The Spider and The Fly by Claudia Rowe

The Spider and The Fly by Claudia Row is a true story about a reporter and her unique connection with a convicted serial killer.

the SPIDER and the FLY

I stumbled across this book whilst browsing the shelves at a local book store when I was travelling in San Francisco. It caught my eye when looking originally because of its cover, which generally is the case when looking in a book store, which is simple yet intriguing. Once I had read the blurb I felt I had to buy it.

I tend to read the same genre, crime fiction (which I am going to venture from) and although this is a crime novel it is nonfiction. For that reason I decided to give it a go, well that and it sounded really good.

When i started reading I realised I had made a good choice. It shows Claudia Rowes experiences and connection to this serial killer whom she talks with for over 4 years. How it shows the darkness inside, what motivates people, how people connect and how a serial killer and a reporter can forge this unusual connection.

The story of Kendall Francois is an interesting one and seeing this reporter show a different side to it is something I enjoyed. Kendall Francois was convicted of killing 8 women in 1998, and stashing their bodies in the house he shared with his mother, father and sister.

Claudia had many questions about this crime and set out to find answers. She may have found more about herself than she was expecting.

I really enjoyed this book and reading how the connection grew, and changed throughout their correspondence. I think the book was written in an engaging manner and kept you wanting to read on and felt almost poetic. Chapters varied in sizes but were generally fairly short which is something I like as it excited me to read on. I thought it was well written and although it is a true story had the feel of a fictional book. I would say at times it felt a bit all over the place but it didn’t necessarily bother me. I mean it would have enhanced the experience a little if it was structured in a more ordered way.

The book isn’t really a book of suspense (which the title may suggest) but more about the writers journey throughout, understanding more about herself and others. Even though it it isn’t your typical “true crime” book, I almost enjoyed it a little bit more as it gave a different perspective. The perspective of how another’s actions can affect your own (although maybe to the extreme, not everyone has years long connection to a serial killer)

Just thought I would mention where I picked this book up. This book I got when I was in San Francisco and popped into Green Apple Books on the Park. This was a great little bookshop with both new and used books. This one I got was used, yet it was almost as good as new!

Overall, I would recommend this book! Especially if your interested in psychology. I wouldn’t go into this book expecting it to be centred on the crimes committed as it is more about the reporters connection to the serial killer and how that takes her on her own journey.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(Ps feel free to like and comment, share your own opinion.)

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Book Box Club – August

This month’s book box club theme is Moonlit Melodies and as usual features a book and bookish goodies that relate to this theme.

As well as the featured book you also received a bunch of great goodies! This included a #midnightsnack cookie as well as a moon child sticker pack. The sticker pack features stickers including shooting starts and moons. You also received a phantom of the opera pouch and access to The Bookshop Band album which features songs inspired by books including Alice in Wonderland. A cute door hanger was also featured which is very cute, and a heating eye mask by spacemasks.com. as well as all of that you also received an exclusive book box club pin badge!

The featured book this month is ‘Ghost Wood Song’ by Erica Waters.

The book is a young adult fiction novel.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.

But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.

In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

I am really excited to read this book, if I’m honest it wouldn’t have been a book I would have picked up myself but that’s the reason I love this subscription box! It allows me to explore genres and authors I wouldn’t therefor experience! You also get access to a Spotify playlist which features all the songs referenced in this novel which I think it really unique!

Again I would highly recommend this subscription box!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(Feel free to like and comment ☺️)

Author Q&A: Elen Caldecott

Elen Caldecott is a childrens and YA author who wrote The Short Knife, a book I previously wrote a review on.

I got in contact with Elen and asked if I could possibly ask some questions on her career as a writer and on her book ‘The Short Knife’. Not only did she respond quickly, she also said yes! I appreciate when anyone takes the time to answer some of my questions and I can’t thank Elen enough!.

1. What made you become a writer and primarily with children’s books?

I’ve written since school. It was always a hobby and a passion. I had a fantastic teacher who encouraged me early on. Books for young people are pacy, challenging and fun. When I started writing them, it felt like home.


2. What gave you the inspiration to move on from children’s books to writing a YA  novel? 3. Was there a reason you decided to set the ‘The Short Knife’ in the past and would you write more historical fiction?

I started writing it with language as the main inspiration. I wanted to write a book that was in English, but inspired by Welsh. I didn’t have a plot in mind, I had a voice in mind. I decided the most interesting time to write about, given that I wanted to write about Welsh meeting English, was when English first arrived in the British Isles. That meant it had to be a historical novel, and, given the complex nature of that meeting, it had to be a book for slightly older readers.

4. Were you particularly influence by any other authors or novels to begin your career or specifically to write ‘The Short Knife’?

I love to read – I always have. So, I rely on other writers to fuel my reading. I learn so much from other writers. In the case of TSK, Catherine Johnson’s ‘The Curious Tale of the Lady Caribou’ was influential, in the way that she gave herself permission to imagine the lives of people who are quite shadowy in the historical record.


5. What process and research did you have to follow and conduct in order to write ‘The Short Knife’?

I did a lot of research on the language. I retranslated a dictionary of Welsh idioms and played with Welsh grammar. I also researched the time period, with visits to experiemental archaeology sites like West Stow Anglo-Saxon village.


6. Regarding your book, ‘The Short Knife’, was it a conscious decision to make the main protagonist a female with a strong, resilient personality?

I always wanted to tell women’s stories, yes. Not just Mai’s, but the female community she is surrounded by.


7. We see the story flip between two different times in Mai’s life before they catch up to each other, what made you write it with the two timelines rather than just one?

The plot of the book is based on an old legend of Hengist and Vortigern. That legend ends with a massacre. So, I knew that the finale of the book would have to happen with that dramatic event. However, I didn’t want Mai’s story to finish in that spot. So, by mixing up the timelines, I was able to give her a much longer epilogue than is usual.


8. To me, this book spoke about identity and language and this was one way I felt many people could relate to, was it originally going to feature those themes or did they happen naturally during the writing process?

It always was about language. I wanted to experiment with languages, more than anything. But identity is so often tied up with language so that ended up become an important theme organically.


9. Do you plan to write any more YA novels?

I might. I don’t know. That’s not what I’m working on right now, but who knows after that.


10. Do you have any advice for an aspiring author or writer?

Be curious. Experiment. Play. Words are a tool, in just the way that clay, or paint, or musical notes are the tools of other artists. Don’t be afraid to mess about with words – sometimes what you do will be awful, but sometimes you’ll make magic.

I loved all of these answers and I felt it gave me further insight into being a writer, the process of writing and of the novel itself. The link to Elen’s website is: http://www.elencaldecott.com/

if you havent read this book yet I recommend you do! Not only is it a great book, it was written by a gret author!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like comment or share)

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott is an adventure/ historical fiction novel that is set in 454AD, as the Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain.

This historic novel follows the main female protagonist names Mai and we follow her journey through the dark ages and facing Saxon Warriors. It is full of the mysticism of early Britain and we get to delve into the world of Mai.

We start the book with Mai, Haf (sister) and her Tad at their farm when Saxon warrors arrive and the family must flee. we follow their journey to the british camp on the hills and are given an insight into how Mai is feeluing and how she copes with the change. We see her struggle wwith her new situation and wants to leave. She continues in the British camp until she finds herself in trouble and ends up in a dangerous Saxon Camp. in a world where speaking your mother tongue is deadly she must learn Saxon words in porder to survive. but will this be enough?

I also liked the character of Mai in this book. As the protagonist we follow her journey through her experience with the dark ages and Saxon warriors as she become a strong independent woman. We also get to see her relationships with others including her sister Haf and how this effects her and the outcome of her life which I felt added another dimension to the character. She is only young yet we see her go through so much which adds strength to her character. We see her become strong and resilient in a world that doesn’t appreciate who she is.

This book was also a lot about Identify and language and we see how Mai’s is affected as she is forced to speak a language that isn’t her own. She loses part of herself when she can no longer speak her mother tongue and throughout the book we see how this effects her. How much she misses to be able to speak her own language. At one point she tears up after having heard her mother tongue spoken freely which shows the importance of her language is to her.

Generally, I don’t enjoy books that are set far in the past and I can’t say I would have picked this up if I hadn’t received this in July’s Book Box Club subscription box. Saying that, I enjoyed this book and was fully engaged from the beginning. Throughout the book I noticed saying to my self ‘just one more page’ a lot, which to me is a good sign!

Overall, I would recommend this book (even if you are not usually a fan of historic fiction like myslef). It is full of adventure and with a strong female lead you constantly want to read on. even though it features a complex character it is easy to read and enjoy and is almost poetic in its writing.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like and comment 🙂 )

Book Box Club July Subscription Box

Book Box Club is a book subscription service where you can choose from different packages: Book box club subscription, purely books and Tales by Mail.

I received the original book box club subscription box where you receive a gift wrapped, new YA novel, access to the online book club and a selection of themed goodies. Purely Books is the monthly subscription where you receive the featured book and access to the online book club. Tales by Mail is the bi-monthly book subscription and podcast for ages 8-12 year olds)

The theme for July was Magical Talents.

The featured book this month was Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy. This novel is a historical fantasy novel set in 19th century Denmark where magic is a deadly gift. When Marit’s best friend Eve is adopted by a famous dancer, Marit draws upon her powers to get a job with the wealthy family in order to watch over her. But Marit has a secret motivation: her father died while working in the family’s mine, and she has reason to believe he was murdered. She begins t investigate her fathers death but as she goes further to the truth more danger arises. Magic may be the only thing that can save her – if it doesn’t kill her first.

After receiving this book, I was first drawn to the book cover and illustration as it I quite simplistic in its elements yet detailed. I read this synopsis and to me it sounds like its going to be a good book and I can’t wait to read it. Let me know in the comments if you have read this book!

Alongside this featured book you received some themed goodies. These were a Splinters of Scarlet adjustable ring by Lisa Angel, a magic bottle water flask with artwork by Girl and Type as well as a Joanna magnetic bookmark by TJ Lubrando. You also received golden alethiometer lip balm by Mad about Nature and Magical Studies Notebooks by Book Box club.

All these goodies are related to the theme and are of great quality. The are all curated and chosen for the box and regularly use small businesses and artwork from small artists which I think is great. An ideal way to promote small businesses!

You also receive an invite to the online book clubhouse to take part in a discussion alongside the author of the featured book. This is a unique feature and one I think is great. You get the chance to read and maybe discover an author then have the opportunity to meet the author, ask your questions and make new friends with the exclusive invite to the book box clubhouse!

I really love this subscription box and would highly recommend. I have written previous blog posts on the subscription box if your curious to what was in some of the previous boxes. The link to the book box club website is: https://www.bookboxclub.com

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment, like and share this post)

Perfect Crime

‘Perfect Crime’ by Helen Fields is the 5th instalment in the DI Callanach Series. It focuses on Luc as he continues his life as a detective in Scotland whilst being haunted by his past.

I love this series anyway as it is well written with great characters in my favourite genre and this instalment was no different. I enjoyed seeing the comradery between the officers at MIT and how these relationships have evolved throughout the series.

The characters are realistic and are not represented as perfect and the best police officer. They have their fair share of problems and we get to see them cope with this. I really like Callanach and Turner but in this book I felt myself becoming frustrated with their relationship. They want to be more than friends but it doesn’t quite happen. Maybe this was the writers intention and if so it worked but I just wanted something to happen between them! I like to see other characters like Tripp and lively make an appearance where we get to see them evolve as they spend more time in MIT.

You get to see MIT investigate a series of suspicious ‘suicides’ and as more and more deaths occur we see them work through the all the outcomes. I like to read these parts of the book as much as the personal stories of the characters as I find it provides a balance between the excitement and the sincere.

It is well structured and well written and engaging. I read this book pretty quickly as I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to continue to read more and more to see what happens next.

I would highly recommend this book and the series as you will get the chance to see the characters evolve and develop. ( although I would say that you don’t have to)There is also another instalment due to be released in 2020 and I also can’t wait to read that!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read these books or have any other recommendations. )

Why do I blog?

I started to blog purely because I wanted to share my love for books and that still stays the same.

I love sharing what I have read and my opinions on them. Hopefully my words could inspire others to take up reading or read a certain book.

I love to read book blogs and it inspires me to not only wrote but to explore new genres and authors.

I currently blog twice a week but in June I will probable be making it once a week. I often struggle to think of the second post of the week as it is only two days later and I likely haven’t finished another book .

I love to write blog posts and I don’t get hung up on the number of views and reads.

If I was to say anything it would be that. Don’t look at the numbers and worry about them. Write for yourself. If only one person reads it then that’s good. If no one does it’s fine it allows you to express yourself.

Many thanks, Caitlin X

(PS please comment if you have a blog or would like to have one )

Printable Bookmark

Link to print:

Link to print:

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have used this bookmark or have one to share !

The importance of viewpoints

There are masses of viewpoints that authors can use especially if they have a lot of characters. This can be vital in making a story engaging and realistic.

If you are looking at a crime novel, viewpoints are important. You can look at the criminals view which can tell you why they are doing what they are doing, the police view to show how they are trying to solve the problem as well as the victims view. Those are just a few and you can look at many different people in the book to shed a new light on the events. A good example of looking at different viewpoints is All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew. I found this book that shared a different point of view with a lot of the book being focused on the parents of both the victim and the criminal. To show how crime effects those that surround those individuals involved.

It is also important to ensure the correct viewpoint is chosen so that it suits the story. Whether the book is written in first, second or third person it need to be write for the story. Most books are written in third person, past tense but that doesn’t mean your book should be!

You also need to make sure that you stick to these viewpoints. To ensure you are staying in the characters head and the book stays in first, second or third person unless for a specific reason. Continuity is also incredibly important and key for viewpoints especially if you have multiple in one book. You need to ensure that if one character knows something but another doesn’t you need to ensure that these are stuck to.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on viewpoints)

Some Bookish Cakes

I recently found some delicious looking book cakes online and though I would share some with you. It might give you inspiration to get baking or just make you want cake by either way you will get to see these beautiful decorated cakes. ( None of these cakes are my own but I may try and attempt them !)

Source : themetapicture.com

Source : Pinterest

Source : litstack.com

Source : Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Source : a very bookish cake, Frankie Magazine

Many Thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on these cakes !)