book swap, creative writing, love, novel, Uncategorized

Book Swap: Watch Me

Life has been getting in the way over the last few months and so whilst the book swap has been continuing, my ability to write about the books has not! However, December’s book swap was such a good read that I’ve forced myself to find time to talk about it.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke is possibly the quickest I have ever read a book, and probably the most vocal I have ever been when reading one too (there were a lot of ‘oh my gods’ and gasps throughout).

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The book is set in the present day and the basic premise is a focus on a young woman (Nasreen Cudmore) early in her career with the Metropolitan Police and having to deal with the disappearance of a young girl… and find her within a 24 hour time limit. Where this book differs from a regular thriller, is the key role that social media, and particularly Snapchat and Instagram, have to the disappearance and ‘suicide’ of a first girl, and the subsequent disappearance of this second one. What makes the book so disturbing and at the same time so fascinating, is the sheer accuracy and plausibility it has for the events within the story to actually happen in real life. It highlights the vulnerabilities so many of us could face with the volume of personal information we post online. It is not only a brilliant novel, but involves life lessons for many readers.

On top of that, Angela Clarke manages to cleverly intertwine Nasreen’s life events, including a range of questionable decisions she has made, into the core of the story. What I think appealed to me reading this novel was that the main character is a similar age to me, and I was able to engage with her on a number of levels throughout the novel including her career, proving her worth, friendships and relationships.

I could not put this book down (hence only two afternoons to read it – and I’m a slow reader!) and could never have predicted each of the twists and turns which occurred. There is nothing more satisfying than when a book surprises you and catches you out, or introduces something you would not have anticipated.

Overall, the book is clever, shocking, a disturbing accuracy of the possibilities of the modern day, and a thrilling read for anybody. I think I have no choice but to buy the other two books in her Social Media Murder series.

livingthroughlines 2018.

creative writing, love, poetry, rhyme

Through the window.


I stand at the sash window,

Looking out on clear moonlight;

In the middle of the city,

But in the silence of the night.

The distant hum of a motor;

Leaves rustle in the breeze,

But the houses stand so still

On this August ‘summer’ eve.

The silhouettes of rooftops

Etched out upon the hill,

Victorian homes and Georgian ones;

Framed through the windowsill.

I stand here, quiet with wonder,

Looking out upon the night –

Bay windows and some sash ones,

Burning with an amber light.

These streets hold so much history

Of generations before,

Before they were converted

And whole families roamed four floors.

The chimney stacks remain,

Though no smoke now will you see,

From our little attic flat;

My first home at twenty three.

But, just for one moment,

When outlines are all I can see,

I pretend it’s 1921

And how these streets would be.

Those amber lights in the windows,

Are open fires burning bright;

As children sit with homemade toys

And wooden tops bring such delight.

The dim Victorian street lamps

Which now watch over parked cars,

Would navigate the way

For a motorbike and cart.

I stand at the sash window

Upon which the whole moon shines,

And realise that these city streets

Will stand the test of time.

livingthroughlines 2017.

creative writing, love, poetry

September in Salzburg.

Pastel facades

Beyond and behind;

Dusty white clouds,

Gentle sunshine.


Narrow streets,

Busy and alive;

Staggered grey roof-

Tops reaching high.


A balanced fortress

Watching down

On the grey and

yellow surrounds.


Nestled in hills

Lined by trees;

Protected by nature

The city sleeps.


Coffee in cafes,

Hidden thoroughfares

Of shining cobbles

And winding stairs.


Käsewurst for you,

Pretzel for me,

Strolling the city

In happy company.


Warm by day,

Pleasant by night;

September in Salzburg

A beautiful sight.


livingthroughlines 2017.


book swap, creative writing, love, novel, prose

Stoner, by John Edward Williams: Book

I bought this book a while back and after a pause in reading at about Chapter 4 a few weeks ago, I was determined to finish this on our holiday last week and in the evenings since being home.

The first thing I will say is, I would advise this as a read for absolutely anybody and everybody. 

“A stunning novel… more timeless, more important, more real, than most novels can ever hope to be”The Snow Child

Usually I find myself making excuses for why I don’t have time to read, but this weekend I found myself making excuses as to why everything else could wait whilst I sat curled up in the duvet on the sofa engrossed in Stoner.

This novel is the most beautifully simple story about the life of a simple man. This is not a story about any elaborate adventurous event, or a far fetched fantasy, but focuses on the ups and downs of what in the grand scheme of things, is a very ordinary life.

And that, in my opinion, is what makes this novel so overwhelmingly brilliant and something everyone should read. It touches upon the disappointments of the everyday, the fragility of time in our lives, the dangers of comfort zones and the results of settling for what we think is enough. Whilst the main story of Stoner’s life is set in the 1920s and 1930s, many of the issues touched upon remain wholly relevant to the world today.

What resonated with me the most, was the reoccurring waves of a sense of ambition and passion that Stoner has throughout the novel for pursuing his research, which continue to be overwhelmed and suppressed by the speed at which our other daily commitments take over. This is something I continue to lose a battle against.

John E. Williams made me feel sympathy, sorrow, love, hope, ambition and melancholy in just the turn of a few pages.


family, grandad, grandparents, love, poetry, rhyme

The House that Grandad Built. 

You are everywhere, 

But nowhere in sight.

Teak wood glory,

A nod to your trade.

I had never noticed,

The gleam of the gold mirror’s frame

On your living room wall,

Yet now it’s vintage presence

Has pride of place in mine.

And what of the music

That you spun her around to

At just 16 years of age?

I will dance all the same

Underneath our slanted ceilings

As he takes my hand.

All four of the rooms

Contain a token of you,

Of memories before my time

That your love can no longer

Quite remember to recall.

Each day I sit upon your chair

But no longer on your knee,

I sit beside a new man,

With whom you would be pleased.

Your home and your history

That you had to leave behind,

Now sit upon the table tops

And fill the walls of mine.


©livingthroughlines 2017.


creative writing, love, poetry, romance, Uncategorized

Home with you. 

Flat pack furniture and

Wonky screws. 

Nan’s coffee table,

Tea and biscuit jar too.

Cutlery from across the world; 

Saucepans never used; 

Drawers which don’t align; and 

A cupboard too small for my shoes. 

Old sash windows 

Only single glazed.

But also, the velux 

Impressing us for days.

Sloping roof and walls 

No heads have gone unscathed;

A view over Victorian terraces and

Street lamps which barely glow. 

Chilly in the morning and 

Warm by the spring eve,

The wind sneaks into the kitchen 

But the rain on the roof soothes.

A fridge that doesn’t work 

And bathroom lights that blew;

Grandad’s needle-less record player 

Will soon be looking new. 

Bags remain unpacked and

There’s plenty left to do;

To make these four walls a home,

But I’m so glad I’ll do it with you. 


livingthroughlines 2017.

creative writing, love, poetry, romance, Uncategorized

The power of impossibility 

A blanket upon my shoulders;

Our heads tilted towards the sky.

The glass pane separates 

These two worlds.

Within ours, the lights go dark 

And we stare towards the unknown. 

Gentle and distant, fire burns

As we watch mesmerised.

How lucky, we say, 

That we witness such precious skies. 

How magnificent, we gasp,

At the history we look upon. 

And it is to you, I ask 

Just why the night sky

Stirs such emotion in us all?

Those distant flickers 

Allow us to believe in anything. 

And it is to myself, I answer 

That it is their sheer impossibility 

Shining so bright,

When they are all but lost, dead and gone

That baffles us all. 

And we are left as specks

Upon the earth

Hoping that just maybe,

Anything at all is possible. 


livingthroughlines 2017.