Good intentions line the highway:Musing Mondays

musingmondays51Well so much for intentions! Not only did I not read the books in translation mentioned last week, I diverted off course with a random read – a book I picked up on a charity stall in the local supermarket. I enjoy these random buys of mine – they follow no predestined thought; whimsy and curiosity mark my choices. This one Broke Through Britain: One Man’s Penniless Odyssey intrigued so much I desired an instant read. No TBR pile for Peter Mortimer.  Another for Non Fiction Challenge.   Will be reviewing very soon.

As I was off course anyway, I decided to read Broken Homes by Ben Aaronvitch – this is the 4th of his I have read, I am behind:) So yet another urban fantasy and another for the British Book Challenge. Must get back on tract!

I did read Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards which was a little disappointing – maybe because I liked the Memory Keepers Daughter so much.

I managed to finish Doctor Faustus by Marlow for the Literary Movement Challenge. So not such a bad week for books. But miserable failure on what I declared,  I was going to read, last week:)

The Random Question this week is who or what influences my choice of books.

I think I would have to answer circumstances. When I was a child obviously my choices were more limited, I read what was in the children’s section of the public libraries, what was around me at home ( more than the library but not so many children’s) What was bought for me as gifts. Until I had enough pocket money to buy my own books, I just read everything I could find, regardless. Many of them too old for me – returning to them years later would be like reading a whole new book! When it was my money, when coins were precious, I would devour the blurbs, read the first chapters and cross my fingers.Mostly detective novels then, people like Dorothy Sayers, John Creasy, science fiction and my only real love affair with romances Georgette Heyer.

I went through a stage in my mid-late teens when I was still at school, studying for major exams, when I would devour magazines devoted to literature and new literary books, my’ pretentious’ stage I call it, when I became a little snobby about titles and authors – in public at least!:) I found some great writers from these reviews and they led onto other great books, so it wasn’t all bad.This was a period when I devoured the classics, they were also to stand me in good stead on my travels.

I rarely took advice from others, not many of my friends read as much as I, my parents had never banned books from me. So, by the time I left education and began wandering I had quite an eclectic taste. On my wanders I discovered the power of books to learn as I wandered. I had already discovered non fiction as a child but these books explaining the countries, by local writers, were amazing. This was also when I discovered so many readable books penned by foreign writers.

On my wanders my choices became even wilder because I relied heavily on other travelers cast offs, books left at camp sites, in hostel rooms, passed from back pack to backpack. I read some amazingly bad books and an equal number of good. On one occasion stuck on a sheep station in the outback in Australia I ran out of reading matter completely and the Jackaroo helped me out – he had in his possession 26 science fantasy books of the most lurid – naked women about to be devoured by some space monster or other. I read them all, by the end I was even enjoying them. His books saved my sanity. A junkie needs her daily fix:)

I do take note if someone recommends a book, or I read a review in a paper or online when I am browsing but will always take the final decision myself. I am very good at spotting what I would like after so many decades.

Yes circumstances mostly.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Neon Court, Acid Lullaby: British Books Challenge


The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running  on Fluttering Butterflies between 1st January to 31st December 2015 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.If you sign up for the challenge you will be aiming to read at least 12 books by British authors (which works out to one a month).In terms of what books would count towards the challenge – the books can be in print or out. Old or new titles. They can be from any genre and for any age range.

Here are two more for my British Books Challenge. I am not sure why Urban Fantasy appeals to me so much – I am not in the usual way a fan of the supernatural, magic and all that cling to them. But one day an unknown voice on the other end of the  phone line recommended Ben Aaronovitch to me (she was helping me with an enquiry and we got chatting about books – as one does:) I tried the book and haven’t looked back. I obviously prefer the ones set in London as I was brought up there and know the places these magicians inhabit, but have occasional ventured across the pond to USA.

If you have not indulged in Urban Fantasy or physiological thrillers before be warned, neither of these books are  for the faint-hearted, murder is nasty, graphic and there is a lot of it in both books:)


The Neon Court (Matthew Swift, #3)

 The Neon Court (Matthew Swift #3)  by Kate Griffin

ISBN-10: 1841499013

ISBN 13: 978-184499017

Goodreads Blurb: War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy – The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone is in trouble loses.
But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying ‘we’ when she means ‘I.’
Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight. Strange things stalk this night: a rumored ‘chosen one, ‘ a monster that burns out the eyes of its enemies, and a walking dead woman. Swift must stop a war, protect his city, and save his friend – if she’ll stop trying to kill him long enough for him to try.


I am a big fan of Kate Griffin and am following her two series.

The Midnight Mayor aka Matthew Smith is an amazing creation, with his Blue Electric Angels. From the first word, of the first book, in the series I have been seriously hooked. This is the third in the series and I turned to it for light relief from Confessions and Mabinogion last month. This is my escapism.

If you have not read the first, the narration might take a little getting used to. Matthew alternates between himself and a collective within him. The Blue Electric angels took over when he was killed and now he has them as well as himself – switching from ‘I’ to ‘we’ is confusing unless you know this. As this also happens to Oda his friend, (she is possessed  as well) one needs to keep on top of the narration.

In this episode of the series, Mathew is engaged unwillingly in a battle to save a friend/enemy from a mysterious ‘chosen one’ and subsequent hell. At the same time he struggles to save London itself from all out war between two factions of the magical underworld. A war between magicians is not good news for anyone and in true magical tradition the death toll mounts rapidly and nastily. There is a subplot between him and his apprentice which just gets better, each book.

I have sung Kate Griffin’s praises before and am doing so again. Splendid read.




Acid Lullaby

Acid Lullaby (Underwood and Dexter #2) by Ed O’Connor

ISBN 1841196150

Amazon Blurb: A deranged predator on the rampage, a man with a terrible, drug fueled obsession, a monster who thinks he’s a god. The discovery of a decapitated body signals the start of a living nightmare for Inspector Alison Dexter. As she struggles to co-ordinate the manhunt, Dexter is suddenly forced to confront two demons from her own past: the arrival of a man that poisoned her career and the resurrected memory of a life she had to destroy. Returning to New Bolden CID after medical leave, John Underwood learns that Jack Harvey – the police psychiatrist that saved his own sanity – has been murdered. Events take on an added urgency when Harvey’s wife is savagely abducted. Baffled by the killer’s crazed modus operandi, Underwood becomes entangled in Dexter’s investigation and eventually finds assistance from the unlikeliest of sources.

I hadn’t read the first of this series, this was a book from a charity book stall. One of my recycled finds. I will certainly be reading the first and any more that come. Not an urban fantasy but good old fashioned police story – well maybe a little different, this is more psychological thriller than an ordinary who done it. I wasn’t sure the first few pages – I am not a great fan of detective books but I soon swam into the current, with great enjoyment.

Ordinary beginnings  within the hallowed and suspect halls of the financial markets in London, the story very rapidly swoops out of control and bodies  begin to pile up. What was a just to be a one off act of revenge spirals way off beam and we end up with a kind of gothic horror, fantasies of Hindu gods and what may be supernatural or hallucination episodes.  With the continuing disintegration of a mind rotting from within.

The characters were rounded and interesting, the plot complicated enough to keep attention with a touch of dark humour in the blackness. I kept on reading, not quite in one sitting, one has to live, but in two sittings. Great fun.

Wordsmiths & Warriors review: British Books Challenge

 The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running  on Fluttering Butterflies between 1st January to 31st December 2015 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.
If you sign up for the challenge you will be aiming to read at least 12 books by British authors (which works out to one a month).
In terms of what books would count towards the challenge – the books can be in print or out. Old or new titles. They can be from any genre and for any age range.


February so far has given me mostly horror and mayhem – Urban fantasy and psychological thriller. In stark contrast to January’s reads. I do like variety. I have read five so far this month and that makes for too long a post, so I will be dividing them up.

Starting with the one non-fiction I have read so far this month

Wordsmiths & Warriors: the English Language Tourist’s Guide to Britain by David and Hilary Crystal


Hardcover, 424 pages
Published December 1st 2013 by Oxford University Press (UK)

Blurb:Who formed and shaped the English language? David and Hilary Crystal take us on a journey through Britain to discover the people who gave our language its colour and character; Saxon invaders, medieval scholars, poets, reformers, dictionary writers. Part travelogue, part history, this illustrated book is full of unexpected discoveries.

Northern Ireland is not included in this journey, nor the islands, this is mainland Britain only. Maybe he plans another on these missing places. I hope so.

For anyone like myself who is fascinated with the journey of the English Language from small tribes to global this is a must. It is also great for those who on their jaunts around the country wish to have places of interest to visit. They should all read this book.

Small and large sites, villages and towns are on offer with good, clear,English (if anyone can deliver good clear intelligent English it is David Crystal) Fascinating little snippets and titbits of information alongside better known facts. From the earliest know written word, through the language development in England, Wales and Scotland through to the latest technology for analyzing grammar. Hillary Crystal provides the excellent photographs of each place. They are plentiful and clear.

For the travelers among us, there are excellent details on how to get to each place.

I would recommend this. David Crystal is always worth reading and these historical insights adds to our enjoyment of heritage.