Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Hi guys

Hope you have a great night and an even better 2016!

Hope to write and read more in 2016 and push myself more!

Anyhow best get drinking.

Neil x

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind - Book Review

Imagine the scene:

January 2012 and I had just watched the excellent series of Legend of the Seeker.  I find the two series are based on The Sword of Truth books by fantasy author Terry Goodkind.  So I decide to buy the first seven books in the series.
I start reading Wizards First Rule.

Last night and nearly four years later I finished reading that book.

Yes it's took me a while.  In between I have read a couple of other books both printed and on Kindle.  Plus I have also written quite a bit myself and helped organise this year's Cleckheaton Literature Festival.  Also I was in a bad state when I started the novel so maybe I should have started it a few months later.  Through persistence I have now completed it.

The verdict - following the adventures of Richard Cypher, his Wizard friend  Zedd and their companion the mother Confessor Kahlan as they search for a box of Orden which can stop the evil Wizard Darken Rahl who is trying to use the boxes of Orden to rule the lands.

The characters of the novel are three dimensional especially the main players Richard and Kahlan as they must push aside their love for the mission of stopping Darken Rahl and also because of a secret Kahlan hides that could harm Richard who becomes the Seeker - the holder of the Sword of Truth.
The Wizard Zedd us also a well rounded character.
Other characters fair well too.

I was surprised at how the series on television had not followed the novel in alot of ways but I have to say the novel is better as it delves into the thinking if the characters better as the go through the story.
The story is usual fantasy fare with magic, a dragon, medieval type setting and a quest.  But Terry Goodkind is a good writer who writes detail into the scenes and gives a good mental image.

I am annoyed at how long it as took me to read the novel as I have enjoyed it for the most part.   The middle where the heroes are with the Mud People did drag a bit and lacked action.  Also in some parts the story is repeated and not needed, for example when Richard meets Zedd after a big chunk of the book then describes what has happened to him which felt like reading it twice.

Overall  -  A detailed novel with a rich believable world and characters but could have have done with a trim.  The last quarter of the book is the strongest and a real page turner.  A very enjoyable novel.

Score   -   7/10   - Hope to read the next one faster!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Would just like to say a big Merry Xmas for my followers and readers of my blog. 

Hope your all having a great day.

Neil x

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Snoopy and Charlie Brown - Peanuts Movie - Film Review

Took my daughter to see the new Snoopy and Charlie Brown movie today, eventually after a mix up at cinemas as the cinema we was going to see it at had a note up saying the showing shown online is now cancelled.  
So we high tailed it to Vue cinema in Halifax for a late morning showing.

Myself I think over the years with previous movies and cartoon shows the characters were a bit boring and when I was younger I only liked watching Snoopy.
The case is the same here although with improved CGI and some visual nods to the comic books my daughter and I enjoyed it.  I even liked Charlie Brown and his pals including Linus, Peppermint  Patty and Lucy as they were introduced to the red haired girl who Charlie Brown fancied and was trying to both talk to and impress throughout the film with disastrous results.

The best bits involved Snoopy as he tried to help Charlie Brown talk to his dream girl by showing him how to dance.
Snoopy also wrote a book throughout the movie in which he imagined himself as an ace pilot fighting The Red Barren.  A writer I can relate to - ha.

Overall   -  A great kids film with some good laughs and easy to get into.  Very enjoyable.

Score  -   8/10

Annabel overall  -  I thought  it was funny  10 / 10 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Star Wars - The Force Awakens - 3D - Film Review

Hi guys

Went to see the awesome new Star Wars film last night and what a great experience it was.  It is now my favourite Star Wars film.

Set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi it starts with the Resistance led by Princess Leia searching for her brother Luke Skywalker who has vanished as she is wanting to bring peace to the Force following the uprising of the First Order from the ashes of the Empire.
The First Order is led by Supreme Leader Snoke who controls the new big bad Kylo Ren.  A wannabee Darth Vader who has connections with him.

The film starts with Ace Rebellion pilot Poe securing a map to lead them to Luke but the First Order arrives with Kylo Ren to get it.  He hides the map in his droid - new cute R2-D2 alike BB8.
As the Storm Troopers attack the village and attack Poe one Storm Trooper isn't liking what he sees.  This Storm Trooper frees Poe who names him Finn who then meets a young woman called Rey and they flee the planet with a ship in a junk yard.  The Millennium  Falcon.

Without giving too much away they come across old favourites Han Solo and Chewbacca as they race to get help against the First Order and their new more powerful weapon the Starkiller Base which is bigger than the death stars of the previous films.

The film is a hark back to the original trilogy and feels like a proper Star Wars film in terms of plot and look.  The prequel trilogy didn't feel like Star Wars to me.  A blessing is that like A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back is that it is dark in places.
Kylo Ren is a good villain with a temper.  I thought the Generals who served under Vader had a hard time but this guy is nuts.  Although later he did remind me of Snape from Harry Potter with his looks and character. 

Kylo Ren is played well by Adam Driver, the rest of the new cast including  Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn bring the Star Wars franchise a fresh take and mix well with the original cast including Harrison Ford as Han and Carrie Fisher as Leia.

A few quibbles I had was the Starkiller attack was too similar to the Death Star plots of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi but that asides the rest of the film feels fresher.

The 3D effects were awesome and gave the Stars and ships depth with the occasional ship coming out at you although more of this would have been nice.

Also I'm sure the events and characters of the film are in Novels that came out after Return of the Jedi in the 1980s,  1990s  and 2000s?  Could anyone clarify this as I'm sure read book reviews with New Order in and Luke being missing?

Overall  - A fantastic film bringing the best of Star Wars together and keeping it old school.  Also leaving a few questions unanswered for the next film.

If your into Star Wars go see this.  If your not Go see this  Awesome.

Score   10/10

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

December /No Nano

Hi folks

Can't  believe it's December already - Where has this year gone?

Thought would give a quick update and sadly haven't done much writing!   I didn't even start NanoWrimo although had too much going on especially towards the end of November gearing up for Christmas.

Yes been Christmas shopping and following all the other sheep keeping shops busy during this all too commercial Christmas.

I remember when it used to be more about Jesus - ain't seen him mentioned on television at all.  Even Santa has taken a back seat to the Sales and offers in the stores.  He's only in the Cola advert now!

But it's for the kids and my daughter.   Well rant over ha.

Writing wise have only jotted down ideas, have been too tired recently although have still been going to Cleckheaton Writing Group  and CLF meetings.  Helping plan for 2016 Cleckheaton Literature Festival.

Reading wise - nearly finished Wizards First Rule - horray.  This I hope to finish this weekend so expect a review soon.

My highlight in November from a writing point of view is the online Q and A with the fantastic and busy crime author  Leigh Russell.

Any other Authors wanting to be interviewed get in touch.

Well hope to blog again soon hopefully with some actual writing done!

In the meantime enjoy your shopping and spending guys.