Category Archives: Review

BOOK REVIEW: Haunting My Ghosts: A Novel Experience by Noëlle Blake

Just pages into the prologue, I was struck by the vividness of each scene which soon became animated in my imagination; the film reel was rolling.

The action is suspenseful and dramatic, but saddening as you feel how the burden of main character Shelby Rivers’ early life is set to potentially destroy her future. And with this combined eeriness and poignancy, Noëlle Blake thrusts you into Shelby’s very accomplished but single Sex and the City-esque life, while at the same time exposing its hollow centre.haunting-my-ghosts-2

She is a community arts coordinator who at long last feels a real connection to her work, without judgement or the stain of inadequacy. However, not even something so integral to her life i.e. her career, is safe in her quest for revenge. We meet her current friends as well as friends no longer, and read her candid internal commentary. But once you take the character away from her affluent two-bedroom ground floor apartment in ‘Sandenham’ overlooking the canal – and I imagine her to wear chiffon wrap dresses with slightly windswept hair and wedges to match – the reader can empathise with a very relatable aspect of human nature: the desire to be acknowledged and have our feelings vindicated.

Rather intelligently, Blake leaves clues dripping throughout the chapters of what will be. Minute details which I overlooked on the first read became more obvious the second time round, but nothing about Blake’s descriptions or references are accidental. No words are out of place or meaningless.

In saying that, there are parts I felt less words would’ve done. Elaborate phrasing and wordy dialogue at times felt forced and led me to question – ‘would they really say that?’ However, this novel is a beautiful literacy challenge and has set a benchmark for future readings of impactful and contemporary fiction.

Haunting My Ghosts is personally more of a drama than a thriller, but a great debut from an author whose work already shows huge promise.

Rating: 4/5

Buy now from Amazon.


Fish and Chips On a Plate – My First 1st of 2015

At Broughton Lane’s own fish bar, better known as Melville’s, just off Lord Street, Salford. Nestled amongst uniformly built new properties and given where I’m from in Birmingham – in the middle of nowhere.

Blame my temperamental phone for not being able to take a genuine picture plus the people there would have looked at me quite strangely.

Blame my temperamental phone for not being able to take a genuine picture plus the people there would have looked at me quite strangely.

Hunger may have been the driving force, or my reluctance to dine alone on Friday night in a busy Manchester restaurant, but ultimately, nobody can resist an offer when it’s packaged so temptingly: £3.50 Fresh Fish and Chips with Tea/Coffee or Cold Drink. Nothing had travelled my oesphogus all day – I was theirs.

Dunked in smooth, creamy batter, a small fillet straight from the fridge drawer was dropped into boiling oil, but unlike the half-dead slimy stuff that usually coats my Cod at home, this batter was a crispy, golden suit of armour, and the flesh inside was bright white and flaky for a change. Given a choice between Gravy or Curry Sauce, there’s no contest – it’s always the latter – my chips swam in a salty sweet pool while the fish was presented to me like a trophy; proudly sat on top of ‘proper’ chips.

Cutlery wrapped in a napkin; coffee delivered plate side at my table and all from a local chippy – I was beyond impressed, though from the reserve on my face, she’d never tell. Only thing is, I wish the white cup had been a better washed one as it was hard to tell the last clean bit of porcelain I’d perched my lips on. Unless they spilt the coffee a bit when stirring, but for £3.50 and while in a strange part of Manchester, this usually particular lady was not going to ask for a new one.