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Cage Dunn

A strange broken dream of a tale, bordering on nightmare at times, overlaying ancient knowledge with sci-fiction


I found this story easy enough to read but a little more difficult to understand. Even the title “Diaballein” is a tricky word to tie down, with it’s Greek roots twisting into Latin and entering old English.

The language, at times, chops and changes. The writer paints a picture but does not fully explain what you are seeing or why you are seeing. The reader needs to meet the author’s vivid imagination.

Kano floated above, speechless and disbelieving. The impossibility, the image of his silly fears, the monster he’d called Diaballein, soaked into his body and filled it out with an aura of citrine as stinging as razor-wire. He needed to get back inside his body, to pick up, run, run, and keep running.

A geologist and research physicist is searching for a rare mineral alongside a lake. Struggling with acute dehydration, his search degenerates into a living nightmare. A woman is camping, there for the annual bird count, but with here own problems and mental uncertainties to fight. The medicine she needs to remain in a seemingly sane world is lost. The characters and the reader are unsure whether what they see is real or imagined. Will they, with a little help from imagined family or ghosts, manage to stop this swarm of creatures with there murderous intent for the world.

Was the author intending I believe the visions and sensations in the tale were real? Or were they imagined by the people running through this strange land? Either way, I felt my way to the end not knowing quite what was real and what was not. Perhaps this is exactly what she intended.

The sand stretched, the sky stretched, the black dust motes pulsed like a cancerous lung.
Her chest burned, her throat clamped shut on the bile that curdled her stomach.
It wouldn’t matter what anyone did, it was too late. She’d done it wrong. The gate was open.
This was the end.

An imaginative story that almost pulls off the feat of painting struggling nightmares in your head. If you want to read something a little different, try this.

Author’s web site

Life As I See It


A collection of poems imaginatively,
and at times courageously, opening a window to the heart

2020 (Version 4)

I didn’t know what to expect from this self-published book of poetry. However, little by little, page by page, I found myself responding with emotions of amusement, anger, sorrow, heartbreak and, above all, hope. There is a rarely shared openness and honesty in these poems. Thoughts on life ripple and flow through the pages, questioning, judging, feeling judged, bullied, love found and lost, a curiosity and wondering over people and life, grabbing the swirl of emotions, and pain, and teasing these thoughts and experiences into words on the page. Perfectly written words? Perhaps not. Passionately written words? Absolutely.

There is a fierce anger at times when Kim Thomas questions the world. How much more easy and free her life might have been if she were a man. The little girl brought up on fairy tale castles and princesses, now the ruthless, beautiful woman with the power to change the world.

At times she allows her mind to wander. What would it be like to be a hunted animal? What dark feelings would swirl around the mind of a psychopath? What happens when we die?

The poems are interspersed with a quiet sadness. Of times gone. Of waiting for a change in others but accepting it will never come. Of love found and torn away. Of inevitable change. But this is counterbalanced by an explosive power of nature’s elemental, irresistible attraction to, at times, a very wrong kind of person.

By the time I had read ‘My Hero’, ‘The Woman I Am’ and ‘Only Me’ I believed in this rebuilt life. This honesty. This pain and wonderment at the world. The despairing lies, the wretchedness people can stoop to. This unflinching curiosity. But ultimately the absolute, clear belief in herself and that her abilities will shine through. Rebuilding herself yet again from the ground up and heading towards the future whatever it may bring.

My Suitcase

I look down a my suitcase
It symbolises a fresh start
It means a new beginning

I close my eyes
Thinking about everything
That has happened recently
I think about all the troubles
I am leaving behind
And I feel relieved

My suitcase
All zipped up
Ready for our new journey
This is our new beginning
And that is scary
And beautiful
All at the same time

My suitcase and me
On a road to discovery

With kind permission of and © Kim Thomas 2020

We put a performance on to the world, hiding who we are. I wonder how many of us would be brave enough to express what we really thought? Read these poems and maybe you too will believe anything and everything is possible.

I wish you luck with your cathartic journey Kim.

Author’s web site

Life As I See It (Kindle and paperback)


She dances with an inscrutable smile
Dripping delicate promises
Of a realm still unborn
Follow my footsteps she laughs
Listen to me heart
I am the light
Follow me
But I am lost and weary
My charms desert me
Sharp path no longer clear
Dream’s bright visions dim
No guiding star
No laughter to be heard
Feet stumble
Hands slip their destiny
Dark night stands close
Breathless moonlit fabric
But from stillness I awake
Hope kindles the flickering fire
And kindness relights the reluctant way
Follow feint trail
Tread softly
Find heart and fly
Spellbound spirit
This future still unknown
This unfinished story
Will be told



A crime to be solved in rural Iceland unearths secrets from the past and the present


This review is for the English translation of Snjóblinda.

Ari Thór unexpectedly finds himself accepting a job with the police department in Siglufjördur hundreds of kilometers away from his home and his girlfriend in Reykjavik. He tries to convince himself it is a good career move. And it won’t be for long anyway. As he starts to get to grips with winter in the far north and the steady, boring life in the new town, a crime is committed. A woman is found bleeding in the snow. His assistance with the investigation draws him into the secrets and whispered gossip hidden beneath the surface of this society.

When a second crime occurs, a murder during a rehearsal at the dramatic society, the belief in coincidence is stretched to breaking.

The Dramatic Society had most certainly seen blood before, or at least, something that audiences saw as blood. This blood, though, which has seeped from the gash in the old man’s head, looked starkly unrealistic, as if it didn’t belong there, like ketchup in a bad B-movie.
“He must have fallen down the stairs, ” Ari Thor said.
“That’s obvious,” Thomas said brusquely. His usual cheerful nature had deserted him; it was clear for anyone to see that this was a serious incident and it would attract attention.

The rest of the novel follows the many individuals who may have been involved in some way. Though finding hidden pasts and differentiating between gossip and fact presents problems for the police and each suspect appears to have an alibi. Ari Thór confronts the inhabitants of Siglufjördur one by one with sometimes incendiary effect.

“I ought to sort this out right now.” Karl’s eyes blazed with madness and he lifted the knife closer to Ari Thor.

A pretty standard who-done-it crime thriller but with a twist by being set in the raw winter of rural Iceland. Inheritances, children, affairs, broken marriages, insidious gossip and rumours. A pleasant read, the story kept me interested and kept me turning the pages until the end.

Author’s web site



Words and thoughts flow jumbled and confused, opening a window into Peach’s world following a brutal attack


A word of warning: don’t read this book if you have been effected by a physical or sexual attack or are easily offended.

I found this a difficult but worthwhile story to read. It deals with the challenging subject of a sexual attack and it’s effect and harm it does to Peach. The author allows us to listen to Peach’s mind as she desperately tries to continue her normal life, struggling with the hideous experience while those around her are oblivious.

This is where in my previous reviews of books I would include a few quotations to give you a flavour of the writing style and content. I looked and I looked and I couldn’t find any that would introduce you to this book, you just need to read the whole book.

Another recommendation to me from K, with a warning that this is not for the feint hearted. How true. This is an oddly powerful and traumatic book and it has taken me some time to decide whether I could write about this book. I suppose in the end I don’t really have the words to describe or do justice to the subject. I don’t want to upset anyone but at the same time here is a book the author Emma Glass has been brave enough to write. Perhaps you are brave enough to read.

Author’s twitter account

Publisher’s web site

Six of Crows


A fast-paced adventure with each character drawing the reader further into the gritty fantasy world of the Grisha


I fell across a recommendation to try this book when I was searching around for my next read. I had never heard of Leigh Bardugo or Six of Crows but most of the reviews were enthusiastic so I bought the book. The next few weeks were filled with this book. Every chapter wraps another layer of story around you, taking you deeper and deeper until the world seems real. Each character is brought to life, each has their flaws and weaknesses, each finds their strengths and beliefs as they are tested in a seemingly unending series of tasks.

Kaz Brekker didn’t need a reason. Thse were the words whispered on the streets of Ketterdam, in the taverns and coffeehouses, in the dark and bleeding alleys of the pleasure district known as the Barrel. The boy they called Dirtyhands didn’t need a reason anymore than he needed permission – to break a leg, sever an alliance, or change a man’s fortunes with the turn of a card.

The small band of outcasts who fate pushes together all have a past they hide. Piece by piece the past is revealed and shapes the course of the present as their stories crisscross again and again.

Jesper noted the way Matthias’ shoulders bunched every time Nina talked. He didn’t know what history they were chewing on, but they’d probably kill each other before they ever got to Fjerda.

The whole book is a page turner with a sprinkling of magic and the pace never really slows down. The only disappointment was when, breathless and exhausted, I reached the end… it wasn’t. There is another book! I found this well written story immensely enjoyable and the pace relentless. Definitely recommended.

Author’s web site

10 Foreign Words We Need in the English Language — Delusional Bubble

I have never shared anyone else’s post on my site before but I think this is really quite interesting! Follow the link at the bottom for the full post.

Ever ran out of words in a conversation, because the perfect word for your feeling doesn’t exist in English? You’re not alone! Even though English is an amazing language, there are some feelings or situations that simply can’t transfer into words in English! It happens even more frequently if you speak a second language. We’ll […]

10 Foreign Words We Need in the English Language — Delusional Bubble

The Bell Jar


A novel interweaving the sense of frustration with societal restrictions and expectations with the struggle to remain sane


This has been on my to read list for a long time so I finally dived in and was pleasantly surprised by it’s first person chatty style. Interesting and easy to read, the first half flew past. Then the story bounced around into darker areas of the expectations of, and put on, a young woman in 1950’s USA and their consequences. Thoughts of suicide and the profound inability of anyone in and out of the health professions to help.

The story begins as Esther Greenwood arrives in New York after winning a competition to work as an intern at a Fashion Magazine. She is determined to make the most of the opportunity in every way she can. Esther and her friend Doreen are tempted out of a taxi into a bar by a group of young men. Esther pretends to be Elly Higginbottom from Chicago.

“Oh, Elly’ll come, won’t you Elly?” Lenny said, giving me a wink.
“Sure I’ll come, ” I said. Frankie had wilted away into the night, so I thought I’d string along with Doreen. I wanted to see as much as I could.
I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations. If there was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a laboratory jar for me to look at, I’d stop and look so hard I never forgot it.
I certainly learned a lot of things I never would have learned otherwise this way, and even when they surprised me or made me sick I never let on, but pretended that’s the way I knew things were all the time.

The time in New York slips away and suddenly she is back in her home town living with her parents and depressed. A few failed suicide attempts and then she wakes up in a mental hospital.

I wanted to tell her that if only something were wrong with my body it would be fine, I would rather have anything wrong with my body than something wrong with my head, but the idea seemed so involved and wearisome that I didn’t say anything. I only burrowed down further in the bed.

The end of the book ends with Esther about to be told whether or not she can leave the hospital and go home. Sylvia Plath’s real parallel life continued but ended as a single mother in London.

Usually I will write a review soon after finishing a book, but in this case, four weeks afterwards, I still do not feel I can write a review that gives justice to the work and fully explains the contents and the thoughts it sowed in my head.

Finishing the book left me with more questions than answers. The largely autobiographical story made me think about many things which, I suppose, is what the author intended. There are a small selection of books which would do well to be on everyone’s reading list to be read some time in their life and I would judge this to be included in that select list. I would hugely recommend reading Sylvia Plath’s novel. Small incremental changes have evolved in society’s view and treatment of women and mental health over the 60 odd ensuing years but everything written in this book resonates with the world today. The book and the author left a mark on me. Read it and judge for yourself.

A celebration of the author

House of Salt and Sorrows


An odd and charming fairy tale that gradually becomes darker and frightening as ghosts and gods make themselves known


The 12 Thaumas sisters live a privileged life in Highmoor, an expansive house on one of the Salann Islands. Their father is the nineteenth Duke of the Salann Islands and is newly married to Morella, his first wife having died. Tragedy seems to follow the family and the community believes the family are cursed as one by one the sisters die in mysterious circumstances. We enter the story as Eulalie is being interred in a sea cave used as a mausoleum and Annaleigh lingers behind as everyone leaves.

“Did you trip and fall?” My words echoed in the tomb. “Were you pushed?”
The question burst from me before I could stop to ponder it. I knew without a shadow of a doubt how my other sisters had died: Octavia was notoriously accident-prone, even Elizabeth… Drawing a short breath, I dig my fingers into my skirt’s thick scratchy black wool. She’s been so despondent after Octavia. We’d all felt the losses, but not as keenly as Elizabeth.
But no one was there when Eulalie died. No one saw it happen. Just the brutal aftermath.

The world the author has created is full of reference to the sea that surrounds the islands. They swear by the salt, pray to Pontus the sea god, are guided in religion by the High Mariner. The sea is part of all their lives.

“We, the people of the salt, come together on this special night,” the High Mariner intoned, “to give our thanks to mighty Pontus for his great benevolence, blessing us with a season of bountiful plenty. Our fishermen’s nets – filled to bursting. Our winds – strong and sure. And the starts – clear and true. Now he churns the waters, changing the season over to a time of rest, replenishing the sea, taking care of us as he has for thousands of years.”

To distract themselves from the tragedies, the sisters search for a doorway mentioned in an old tale. They unexpectedly discover it and find themselves in another world where they find a large estate with a ball taking place in the house. They join in the dancing and are mesmerised by the other participants and the escape into dancing and excitement. They are compulsively drawn back time and again until Annaleigh starts to wonder whether there is something malevolent in this other world.

My stomach churned as I watched her swirl away. Why couldn’t she sense the danger I felt? She looked as carefree as a butterfly, fluttering from partner to partner.
“Dance, Annaleigh,” the dragon man urged, bringing me back to the present.

Annaleigh starts to search for the truth behind her sisters’ deaths and, a little at a time, the frightening truth unveils itself. Why is her step mother determined to conceive a male child? And why is she so upset when she is told the oldest female inherits the estate? The family, friends, step mother and world are not what they would seem.

“No!” Morella cried, struggling to stand on the uneven mattress. “No! I gave you your son. You’ve taken two of the Thaumas girls. Our deal is off. I want this bargain broken!”

A great story that gathers pace after a few chapters with some unexpected turns and a little sprinkling a unworldly love thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed the read.

Author’s web site

Ξ English Language: Gotten

One of the words that jars when I hear it is ‘gotten’. I have noticed younger people often use the word. One of my younger colleagues at work was shocked when I explained it was not a modern English (as in UK English) word and we have used the word ‘got’ for the last few hundred years. But I guess I must be getting old and don’t like change as I know the English language has always continually changed.

Gotten was originally a 17th Century English word that found its way as part of the English language to North America. The language was protected more conservatively than in England and so is still used today. As American English influences English language around the world, it is ironic to think that the originally English ‘gotten’ is slipping back into use in its original 17th Century home.

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