Literary Ames

British. Female. Bibliophile. Feminist.

Marines vs. Knife-Wielding Thief, Or When Marines Get the Upper... Fist


Sorry, I just had to share this. Too funny not to!



July Recap









july 2015 reads
Through the Woods
Emily Carroll


Ask Graham
Graham Norton


Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack #1)
Suzanne Wright


TV: Belgium’s Cordon a modern adaption of Albert Camus’s The Plague echoes Ebola crisis


The Innovative Admin
Julie Perrine


1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off
John Lloyd, John Mitchinson & James Harkin


The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie


The Fade Out, Vol. 1
Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

July Book Haul

I haven’t been buying that many books lately, but temptation in the form of the UK Summer Kindle Sale was too much to bear.



Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1) by Maria V. Snyder
I’ve read the first trilogy starting with Poison Study but not the second trilogy although I do own it. I just have to get reading them.


Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Everyone seems to love this book. It’s been recommended to me a number of times.


Déjà Dead (Temperance Brennan #1) by Kathy Reichs
I loved TV show Bones! (I stopped watching during season 10.) I’ve heard the source materials quite a bit from the adaption.


What the **** is Normal?! by Francesca Martínez
I’ve seen Francesca interviewed on TV. I found her both funny and intelligent. I expect her experience of the world as someone with cerebral palsy will be interesting.


The Invisible Woman by Helen Walmsley-Johnson
Yes, I’ll be reading yet another memoir based on the universal of experience of being an ageing woman in the 21st century.


A few educational reads:


Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis
500 Words You Should Know by Caroline Taggart
A Classical Education: The Stuff You Wish You’d Been Taught in School by Caroline Taggart
Amazing True Stories Of Execution Blunders by Geoffrey Abbott



There were a few good Kindle deals that were actually appealing for once.



Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
This was hot stuff when it was released, receiving multiple awards. I want to know whether it lives up to the hype.


Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
Sci-fi classics are definitely of interest to me right now. So many of them have been adapted into movies, even short stories.


The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
I have yet to read the original book Hunting Season, but as I own it I can compare what’s been changed to turn it into a series.



A trip to The Works today saw me buy these for £2 each and the first two are hardcovers!


The Works july 2015

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Quips, Quotes & Retorts for Oldies
The Giant Bathroom Book of Cartoons

A little light entertainment never did anyone any harm.



Sixteen books for £27!


Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack #1) by Suzanne Wright

feral sins suzanne wright phoenix pack“Just give me a second. Attempting to give a fuck…Attempting harder to give a fuck…Sorry, there was an error; fuck not given.”


PMDD was bringing me down when I remembered Lei recommended Feral Sinsto me last year as a pick-me-up. I didn’t own it then, but I snapped up a £1 deal on Amazon a few months ago. After finally reading it, I can understand the hype surrounding this self-published book. It definitely made me feel better.


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Rant: Feedback Request Overload

tom eversley isorepublic


Ever receive an email from a retailer requesting feedback after you’ve bought something from them? Have you noticed this practice become more common in recent months?


I sure have.


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Lucifer, I’ll Be Watching You

Lucifer Fox eyes


Writing the The Wicked + The Divine review reminded me of Jay-Z's Lucifer, so I looked it up on YouTube for a listen. Instead I find this.


Coming in 2016...

The Devil has come to Los Angeles… Lucifer Mike Carey Gaiman graphic novel
Based upon the characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, LUCIFER is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR (Tom Ellis, “Merlin”) has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub.
Charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome, Lucifer is enjoying his retirement, indulging in a few of his favorite things – wine, women and song – when a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered outside of Lux. For the first time in roughly 10 billion years, he feels something awaken deep within him as a result of this murder. Compassion? Sympathy? The very thought disturbs him – as well as his best friend and confidante, MAZIKEEN aka MAZE (Lesley-Ann Brandt, “The Librarians”), a fierce demon in the form of a beautiful young woman.
The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective CHLOE DANCER (Lauren German, “Chicago Fire”), who initially is dismissive of Lucifer. But she becomes intrigued by his talent for drawing out people’s secrets and his desire to dispense justice, doling out punishment to those who deserve it. As they work together to solve the pop star’s murder, Lucifer is struck by Chloe’s inherent goodness. Accustomed to dealing with the absolute worst of humanity, Lucifer is intrigued by Chloe’s apparent purity and begins to wonder if there’s hope for his own soul yet.
At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel AMENADIEL (DB Woodside, “Suits,” “24”), has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld…can the Devil incarnate be tempted toward the side of Good, or will his original calling pull him back toward Evil?

Lucifer D.B. Woodside


D.B. Woodside from Buffy and Rachael Harris from Suits! This better come to British shores, but wait... It's Fox. That means it'll be cancelled after the first season, because that's what they do to any sci-fi/fantasy show I enjoy. Almost Human, Dark Angel and Firefly are the most notable examples. Sigh. I'll be watching anyway. You never know, having Neil Gaiman's name attached to this might entice his millions of fans to watch it and encourage Fox to break with tradition and create more than one or two seasons.


Lucifer looks irresistible. As the devil says, he's 'walking heroin' and it will 'end badly'. I might as well enjoy the ride while I can.


The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie

What kind of teenager are you that you don’t have Class A drugs to hand?Hmm? Has The Daily Mail been lying to me?

Every 90 years twelve gods from multiple pantheons are reincarnated in young people to live for two years. The gods reincarnated are different each time and don’t necessarily live out the full two years, as the opening pages can attest with only four gods left at the end of the last cycle in 1923, skulls perched in the empty seats. Ananke is their guardian, goddess of fate, necessity and destiny. She’s their protector, but also their judge, jury and, if necessary, their executioner.


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TV: Belgium’s Cordon a modern adaption of Albert Camus’s The Plague echoes Ebola crisis

Cordon cast


“Cordon sanitaire” is a sanitary cordon used to confine the infected with a highly contagious and deadly disease to a specific area, quarantining them away from the general population until everyone inside either dies or survives, allowing the disease to die out. This technique has been around for centuries. Photos are available recording how the cordon was implemented in Honolulu’s Chinatown in an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1889. In August 2014 cordons were used in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the African countries most affected by Ebola.


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The Fade Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

The Fade Out Volume 1 - Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips

Offensive racist stereotyping, rampant sexism, an abundance of rape, clichéd and disjointed storytelling and an unwieldy cast of homogenous characters of which to keep track – what’s not to love about this 1940s noir in graphic novel form?


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Pride and Prejudice and the Peak District: 6 things I learned about Jane Austen’s setting

While away on a long weekend away in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire I learned a few things.


1. The scenery is breathtaking.

Sunrise over Hope Valley and The Great Ridge from Mam Tor, Peak District National Parkcredit: Chris Hepburn/Getty

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Where are the older main characters?

Julia McKenzie as Agatha Christie’s Miss MarpleJulia McKenzie as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple


We have books for children, young adults and now new adults. Where are the books for the more mature person? Middle-aged parents and grandparents as supporting characters are abundant in fiction, but human antiques are much more than just their parental status.


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Ask Graham by Graham Norton, and the reader with a bodice-ripping addiction

Ask Graham - Graham Norton

Bluntly telling it like it is as only gay comedian, chat show host and now agony uncle Graham Norton can, with wit and wisdom. Ask Graham is a collection of letters and responses from Norton’s column in the very middle class and conservative Daily Telegraph. If you’re looking for a gentle agony aunt who sensitively guides you to the solutions to life’s problems without judgement, turn back now. Not that he is ever mean to the genuinely vulnerable; he saves his mocking for the clearly stupid and those who’ve made diamond encrusted mountains out of simple, mundane molehills.


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7 Rules for Writing Non-Fiction

7 rules for writing non-fiction


Over the years I’ve come across a few common issues that can be easily rectified. Authors can’t always control every aspect of their work, but they can darn well try. Here are 7 ways in which non-fiction writers can help themselves to better sales.


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Hilarious NHS Complaints Letter from a Desperate Reader

woman reading


Last month Yael Biran broke her elbow in South-East London so she travelled to her local NHS hospital with a book to read while in the waiting rooms. However, the experience was not at all what she expected, so she wrote the following complaints letter.


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1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson & James Harkin

1227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off - John Lloyd, John Mitchinson

I used to be a boghandler, that’s ‘bookseller’ in Danish. If there are enough diamonds in the world to give everyone a cupful, why are they so expensive? Did you know Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, married Oscar Wilde’s first girlfriend? There’s a joke in there somewhere, I know it.


The point is, these 1,227 QI Facts are eye-opening, hilarious and just plain weird. Trivia isn’t for everyone but this is a great toilet or coffee table book, something you can dip in and out of whenever the mood takes you. And you know those awkward moments when you realize you’ve nothing to talk about when you’re stuck with someone you’re forced to interact with, well you can use the gems in these pages as little conversation starters. Just memorize a few.


At £0.20 for the Kindle edition, this was a steal. The only thing that could’ve made it better would be if Stephen Fry had written it.


Below are a few of my favourites – which seem to revolve around sex, death and books – are grouped into definitions & translations, literary facts and general trivia.



Definitions & Translations

The word pencil comes from a Latin word meaning ‘small penis’


Words we need to read in romance novels:


Blissom vb. To bleat with sexual desire.


Meupareunia n. Sexual activity enjoyed by only one of the participants.


Callypygian adj. Having beautiful buttocks.


Areodjarekput is an Inuit word meaning ‘to exchange wives for a few days only’.


Gymnophoria is the sense that someone is mentally undressing you.



Words we need to use in everyday life:


Eye-servant n. One who only works when the boss is watching.


Hemipygic adj. Having only one buttock; half-arsed.


Deipnophobia n. The fear of dinner party conversations.


Nomophobia n. The fear of being out of mobile phone contact.


The symbols used by !$%@ing cartoonists to indicate swearing are called grawlixes.


The pleasant smell of earth after rain is caused by bacteria in the soil and is called petrichor – from Greek petros, ‘stone’ and ichor, ‘the fluid that flows through the veins of the gods’.


The Finnish word for pedant, pilkunnussija, translates literally as ‘comma fucker’.

Cockshut is another word for twilight – the time of day when chickens are put to bed.


Ultracrepidarian n. Someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.


Until the 19th century the English word for actors was ‘hypocrites’.


Literary Facts

Typewriters used to be known as ‘literary pianos’.


The road signs of the Austrian village of Fucking are set in concrete to deter thieves.


More than 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic, hired for their superior problem-solving and spatial-awareness skills.


The Dyslexia Research Centre is in Reading.


Fewer than 5% of blind or visually impaired people in the UK can read Braille.


1,500,000 [Americans] are injured [each year] as a result of doctors’ bad handwriting.


25 million Bibles were printed in 2011, compared to 208 million IKEA catalogues.


2.5 million Mills & Boon novels were pulped and added to the tarmac of the UK’s M6 toll motorway to make it more absorbent.


Within 200 yards of the flat in Islington where George Orwell had the idea for 1984, there are now 32 CCTV cameras.


Oprah is ‘Harpo’ backwards. Oprah Winfrey’s real name is Orpah (after the sister of Ruth in the Bible) but no one could say or spell it properly so she eventually gave up correcting them. [Harpo is the stepson of Oprah’s character in the film adaption of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.]


The Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century treatise on witchcraft, warned that witches stole men’s penises and kept them in birds’ nests.


In online dating sites you are more likely to come across a teacher or lecturer than someone from any other profession.


Every year, a thousand letters arrive in Jerusalem addressed to God.


Casanova was a librarian.



General Trivia

A single human male produces enough sperm in a fortnight to impregnate every fertile woman on the planet.


Every human being starts out life as an arsehole: it’s the first part of the body to form in the womb.


In the 19th century, [doctors literally ‘blew smoke up your arse’ (rectal inflation)] to resuscitate the drowned.


The penalty for adultery in ancient Greece involved hammering a radish into the adulterer’s bottom with a mallet. Radishes were a lot longer and pointier in those days.


Sucking a king’s nipples was a gesture of submission in ancient Ireland.


More than 50% of koalas have chlamydia.


Baby koalas are weaned on their mother’s excrement. It is consumed directly from their mother’s bottom in the form of ‘soup’.


Male fruit flies rejected by females drink significantly more alcohol than those that have had a successful encounter.


A female ferret will die if she doesn’t have sex for a year.


Until 1857, it was legal for British husbands to sell their wives. The going rate was £3,000 (£23,000 in today’s money).


Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world. Though the resident population is only just over 800, more than 600 crimes are committed there each year.


In Japan only 2% of adoptions are of children; 98% are adult males aged 25 to 30.


Aerosmith have made more money from Guitar Hero than from any of their albums.


Each year, drug baron Pablo Escobar had to write off 10% of his cash holdings because of rats nibbling away at his huge stash of bank notes.


St Vitus is the patron saint of oversleeping.


In 2010, the Catholic Church had an income of $97 billion. [That’s more than Apple.]


Italy’s biggest business is the Mafia. It turns over $178 billion a year and accounts for 7% of GDP.


Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt.


The US has only 5% of the world’s population, but almost 25% of its prison population.


In 1672, an angry mob of Dutchmen killed and ate their prime minister.


The Aztecs sacrificed 1% of their population every year, or about 250,000 people. They also sacrificed eagles, jaguars, butterflies and hummingbirds.


After George W. Bush was re-elected president in 2004, the number of calls from US citizens to the Canadian Immigration authorities jumped from 20,000 to 115,000 a day.


Modern homing pigeons find it more convenient to follow motorways and ring roads and turn left and right at junctions rather than using their in-built navigational abilities.


Most antibiotics are made from bacteria. And bacteria can get viruses.


The Innovative Admin by Julie Perrine

The Innovative Admin - Julie Perrine

Stuck in a rut? If your personal or professional life isn’t everything you want it to be, then read The Innovative Admin. The fact that Perrine’s book is aimed at secretaries and administrators doesn’t matter. Her advice is applicable to everyone, even if you’re unemployed. Ways to increase your productivity are included as well as a list of suggested websites and recommended reading is given for further inspiration to fuel your creativity, change your mindset and identify your strengths and weaknesses. A FREEaction plan from the accompanying website summarizes the activities you can do to improve your life.


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Currently reading

Mixed Feelings: The Complex Lives of Mixed-Race Britons by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Dead to You by Lisa McMann
Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre
Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1) by Karina Halle
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, ALEXANDER DUMAS, Alexander Dumas Pere
Out of the Easy by
Studying the Novel by Jeremy Hawthorn