Sunday Salon

I have been catching up with my book reviews; two novels, a poetry anthology and two novellas / short stories. Authors from England, the USA and Australia. Yeshiva Girl was the novel that stood out for me and I was delighted that Amazon posted my review after my recent experiences. I post all my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, you can see Amazon’s response to Finding David, but I have not yet heard back from Amazon on the other three. So the mystery continues; I and other reviewers have concluded it could be the rule that you must have spent £50, or fifty of something in your own currency, in one year to be able to leave a review. As Amazon allows authors to sell their e-books for as little as 99 pence this does not make sense. Nor does it make sense they accept a review for one book and not another. In the meantime, enjoy a look at five very different books and writers.

 

Yeshiva Girl by Rachel Mankowitz

 5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that will stay with me.

12 August 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I came across this novel after reading a review by another English blogger. I thought if an English agnostic chap could be so moved by a story of a New York Jewish girl it must be special. I went over to read the author’s blog and was even more keen to read. Being a teenager involves lots of angst wherever you live, with the pressures of school, friends and awakening sexuality. If you also lived in a tight community and had dark secrets how would you cope? I am fascinated with closed communities of any sort and I really felt I had an insight into the hows and whys of the orthodox way of life. Teenagers are attracted to the security of belonging to a group and some of the teenagers in this story wanted to follow a strict orthodox life, not just because their parents had put them in that position. In the meantime, our heroine is trying to make sense of her parents’ and grandparents’ lives and she is trying to tell people what happened to her. Gradually she reveals to the reader.

 

Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

What does happen when we dream; as far as I know, no one is sure, but most of us don’t keep returning to the same dream. I was soon wrapped up in Rick’s story and Dan’s life on a planet in the future which was totally realistic. Each story was so involving the reader might forget about the other side, but both lives get more complicated and the two worlds are brought together dramatically. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but I would look forward to reading more.

 

 Small Town Kid  by Frank Prem

This is the first time I have downloaded poetry onto my Kindle. I had read some of the author’s verses on line which led me to buy this and his following collection.  The verse, without punctuation, words kept to a minimum, is liberating. I was gently lulled into the first poem, setting the scene for a quiet country town. Delicious cooking, a wedding, church on Sunday, but suddenly a letter changes Sundays. Then there is a picnic, a picnic bigger than most of us have known. All life is here including the outhouse.  The boy grows, school, seasons, school report, growing up, the town changes with modern life, friends lost and in the last verse closing the circle.

 

Finding David by Stevie Turner

Thank you for submitting a customer review.

Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/review-guidelines

 

Finding David: A Paranormal Short Story ★★★★★   from Janet Gogerty on 15 August 2019
 
Not your usual missing person story.
 
People go missing all the time; when a child goes missing it’s every parent’s nightmare and never knowing can perhaps be worse. The author turns the usual missing person story on its head. Would you talk to a psychic, would you trust them? Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, would you take the chance of ignoring a loved one trying to contact you from the other side? We are soon swept along in this novella and the reader is not sure who to trust, nor is David’s mother Karen as her marriage is threatened.
 
A few common issues to keep in mind:

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.co.uk/feedback.
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  • Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
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Samantha

I was interested to see what other reviewers wrote. This is a short story that races along, but it needs better formatting to do it justice. When a different character speaks the dialogue should start on a new line to make easier reading.

A dark tale that does have a positive ending, but is not a fairy tale, realistically it does not just end happily ever after. I would have loved to have seen the latter part of the story developed as the main characters have more to offer and we would like to see more of how Samantha put the past behind her.

 

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Sunday Salon – Views and Reviews

Three books, a BBC television comedy and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra rounds off the season with two very different concerts.

Kill Joys by Martin Stratford

Twelfth in the  Havenchester Crime series

Private detectives Alec and Julie Tanner have a good team and their colleagues’ skills are vital in solving cases and saving their lives. There is more going on than anybody on either side of the law realises in delightfully dark plots at odds with a respectable hotel, a pleasant village and a museum that should only be of interest to lovers of literature. Can a feud between two families be resolved by two young lovers or are they putting themselves in danger? The action increases in pace and an innocent woman finds herself in a nightmare situation. Events move rapidly to the denouement in a deliciously complex plot spiced with the author’s usual dark humour.

 

Fancy Meeting You Here  by Jim Webster

A relaxing book to dip into, with tales and thoughts of Jim Webster who has farmed all his life near the Cumbrian coast. Poignantly we gather that for a farmer governments come and go, Brexit or no Brexit, people with little idea about real farming or local conditions can come along with new regulations and policies. For a sheep dog there are no worries about politics, but Sal has set views about what the sheep should be doing and what humans should be doing and when. There are pleasant walks and even a recipe for no cooking apple chutney. Whether you live in the countryside or have never set foot in a field, you will enjoy this book.

 

More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

I enjoyed the first book and this is another great selection of stories. Topically the last story is about plastics, has a solution been found? Yes, but only at a terrible cost. Each story is delightfully unique; a new slant on fairies at the bottom of the garden, a wedding bouquet like no other, royal shopping and some very tiny dark tales.

I read these three books as e books downloaded onto my Kindle. I posted the reviews on Goodreads, but they have all been rejected by Amazon. Two of the authors I have reviewed before with no problems; but out of all the long list of guidelines to adhere to could this be the one I am breaking?

To contribute to … Customer Reviews…  you must have spent at least £40 on Amazon.co.uk using a valid payment card in the past 12 months.

As Amazon allows us to buy books for as little as 99 pence this seems unfair to authors and readers.

Now for some comedy. I love a good half hour television comedy and there have been some very different series, gentle, dark, clever that we have enjoyed or are enjoying at Chez Beachwriter. Just finished last week was ‘Don’t Forget The Driver’ co written and starring Toby Jones. An exquisite six episodes of dark and gentle humour about Peter, a coach driver, who lives in Bognor Regis with his daughter and nearby his elderly mother. The first episode opens with Peter on his mobile phone to his identical twin in Australia; he stands on the beach in front of the webcam – Facetime the hard way – the Australian family spot something on the beach, which turns out to be a dead body…

Every character is subtly created and each episode takes us on a different outing, with the first a trip to France, returning with an extra passenger…

Another trip full of Japanese passengers interested in culture finds a very serious gentleman asking Peter to help him understand Shakespeare and iambic pentameters. The confused conversation ends with Peter saying ‘Okay Mr. Pentameter’.

The last episode finishes poignantly with Peter diverting his coachload of school band pupils to the cemetery.

https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/dont_forget_the_driver/

 

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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is Classsic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England. Classic FM is a commercial radio station which is often good except for irritating advertisements. Over the autumn, summer and spring the BSO play a few Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees at the Bournemouth Pavilion. A Classic FM presenter introduces popular pieces, with of course some jokes, mention of the weather, the seaside and interesting tit bits about the composers. The last concert on Saturday 11th May was ‘Hall of Fame’ with four pieces guaranteed to be enjoyed by various ages. The theatre was packed. William Tell Overture was followed by that great tradition of half the orchestra retreating while the men (and a woman ) in black stack chairs, manoeuvre the grand piano onto the stage and hopefully remember to lock the wheels in place. The chairs and music stands are repositioned and I always wonder if the musicians will end up with their right parts of music.

The second piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Piano concerto. After the interval the stage was reorganised again while the audience went out for an ice cream. In the second half the Carmen Suite was followed by the 1812 Overture as finale, a Classic FM favourite for finishing concerts and loud enough for someone near us to open their bag of Malteasers.

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Wednesday 15th was very different; the end of the main season at the Lighthouse Poole, being broadcast live on BBC Radio Three with chief conductor Kiril Karabits. Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, a great choral drama with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and three top soloists. Elgar was a Roman Catholic and based the work on Cardinal Newman’s poem of the same name ( no, I haven’t read it ). One hundred minutes which seemed to go by quickly. Part one finds Gerontius, American tenor Paul Appleby, on his death bed and the priest sends him on his journey. In part two his guardian angel, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, appears and eventually he sees God for the briefest moment with the chorus building up to the famous climax ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’. His guardian angel then gently leads him off to rest in purgatory, which doesn’t sound too bad.The whole work is a great drama with plenty of spine tingling moments, obviously a piece still popular with modern audiences whatever their beliefs. Kiril Karabits allowed a long moment of silence after the final chords of ‘Amen’ before lowering his baton.

https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/17644256.review-bso-the-dream-of-gerontius-by-elgar

https://www.facebook.com/Bournemouth-Symphony-Chorus-252826548066372

 

Understanding The Game of Life

Today’s Game of Life reviews a new anthology; Stevie Turner invited writers and bloggers to contribute. She gave them questionaires about significant life events. I slipped in to this at the last moment, thinking our wedding by the elevated section of the M4 motorway without any parents present would not be significant enough! However I was invited to join in. You can read about some  very different weddings in our family. If you want to buy the book all proceeds go to cancer charities. We are all interested in other people’s lives and this is a rare invitation to share some very diffferent lives from your own. Here is the Goodreads review I posted.

A simple idea; ask volunteers to answer a series of questions about a life experience. There are some experiences that most of us have, others that are certainly outside our realm. Even the same sort of experience will be different according to the person, where they live, the other folk in their lives. I loved the honesty of Abbie Johnson Taylor on becoming a carer – would she do it all again?  I enjoyed the positivity of Lucy V. Hay on being a teenage mother. Readers may find comfort in knowing other people have undergone the same. We may face events in the future and remember how others in this book dealt with it. But whether you are facing illness or an addiction, one of the messages that seems to be common is that there are some things you have to want to do yourself, you need to help yourself before others can help you.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44667522-understanding

 

Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon, the occasional blog that brings you all the arts.

Today a rattling good story, two very different theatre experiences and a concert.

She Who Goes Forth by Audrey Driscoll

I posted this review on Amazon.co.uk, but it was rejected! I also posted it on Goodreads, giving it five stars.

Whether you are young or can remember setting out in life on your own, you will connect with France our heroine in this ripping yarn. She is the new girl and nothing in Luxor, Egypt is as she was expecting. France finds herself with a complex set of colleagues and like anyone new does not know what is going on. But with her trusty cello by her side she does not let much daunt her. Although this novel is a fantasy, it portrays real people at an interesting time in history. We are not sure at first what is truth, what is France’s imagination or what part others have played in the strange happenings. Then events start to happen fast and there are terrifying page turning moments as France’s life changes forever.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2792704117

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Whatever your taste in music, drama or films; going out to a live event is always an experience.

The Pavilion, Bournemouth

The Pavilion has been celebrating its ninetieth birthday, not the oldest theatre in the country, but it has seen off two winter gardens and survived several attempts at closure or change.

The actual birthday night was celebrated with a trip back in time, three hours of varied entertainment for less than £10. A municipal orchestra was recreated and rose from the orchestra pit. This was followed by amateur silent film of Bournemouth in 1929 and newsreel films accompanied by the fantastic Compton theatre organ, which can also pop up and down and can make the whole theatre vibrate. At the many keyboards was Donald Mackenzie who plays its sister organ at the Odeon Leicester Square.

http://www.donaldmackenzie.org.uk/

After the interval was a showing of my favourite old musical, 42nd Street, made in 1933 when movies had made a great leap forward from silent to large scale musicals. The first time I watched it was when the lovely Art Deco cinema in Christchurch was having its eightieth birthday in 2011. On that occasion Mark Kermode, film critic from the BBC, introduced the movie and declared how great it was that the little cinema was still using real ( reel ) film. Shortly afterwards the cinema went digital; modern technology has to be embraced to keep these places busy and functioning…

Meanwhile back at the Pavilion I enjoyed the film again, great music and a show business story that is still relevant, the fat bloke with the cigar and the money was Weinstein. As the film finished the organ rose from the pit with a resounding chord and played the National Anthem and yes we did all stand. Happy Birthday followed to round off a good evening.

Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole

 The Lighthouse opened in 1978 and has a concert hall, theatre, studio and cinema. We went to the theatre to see ‘Dracula The Bloody Truth’ a family friendly show with the premise that Bram Stoker stole a true story.  Exeter based Le Navet Bete are committed to creating hilarious, physical and totally accessible comedy theatre using creative and engaging storytelling. The four chaps played many roles between them, including all the ladies. Their timing was brilliant as they mistimed everything, knocked scenery over or spoke each other’s lines. By the end of the first half, most of the set had fallen onto the stage. It was hilarious for the adults, but even better, the theatre was filled with the genuine laughter of children.

http://lenavetbete.com/shows/dracula/

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has not been based in Bournemouth since it moved to the Lighthouse; it plays its main season of concerts there and some are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 – make sure you have your mobile phones turned off! But it still plays some concerts at the Pavilion and also in other towns all over the South West of England, as well as spreading out its members to work with schools and care homes.

Even if you are not interested in classical music you probably have an idea what happens at a live concert and you would be right…   audience sits down as orchestra come on and start tuning, leader of orchestra comes on, more applause, conductor and perhaps the soloist comes on; even greater applause and they haven’t even done anything yet, but they look smart. If there are choir seats behind the orchestra and no singing planned the audience can sit up there and get a great view of the percussion section, although I always worry the huge cymbals are going to go flying backwards into the audience as the percussionist strikes them with gusto. I have never tried these seats as it involves lots of clambering around watched by everybody else in the auditorium and it would be embarrassing to trip. On broadcast nights you can watch the radio presenter chatting away silently to the microphone in his little booth at the side of the stage…

https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/about/

But every concert can be different and there is plenty to watch. Serious concert goers who all know each other, school parties, restless children and inevitably some people who fall asleep; even the most ardent music lover can find their eyelids, or worse, their head drooping as a busy day catches up with them and they sit in warm comfort soothed by the music… and what of those going for the first time? At one concert, as we all filed up the shallow steps to the exit doors at the back, I heard a woman behind me saying to her chap

‘I feel like I’ve been run over by a tractor.’

You have no soul, it was fantastic.

‘Don’t ever bring me to a live concert again, I don’t mind listening to Classic FM on the radio…’

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At a recent concert nobody knew what to expect and the conductor gave us an introduction so we would be prepared. It was the third symphony by Armenian composer Avet Terterian. Two soloists played small wooden instruments called duduks. The piece started with total silence for a good few moments which was surprisingly moving; do we ever hear total silence? This was suddenly broken by the drums. I noticed some of the orchestra had ear plugs and a lady up in the choir seats kept her ears covered the whole time. The duduks, far from being overwhelmed by the orchestra, played piercing notes that took you back to ancient lands. There were other periods of silence and sweet lyrical parts. I could not describe the symphony, but I loved it. There was rapturous applause at the end; it had been an experience.

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Sunday Salon

Two novels, a short story collection, a family reminiscence and Big Issue magazine.

Sunday Salon starts on a positive note; five stars for a very enjoyable real life read and my review published on Amazon. I was especially interested to read this book as we took our children to Norfolk on several holidays, but not on a boat!

5 out of 5 stars    The days were far from lazy, but it was the holiday of a lifetime.

23 February 2019

Verified Purchase

This truly was a getaway holiday. The family left a busy part of London for the peace and slow pace of life on the Norfolk Broads. It was also an adventure as they had not handled a boat before. Two sisters, four children and two dogs had to adapt to life in the confines of a boat. Fortunately the weather was good and the sun and fresh air come across in this warm story. There were plenty of places to visit along the way and the family enjoyed everything from the beach at Great Yarmouth to the castle at Norwich. If you have been on boating holidays or are contemplating one do read this book. Lots of us will know the experience of planning a holiday, then worrying if everyone will enjoy it, trying to please all ages etc. The two sisters weren’t sure if all the children had enjoyed themselves, but it turned out that they talked about it for weeks after and years later enjoyed reading this book and recapturing memories.

 

 Out of the four books I have finished reading recently this was the only review not rejected by Amazon. I have absolutely no idea why. The Thank you for submitting … and   few common issues to keep in mind were exactly the same for each book. You can read them below. This has happened to me only once before.

An Australian, a US and an English author, no bias on Amazon’s part then! All were Kindle books bought on Amazon.UK

 I have posted the reviews on Goodreads, but we all want our reviews to appear on Amazon…

Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review-guidelines

25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia

27 Jun 2012     by Margaret Lynette Sharp

 

  from Janet Gogerty on 25 December 2018

Romance guaranteed.

A gentle read to dip into. These are stories of life and love. Mostly romantic love, but also family tales. Young love and mature love feature. Whether you are young or older but remember decisions and choices, taking advice or following your heart, you will enjoy these tales. The stories of mature romance often feature reunions and second chances. Perhaps these tales could be set anywhere, but if you have lived in Australia you will know that it is a big country a long way from the rest of the world. If your romantic interest goes overseas or even over to Perth or up north, you know that is likely to be the end of your hopes, unless they return…

A few common issues to keep in mind:

  • Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at http://www.amazon.co.uk/feedback.
  • We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.
  • Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
  • Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.
  • Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.

 

Father Figure by James J Cudney

from Janet Gogerty on 17 January 2019

I gave this five stars.

A story that explores the darkest side of human nature and the most uplifting.

This is a novel that packs in a lot of life. The author explores many aspects of human love and that uplifts it from being just another story of childhood abuse or a teenage romance. Two time periods, two very different places and two girls on the brink of adult life. But this is also a mystery thriller with some chapters that will leave your nerves in shreds! Sometimes it’s best to leave your whole life behind and create a new one, but can you ever keep the past closed? There is a rich cast of characters who will provoke every emotion. This is the first novel I have read by this author and I am looking forward to reading more.

 

Shadow With Nowhere to Fall    Mark Lamming

from Janet Gogerty on 24 February 2019

I gave this five stars.

A story of friendship as well as love.

I loved the opening pages and the unexpected event which propels us into the lives of William and his family. His life is about to fall apart and the reader may think he is going to get his comeuppance, but is he a good person at heart, can he atone for the past? This is a real rollercoaster of a story, a love story, but not a cosy tale of mature love.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Nowhere-Fall-Mark-Laming/dp/1999649060

 

Big Issue Magazine

I wrote a blog the Christmas before last and have continued to buy the magazine weekly if possible – James became a regular, I passed him on my way to writers’ group. Later on he apparently got a job and somewhere to live, replaced by Mark who is also easy to have a chat and laugh with. Homelessness has got worse, I have no answers, but every Big Issue seller is a person doing their job and they have the opportunity to engage with the organisation and get other help as well.

But this is a review and I genuinely enjoy reading the magazine.  I turn first to the back page where they feature Big Issue seller of the week. Then there are plenty of interesting articles about real life, the arts and always some good insights by the founder John Bird. A neat non glossy ( better for the environment) mag. that is handy for reading on the bus or out and about. At £2.50 no more than the price of a cup of coffee, so why not try it.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/christmas-issue/

https://www.bigissue.org.uk/

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Silly Saturday – New Year Unresolutions

By now you have probably broken most of your resolutions, but it’s never too late to repair them. Here is a handy guide to resolutions that you will never keep, to save you making them in the first place and resolutions impossible to break.

Daunting

  1. Finish my Work In Progress before I finish my Christmas chocolates.
  2. Finish reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
  3. Review the above book intelligently on Amazon and Goodreads.
  4. Read every blog by every blogger I follow.
  5. Sell more books.
  6. Think up lots of new meals to cook.
  7. Clear out every drawer in the house and recycle all twentieth century ‘what’s on leaflets’.
  8. Learn how to use ebay and empty all cupboards and the loft.
  9. Spend less time on social media.
  10. Sign every worthwhile petition going on line and write to my MP and all the world leaders about every important issue.
  11. Become the first Indie Author to trek alone to the North Pole and blog every day about my journey.
  12. Visit the dark side of the moon.
  13. Live without plastic.

 Undaunting

  1. Finish my Christmas chocolates before my WIP.
  2. Read Brief Answers to the Big Questions: the final book from Stephen Hawking – The world-famous cosmologist and bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe’s biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work. As it’s posthumous he may have found out the answers by now.
  3. Review the above book briefly on Amazon and Goodreads.
  4. Read and comment on at least one blog a week.
  5. Sell at least one book this year.
  6. Try cooking one new meal.
  7. Tidy up at least one drawer.
  8. Take that bag of stuff to the charity shop.
  9. Improve social media skills.
  10. Share at least one funny cartoon a day on Facebook.
  11. Go for a walk to a new coffee shop every week – blog about the experience.
  12. Visit that new Ikea.
  13. Remember to take my bag for life to the shops.

 

Sunday Salon – Reading and Viewing Reviews

A book, a television series and a film.

MARLIE   BY ANNELI PURCHASE

I posted this review on Amazon and Goodreads. Marlie is set in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands – Haida Gwaii an archipelago approximately 45-60 km (30-40 mi) off the northern Pacific coast of Canada.

Janet Gogerty

5.0 out of 5 stars   Island life is always good for a story and this tale has everything.

16 December 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I knew nothing about the islands and little about this part of the world, one of the reasons why I had downloaded Marlie. Anyone who has found themselves with a new career in a place where they are the stranger in town will find Marlie’s story resonates. We may not have met a bear, but islands and remote places anywhere in the world can be surrounded by space and the illusion of freedom, but also have an insularity. On Marlie’s new island there are the locals and the original people and then there are the incomers, most of them ‘getting away’ from their previous life. Everyone knows everyone else, except of course Marlie who has no idea who to trust or how to avoid upsetting anyone. As for any young single woman, dating is a complicated game and it is easy to make a mistake. Enjoy the beauty of an island and the seas, but this story will also have you on edge as Marlie faces the elements and some sinister characters.

 

‘Mrs. Wilson’ A BBC 1 television drama of three episodes.

We have just finished catching up with this enthralling series based enticingly on real life. One fact about Alexander Wilson we know to be true is that he was an author of thrillers, you can find him on Amazon and Wikipedia, but unlike most writers his imagination spilled over into real life. He spun his lies to four ‘wives’, only the first was legally married to him. We follow the story of his third much younger ‘wife’ Alison Wilson; she is played by her granddaughter Ruth Wilson. The women in his life were real, as are his seven children. It’s almost certain he did work for the secret services at one stage, with his excellent language skills and intelligence, but what he actually did and for how long remains closed in the files. His own large family are never likely to know who the real man was. If we didn’t know it was true we would hardly believe that one man could be loved dearly by his women and children, despite all the trials he put them through; none of them had an easy time. Only after his death did Alison start to discover the truth. Eventually all the families got together. Perhaps only God knows if his Roman Catholic faith was more genuine than the rest of his life! It all made a cracking good story for viewers.

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-12-11/what-is-the-real-life-story-behind-ruth-wilsons-new-bbc-drama-mrs-wilson/

 

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We don’t have Netflix, but Cyberspouse knows someone who has… he has his name on Netflix with two family members, either side of the Atlantic. In his explorations of what is available he occasionally comes up with a gem and this was one of them we watched a few days ago. But was it a book of short stories or a film? Each tale was begun with the turning of a page in a beautiful old book. When I looked it up I was surprised there were only six tales, it seemed like more.

‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

The Coen brothers turn their Netflix series into an anthology film made up of six tall tales of the Old West.

Each story opened like a scene in the theatre or a painting. The singing cowboy riding his white horse and playing the guitar. Residents at a city boarding house sit at the dinner table, but two of the characters in that scene are to set out with a wagon train. This is the longest story, it moves gently until events take a turn… A travelling entertainer sets up his stage at each tiny town, but silently things move towards a dark ending. The story of the gold panner opened like a Disney film on an idyllic scene in a peaceful valley and progressed gently until a stranger came along. A stage coach is the setting for the final story and final it certainly is… If you get the chance, see this film.

https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80200267

The Game of Life – Gunshot Glitter

This week’s round of the Game of Life is dedicated to a writer who was out of the game far too soon. I had not met her in person, but she was a friend of my daughter’s, they met at music gigs in London and realised they both came from the same area. Yasmin became my Facebook friend one day and five minutes later I found myself belonging to Author Chat Forum – the first time I had linked up properly with other writers on line. That led to me broadening my horizons considerably.

Yasmin was an independent full of life and very warm person who seems to have touched many lives in many areas. She wanted to be remembered as a writer. Her novel is rather unique I think, unlike anything I have read before or since. This is the review I wrote a few years back.

Janet Gogerty

7 January 2014

My daughter told me about this new writer’s first novel, then read the book and worried it might be too raunchy for me – so I decided to definitely buy it! The opening chapters are shocking, some of the characters are shocking, but it is a beautifully written book with a fast moving story that involves you with all the characters. Of course we feel for the victim’s family, but can’t help also being on the side of the killer, kept in suspense till the end.

 

 

Sunday Salon – Astraens and Agents

Two novels, a short story collection and a film to take your mind off the real world.

The book reviews have been posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

A Marriage of Convenience by Stevie Turner

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairy tale for adults.

By Janet Gogerty on 17 October 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This could be described as a fairy tale for our age; a story that crosses from last century into the present. There is a love story, but there is also the bad fairy. Here is a tale of young people making rash decisions and bizarre plans which the reader knows can’t go well, which we hope they won’t go through with… There are dreams that come true and dreams that fade. The final part of the tale keeps us in suspense; can the dark spell be lifted from our heroine, can she ever forgive?

Coffee BreakEscapes: Twenty Short Stories To Set You Free  by Phillip Howlett

5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty tales lyrical or snappy, often taking you where you did not expect to go.

15 November 2018  Verified Purchase

A blackbird singing in the garden, a sure bet at the racecourse, poignant memories and a young lad’s sixpence. All life is here, though not always confined to the living. Secret meetings, terrible mistakes and deaths that shouldn’t have happened. Spare time for the last two longer stories ‘Radio Man’ and ‘Your Turn Will Come’, two very different tales exploring beyond our earthly limits.

Harmony ( Sanctuary Part Two ) by Maureen Turner

5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction for all…

18 November 2018

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I bought Harmony as soon as it came out as I had been waiting in suspense since reading Sanctuary. It was good to be back amongst the two communities, humans and Astraens. They are not so different from each other, which makes this such agood story. Can harmony be achieved when both sides have various agendas andthe Astraens are not as angelic as their appearance suggests? The tentative peace between the two races is constantly at risk because of the action of some individuals. But this is also a story of good characters trying to do their best and a tale of love blossoming.
Cosy science fiction perhaps? We don’t need to know how the motherships work, though we learn more about their travels since having to leave their own planet, nor why the aliens are conveniently sexually combatible with humans… lucky the woman who has a chap with wings to shelter her on a chilly night. But don’t get too cosy, the pace of the story escalates to a stunning ending.

Johnny English Strikes Again

‘Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in “Johnny English Strikes Again”. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology-or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.’

 Would you go to the cinema at 11am? One of my favourite places in Christchurch is the Regent Centre, a rescued and restored Art Deco cinema. On a damp grey winter day why not go and watch a film guaranteed to take your mind off the real problems of the world… and Johnny English has to save the world from a very big disaster. The film was silly but very funny. Just under an hour and a half, a sensible length for any film and certainly for this sort of film which is non stop slapstick send up with lashings of wit. Our hero creates nearly as much collateral damage as James Bond and doesn’t get the girl. A clever plot line somehow turns every disaster to advantage and Johnny saves the day.

Sunday Salon – the alternative to the Sunday Supplements

Dip into two books and two television dramas.

I review every book I read on Amazon and Goodreads and also share my reviews here.

This week, two very different English novels; one dark, one light.

Out of Time  by Jaye Marie

4.0 out of 5 stars In the mind of a killer.

By Janet Gogerty on 21 September 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I hadn’t read the previous novel about Kate, so knew nothing about her, but Kate knows nothing about herself either when she wakes up. This is a thriller with no heroes, the Snowman is desperate to help her and it seems at last he can, but it is not to be. If this was a television thriller the Snowman would save the day, but the story becomes more complex. We follow the killer’s thoughts as well as the other main characters, an advantage of books over screens. The reader will never sympathise, but we might comprehend what’s going on in Jack’s mind. Michael is another character who we think might save the day, but he is a mix of flaws and must face up to the grief he has caused the woman he loved and the other woman who loves him. This is not a novel for the faint hearted; what starts as a mystery of unconnected murders is also the story of those unfortunate enough to be in the path of a killer or know his intended victim. We know from the news that bizarre killings can occur when a murderer becomes obsessed and this murderer is obsessed with Kate.

Mum in the Middle by Jane Wenham-Jones

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and humorous.

ByJanet Gogerty on 8 October 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I downloaded this novel onto my Kindle as it sounded fun and we have relatives who have become DFLs* on the Isle of Thanet. But this is a story that would make an enjoyable read for anyone with family or lively family as neighbours. Whether you are married, divorced or thankful to be single, the lives of Tess and her family and friends will probably sound familiar. The story bowls along, with prospects of romance dashed at every twist and turn and plenty of modern life problems.

*‘Down From London’ – a good train service from St. Pancras, lower property prices and the seaside have made the Isle of Thanet, Kent a popular choice for workers needing to commute and also artists and entrepreneurs.

closeup photo of person holding panasonic remote control in front of turned on smart television
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

How do you watch television these days, perhaps not even on a television set? But drama serials are still ever popular, whether we sit down each week, catch up digitally or binge watch. I like the idea of the TV schedule, but inevitably if we’re out or have visitors I am thankful we can record or catch up. PAUSING programmes is also a brilliant asset as my good intentions to leave the computer or the kitchen by 9pm always fail.

There have been so many good dramas lately we have some still to watch. My two recent favourites were very different.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray is a long novel that many people on social media have confessed to not having read. But with a film and at least four television adaptations we can be forgiven for not being sure if we have actually read the book. BBC 1967, 1987 and the one I remember really enjoying was a few years ago – no it was 1998! So how would ITV’s new production compare?

Thackeray, played by national treasure Michael Palin, took his rightful place as the narrator at the beginning and end of each part; he watched his characters go round and round on a carousel.

The story starts in 1813 England, a turbulent society embroiled in war for twenty years. Thackeray introduces a world where everyone is striving for what is not worth having. The impossibly smart red and white soldiers, beautiful women, lovely horses and clean streets were not out of place because he wanted us to watch his characters in a performance. The battle field sequences contrast with this.

Becky Sharpe has nothing, but is determined to have everything, whoever she hurts on the way. We are whirled through years of love, heartbreak, family troubles, business disasters and tragedy with one love story ending happily.

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-10-12/vanity-fair-cast-itv-amazon

BBC4 on Saturday nights is a must if you love Scandi Noir or anything with sub titles. We have followed Danish politics, Swedish thrillers, Sicilian detectives, Paris police, Belgian undercover in French and Flemish, but most recently it has been Outback Noir.

Mystery Road in six episodes, was filmed in the Kimberly region of north Western Australia. Having lived in Perth, Western Australia and with family there, I try and watch any Australian series that come our way. I have never been to that part of the state, another country to suburbanites in the city. The series was worth watching for the scenery alone, wide landscapes of dusty red soil and long roads, a fascinating country town and a cattle station homestead that makes you yearn to live somewhere with endless space. A great cast did justice to a complex story linking past and present with layers of secrets. The old landowning family, the indigenous people and European backpackers all find their lives bound together in small town life.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/mystery-road