Charlie Robot – Book Review

Well hello once again – is it just my imagination or are these Sunday’s coming around faster and faster every week? I feel like we were only here a couple of days ago.

Anyway I thought I would share with you this week my thoughts of a book I’ve just read..

Charlie Robot by Benedict Martin

CharlieBook blurb: It’s not easy pretending to be a robot. Ask Charlie. The very morning his employer was to unveil the world’s first artificial human being to a select group of investors, the android ran away. Now it’s up to Charlie to pose as the robot until the real machine is found. The only thing is, androids are supposed to be tall and good looking. Or at the very least, be good at board games. And Charlie? Well, he just…isn’t. To make matters worse, a rival robotics company is intent on stealing Charlie for themselves. In short, it’s a nightmare, and as the weeks pass and there’s still no sign of the run-away android, Charlie is faced with a difficult decision, continue the deception or come clean. Either way, his life will never be the same.

Rating:  5/5

My thoughts: This is the first book I’ve ever read by Benedict Martin so I had no idea what to expect at all, I liked the idea of the story and so thought I would give it a read. Written in the first person we follow Charlie and his constant battle to play the convincing robot, an act which was merely embarrassing at first but slowly grew more and more annoying and inconvenient as he realises half the world want to own him while the other half want to see him destroyed. I thought I had worked out the twist in this story quite early on, what I didn’t expect were the extra twists and turns that Benedict weaved throughout this book.

This was a cleverly constructed little story with some interesting characters and I have to say a very satisfying conclusion.

This my have been my first book by Benedict but I don’t think it will be the last 🙂

Cherished Blogfest

As part of the Cherished Blogfest I would like to introduce you to one of my most cherished possessions…

BearThis little fella has been in my possession for as long as I can remember – I can’t remember the day I got him so I imagine I must have been very little.

So, yes, he’s seen better days (haven’t we all) what was once white is now rather grey and some of his seams have had to be re-stitched over the years, well there was a time when he shared my bed and as such became my pillow, but I still cant imagine ever actually parting with him. He’s not worth a penny, to the rest of the world he’s just a tatty old panda but to me he’s a special little guy 🙂


Please pop by some of the other blogs taking part in this blogfest and see what other cherished possessions there are out there 🙂


Short Story – The Day the World Changed (Fanfic)

Hello once again. Always nice to see you here although I do think it’s time that maybe you brought the biscuits for a change, you know, just a suggestion.

So this week I thought I might share some of my old fanfic, as mentioned back when I started this blog fanfic was the birth of my love of writing and I would like to think it’s where I developed my writing style.

This is just a little one off story that I rather like – it’s based on characters from Hollyoaks (don’t judge me!)

The Day the World Changed

The ground feels cold, damp, it’s chilling me but I feel no compulsion to move. There’s no warmth to be found even if I left this spot now, and nowhere I would want to go even if I did leave. So I sit here and wait.

You see the thing is I never meant any of it, not for a second. It all just got so… so crazy and before I knew what had happened…

It’s his eyes that I remember the most. When it’s dark and quiet and I’m alone I can recall the way they looked that day. How bright and how blue. Those eyes had looked at me with so many different emotions. With love, disappointment, fear, pain… but it’s the look that they held that day that I see whenever I close my own eyes. That’s the look I won’t ever be able to forget.

But I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?

I need to tell you how I got to be sat here today, what happened that day that changed my life forever. I need to take you back to the beginning. Well not the very beginning, that could take all day and I don’t think we have that long do we? So I’ll just go back to that day… the day that the world changed, forever.

I’d been gone almost a year, resisting all of my families requests to come home for a visit. I knew that I couldn’t return too soon. I had to take my time and I had to be sure. And I was. I knew what I wanted, who I wanted and this time I wasn’t afraid of how I felt.

In all my life no one had ever, has ever, made me feel the way John Paul McQueen did. He could make the world stop turning just by looking at me. He made me feel a depth of love that I had never even realised existed and, for a while, those feelings terrified me.

I was afraid of what my feelings would mean when everyone found out. I didn’t want to be labelled, branded or victimised. I just didn’t want to be different. It took me a while to realise that none of that mattered when you find someone who loves you.

It felt strange standing at the McQueen’s front door again after so long. It was as if nothing had changed. But it had… I had, and I was here to show John Paul just how much. I’d spent nearly a year without him and I didn’t want to add another day to that.

I have to admit I was disappointed when the door opened and those beautiful blue eyes didn’t greet me. In my dreams I had imagined seeing him standing there, reaching for him, kissing him, telling him how much I loved him… but reality never quite lives up to the dream does it?

“Well, well, Craig Dean… who would have thought!” Michaela’s voice held a tone of amusement and something more but I couldn’t quite tell what.

“Alright Michaela?” I replied, hoping that I sounded calmer than I felt. “Is he in?”

“He?” Michaela grinned as she asked the question and I had to bite back a sarcastic comment, the last thing I needed was to get wound up.

“John Paul,” I said with what I hoped was a pleasant smile, “Is he in?”

“Oh haven’t you heard?” Michaela said as she leant against the doorframe, a sly smile wandering lazily over her lips. “Our John Paul doesn’t live here anymore…”

“Oh…” My family had never volunteered any information about John Paul’s life, and I’d never asked but I was surprised to hear that he’d left home. It seemed that the clan McQueen had finally gotten too much for him.

“Oh yeah,” Michaela was continuing, her smile growing wider and a glimmer of mischief sparkling in her eyes, or possibly something a little more sinister. “He moved out a couple of weeks ago…” She paused for a moment, as if adding dramatic effect before delivering the killer blow. “To live with his boyfriend!”

I felt as if the strength had been drained from my body. My eyes were fixed on Michaela’s mouth, somehow willing the words back in so that I didn’t have to hear them, so that I didn’t have to feel them rip into my heart and leave me gasping for air.

“It was all quite a scandal,” Michaela said, either oblivious to my pain or in some way enjoying it. “What with the fact that he’d been carrying on all this time in secret with a priest…”

The world seemed to stop spinning… suddenly and without warning. I felt as if the air had been stolen from my lungs and all I could hear was Michaela’s words assaulting me in a random pattern…

“priest… secret… scandal… boyfriend…”

“I… err… I…” I didn’t know what to say or what to think, I’d come back for John Paul but he had already replaced me. With another secret, a worse one… a dirtier one.

“I know,” Michaela said with a laugh, “You’d have thought one secret relationship would have been enough for anyone… not our John Paul though… so… you still gonna go and visit him? I could give you the address…”

I should have gone then and there. I should have taken myself back to the airport and got on the next flight back to Dublin. How different things could have been if I’d done that. But of course I didn’t… since when had doing the right thing ever been one of my talents?

Instead I headed to the address that Michaela had told me without any real idea of what I was going to do when I got there.


The shock in John Paul’s voice and the stunned look in his eyes gave me some satisfaction as I stood in the doorway of the flat he now shared with his new lover. Some, but not much.

In the walk over my head had been filled with all of the things I wanted to say and the answers I needed to hear. He had to be able to make me understand or else it was all for nothing, what we had shared was for nothing and I couldn’t bear to believe such a thing.

But by the time I arrived at the flat I had managed to work myself up into a frenzy and I couldn’t think of anything he could say that would placate me.

How could he do it?

How could he do the one thing that had torn us apart?

How could he love someone else?

“Your priest home?” I spat bitterly, pushing past John Paul without waiting for an invitation inside.

“Oh… you heard…” At least there was a hint of shame in John Paul’s voice, that was something I supposed.

“Oh yeah,” I replied, “Your Michaela took great pleasure in telling me about your new boyfriend. Classy McQueen, real classy…”

“It’s not how it…”

“Don’t… whatever you were gonna say just don’t…”

I looked around the flat slowly, surprised at how minimal it all was, it was almost like a show home as if nobody real lived there at all. But then my eyes came to rest on the kitchen’s worktop. A selection of food and utensils were laid out across its surface.

“Don’t let me stop you,” I snarled, nodding my head towards the preparations of a meal. “I’m sure he must need a good meal after a hard day being a hypocrite…”

“That’s not… he’s not… Craig… why are you here?” John Paul asked gently. His voice was so soft that it almost felt like a touch or an embrace and for a moment I allowed myself to enjoy it until the reality of the situation claimed me back.

“I came back… for you…” I snapped, spinning round to face him. “I thought what we had… I thought it was worth fighting for but you… you just moved on didn’t you?”

“What did you expect me to do? Sit around forever mourning you?”

“Why not? It’s what I did… every night wishing I’d done things differently, wishing I’d been braver or stronger… wishing I’d been enough for you… if only I’d known all I had to do was slip on a dog collar!”

“That’s not fair!”

I could feel my blood boiling. How DARE he tell me what was fair? I had been prepared to give up my life for him and it hadn’t been enough. I wanted to hit him, to kiss him, to hurt him and love him. My emotions surged through me like an out of control locomotion and I could feel my body shaking with them.

Turning away from John Paul I rested my hands against the cool surface of the kitchen counter, my knuckles whitening as I gripped onto its edge. I felt as if holding on was the only thing keeping me upright.

“You left me at the airport,” I said quietly through gritted teeth. “You said you couldn’t be anyone’s secret anymore… that you deserved MORE… is THIS the more John Paul… is screwing a priest the more you were looking for?”

“It’s not like that…” John Paul’s voice rose slightly and I could tell he was getting angry; I wanted him to be angry.

“What was it? You couldn’t resist… did he look so fucking hot in his robes that you couldn’t keep your hands off him? Or was it all just a lie eh? Is that it… what we had was all just one stupid lie and you couldn’t wait to jump into bed with the next unavailable bloke that came along.” I didn’t know if I was being irrational but every word that came from my lips stung me and tore at my insides, making me want to hurt him like his leaving me that day had hurt me.

“I never meant for all of this with Keiron, I tried not to…” John Paul sighed in frustration. “What we had Craig… that was… that was never a lie. I just couldn’t face knowing that we would always be hiding away…”

“But you could face it with him?”

“No… I… it wasn’t…”

“Do you love him more than you loved me… is that it? You didn’t mind being HIS dirty little secret but you couldn’t give ME time to feel ready to kiss you in public?”

“There was more to it than that, you know there was… we weren’t…”

“Do you love him?” My hands were trembling as I asked the question, afraid to know the answer and afraid not to. I often wondered how different things might have been if I’d never asked, but I did and there was no taking the question back.

“Yes.” John Paul’s voice was so low it was hardly a whisper but to me it felt as if the word had been shouted into my ear, mocking me and mocking everything that I had felt. Every tear I’d cried was for nothing. Every night that I’d lain awake praying for a second chance had been for nothing. Coming back was for nothing. Loving him… nothing…

“But I…” John Paul touched my shoulder as he continued to speak and that contact broke me. The rage inside me burned so hotly that I had to let him see what he’d done, how he’d betrayed what we had, betrayed me.

I span around quickly, my fist connecting with his stomach before he had time to react, pouring all of my hurt and anger into that one blow that felled him instantly to his knees.

John Paul’s eyes were wide and stunned as he looked up at me, his hands gripping his stomach where I’d hit him.

That was when I saw the blood.

That was when I realised what I’d done.

Looking at my hand I saw the kitchen knife still gripped in my fist, its long silver blade was crimson with John Paul’s blood. I couldn’t remember picking it up, I think I’d been touching things at random on the kitchen counter as I had stood there. I didn’t know if I meant to use the knife on him, I still don’t know.

Uncurling my fingers I saw the blade fall to the floor, its descent seemed to happen in slow motion and the ring of metal as it hit the ground echoed around the room, vibrating inside my head making me think it would never stop.

Dropping to my knees I reached for John Paul, there was such fear in his eyes as he tried to hold back the blood.

“I’m so sorry,” I stammered, my hands touching him, stroking his face, his arms, pressing against the wound but I think we both knew it was no good. “I didn’t mean to…”

I didn’t mean to! How many times have I said that since that day? I’ve lost count. It became my mantra, the stick that I beat myself with, and the words that haunted me much as the look in his eyes.

“John Paul… it’s gonna be OK,” I lied, “You’ll be fine… I promise… everything will be fine…”

“Craig?” John Paul’s voice was hoarse, barely a whisper. “I still…” I saw the words in his eyes even before he said them. Those beautiful azure blue globes that had once captured my soul looked at me for the last time with love and more than love, with forgiveness. “I still love y…”

And then he was gone.

The brightness of his eyes faded like the dying embers of a beautiful fire, flickering one last time and then no more.

Sitting with my back against the kitchen cupboards I pulled John Paul into my arms and held him tightly against my body.

My hands were slick with his blood and I could feel more of it soaking into my shirt as I held him close to me.

I don’t know how long I sat there with the body of the man I loved in my arms. Holding him as his flesh slowly cooled, knowing that it would never be warm again, that those eyes would never sparkle again and that it was all my fault.

I knew who the dark haired man was as soon as he entered the flat. The look of pain on his face as he saw me holding John Paul was instant, replaced by horror a second later as he saw the knife and the blood.

It was as if we connected in that moment, somehow sharing the loss of the man we both loved, our grief binding us together in a way that nothing else ever could.

Eventually somebody pulled John Paul from my arms. A paramedic, a policeman, I’m not sure, I didn’t see. All I could see was him. That beautiful boy who I loved more than my own life being taken away from me and knowing that I would never see him again.

That was almost 10 years ago now.

Ten years of my life spent without John Paul McQueen.

Ten years of my life spent in prison for killing the man I loved.

Ten years of regret and longing and wishing every day that I could go back and change things.

Ten years of seeing that love and forgiveness in those beautiful blue eyes and knowing that I deserved neither.

I was paroled yesterday but there was no one at the prison gates to meet me. I had long since forced my family from my life partly through shame and partly because I knew it would make things easier for them in the end.

I’d been stood at John Paul’s grave for a while, the words on his headstone emblazoned across my vision “Taken too soon.” Taken by me. Craig Dean… killer. The grave is immaculate and I imagine that Myra visits this spot often, tending the ground that holds her son. Mourning the loss that should never have happened.

The sun is setting now and the graveyard is quiet and deserted as I sit down and lean against John Paul’s headstone.

The ground feels cold, damp, it’s chilling me but I feel no compulsion to move. There’s no warmth to be found even if I left this spot now, and nowhere I would want to go even if I did leave. So I sit here and wait.

Closing my eyes I let the half drunk bottle of whisky fall from my hand and I hear it settle amongst the empty tablets boxes that I have dropped there.

You see when I said that we didn’t have time to take this story right back to the beginning I really meant that I didn’t have time.

I’ve waited ten years to come to this spot, to be with him again and maybe if I’m lucky I’ll be allowed to find him.

Stark – Book Review

Well hello there – so sorry if you stopped by yesterday and I wasn’t home – the day just got away from me. Here we are now at least… so please make yourself comfortable while I tell you about another book.

This week I will be telling you about an old favourite of mine

Stark by Ben Elton

Cover Blurb: Stark is a secret consortium with more money than God, and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn. What’s more, it knows the Earth is dying.
starkDeep in Western Australia where the Aboriginals used to milk the trees, a planet-sized plot is taking shape. Some green freaks pick up the scent: a pommie poseur; a brain-fried Vietnam vet; Aboriginals who have lost their land…not much against a conspiracy that controls society. But EcoAction isn’t in society: it just lives in the same place, along with the cockroaches.
If you’re facing the richest and most disgusting scheme in history, you have to do more than stick up two fingers and say ‘peace’.

My thoughts:  I’ve always been a fan of Ben Elton – his sitcoms and standup were the cornerstone to my youth and when Stark, his first novel, was published I snapped it up with excitement. I couldn’t wait to discover this new branch of Elton’s repertoire.

I was not disappointed.

I think I can honestly that this is the only book that once getting to the end I immediately turned back to the front page and started all over again.

As described in the blurb the book centres around the theme that the earth is dying, poisoned by its human inhabitants, and, rather than try and save it those with power, or money, or both, have come up with the solution of packing up and leaving!  The population as a whole have no idea of the Stark Consortium’s plans and when a hapless band of misfits stumble upon the truth they are most unlikely group to take on the power that Stark wields, but that doesn’t stop them!

Elton’s style of writing in this book is reminiscent of Douglas Adams with the occasional little aside “mini story” entwined with the main tale.

The characters are a blend of hopeless, annoying or just plain crazy, some of them a mixture of all but once they come together they somehow help support each others weaknesses and feed off each others strengths.

But the big question is can this ragamuffin band take on Stark and win? Well you’ll have to read it to find out 🙂

On a slight aside I was thrilled when this book was turned into a mini-series for TV, with Ben Elton taking the lead role himself. Unfortunately they decided, for whatever reason, that the TV version would have a completely different ending to the book – why or why would they do that??

So the book – loved it … TV show not so much!