Tag Archive | Review

Review: ‘The Crane Bag’, by Joanna van der Hoeven

I was sent this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

(My reviews are always honest and I’ll frying pan anyone who slanders me by suggesting otherwise).

Pagan Portals - The Crane Bag

Published by: Moon Books

Publication Date: 22nd June 2017

Format: Paperback

Price: £6.99 

I.S.B.N.: 978-1-78535-573-8



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Review: ‘The Path of Paganism’ by John Beckett


Published By: Llewellyn Worldwide

Publication Date: 8th May 2017

Edition: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9780738752051

Price: $19.99 (US)


The Path of Paganism provides practical advice and support for living an authentic Pagan life in our mainstream Western culture. Witches, druids, polytheists, and other Pagans will discover an experiential guide to the foundations and practices of these deeply meaningful traditions.

For John Beckett, practicing Paganism means more than adopting a set of books, tools, and holidays. Practicing Paganism means cultivating a way of seeing the world and your place in it. It means challenging the assumptions of mainstream society, keeping those that prove true and helpful while discarding those that show themselves to be false. It means building a solid foundation from which you can explore the nature of the universe, the gods, your self, and your community while learning to strengthen your relationship with all of them.

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Review: ‘Earth’, by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Linda T. Elkins-Tanton

                                                                 Publication Date: 9th May 2017

Published by: Bloomsbury Academic  

Edition: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9781501317910 

Price: $14.95



Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

In Earth, a planetary scientist and a literary humanist explore what happens when we think of the Earth as an object viewable from space. As a “blue marble,” “a blue pale dot,” or, as Chaucer described it, “this litel spot of erthe,” the solitary orb is a challenge to scale and to human self-importance. Beautiful and self-contained, the Earth turns out to be far less knowable than it at first appears: its vast interior an inferno of incandescent and yet solid rock and a reservoir of water vaster than the ocean, a world within the world. Viewing the Earth from space invites a dive into the abyss of scale: how can humans apprehend the distances, the temperatures, and the time scale on which planets are born, evolve, and die?

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

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Review: ‘Porcelain Flesh of Innocents’, by Lee Cockburn

This is the first review I’m posting as part of the Clink Street Spring Reading Week Blog Tour. I was sent a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review, by Rachel at Authoright as part of the Blog Tour.

Lee Cockburn Cover 4.2

Published By: Clink Street

Publication Date: 2017

I.S.B.N.; 9781911525318

Format: Paperback (Also available as an ebook)

See other posts for the blurb



  • Good plot
  • Complex characters that drive the narrative forward
  • Nice plot twists.
  • Tackles a painful and complex issue – child abuse – with sympathy
  • The language used gives a flavour of the setting – Edinburgh – while being accessible
  • The author’s experience as a police officer shows through in the minutia of procedure and attitudes.


  • For an experienced crime novel reader, the villain was obvious from fairly early on.
  • The book needed some serious editing for spelling and grammar.
  • The was a lot of telling and not much showing, especially with the characters personalities and relationships with each other.
  • The formatting left something to be desired. Changes in perspective weren’t signalled by any line breaks, causing confusion as to which character’s viewpoint I was reading.
  • There were times when I wanted to get my pen out and start deleting whole paragraphs for repetition and unnecessary exposition.
  • There’s only so much sex and violence I can read before I get bored, and while the violence had some purpose in the plot, the sexual encounters added nothing. In both cases, allusion is more effective that blow-by-blow description.
  • The victims of the crimes are evil people, but the author uses their bodies to show they are evil, and regularly equates fat with depravity, and thin athleticism with goodness. I’d prefer my novels to not strengthen prevailing fatphobia, thanks ever so.

Overall – 2/5

This book suffers from being published too soon. While the plot and characters were good, poor editing and heavy handedness let this novel down. With a bit more work it could be a damn good crime novel.

Warning, if I haven’t put you off, the book deals with, and there is explicit descriptions of child abuse and sexual assault. Honestly, read the first three chapters and thought ‘I’m going to need vodka to get through this’; unfortunately, I can’t drink on my medication.

Review: ‘A Life Discarded’ by Alexander Masters

Published by: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 5th May 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9780008130770

Format: Hardback

Price: £16.99


Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book, as much a biography of the mysterious diarist as an autobiography of Masters and his friends during the five years he worked on the diaries and writing this book. I sped through it in a matter of hours, the writing kept me transfixed.

Masters is a sensitive biographer, disclosing new information as he learns it, and dealing honestly with his qualms when he learns that the diarist, Laura Francis is still alive. The writing is fluid and engaging, humorous at times and honest.


I’ve just started studying the life-writing component of my MA Creative Writing. My tutor suggested we should start reading biographies if we didn’t already to get an idea of the diversity of the form. I’ve read biographies in the past, but this was a refreshing change. It only took me four hours to read this book, so I started another one, before I decided to write this review. The book I’m reading at the moment is a biography of Queen Victoria, in the form of fiction. They’re different ways of writing biography but they both work well.


Review: ‘Rogue One’

Yes, yes, I succumbed and agreed to go see ‘Rogue One’ with my friend. And it was definitely worth it. We are talking Star Wars, if you hadn’t guessed already.

Image result

Short Review:

Everybody dies!

I loved it. Lots of fighting and explosions. Just like the original Star Wars films, this is an easy way to pass a couple of hours without too much brain function. The links between Rogue One and A New Hope added to the enjoyment of the film for me.

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Review: The Dark Side of East London, by David Charnick

Published by: Pen & Sword

Publication Date: 30th September 2016

Format: Hardcover

Price: £19.99

I.S.B.N.: 9781473856448