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Review of American Gods

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Type of book: Paperback, with the tv cover
Note: THIS EDITION IS AN EXPANDED EDITION FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2005. THE TV COVER EDITION PUBLISHED IN 2017

This book grabbed me and drew me in instantly. 

When I read the first chapter of this book I couldn’t stop reading, I hadn’t meant to read the chapter only the first page to see what it was like. I had to buy it and finish it despite all the books on my TBR.

It was the little shocking scenes at the start that grabbed my attention. And the mystery of it all: the fact that you never really know what’s going on, made me want to continue reading to figure out what it was all about.  

It starts with Shadow leaving prison and then meeting a strange person called Wednesday, it’s the start of a journey where you wonder what’s going on and what’s going to happen. 
The things that are happening in this novel are not of our mundane world and I loved that, Shadow meets various gods/characters who each stand out. 

The writing is both to the point and atmospheric and exquisite. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing style, it’s very hard to explain how good a writer’s style is unless you’ve read the book yourself. Also everyone is different and each has a different preference, some prefer fast paced action books. I prefer books like this where the words are as poignant as an intoxicating perfume and the narrative just draws you onward.

It’s not often you read a book and stop for a moment to appreciate the information on the page. There are many good quotes in this novel (quotes here) and interesting facts that may or may not be true:

“5,000 years ago the lobes of the brain fused and before that people thought when the right lobe of the brain said anything it was the voice of some god telling them what to do. It’s just brains.”


American Gods is a unique, original, not possible to be replicated book. Neil Gaiman is one of those genius writers who you cannot emulate and who has a wonderful world view or imagination, a world you are drawn into.

It’s is one of those books that I want to reread just to understand the layers, the themes and the foreshadowing. I am going to reread it one day.

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Review of: Poldark’s Cornwall by Winston Graham

Poldark’s Cornwall is a memoir of Winston Graham’s love and life of Cornwall. He lived in Perranporth for a time and was inspired to write his Poldark series, which I love. The book is full of historical information and anecdotes of his life as well as information for the Poldark fan (of course) about places that inspired the locations in his books and the characters.

Reading this book you don’t just gain the urgent need to discover Cornwall for yourself but you also gain an insight into the mind of this amazing writer. His humour comes across in his opinions: “Superb beaches if you could only ignore the town.” I love his honesty, that he holds nothing back in his opinions of places. He says of Tintagel that: “It’s no worse or more vulgar than Jerusalem; but to attain any sense of linkage with its mythical or semi-mythical past you have to go out of season and preferably at night when the moon is up and the wounds of cheap building are part healed by shadows.”

Although writing a factual book his writing is still as beautiful and scenic as Cornwall itself: “… which in sunshine has an emerald sea and dazzling sands, and much further east Lamorna Cove at the foots of its bracken-and fern-grown valley, the walnut brown cliffs giving depth and quality and iridescence to the sea they guard.”

This book is a great memoir of Cornwall, it’s obvious how much Winston Graham loved the place, he says that the “scenery of Cornwall that had got into my blood”. You can see for yourself how beautiful the ‘scenery of Cornwall’ is, throughout the book are stunning photographs worthy of setting on canvas and framing.

I picked this one because it’s of Boscastle where I stayed.

I dare you to read this book and not want to visit Cornwall, I booked a holiday myself and long story short I am now in love with that glorious place.
This is a must-read for any Poldark fan: it’s not a serious history of Cornwall but I’d say more of a memoir with interesting facts and anecdotes. An absorbing read: the work of a great writer!

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New Page

Today I was brave enough to set up a new page on here about my writing. I’ve thought about it, always kept it sort of a secret, or don’t talk about it. But I’ve learnt so much about writing I’d like to share and if I write about it on here and tell people about what I’m doing I’ll be more likely to get things done, by being accountable to those who are interested.
Still not sure if I should keep my writing and book reviews separate but for now I’ve taken the plunge

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Not A Drop To Drink

 

Review of Not A Drop To Drink by Patsy Collins


Short story anthologies are the best thing to read on your lunch break or when you’re commuting, they’re a great way to enjoy reading if you’re short on time. I recommend reading more short stories if you intend to write them.     
There’s something for everyone in this anthology by Patsy Collins, chilling tales, drama and love. They stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. My favourite was ‘Don’t touch the water’ because it’s a eerie story and I loved it. The characters in each story stand out and you are instantly engaged with them. 
 
After finally finishing this ebook-I’ve had it for a while- I’ve started reading ‘Up The Garden Path’ by Patsy Collins, I’m seven stories in and I’m hooked. Such good quality stories: characters, ideas and style. I’m really enjoying them and I recommend them. And if you aspire to write short stories this is a must read an example of how it should be done. Download now. If you don’t have a Kindle get the free app.
🌟
 
If you want more great short stories I also recommend Helen Laycock, she writes fantasy stories and children’s stories. They are amazing. Download here. I’ve read this story and my review on Amazon is on the top of the list😊
 
 
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Post-holiday blues

Can’t believe it’s been over a week since I came home from my holiday in Cornwall. Something about having an amazing holiday makes you reevaluate everything when you get home and back to reality. And inevitably makes you feel down. Makes you remember all the negative things you can’t change but want to. I keep meaning to finish my book ‘Poldark’s Cornwall’ by Winston Graham and review it on here but I keep putting it off as I miss my holiday.

I am fortunate really as some can’t afford a holiday, although I know there are some who have more than one a year (rich! or not restricting job) I am fortunate to be able to go even if it is only once a year. I remember one year we didn’t go away and then we went away in the September the following year. I hated it, being used to always having at least one holiday a year since I was a child-my parents using all their spare money to afford holidays- it’s hard going when you don’t have one.
So that year I hunted for some books to make me feel like I was on holiday. And for all those who can’t afford a holiday books are the perfect escape.

 
I read this book that year and loved it. It’s a memoir of a man who left the UK to start a new life in Andalucia, I still haven’t read the other books in the series and I must because I enjoyed this one. I remember that I felt like I was there reading this book and loved the characters.

Here’s some other books that might make you feel better or whisk you away:
Fantasy:

I read The Mists of Avalon years ago and loved the world and the re imagining of the King Arthur story, it’s a lovely story a perfect fantasy. Assasin’s Apprentice I haven’t got around to reading yet but I loved another book I read by Robin Hobb, the fantasy world is great with believable and loveable characters. Of course there are so many others to read: The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are great books to whisk you away.

Read a book set somewhere else:

Sorry I love this series and the books. There are many books set in Cornwall, Daphne De Maurier, you may know?, wrote gothic novels set in Cornwall. I loved Rebecca of course but Jamaica Inn was a good read, you have to ignorethat it’s not historical fact about the wreckers though (Winston Graham mentions this in his Poldarks’ Cornwall book). I also loved reading Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (my review is here: https://jensbookworm.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=little+beach+street+bakery) which was about a woman who moves to an island in Cornwall, one of those books about people who up sticks and leave it all behind. There’s probably a lot of other books set in different places but I’ve got Cornwall on the brain, sorry.

 And there’s A Room with a View, I don’t know whether this is classed as a love story but it’s lovely. You got the scenes in Italy and the compelling characters and ideas, full of metaphor really. I can’t help but love it despite studying it at school(you tear the book apart it’s dreadful!).

So there you go. There’s definitely more that’s all I could think of on this spur of the moment post. I will get my review finished asap of this book:

I just need to stop brooding and get on with it. (Brooding, hmmm, hope that’s the right word there, post-holiday blues). Maybe I might read a book to get over the blues? There is actually a book out there that prescribes books to various ailments, I haven’t bought it yet, (I sent an email to have a personal remedy but they never got back to me so I didn’t bother 😟 ) but I like the idea. Books can uplift you, make you think, make you feel and make you happy.
And they are the perfect escape from the humdrum of our lives and the problems of society.
Happy Reading!

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Currently reading or a bookworm’s dilemma

I’m currently reading this book, ‘Agnes Grey’ by Anne Bronte. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while.
I love classic books and have many sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. My favourite classic book is Jane Eyre and I love to reread Jane Austen’s works. 
I’ve read some that haven’t lived up to the hype -Great Gatsby being one. And sometimes some that are like Agnes Grey.

Some thoughts about Agnes Grey
Unlike the classics I’ve enjoyed this story does not seem to have any obvious plot, I’m reading on with no motivation, there’s no conflict to resolve. The story reads like a report and often scenes are not involving me but just reporting to me what’s going on. Characters come and go and some of the scenes are anecdotal. I mean they just occur with no warning and the characters involved have not even been mentioned before. So far Agnes has been with two families and I still have no clue what the point of this book is. The ‘heroine’ or narrative voice isn’t somebody I am relating to or feeling sympathy for. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t bothered to read it and I have her other book to read too.

So that brings me to the DILEMMA

Every now and again I read that one book that at some point in the novel I start to think- is this worth continuing with? So many other books to read and I would’ve finished it ages ago if I’d been enjoying it. I wonder will I regret not finishing it and if I continue will it get better. 
Another example of this is The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, I gave up with this book as I could not get into it and I read probably over half the book (very strange as I love her vampire chronicles series). I wish I’d preserved with that book now but at the time, like Agnes Grey now, I really wanted to put it aside and read something else. 
I’ve written about this dilemma before on book forums, probably a lot more eloquently than this post,  but I’m never prepared for it when it happens again. 
It’s so frustrating when you get that book that is annoying you so much yet you don’t want to not finish a book. 
Some people will not give up on a book, others feel that if they’re not enjoying it they won’t bother with it. 
If I’ve just started a book I will give up but when I’ve got some way through- it just ends up being a dilemma. 
So, I’m off to carry on with Agnes Grey, I might start getting frustrated and I might give up. I am going to try. Wish me luck 
Happy Reading😄
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Holiday Book Haul!

Yesterday I got back from a lovely weeks holiday in Cornwall, I stayed in Boscastle.  It’s been thirteen years (or so) since I visited last and wow I waited too long! I always say I’m not allowed to buy anymore books, I have so many but… I’m allowed to on holiday 😀
No idea where I’m going to put them though.
I bought:
  • The World of Poldark- I love Poldark books and series. Currently reading ‘Poldark’s Cornwall’ which I am so close to finishing and will be reviewing here very soon. (Probably one of the reasons I visited Cornwall too!)
  • I found a second hand book shop in Boscastle! Trust me! So excited. Picked up a copy of Thomas Hardy’s ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’ which conveniently enough was mentioned in Boscastle guides because Hardy met his wife there and the book is based on her. I’m a Hardy fan so this was a good find. 
  • Same second hand book shop: ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel. I’ve heard about this and I’m sure someone recommended it too?


The British Heart Foundation always have great old Classics, sssh don’t tell anyone we don’t want everyone to know and I found three  books in the one in Truro (Poldark exhibition in the museum by the way. More info below), I got ‘Jo’s Boys’ and ‘Little Men’ lovely editions and I’ve been meaning to read them for a while. BUT. When I got back to the cottage (lovely cottage) I noticed that they are abridged editions! 😱 That is not good, so I’ll keep them because they look pretty but I’ll be finding the unabridged (proper!) editions, maybe a Kindle freebie (I might already have them who knows, so many books you see). And lastly I found a copy of ‘Howard’s End’ by E.M. Forster in the same charity shop, I’ve been meaning to read this for a while and I love ‘A Room With a View’. 

No idea, where I’m going to put all these books though. I really MUST NOT buy anymore 

 Before this holiday haul I bought a copy of ‘America Gods’ by Neil Gaiman, I couldn’t help it, I read a few pages then a whole chapter and it was only £3! I was hooked and it was cheap.

The last book I bought was about the flood at Boscastle in 2014.  I visited the witchcraft museum there the same year. I had to buy this book, there was a copy in my hotel and it was a heart wrenching read and I didn’t have time to finish it. Nobody died during the flood thankfully but there was a massive clean up and rebuild of people homes and businesses. I felt sad about it then even though I’d only been there for a short time. It’s been a while though and:

Boscastle is a gorgeous place and the people are lovely ! 

Moving on…..

Stationary Haul

I’m not just a bookworm but a writer and I love stationary. I could not resist this quill set, I’ve seen them before in Pembroke Castle (good place to visit by the way) and didn’t buy one then so I did now. From Tintagel, which also has a castle but there’s not much left of it. 
In the same picture below you will see a pen saying ‘Doc Martin’ on it ↡

it’s like a syringe, clever since the Doc has a phobia of blood, I visited ‘Port Issac’ where it’s filmed and had to get a souvenir, I’ve been watching the show since it started.
We were lucky enough to be visiting as they were filming! 



And I was so lucky to get my picture taken with Martin Clunes! Long story there and too many tangents.
I promise that this is the last tangent for now. Sorry about that I had a great holiday and can’t resist sharing. So lastly if you’re a Poldark fan this is for you:

Poldark Exhibition

 Winston Graham’s Notes
 Poldark Family tree
Manuscript of ‘Bella Poldark’


The next post will be my review of ‘Poldark’s Cornwall’ by Winston Graham. Sorry for the tangents,  I’m  missing Poldark so bye for now and happy reading!