Book Review Roundup. Poetry, Sci-Fi & Fiction.

All of Me by Shannon O’Connor

‘isn’t it ironic how time changes memories what we do remember and what was once important fades away like it was nothing’

Loved the poems in this collection, I found them really easy to connect with. Solid, well written poetry.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott

I had been looking forward to reading this for a while, and I finished reading it in one afternoon. I liked the story, I liked the characters (well, apart from Dr. Flores) and I loved the descriptions of a few of the characters and there were phrases or sentences in the writing that were so poetic and exciting to read (does that make sense?)
There were parts that could potentially be triggering for people. I’ve read a fair few books set in psychiatric hospitals and On a Scale of 1 to 10 ranks highly among them.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Doctor Who At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred

I enjoyed reading this. At Childhood’s End was a nostalgic ride through space, Perivale, and an alien planet. The 7th Doctor made an appearance, with his umbrella!
I do think the Doctor traveling with 3 people is a bit much. In this story, Graham and Ryan are great, but Yaz might as well not been there. Especially as the writers went down the path of there being jealousy between Ace and Yaz, which was briefly explored and then dropped. I loved this story asked questions about life after traveling with the Doctor, and how it might change you.
Ace is the main focus of this story and her character arc just never ends, does it?
She pinched an alien pod before UNIT could get their hands on it! The Squidget. Adorable.
I want more Ace stories like this.

‘Three suns sat like cigarette burns in the filthy tarpaulin of the sky’

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

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Book Review. The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

I think this must be one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes. It is the imagery that sticks in my mind. With the landscape of London, then the Dalek spaceship, and the mines. It’s a thrilling story too. There was a film, which starred Bernard Cribbins and Peter Cushing. That blazed across the screen in its glorious technicolour. I can’t remember it straying too far from its original story either and that is always appreciated.

As for the book adaptation, it doesn’t stop. There are no quiet moments, the Doctor and his companions get split up from the off and we get introduced to the Daleks and their slaves – the Robomen. There’s also the Slyther, which does sound better on paper than it did look in the actual episode. There are some characters I wish we could have had fleshed out more, such as Dortmund. Susan and David’s relationship does not really make sense. I guess that is why The Doctor made the decision to leave Susan behind, because I don’t think she would have wanted to leave her grandfather for a man she had only just met. It’s a more emotive moment in the TV episode, rather than on paper. I wonder, did the Doctor ever go back to find Susan? He must have done.

I have to also add as a new Who fan in 2006/7 and going back to watch the episodes from the 60’s, I love William Hartnell’s Doctor, and his companions – his granddaughter Susan and teachers Ian and Barbara. I thought it was a good dynamic, whereas with other Doctor’s and companions – too many in the group didn’t work as well I thought.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Review. Camera Girl by Doreen Spooner.

This book runs the gamut of one woman’s life. It begins in the present day of Doreen’s domestic life in the 1960’s, where she discovers the debts, and alcoholism, of her French husband. Previously a photographer in Fleet Street, Doreen gave up her career to raise their 2 children. When she makes this discovery, Doreen must return to work.

The narrative then takes us back to Doreen’s childhood. Her mother suffers a miscarriage and that triggers a depression that lasted throughout her life. Her mother’s story is a familiar one for women of that time. She became carer (i.e. skivvy) to a deaf mother, live in grandparents and siblings. This was what was expected of the eldest child.

‘domesticity became her reason for living. Somehow, like millions of other women in those days, she persuaded herself it was the highest calling a woman could have,’

Doreen’s father was where her love of photography came from. He had an editorial role at a largely distributed newspaper at the time The Daily Herald. It is he who encouraged Doreen to achieve her dream of being a photographer.

While in a school of photography, as a young woman, Doreen observed this,

‘all these people wanted to create were pretty paintings, smooth glossy images of bland perfection shot beside an urn with roses or a pair of fake French windows,’

Remind you of anything?

In those days in London, Fleet Street was the place newspapers were put together. It was also no place a woman was expected to want to work. Doreen didn’t care for that. From school we join Doreen in her early journey of capturing on film Lapland, America, Einstein and young royalty. She accompanied famous photographers at the time and learnt her craft.

Back home, Doreen found herself at a crossroads. She was invited by a friend to France, where work was available. This is where Doreen finds romance and her future husband. The narrative tos and fros between France and England, as they marry and have children.

This is when we return to where the book started, where Doreen’s husband is a struggling photographer and is also finding it hard to fit in with English culture. Doreen’s return to work as a newspaper photographer is a success, but this also causes friction within the marriage.

Doreen’s husband slowly retreats into his alcoholism and he loses virtually everything, as eventually Doreen is unable to help him and ends their marriage.

This book has many human stories and it’s a great read. One of my favourites.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Book Review. Santorini set A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander.

I read one book by Tasha Alexander, which I loved and so I borrowed A Terrible Beauty before lockdown from my library.

It is an odd read. It isn’t a high-octane thriller. It has intrigue, crime and mystery – a dead man comes back to life!

I feel like the emotional depth of the story and its characters took centre stage. There were a couple of surprise moments and excitement towards the end. The build-up of the story is slow. I don’t mind slow. The setting of Santorini and Greek myths was a distraction. My best description of A Terrible Beauty can be found in the text, in this quote, ’High stakes but seemingly endless time in a prolonged state of expectancy’

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds

Finding Henry Applebee is only 99p on Kindle at the moment! Set in past Blackpool, historical romance – an emotional read.

Poetic Insights

Waterstones

Foyles for books

The story of Henry Applebee is primarily narrated by the man himself, although characters Ariel and Travis do take parts in being protagonists. The timeline of the story switches between past and present. I was unsure of this book at first, until I got the gist of which path the story was going to take. Not that it is predictable. There is a huge build up, you have to wait for it though. I liked the setting of the train station in the present and loved being in Blackpool for the past. This is a story of lost love and once you discover how Henry met this woman and lost her because of his insecurities (and mobile phones hadn’t been invented) it did make my eyes mist over.

Unfortunately, the story lost its way in its conclusion. I felt like the author was trying to repeat…

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