Tuesday, 27 March 2012

APRIL A-Z 2012 - it's the final countdown!

This time next week the A-Z 2012 challenge will be underway!

The - what?

Wait - you haven't heard? Get yourself over to the sign-up page, pronto!

This blog-fest is an excellent way to share what you get up to on your blog - be it cake-baking, story writing, flora, fauna, food, drink - the list is endless!

Whatever interests you might be of interest to others - besides, as you visit other bloggers in this bizarre bazaar you may come across kindred spirits and new interests!

Check it out and sign up - just one post a day on a different letter of the alphabet!

Sounds like hard work? OK, as time is running out why not pick up a dictionary and enlighten the rest of us with an unusual word each day - how easy is that?

Or, if you find you haven't enough time to organise your own posts, stick around and visit some of the blogs, you might pick up ideas for next year! And all of us bloggers like to read your comments, so we know who's called in!


.....it's the final countdown!

Thursday, 8 March 2012


I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with selecting 30 books for this year's 'OFF THE SHELF' reading challenge!

When I signed up I decided the 'Trying' level (15 books) would probably be easily do-able and therefore less of a challenge. So, silly fool me, I decided to opt for the next level, 'Making A Dint', which required 30 books to read over the year-long event.

However, 'regular readers' of this blog will be aware that my circumstances (and life, in general!) have changed and that most of my reading time is at the end of the day - where a book really has to fight to keep my attention! (....but do they really have to whack me on the nose as I drift off to the 'Land of Nod' and relinquish my hold on their covers.....?)

Well, 'NOT DEAD ENOUGH' by PETER JAMES is one such riveting read - I never succumbed to the yawns! Being 610 pages of small print, (together with my sometimes bite-sized chunks of reading) it has taken me longer than I'd have liked, but the chapters are quite short so that it is very easy to get right back into the action.

This book is the third outing for the central character, Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, although the eighth book in the series, 'NOT DEAD YET' is due to be released this summer.

The first book, 'DEAD SIMPLE' stands as one of my all-time favourite crime thrillers, with an ingenious plot - it would definitely be on my list of 'must-have' books if shipwrecked on a desert island! It also introduces Roy Grace, along with a hint of back-story about Sandy, his wife, who went missing a few years earlier, a thread which appears throughout the series.

'NOT DEAD ENOUGH' centres on the murder of wealthy socialite, Katie Bishop, with her husband, Brian, as the chief suspect - except he appears to have a cast-iron alibi that he was sixty miles away when she died.

With no sign of a third party involved, Bishop continually pleads his innocence even in the face of the undeniable DNA 'proof' of evidence found at the scene.

When another woman's body is found in similar circumstances to the crime scene surrounding Katie death, it transpires that Bishop could conceivably be responsible for both murders, but he insists he has no knowledge of this second victim. Once again, the forensic department declares his presence at both crime scenes is undeniable.

As Grace digs deeper, he tries to work out the likelihood that the man is telling the truth, but always the DNA aspect is the stumbling block, as unique as finger prints.....or is it?

A killer who gets 'up close and personal' with Grace's current girlfriend, pathologist Cleo Morey, brings the police detective's doubts about the prognosis of their relationship to the fore. Although there had been possible sightings of his wife, he realises he has more chance of a future with Cleo, than the lost dream of his missing wife; but will the killer rob him of her, also?

Peter James, with his usual consummate skill of unpacking the many layers of his plots in a tantalising fashion, keeps the reader engrossed to the very last page. All through the book, he sets up the parameters to preclude solutions until it seems there is no way to work out the ending, other than by following Grace like a bloodhound, trying to sniff out the clues for oneself!

It is a really cracking read and once Roy Grace gets under your skin one book is never enough!


Great news - having just gone back to check out some details/links for this post I see that I am allowed to change levels! Yaaaaay! So, I shall gratefully backtrack and aim for just 15 titles, although, I have a sneaking suspicion I may exceed that!

Now, the problem is deciding which are the lucky remaining 12 books I shall choose from my original list - although, I see Peter James is out to snare my attention with another Roy Grace story.......

No contest, really! ;-)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

'...shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings'

I realise that my frequency of blogging is becoming a little erratic - the reason for that is LIFE! In particular, its habit of getting in the way of things.

A few of you will know that we are facing some awkward family challenges at the moment (health, socio-economic, etc) and as we reel from one crisis to another we find ourselves 'on the ropes' as LIFE delivers yet another body-blow. A public blog is not the best way to air those issues so suffice to say we are determinedly soldiering on!

However, writing has had to take a very large back-seat and given the circumstances any pipe-dream of getting a work published has been kicked into touch - alongside the 'issues' at hand it seems trivial when there are more imprtant things I need to be expending my energy on.

That said, I have been furiously creating and stockpiling blog posts for the forthcoming APRIL A-Z challenge. (If you haven't signed up you can still do so here)

I also decided to give up looking at Facebook for Lent - so apologies if people think I'm ignoring them. (...well, I am, I suppose!) - I just decided I spent way too much time catching up on lot of notifications of threads I might have contributed to at some point...!

I still flitter on Twitter - and keep up with most of what's happening (and discovering the camaraderie of fellow knitters.....!)

So, if I'm not very visible across the blogosphere I haven't disappeared, I'm just trying to cope with life in all it's varied glory! (the Bee Gee's 'Stayin' Alive' is now buzzing through my head....!)

As to this post's title - the curious combination of items come from one of my favourite poems, the discourse between the Walrus and the Carpenter, from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'.

Life throws things at you that you often don't expect, with a bizarre randomness (like shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages and kings) and often in quick succession - like the line about the growing numbers of oysters in the poem.

Like LIFE - You have to laugh at the absurdity of it all - otherwise you'd cry yourself silly!