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  1. I was never read to as a child as far as I can recall, (at home) - I was more encouraged to just read things for myself which I did. However, at primary school we had lessons where we were read to and I loved them. Now I love listening to audiobooks but to be fair would sooner sit down and read a book for myself.
  2. Just started reading Sweet Pea by C J Skuse it was a kindle book I picked up in one of the many offers they bombard you with. What sold me was the blurb... 'The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead… I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once. Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret. Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list. A kill list. From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge. Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…' I mean what is not to like about that?!
  3. I think one which had a profound effect on me was Until the Final Hour by Traudl Junge. She was Hitlers secretary and as the title of the book suggests she was with him in the bunker until the time he killed himself. Everyone has this concept of Adolf Hitler, the deranged madman who was completely evil. Yet this books shows that someone saw him differently. It is interesting to read how she saw Hitler and how she genuinely liked him and how she talks about him as an ordinary human being. You also read how that fact doesn't sit well with her and how she feels a profound sense of guilt for 'liking' one of history's greatest monsters especially as after the war and the extent of the atrocities came to light.
  4. Has anyone seen the latest season of Lucifer now that it is on Netflix? I binge watched it the other week and I really enjoyed it, it is significantly darker than previous series' and not so much silly humour, not going to say how it ends for those who haven't seen it and want to, but I enjoyed it.
  5. Apple

    Have a Rant!

    Ok so I am going to say something else... I totally agree with you! I admit I also voted to leave. I voted to leave the EU and my husband and son voted remain, however, I didn't make that decision lightly but I researched and after much thought and carefully considering all the options, I felt with the information I had found - at that time, that Britain would be better off leaving the EU. BUT now I have totally changed my mind, I fully admit that I was wrong, don't get me wrong I am still Euro Skeptic and believe there is much room for reform and improvement in Europe but hold up my hands and admit I was wrong, and here is why, because the 'facts' which I so carefully researched to make an informed decision back in 2016, were, I now believe, fundamentally flawed and were misleading and basically wrong, and I'm not talking about the blatant more money for the NHS lie. So, I believe that I made a flawed decision based on inaccurate information and then it all came out in 2017 that some of the biggest mouthpieces of the leave campaign - Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees Mogg have off shore tax haven accounts and it all suddenly and dramatically became very clear at that point as why they were so keen to leave the EU when the EU was planning on implementing new legislation to help prevent tax avoidance. I would also like to say that I credited the British government with having more integrity and basic competence which was a huge mistake, you see I assumed that when the vote was in they would all pull together and use the two years of negotiation wisely and secure the best possible outcome for the country, but their actions have proven throughout the entire negotiation period and up to this point, they have done precisely nothing other than fight among themselves and back-stab each other in a pathetic game of one-up-man-ship. The government reacted to the 'stop Brexit' petition by saying that they couldn't/wouldn't cancel Brexit because it would destroy the trust of the people, I think everything that has happened to this point in time has already done that.
  6. Apple

    Have a Rant!

    I could rant for hours on this subject but I will limit my response to what chuntzy has said and in my opinion the far right have only brought this on themselves, not going to say any more on that or I will head off into a whole new rant! So I'll let this guy say it... (when satire is the uncomfortable truth) WARNING: There is some rather strong language in both these clips. or this one which is my personal favourite... Yeah, so basically what he said!
  7. That was actually my first thoughts, when I first heard about the book years ago, but over the years I had heard bits and pieces about it and it was all positive stuff and how refreshingly honest it was, I had read snippets here and there about it and heard about his early life story so as time went on I was not quite so prejudiced, (to be fair that is how Jeremy Spencer came across in his autobiography which is why I wasn't overly struck on it). Yes, I admit there are moments of spoilt rockstar and privileged life of excess but I think by the point this diary is written that the hedonistic aspects of the rock star lifestyle of too much too young and emulating what all their 'heroes' in the business were doing at that point in time had long since vanished and Nikki was just lost. The spoilt rock star vibe tends to come across more vividly from the contributions from Tommy Lee, don't get me wrong they are there in the accounts by Nikki but there is also the strong undercurrent of sadness and desperation in Nikki's words and yes he does do some terrible things, not to mention downright stupid things and he objectifies women and uses them, but on the flip side you also see just how lonely and desperate he really was, drugs were his escape but inevitably ended up making things worse, yes he used women and he knew his long term relationships were toxic because they revolved around drugs but what also comes through loud and clear is that he didn't trust himself to get close to anyone either, and that I think is from the way his mother treated him, always abandoning him. She makes contributions to the book and throughout there is no remorse or apology for what she did, just excuses and she just denies doing anything wrong or blames everyone else for her failings and it is clear she had plenty of issues of her own. The main book ends with him forgiving her, however that is at odds with the new extra introduction at the beginning of the book which covers the past ten years since the Heroin Diaries was first published where here he explains that his mother has now died and how he tried to mend bridges but how she managed to mess that up with her actions and how they never did reconcile, because she wouldn't own up or admit that she ever did anything wrong. He credits writing the Heroin Diaries with saving him, not writing them at the time, but going back to them and then doing something with them and getting them published, he said reading some of the entries where sometimes he was lucid, sometimes spaced out and sometimes just insane was a shock and it reminded him of his life was back then and he said something quite profound he said 'my life was so abject back then that it was almost a relief when I died' where he is referring to overdose where he was dead for a short while and I think that sums up the book you can see he is searching for something, and at the same time he is on the treadmill of the music industry and you can see the lack of morals and basic care by the people in the industry and the band's management and how they were only interested in the band making them money and how that also played a major part in his drugs problem. He also said it was best incentive to never go back there and get back into drugs again.
  8. I don't normally read celebrity autobiographies (although this cannot be classified as one of those) but I have previously made exceptions namely Ozzy's autobiography which I found endearing with its honesty and his obvious regret at some of the things he had done, not to mention also very funny and moving in places as well as completely shocking. After that I also read Death Punch'd - Surviving Five Finger Death Punch's Metal Mayhem by it's drummer Jeremy Spencer, because I am a massive fan of 5FDP's music and was genuinely interested but sadly I did not enjoy it, as Jeremy just came across as an arrogant selfish twat. Anyway, because I bought that book off of Amazon, The Heroin Diaries kept popping up as a recommended read. I consistently ignored it, but then my husband downloaded The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack which was a concept album by Nikki's new band Sixx:AM and it was apparently meant to accompany the book, something which had never been done before and it blew me away with its honest lyrics especially the song 'Life is Beautiful' and after listening to it, I decided that I would get the book to read at some point and I have been meaning to get it for a while. Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I finally did it, I took the plunge and bought a copy, the copy I have is not the original version of the book, but the 10th Anniversary edition which was released in 2017 and has a new bits added which tells of the enormous impact the book had since it was first released. Apparently Nikki gets people coming up to him regularly telling him that reading his book inspired them to get clean and his book is routinely given to recovering addicts by rehab facilities in the States. The book is nothing like anything I have ever read before, shocking doesn't even begin to cover it. The fact that it is actually a diary which Nikki kept and wrote in whilst he was going through what he went through is astounding in itself but when you read some of the extracts it is really heartbreaking. There are contributions from various other people who were around at the time and you get the distinct impression that some of them were willfully ignorant because the band was making them so much money. When you read it you can see immediately how he ended up as he did, he had a wretched childhood with little stability and it had an massive effect on his mental well being, couple that with the decadence and excess of the 1980's music scene and you have a recipe for disaster. It really was hard to read at times, as because it was written at that time and not later with rose tinted memories it is more than raw and it is jaw droppingly horrific, it is just one year of his addiction and you almost feel his despair as he spirals out of control, how he is surrounded by people who enable his addiction, how he gets into a vicious cycle of heroin to relax and feel good and take away all his problems which then makes him unable to function so he then takes massive quantities of cocaine to pick himself up which results in him getting so high he is hallucinating so he then takes more heroin to bring himself back down and the cycle continues. You read how he spent his night times crouched naked in his closet surrounded by drugs paraphernalia clutching a gun because he is convinced that people are breaking into his home, but it is all a hallucination. You read how he managed to stop taking the heroin so he could function on tour, going through withdrawal (but he didn't stop the cocaine) and while he was on tour he crunched up massive amounts of sleeping tablets and mixed them with the cocaine - a substance he called zombie dust to try and stop the massive high's and paranoia . You read how he overdosed and the moments leading up to that and waking up afterwards in hospital. You read how at one point he literally didn't have any veins left so he was reduced to injecting heroin into his penis, and how one time his needle broke and he was so panic stricken he kept jabbing the broken needle into himself to try and get something. You are left thinking how is he alive after all that? But it is also a story ultimately of redemption, he makes no excuses and he knows he will always be an addict. I can't say I enjoyed this book in one sense as it really isn't a book that you 'enjoy' but it was compelling reading and I am glad I read it.
  9. Just one small thing, I read a Kindle book recently and I went to the reviews (as I do after I've read it) and there was a person who was reviewing who said they had also bought the audible version to listen to as they read along with the kindle and that it appeared that chunks had been missed out of the story as there was more dialogue in the audible version than what was written in front of them, nothing which affected the story but they questioned if it was a different version but surely that would be Kindle selling abridged books as unabridged?
  10. It depends on the book, if its a cracking read which holds your attention it doesn't matter how long it is, whereas if its a pile of poo the shortest book can be a hard slog to get through. Personally speaking I like short books and I like long books some of my fav's have been the size of a breeze block and some which took me forever to get through because they were so bad were relatively short. I think this thread ties in nicely with the thread I started asking if books were getting shorter as I have noticed in recent times it doesn't take me as long to read a book as it used to, and sometimes I feel I have been a bit short changed when I read a book which seems to end before its even begun.
  11. A little late to the party on this one, (to put it mildly!) I remember this series and watched it when it first aired (I can't believe its over 10 years ago though!) When we got Netflix I was overjoyed to find it on there but then they took it off. Out of the blue (very randomly) my husband bought me the entire box set of DVDs of this series recently, so now I am reacquainting myself with this series and loving it all over again. Yes it takes some terrible liberties with historical fact and some of the details are quite outstandingly wrong, yet I can't help myself, this is my current 'guilty pleasure' and I'm enjoying every moment of it.
  12. February has now begun and I’ve just started reading The Diary by Vikki Patis, it's a book which has been on my kindle for a while and I've kept skipping over and reading something else, billed as a psychological thriller (I seem to be reading quite a lot of those recently) and the blurb tells me a girl travels back to her home town for the first time in years - since her sister died in fact and when she arrives, she finds a diary that her sister wrote and things start to happen, not saying any more than that but so far its holding my attention so we shall see how it progresses. With that in mind here is a quick round up of what I read in January, not exactly currently reading I know but I thought I'd like to share my recent reads with you all, not a bad haul to be fair, more than I anticipated reading, and with varying degrees of quality. 2019 started with The Liars Wife by Samantha Hayes, a disturbing psychological thriller which I enjoyed very much, it was a little incredulous at times but it was one of those books where you could visualise what was going on and feel as though you were there so not a bad start to the year, next up things went downhill dramatically with Damien by J Kenner, this was the latest offering as part of her long running Stark series about Damien and Nikki Stark which was originally a much better series of novels and novellas than its peers (Fifty Shades of Grey and The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day) however, it went downhill and became just as predictable and cringeworthy as anything found in those diabolical stories, but I was intrigued, as this one was written from Damien's perspective rather than from his wife Nikki's. I had enjoyed this series originally I decided to have a little look and the result – shouldn’t have bothered simple as that! Then came a trilogy 'The Mitchells and O Hara Trilogy' by Kimberley Chambers which was made up of the books The Feud, The Traitor and The Victim these were a story about family feuds, London’s underworld and organised crime, now things started well The Feud was the first book of 2019 to inspire me to pull an all-nighter it was edgy and captivating, but the quality of the story diminished in book 2 and book 3 was barely readable it was so far-fetched, so to say I was disappointed would be an understatement, started well but very disappointed by the end. After that I was anxious to find a book which I would actually not be disappointed with I turned to Time’s Convert next by Deborah Harkness, as I felt it was time for a bit of supernatural, perversely I wasn’t really expecting anything from this book as I had convinced myself that it would in no way live up to the outstanding 'All Souls Trilogy', and I had talked myself into being disappointed before I had even started, but on the other hand I knew the author was talented and even if the plot wasn’t great I knew she wouldn’t disappoint with the historical details she filled her books with, so even if I was disappointed with the story I wouldn’t be – does that make sense? It was a very different story to the trilogy but it was magnificent and I was sad when I had finished it which is always the mark of a good book. Next up was In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards, another whodunit psychological thriller, again I was expecting nothing from this as I hadn’t really thought much of 'The Retreat' which I had previously read, but it was there (and it was a Prime Reading freebie) so I thought what the hell and it was actually really very good, it was a little incredulous at times but overall it was a solidly good story with many layers and it all came together well. The Supernatural called to me again after that one and somewhat fortuitously I had just received a book I had pre-ordered at the end of last year - Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones and so I decided to get stuck in this was the final book in the fantasy supernatural series I had read and totally adored last year, and this final installment did not disappoint, it did everything it set out to do and ended the series nicely. Doll House by John Hunt was up next and that was a very dark disturbing psychological thriller, and well written as despite the fact I figured out who the torturer/rapist/killer was about half way through it still kept me riveted to the end. A bit of fluff was in order next after the heavy subject matter of 'Doll House' and Dan & Nat Got Married by Jon Rance fitted the bill it was a romantic comedy and a freebie from Prime Reading, not something I would spend money on but for a freebie it wasn’t too bad, basically the story of two people who meet on two separate stag/hen weekends in Las Vegas and whilst totally slaughtered they get married to each other - as you do! They return to the UK and decide instead of getting a divorce and forgetting it ever happened. to try and make a go of things and see if they can have a relationship and be happy together, as they are both pretty much losers in the relationship department, it's a ‘nice’ story, nothing special a bit predictable and twee but I enjoyed it and it served a purpose, plus it was free so what was not to like. Last book of the month was Love You Gone by Rona Halsall a psychological thriller and all I can say about this is thank god it was short, it only took me 5 hours in total to read and those are 5 hours I am never going to get back, the sad thing about this story was it had real potential, the idea behind the story was superb it raised a number of valid serious points about how relationships are viewed and it could have been absolutely outstanding yet the author managed to completely blow it and produced a book which was flat, superficial and crap. So there we go, January in a nutshell, now on to February, so watch this space!
  13. I got Dark Genesis by A D Koboah as an ebook, I say 'got' rather than bought because it was actually FREE it's the first in a trilogy and you obviously have to buy the rest. It sounds intriguing and covers the emotive subject of slavery but there is also a supernatural twist. From how it reads it sounds like vampires are involved but I could be wrong. This is either going to be very good or very bad!
  14. Doll House by John Hunt This story begins with a young girl - Olivia being abducted off the street and held captive in pink room in a house along with other girls and being repeatedly tortured and raped for a period of five years, this is the 'doll house' of the title. She manages to escape and helps the two other girls escape by killing one of the men. The story then follows how Olivia adjusts to normal life and how the whole ordeal has affected not only her but also her father. Olivia lives in fear that the the second captor and the (warped) brains behind the entire thing, known as the ‘Jackal’ due to the Jackal mask he wore to obscure his identity will come back, and she is right to fear that as, as well as following Olivia’s progress in the outside world we also follow his and his obsession to get the girls back – in particular Olivia who he is in love with in his own warped and twisted way. This was a cracking story, no doubt about it, the writing was superb, it was dark, very dark and you could almost visualise the different scenes as they played out, some of which were quite gruesome. The lead character – Olivia is extremely strong and likeable and you find yourself rooting for her throughout. Also the Jackal character was brilliantly written, he was the archetype serial killer – ‘cool, calm, detached yet totally bonkers’, his complete obsession with Olivia and how he rationalised it in his mind left you cold and the way he was written, so calculating and careful was very unnerving. Some of the secondary characters were a little clichéd especially the other captor known as ‘the Gorilla’ due to the gorilla mask he wore and the uncle, he was particularly dislikeable and quite over the top. The pace of the story was break neck, especially at the beginning although it slowed a little in the middle of the book which I felt gave it something more before it picked up significantly once more towards the end, if I am honest I think I would have preferred the slightly slower pace throughout. All the clues are there and you are told so much by the Jackal himself and by everyone else that if you pick up on it it’s like a neon sign which points out who the Jackal is, and I will say that I had figured out who it was about half way through, but having said that the writing was so good that despite the clues pointing to the obvious I kept doubting my own gut theory. So when the end came and I was proven right I wasn’t disappointed like I normally am when I have figured it out first, the ending is particularly shocking and then comes to an abrupt halt, and you are almost left thinking ok… so what happens now?! I am certain that was deliberate on the part of the author almost leaving you with a sense of anti climax, which is how Olivia would be feeling that, at last the man who kept her prisoner for five years and continued to keep her prisoner in her own mind after she escaped was finally gone. An oddly compelling read despite the fact it really was unnerving and sometimes uncomfortable to read at times, yes I figured out who it was before the end but somehow that didn't matter - would I recommend it? It had faults but they were forgivable due to the overall quality of the writing, so yes I would.
  15. I want to pose a question, not sure if its been asked or not, I did (as I always do) a quick search using various key words to see if anything came up and it didn't so I think I'm pretty safe, but as always if there is a thread on the subject I am about to talk about, feel free to delete this/move it or whatever. How much credence to you put on reviews? A broad question I know but in these days of everyone having an opinion on everything I do often wonder; 1. Are these reviews credible, accurate or even in some cases real? 2. Does anyone pay any attention to them on sites such as Amazon/Goodreads before buying a book? 3. If they do, do they really influence purchases in in any way? Ok, so that's three questions really, but hopefully you can see what I am getting at. I look for recommendations on books in places like this, and from personal real life friends, places where I can be fairly certain people concerned have actually read the books. I do look at Amazon/Goodreads reviews but only after I have the book, sometimes I can agree with what has been written, and people do, generally speaking seem to have the same view of the book as I did sometimes I think, have these people read the same book I did? and others I am so astounded I end up thinking things along the lines of, how much were they paid to say that? Now I know that sounds like I'm saying if someone has a different opinion to me then its wrong but I really don't mean it to sound that way, I can genuinely say sometimes I will read a review and although disagree with it I can see what they are trying to say and see their point of view and it also makes me stop and realise in some cases that maybe I missed the point of the book. Call me suspicious, cynical and downright distrusting but sometimes I cannot for the life of me see how some books get the almost universally rave reviews they do, for them to be so universally adored and gushed about seems a little, I don't know, unbelievable. At one time you could see quite clearly the 'marmite' books, which were either loved or hated in equal part, the middle of the road books which produced a mediocre response but increasingly you find there isn't the balanced mixed reviews available, its all or nothing, everything is raved about with hardly any negative remarks in sight or the opposite. You can still find odd books which appear to have balanced reviews but not very often. Which I think leads me on to another point, the increasingly popular crime/psychological thriller genre which at the moment is like an unstoppable Juggernaut on Amazon, is very hit and miss, some books are very good those that have depth and which are incredibly well written and keep you guessing until the last page then you get others which are incredulous, superficial and you can see the ending coming a mile off, they read like they have been written by a bored teenager with an overactive imagination and you have worked out the big twist about half way through the book and are just treading water to finish the damn thing and then there are those which fall somewhere in the middle not bad as such but not brilliant either, yet if all the Amazon reviews were to be believed practically every single book in this increasingly overcrowded genre is first class, a real page turner and outstanding, with the majority of reviews giving a 4 and 5 star rating with only a tiny minority giving anything lower and to me that just doesn't ring true.
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