Return & Reshuffle

Return & Reshuffle

Last year was a particularly tough year for myself & my family. We sold our house to move so we can care for my partner’s disabled parents. However the project manager made a complete hash of it & took and spent all our money before it was finished, as well as a majority of the work being crap. I took on a  few of the projects myself & we are just about there now, although we will always be living in something more like the Weasleys Burrow since the guy had clearly never heard of a spirit level.

Furthermore I got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD, possible ADHD & FAS on top of depression and degenerative disc disease in my lower back.

I am in my first year of a degree on English Literature & Creativity with the OU & thoroughly enjoying the course. Unfortunately I am left with less time to review many of the books I read. Therefore have decided to turn this space into somewhere that I can be myself a little more, relax, reflect and hopefully still review. 

I do apologise if old links no longer work, some have been removed as well as has most of my wordpress.org site,which will disappear when lease runs out. Be careful if you open one, someone managed to hack through the security plugins, exterminated him quick enough though.

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child; The Play reviewed.

Harry Potter CC#14It’s Sunday the 14th August 2016, the date has been the biggest highlight of our year since the announcement of a new Harry Potter. Tickets so high in demand, on the day of release I joined the queue at 9646, despite sitting refreshing both my phone & Mac constantly 10 minutes before they were due to go on sale.

The Palace theatre is incredible, a fine example of architecture that just feels perfect for a grand performance of magical proportions. Me & my family seated a few rows from the front with an outstanding view. Whilst London outside is enjoying a chilled out Sunday, a break from it’s usual demanding hustle & bustle, the theatre is full of excited Potter fans of all generations. The curtain displaying a stylish ‘H’ already gives the impression that this is a more sophisticated style to the HP we are all familiar with. As the curtain raises, the excitement and tension is pushed to another level, with gasps from the other early arrivals, followed by more speedy whispering about favourite characters, wands, spells, books and films. People have travelled miles from all over the world to be part of this exclusive show.

But….WHY?? Continue reading “Harry Potter & the Cursed Child; The Play reviewed.”

V. E. Schwab interview at Waterstones Piccadilly

V. E. Schwab interview at Waterstones Piccadilly

Last night I attended an evening with V. E. Schwab which was lots on fun. Victoria is clearly a very talented writer who chooses to write between the lines of good and evil rather than the usual format of having Heroes/Heroines and Villains/Villaines. Her writing is a reflection of the world around her through a fuzzy lens.

 

I filmed most of the session for those who could not attend, there are some really great writing tips as well as some great talk on her new novel ‘This Savage Song’ (which I am currently reading) and her previous works such as ‘Vicious’, ‘A Gathering of Shadows’ & my favourite book of 2015 by a female author ‘A Darker Shade of Magic.’ Enjoy.

Victoria was kind enough to sign books after the event. I picked up an copy of her new novel This Savage Song signed to give away, this is the UK first edition. To be in with a chance please comment below with the reason you would like a copy, genuine readers only please, no droids or cybermen.

The winner picked at random is E.Maree.
Congratulations!!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight opening Waterstones Piccadilly

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight opening Waterstones Piccadilly

As a family we absolutely love Harry Potter, although this may not be the release that everyone would hope for extending the storyline, being a script rather than a book. Personally I think it is amazing for fans to have an alternative to the books, audiobooks and films. The theatre production will be cast all over the world, we are going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed child in a couple of weeks, we are so excited. J.K Rowling deserves so much credit, with the height HP reached she did not need to write more, however if you read/watch the end of Deathly Hallows you have to wonder if Rowling always had this planned but needed to take a few steps back. I was a bit disappointed in the books she wrote under her pseudonym, I would have expected something more imaginative, there is little Rowling recognition, however to continue and have the passion to keep writing is just incredible. She is an inspiration to me, my partner and my children to pick up a book and read and be blown away by the amount of detail, emotion and magic packed inside or even pick up a pen and create something magical of your own.

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I attended the midnight opening for the release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with my partner, 6 year old daughter and 9 year old son. he got so much attention in his Draco Malfoy outfit and wrote this review of the event. If you were there say hi!!

On Saturday 30th July me, my mum, dad and sister travelled to London for the release of Harry Potter and the cursed child. It was a late night for us as the party started at 10pm and the release at midnight. We had some drinks next to the theatre where it was the opening day for the play, but missed J.K. Rowling. We are going to see the play in a couple of weeks during the summer holiday.

We all dressed up for the release, I was Draco Malfoy who is my favourite character because he is cool, and smart and he has very blonde hair like me. We also have similar personalities, my parents know all about this. For my outfit I wore a Slytherin cloak, waistcoat, and shirt green tie and had his wand. My sister dressed as Hermoine Granger, mummy went as Luna Lovegood and daddy went as Sirius Black, although his wig was not very serious.

We arrived in good time for the queue we were about 20 back from the front, in the queue I was being interviewed and had lots of pictures taken it was also great being amongst so many other Potter fans.

When the doors finally opened at 10:05pm my dad disarmed the cameraman with Expelliarmus and we were off. When we first got Waterstones was amazing, decorated with loads of Harry Potter things. The first thing that caught my eye was Hagrids motorbike and all the merchandise. We visited Honeydukes and got lots of sweets including some soapy bons-bons which were not so nice. We visited the three broomsticks and got some butterbeer with no alcohol, my mum and dad were not so impressed with theirs, rum & cream soda not a good combo, it should have been butterscotch flavoured beer.

We entered the tombola; daddy won a deathly hallows journal, which he is already writing, reviews in. We wrote on the ‘what does harry potter mean to you board’ I wrote ‘Everything’ We couldn’t find the dressing up competition and therefore was also late to the quiz which we were all really gutted about. So we went and looked around at the movie props that were incredible including the sword of Gryffindor, marauders map, gringotts coins, lots of the outfits including Hagrid and qudditch robes.

My sister and me played quidditch that was lots of fun and worked really well as a sport, I scored 10 points with the quaffle, I could find a golden snitch though. Before queuing up for the book we visited the cupboard under the stairs and then queued, we watched the amazing violinists playing Harry Potter music. When midnight came we all counted down and sung Happy Birthday. We were amongst the first hundred people to get the book. Daddy read some to us in the car, which was awesome, but we are not going to read it until after the play so we don’t spoil it but cannot wait.

Written by Joshua Reynolds (Age 9) with help of daddy.

 

 

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Thank you Waterstones for an awesome time.
Click here to order

CpBGrz9XYAEiiH1If you have not visited Pottermore yet, I highly recommend it, we also featured in an article.

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Alex Verus #1-7 by Benedict Jacka

 

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Alex Verus by Benedict Jacka
#1 Fated
#2 Cursed
#3 Taken
#4 Chosen
#5 Hidden
#6 Veiled
#7 Burned 

UK imprint – Orbit
Pages – 416
Date released – 1st March 2012 – 7th April 2016
Audible 

 

If you have never been acquainted with Jacka’s protagonist Alex Verus you are certainly missing a hidden gem amongst the shelves in the fantasy isle. It maybe on it’s 7th book, but they are a great in between book like Discworld or Peter Grant. I highly recommend the audiobooks which me and partner listened too, great narrator – unsure why he says plarstic rather than plastic.

“I don’t sell spells, and I don’t sell tricks. I don’t carry illusions or marked cards or weighted coins. I cannot sell you an endless purse or help you win the lottery. I can’t make that girl you’ve got your eye on fall in love with you, and I wouldn’t do it even if I could. I don’t have a psychic hotline to your dead relatives, I don’t know if you’re going to be successful in your career, and I don’t know when you’re going to get married. I can’t get you into Hogwarts or any other kind of magic school, and if you even mention those stupid sparkly vampires I will do something unpleasant to you.”
— Benedict Jacka (Cursed (Alex Verus, #2))

Alex Verus is a mage who runs a shop in London selling non-magical ‘magical’ items to the general public and real magical items to witches and wizards, however these are hidden out of sight. Mages have different abilities falling into three families;

Elemental – Earth, Air, Fire, Water (sounds the like the theme tune to Captain Planet) Ice etc, the most common type of magic.

Living – Affecting others thoughts, emotions and the ability to shape shift.

Universal – The rarest and coolest, Divination, Chance, Time and Space.

The magic system is very simple and does not have any negative impact on Jacka’s writing which is flowing, laid back and generally lots of fun with moments of intensity and madness.

Alex Verus has the power of divination, the way Jacka combines the divination alongside the narrative is very clever, in a very short space of time Verus often needs to use his mage sight to check out all the alternatives for his next action to find the result that will end up with him ultimately not being killed. Ideally Alex just wants to have a relaxed life in his shop but the reality is so many people want him dead both dark mages (the baddies) and the light mages (the supposed goodies, think our government) So why is Verus such a target?

To become a mage Alex had to be trained by a master, in his case a dark mage (Richard Drakh the Voldemort of  dark mages.) which involved Alex’s mage sight being used in exchange for his own life as part of some very unpleasant jobs against other mages. Alex eventually escaped the bonds of his master and made every effort to turn good and be recognised this way by the light council, however there is a snobbery amongst the light mages which there seems to be no return from being tainted by the dark leading to Alex being stitched up, framed or assassinated, furthermore without the protection of his dark master he is an open target for all the dark mages he p*ssed off whilst in service to Richard Drakh.

“As I walked, I started making a list of everyone in the mage world whom I’d opposed, fought with, or otherwise irritated. After I ran out of fingers to count on I 9780356504407decided to limit the number to people I’d pissed off relatively recently.”
— Benedict Jacka (Cursed (Alex Verus, #2))

Verus is an outcast, with his best form of defence is to rebel and outwit the hierarchy, which he does brilliantly, even if occasionally with the attitude of a 16 year old teenager. However when he becomes a master himself and has his own apprentice, he is determined to erase all memories of his own training by supporting her the best way he can, this leads to him making some good friends but at a cost making the target on his back a whole lot bigger and himself a lot more vulnerable.

I have made sure I have not added spoilers but I must say the end of Burned will leave you screaming out for book number 8, excellent series.

 

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About the author: Benedict Jacka became a writer almost by accident, when at nineteen he sat in his school library and started a story in the back of an exercise book. Since then he’s studied philosophy at Cambridge, lived in China, and worked as everything from civil servant to bouncer to teacher before returning to London to take up law.

 

 

 

The Fastidious Reader – Is An Author Responsible For His Plot?

This is spot on, pressed from http://thequilltolive.com  .

I had a strange experience recently as I finished Dust, the last of Hugh Howey’s Silo trilogy. I was about 60% of the way through the book when I realized that there was absolutely no way the…

Source: The Fastidious Reader – Is An Author Responsible For His Plot?

The Fireman – Joe Hill

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The Fireman – Joe Hill
UK Publisher – Gollancz
Pages – 768
Date Released – June 7th 2016
Lowest Price – Amazon £13.60
Signed – Anderida Books £25
Format – Hardcover
ISBN – 9780575130715
Reviewed by The Fantasy Book Collector @kvothe1984

2/5

My least favourite Joe Hill book. I am a huge fan but The Fireman lacks the intensity and insanity of previous works. Maybe this is Joe Hills ‘Black album’ to hit a wider mainstream audience, which I can understand. In fact it almost feels like it has been written for a netflix series, apocalypses are like the in thing at the moment, whilst the mention of a fireman makes most women blush. However I really struggled to feel for any of the characters, the main character Harper (not the fireman) is too easily pushed around and bullied for someone who managed to escape her evil husband. She is heavily pregnant, she should be using crazy hormonal driven methods to protect her child and having cravings for flesh or something would have been more comparable to previous JH. The fireman, her saviour, with super fire powers is barely in the picture until the end, being allowed to live isolated on an island whilst Camp Wyndham is being run by a psycho control freak. Furthermore it was not until the fireman got to spray his hose after pages and pages of flirting with Harper to finally get involved.

Great start.
Middle too long.
Good finale.
I love Joe Hill.
I hate camping.
This one was not for me, however I expect many will enjoy.

About the Author (Wikipedia) Joseph Hillstrom King (born June 4, 1972), better known by the pen name Joe Hill, is an American author and comic book writer. He has published four novels—Heart-Shaped BoxHornsNOS4A2 and The Fireman—and a collection of short stories titled 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the author of the comic book series Locke & Key. He is the son of authors Stephen and Tabitha King.