Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Book Review

Again, this was another novella so you're getting the short version.  You're probably sick of Twilight stuff, I know I am.  I was never a big fan to begin with but I was curious about the fascination with it all so I read it.  I must say, she's clever, she has taken lots of cliches that grasp the affections of teenage girls all over the world and put them all into a story.  The good old fashioned love triangle darkened with fantasy creatures mixed with traditional values with some violence thrown in.  War, peace and love.  Yawn. 

Having finally read the Twilight saga it only seemed fair to read, what I hope is the final installment. All sagas must come to an end afterall. I can't help but feel that Stephanie Meyer only wrote this to cash in. I would have been much more gripped by Victoria's tale of woe. Imagine the pain she felt when the Cullens killed James? Imagine her dispair and then rage. It would have been fantastic to get into her mind instead of a newborn who was in the story for all of 5 minutes. I hope we see the end of this vampire phase soon.  Bring back Dracula and his blood sucking ways.  I want old fashioned monsters not contemporary creatures with ethics!!!! 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Small Hand, Susan Hill - A Book Review

Like the novella, this review is short and sweet.  I haven't written a review in a while and this is only from the top of my head, a month after reading the book!  Let me know if it's okay, I've been both complimentary and critical.  I have also read other reviews on  Either I'm a harsh critic or simply honest - I can't decide.  The reviews on there all rave on about how good the book is etc but I couldn't help but feel the description 'chilling' was an exaggeration.  What? Anyway, read the review, read the book and make your own mind up.

I've never read Susan Hill before and chose to read this after rave reviews of her previous books - often saying she's great at writing scary stories.  This story was the complete opposite despite it being a ghost story.  It came across as friendly and paternal almost.  Although the mood of the story wasn't what I expected, I found it to be beautifully written.  As it's only a novella there are parts of the story that left question marks engraved on my mind.  I felt some parts could have been developed further but as with all short stories, they must move quickly.  Although I was disappointed it didn't give me goosebumps I still enjoyed the story as a whole.  It was predictable in places and the time the story is set isn't clear until further in.  However it makes a lovely light read when you want to pass the time of day. 
The cover was absolutely stunning but £9.99 is still rather pricey for a small hardback - thank retail for discounts!!!

Magnum - Dragons Are Real (2007)

Brothers Grimm tribute - Story teller's night

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Cuppa Cold Tea?

At work we are in the process of getting a new computer system.  The old software is 'read only', new data is being hand written, prescription requests are disappearing into a big black hole and patients are frustrated with our temporary 'book on the day' procedure. Staff are taking turns leaving the ship to attend training sessions for the new software and in the midst of all the chaos there is one major problem brewing, or not brewing should I say? 

The kettle in the downstairs kitchen has broken down.  For some reason it won't work.  Perhaps the fuse has blown in the plug?  No one has bothered to check because they're too busy worrying about where their next brew is coming from.  The lost prescriptions and angry patients have soon been forgotten.  All of a sudden they are no longer a problem.  The lack of brewing facilities in the downstairs kitchen is the biggest nightmare of them all and even the Assistant Practice Manager has joined in with the shrills and cries in the back office.  They can't have the kettle from upstairs because the upstairs boiler thingy isn't working.  They must switch on theirs and wait for it to warm up before they get their thirst quenching brew.  Hard times.

If we take it too seriously the pump would be the real thing!!!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Preston's Newest Book Group!

I'm sure we're all guilty of never reading enough.  The broadsheets take up all your weekend, the local rag's tittle tattle just happens to be nearby when you're on your coffee break.  The television seems comforting after a hard day at the office and all your friends are on Facebook at the same time.  STOP this madness!  It's time to read more. 

Or perhaps you read loads but from the same old genre and you need an excuse to try something new but you need some friendly encouragement?

I think all these reasons combined with missing uni is the reason I wanted to set up a book group.  My mum wants to make new friends and sometimes we just need a good excuse to get out of the house on a winter's evening.

It was easy to do, pick a place, pick a time and pick a book.  Text some friends the details and voila, book group up and running! 

We had our first meeting in December which wasn't the best time really, everyone had festive madness to contend with but a small number of us got together to talk about Susan Hill's latest novella, The Small Hand.  The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover.  Before you slap me for being so naughty, my boyfriend saw me admiring it and told me he'd read the author's other work and said she could write some really scarey stories.  As this was a ghost story I was keen to find out more and so I chose it for our first book. 

I won't let on any details in case you plan to read it yourself but it wasn't quite what I thought it would be.  I still enjoyed it though and found Susan to be a beautiful writer. 

After discussing the book over drinks we caught up on each other's lives and went on to discuss other books.  We've all got a long list of stories we want to read and authors we want to try and genres we're yet to experience.  One member, my good friend, Christine has picked Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights.  Many people I know adore the Dark Materials collection and respect Mr Pullman himself.  I am yet to experience the 'delights' of his stories so I'm really looking forward to starting this.  First thing is first though, I must complete the Twilight Saga and read Christine's copy of the short second life of bree tanner before she thinks I've stolen it! 

Review of the books we read are to follow.

New year, new challenges

It's probably too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year - whoops I just did anyway.  Apologies, you're probably fed up with it all by now.  I know I am if I'm quite honest!

So towards the end of 2010 I finally got myself a fairly decent perm job.  Hooray!  It's been a good year all in all - graduating, getting employed again and of course the start of my book group (more on that in the next blog).  So enough reflection and more on future thoughts.

I must confess all this job hunting has proven to be quite a distraction and little writing has been done since completing my degree.  I must not fall into this trap again.  So I've every intention on re-working a short story I have drafted for a competition which I missed.  That way when another competition comes my way I'll have something ready and waiting for submission!

Reading - again I have lapsed on this so less television and more reading!

Facebook - I'm spending less and less time on this stupid website and intend on spending more time on here reading blogs and writing my own.  I didn't spend 3 years bettering myself to regress back to social networking to while away valuable time.  People need more one to one communication.  I spent yesterday catching up with my cousins, I got off my ass, dragged James with me and spent a few hours with them, in person!  Lavinia has made me promise James and I will go out to Majorca to see her.  She no longer lives in Magaluf anymore (which James would hate and to be quite honest, I've tired of).  She's living up in the mountains in a pretty idyllic Spanish village which sounds lovely. If she ends up moving to Dubai we'll just go and visit her there instead, oooh what a shame!

Blogging - as mentioned above, time for more blogging and less facebooking (repetition alert!).

MANCHESTER - I will, I will, I will, I will, I will finally move in with James.  Parting company on Sunday evenings is becoming increasingly difficult :(  The problem is money more than anything.  There is never enough of it to go round is there?  I got a bit of a shock when I got my first pay cheque on Friday, once the pension, national insurance, tax and bills have been paid you're left with very little to be getting on with.

So there you have it and lets face it, they're all pretty easy goals to obtain after what I've achieved recently.  I will also be doing the usual, trying to lose weight hopelessly, be more tidy, eat less chocolate etc.