A Favourite Classic Novel: ‘Bleak House’ by Charles Dickens

A beautiful vintage copy of Bleak House given to me by a friend as a birthday gift a few years ago, and the paperback copy I bought to replace my Penguin Classic edition which fell apart from overuse.

‘Bleak House’ takes Dickens’ readers off the streets and out of the factories of Victorian England, and immerses them in a complicated, old and bitterly fought legal case in which questions of inheritance, corruption and legality are explored. Dickens brings the court case to life through his characters who are, in one way or another, personally invested in the outcome. 

It’s far more than just a legal drama, though. It’s an epic tale of family, personal entanglements, deception, and even murder. Some characters know little of the past, while others know far more than they are willing to tell. 

I really love the way Dickens shrouds the past in mystery and develops an almost tanglible sense of intrigue in his storytelling in ‘Bleak House’. In contrast to ‘A Christmas Carol’, this is a much longer and more involved novel in which the development of both plot and characters is intricate and complex. It is written with Dickens’ typical satirical social commentary and acute insights into human nature. 

This is one of the best of Dickens’ novels, and sits at the top of my list of favourites alongside ‘A Christmas Carol’. 

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A Favourite Classic Novel: ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer is one of those unforgettable characters of literature: cheeky, imaginative, adventurous and downright naughty. That he is able to get away with his mischief time after time is what has endeared him to generations of readers.

This is my personal favourite among the books by Mark Twain and, I believe, his best. 

Fabulous reading for kids, teens, families, adults… this is a timeless classic that everyone should read at least once. 

A Favourite Classic Novel: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

You’ve got to hand it to the Bronte sisters: they certainly had a handle on brooding, emotionally charged stories that made powerful observations about human nature and psychology. 

Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ immerses the reader in the life of the young Jane, orphaned and unloved, and has them look on over her shoulder as she grows up, learning resilience and wisdom while finding her place in the word. The relationship between Jane and the reader is an intimate one, in which Jane tells her story and reveals her thoughts and feelings as if to a confidante. 

Whether or not you agree with her choices, Jane is a in independent and spirited woman in an age where that was not really socially acceptable, and her story is certainly a compelling read.

A Favourite Classic Novel: Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne

Winnie the Pooh and his friends have been dearly loved for generations by readers all the world over. The stories of friendship, loyalty and fun are delightful entertainment for children and grownups alike. 

Of course, Disney’s purchase of the production rights to the stories resulted in greater exposure to new generations, but it also gave the characters newly altered appearances and American accents. The movies and TV programs are fun, and I enjoy them immensely, but in my mind they are a different generation of a much loved family. 

I really love the original stories and the illustrations by E.H. Shepard that accompanied them. The books that I had as a child have been passed on to other children in my family, but I do have a lovely set of paperbacks on my own shelf that still have all those original illustrations. 

I also have a copy of the 80th anniversary edition of the book, complete with hard cover, dust jacket and colour illustrations, that is precious to me for a reason beyond the fact that it’s a book I love. This particular book was given to me by a family as a thank-you gift for teaching a number of their children and helping them get through senior high school English. I keep their ‘thank you” card inside the front cover to preserve the memory, although I doubt I will ever forget that beautiful gift and the kindness with which it was given. 

May Be A Favourite Novel.

Holy Toledo! It’s already the last day of April! I’m sure I can’t be the only one feeling as though the year is rushing by at unprecedented speed… can I? 

Sadly, the end of April means it’s also the end of Poetry Month. I have really enjoyed sharing some of my favourite poems and poets with you all this month— something I may still do from time to time as the mood strikes me.

In May, I plan to balance the poetry by sharing my thoughts on some great classic novels. I won’t be working from a definitive “most popular” list: rather, my list is a highly subjective collection of personal favourites. 

Of course, I will also continue to take the opportunity to share all those riveting highlights of my life— I never wake up expecting to be fascinating, but it just keeps on happening!— and to explore and discuss relevant points of interest for Indie authors as they come up, as I try to do.


Bob Dylan and Poetry

Bob Dylan knows a thing or thirteen about poetry: that’s why he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Listening to his lyrics, there is no doubt of the poetic qualities of his writing. And in his own words, he considers himself a poet first and foremost.

Source: BrainyQuotes.com

Dylan’s songs became anthems of the 1960s before attaining legendary status in later decades. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Dylan’s words carry great meaning and importance.

Of all the protest songs of the 60s, Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ is still one of my favourites. Enjoy.

Red Cape Publishing’s Book Choices for Women In Horror Month – February 2019

Originally posted on Red Cape Publishing:
February is Women in Horror Month, and this is why we bring to you a fantastic selection of books from female authors, in a variety of sub-genres. Have a browse, pick up a few new books, and maybe even discover your new favourite author. Starblood by Carmilla Voiez Star…

In this post, Red Cape Publishing presents a shelf full of excellent horror books by female authors in honour of Women In Horror Month.

I’ve added a few to my own shelf, and I would encourage you to peruse the titles presented here and do the same.

Red Cape Publishing

February is Women in Horror Month, and this is why we bring to you a fantastic selection of books from female authors, in a variety of sub-genres. Have a browse, pick up a few new books, and maybe even discover your new favourite author.

Digital 3D Illustration of a gothic FemaleStarblood by Carmilla Voiez

Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives.
​Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains. Purchase here

hellhoundHellhound by Lou Yardley

Read our review of Hellhound here

* 2018 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards Finalist *

The Hound & The Philosopher Inn looks like…

View original post 3,608 more words

A Dozen Amazing Ladies of Horror and Dark Fiction

Meet twelve amazingly talented Indie writers of horror and dark fiction.

2019 marks the tenth year of Women In Horror Month.

In honour of Women in Horror Month 2019, this post is dedicated to twelve amazingly talented Indie writers of horror and dark fiction.

If you enjoy reading horror and other genres which often blend with it such as dark fantasy, urban fantasy and dark romance, these are the authors you should follow and read.

Each of them will be featured individually on this blog in the coming weeks, but by introducing them all now, you can be following them on social media and becoming familiar with them even before their individual profiles hit the page.

Lily Lamb aka A. Drew is a Turkish Australian multi-genre indie author. She works as a nurse by day where she feeds her soul by caring for others. At night she tends to her imaginative alter-ego by writing tales involving love, passion, mystery, and horror.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | AMAZON | BOOKBUB |

Faith Marlow is a dark fantasy/ paranormal/ horror author with Vamptasy Publishing, an imprint of CHBB. Her stories stir emotions and explore the thin veil between human and the inhuman. Dark, yet inviting and familiar, Faith seeks to deliver chills with a sense of class, and sometimes a bit of heat. With each story, she hopes to build exposure for fellow women authors and artists who create horror.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON | GOODREADS

Lucretia Stanhope is the award-winning author of The Elemental Witch Trials series, featuring witches and vampires in an eternal struggle for power. She also writes horror, and paranormal romance.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | AMAZON | GOODREADS

Baileigh Higgins, author of the bestselling Zombie Apocalypse Series, Dangerous Days, lives in the Free State, South Africa, with hubby and best friend Brendan and loves nothing more than lazing on the couch with pizza and a bad horror movie. Her unhealthy obsession with the end of the world has led to numerous books on the subject and a secret bunker only she knows the location of. 

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | WEBSITE

A.Giacomi is the author of the wildly entertaining Zombie Girl Saga, a four-part series from CHBB Publishing. She is a wife and mother two tiny humans. She is a Canadian born writer, educator, and artist. A. Giacomi is a zombie enthusiast, lover of all things Tim Burton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Marvel, Star Wars and just generally just loves film and literature, essentially she’s a fangirl.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST| AMAZON | GOODREADS |

Fiona Cooke is a writer, editor, poet and blogger living in the Midlands of Ireland.  She has four books published on Amazon – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories; a collection of unusual fiction in a mix of genres, What Happened in Dingle; a romantic comedy novella and two collections of gothic horror- Death Comes Calling and The Nightmare.  A Tolkien obsessive, she lives for music festivals and all things horror related. She hopes to  publish her latest horror novella – Death Dues in the near future.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WORDPRESS | AMAZON

S. K. Gregory writes horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and promoter for Indie authors. She resides in Northern Ireland and has been writing since she was a child.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | WEBSITE

Lou Yardley is an Office Gremlin by day and an author by night: it’s the best time, really, as it’s when all the monsters come out to play. ‘The Other’s Voice’ (2016) was her first novel. 2018 saw her publish a delightfully gory werewolf tale called “Hellhound”, as well as a short stories “When the Sun Sets” and “The Forest”.
She currently lives with her partner Mark, and their eight cats in Greater London. When she’s not performing spreadsheet alchemy in her day job, Lou likes playing the banjo, reading, listening to the kind of metal where the vocalists growl at you, and watching B-movies.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Suzi Albracht lives near Annapolis, Maryland in a town called Bowie with her boyfriend, Tim. She is the author of Supernatural Horror Crime Thriller books in The Devil’s Due Collection and a Paranormal Romance/Ghost series – An OBX Haunting – that takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

D.J. Doyle was raised by pot-smoking hippies and spent her days worshipping pagan deities in the HellFire Club and her nights watching horror movies and reading horror books. She now lives with her family in a treehouse, preying on unsuspecting travellers, and where she likes nothing better than coming up with ideas for new stories and plotting her next novel. Some of this might have been made up.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | WEBSITE

Joanne Van Leerdam has lived all her life in Australia, she has, thus, far, avoided being killed or consumed by any of the deadly wildlife, which is probably a good thing. Other than Australia, Canada is her favourite place in the world. 
In addition to writing powerful, thought-provoking poetry and short-but-incredibly horrifying stories, she keeps teens enthralled in her senior high school English, History and Drama/Performance classes. She is an active member and performer in her local theatre company and has directed high school musicals for ten years.  
Her poetry is contemporary, sensual, moody and easy to read – and it will get you in the feelings. Her horror fiction is deliciously creepy and macabre, and deeply satisfying.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST| WORDPRESS | AMAZON | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | WEBSITE

Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively.She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


Don’t Miss The 2018 Golden Squirrel Awards

Book Squirrel will present the second annual Golden Squirrel Awards on December 31st, 2018.

The logo of the Golden Squirrel Book Awards page.

Book Squirrel has read and reviewed some fantastic books this year.

While not every book can receive an award, Book Squirrel will present the second annual Golden Squirrel Independent Book Awards to books in more than twenty different genres, across a variety of age ranges, interests and styles. 

Last year’s awards featured some excellent books, and gave a number of Indie authors another vehicle for promoting and sharing their work. This year, the selections are equally commendable.

Just to make it clear, this is not a contest that people can vote on. This is an entirely subjective and preference-driven selection process. Book Squirrel knows what he likes, and that’s what he reads. When he reads, he always leaves a review. And on the Book Squirrel blog, he awards gold, silver or bronze acorns instead of a star rating system. 

At the end of the year, he chooses the best of the books he has read and reviewed, and gives some nice shiny awards to the wonderful authors who entertained and enlightened him in the past twelve months. 

You can be sure that the winners of Golden Squirrel Awards are excellent reads, and worthy of recognition. 

Naturally, my own books are ineligible for a Golden Squirrel, as Book Squirrel is a most ethical creature and strives to be impartial. He does love reading them, though!

Follow Book Squirrel on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.

Two New History Podcasts!

Today: two new History podcasts for your listening pleasure.

In the past, I’ve written about podcasts that I’ve really enjoyed, such as:

Just from that list, it’s fairly evident that a. I am a massive nerd and b. I enjoy podcasts about nerdy things. You should also be aware that I use “nerd” as a very positive term.

Today, I want to share with you two new history podcasts that you might enjoy.

Stories of the Tudors
This is an interesting and enjoyable series of podcasts about the members of the Tudor dynasty and the stories with which this family have coloured and embellish English history.

The series is written and narrated by historical fiction author Tony Riches. He speaks clearly and has a pleasant voice, both of which are advantages that, it’s fair to say, not all podcasters actually possess. The quality of Riches’ research, knowledge and storytelling is remarkable.

Thus far, I have listened to the first four episodes. Each of these has been dedicated to dedicated telling the story of one of the earlier members of the family, enhanced by an excerpt from the corresponding audiobook of Riches’ excellent novel series.
At this point, it should also be observed that these audiobooks seem to be both extremely well written and very well read.

I would recommend this series for anyone interested in history, and for anyone who takes an interest in biographies. There is no need to have any detailed prior knowledge of the history, as Riches tells the story in a straightforward manner, bringing the characters and events to life and explaining their significance for the listener using everyday English.

The podcast is free of charge and available via the Stories of the Tudors website, or you can simply search for ‘Stories of the Tudors’ in your favourite podcast app.

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The Things That Made England

This new podcast is a lighthearted discussion of different things that have contributed to the English identity. Different episodes discuss things like cricket, the English accent, and 1066. It’s very informative, and often quite surprising in the various gems of knowledge that it delivers. A new episode is released fortnightly, and it’s always interesting to see what topic comes up next.

Presented by David Crowther and Roifield Brown, David is also the presenter of The History of England podcast, while Roifield presents the 10 American Presidents podcast.

As a dedicated listener of The History of England, I’ve tuned into this new podcast from the beginning. Given that it’s less academic and more relaxed in tone, I’ve found this to be a good podcast to listen to in the car on my way home from work.

You can find more details at the website. The podcast is free of charge, and subscription is easy, as it can be searched for and added through your favourite podcast app.

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