David’s Bookshelf Issue 5

‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – The Build-Up to Christmas. Winter and Christmas Parties at Harehills County Primary School in the 1960s. Cup of Tea Tales

  1. ‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – The Build-Up to Christmas. Winter and Christmas Parties at Harehills County Primary School in the 1960s.
  2. ‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – Hippy Attempt on the Summit of Mount Snowdon. What Foolish Things We Did as Students!
  3. ‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – Ashworth’s Sweet-Shop, Harehills. Sweets, Victory V Lozenges, Sweet Cigarettes and Other Delights We Have Lost Over The Years. 
  4. ‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – A’ Levels, the Final Year at High School, Planning to Leave Home, Getting into College and Growing Older if Not Wiser.
  5. David’s Bookshelf Issue 5

For this issue, I wanted to focus on one very well-known author and a couple of self-published authors, one of who is a local Leeds writer. I was wondering if reading was a dying art, but from the number of new books that keep appearing, I don’t think it is. However, teenage boy readers seem to be on the decline, if the current statistics here in Australia are to be believed. Books for YA girls seem to be thriving and I am surprised by how many tales of vampires there is a market for.

With my own writing, I am well into my latest novel, ‘Slipshod’. I don’t intentionally choose trends and just write what I am inspired to write, and this is a whodunnit with a twist. It appears this genre is having a resurgence, particularly in films and television. Set in the 1980s, a weekend party of house guests experiences some unpleasant and potentially supernatural goings on. Murder, intrigue, deceit, and sex make this a fun book to write and hopefully to read. As in the novel, all will be revealed shortly!

One Word Kill Mark Lawrence

A while back, I had a period where I wasn’t enjoying reading. Most of the books by authors that I have enjoyed in the past seemed pale imitations of themselves. I chose this book to read, hoping it would be an exception to the rule, and I was not disappointed. I couldn’t put down One Word Kill and found it gripping, beautifully written, and the characters engaging and vivid. This is a book aimed at the young adult market. This relatively short novel tells a story with little embellishment and leads the reader on a wild ride. Nothing is wasted in this book. There is no padding and I am looking forward to starting the next one.

One Word Kill is a time travel story, but not as we know it, and the protagonist, we learn almost immediately, has been diagnosed with blood cancer. The novel covers the themes of multiple universes, life and death, love, and adolescence in a straightforward way, without a hint of patronisation. The theme covers the interconnectedness of life, and the story demonstrates this skilfully. I now see why I enjoyed Mark Lawrence’s fantasy books, but rather than just build on his successes, he takes a leap into something new and he is to be congratulated for it.

I would highly recommend it!

The next two books really need to be read together. They are from Yorkshire writer, Maggie Cobbett. Foreshadowing uses her experience of high school in Leeds and cultural language exchanges that were common in the 1960s and 1970s.

 Foreshadowing by Maggie Cobbett

I was unsure what to expect from a short prelude, but I found that, as I started, I was captured by the place, time, and the characters that were introduced. Maggie Cobbett writes with skill and the ability to introduce characters quickly, that you feel you know. The book sets the reader up to want to discover what happens to the three girls as they venture into the adult world and into a new country. Stories about three teenage girls are not my usual fare, but I found I wanted to discover what happened to them and, as a result, I looked forward to reading the next book, Shadows of the Past.

Shadows Of the Past 

I must start by saying that this is not the genre of book that I would normally read, but after reading the short prequel, I wanted to discover what happened to the girls in the story. Shadows of the past links three periods and illustrates how people can be manipulated to do some quite horrible things. This is a book that requires effort from the reader, as there are many characters and time settings, but it is worth the effort. This is a complex tale that ultimately is resolved in a satisfying way.

Maggie Cobbett is a capable writer, and the plot is cleverly constructed. Set in the 1970s, but linking to the time when Europe was in turmoil, this is a book for those who like a bit of modern history, or at least modern for baby boomers. Worth a read!

A Bad Place to Be a Hero  by  Jerry F. Westinger 

A Bad Place to Be a Hero, but a great place to visit

Three wonderfully flawed characters find themselves thrown together in a race to save themselves from punishment and death for their crimes in the city of New Montres. With elements of cyberpunk, Westinger creates a world that is savage and unpredictable. Thessa, Corlis, and Lokenn form a truly dysfunctional team where the odds are set against them. With murder, deceit, intrigue, necromancy, werewolves, and an empire without an emperor, A Bad Place to be a Hero is the start of a very promising series.

The style is fast, and witty, and takes the reader on a wild and exciting journey. The world is savage, and it is dog-eat-dog if one is to survive, but it is hard not to love Westinger’s anti-heroes. I really enjoyed this first novel from the author and look forward to future episodes in the series. Do not be put off by the cover!

Good reading


2 Replies to “David’s Bookshelf Issue 5”

  1. Thank you very much, David, for reviewing my books in such a thoughtful way. I’m aware that ‘Shadows of the Past’ isn’t an easy read (although the print version makes an excellent door stop), but it was written very much from the heart. The autobiographical aspect of it is underlined by the fact that the young couple in the framed photograph on the front cover are no other but myself aged 17 with the original Jean-Claude.

    Liked by 1 person

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