The Gates by Richard Pierce (Review)

The Gates by Richard Pierce

About the author

Richard Pierce is an English author who was born in Doncaster and educated in Germany and St John’s College, Cambridge. He now lives in Suffolk with his wife and four children. As well as writing he also paints, administers to two charities and writes poetry.

Blurb

Six short stories for self-isolation.

Review

I was very excited when I saw Richard Pierce mention this collection of short stories on his Twitter and headed straight over to Amazon to buy the stories. I loved Dead Men that Pierce sent me when I first started blogging to read and review.

I love the idea of these stories that Pierce has published for the time during lockdown and that it is staying at a cheap price of 99p.

The first short story Future History I must admit was not my favourite, I struggled to follow it. I understood the idea of it but I found it hard to get into. A rather scary vision of the future I must admit.

Voices I really enjoyed, the memories that the man was looking back on were so descriptive and it really was fantastic story telling. I also felt quite sorry for him at the end.

The Dig. Now I will be honest this story came across as very Philip K. Dick to me it really reminded me of his Electric Dreams which I just love so this story was right up my street. The idea of a man digging to make precautions for the future was excellent. This was my favourite short story in the set.

The National Fraud. This story was very sneaky and I must admit highly enjoyable. It was a very interesting take on Polling day for an election.

The Gates. Another fab story and rather puzzling, I must admit I read this one twice as it intrigued me so much. It left me asking a lot of stories and I desperately want to know more. What war? Who are the dead? Why can’t he leave? So many questions!

The Unrecognised. This story was wonderful and I will be honest I had a little cry at the end. This is a beautiful love story and really well written. The man was a real character and his relationship with his cat was very cute. The image of this 90 year old man still keeping his wife’s nightdress on her pillow even though she has been dead for 10 years was beautiful.

Overall, I loved this book, it took me about an hour to read and was perfect for helping me spend an hour not thinking about lockdown. It was beautifully written and had an interesting variety of stories. I highly recommend this book because it really does have something for everyone. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 Dragons just because I could not get into the first story. Thank you Mr Pierce for a beautiful set of short stories.

Purchase links

Kindle

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Sunday Reflections: Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

Sunday Reflection: Matthew 21:1-11

Hello everyone.

Well today is Palm Sunday and I must admit it feels very strange to not be at Church receiving and getting my Palm cross blessed. This will be the first year I think that I will have ever missed the Palm Sunday service. As an organist I always love choosing the hymns for this Sunday because I just love the Palm Sunday hymns out there. Ride on Ride in Majesty! Make way Make Way etc. Think I will go and play them later anyway on the practice organ upstairs.

So my little reflection or thoughts today are on Matthew 21: 1-11, Jesus Comes to Jerusalem.

I love this passage but I will be honest it is probably because of the memories it always brings up. At first school we acted this story out several times, our headmistress would get us to grab our coats and lay them along the floor whilst one of us would be Jesus and someone else the donkey who would also be wearing donkey mask and ears. As they walked along the coats we would all shout “Hosanna” at the top our lungs. It was great fun and afterwards we would get our Palm crosses.

The story of Jesus entering Jerusalem is where Jesus fulfils the prophets, in Zechariah 9:9 Jesus’ arrival is foretold. But his arrival is not the arrival a King would normally have, normally it would all be pomp and circumstance but not Jesus. Jesus comes to Jerusalem riding a Donkey and no saddle sits on the donkey just the cloaks the disciples place there. Then when Jesus enters Jerusalem, the people put their cloaks on the ground for the donkey to walk on or if they did not have cloaks they cut palms down and lay them down. Some of these people probably had barely any clothes and might have only one cloak but they still laid it on the ground. They gave the very clothes on their backs for a donkey carrying Jesus to walk on. We also must not treat our possessions too dear to part with for the work of Jesus, as we are all guilty of being too attached to our possessions.

The other thing that comes to my mind is how fickle the crowd is, today they are rejoicing and shouting ‘Hosanna’ for Jesus and in a few days’ time their cries change to ‘Crucify Him!’. This fickleness we all have in our hearts in my opinion, because we have all changed our opinions or course of action to follow the crowd, friends, family and sometimes we know in our hearts that this isn’t right but we still go ahead with this change. As humans we find it easier to go with the tide than against but if in our hearts we know this is wrong then we need the strength to push against.

Finally, my thoughts are with the donkey and not just because they are one of my favourite animals. I think this donkey is amazing and has the bravery of a police horse. This donkey does not bat an eyelid, people are shouting all around and throwing cloaks on the ground but this donkey stands firmly on track and gets Jesus safely to his destination. I think we should all try to be a little bit more donkey, that when times are tough and the world is going mad around us, we keep our heads down and plod forward and let out a loud Eeyore if someone gets in our way.

Thank you and a Happy Palm Sunday to you all.

 

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Book Haul: 4/04/2020

Hello everyone!

I have bought a few books over the last few days to get me through lockdown, hopefully they prove to be good.

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle

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This is the book I ordered off Wyre Forest Books for their online book club.

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

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This was on my wish list for quite a while so I used some of my Waterstones points to buy this and a jigsaw puzzle.

 

Kindle Books

The Gates by Richard Pierce

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I read and reviewed one of Richard Pierce’s books on my blog. It was one of the first books I reviewed on here, Pierce was lovely by sending me a free copy of his book with a very supportive letter encouraging my new blog. Very excited to read these short stories.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

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I’ve been watching this on TV and really enjoying it so thought I would see what the book was like.

 

Jigsaw

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This was another Waterstones points purchase. I have been really enjoying jigsaws recently so hopefully this one will be good.

 

So that is my recent book haul. Please let me know if you have read any of these.

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Friday Poetry: Rachel Rooney

Hello my wonderful Book Dragons!

Whilst reading poetry this week I discovered a wonderful woman who I wanted to learn more about. My chosen poem is about Helen Keller who in 1904 became the first deaf and blind person to graduate from university. Keller learned her first word ‘water’ when her hand was held under the water pump and the letters for ‘water’ were spelt on her other palm. This poem is about that moment.

Everyone, look up this amazing woman her story is inspiring.

 

First Word (After Helen Keller)

This thing she’s feeling

is nameless cold

that can’t be held.

This unheard sound

its unseen lettering

drums her outstretched skin

like fingertips.

This thing is spilling over.

 

This thing she’s feeling

in her other palm

is nameless warm.

This unseen sound

its unheard lettering

drums her outstretched skin

like drops of rain.

This thing is spelling water.

 

Rachel Rooney

 

Happy Friday.

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Star Trek Discovery: Dead Endless by Dave Galanter (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: Dead Endless by Dave Galanter

9781982123840

About the author

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Dave Galanter has authored various Star Trek projects, including Voyager: Battle Lines, The Next Generation duology Maximum Warp, and The Original Series novels Troublesome Minds and Crisis of Consciousness, as well as numerous works of Star Trek short fiction. He lives in Maryland with his wife and family.

Blurb

The U.S.S. Discovery’s specialty is using its spore-based hub drive to jump great distances faster than any warp-faring vessel in Starfleet. To do this, Lieutenant Paul Stamets navigates the ship through the recently revealed mycelial network, a subspace domain Discovery can briefly transit but in which it cannot remain. After responding to a startling distress call originating from within the network, the Discovery crew find themselves trapped in an inescapable realm where they will surely perish unless their missing mycelial fuel is found or restored. Is the seemingly human man found alone and alive inside the network the Starfleet officer he claims to be, or an impostor created by alien intruders who hope to extract themselves from the mycelial plane at the expense of all lives aboard Discovery?

Review

I must admit after the disappointment of The Enterprise War I was thrilled to read this book and could not put it down. I loved the characters and most of all I loved the humorous interactions.

The first thing I really enjoyed was that this novel had scenes for the lesser seen characters like Airiam, Bryce, Pollard and Landry. I particularly liked a beautiful scene between Landry and Airiam. In fact it was wonderful all round to learn more about Airiam’s character. I also found Dr Pollard highly amusing.

The main thing I enjoyed was the development of Stamets’ character through the story though. He started off his usual grumpy, rude self but as the story went through he mellowed, he became thoughtful, caring and funny and less work obsessed. I also loved the friendship between Tilly and Stamets; it was like a perfect brother and sister relationship.

My favourite character though was Ephraim. Ephraim is such a mystery but also very adorable but I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

There is also a surprise new species in the story who were very intriguing and fun.

Fun to be honest is the best way to describe this book, it really made me smile and laugh out loud. I loved this book and highly recommend it, that is why I have given it 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Kindle

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Mid Week Quote: Stephen King

Hello!

I hope everyone is well and safe. I have been slogging away on my two essays and will be handing them in later today, fingers crossed I will have done ok. After hand in I will be rewarding myself with some serious reading.

This week’s quote is by Stephen King who is a huge reader and owns a massive library of his own. I must admit I am quite jealous of the sheer amount of books he supposedly owns. I love this quote and think it is very apt for our current situation.

 

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.”

 

Stephen King (2007)

 

Happy Wednesday.

Happy reading and stay safe everyone.

 

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Sunday Reflections: Psalm 130

Hello everyone!

It is time for my second Sunday reflection, I must admit I almost forgot that it was a Sunday, all the days are blending into one at the moment.

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;

 Lord, hear my voice.

Let your ears be attentive

to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,

Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness,

so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

I wait for the Lord

more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,

for with the Lord is unfailing love

and with him is full redemption.

He himself will redeem Israel

from all their sins.

 

So for this Sunday’s reflection I have chosen the Psalm for the day. The reason I have done this is because from an early age I have always struggled with the psalms and because of this I have avoided them. But no longer will I ignore them, I am determined to read more psalms and think more about them.

Psalm 130 is one of the repentance psalms which are quite often read during Lent. However, with the world in its current crisis with the Coronavirus I find that the first couple of verses we could all be praying each day, desperately wanting God’s help with this awful virus that is claiming so many lives.

The psalm is about our sin and how we are waiting for God. The psalm begins with the psalmist crying out to the Lord from the depths. When we think of depths we think of a hole or deep in the ocean but the psalmist is deep in troubles, they find themselves surrounded by trouble with no way out, so they cry to the Lord.

These troubles that are surrounding the psalmist are in my opinion the sins that they have committed and they are crying out for God’s forgiveness because by admitting our sins and asking for forgiveness we gain God’s forgiveness so we can continue working for the Lord.

The psalm then moves onto waiting and whilst waiting putting our trust in the Lord’s word. So whilst we wait for the Lord what better to do than read our Bibles? Reading our Bibles and taking in the Lord’s word and trusting the Lord’s word so it helps us continue on our path to God.

I really love the part in this psalm where the psalmist associates waiting for the Lord like waiting for the morning. We all have those times where we want the night to be over and for the morning to appear, to see and feel the sun on our faces and to see the beauty of a new morning. This for me is how I like to think of our time with the Lord, to feel the peace and beauty of being in his presence.

The psalm ends with telling us to put our hope and faith in the Lord because the Lord has never-ending love and forgiveness for us. The psalm finishes by giving us hope and an assurance that God is love and he is there for us and all we have to do is trust in his word, ask for forgiveness and continue to live in his light.

This psalm gives me hope during Lent that our waiting will pay off.

Happy Sunday, stay safe and well everyone.

 

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