Coming up

Hey, dear readers, there’s going to be a bit of a change, due to the current pandemic. I have, as many know, a brain weasel issue that makes reading ebooks hard. (I also have various lurgies making me cough, snotty and generally feel rubbish, but as far as I know, it’s not COVID-19.) Unfortunately, due to the dreaded lurgy going around, many blog tours are now digital only.

So, much of this months content will be extract posts, with the odd review booked months ago thrown in.

  • Wednesday (6th) there will be an audiobook review of The Road Not Taken, by Paul Dodgson. This is a memoir of a musical life.
  • 16th – a book review of Black blood, by Jane Eddie. This is a post-Brexit dystopian novel of crime, murder and oil.
  • 22nd – sci fi in translation, The City Among The Stars, by Francis Carsac. I understand this is a Golden Age classic, first time in English. I’m looking forward to it, although the book hasn’t arrived yet.
  • 23rd – These Lost and Broken Things, by Helen Fields. Historical crime, looking forward to getting my teeth into it.
  • 26th – Girl with a gun, by Diama Nammi and Karen Attwood. A biography of Diama, a Kurdish woman who really upset the Iranian government (good for her!). I was originally getting a book for this but SARS-COV-2 decided to unleash itself on humanity so it’s the only ebook I’ll read this month. And that’s because I like Anne and had already agreed to do the review.
  • Currently, June and July are sparsely populated with extracts and promo posts. I apologise for the slow down in my usual review content. I have also had to refuse indie author reviews if they can’t send physical books, because of said disease and brain weasels. It’s a shame because I like supporting them.
  • Pen & Sword reviews will appear intermittently as I get through the towering piles.
  • There may be other books, I’m working my way through my personal TBR pile. I’m working through some of the ones I’ve already started but had to put down to complete blog tour obligations.

Ode to my TBR pile

I keep reading,

One, two, three, books on the left of my chair, books on the right of me

Books in the loo, books in the bedroom, books waiting to be read,

On the TBR pile.

I read and I read,

But it just keeps getting bigger.

There are so many good books, so many authors I need to read and support.

So many indie bookshops and publishers I want to help.

It is inevitable.

I will die surrounded by the books I never had the time to read.

What a cruel world!

So, random reviews might pop up. And, I promise, very little poetry.

Cover Reveal: ‘I Can See The Lights’, by Russ Litten


The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea – of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: ‘I Can See The Lights’, by Russ Litten”

Poem: I should have known

I should have realised
Long ago
There’s something a little off 
About me.

Everyone knew how
To act
To react
To interact
Inate instructions calling time
Picking up the rules and the rhyme.

No one told me the rules of the game
Or even that we were playing, with
No choice but to play.

I learnt the rules, or a strange
Version thereof from

Because nobody bothered to sit down
And explain the rules of the game, or
that I had to play.

So when i say or do
The wrong thing, try remembering
You knew the rules, how to act, interact, react,
And I’m still learning with every book I read.



I wrote a poem last night, it’s had some compliments from a number of people. I’m quite pleased with the metaphor and hopefully it gets the message across.

Review: ‘When Science Collapses’, by Christopher Hivner

Author website here

Publisher’s website here

Publication Date: 31st December 2016

Published By: Writing Knights Press


Format: Paperback chapbook

Price: $8.00





My Review

Christopher Hivner contacted me a week or so ago, and asked if I’d review his chapbook, When Science Collapses and I agreed. I do enjoy reading poetry now and then. The book arrived very quickly, yesterday while I was packing my house up to move in two weeks. It managed to survive the packing process so I’ve had a chance to read it earlier than I expected.

I enjoyed the poems, although poetry isn’t my speciality. They mix personal experience with scientific concepts for affecting results. A small book of only 23 poems, each poem causes the reader to stop and ponder the connections between life events and scientific concepts.


NaNoWriMo 2016 has begun

And I’m not doing it this year. I want to focus on finishing my novel and editing the first two if I get the chance, plus I’m helping a friend by editing her novel and I have that MA to study for.

However, as a treat I’ve written a poem. I came up with this one early this morning, blame lack of sleep if it’s terrible.

I have questions, by Rosemarie Cawkwell

I have questions, about the universe mainly.
I’ve always wanted to know, but no one will tell me,
If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding in to?
If I stood on the bow wave of spacetime, what would I see?
Anything? Nothing?
The Void?
What is the Void, Nothingness, Infinity?
If I stood in the Void, which isn’t possible,
I know,
And looked back at our Universe, what would I see?
A perfect sphere, uniform,
A ball of spacetime rolling through the Void,
Or a splat spreading out at different rates.
Would I see other universes rolling through the Void?
Bumping in to ours as both expand?
I have so many questions, and nobody will answer them for me.



I actually have spent at least two decades trying to work out what the universe is expanding in to and I’ve yet to get an answer from anyone. I’m reading a book at the minute called ‘The Substance of Spacetime’ (I’ll be reviewing it next week, possibly, depends on how busy I get) and I still haven’t got my answers.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo this year, I know that some of my fellow MA students are also taking on the challenge whilst studying and I wish them all the best.


Local Authors Reviewed: Part One

As you may remember, a few weeks ago I went to a local authors event to do some networking and get opinions on the best self-publishing platform and was given four books by local authors to review. Here are the first three.

As always, I received these in return for honest reviews. I am going to be very honest. Sorry.

Selected Poems, by Michael Nilsen (poetry)

Published by: Matador

Publication Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9781784624705


A collection of poems written over a 22 year period and covering a range of themes including nature, autobiography and surrealism.

My Review

The nature poems were the most affecting and well-written, with great imagination. Unfortunately most of the poems didn’t move me all that much although they could have a different effect on other people. Poetry is subjective like that.

The Crooked Link, by David Evardson (General adult fiction)

Published by:Self-published

Publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781522901259


Stanley is a crook, a crook who happens to have stolen money from an even bigger crook in London. When he turns up in Cleethorpes with a plan to buy a house, if he can sell his London flat first. A chain of buyers and sellers build but the chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, and this link is crooked.

My Review

The plot is good but the execution needs work. It feels like a first novel even though the author has written several books before. It doesn’t quite ring true enough to become immersed in the plot, although the attempt at local dialect is good.

Marikka, by Sam Hawksmoor (children’s fiction)

Published by: Hammer & Tong UK

Publication Date: 2015

ISBN: 9781511994224

Price: Unknown

Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Mika – a runaway working for a sinister, scarred man hiding from the world. Meanwhile her father, long thought dead, searches for her with the aide of ‘the girl who can read objects’.

My Review

The plot reminds me of an Enid Blyton novel that has been modernised, including the sinister, mysterious villains and the evil step-father. I really quite enjoyed it and I admit to bawling like a baby at end. I liked the main characters, the plot was good, the chapter titles funny and the writing fluent. There were editing errors, e.g. instance instead of instant, minor things I had to parse to get the gist of the sentence but nothing that a re-edit won’t fix. Definitely a good one for the young teenager before they move on to more challenging books.

I have just one other book to read, For the love of Emily by Joy Wood. I haven’t started it yet but I will soon. The books are piling up again on my to be read list. I’ve been working on craft projects and writing assignments. Before I start University at the end of September I want to get the non-fiction assignments of my Writer’s Bureau course completed. I’m almost done, I have one task left to do on the final non-fiction assignment, and I shall tackle that tomorrow.

For those following the Saga of the Bath, finally today, after nine and a half weeks, the landlord sent a plumber to replace the old bath with a shiny new one. Or, I should say, the letting’s agent did. I intend to wallow in that thing tomorrow morning.