Scarlet's Web



"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me."

Review: Dwelling by Thomas S. Flowers

Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) - Thomas S Flowers

Choosing what to rate this one created a bit of a dilemma for me. On its own, I can't say I loved it, or particularly enjoyed it, but I did finish it. I'm honestly not sure if I would have gone ahead and read the next in the series, but because I already had book two and three on my kindle I figured why not? Thankfully, the series did get better as the story progressed.


It took me quite a while to get into Dwelling. Partly because there was a lot of military flashbacks and scenes which I'm personally not a fan of, but also because it felt like there was too much character building and backstory within the book and not enough actual story progression. The progression of the story was buried underneath all the characters, world building, and backstory, which incidentally was being told to the reader rather than being shown or experienced alongside the characters. There wasn't enough story progression there for me and when the story and pace did finally begin to pick up, it was all over. The book stopped mid-story, finishing rather abruptly with no conclusion, and on a cliffhanger to boot.


There was also a lot of music and movie references throughout that I feel were being overused as a tool to take the reader back to a certain period in time. I found myself starting to get irritated at how often they were used. I found the same problem with different descriptive aspects within the story. It was rather repetitive at times.


As mentioned above, the repetition, character building, and backstory overshadow the main storyline and I feel book one and two would benefit from being tidied up and merged together. It would, in my opinion, have created a much better and more complete reading experience.



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BBC Radio 4 books to listen to



BBC Radio 4 has many good books etc going at the moment. There is a Neil Gaiman one coming soon! Here's just a few of the many that are on the go atm.


Book at Bedtime - The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman


Chilling revenge for a terrible crime is at the heart of Neil Gaiman's multi-award-winning novelette, inspired by a Hebridean myth and originally commissioned by the Sydney Opera House for the Graphic Festival with celebrated illustrator Eddie Campbell.

1/5. A dwarf seeks a guide to a certain cave on the Misty Isle.



The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse


"The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales" is a collection of haunting short stories written, abridged and introduced by Kate Mosse. They are all inspired by legends and folktales from the French and Sussex Countryside and each story explores the relationship between landscape and emotion. Grief and Guilt. Loss and happiness. They are timeless in their telling, ranging from the mythical past to the present day. Kate Mosse has chosen 5 out of the collection that exemplify the redemption experienced by the various grief stricken men and women as they come to terms with their destiny.



Book of the Week - Once Upon a Time in the East by Xiaolu Guo


Xiaolu Guo's autobiography tells her remarkable story from adoption at birth through to her career as a writer and film-maker based in the UK. This abridgement deals with her formative years, living in China in times of transition.



Episodic 15 minute Drama - Isaac Asimov's I, Robot


The rise of robotics in the 21st century, told through the poignant and mysterious story of enigmatic lawyer, Stevie Byerley. Starring Hermione Norris.



Book at Bedtime - The Transition by Luke Kennard


An intriguing and wry debut novel about capitalism, the housing crisis and a generation in debt. Set a few years from now, in an unnamed city, award-winning poet Luke Kennard imagines what life might be like for young people from the squeezed middle-class if our society continues along its current economic path.



 Daphne Du Maurier - The Birds


Nat Hocken and his family are disturbed during the night by the sounds of birds. Read by Tristan Sturrock.




Review: The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

The Taxidermist's Daughter - Kate Mosse
As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Taxidermist's Daughter was chosen by Mae. I have to say, she didn't choose very well this time.


I was disappointed with The Taxidermist's Daughter. I found it to be dull, slow, and easily forgettable.


The characters were flat, under established and faceless. They merged into one another rather than standing out as individuals. The plot was dull and uneventful and plodded along extremely slowly. There was no tension or anticipation. No thrill of a mystery being unravelled and revealed. Nothing to draw me in. I honestly didn't care who did what to whom and the conclusion was as much of a let down as everything that came before.


There were, however, small parts where the portrayal of the surroundings stood out. The descriptions of the environment really shined at certain points. It was dark and stormy and created a wonderful gothic atmosphere, but sadly this was a rare occurrence. Like the characters, the different settings were all very similar and merged into each another.


Overall, I found The Taxidermist's Daughter to be dull and tedious and not one I would recommend.





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Review: Homegoing: A novel by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing: A novel - Yaa Gyasi

I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.


Unpopular opinion time. I've had several friends recommend this book to me saying that it blew them away, but I have to admit I struggled with the format.


Homegoing tells an important story but I wasn't able to completely immerse myself into the story because of the format in which it is told. Each chapter is in itself a brief short story, a small snapshot from each generation, but it was too disjointed for me as a whole.


I got rather lost and frustrated. I had a problem keeping track of the characters and I had to keep referring to my notes. Each chapter is devoted to one character per generation, following two generations. The chapters are only around twenty'ish pages long so I didn't get to spend much time with the characters and as a result, I didn't get to know them in the way I would have liked to, or needed to. There wasn't time to get to know them on an emotional level or to be able to fully relate to their struggles and experiences. The story was in a constant state of change. This started to really annoy me, I was forever having to remind myself which family line I was on and which generation of that family line the character descended from. I found myself consistently being pulled out of the story with every new chapter.


I'm a character reader, I need to connect and feel for the characters and in this instance, because of the format, they weren't detailed or in depth enough for me to be able to do that.





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New Books!
New Books!


My hubby surprised me with some books from my wishlist!


I'm itching to start them right away but I'm going to resist and add them to my TBR jar.

Review: The Blood Gospel by James Rollins

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins




 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Blood Gospel was chosen by Mae. I have to say, she did pretty well with this choice. Much better than her previous choice which I have yet to post a review for.



 For the most part, I enjoyed The Blood Gospel and flew through in no time. Sure it wasn't completely original, but it was different enough that I read it in two sittings. It's pretty fast paced, the whole story takes place over a few days and a lot happens in those few days.


The one thing that ruined it for me was the romance. It didn't need the romance and it certainly didn't need a love triangle. I do wonder sometimes why romance is thrown into books like this. I purposely look for books without romance. Why ruin a perfectly decent thriller? Is it to appeal to female readers? You do realise not every female likes to read romance right? This female found it completely unappealing, unbelievable, and out of place. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but in a situation like the characters found themselves in, the last thing that would be on my mind and the last thing I want to read about is constant inner thoughts about how a man's lips look, how their hair glints in the sunlight, how blue their eyes are, how the heat radiates off their skin, the list could go on and on... They were fighting their attraction at every step while evading the enemy, surrounded by chaos, wounded, in pain, and exhausted. It's ridiculous. It was extremely cringy and unbelievable and it certainly lowers my rating quite a bit.


That being said, I do plan on reading the next in the series because, aside from the romance, the main plot was enjoyable and I want to know what's to come. I just hope the romance is a lot less eye roll and gag worthy in the next instalment.




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The Trump era's top-selling dystopian novels


Donald Trump has sparked a sales bonanza for publishers of dystopian fiction - as well as his own books on business success. Here are the titles currently enjoying a boost on the back of his arrival in the White House...



See full article here

Happy Burns Night!


Time to tuck into dinner. Rabbie Burns, we salute you!




Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
       Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
       As lang 's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
       In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
       Like amber bead. 

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An’ cut ye up wi’ ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
       Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
       Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
       Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
       Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
       Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
       On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
       His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bluidy flood or field to dash,
       O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
       He'll make it whissle;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
       Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
       That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
       Gie her a Haggis!


100% done with The Blood Gospel by James Rollins

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins


Why ruin a good thriller with an unneeded and unbelievable romance. Not just one romance interest either, but a cringeworthy love triangle!

255/479 pages done with The Blood Gospel

The Blood Gospel - Rebecca Cantrell, James Rollins


My next read for the 2017 canine TBR jar challenge. Mae pulled this one out last night. So far I'm enjoying, it's much better than her previous pick. It's a lovely big floppy paperback too! I'm torn between going to bed or reading more.


Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides



 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Middlesex was chosen by Enya. So far she's chosen The Exorcist which was a 5-star read and now Middlesex which I have to say I struggled with.





There is a lot of reading to this one. It's not that it's over-written per se, more that it's over told. It was hard work and I struggled to get through it. For every 100 pages read, it felt like 1000. The author kept going off on tangents, throwing in facts or history which weren't necessary. It was extremely annoying to have to wade through all this extra information while still keeping track of the narrative. It pulled me away from the characters and their stories every time. So much so, that I had to force myself not to skim these sections. It would have been a much faster and a more enjoyable read without the tangents and history lessons.


That being said, I did enjoy the storyline. When the author stuck to the characters and their stories it was an enjoyable read, but way too often it was interrupted by everything else. I wanted to read on to learn what happened to the family. I enjoyed getting to know each generation and seeing how their experiences were influenced by the generation before. Had the book concentrated on this and had all the other stuff removed, I would probably recommend it. As it is, It's not one I would recommend.




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100% done with The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) - Michael Ende


I really want to watch the movies now, but I 'm scared to watch them in case they ruin the nostalgia and memories from watching them as a kid.


Time to get one of the dogs to pick my next read for the Canine TBR Jar Challenge

2017 Canine TBR Jar Challenge


So, as I mentioned in my Best of 2016 post I have thrown all the names of the books on my shelves into a TBR jar and I'm having each of my dogs pick one from the jar when I need a new book.


I thought it would be fun to keep a tally of who picks what and what rating I give each when finished in order to see which dog has the better luck in picking good books. Maybe the dog with the best taste in books will get a little book charm for their collar at the end of the year, and a bone of course!


I did consider getting the two cats involved but my Bengal would pick the crappiest books on purpose just for the shits and giggles, and to spite me of course cus she's a little witch! The siamese wouldn't lower herself to choosing from a glass jar, it would have to be the finest crystal jar for her to even consider getting involved. So it's just the dogs, they are easy and will do anything for a treat lol.



The Exorcist - 5 star review

Middlesex - 2.5 star review











The Taxidermist's Daughter - Still to rate/review












Frozen Charlotte - 4 star review

The Neverending story - Currently Reading


19/528 pages done with The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) - Michael Ende


My next read from my TBR jar, chosen by Thorin




If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger--


If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early--


If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless--


If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.”

Michael Ende, The Neverending Story





Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr


I would like to thank Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.


The One Memory of Flora Banks was a quick and easy read, but it wasn't executed the way I had hoped. The premise was an interesting one, but I feel that the storytelling only scratched the surface. I found it to be extremely repetitive, I get the idea behind the repetitiveness, but it got too much.


Character wise, all the characters outside of Flora's character felt more like props than actual characters. The storyline was totally unrealistic. Flora's ability to cope when all of a sudden she didn't know where she was, how she got there, or who the people around her were, was far too calm and accepting. There was no sense of panic or danger. The whole journey thing was beyond unrealistic.


I am also disappointed in how Flora's mother was portrayed. I feel her character needed to be explored more to give an insight into her grief and what she was feeling and going through in order to understand her actions, but instead, she had a very negative light shone on her.


Not one I would recommend.




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Review: 1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted

1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted - James Harkin, John Mitchinson, John Lloyd


I would like to thank Faber and Faber for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book. 

There's not a lot I can say about this one. It is what it says it is; a book full of weird, funny and interesting facts that will have you either chuckling, WTF'ing, or scratching your head.


Here are a few examples:


- The Very Hungry Caterpillar was originally called A Week with Willie Worm.


- In China, it's illegal to reincarnate without filling in a government Reincarnation Application form.


- Men who watch a lot of porn have smaller than average brains.


- In the 18th century, chickens were known as "cacklers" and eggs were "cackling farts".


- "The Copper-Penis Owl" is the monster used in Hungary to scare children into behaving.


I now find myself throwing out random useless facts during conversations, lol. As an added bonus, my point score has gone up when watching QI on tv!




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Currently reading

Becoming by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Glenn Rolfe, Jason Lynch
People of the Sun by Jason Parent
Progress: 100%
The Devil's Paintbox (The Witching Legacy) by Robin Jarvis
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) by Michael Ende
Progress: 528/528pages
Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) by Ezekiel Boone
Progress: 100%

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