Sunday, 4 December 2011

1940's Soho Prostitution

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly!  I've just read a book called "West End Girls" by Barbara Tate.  I've never written a review on goodreads before... but this book compelled me to!  I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone.  It's makes you laugh, care, want to slap a girl across the face from time to time, and grieve.

ISBN: 1409116069

Here's my review:

An enjoyable and insightful read.

I felt as though some of the characters in this book had become my friends - it's all in the way Tate portrays them I guess, maybe it's that I saw a little of myself in Barbara.

The end of the book almost had me feeling like I was grieving for someone, yet you could almost see it coming -  I still found myself reading on to find what became of these people, and with each person a hope of happier times.  Although it wasn't the case I would certainly read this again.

Tate raises good points on how the girls who were running their businesses were pushed out of sight for seedy massage parlours to spring up and billboards with women who weren't dressed as well as the working girls may have been.

After reading this book I had to hand it back to my local library (which incidentally is in a red light district) and felt a pang of loss at putting it on the counter.  It was easy to feel for the characters and you felt like you really knew some of them, especially Barbara.

On the whole I feel like I have caught a glimpse into another, darker yet crazy and hectic world and am happy to have 'met' those girls.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Well, last week was very emotional!

Nicky passed away peacefully with the help of a vet on Monday morning.

While I am devastated about the cancer that caused us to have him put to sleep I am so glad that he isn't suffering.  Thanks to Scottish law being so much better than English law, he's not at rest in my grandparents back garden.  Close to his favourite tree which he loved to sit in and next to a sizeable vegetable patch so he can continue to watch ovr my grandfather working in the garden.

On with the books!

"Don't Blink" by James Patterson.  Now I read this in around 2 and a half days which is frustrating as it's JP after all, and I usually read one of his books much quicker than that.  But I guess I had a lot on my mind this time around.

While visiting the 'homeland', my grandmother gave me several more books.  And tried to get me to take the other book which I had already bought at the trainstation on my way North in the two for one offer or whatever that I got at the same time as the JP.  I have no need for two coppies of the same book, do I!?

The one book that I couldn't say no to my grandmother on when she tried to 'de-clutter' onto me (if that makes any sense) is one that I've been trying to get my hands on for a while now;

"The Black House" by Peter May.

It's about a cop that's sent from Edinburgh to the Isle of Lewis to investigate a murder.  The Main character is called Fin and "The Black House" is about his life, the investigation and his past - growing up in the small island community that is Lewis.

The part of the book (about half way through) that I'm at just now is a very descriptive account of the guga hunt that happens every year.  Only the men of Ness do this strange hunt.  A crew of 12 men leave the Isle of Lewis for two weeks to live on a small uninhabited 'piece of rock' island and hunt the young gannets.  It's a tradition that I understand has continued for longer than anyone alive can remember.  I don't know the full history of this though.  I may be Scottish but I'm a Highlander and not an Islander.

And while I haven't tasted the Hebridean 'delicacy' of guga - I have no desire to try to get my hands on a bird.  I understand that it's an acquired taste and I'm happy to stick with my haggis, thank you very much!!

There have been a few mentions of the city that I live work and play in though I'm hoping that we hear a little more of Fin's adventures while he studied in this fine city.

So far I'm really enjoying this book and as it is I'm looking forward to curling up in bed tonight to read a few more pages.  I wouldn't be surprised if I read too late and sleep in tomorrow morning as I would certainly describe this one as a page turner.

Far from finishing this book but I anticipate that I'll be quite excited to get my little mitts on a copy of the sequel which is due to hit the shelves in February 2012 and titled "The Lewis Man".   I have so many books to read before then though that I will no doubt be kept very entertained until then.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Forgetting the book.

I should be shot!

As the title of this post suggests, I've forgotten to grab my book on my way out. It's not like I can just pop back for it though. I'm currently on a train to the beautiful Highlands to see my family.

The plan was to read 'New York' for the duration of my trip. Sadly I can't do that now. And I'm going to blame the taxi driver who picked me up for this. He arrives early then has the audacity to lean on his horn so impatiently. I got to the taxi and he didn't even notice me standing there with my suitcase in hand. Jerk! But I'm probably only being mean about him because I am quite disappointed in myself for leaving New York behind.

Thank goodness for W. H. Smith! Bought two books I wouldn't have had I remembered to pack the big apple. I should be happier right now, right? I mean, I've just done bought books - the best form of retail therapy there is IMO. Not to mention that thanks to me being in the reservations section of the train I'm not going to go hungry. Until I change trains in Inverness I have access to the trolley service. Yay!

Maybe I'm just not being too happy just now because I don't want to be going north for the reason that I am.

When I moved to the city I re-homed my cat with my grandparents. Every morning that I wake up to my alarm I think of him. Nicky used to be my furry alarm clock every morning. He'd shove his paws in my face at some unearthly hour. Not to be fed, not to go out but just because he wanted me to be awake. I guess it's his way of saying "hey, I feel a little lonely. Please keep me company"

Well anyway, a little while I got a call from my grandmother to say that the vet found a lump which seems cancerous. So I want to say my goodbyes to him. That cat got me through some tough times. I had planned on getting a dog but I couldn't guarantee that I would be able to take care of a dog so well because I had just been told that I had bowel cancer. I didn't though. I thank God every day that the doctor was wrong. But that's why I got Nicky instead of a dog.

Last night I got a message on Facebook from my sister telling me that Nicky is worse. I'm almost afraid to see him.

I hope that the books I bought are good enough to immerse myself in and get my mind off things.

Will 'Don't Blink' by James Patterson do the job? I'll let you know!

Monday, 31 October 2011


I just read an article written by Boris Johnson (the half-wit in charge of London) which has left me a bit shocked to be honest.

Angry actually.

Boris Johnson's article at

Is it just me or is he portraying Scots as lazy good-for-nothing Neanderthals?  As a Scot myself I am appalled that Johnson is allowed to write such drivel.

This is the time where I am glad to have a good book on the go.  Will really calm me down if I can just get lost within the story... see y'all later!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

My Broken Memory

It's official - my memory is terrible!

I do recall putting in an Amazon order last night, I also remember that I ordered three books... but I'll be darned if I can remember which books I ordered!

One is set in Glasgow - I can remember that much!

So on another note - I'm currently reading my first Neil Gaiman book.  Can't believe I haven't read any of his books before.  Thoroughly enjoying it - American Gods.  It's one of those books where I keep flicking along (reading it in iBooks).

I'm so relieved that I haven't told the family about my blog as I think I'm going to buy the proper book for my brother for Christmas.  At this rate my whole family are going to get books for Christmas - already got one for my sister, a paranormal romance... I read it with a group on goodreads recently and thought that she'd enjoy it.  Paranormalcy, and I can't remember the author off hand either lol.  At any rate, I liked it but not in a big way.  Considering it was teenager falls for guy, oops he's not normal type of book.  Actually no oops considering she knows all along that the boy's not human.  Anyways, I think my 15 year old sister will enjoy it more than I did.

So yeah, that's the update... I'm actually reading 3 authors I've never read before.  The one mentioned above, Jennifer Egan and Edward Rutherfurd.  Had a day of just surrounding myself with reading material today and feel better for it... time to curl up in bed with some more reading material.  Now the issue is which do I read to fall asleep to?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Flight Reading

In almost 16 and a half hours I will be boarding a plane to take me to a Mediterranean island for a couple of days.  Should be exciting and I'm sure I will be too busy having adventures on the island to be doing a lot of reading.  If I was going to be there longer I'd be planning some time on the beach with a book!

I've decided that since my baggage allowance is pitiful - one bag weighing no more than 10 kilos - that I won't be bringing New York with me.  I'll be opting for a) a thinner therefore lighter book or b) something that's already in my iBooks app.  Yet there is absolutely no lack of reading material in my iBooks, somewhere around 1,500 ebooks which seems staggering but I'm sure a lot of them aren't very good.  Just a shame I'm not an Agatha Christie fan!  Then again you never know.  Maybe I should start one of her books on my 3 and a half hour flight and see how it goes (I did see Mousetrap at King's Theatre in London this year and loved it so who knows).

I'm aware that I'm probably asking a question into empty cyber-space but I'd love to know how others (you, the potential reader of my ramblings) pick their holiday reads?

Monday, 24 October 2011


I am so incredibly frustrated right now.

Last week, after submitting my essay and before falling ill with I haven't got a clue but all I've done is sleep... will get to that later... I raided my local library.

Some library information - it's a tiny library.  There's one massive library on the other side of the city centre to where I live and various smaller libraries scattered around the city.  I live in one of the poorest areas in town (actually it's terrible here, the average life expectancy for this city is the lowest in Britain) yet so many people don't take advantage of the free libraries.  Actually, I don't think half the people in this part of the city attended enough school to have learned to read or certainly appreciate the joy that can come from reading which is incredibly sobering to think of.  Anyway this library is small and usually completely empty except for the odd pensioner reading the paper or student using the computers to check their emails so it makes sense that the selection of books is slightly limited.

I happened across the name of an author I've heard is good - Kate Mosse.  I read half of Labrynth but at that point found it quite unreadable.  I lost all interest in it.  So since I've managed to 'grow into' Terry Pratchett (I found his work to be unreadable as a teenager) I thought I'd give Mosse another go and picked up the book.

I only got as far as page 6!  I just couldn't read any further into it... so I chopped and changed before settling on my next book.  I was actually quite disappointed that I didn't manage to read any further.  So much that I was quite restless for the next hour and attempted to read from the beginning again, but still found it to be unreadable.

I don't know many people who have many books that they just can't read.  I have a few.  I am due to start the fourth book of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurel K. Hamilton.  The books are incredibly trashy.  My exes sister dubbed them the "Slutty Vampire Novels"... and to be honest I think the name fits.  I did read somewhere (I think on goodreads) that they get worse part way into the series - apparently Hamilton took a break from her editor and decided that she knew best - fail!  So I'm in no rush to pick that series up again.

Eventually I settled on New York by Edward Rutherfurd which (if I have any faithful readers, doubtful yet hope so lol) you may have recognised from the picture of the pile of books on my night stand...

A daunting 1040 pages of historical part-fact-part-fiction.  So far so good!  But I'm only around 60 pages into it!  I have to say that a lot seems to have happened in 60 pages and am looking forward to reading some more.  Though in reality I predict that I will put the book down to read something else for a time then return to it.  I mean, 1040 pages is a lot!  That book won't be able to live in my handbag like other books of the moment.  The straps will break!

I'm wondering if other book hoarders have trouble deciding on what to read next, and I am also curious as to how they overcome such obstacles!!

So the past week almost has been pretty unbearable.  I managed to read half of Pratchett's The Light Fantastic.  I've been in bed for days yet all I've done is sleep.  If I have a duvet day my rule is at least one book per day!  Not one thin book per week.  Yes, I love my bed... because it's where I seem to do much of my reading.  Beds should always be for reading and not anything else in my opinion! lol

Finally I want to say hi to Carol and Gina from my favourite group on goodreads who've braved the blogging world!  I look forward to reading your blogs in the future and wish you all the best with your literary adventures ^.^

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Negligence charges

I admit to neglecting my darling books lately. I love them dearly, I just hope they don't get too jealous of my essay. Will return once social scientific jargon and random ramblings on traffic ordering has been captured on paper.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

When you just can't sleep...

Normally when I can't sleep I grab a book. It's now after 0830 and I'm wondering why I bothered to get up and tidy my flat??

I'm heading for bed to try for a few hours kip but wonder if I can manage it.

Quite disappointed that I wasted the perfect opportunity to catch up on my reading list!

And shocked that my mail has been delivered before I go to bed! Haven't pulled an all nighter in nearly 10 years!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Reading Style

So I've given this a bit of thought and decided that I do have a reading style. It's not something I've really thought about before but I think it'd be a good way to introduce myself on my first blog post!

Reading is a passion of mine. This is likely because I can escape life. My life's not bad at all, I enjoy being a student, I'm not particularly poor, I have some really awesome friends as well. Unfortunately there's that part of me that wishes I was still 8 years old and only caring about if my friends could come and play after school. The bills are paid and I'm not really escaping from anything in my life when I lose myself in a good book.

I think it's that sense of adventure that I'm clinging onto for dear life. We were all fearless at some point during our childhoods, right!?!? Growing up we become fearful of certain things. We don't take so many chances in our search of an adventure like we once would have.

When I engross myself in a book it brings my imagination to life. It makes me feel like I'm embarking on a great adventure. And in my opinion adventure is a wonderful thing!

So where do I read? Answer - ANYWHERE.

I know people who like to take a book into the bath with them, I will admit that I don't read there, so maybe I won't read anywhere. However I always have a book (or two) in my bag and even have more ebooks on my iPhone than I do pictures, music and apps put together.

I will read in a cafe, waiting for a train, on the train, at the airport, during a flight and I do love to curl up in bed with a book.

Often I'm up until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning reading because I've lost track of time completely.

I'm sure that I am not unique in this sense but books are such a huge part of my life that I feel that it is something I can continuously blog about.

so here is the stack of books that are currently residing on my bedside cabinet...

This was recommended to my by a friend down in London.  Infact this friend insisted that I read it so much that I had this book bought for me.  I am enjoying it probably only because it's different from anything I've read before - never read anything from an autistic person point of view.

It was a YA Book of the Month for a goodreads group that I'm a member of.  Not had the chance to read it yet but my sister has - she enjoyed it, but we have different tastes in books so I'm a little apprehensive to read it lol.

I'm quite excited about reading this.  I read Backseat Saints by Jackson  through goodreads and found it a fantastic read.  I couldn't put it down so I really am looking forward to losing myself in this one!

As I was growing up I was fascinated by the covers of my mothers Discworld novels, particularily by The Colour of Magic which I tried to read back when I was at school.  I never got into them though, I think that was because fantasy was a genre that I had never really managed to submerse myself in before.  I'm managing to get my imagination around them now so I've decided to read the series.  I think Death is a particularly fascinating character so hope he is a bigger player in this book than he was the last.

I admit it - impulse buy, as are a lot of my books.  I love to just pick a book up and buy it!  It's the best way, I find, to discover different authors and genres etc.

I coveted this book for a while and couldn't find it in any of my local book shops, so I think it's not available in the UK yet.  Hurrah for Amazon!! A 15 year old boy turns into a vampire, yes sounds like all the other silly vamp books out there, but he's fat and spotty which makes me want to read it.  I'm tired of vampires being glamorous and seductive.  They're supposed to be scary and while I doubt that the vamp in this book is very scary it's something different from all those Twilighty and True Bloody books out there.

Impulse Airport buy!  I had plenty of time to kill at Heathrow Airport and was determined to buy a few books while I was there.

And another one that I bought at Heathrow.  Admittedly I picked this one up because of it's thickness.  I do like thick books despite it taking me forever to read them!