Culture Vulture Express Turns 5!

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On the 10th of August this year, Culture Vulture Express turned 5!


It is so wonderful to get to this milestone and I feel like the years have just flew by! Over the next year I plan to continue doing a little bit of everything as Culture Vulture Express has always prided itself on and I hope everyone continues to enjoy reading and finding interesting the output on here.


This blog for me has never been a chore. It is one of the things I am most proud of. Some people scoff at blogging but I have found it a very enriching and liberating experience. I want to take this opportunity to thank all my followers on here and anyone who has took time to go through one of my articles or even part of it. I appreciate all your support more than I could ever put into words. Thank you for supporting my baby! 🙂


Friday Fictioneers: Lady Awakes

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio



Lady Awakes


Lady the ladybird awoke from her slumber on the cold, dry brick. She blinked sleep out of her eyes and walked up onto the wood, found the gap between the plant pots and sat there using them as usual as a shade from the sun.


Suddenly two young children giggling stepped near Lady. Two big feet from her perspective. They found it fun to frighten her. She grew in size and stamped on them. She went to a new spot to shelter from the sun away from the blood and guts and thought no one messes with this little lady!



My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:


For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

The Partner By John Grisham Review!

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The Partner (1997) by John Grisham is a wonderfully crafted legal mystery by a master of the genre.


The book follows the story of Danilo Silva, previously known as Patrick Lanigan, who disappeared from America to Brazil and started a new life on the run. Along with him has went ninety million dollars and he left behind a burning car with a body in it. Four years pass and he is tracked down in Brazil and tortured. Soon we realise Danilo’s story is not as straightforward as it first appeared …


I found this a very intriguing read. With each chapter more layers of Danilo’s past come to the surface and as a character he is very interesting. With each new piece of the plot and his past you become more and more intrigued to find out exactly where the story is going. It’s a very entertaining read as you’d expect from John Grisham. There is many twists and turns and even though I didn’t see the ending coming I thought it ended very well. Admittedly there could have been a few clues along the way to how it would end but all in all I think it works. From a writing perspective though I kind of liked, without giving too much away, that he didn’t go for a happy-ever-after ending because the atmosphere in the book never felt like it would end happy to be fair.


There is other brilliant characters as well as Danilo who feature heavily in the story. Two equally complex and interesting characters are Danilo’s love interest Eva and his friend Sandy. The three of these characters combine well and add a lot to the story. A trademark of the writer’s work is his excellent attention to detail. And this book is no exception. From the small details to the bigger details of the plot he leaves no stone unturned and writes a very compelling book.


There is also much humour in the story and great psychology into the mindsets of the characters. Their personalities are very authentic to life. As always there was a great insight into the legal world and legal matters. It is quite a long read but well worth the time.


A compelling, great read.


To purchase The Partner by John Grisham go to:


And for more about John Grisham and his work go to:

Friday Fictioneers: Supplies




PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook





We were told we had three months to build the house and that many of the supplies we’d need were to be found on the shelf by the edge of the fenced off location. Us six twenty-something lads got to work, taking shifts for cigarette breaks and lunch. When we knew the boss, a man in his fifties, was gone for the day we’d put on the rock channel, battery-operated, and have it blaring. It was the summer I made four friends for life and met my future husband. All before the last brick was laid.


My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

Versace By Nicola White & Catherine McDermott Review!

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Versace (2000) by Catherine McDermott & Nicola White is a vibrant and stylish book and therefore a wonderfully perfect tribute to the late fashion legend Gianni Versace.


This is a short and compact book which tells Gianni’s story inbetween photographs of his many iconic looks throughout his years at the top of his game. His story is very interesting and the pictures are arranged stunningly. Each of the two elements really help bring the opposite element alive and work brilliantly together. The book tells of his early childhood in Reggio Calabria in Italy with his mother who was a dressmaker and very encouraging to his dreams, his father, his two older sisters Donatella and Tina who died at 12 and his older brother Santo. He worked in his mother’s sewing business until he left for Milan at the age of 26. He eventually found both success and love after meeting model Antonio D’Amico in 1982. Reading how this talented man was also introverted shows that introverted ain’t the terrible barrier to success many would have you believe. He comes across as a nice man with much determination and a great work ethic who deserved all the success and happiness he got in life. It’s just so very sad that his life was cut so cruelly short.


The pictures are wonderful and detail various aspects of his career from the many runways and collections he did featuring a host of the super chic 1990s supermodels, Liz Hurley’s Safety Pin dress as well as many photographs with celebrity friends like the late Princess Diana. The style of the book is part coffee table glam with the pictures and part nerdy fashion history searching with the written pieces. Pretty perfect combination! There’s something in this book for everyone whether it’s the style you’re interested in or Gianni’s life and rise to success.


There is also many quotes throughout this book from Gianni which add to the book showing much of the story from his aspect in a small way. There isn’t much new here for anyone who knows a lot about Gianni’s life and career but it is a great trip down memory lane for those who do and a great introduction for those who don’t. A very interesting short read with excellent and well-captured photographs.


The book speaks about his murder in 1997 in Miami and no matter how many times you hear the story of how he died, it always makes me feel sad as a fellow person and a fan. His life being took away like that so senselessly is horrible and must have been so difficult for Antonio and the rest of his family to bear at the time. That part of the book was emotional to read.


However his legacy lives on through his shining talent and wonderful personality. This book is for fashion fans and non-fashion fans alike which shows the way he crossed many fields and touched many peoples’ lives whether that was through his creativity, his personality or his ability to merge the fields of fashion and celebrity so well. He deserved all the success and good things he got in life.


A fantastic read about a great designer and a great man.


To purchase Versace by Catherine McDermott & Nicola White go to:


And for more information about Nicola White and her work go to:


And for more information about Catherine McDermott and her work go to:


And for more about Gianni Versace and his work go to:


and go to:

Write A Book In A Year: A Writing Workshop & Workbook By Jacinta McDevitt Review!

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Write A Book In A Year: Writing Workshop & Workbook (2006) by Jacinta McDevitt is an interesting and well put together book helping writers with their writing by a fellow writer.


The book’s layout is very much what it says on the tin or the cover to be precise. It is done in a workshop way allowing you to experience how a writer’s workshop works in the comfort of your own home. The workshop weaves around short stories by Jacinta including some stories she had published in Woman’s Way here in Ireland. Dealing with character, dialogue, setting, plot and all the usual responsibilities that writers undertake in their pursuit of a good write, the book is very accessible and there is a relaxing feel to it with no pressure. While readers are encouraged to believe in their writing abilities and pushed to do something about it, there is also an emphasis on the fact that this is your journey which you are doing for yourself and your career.


The book is a nice short read filled with advice, stories and anecdotes. It was very easy for me to relate to Jacinta and to what she was talking about in regards to magazines and publishers as I’m Irish like her but I think any writer or anyone with any interest in writing will be able to relate. The book is more geared towards beginners but anyone at any stage in their career could benefit from the advice presented in the book. A very interesting read and can give writers a taste of the workshop programmes and what to expect before they sign up to a workshop. The concept of this book is also amazing and gives writers something to work towards and Jacinta shows in the book just how it can be done easy enough when you throw in just a little bit of determination and willpower.


Jacinta is also a very talented writer which you can see in her stories throughout this book. She has wonderful descriptive writing which is emotive and real. She also has a way of writing to appeal to many different senses, sight, smell, hearing, the lot and that is a real tip writers can pick up from this book to bring their own work alive.


A very enjoyable and entertaining read with some great advice.


Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on where you can currently purchase this book except very costly on Amazon but I wanted to make you all aware of it’s existence and maybe someday you may come across a cheaper copy. It’s well worth a read.


And for more information about Jacinta McDevitt and her work go to:



Good Wives By Louisa May Alcott Review!

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Good Wives (1869) by Louisa May Alcott is a wonderful classic with much drama, romance, family dynamics and humour. It is the sequel to Little Women.


Very much a coming-of-age story, readers follow the adventures and emotional ups and downs of Jo, Amy and the rest of the March girls. It is very interesting to read the differences between Jo and Amy in their personalities. Although I could relate more to Jo, there was elements of Amy’s manner I could relate to as well and to Beth’s manner too. So I think readers will find many of the characters easy to relate to and that will add to the reading experience of Good Wives. In this book Meg marries a tutor and becomes a mother. We see how life is for her as a young wife and mother and the ups and downs of those titles at such a young age. Beth passes away in what was some of the hardest scenes to read in this book. Reading the girls losing a part of their sisterly chain was so sad and emotional. Alcott wrote these scenes so realistic and well too that you would almost be in tears. I quite liked Beth. She would be my second favourite character in the book.


In this novel Jo, who is my favourite character, falls in love and undergoes an insecurity about her personality and way of living. She tries to be more conformist and I found myself saying, ‘Girl, you do you and forget what they all think!’ but yes, she is filled with doubt and tries to be something she isn’t which is never good. Meanwhile her sister Amy ends up with Laurie, Jo’s best friend who she has refused. They were slightly sad scenes to read too when she rejected Laurie. We’ve all been there Laurie mate, you’ll survive! But she is very fair to him and doesn’t lead him up the garden path so yet another quality to admire in Jo. But everything comes full circle and he and Amy decide to marry. While I was happy that they both found happiness I did feel they settled for each other. I didn’t buy the chemistry between them both if I’m being honest but their romance was a good read nonetheless.


Jo does find love herself and in her relationship with Professor Bhaer I felt the chemistry I didn’t feel in Amy’s and Laurie’s romance. There was great realistic build-up in their relationship. They seemed made for each other, had lots of nerdy reading pursuits in common and it was nice to see a fictional couple bonding over books because it is often books or a similar interest in general that helps bring people together. So I thought that was very realistic to life. But as a female writer I was heartbroken that she gave up on her writing. I know it was a different time and it would have been harder for her to withstand the pressures female writers were under back in those days but it really felt like she loved her craft and I could feel her pain at giving it up. I’d hate to!


There is so many messages in this book which I think are important. We live obviously in a different time now to when the book was set but many of the messages still remain important just maybe with a modern slant. For example instead of marriage we now have the option of either marriage or cohabitation but the messages remain the same of not rushing into something you don’t want to and true love being possible. Admittedly not all the characters heed that advice!


A very well-written book which is no less than one would expect from Louisa. She has ensured that all the elements are present in this book from realistic dialogue to entertaining plots and memorable characters in perfect settings and situations to test them which makes the character interactions rich and the story flowing. A very interesting page-turner.


Readers get invested in the characters’ stories very easily. A great read.


To get your free copy of Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott go to:

And for more about Louisa May Alcott and her work go to: