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Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

It is always a pleasure to see my postman struggle up the path with book parcels for me. An honour to be considered a reviewer of note, I read as soon as I can and write reviews that are not just happyclappy quickies but essays and distribute via blogs, forums and readers websites such as Compulsive Reader.

My reading genre is not quite the same as my science fiction writing genre. Consider my current batch of review books to read.

Mitzi Szereto: In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed – erotic take on traditional fairy tales.

Sam Stone: Futile Flame – erotic vampire sequel to her Killing Kiss brilliant book

Ben Larken: The Hollows – his Pit-Stop remains my favourite horror of all contempory fiction

David Greske: Blood River – hitchiking vampire beauty – looking forward immensely to reviewing this one

K.L. Nappier: Full Wolf Moon and Bitten – I know her books are extraordinarily well crafted.

Sam Smith: Towards the unMaking of Heaven – intelligently written science fiction.

How do I find time to read, review and write my own stuff? I don’t know! If you live in Chester you’ll see me reading on the bus, in cafes, waiting for my wife in shops, while walking. And scribbling notes. It is a time problem but also a privilege to have authors consider my opinions are worthy of their publishers spending the money to send me their oeuvre.

My wife also looks at that postman and then at me, prompting my speech: No, I haven’t spent our money on these!

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Around the world British people are known for being ever-so-slightly dotty and eccentric. Of course, as a fully paid-up Brit myself, I can’t see anything remotely odd about our obsession with the weather, or with drinking endless cups of tea. *g* But if you want to get a flavour of British life, and the peculiarities it displays to those on the outside, you could do worse than dip into ‘Notes From a Small Island’ by Bill Bryson.

Notes from a Small IslandBryson, a writer and humourist, was born in the US but moved to Britain to work – and promptly fell in love with the place. That love shines through his writing, giving it a warmth that other travel writers sometimes lack. Even when he’s poking gentle fun at the British way of life, he’s laughing with us as much as he is at us. He’s also incredibly observant, and a master at spotting the minutiae of daily life, and all those tiny differences between Britain and the rest of the world that make such a big difference overall.

The book takes the form of a journey – Bryson’s last before heading back to the States with his family – starting at the famous White Cliffs of Dover and heading steadily north for 800 miles to the remote north coast of Scotland, before returning via the west coast. But it’s much less about geography and much more about the people Bryson meets en route, and their foibles and customs. The end result is both charming and very, very funny. I started laughing on the very first page, and didn’t stop again until I’d finished the book, some 350 pages later, with aching sides. For anyone who’s interested in a wry look at modern British life, this book is a must.

Oh – and the stuff about the weather and tea? Well, you’d probably talk about the weather too if you rarely had two days together that were the same. And tea is just the best drink in the world – but only with milk, never with cream. 🙂

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