Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove by Bree Lenehan Book Review

Bree Lenehan wanted to be a published author by the age of 21 and Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove saw her achieve her ambition as it was published right before her 21st birthday.  For the record, I'm not related, or connected in any way, I just checked the info on her Instagram posts.

The good news is that even though the author is so very young, she's produced a seriously good piece of work, which, I think will appeal not only to her peers in the young adult age group, but also to older readers who want something with a decent level of style and depth but lighter than classic literary fiction.

Plot synopsis

Halia has a mysterious lung disease, which is hindering her present and curtailing her future.  She also has a compelling attraction to water and an urge to swim, the latter of which is strictly forbidden by her aunt Deedee who has been her guardian ever since Halia was orphaned as a baby.  Although Halia understands that her aunt wants to protect her, she wants to live her li…

9 public speaking tips - based on Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Whether we like it or not (and honestly I don't), most of us are going to have to come to terms with making presentations in some aspect of our lives.  While it would be nice to think that our presentations would be judged purely on content, the fact of the matter is that our ability to communicate that content matters - a lot.  Since I'm not exactly great at giving presentations myself, I decided to look for some help and got lucky with an ex-library copy of Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo, a presentations expert and coach.  Here is a quick summary of his top 9 public-speaking tips.

Unleash the master within

This is a catch title but what it basically means is that you need to find some way to connect your topic with something you genuinely care passionately about.  In all honesty, my initial reaction to this was "easier said than done", at least in many cases, when we have to give presentations on topics we don't necessarily care passionately about.  I guess the…

B Positive by Carol Deeley - a book about why we need to be positive

The picture on the front cover of this book might look familiar, that's because you've probably seen it in a film (like Ocean's 11) or on TV.  It's the front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the place that dreams are made of.  In this case the dreamer is a man called Joe and the dream is to win a high-stakes poker tournament, which is a big ask at the best of times and an even bigger ask when the reason you want to win is because you have a heart condition and want to pay for private treatment.

So here's what I think you need to know to decide whether or not B Positive by Carol Deeley is a good read for you.

The poker/gambling bit

First of all, this is a book which has a plot involving poker and yes does include some descriptions of poker.  It is by no means a book about poker.  In fact, frankly, the less you know about poker, the more you are likely to enjoy this book, because in all honesty, the descriptions of poker are completely unrealistic to put it mildly.  If…

7 classic writers from the U.S.

In celebration of the 4th of July, I thought I’d compile a list of 7 great U.S. writers.I’m only covering adult fiction, which is why Dr. Seuss is not only the list.It’s my blog, so it’s my choice of writers, feel free to disagree, but I hope you find it interesting.
Isaac Asimov
Asimov was a scientist with a gift for creativity and communication.He’s probably best remembered for his sci-fi stories, but he also wrote mysteries and outstanding non-fiction.
Ernest Hemingway
I’m not at all convinced that I would have got on with Hemingway if I had met him personally, but there can be no doubt that he was one of the most talented writers in history and his influence lives on.
Jack Kerouac
His style may not be to everyone’s taste (although I suppose you could say that of any author) and he was vilified personally and as a writer throughout his adult life, but for all his personal issues (including chronic alcohol abuse), his novel On the Road is now regarded as a classic.
Stephen King
King has wri…

7 great crime stories

Whether you just like reading crime or you want to write it, these novels are all by masters of their craft and are great stories you can enjoy as a reader and learn from as a writer.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Often regarded as the first English-language example of the modern detective story, The Moonstone is about the disappearance of a jewel rather than a violent crime, but the reader is kept gripped by how the events of one night impact on the lives of believable, engaging characters.Technically, The Moonstone is a masterclass in how to tell a story from different points of view without confusing readers.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
You can’t mention crime without mentioning Christie and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is widely considered to be her masterpiece, since it’s told from the perspective of the murderer and yet it’s only at the end that we find out who, exactly, they are.It’s also a gripping whodunit in classic Christie style.
Pietr the Latvian: Inspector…

7 great books for reading on rainy days

So today is the day before the summer solstice in the UK and looking out of the window, frankly it looks a whole lot more like winter, or at least autumn.  For the record, that picture was taken a while back, but it could easily have been today and, also for the record, it was taken in colour, that's not a black-and-white filter, that's how it was.  Anyway, navigating a huge puddle on my way to work today has set me thinking about books you could dip into on rainy days, maybe when you were planning to do something else, but had to stay indoors.I was looking for books which you could dip in and out of and which most people would enjoy, even if they had different tastes in fiction.So, here are my picks.
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
New editions of this book are investment purchases, but older ones can be available very affordably.I’ve only ever seen this book myself in hard copy and I’d only buy it that way since I’ve heard that the formatting on the Kindle editions c…

7 great books about travelling

Since now is the time many people are heading off on holiday, I thought I'd compile a list of 7 great books about travelling, which you can read on a plane or at any other time. I chose books which were specifically about travelling rather than books which involved characters making journeys but where the journey was not the main focus of the book.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
While this is a fictional adventure story rather than a proper travelogue, it’s still a cracking read.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Opinions are divided on this book, but then you could say that about most books. Some people see it as self-indulgent, which, in a way, I suppose it is, but in another way, the author experiences feelings I think many of us can understand and tries to resolve them by travelling to discover the world and herself. She’s not the first, she won’t be the last, but she has written a book many people love.
I'm off then: losing and finding myself on the Cam…