The Lost Sabriel

It’s Sabriel Day, the celebration of one of the books from my favourite trilogy!

I could read these books back to back without getting bored, there is no middle book lag, no disappointing ending, no need to ‘take a break’ between reads.

They are refreshingly different, AND they have strong female lead characters that don’t get side-lined.

I can’t remember how I first came across Sabriel, but I do know I loved the story from the first moment I read it. I loved it so much I STUPIDLY leant it to someone who was looking for something good to read.

Did I get it back? well, predictably, no.

Did they read it? No, which makes it much much worse.

I still have Lireal and Abhorsen but I haven’t been able to bring myself to replace my copy of Sabriel yet. Its absence serves as a reminder to never loan out books, to anyone, under any circumstances.

However, despite the loss, I don’t regret trying to share the story, but I have learned the power of book loss.

Sabrial came into my life like an unsung hero, waiting to prove its worth, and now it no longer graces my bookshelf its loss is most definitely felt.

Lost Sabriel book I hope you get found, read and enjoyed.

It’s at this point that I should mention the great Garth Nix is hosting a giveaway in celebration of the great day. You can find out more and join in on his facebook page.

No really, I would check it out.  The prizes are enough to make a fangirl squee!

A New Kind of TV!


Hi folks,

I have seriously neglected blogging for a while now, but there actually is a good reason.  I have some good news to share!

I, and my partner, have been beavering away on creating a brand new online video magazine all about the Wye Valley.

The Wye Valley is a stunning area that follows the river Wye as it snakes through Wales and briefly dips into England.  It takes in everything from mining to iron age treasures and stunning ruins. It’s a hot destination for tourists and for good reason- It has history, beauty and character and now it has its own online video magazine channel!

You can check out the channel at WyeValley.TV and, if you like what you see, please spread the word!

P.s Sorry about all the!! but somehow a full stop doesn’t seem to be celebratory grammar.

Books, Baths and Bonfires.


Feel thoroughly rejuvenated after a day of gardening, bonfires and baking cakes. Even managed to read a book in the bath.

Celtic Myths and Legends, I have NEVER read a book that could such make an epic and bloody battle so boring. I’m 20 pages in and I think I’ll be chipping away at this one ever so slowly.

What’s the most boring book you’ve ever read?

100 days of happiness, day 34.

Happy as a cat with string! (With writing tips)


Happy days!

I’ve overcome a right nightmare of a chapter in The Raindrop Ramblers with a little help from the wonderful people at Books Untamed.

You know those chapters where you have a lot of dialogue, you know you have too much, but you don’t know what to cut, so you get stuck in a loop?

I think my brain refused to delete all my typing. It’s as if it was saying,

“No, you wrote this, you spent time on this, to make it better you must add more, because if you delete it you will have wasted your time!”

It seems so obvious what I should have done now, but I couldn’t see it at the time, it took a lovely called Lynne Cantwell to say,

 “Does your reader would already know some of this info. If so, you could summarise that bit with a sentence: “So Mos told them about X and how Y.”

So simple, my dialogue was cut from 900 words to a mere 350 with that one suggestion.

Sometimes I just need a kick in the brain.


It’s Autism Awareness Month!

LIFT banner justified

April is Autism Awareness month, and the reading community is celebrating!

1 in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism every year, making it the fastest growing and one of the most prevalent developmental disabilities. Authors Ginger Scott and Kennedy Ryan have organized a MegaGiveaway called LIFT featuring more than 50 authors to raise awareness and acceptance! Each Monday in April, a new rafflecopter will go live, loaded with e-books, audio books, swag packs, signed paperbacks and gift cards from these amazing authors doing their part to LIFT4Autism. (scroll down for this week’s rafflecopter!)

And there’s LIFTWear – 4 styles to choose from! All proceeds from the LIFT t-shirts will go to a national autism organization. Order t-shirts HERE until MONDAY, APRIL 13!

LIFT tshirt

Good luck and #LIFTOff!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sick Persons Survival Kit


100 days of happiness day 29 and I’m unwell.

I have a bug of sorts and all I want to do is sleep, but I refuse because it’s sunny and I’m stubborn.

So this is the arsenal I have for making a sick day a good day.

Ice cream- Magnum (because that’s the best chocolate ice cream you can get on a stick)

Pampering- cuddles and tea on demand, these things are important because they are.

Reading- I have Artemis Fowl on stand by

Sleep- Something that happens after reading and ice cream.

When I’m unwell these are a few of my favourite things.

If you are having a sick day too, or have some words to cheer up an ill person, I will gift you an ebook copy of The Adventures of the Frog Prince, because I’m nice like that.

Tomorrow will mark be a landmark day, one month of happy things, so I have an awesome thing to share.

It’s autism awareness month and I’ve joined the ranks of bloggers spreading the word.  There will be a rafflecopter giveaway and everything, so don’t miss out!

 Again these photographs are © of J.R.Barker 2015

Lord of the Rings. Grown up Reading?

I have finally overcome my main literary hurdle.

Every reader has at least one literary goal, that book that ‘must’ be read, or a book that they have struggled with that they are determined to read.

For me it was The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I have all three books in one huge edition and I have carried this massive book since I was in primary school.   I failed to complete it then because I found that there was far too much walking in book two and I just couldn’t struggle through it.

It’s been many lots of years later but I have finally finished all three books!

(Although I have to admit I didn’t read the Appendix, the appendix was half a book in itself)

Jumping frog huzzah!

Thats over 1000 pages of teeny tiny text which, according to GoodReads,  it has taken me about seven months to read.


Now I’m older I managed to read through it much faster and found that I loved most of it; I didn’t even notice all the walking sections that I grumbled about so much as a child. There was plenty of action, magic and great story telling.

Not to say I found it a perfect read.
I could have done with fewer songs and poems. It also annoyed me that just the sight of a mere long lived mortal could apparently inspire fear in the great dark lord to the extent he would completely stop watching his lands.  The battles lost, the death of the Nazgul captain obviously helped, but at times Tolkein made it seem that it was mainly fear of the revelation of the soon to be King.

Come the end I felt Aragorn was turned into some sort of magical florence nightingale. That he was kingly, a healer and a great warrior I could handle, but Tolkein put too much magic in him come the end and the character lost believability.

I adored the rest though and, although it may be a few years before I read it through again, I will read it again because this is one of those books that will change every time I read it. I suspect as I get older I’ll begin to appreciate it even more.

Here is where the cheese reference comes in.

My brain, like a  fine cheddar, will mature  and so will my appreciation of this book.

Is there a book that you have wanted to read, but have had to wait to grow up to truly appreciate?

Spring In My Step


As ever  winter has been long in lasting and slow in leaving, but now it has there is evidence of spring!

Joyous floral spring, with actual sun.

So these pics are to warm the hearts and souls of all you who are weary of winter and need your minds warming.

I am quite chuffed with the arrival of this spring as the focus in my camera has finally been fixed.  For ages I just thought I was really bad at taking photos, now I have discovered I’m not too shabby.

As an aside, I’m afraid all these photos are © J.R.Barker 2015.