my thoughts on 2 murder mystery books

 

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 4/5

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Can you imagine how fun it must be (I’m kidding) sitting down and imagining … these murder scenarios? Do the writers fox themselves? Because characters, even if we do ultimately control them, still do what they damn well like.

I also love Agatha Christie’s dialogue. I think I have said it before in a review, but I bloody love good dialogue. It’s like music to my ears, when you read some dialogue and it has a bit of bite to it and a bit of humour. It’s pleasing. Roddy Doyle is another author that I like for dialogue.



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I think I want dialogue to mirror real life. Which is why there are no rules to writing. You would have dozens of editors complaining if how we spoke to each other was put in our stories. It wouldn’t make sense. Unfinished thoughts, talking over one another, repetition, some coarse language. Of course, accents and dialects too. Do you feel perhaps in stories we try to replicate the perfect scenario? Isn’t that why we read stories, we expect a start, middle and end. I personally love reading stories that don’t really have a story, more happenings. I read a book a couple of months ago like that. It was Keith Waterhouse’s There is a Happy Land. It’s a beautiful book. I probably read it once every couple of years. I don’t have my own copy of it. I know where it is in the public library and I pluck it off the shelves periodically. Pluck is the wrong word. The shelves are packed tightly in my public library and it’s more of a shuffle, tug, pull, shuffle, break a nail and a yank. Then you realise it’s the wrong book and not what you want after all and have to get it back in.


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Anyway, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a hit with me. It’s all very clear and obvious whodunnit by the explanation at the end, isn’t it?


Another mystery I read was

Hate Bale: A Rural Cosy Mystery by Stephanie Dogg 3/5

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Hate Bale is very cosy. It has romance, humour and its setting and characters were different (depends what you’ve been reading, I guess) The murders though are brutal, when you think about what you are reading. The ending was wordy, and it went from 60 to 100 in the space of 3? chapters. I felt the plot and the pacing could have been tightened. It did meander, not that I mind a meander. Other readers may not.
Not a bad read though. I liked it.


 

do you love books in verse? i’ve written about why i do

 


Book Review

Toffee by Sarah Crossan 4/5

The poem format Sarah Crossan uses to write Toffee works well with the story. It covers important subjects too, such as abusive relationships, identity and peer pressure. I read it in one afternoon and couldn’t find any faults with it, other than it ended. Yep, that’s why I’m knocking a star off of my review, because the book ended – I am that petty (not really) 

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I love books written in a poem format. I think so many people feel poetry is niche, academic, boring, not something that is easy to understand etc. etc. and of course that is reflected in how poetry is taught to us. I remember all the silly poems that I read as a kid, which were was mainly rhymes. I grew up – thinking that’s all poetry was, rhyming. I studied two poems for my English GCSE. That made me hate poetry because we all were taught was to dissect these two poems. To find all these hidden meanings that the poems held. I mean, maybe the poet was thinking about his tuna sandwich for lunch and it isn’t that deep?
Therefore when I all of a sudden got these ideas in my head for poems after I had left school, I was shocked. Where has this come from? I thought. I wrote my first six poems. I started to read Allen Ginsberg. The rest is … history, as they say. There’s nothing that excites me more (well, there is pizza and a freshly made bed) than opening a book and seeing the poem on a page, ready for me to learn from. Because poetry inspires me, I just love the format now, it appeals to me. I love how expressive it is. I love how you can write poetry and it’s much freer than fiction, which seems stuck in rigid lines. Poetry really wiggles and jiggles on the page.

Yes, I know.

To return to my point, I think it is great that novels in poem or verse form are seemingly becoming more frequently published. It normalises it. And maybe more people will realise how cool poetry is.


Speaking of which I was recently approved for an ARC of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew and to be published by Walker books. I think it is released in September. I started reading it yesterday and omg, already in love and am only five pages in. The blurb I copied below and here is a pre-order (affiliate)link and add to your Goodreads here 

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A timely feminist YA novel in verse about periods, sex, shame and going viral for all the wrong reasons.

BLOOD MOON is a YA novel about the viral shaming of a teenage girl. During her seminal sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, physics-lover and astronomy fan Frankie gets her period – but the next day a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an innocent, intimate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying and damaging.

A Film Noir student, John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ & the residents in a care home strike up alliances. In The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert: Aged 19 going on 90 by David M. Barnett.

  • Book Review

  • The Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert Aged 19 going on 90

  • David M. Barnett

  • Trapeze

(ARC sent by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

AMAZON / BN / WATERSTONES / INDIEBOUND

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Jennifer is a student, studying film noir. With student accommodation not yet built she is living off campus temporarily in a nursing home. The home is, somewhat, unique. It is home to five elderly residents and owned by the Granges. Joining Jennifer are fellow students Liverpudlian John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ and Bo Liu and Lling Liu.
There are a few secrets in the book, and I never knew which characters I could trust. Jennifer, in her opinion, is boring and so takes on a whole different persona in her new surroundings. She is so self-absorbed, I have to quote Hermione Granger and say ‘oh stop feeling all misunderstood,’ to her. She also lies about something HUGE, and when the lie is revealed she doesn’t seem to realise how wrong that it is. When will it click Jennifer?!


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Via GIPHY

The residents in the nursing home, on one hand, did feel like clichés, and Ringo did not convince me as a character, but are very amusing and I laughed out loud at a lot of their exchanges; with the discussions between the two groups about ‘when they were young’, Brexit and how the young are more self-absorbed than their generation. Typical stuff, really.
There is a mystery in the book, and I kind of felt the author didn’t know whether to go all in with that part of the story or not, and so I was underwhelmed by the ending as it seemed so at odds with other parts of the book, where all the residents are bonding, going out and getting drunk, and with everyone working together to stop the home from closing. There is a poignancy to the book, about aging, and loneliness, and in being happy with who you are, and who your family are.

I took from the book the message that our experiences from childhood, what beliefs we are brought up with, and the gripes and grudges we hold onto all our lives can impact us in different ways, leaving us unfulfilled. We must choose to change or remain entrenched in our prejudices.


Brain Dump: feeling all of the emotions

hello, hope you are all well.

i’m not going to lie, i am emotionally all over the gaff. i have been feeling so many emotions and it’s all a bit strange. i normally feel nothing on this level and if i’m not careful i can feel my way into complete panic and then i struggle to breathe. i usually have SAD and it lifts around this time of year. instead i’m getting depression 24/7. it feels strange, unexpected. nothing to do with my period. so this feels like something else i need to navigate. of course, i am not underestimating this virus and what that is doing to us all. i think we’re all probably feeling, well, a little bit of everything right now. there’s so much death, and uncertainty. it is one day at a time. if you get through a day, high five. that shit is difficult. i am usually isolated. because of my anxiety my life is restricted in lots of ways and with the threat of ‘rona it feels no-one is carrying on as normal, so that doesn’t feel reassuring that at least the world outside of my flat is going on. because it isn’t.

i think one of the disturbing emotions for me is loneliness. i have been lonely for years. i have no friends. i am used to it. i think i may have been squashing those feelings down. i am now feeling the disconnect from people and that’s making me sad. how on earth do i live such an isolated life, that’s sad. i’m not continuing with counselling at the moment, i can’t afford to. i started counselling sessions last year and i think it has opened Pandora’s box because i just don’t stop thinking about the past and the trauma. now i’m not verbalising that face to face with someone, i think it is having an effect. obviously, it is.

i am still trying though. i have dumped, or parked, the shit that doesn’t matter and i cannot control. i am mainly trying to be productive because that gives my day structure and stay sober because i don’t need to be pouring gasoline on the flames – that will not help and not let my bf drive me up the wall because he is in all sorts of ways and i let other people’s moods infect mine. i need to stop doing that. he’s bored, not my job to entertain him. it isn’t like we don’t own enough books. and how can you get bored with reading? how?

at this point i don’t think anyone is reading my blog, understandably people’s priorities have changed. but i am going to continue blogging as a form of saving my sanity. if you are reading, hi and thank you. especially if you have read this. i want to share a line from a poem i wrote.

because i do feel so much of my growing was done in the dark, in my bedroom, and it didn’t feel like growing. it felt i was wasting time, i didn’t care (you don’t when you’re depressed) and i didn’t feel i was doing anything of any note. i was worrying about the future, the rent, am i ever going to be able to keep a job and have a career (i didn’t care because i was depressed, which gave me a great feeling of hopelessness) i mean, i was surviving. surviving is pretty fucking huge. what is that quote. you have survived a 100% of your bad days so far, you’re doing great.

i’m not going to say and that is why we will survive this current mess we are in. we can at least appreciate that there is hope. even if we’re feeling like utter crap (she says ever so eloquently)

those are my thoughts. thank you for reading. leave a comment if you like.


Tips on How to Start Writing ✍️

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Often the most difficult thing about writing is, well, doing the writing bit. I can dream for days about all kinds of scenarios and characters and lines that I type into a Word document or the drafts of my phone. Then inevitably forgetting about them. This is why writers can have an awful lot of WIPs!

(works in progress)


So how does one begin with the business of writing? Here are some tips.


1. Get comfortable. I get a lot of writers don’t have the luxury of time to write, so whether it’s on the train and you need to put headphones in to zone out the noise around you and get some words on paper while commuting, or in the early hours of the morning, while your partner snores from the bedroom, and you need to wrap a blanket around you because it’s a bit chilly, do it!


2. Writing materials are important too. I don’t know about you, but I loved my smelly glitter pens and stickers as a child. There’s no need to use an old Biro when you have highlighters, fine liners, and fountain pens at your disposal.


3. Drink of choice. Water, squash, or Cola. Whatever. Writing is thirsty work. Enough said.


4. Don’t stop. I mean, obviously if you’re getting cramp in your wrist, or your eyes are aching, take a couple of minutes to stretch/blink, but don’t go and find a distraction. Many times I have gotten up from writing to walk into the kitchen, get a yogurt from the fridge, eat it, put the spoon in the sink, decide I need to do the washing up, then load the washing machine and put that on, and then pick up my phone, get distracted, and start scrolling.

Dangerous.


These are my 4 quick tips to beginning that story, or novel, or poem. Let me know in the comments what your tips are for starting out.