Skip to main content

short stories

5 Books That I Will NEVER Finish

By Books & Authors, Thinking2 Comments

This blog post is cathartic for me. I always have books on my reading pile, usually about ten at any one time. For a while now, books have sat there looking at me, not being read. If I’m honest with myself, there are 5 books on this pile that I will never finish reading. Each for its own reasons.

So here are the 5 books that I will never finish and the reasons why I wont finish them:

when-god-was-a-rabbit-sarah-winman 5. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

The only thing that is good about this book is its quirky title.

The main character Elly tells the story of her life in first person. Elly starts with her childhood, remembering it in such vivid detail that it instantly makes the plot unbelievable and makes her feel false. There was nothing likeable about her character. The plot had absolutely nothing captivating about it and it had no hooks that gave me the desire to read on.

In the end I couldn’t get past page 64. Each page was painful to read and fundamentally bored me.

a-house-for-happy-mothers-by-amulya-malladi-book-cover 4. A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi

This book was sent to me by a Publicist. I don’t know why they thought I would enjoy it or why they thought it would be the sort of book they read.

It’s about a rich woman called Priya, who has everything she could possibly want, apart from a baby. So she and her husband travels to a Southern Indian villiage to buy a baby.

I felt that as they’d sent it me, I really should read it. Or at least give it a try. I read the first chapter, but it failed to interest me, so I put it on my to-be-read pile with the best of intentions. But I’ve never picked it up since.

love-between-men-edited-by-shane-allison 3. Love Between Men: Seductive stories of afternoon pleasures edited by Shane Allison

This was another book that was sent to me by a Publicist and one I really expected to throughly enjoy.

It’s an collection of gay short stories about passion, love, but mostly lust. The importance of the first story in an anthology can’t be under estimated. It sets the tone of the book and is supposed to light up the imagination of the reader. Unfortunately the first story in this book was full of jarring stereotypes, overt sexualised description and lacked any of the things that make up a good story: interesting characters, intriguing plot and immersive description.

To be honest I’m not sure how this story even made it into the collection. Let alone became the first story in the book.

rip-it-up-richard-wiseman-book-cover 2. Rip it up by Richard Wiseman

Psychologist Richard Wiseman presents the As if theory in this book. So if you behave as if you are happy, you will become happy. Simliar to the saying: Fake it until you make it. The book focuses on positive actions, rather than positive thinking. Throughout this book he provides evidence that this theory works through referencing to a wide range of scientific studies.

This book was provided to me by a Publicist and I had three main reasons for not finishing it. First Wiseman appears to believe that the As if theory can solve anything and everything. Indeed on the book’s back cover it states that the theory can be used to: lose weight, stop smoking and feel instantly younger.

Wiseman states that the As if theory can be used to deal with depression. Very mild depression maybe, but to try and tell someone with severe clinical depression to simply act positive is bizzare and ultimately unhelpful.

Second Wiseman is an academic but failed to write about any evidence that the As if theory doesn’t work in all cases. There was a distinct lack of mention of any research that was against his point of view.

Third and finally this book is too long and begins to feel a bit repetitive after a while.

the-awakening-yvonne-heidt 1. The Awakening by Yvonne Heidt

The Awakening is a great book. It’s about three women who call themselves Sisters of Spirits who help people who have problems with ghosts. Jordan is a cop, but when an evil masculine spirit starts causing trouble in her life, she reluctantly approaches Sunny (one of the Sisters) for help.

Jordan starts to fall for Sunny, but the evil spirit wont allow happiness for any of them. The characters are interesting, the plot is well balanced with lots of peaks-and-troughs, the description is clear and Heidt’s writing style is captivating.

This book was sent to me, by my request, by a Publishers Publicist. I read the first three quarters of the book and while reading the last quarter I found out through Heidt’s website that it was the first book in a trilogy.

Having lost contact with the Publicist (it happens) I decided to stop reading the book, as it felt pointless to continue reading the book when I knew I would never get the opportunity to read the other two books.

I’ve removed these books from the I’m Reading section of my sidebar on this blog.

Write soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

Share on Social Media:

Book Review: Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
neil-gaiman-smoke-and-mirrors-book-cover Smoke and Mirrors is an eclectic collection of short stories written by Neil Gaiman.

These stories were written for various anthologies or to amuse himself. Some of the stories are brilliant, others are bizarre and a few are just plain bad. But each story is unique and imaginative.

Smoke and Mirrors begins with an introduction from Gaiman himself. He explains the background for each story and even tells a tale entitled The Wedding Present within the introduction.

The Wedding Present story is great and sets the reader with high expectations for the other stories in the book.

My four of my favourite stories were:

  • 1. The Price – Is about a stray black cat that fights with the devil at night, to protect his adopted family.
  • 2. Changes – A Scientist creates a drug, a side effect of which is the ability to easily switch gender. The story shows the impact of this side effect on society, over the lifetime of the Scientist, through his perspective.
  • 3. Virus – A story about a totally addictive computer game. Everyone that plays it gets addicted. When they can’t play it on the computers, they play it in their head. And so do their friends.
  • 4. Mouse – This is a story all about subtext and reading in between the lines. The story is told through what isn’t written, rather than what is. A refreshing change and ultimately very clever.

Both Changes and Virus were great ideas for stories, but were too short and lacked the scope to explore each idea fully.

The exclusive content in Smoke and Mirrors is a short interview with Gaiman.

Overall Smoke and Mirrors was disappointing. Probably because the brilliant short stories were too short and the more lengthly short stories were either bizarre or bad.

Smoke and Mirrors is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

Share on Social Media:

All Writing And No Play

By Books & Authors, Journalism, Life2 Comments

Christmas Mind Map

It all started with an idea I had for a Christmas themed short story. One I intended to share with you, dear readers. I hoped to start the tradition, releasing a short story every Christmas. A present to you all. But then I saw a call for submissions and decided to use the story I’d started writing. I had to finish writing it, edit it, cut it down and finally un-Christmas it, but got it submitted.

Then I was invited to submit a short story for an anthropology, that I didn’t want to say no to. I also found two other anthropology competitions that I want to enter. This means a lot of my free time is being spent writing at the moment. I have deadlines till June. I hope to have a new short story to share with you later on in the year. When you make submissions, you can’t share the story anywhere, well not until Editors have decided that they don’t want it.

On top of these short stories, I’ve started the Advanced Creative Writing Course at Runshaw College and continue to write for The Gay UK, both adding additional pressure to my free time. You can read my published articles on professional portfolio.

Recently my blog has consisted of mostly book reviews. Don’t think that I’m slowly turning it into a reviewing site. My blog has always been a place to express myself and share events of my life through words and photos. This shall continue, I just have been expressing myself in short story form and haven’t done anything, apart from write, to share.

Despite my lack of personal posts my blog continues to grow. I’ve had 20,000 unique visitors in less than 17 months:


I’m not sure that the WordPress plugin Jetpack is capturing all of the visitors though; as I also use another stats software that reports the numbers of visitors being higher.


Sye & Me at Barry Humphries Show

There has been some fun. Sye and I went to see Barry Humphries: The Eat, Pray and Laugh Farewell Tour.

I’m continuing one of my favourite pastimes, reading. I’m currently reading: Plague by Michael Grant, The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett, The Awakening by Yvonne Heidt, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks and am about to start Best Gay Romance 2014 Edited By Lambert & Cochrane.

My birthday is coming up and I intend on doing something to celebrate, I’m just not sure as to what yet.

Blog soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

Share on Social Media:

Book Review: About Writing and How to Publish by Cathy Glass

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
about-writing-cathy-glass-cover About Writing and How to Publish by Cathy Glass is a guide to creative writing that both published and non-published writers/authors alike will find useful. It’s split into four sections: About Writing, What to Write, Publishing and Self-Publishing.

The About Writing section covers lots of important aspects of writing including the importance of a writing routine and editing what you write.

The What to Write? section covers different types of writing such as articles, poetry, short stories, diaries, memoirs, biography, non-fiction, novels, plays, children’s books and ghostwriting.

The Publishing section covers Agents and Publishers as well as submission guidelines.

The Self-Publishing section covers independent presses, print on demand (POD), ebooks and marketing.

The great thing about this book is that it’s very precise and to the point. It’s a quick read, which I read in one evening. However it also meant that Glass covers the topics far too briefly for me. Advice around double spacing, using arial font and font size 12 was reiterated often.

Cathy Glass is a bestselling author who writes inspirational memoirs based true life stories. These stories come from her experience as a Foster Carer. You can see some of her books on the Amazon widget below.

About Writing and How to Publish isn’t a comprehensive guide, but it does have some great tips and is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,


I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

Share on Social Media: