Damn hospital letter – Stage 4 melanoma

Yesterday I received a letter from my oncologist, it was addressed to DWP to support a PIP claim, all good. However, I was just copied in on this letter and to say it was bleak is a bit of an understatement. It says as my disease has progressed in one site ( I have mets in 3 sites at the moment) this will be dealt with locally (surgery). BUT this means unfortunately there is likelihood now of disease progression and my current treatment will be deemed ineffective and stop. As this is my final line of treatment available, the prognosis will be 3 to 6 months. EA8DE317-94FB-487D-B925-A5371A26665A

Now, while I am aware of the ‘limited options ‘ I wasn’t really aware that this is it and if it stops working I have very little time left on this planet. It did put a huge dampener on my day I have to be honest. BUT as the treatment is still working, as my last CT in October showed, the surgery to remove the errant tumours has been done….so I am two lumps down,  I am determined to keep fighting this bastard disease.

So this morning I went for a walk, only a mile round the local,park, but the cold and fresh air has done me the world of good.  I’m still healing from the surgery so didn’t want to go too far, but getting outside has given me time to put all this nonsense in its place and no more doom and gloom for me.




Book reviews

Bob The Street Cat by James Bowen – Book Review

70020F40-E184-411F-B5B1-680C3B993959.jpegI read this little book in a day as I wanted something light and easy to read. It’s a lovely story, about James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict and how finding Bob, a street smart stray cat, helped him turn his life around.

They have their scrapes and adventures and some scary moments when Bob runs off, but it’s a true story and is truly heartwarming.

I also saw YouTube videos of Bob the Big Issue cat and he’s a real cute kitty. He’s  even met the Duchess of Cambridge and had a movie made of the story staring Luke Treadaway, so pretty famous here in the UK…




Bitter Leaves by Tabatha Stirling

AD48D9DE-1A27-4A9A-8211-E8B13E15F318I’m currently reading this via The Pigeonhole, it’s a brutal heartbreaking tale of Indonesian housemaids in Singapore. It’s slavery by any other name and not an easy read. I’m about halfway and it’s making me both angry and upset at the same time, some brilliant writing and I’m intrigued as to how this will end……tough stuff.



Book reviews

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – Book Review


They called us the Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghosts, and if you touched our skin we dissolved into smoke …

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work.


Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate.

But glory comes at a price …


The Mercies hear of a terrible beast rampaging through villages, they decide to kill this beast and leave their death trade once and for all. 

There is a reward for killing the beast and this would allow the band of Mercies to go their separate ways and live different lives. One little snag, the monster is immortal.

April Genevieve Tucholke has written an enthralling and enchanting tale of the relationship between Mercies, all young strong women in a harsh, difficult and poor world. While this is a Young Adult novel it is in no way childish and the Mercies may be young the story’s in depth and is really about hope and love and companionship,  you will be utterly committed to these young women and their tales. The world created is very atmospheric and detailed and you could easily get lost here. I loved this and hope there will be a sequel as I feel there is more to come.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Published October 4th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK 




Surgery done

Just a little update.

The surgery’s done and the surgeon confirmed two tumours removed. I do have to wait for histology for the results of biopsy etc, but as the mass was black, it’s definitely melanoma. As I have that already elsewhere this is no surprise, just lucky they’ve been able to remove at least some. I had a chest drain for a couple of days but that’s now gone, they are such a nuisance to carry around everywhere. There is some bruising and I’m still a bit sore and itchy, but the dressings are removed tomorrow so that should help, and I’ll get to see how long the wound is, judging by the dressing etc it’s about 6 inches long, so matches my axillary dissection scar, will look like train tracks !

I have one breast higher than the other too, but it’s probably only me that will notice ! Other than that seems ok so far, which as it’s only been a week I’m happy with how it’s healing.



Book reviews

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – Book Review



My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Publisher : Atlantic Books

Published: Due 3 January 2019

Genre : General Fiction


“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realise they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening.


This is the tale of Korede, she has a sister, Ayoola, who is stunningly beautiful, but has a secret. she has killed three men. So far !

Korede has helped Ayoola dispose of the bodies and keeps her secret, but she is concerned as the man she loves, Dr Tade,  is now besotted with Ayoola. Will he end up the same way as the others? 

I liked the insight into Nigerian culture and it did remind me a little of the Purple Hibiscus, as in a brutal father figure, but without the murders !. It also has references to the current obsession with social media, which gives this a feel of reality.

Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a marvellously dark story, and is so blasé about murder. With its touches of humour it makes you smile at times even though you know you shouldn’t. Just how far will a sister go to protect her younger sibling. It is a quick read but packs a lot into it and I enjoyed it immensely.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

About the author:

OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo, a Nigerian publishing house, and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria…(details from Goodreads)


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Review



Published by Random House UK



Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six.

They sold out arenas from coast to coast.

Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy.

But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again. Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you’re fighting for.

It’s a true story, though everyone remembers the truth differently.


This is the first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid I have read and I was drawn to this by the official blurb and the groovy covers if I’m honest.

Set in the sixties, and shows the music scene as a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It’s told in a series of interviews from different perspectives of various people both in the band and those close to them. 

It begins in 1965 with a coming of age tale of Daisy and her intent on singing in clubs, her voice and looks get her invited to join bands. It continues through the years to the disbanding of Daisy Jones & The Six.

The story moves at quite a pace and builds a slightly frenzied atmosphere through the stores of the band members. Great writing which captures the atmosphere of the swinging sixties, totally entertaining and believable.

I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review


#DaisyJonesAndTheSix #NetGalley



The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau – Book Review


In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice. 

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue… 

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage. 

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue


This is the story of Derby Blue and the porcelain obsession of the 1700’s. Genevieve meets Sir Gabriel at a soirée held by William Hogarth, the artist. She had attended this with the intent of asking Hogarth to sponsor her as an artist, but her dreams are shattered as she is just a woman and they do not paint in oils. Distraught she returns home to her Grandfather, who is sending her to work in a Derby porcelain factory to decorate the items, as this is felt suitable for her talents.

Then Sir Gabriel visits and so the adventure begins, he wants her to be his spy at Derby, to find a formula to a new Blue, by getting close to the young scientist, Thomas Sturridge, but the plan goes awry as they fall desperately in love.

I can’t say much more without spoiling the plot, but it’s full of utterly engaging intrigue and even Madame de Pompadour and King Louis and a war between France and England at that time are all part of this tale.

There are fascinating insights into the history of porcelain, which may sound a little dry, but believe me, Nancy Bilyeau’s writing has brought this to life. The sheer obsession and competition between countries to develop the best is beyond belief.

This is an absolutely stunning novel, with a really strong female character in Genevieve, intrigue, fear,violence, persecution, passion, obsession and love. This is a must read and I’m sure book clubs are going to adore it as much as I do. Oh and the cover is beautiful too. Historical fiction at its best.

Thank you to The Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this. 




Published 3 December 2018