century
A book set in your hometown/region
A book with someone’s name in the title
A book with a number in the title
A book with a character with your first name
A book someone else recommended to you
A book with over 500 pages
A book you can finish in a day
A previously banned book
A book with a one-word title
A book translated from another language
A book that will improve a specific area of your life
A memoir or journal
A book written by someone younger than you
A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year
An award-winning book
A self-published book

5 years in a row

Goodreads reading statistics for the past 5 years:


You have read 61 of 55 books. 111%
7 books ahead of schedule


2015 Reading Challenge
Congrats! You read 58 books of your goal of 55!


2014 Reading Challenge
Congrats! You read 69 books of your goal of 52!


2013 Reading Challenge
Congrats! You read 64 books of your goal of 60!


2012 Reading Challenge




Sometimes I lie

Not a confession – the title of a new book by Alice Feeney.

This book is a real page turner, but not for the same reasons I usually find a book engrossing.
Put simply it’s the story surrounding a car accident which leaves Amber in hospital in a coma.
It is written from the perspective of the victim of the accident, and is loosely divided into three sections – Now, around New Year 2017; Then, a week or so before, leading up to Christmas 2016 and Before, the growing up years of the early 1990s.
Add an ex who wants to control and possess and it has all the elements of a gripping story.
Punctuating the story are sets of three things – Three things Amber likes, or dislikes about someone, three things she notices about someone, and perhaps most intriguing, three things about Amber:
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
One of the best things about the book for me was that it didn’t end with all of the ends tied off tidily and to everyone’s satisfaction.
I questioned things throughout, and at the end of the last page, I’m still questioning things……
Thanks are due to the publishers, Harlequin UK Ltd, for providing a pre-release copy for review via Netgalley.


Blackwater – James Henry

Set in the early 1980s in Colchester, this novel sounded promising, with many ingredients I would associate with a good detective story. After a promising start – New Year’s Eve and a couple of young me trying to deliver a huge drug shipment but getting lost in the fog, whilst almost simultaneously a decapitated body is found on the route to their delivery spot.
Sadly, after that, for me at least, it seemed to go downhill. Nick Lowry – hero of the piece – approached the New Year determined to give up smoking and the police boxing team. Jacqui, his wife seems more interested in having fun with various work colleagues than working out why her marriage is encountering difficulties. The plot is basically a good one, but there is so much superfluous detail, that it’s difficult to work out what is important and what isn’t. The story would have been enhanced for me if some of the inconsequential detail was lost, and the book left 50 or so pages shorter. Some of the characters were developed well, particularly the police, and I suspect this is so they can appear in following books without further introduction.
A light read, longer than it should be, in my opinion, but not the exciting story it first promised to be. Thanks are due to the publishers, Quercus Books for providing a prerelease copy for review, via Netgalley.

9:45 to Bletchley

Madelyn Morgan. The 9:45 to Bletchley

Ena works on secret wartime work in a local factory close to Coventry. She doesn’t know exactly what she is making, though she is the only one in the engineering factory that can complete the intricate work on X boxes required from the top secret place. At the beginning of the book, she doesn’t even know that the secret place is Bletchley Park. Then comes the day when Ena has to deliver the work in person, and we see the beginning of events that put Ena, and many others into real danger.
This is an easy read, initially feeling like it wasn’t going to develop beyond a ‘Britain at war’ story, but soon becoming intriguing and tense. Who is the spy? Is Ena going to be caught out in her sleuthing? Is she going to find love? Can she keep the secrets that weigh her down?
I didn’t realise until I finished the book that it is number four in a series – it is really a good stand-alone book, but it is clear from the ending that another book could be made following on from the end of this story. I guess that the other books concentrate on the war-time exploits of other members of Ena’s family.
Thanks are due to the author for making an advance copy available for review, through Netgalley. I haven’t read Ms Morgan’s books before, but will go back to the beginning of this series and start from scratch.

Baby Doll

Baby Doll – Hollie Overton

This book starts off where many thrillers leave off. The opening chapter describes hot captive Lily and her young daughter Sky escape from the cabin where Lily has been held since her high school days. Almost from the beginning we know who is the perpetrator of the crime, but the tale is no less interesting for that. Bit by bit we learn more about how Lily coped during the eight years she was held after being abducted, begin to get some semblance of an idea of the devastating effects on her family and see her struggle to return to any kind of normal life.
As the family approach the trial of the man who abducted her it becomes clear that he hasn’t finished with Lily and her family yet – and the tensions persist almost to the end of the book. To say too much would spoil the story for other readers, but it is an easy read, perceptive and engaging without being predictable. Thanks to the publishers, Random House UK, Cornerstone, for making a pre-release copy available for review, via Netgalley. A good read – the first I have read from Hollie Overton, but I will look out for more.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest, J Ryan Stradal


Lars is passionate about food; as a youngster he was something of a loner, and didn’t enjoy a great social life with his peers. As the book opens we are told that Lars only ever loved two women – his wife, Cynthia and baby daughter Eva. When Cynthia discovers that she is pregnant, Lars is delighted and falls deeply for his daughter the first time he sets eyes on her. Cynthia, it appears less of a natural in the parenthood department. She finds spending time with the baby difficult, and can’t wait to get back to work. Whilst Lars plans delightful food for his offspring, Cynthia is desperate to build a career for herself, and very quickly decides to follow her dream whilst away on a training course. She writes to Lars explaining that she isn’t cut out to be a mother, that she feels Eva would be better off with no mother than a bad one, and that she will be going to Australia or New Zealand to pursue her career.
So starts the story of Eva Thorvald. I have to admit as I read the first chapter, I didn’t think it would be a very engaging book – how wrong could be? Each chapter of this cracking little book explores a different stage of Eva’s life. We get to know the people who influence her, those who love her, and some who meet her incidentally along the way.
This is an easy reading book; engaging and in places quite comical. There are lots of references to food – varieties of chilli and tomatoes, being able to show the provenance of your ingredients and occasional recipes thrown in. Definitely a book for food lovers, but equally a good story for those of us less knowledgeable about what constitutes our daily diet.
Each chapter is named for an ingredient, culminating in ‘The Dinner’. Each represents a formative event in Eva’s life, and the part played by food as she develops into a young lady who loves food as much as her father did.
Thanks are due to the publishers, Riverrun (Quercus) for providing a pre-publication copy for review via RealReaders.