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    The Art of Falling by Danielle Mclaughlin

    A kind of book here that I normally would not really read. If you read and follow this log, then this one may seem a bit different! You would be correct as I won this book in a competition! Rarely would I win much but I was delighted to win a book as I love them! This is fairly new and I saw it in the window of Waterstones here in Cork. Nothing better than a free book! :pac:

    From the looks of it and the blurb on the back, I did not expect much. It looked like one of those really light and fluffy books. Nessa McCormack is in charge of a gallery in Cork and there is an upcoming exhibition of a renowned sculptor Robert Locke who is now dead. He has a very famous sculpture called the "Chalk Sculpture" and Nessa is making all the arrangements to show it off.

    Unfortunately we learn that Nessa's husband Philip had cheated on her and they are trying to keep their marriage going. To make things worse, he cheated on Nessa with the parent of one of their daughters friends. Nessa and Philip have a daughter, Jennifer who is 16 so life is very precarious for the family.

    So Nessa is juggling her work life and her professional life while preparing for this important exhibition. While this is happening, along comes a woman who says the sculpture is actually hers! This woman seems a bit crazy but is determined to be recognised as the true owner of it. Then Nessa has to try to deal with the late sculptor's family who have their own issues.

    I thought this was light and fluffy but it proved to have more depth than I thought. Mclaughlin is definitely a good writer and I liked all the references to local places/streets here in Cork. The more I read, the more I got totally invested in the story. This is the sign of a good writer in my view!

    Sadly, I thought the ending was poor as after all the hard work building everything up, it all seemed to just fizzle out with a whimper. Maybe I expected too much but it felt a let down after all that I read. So it is one of those books that had me feeling "What was the point of all that ?" I went from thinking I wouldn't like it, to really liking it and then wondering why I bothered at the end.

    I would still just about recommend this but with the provisos given. Don't expect a great ending and only if you like a family drama will you like this. For a debut novel though I cut it a bit of slack but I think if a bit more thought put into the ending it could have been great. It is only 300 pages so the book isn't too long thankfully.

    2021 - 18 books read so far.




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    Awaken Your Power Within by Gerry Hussey

    Another of these self-help style books and this comes from Gerry Hussey who is Irish too and worked with the Irish Olympic boxers and other high profile athletes.It is subtitled "Let Go of Fear. Discover Your Infinite Potential. Become Your True Self."

    I am a big believer in these type of books and feel they are good to read every so often. Changing how I thought about things has made a massive difference in my life and it is all about small changes here and there making a huge difference. Like all these type of books, it depends on how you are going in to them. If you think it is rubbish, it is all a waste of time. Go in with an attitude of this could really help me, then they are a great help.

    As I do martial arts, I subscribe to the Bruce Lee method of training or learning. This means throw out what you think does not work and keep all that you think does. There is a lot in here that you can keep. Stuff such as it is all about how you approach things. Think everything is a hassle and it will be. Look at things as an opportunity to improve and you will do better. Hussey recommends affirmations and W.I.N to improve your life. What is W.I.N? What's Important Now. What matters the most to you at this moment and do this or do everything you can to make it happen.

    I was very like him growing up and he goes into detail about what he was like before he turned it around. I did jettison his talks on spirituality as that is not my thing at all but hey, each to there own!! A tad bit too much and in my view doesn't fit with his overall view of self reliance and only think about how you react and how you approach things. But you can tell its clearly important to him in his life and I respect that too. It may be important to you in your life as well.

    An excellent book that can help you to find your own path in life as it goes through the mind traps we all set up for ourselves. Hussey shows how to break out of these mental prisons that hold us back and works as a practical guide. Highly recommended!

    2021 - 19 books read so far.




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    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

    A book that I have been meaning to read for years and only getting around to it now. I should have read it years ago!

    This was originally published as a short story and then made into a sci fi novel in 1966. It concerns a mentally disabled man who works as a janitor in a bakery and his name is Charlie Gordon. He is happy enough but the butt of jokes as he doesn't understand things.2 Professors offer him the chance at intelligence as they have already performed an operation on a laboratory mouse called Algernon. Algernon has made huge improvements in understanding how to complete mazes and now the professors need a human subject. Charlie gets the operation and begins to improve mentally eventually even surpassing his professors! Then Algernon shows signs of deterioration and regression. Will Charlie end up the same way?

    This is an amazing book and I wish I had read it even sooner! It is told entirely from Charlie's point of view and we follow him from where he is at the beginning to where he is now a genius. From not being able to spell words to reading in many languages, we read his progress reports as he goes on this journey.

    We also see how different relationships both develop and fall apart. There are numerous themes in this book such as medical/ethical treatment, happiness, love, sex and how we look and treat the mentally disabled.

    It has a very sad and sobering ending that Keyes was asked to change but he refused. It is more powerful as it is and maybe this way it is a lesson for us all on how we treat people. Highly recommended.

    2021 - 20 books read so far.




  • Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

    This new site update really throws out the way I used to post but I suspect it is the same for everyone! The heat has crippled my reading so I am only getting going now again after a break. So onwards we go!

    A crime thriller that I really looked forward to reading as I has read Blacktop Wasteland already. (It is the 13 review on that page! Don't know how to link to the actual post. grrrrrrrrrr!!! ) I loved that book so I got stuck into this one. Derek and Isiah were the gay sons of Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee and the sons are found brutally murdered. The parents were not very accepting of them when they were alive but now both dads are determined to bring the killers to justice no matter what the cost.

    The action scenes in this are where Cosby really shines. You feel you are really in the thick of it when the bullets go flying!! The story starts off really well but then veers a bit off into what I call Scooby Doo territory. The kind where things are very convenient plot wise and the surprises are not much of a surprise at all.

    Some of the themes get a bit too over cooked where it gets very preachy and I wanted a return to the action rather than monologues. Other than these parts that dragged things down a bit, this is a really fun thriller. The style is very easy to read and I mean that as a compliment as it is very hard to put down!

    All in all, this is well worth a read if you like thrillers. It is predictable but still a lot of fun.

    2021 - 21 books read so far.





  • I reread all my Tintin graphic novels earlier this year again. A great trip down memory lane that was. I actually visited the small town of Louvain in Belgium where the Tintin museum is a few years ago during a holiday I took to Belgium. It is a short train ride from Brussels and well worth the visit if your a Tintin fan.



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  • I would definitely love to go to that Tintin museum too. There was nothing better than finding a Tintin in the library when I was a kid. They seemed to just have one copy of each and it would take ages to find them!





  • Silver by Chris Hammer

    Way back in 2019 I read Scrublands by Hammer and I loved that book. See the review below as that is a great read.

    So I was excited about the follow up called Silver and am only getting around to it now. The same character from the first book, Martin Scarsden, has returned to his home town of Port Silver. He has his partner Mandalay Blonde and baby Liam. His old best friend is found brutally murdered and wouldn't you know it......his partner Mandalay is the chief suspect! Don't you hate it when that happens?!! So, Martin sets out to prove her innocence and get to the bottom of the mystery.

    I started this book out full of hope and excitement but sadly I got ground down with passages of boredom and silly character names as well. Johnson Pear, Mandalay Blonde, Morris Montifore, Amory Ashton and Wellington Smith were a few. The murder is fairly early on but after that I was gradually bored and eventually had to give this up. The writing is good but just was boring where I was waiting for something to happen. Lots of sentences about the baby, landscapes and history of the fictitious Port Silver.

    I found myself not caring at all about the mystery and the font chosen for the book did not help. It didn't seem a very clear font and was not easy on the eyes, The biggest thing is that this book is just way too long at 570 pages. At least 200 from the first half could be cut out and this book really needed an editor who was ruthless. I think there was a good book here but it is just hidden too deep for me to care which is a shame.

    Avoid this at all costs but do go back and read the first book Scrublands if you have not already. Just don't waste your time with this one.

    2021 - 22 books read so far.





  • Trust by Chris Hammer

    This is the third book in the Scarsden series. It follows on from the book above, Silver. Why am I reading it when I hated Silver? I had it bought already! 🤣

    So Martin Scarsden has settled into his new life with his partner Mandalay Blonde (What a silly name!) and baby Liam. All seems well until Martin comes home one day and finds a man unconscious on the floor and Mandalay gone. She has been abducted! Why? Can he get her back? Who is the man? Why do I have so many questions?!!

    This was better than the previous book ,Silver and kept my interest better than that one. We do, however have some of the most silly and stupid character names ever put into print in one book. Here is a list as you might not believe me as they are so bad.......

    Harry Sweetwater

    Clarity Sparkes

    D'arcy Defoe

    Zelda Fordham

    Harry Livingstone

    Flanagan Mort

    Claus Vandenbruk

    Doug Thunkleton

    Winifred Barbicombe

    Taylor Torbett

    Wellington Smith

    Atticus Pons

    So after I was finished laughing at each characters name, the story was quite good. The good thing is that this book is not as long as the previous one. Its only 480 pages and seems to hold together better. I liked the mystery/thriller aspects but there is a tad too much about scenery. Hammer really needs an editor as I would have cut out a lot more. Maybe another 100 pages or more especially from the start. It takes a while to get going but once it does it was great fun.

    I would just about recommend this book but the first book Scrublands is the superior one of the three.

    2021 - 23 books read so far.





  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

    Alright, Alright, Alright........

    This is a part memoir,part notes kind of book that is full of stories, wisdom and lessons that McConaughey has learned so far in life. You can see he is a person who likes to travel his own road in life and this book is different to others. He dispenses outlaw wisdom while giving an account of his life so far. I liked the way he encourages the reader to find their own path in life while providing bits of inspiration along the way. Once of my favourite movies is Dazed and Confused so to hear him talk about that movie was great as well as the long list of other great movies that he has done. He comes across as a very easy going kind of guy just like his movies. A very nice read from start to finish so this was a great read. If you are a fan of him then you will love this book. If you don't know him then you will come to really like him through this book too! Highly recommended!

    2021 - 24 books read so far.

    (PS I have been reading away but forgot to update this log! Whoops! I will update it over the next few days! Hopefully people like to read this log)



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