Currently I'm reading: Jenseits vom Tatort by Horst Brandt

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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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3 May 2016
Dear Readers

I have decided to publish all my reviews on GOODREADS only

https://www.goodreads.com



Happy Reading!
Peggy 


24 April 2016







Title
More Ketchup than Salsa - Confessions of a Tenerife Barman
Author
Joe Cawley
Publisher
Joe Cawley
Publication Date
December 2013
Pages
374
Genre
travel, memoirs 

Description (from Amazon)

When Joe and his girlfriend Joy decide to trade in their life on a cold Lancashire fish market to run a bar in the Tenerife sunshine, they anticipate a paradise of sea, sand and siestas. Little did they expect their foreign fantasy to turn out to be about as exotic as a wet Monday morning.
Amidst a host of eccentric locals, homesickness and the occasional cockroach infestation, pint-pulling novices Joe and Joy struggle with the expat culture and learn that, although the skies might be bluer, the grass is definitely not always greener. 
An hilarious travelogue exposing the wild and wacky characters of an expat community in a familiar holiday destination, More Ketchup than Salsa is full of humor and is a must-read travel memoir for anybody who has ever dreamed about moving abroad, finding a job overseas or even momentarily flirted with the idea of 'doing a Shirley Valentine' in these trying economic times.
My thoughts

I absolutely loved this book. Found it by searching for books on Tenerife. We love Tenerife and had some lovely holidays there. Even before I read this book, I always had a sneaking suspicious if you want to live and work there, it is not always holiday every day.

Joe Cawley is a very skilled writer, and it was so easy to read without every being boring. He comes up with so many witty similes and funny descriptions and anecdotes, it felt often like talking to a good friend and laughing and crying with that friend about their hilarious stories. 

I read it in 2 sittings and it never got boring. There is a second part to the book, and I will get it now. 




17 April 2016



Title
It
Author
Stephen King
Publisher
Viking
Publication Date
September 1986
Pages
1392
Genre
horror

Book Description (from Amazon)

It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the town so horribly different. In the storm drains and sewers "It" lurks, taking the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. As the children grow up and move away, the horror of "It" is buried deep - until they are called back.

My thoughts

King what King does best: horror and small town America. 
'It' is considered as one of his masterpieces, and I can see why. 
This is a very long book, well over 1000 pages - maybe one of the longest  books I read, but in this case I found it was worth it. 

The story is set in the fictional small Maine town Derry. 7 children growing up in Derry in the late 1950's form the 'Loser Club'. The book is set with all of them aged 12. Bill Denbrough stutters, and is haunted deeply by the death of his younger brother George who gets killed when a paper boat he chased down the road drifts into a storm drain. George is found with his arm torn off. Ben Hanscombe is intelligent and a bookworm, and also
 very large. Richie Tozier, bespectacled is know as 'Trashmouth' and his big mouth does get him into trouble. Eddie Kaspbrak is asthmatic and his mother is overprotective to the extreme of him. Stan Uris is Jewish and Mike Hanlon African-American and both are bullied for their background. Beverly Marsh, the only girl, is physically abused by her father. All seven are bullied to the extreme by the sadistic Henry Bowers. Apart from seeking refuge and strength in numbers with the Losers club against Bowers, all seven will discover that they have seen and experienced frightening sightings of evil things and things which they fear most which differs for each of them. And the killing of Bill's brother is not the only child killing. The Loser club becomes to realise that they not only have to defend themselves from Henry Bowers, but also fight 'It' - the evil presence.And they make a pact to return to fight 'It' should the evil ever return.

20 years later, Mike, who is the only one who did not leave Derry, calls them back. He has done research and not only has 'It' returned, but it seems to have been spreading the evil in Derry far longer then just the the 1950's.

The main idea is of course the horror that 'It' represents to each of the children and the whole town for many centuries. What I liked most is (as so often with King's stories) the wonderfully drawn characters. All the individual stories, backgrounds, problems, growing up and taking it into adulthood. They all developed into adults shaped by their childhood (Beverly is with a man who beats her, Eddie is a hypochondriac etc)

The sections of the book switch from 1986/85 and back to 1957/58 twice, but it is in large sub-sections of the book, so it is always very clear where in the timeframe the story is, and the whole story is also slowly revealed that way. 





27 February 2016







Title
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Author
Bill Bryson
Publisher
Doubleday
Publication Date
September 2004
Pages
624
Genre
science, non-fiction

Bool Description (from Amazon)

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. 

Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish who worked out many conundrums like how much the Earth weighed, but never bothered to tell anybody about many of his findings. In the company of such extraordinary people, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.


My thoughts

It took me a while to get into this book, maybe because I haven't read non-fiction, more academic style books for a while. But once I was in, I was hooked. 

And don't be put off by the 'more academic style' - Bryson writes very accessible. Yes, some things probably did went over my head, but I just continued reading and was soon fascinated. A few things which particularly stick in my memory are how 'nutty' scientists are actually are (and how conniving ! ) but also how much effort was involved in early experience / measurements etc. How much trial and error. And how much there is still unknown at this stage. What a wonder life is, and what a wonder it is that we are here at all. 

I have promised myself to read some more scientific-based books. 



21 February 2016





Title
Tapas and Tinto
Author
Pete Wolstencroft
Publisher
Pete Wolstencroft
Publication Date
August 2012
Pages
141
Genre
travel, non-fiction
Book Description (from Amazon)

This is the story of how I fell in love with Spain. The main elements are the food and drink, the wildlife and the wonderful people. But the protagonist is Spain itself. I first lived in the country in 1984 when it was a very different country to the one we know today.

My thoughts

I read this book on my E-reader on the plane - not flying to or from Spain though. I love travelling and reading about people's adventure, so this very short book fitted the bill.

The book is an easy read, and the author writes with a lot of wit and humour; I found myself laughing out aloud quite a few time. The book is based on his personal experience of Spain mainly in the 1980's. I did admire his guts, leaving everything behind in the UK ans setting out for Spain, naive at first and learning the lessons of travelling, the expat community and of Spain as he went along. I think there was quite a lot of alcoholic beverages involved ;) 

This is not a 'how to' guid of travelling or working or living in Spain, but made a very entertaining quick read. 


7 February 2016





Title
The Tommyknockers
Author
Stephen King 
Publisher
GP Putnam's Sons
Publication Date
November 1987
Pages
558
Genre
horror, alien


Description (from Amazon)


Everything is familiar. But everything has changed.
Coming back to the little community is like walking into a nightmare for Jim Gardener, poet, drunk, potential suicide.
It all looks the same, the house, the furniture, Jim's friend Bobbi, her beagle (though ageing), even the woods out at the back.
But it was in the woods that Bobbi stumbled over the odd, part-buried object and felt a peculiar tingle as she brushed the soft earth away.
Everything is familiar. But everything is about to change.

My thoughts

King on best form here. 
He brings us (once more) to a small town in Maine called Haven. This is where Roberta 'Bobbi' Anderson lives on an inherited farm. In the first few chapters of the book, the story is set when Bobbi walks into the woods with her dog and sees a piece of metal sticking out of the forest grounds. Curious, she examines it and finds that it is much bigger then she initially thought (not a tin can!) and she starts digging around it.

 Almost straight away, she feels a compulsion to continue digging. But this is not the only change. She also seems to have strange abilities, being able to repair household items and invent things for example a type-writer who writes by purely her thoughts. Bobbi's friend James Gardner ('Gard'), an alcoholic and almost of the brink of suicide, visits her and starts digging with her, but he is unaffected from the changes happening as he has a large steel plate in his head, courtesy of a skiing accident in his youth.

As Bobbi and Gard continue to dig, the whole town starts to be effected. People not only become able to make objects work in strange ways, but can mind-read and will communicate with each other by mind only. The whole town changes and is 'becoming'. And it is getting weirder and weirder as the strange and alien force which inhibits the object in the woods is taking everything over. 

The book is separated in 3 parts. Part 1 deals with Bobbi and Gard, how Bobbi finds the object and a bit of a background story on Gard (great descriptions again here of the fallout of alcoholism). Part 2 introduces us to the people in town and what is happening to each of them. Part 3 is the conclusion and what's happening once the object is fully out of the ground. It also sees the 'resurrection' of Gard who spends the first 2 parts in a bit of a drunken stupor. 

I loved it, I never got bored and felt the story moves along nicely. There is a bit of a dip in the middle, but the middle deals with how people in town are effected and all the strange things they do, and that makes a very interesting read. The conclusion also left me satisfied. On a whole, what makes it scary is that it is actually a believable story. Even though King is talking Aliens here, it all takes place on our planet earth and happens to ordinary people. 


3 February 2016




Title
Black House (The Talisman 2)
Author
Stephen King and Peter Straub
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Publication Date
September 2003
Pages

Genre
horror, detective

Description from Amazon


Black House is the second collaboration by Stephen King and Peter Straub, two of the most important writers in genre fiction, and the expectations of their first team-up were considerable. But despite its impressive sales, many were disappointed by The Talisman. Rather than a truly chilling epic, what we got was a rather derivative and by-the-numbers fantasy saga. So fans were reluctant to be too hopeful about their second collaboration... but we needn't have worried. Black House is much more like it, although even here King and Straub have not quite delivered the ultimate horror marathon--this is a psycho-thriller in the vein of Thomas Harris, but none the worse for that. And there are supernatural elements. This is the tale of a small American town held in the grip of evil. Three children have vanished, abducted by a monster called The Fisherman (after a legendary murderer) with a craving for children's flesh. Ex-detective Jack Sawyer, dealing with his own personal problems (in which he is tormented by visions of another world), is keen to stay away from the horrors of this case, recognising how bad involvement will be for him. But--guess what?--Sawyer is soon supping full on the horrors, and the reader is in for an exhilarating (and highly disturbing) experience. Jack is a powerfully realised protagonist, and his journey into the dark world of The Fisherman is genuinely unsettling. Although more of King's fingerprints are on this one than Straub's (notably the conflicted hero, struggling with his own demons), the co-authors' individual styles merge indivisibly in this highly impressive chiller. --Barry Forshaw


My thoughts


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As I previously mentioned in my review on The Talisman Book 1 , I had trouble getting into and even getting through Book 1, as I just did not seem to understand this other world, The Territories and the story was too removed for my liking from 'our world'. However, in Book 2, the story mostly plays out in our world, with links to the other world, The Territories. And the link is not immediately obvious. Jack, our hero, obviously has blocked out his memories of the Territories, but will have to go back to not only save the missing children, but also to save the world from wider evil. 

The characters are again, beautifully drawn and unlike in the first book, there are quite a few characters whom Jack encounters this time and who are envolved, and all of them are from our world. In typical King fashion, the story is based around small-town America and its citizens. My favourite character has to be the Biker (who's name escapes me at the moment).

The book is again co-written King and Straub. I have not read any of Straub's other work, but the reading flows without problem and I did not notice two different styles of writers - if there are, they are certainly nicely merged here. 

In resume, if you are a King fan and maybe didn't get on with Book 1, give this a try. I have to say though that while you can read Book 2 without reading Book 1, I think it helps you to understand and get the 'little hints' early on in the book, and without reading Book 1 first you may struggle to understand the links.