Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Blogging

I'm quite new to this guest blogging malaky. I hosted a series a few years ago, inviting guest bloggers to tell me about their favourite reads, but I haven't really guest blogged myself.

However, Carol from Dizzy C's Little Book Blog kindly asked me to write a post for her blog. You can read it here.

Thanks to Carol for the opportunity, I really enjoyed participating!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

I haven't done a 'First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday' for a long time! This is a feature hosted by 'Bibliophile By The Sea' , where bloggers post the first paragraph of a book they are currently reading or want to read in future.

Here is the first paragraph of 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan. Having seen the film with the lovely James McAvoy, I was interested to compare the film with the book:

'The play- for which Briony had designed the posters, programmes and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper- was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch. When the preparations were complete, she had nothing to do but contemplate her finished draft and wait for the appearance of her cousins from the distant north.'

Would you read on?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Hello! Remember me? I'm not going to apologise for the lack blogging, as that's all I seem to do when I write a new post. I just thought I would pop by to say hello and let you know that I haven't abandoned you. In fact, I feel in the mood for blogging again, starting with a review of 'Doctor Sleep' the latest novel from one of my favourite authors, Stephen King. For now though, I thought I would share with you this photo of an Oil painting I have just completed.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

Welcome back to 'First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday' hosted by 'Bibliophile by the Sea'!

I haven't participated in this for a long time, so I thought I would return with the first paragraph of 'The World According to Bertie' by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the fourth installment in the 'Scotland Street' series and although I wasn't too sure about the first novel, I persisted and am glad that I did, because I now LOVE this set of books. Here's the first paragraph:

'Pat saw Bruce at ten o'clock on a Saturday morning, or at least that is when she thought she saw him. An element of doubt there certainly was. This centred not on the time of the sighting, but on the identity of the person sighted; for this was one of those occasions when one wonders whether the eye, or even the memory, has played a trick. And such tricks can be extraordinary, as when one is convinced that one has seen the late General de Gaulle coming out of a cinema, or when, against all reasonable probability, one thinks one has spotted a famous Italian tenor on a train between Glasgow and Paisley; risible events, of course, but ones which underline the proposition that one's eyes are not always to be believed.'

Would you read on?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

(Nearly Wordless Wednesday)

I'm not much of a football fan, but I remain loyal to my local football team, Northampton Town. So when they competed in a play off against Bradford  City at Wembley Stadium 2 weeks ago, I had to go and show my support. Unfortuately Northampton lost 3-0, but it was a great day with a fantastic atmosphere.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Film Talk

Over the Easter period, I watched one of my favourite films 'Gone With The Wind'. It tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a spoilt woman who will stop at nothing to get the man she wants and Rhett Butler a man of a very similar nature. The story is a lot more involved than this, but it's hard to condense a film that lasts approximately 3+ hours. All I can say is that I would definitely recommend this film.

Have you seen this film? What's your favourite film?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Chapter Tuesday

 It's Tuesday again (I'm very confused as to what day it is at the moment, due to the Easter break), which means 'First Chapter Tuesday' in conjuntion with 'Bibliophile By The Sea'.

I'm coming to the end of 'The Kasmir Shawl' by Rosie Thomas and here is the opening paragraph to the book:

'Mair made the discovery on the last day at home in the old house.
        The three of them were upstairs in their father's bedroom. They had come together for the melancholy business of sorting and clearing their parents' furniture and possessions, before closing up the house for the last time and handing over the keys to the estate agent. It was the end of May and the lambs had just been taken away to market. Out on the hill the sheep were bleating wildly, loud, incessant and bewildered cries that were carried in with the scent of spring grass.'

Would you continue reading this?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Film Talk

A few weeks ago I was at the cinema and saw a trailer for 'The Host'. Apparently this has something to do with Stephenie Meyer, the writer of the 'Twilight' saga. I'm not a fan of the 'Twilight' films, but this looks interesting.

What do you think?

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

What I've been reading:

After finishing (and thoroughly enjoying) 'The Green Mile' by Stephen King, a friend of mine gave me a copy of 'The Kasmir Shawl' by Rosie Thomas. So far, it's one of those books that I had never heard of it before reading, but it's turning out to be a bit of a gem of a book. It's lovely.

What I have been watching:

Anyone British will have heard of 'Ant and Dec'. They are presenters that have hosted such programmes as 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of here', 'Britain's Got Talent' and other successful weekend television shows. The duo actually started off in a children's programme called 'Byker Grove' but following that, they had a short pop career ('where is this going?' you might ask, well bear with me,!) and last night on their show 'Saturday Night Takeaway' , they performed one of their well known hits 'Let's Get Ready To Rumble':

I love 'Saturday Night Takeaway'. It's a silly programme, but great fun. 

What I've been listening to:

I've recently discovered a new artist called Laura Mvula and I love her latest single 'Green Garden':

Have a great week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Film Talk

'Brave'- Disney/Pixar

Even though I'm in my Thirties, I still like to watch the occasional Disney/Pixar film and last weekend, was no exceptional.

'Brave' is set in the Highlands of Scotland and tells the story of Merida, a young girl destined to marry one of the first-born males of three other clans. Merida rebels against her parent's wishes and seeks the help of a witch, to try and change her mother's mind about the arranged marriage, but then disaster strikes and Merida has to try and reverse the spell the witch has cast, to save her family.

Being a bit of a Disney traditionalist, I didn't think this was the best Disney/Pixar film I have seen. I found that instead of being a strong character, Merida was actually quite an annoying brat and possibly not a great role model for young children. Also, although the underlying story running through this film was good, I felt that it was lost with the rather strange story of Merida and her mother.

There are some great actors/comedians cast in this film (Emma Thompson is Queen Elinor,Billy Connolly as King Fergus and Julie Walters is The Witch), but I don't think that they were used to their full advantage.

One good thing about this film, is that the animators have done a great job capturing the beauty of the Scottish landscape.

Overall, 'Brave' doesn't have the charm that a lot of the 'old skool' Disney films have, but if you don't have anything else to watch, then consider watching 'Brave'.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Chapter Tuesday

This week's 'First Chapter, First Paragraph' as hosted by 'Bibliophile by The Sea', is taken from my latest read 'The Green Mile' by Stephen King:

'This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. And the electric chair was there, too, of course.
The inmates made joles about the chair, the way people always make jokes about things that frighten them but can't be gotten away from. The called it Old Sparky, or the Big Juicy. They made cracks about the power bill, and how Warden Moores would cook his Thanksgiving dinner that fall, with his wife, Melinda, too sick to cook.
But for the ones who actually had to sit down in that chair, the humor went out of the situation in a hurry. I presided over seventy-eight executions during my time at Cold Mountain (that's one fifure I've never been confused about; I'll remember it on my deathbed), and I think that, for most of those men, the truth of what was happening to them finally hit all the way home when their ankles were being clamped to the stout oak of "Old Sparky's" legs.'

Would you continue reading this?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

What I've been reading:

So far, 2013 hasn't been a particularly good reading year. At the latest count I have abandoned 3 books:

'The Casual Vacancy' by J.K Rowling
 'Les Miserables' - Victor Hugo
 'Wolf Hall'- Hilary Mantel

All of these books I did try and plough through, but with all of them I found the writing to be a problem. Now I'm reading 'The Green Mile' by Stephen King and I'm already half of the way through ths novel, which is better. Although I must say that I have been a big fan of Stephen King's since I was a teenager, so I'm biased.

What I have been watching:

Some of you may know, that last Friday saw the 25th year of  'Comic Relief' where people (famous or not), raise money in wacky, crazy ways, to help people in Africa and in the U.K. So far, the total stands at a staggering £75,107,851 and one of the highlights of the evening, was when Jessie J shaved her hair off for the cause. Here's a video, I'm sure you will agree that she looks great, even with no hair!

What I've been listening to:

Well mostly the cannons and explosions waking everyone up at stupid o'clock because it's the Fallas Festival at the moment! I love the Fallas festival (more of that in the week), but wish that the cannons and children throwing firecrackers in the street would not be part of this! Argh!
 However, here's the anthem that most of the bands play during the Fallas festival. Don't ask me to translate, I just spend the whole Fallas weekend humming the tune:

Have a great week!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Film Talk

Regular readers of my blog will have noticed, that it has had a bit of an overhaul lately. Today, I thought I would start a new segment called 'Friday Film Talk' in which I will (unsurpringly), talk about films I have seen or post trailers for upcoming films I'm interested in seeing.

For the first 'Friday Film Talk', I thought I would post the official trailer for the new Sam Raimi film 'Oz the Great and Powerful'. In case you didn't know, this new film is a prequel to the 1939 classic 'The Wizard of Oz' , starring Judy Garland.

I love the original 'Oz' film and I'm worried that the new film will not live up to expectations of the classic. However, seeing this trailer gives me some hope.  See what you think.....

Will you see this film? Do you think it can live up to the original film?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Chapter Tuesday

 I'm not much into doing Meme's, but I saw this on 'Bibliophile by the Sea' and thought that this would be interesting.

Every Tuesday, I'm going to host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (2) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.

This week's opening paragraph, comes from a book I am currently reading:

Across rhe Narrow Sea, Putney, 1500

'So now get up.'
     Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned towards the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.' 

'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel

From this paragraph, would you continue reading this book? 



Monday, March 11, 2013

'The Stand' by Stephen King

'The Stand' is an apocalyptic novel which is not only gripping to read, but asks interesting questions about religion and society.

Stephen King's approach to writing this story not only kept my interest through the novel, but I also felt that every single character within this story was fully formed and all had back stories to them, which were as equally interesting.
There were a couple of times in which my interest wained temporarily, but I think those parts of the story are worth persuing, because these parts of the story are fundamental to what happens later on. Having the special edition version of this book, I particularly liked the ending. It gave a sinister twist to the tale. This is a brilliant read and probably the best Stephen King novel I have ever read.

As a side note, whilst reading this novel I couldn't help but compare this to Justin Cronin's novel 'The Passage'. Throughout the novel, the similarities between these two novels were astounding and made me feel increasingly irritated by Cronin's writing laziness. However, I feel that Cronin wasn't able to inject as much life (if that's the right word in the case of both novels!), into his characters as well as Stephen King. I found King's approach to this novel, much more interesting than 'The Passage'. For these reasons, I would recommend reading 'The Stand' over the 'The Passage'.

Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts on this? If you have read 'The Stand' and 'The Passage', did you see the same similarities as I did? What do you think of writers taking ideas from others?  Is it possible to have a completely original novel?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy World Book Day!

Seeing as I have been out of the loop for a while, I completely failed to notice that today is 'World Book Day'. If I had known I would have done something special to commemorate the day. Instead, here are some interesting posts on the subject, which you might like to look at:

World Book Day- with guest poster Vivienne DaCosta (Dizzy C's Little Book Blog)

World Book Day! (Stuck In a Book)

If you're celebrating World Book Day on your blog and would like a mention, include a link to your blog on a comment.

As for me, I'll be celebrating the day with my feet up, a cup of tea in one hand and 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel in the other!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remember me?

Hello!It has been 3 months since I fell off the Blogosphere. Life became extremely stressful and my confidence hit quite a low for a while. Not just in myself and my writing abilities, but also my confidence in everyone I met, which made me wonder who I could really trust. However thanks to a good friend (she hopefully knows who she is), she has helped me to restore some confidence to do what I enjoy doing and so I have decided to get back onto the Blogosphere again.

I can't promise on how much I will write posts, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to update my blog and also stop yours too. I have read a few books since the last time I blogged and also acquired a Kindle. I know, I did say that I would never get a Kindle and ranted on about how e-readers would kill 'real' books, but I think that the world is big enough for both E-Readers and 'Real' books. I wouldn't say that I'm in love with my Kindle, but I have grown fond of it.

So I will be talking more about the books I have read and my Kindle and I have also got some interesting projects that I am in the process of doing (both writing and art/craft wise), so I may mention those in the future.

If I have lost my loyal readers, then I only have myself to blame for lack of effort on the blog. However I do hope that some of you decide to come allow on my blogging journey and in turn, I promise to follow yours.