Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Days of Thunder Child by C.A. Powell

The Last Days of Thunder Child

by C.A. Powell

Giveaway ends June 03, 2017.

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

All Out War by Tim Shipman (My Goodreads Review)

All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political ClassAll Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class by Tim Shipman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was engrossed in this book from the word go. We go through the whole process of how David Cameron was forced by his own Eurosceptics and UKIP pressure to do his famous Bloomberg speech. What followed next was the chain reaction and the underestimating of the Brexiteers’ ability to put together a substantial fighting force. This combined with events and powerful personalities brought about one of the most interesting political shockwaves I can remember in my 56 years of life.

This book is very detailed and looks at both Remain in the EU and Leave the EU camps and the consequences that brought it about. We also see some egotistical characters in the form of Dominic Cummings and Aron Banks with their different aggressive approaches.

We get a good look at how David Cameron watered down his demands after the Bloomberg speech and then tried to sell it to the electorate, thinking he had got a victory for the British people and his ministers.

Every chapter gives the reader an interesting angle and development as we edge close to the referendum day. It is not for the faint-hearted for it is packed with cunning ways to attract attention, good for one group and bad for the opposing. There are political guerrilla tactics employed as we move closer to the all-important day. This is a splendid and exciting read that lets you see both sides of the campaign including the in-house fighting.

It was a total war with battle fronts comprised of joint party cooperation on both sides. The organised pro-EU government-backed campaign led by the Prime Minister and the wonderful guerrilla adversaries from the Leave camp of Vote Leave, Leave EU to Grass Roots Out or GO. The whole thing is marvellous.

Cabinet ministers taking sides against their Prime Minister and joining opposing party politicians for a greater cause. Opposition MPs joining the opposing government for the pro-EU. This was a civil war at its very best where each side battled to win more than 50% of the electorate.

The amount of work that went into targeting specific categories of people. All the planning and application were mind boggling. This is one of the best political accounts I have ever read and on such an emotive and derisive subject. It certainly gives the reader a deeper insight and appreciation of the work both sides put in. Also the oversights and underestimating afterwards.

I would highly recommend this book.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Baby Spiders.

As I walked in from my garden, I noticed a cluster of something in a spider's web. I thought it was a crumbled leaf or something. I did not have my reading glasses on so I could not make it out. I muttered to my wife about it as I tried to focus, but I could not make it out.

My wife, who did have her reading glasses exclaimed, "Ooh! They're all moving. They're baby spiders. 

I rushed in to get my glasses and came back out for a better look. Sure enough, it was so. Many tiny infant spiders. I have no idea what species they were but they were all clamouring about as though they wanted to be away from our scrutiny. My wife had also disturbed them by poking the cluster with a tiny twig.

I took out my mobile and had to get a photo. 


Encounter With Tiber by Buzz Aldrin (My Goodreads Review)

Encounter With TiberEncounter With Tiber by Buzz Aldrin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this when it first came out. I think it was in 1997 and I'm obviously recapping back almost 20 years.

I found it a little slow at first, but as the story moved on, I became hooked. To the degree that I was turning the pages with great interest and found the book a very enjoyable read. It started with the close future and inventions - even Richard Branson gets mentioned. But then this is written by a man who has really walked on the moon.

We see explorers from Earth going to Mars in the near future discovering remains of an ancient alien race. One that visited ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. The story then has a section that goes back in time. We are taken to ancient Egypt when it's civilisation is being visited by aliens who are searching for a new world to colonise. Then towards the end, the reader goes on a voyage to where the alien's home world is. An effort to make contact with the aliens following information they have collected from the archaeological discoveries of the earlier Mars explorations and the deciphering of the story when the aliens visited ancient Egypt.

There were many scientific and technological explanations throughout the book and much of this went over my head. I would suppose that anyone with more advanced knowledge of science etc would find it all the more gripping. Despite me not understanding some of the technology things, I still found the story most entertaining and I enjoyed it immensely.

View all my reviews

Friday, 19 May 2017

Ratcatcher (My Goodreads Review)

Ratcatcher (Matthew Hawkwood, #1)Ratcatcher by James McGee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The unusual story of a Bow Street Runner in 1810. He is a discharged Green jacket from Britain's famous rifle regiment of the Peninsular War. An ex-officer. He now works in London as one of the new types of policemen and is charged with solving a highway robbery in which a government official is murdered and robbed of valuable information concerning national security.

Our Bow Street Runner (Matthew Hawkwood) is taken into a world of espionage with French secret agents and a villainous American who is making a submarine. The story is a good page turner that is obviously a little far fetched, but hey! We all like a bit of escapism - don't we? Well, this tale had it all and I really enjoyed it. There are more stories to come about Mattew Hawkwood. I shall give them a go too.

C.A. Powell
The Last Days of Thunder Child

View all my reviews

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Shadow of a Gunman (My Goodreads Review)

The Shadow of a Gunman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I struggled with this at first and think somethings might have gone over my head. I enjoyed the hard hitting ending - if it meant heroes and fighters are not always what we expect and perhaps more modest people pick up the woeful tab at the end of the day.

One of the characters is Donal Daveron, a struggling 'want to be - poet,' moving into a slum in a poor district of Dublin. He has a roommate named Seumus. The other people of the block suspect Donal of being a Republican Volunteer fighter. Donal, who is not such a person, does little to refute such beliefs as I think it appeals to the romantic side of his nature. His roommate Seumus, however, has a friend who is of such persuasion.

When Crown forces in the form of Auxiliaries raid the place after an incident with Seumus' rebel friend all sorts of things come into play with Donal and Seumus needing help to take suspicion away from them. Donal is helped by a young woman who is infatuated with him. A lady called Minnie Powell.

I would highly recommend this story. I thought the drama that unfolded towards the end of this tale was very dramatic indeed.

C.A. Powell
The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920

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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (My Goodreads Review)

One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovichOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A single day in a Soviet Gulag/prison out in the freezing Siberian wilderness. We follow political prisoner Ivan Denisovich as he tries to make his way through a normal day at the prison camp, while all around others (guards and prisoners) go through their trials and tribulations. It was a long while ago that I read this novel but it left an impression. It is a story that everyone should try to read - even just the once. It was depressing but compelling at the same time and a real turn off for the glorious worker's paradise.

C.A. Powell
The Last Days of Thunder Child

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Mad Flowers in the Front Garden.

The front garden is allowed to do its thing with mad cascades of flowers. I just planted them and let them get on with it. Sometimes I cut them back and the Red Hot Pokers have been split because the flowers seem to increase each year. Soon the Australian Bottle Brush will come out. Some die off and new ones spring up, but from now until about late September there will be many types of flowers. 

It's hard to image during the winter when it is all bare, but now everything is in bloom, it is difficult to imagine the bleak look during the summer.  


Rain All Day for Wednesday. (Now it's Thursday)

It rained all day yesterday on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017. I was in the little hamlet of Chatteris and the village of Manea, emptying all the litter bins. The rain had woken me up during the middle of the night. When I got up at 4.30 am it was still raining. When I got to Chatteris in my work van at 6 am it was still raining. It continued to rain all day and I did not finish work until 5.30 pm. I drove home in the rain. I never knew the sky could hold so much water. It never stopped until near midnight.

My wife said it would do the garden well. I believe her and when I got up this morning at about 6 am to begin my four days of leave, I was overjoyed to see the clear blue sky and the garden looking as though it is getting ready to go for the summer. All the Red Hot Pokers are in bloom and some of the other flowers too. This is just the beginning.

A good downpour of rain is what all the flowers need. I just hope we don't have any more downpours while I'm on my four-day rest cycle. The weather forecast on the news seems good. I'll sit in the garden with some ice cold Guinness to help me get through the arduous relaxation I'm about to apply myself to. With some enthusiasm, I may add.



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Lord of the Rings (My Goodreads Review)

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this back in 1979 when I was eighteen and I could not put the trilogy down. I absolutely loved this story and became totally engrossed in the wonderful and dangerous world of Middle Earth. I missed my stop on the train several times when reading, during my commute, to and from London. I found corners during my break times to read.

I can honestly say, that this was a wonderful story that made me sad when I got to the end of it all. Sad because I would leave this wonderful fantasy world. In my view, the best ever fantasy saga of all time. It was also great to have read it as an impressionable naive eighteen year old kid. Being spellbound was more rewarding at that young age. This story has a very special place in my heart as I’m sure it does for so many other people too.

C.A. Powell
The Last Days of Thunder Child

View all my reviews


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Serendipity Photo - The Swallow and the Water's Reflection.

Sometimes, in a quirky way you get a camera shot and capture a little moment. It's not the clearest photo of a speeding swallow, but if it were a canvas and painted with the still canal water and the reflections, well...?

It might look good with the slight blur and the imperfections. For some reason, this flicks a switch. There were lots of swallows swooping, twisting and diving. I tried to catch them in flight but they are so very fast. In the end, I aimed the camera at the underneath of the bridge and pressed rapid for a few seconds and managed to catch one flitting under. I got several shots but like this one the best. 

I like the water line and all the grassy reed bits floating by and the water line dividing reflection and post etc. Somehow it works, but it was not intentional. It just happened this way on that particular click among the much desperate and blindly clicking away on the multi-frame photo shoot. I was hoping for the best concerning a clear shot of a swallow in flight. I did not get that effect but ended up with something equally as pleasing.