The Dark Place

The Dark Place

DeeJayBee (Wattpad user name)

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Following the death of her mother 11-year-old Tamicka Moon and her father move from C3328880-176-k469897anada to Eastlake in England, where they both struggle to come to terms with their grief. Jack Moon becomes engrossed in writing about Munford House, the estate where they are staying, while Tamicka is left to explore the house that no-one in Eastlake, save the housekeeper, Mrs Hughes, will go near.

Why won’t anyone go near the house, though, and who is the spirit that offers to make everything better for Tamicka – friend or something else? When Tamicka befriends a local girl, Penny, the spirit warns her she can’t be trusted, and that seems to be true when Penny’s friends play a cruel trick on her; is the spirit telling her the truth, or even everything, however?


I’m sure some of you will be a little confused by the two sets of star ratings I’ve given this book, so I’ll explain.

First off, this is a 4* book, the story is a good one, with plenty of twists, a nice Gothic touch on occasions, some good characterisation, with people you’re interested in and whom you want to see either prosper or get their just desserts. The writing is nice and tight, without a lot of padding (this is something I’m guilty of in my writing and seeing who short and sharp the writing is here has helped me to work on my own books to pare the padding) which keeps you close to the action at all times. The dialogue is good as well, it fits the characters.

There’s a short epilogue which ties a few things up, with one thing that wasn’t a surprise and another that really was – I didn’t see it coming at all – and I think it’s good that you get an, albeit brief, idea of what’s happened to the characters after.

The reason there is a second rating to this book is because it’s a first draft. DeeJayBee has released her book on Wattpad, as I am in the process of doing, to get feedback and generate some interest. Because it’s a first draft there are typos that might put people off, and a few areas where a tweak might be needed, and I have deducted .5* for that. Once the edited and polished version is available this will be a 4* all the way, and I look forward to it being sorted and released for Kindle and other devices because I think it will do quite well.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, then you can start reading it here (by the way, this is a former winner of Wattpad’s Best Wattpad Reads in Paranormal so it’s not just me that thinks it’s good.)

 

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2nd challenge

After deciding to challenge myself to read The Telegraph’s top 100 books of all time, I dickens_gurney_headthought I would also challenge myself to read all of Charles Dickens’ books. I’ve read some of these before, before now I’m going to read them all, and in order – it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but I’ll get there. I’m looking forward to it actually.

Novels

The Pickwick Papers
Oliver Twist
Nicholas Nickleby
The Old Curiosity Shop
Barnaby Rudge
Martin Chuzzlewit
Dombey and Son
David Copperfield
Bleak House
Hard Times
Little Dorrit
A Tale of Two Cities
Great Expectations
Our Mutual Friend
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Shorts

American Notes
The Battle of Life
The Chimes: A Goblin Story
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Tree
A Dinner at Poplar Walk
Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions
A Flight
Frozen Deep
George Silverman’s Explanation
Going into Society
The Haunted Man
Holiday Romance
The Holly-Tree
Hunted Down
The Long Voyage
Master Humphrey’s Clock
A Message from the Sea
Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy
Public Life of Mr. Trumble, Once Mayor of Mudfog
Sketches by Boz
The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton
Sunday under Three Heads
Tom Tiddler’s Ground
Travelling Abroad – City of London Churches
The Uncommercial Traveller
Wreck of the Golden Mary

 

1st challenge

I discovered this list on another blog this morning, I forget the name of the blog but the list comes originally from The Telegraph, a national newspaper here in the UK. Below is what The Telegraph considers to be the top 100 books of all time.

Being someone whose reading level has always been above his age (I was reading adult books when only ten) I was surprised to discover I’ve only read 5 of these. Since that’s the case, and I feel a little disappointed in myself over it, I am challenging myself to read all of these books – it’s going to take me quite a while to get through them, I’ve been so focused on my writing recently that my reading has taken a back seat, but I’m hoping this will help fix that.

Wish me luck.

1. Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes

2. Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan

3. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe

4. Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift

5. Tom Jones Henry Fielding

6. Clarissa Samuel Richardson

7. Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne

8. Dangerous Liaisons Pierre Choderlos De Laclos

9.  Emma Jane Austen  

10. Frankenstein Mary Shelley

11. Nightmare Abbey Thomas Love Peacock

12. The Black Sheep Honoré De Balzac

13. The Charterhouse of Parma Stendhal

14. The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas

15. Sybil Benjamin Disraeli

16. David Copperfield Charles Dickens

17. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

18. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë  

19. Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray  

20. The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne  

21. Moby-Dick Herman Melville

22. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

23. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins

24. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll

25. Little Women Louisa M. Alcott  

26. The Way We Live Now Anthony Trollope

27. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

28. Daniel Deronda George Eliot

29. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky

30. The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

31. Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

32. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson

33. Three Men in a Boat Jerome K. Jerome

34. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde

35. The Diary of a Nobody George Grossmith   

36. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy

37. The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers

38. The Call of the Wild Jack London

39. Nostromo Joseph Conrad

40. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame  

41. In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust

42. The Rainbow D. H. Lawrence

43.  The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford

44. The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan

45. Ulysses James Joyce

46. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf

47. A Passage to India EM Forster

48. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

49. The Trial Franz Kafka

50. Men Without Women Ernest Hemingway

51. Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Celine

52. As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

53. Brave New World Aldous Huxley

54. Scoop Evelyn Waugh

55. USA John Dos Passos

56. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler

57. The Pursuit Of Love Nancy Mitford

58. The Plague Albert Camus

59. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell

60. Malone Dies Samuel Beckett

61. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

62. Wise Blood Flannery O’Connor

63. Charlotte’s Web EB White

64. The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien

65. Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis

66. Lord of the Flies William Golding

67. The Quiet American Graham Greene  

68 On the Road Jack Kerouac

69. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov

70. The Tin Drum Günter Grass

71. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

72. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark 

73. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee  

74. Catch-22 Joseph Heller

75. Herzog Saul Bellow

76. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez

77. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont Elizabeth Taylor

78. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John Le Carré

79. Song of Solomon Toni Morrison

80. The Bottle Factory Outing Beryl Bainbridge

81. The Executioner’s Song Norman Mailer

82. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller Italo Calvino

83. A Bend in the River VS Naipaul

84. Waiting for the Barbarians JM Coetzee

85. Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson

86. Lanark Alasdair Gray

87. The New York Trilogy Paul Auster  

88. The BFG Roald Dahl

89. The Periodic Table Primo Levi

90. Money Martin Amis

91. An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro

92. Oscar And Lucinda Peter Carey

93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Milan Kundera

94. Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie

95. LA Confidential James Ellroy

96. Wise Children Angela Carter

97. Atonement Ian McEwan   

98. Northern Lights Philip Pullman

99. American Pastoral Philip Roth

100. Austerlitz W. G. Sebald

I shall transfer this to a page later so I can keep you all updated on how I go with it, and also put up reviews of the books as I complete them.

The Final Empire

The Final Empire (Mistborn Book One)

Brandon Sanderson

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For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

51e7v-pdyl-_sx307_bo1204203200_Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.


I’m a big fan of fantasy, in all its various forms, and I enjoyed this book, it’s the first by Brandon Sanderson I’ve read, but it’s a little light for my tastes. There’s a nice enough group of characters, who are developed well enough for me to care about at least some of them, but the bad guy, described as incredibly powerful throughout the book  – which he is when he finally appears – is killed a little too easily in the final battle.

Added to that is the ‘magic’ of this world, for want of a better word; it’s very different from any other type of magic I’ve read about and seems too limited, though there is the potential for power there, and I had a hard time accepting.

Overall I’m interested in reading the next book in the series, but I’m not going to rush to do so, and this is not going to make my top ten of fantasy, let alone my top ten books of all time.

Mega stressed!

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I just knew today was going to be a bad day when I had to get up early for an appointment I didn’t want to go to and found the weather overcast and rubbish. I followed that up by burning my pop-tarts and having to endure a series of very personal questions at my appointment that brought up some unpleasant childhood memories (not that I remember much of my childhood, I’ve blocked most of it out).

The result of that was that I felt an incredibly craving for sugar, so I stopped off at Tesco and bought this

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I had calmed down a little by the time I got home and was thinking that I should have shown some restraint, and that my waistline will not thank me for all this rubbish I now have to eat. That reduction in my stress and generally low mood didn’t last long, however, for in the post I received a letter from the job centre, with a form to fill out explaining why they should give me the sickness benefit they’ve already said they are giving me; why I need to fill out this form when they already have a letter from my doctor explaining why I’m not fit for work, I don’t know.

Immediately my stress levels went back up, and proceeded to climb steadily higher as I went through the form and had to provide the same answer again and again to different, but basically the same, question. By the end of it I felt as though my head was going to explode and I was ready to shout at anyone or anything, including the dog, that came near me; I am also now ready to eat everything I bought in one sitting and damn my waistline.