Book Review – “The Tower”, by Simon Toyne

I never make New Year Resolutions, as I never keep them.  However, in a previous blog post, I stated that I have made two for 2018, and I was determined to keep them.  The first was to read more.  Books, that is.  I would aim to read at least one book per month.  Some times that’s easier said than done – so should I aim for “12 books in 2018” instead?  No.  That would just put more pressure on me if I don’t finish a book by the end of the month.

Anyway, I can confirm that today (31 January), I have just finished my first book of the year.

The Tower, by Simon Toyne.  First published 2013.  498 pages.  ISBN 978 0 00 739208 7.

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When I bought this book, I didn’t know that this was actually the third of a trilogy (I will point out here that this makes no difference to the reading.  I have not read the previous two books, nor do I intend to…  This book was perfectly readable on its’ own).  Whenever I buy a book, it’s the cover design that grabs my attention first.  If I am drawn to the cover, I will read the description on the back.

REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

After centuries of secrecy, the forbidden Citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin opens its gates.  A deadly disease has ravaged everything within.  Charity worker Gabriel Mann is dying – but may also hold the only cure.

Without him, ex-journalist Liv Adamsen stands alone against those who want her silenced.  However, Liv soon has far bigger concerns than just her own life…

In America, FBI agent Joe Shepherd searches for NASA’s missing head scientist.  His investigation unearths a global conspiracy that is preparing for an event beyond all reckoning.

But nobody is ready for what is coming.  And when it does – it will change everything.

I’m a fussy reader, and the genres I choose are rather eclectic.  Ha ha, a bit like this blog really.  I enjoy reading chick lit; where the main character(s) are women, and is a bit of a romantic comedy.  On the other hand, I have really enjoyed reading conspiracy / thrillers; so the blurb on this book called to me.

I have to admit that it was a little slow in starting off.  It seemed all over the place, as the story focused on different “main” characters, who were in different parts of the world.  I couldn’t get my head around it, but perseverance paid off, as by about chapter 10, I was able to distinguish whose story line I was “playing out”.  10 chapters in may sound like a lot, but the chapters in this book are well written, and are about 3-5 pages long.

I found a lot of the characters likeable.  I was able to somewhat “see” what they were describing, and I did feel a lot of empathy for them.

There were a couple of chapters towards the end of the book that I think happened too fast…  I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but I think three characters story lines were ended rather abruptly.  There was no real build-up to it – it just sort of happened; and to me, there could have been more to it.

The whole book sort of ended quickly too.  All the characters, and the plot was closed, so it didn’t leave me with any unanswered questions, but it really felt like the author had just given up.  “I’m bored, let’s wrap this up”, type of thing.  Which was a shame – especially considering this was the final book in the trilogy.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who does like to read conspiracy novels.

My score:

6-out-of-10

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Every penny counts…

I decided last night that I was going to be taking part in the “Money Savings Challenge” this year.  It sounds relatively easy enough, and from my calculations, I could very easily put away just over £1,300 by the end of the year.

I have made myself a spreadsheet to work by, using Microsoft Excel.  There are several columns, one of which is the date, where I have made a list of the date of every Wednesday throughout 2015 (see picture a little further down).

The name of the game is that you put away £1 in the first week of the year, £2 in the second week, £3 in the third, etc., so you eventually put £52 in the “pot”.

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(Click to make the image larger)

The way I have thought about it, even if I can’t make it right the way through the year, by the time “Donut” appears (due 13 June 2015), I will have saved £300.  That’s already a lot of money.

If I can last right the way through to making a final payment on 23 December 2015, I will have saved £1,378.  Wow!

I did originally think about buying a money box – one of those that you cannot get in to without “breaking” it open (with a tin opener), but I thought that was too easy.  Instead, I have renamed two of my online savings accounts in my bank – One is now entitled “Savings Challenge 2015” and the other is for “Holiday Savings 2015”.  (I’m just going to be throwing whatever I can afford at the time in to the holiday account…)  The only problem I have there is that both of these accounts are easily accessible to me via my online banking, so this will still take some self control.

Here’s to having a bit of “pocket change” to play about with in the next several months 🙂

So how about it?  Will you take on the savings challenge too?

Day 3 – Let’s try this again, shall we?

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Day 2 – To dye, or not to dye

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Day 2 of my coffee rehab is almost complete.  I’ve not been at all bothered by my lack of coffee today, although I did look at the machine when I was on my lunch in work.  I was good though.  I turned away and didn’t look back.  If I’m going to do the non-coffee, I’m going to do it properly.  Afterall…  I’m getting used to the taste of tea.

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If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve never been a tea drinker.  Tea was just for the elderly…  Or for when I was ill:  But even I can’t deny that tea tastes so much better when served in a real china cup, and it makes you feel all posh.  Someone pass the cucumber sandwiches.

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Drinking tea out of a mug, like I have been doing, just isn’t the same.

I went to Asda (again) last night.  Wow.  Anyone would think that I had a bit of a thing for the place…

Anyway, I thought that I would have a quick look at the hair dyes, mainly to get a price on any ‘super bright’ ones that I could use to ‘dip dye’ my hair.  Last time I bought an auburn cherry coloured dye, which looked ok but not great, and I’ve always wanted to dip my hair again.

Normally, nothing catches my attention, and it’s just various blondes, reds and browns that line the shelves, however this must have been a sign.

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Excuse the nails.  I am in desperate need of a manicure.

These three caught my eye.  All three are semi-permanent, and according to the box, usually last between 8-12 washes.  Because of the colour of my hair, this would probably mean that it would last about 3 months in mine, until it gradually washes/fades away.

Shocking pink, raspberry and electric blue.  I liked the blue and the pink, although the more I starred at them, the more I wasn’t convinced.  The blue wasn’t enough of a statement, but the I thought the pink was too much.  Hence, I bit the biscuit (so to say), and I bought the raspberry.

Here’s the dye in action…

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It wasn’t until it was already on that I read the instructions…

You normally always apply a permanent dye to dry hair.  One of the differences between semi and full is that you’re supposed to apply a semi to damp hair.  Oops.

Anyway…  I think it would have only made a big difference if I was going to be having the dye all over.  As I was only having it ‘dipped’, or in this case ‘painted’, I didn’t think it would make much of a difference, and may even be more vibrant.

45 minutes later, I was out of the shower, and hair was wrapped up in a towel.  As with any big change, I was rather anxious as to what it had turned out like, but I was patient, and only dried my hair 20 minutes after having it wrapped up.

This morning I straightened my hair (hubby dearest did the back for me), and here’s the result:

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Not the best picture in the world, but it didn’t come out too badly, huh?