Life is Stranger than Fiction

I am pleased as punch to announce that I have been hosted by the kindly people at Read Write Muse today!

I wrote a post on some of the great and fun ways you can conduct research and why it’s important.

They even made me a little quote icon!  It feels pretty cool to be quotable I can tell you.

So thank you to the people at Read Write Muse; especially to Katie Cross who formatted and posted the article.
Here’s a little excerpt:

Everyone should research—because life is stranger than fiction

Hi Folks,

Today I’m going to help you find the enthusiasm to conquer that pesky little blighter of boredom- research.

‘Research?’  I hear you cry. ‘I don’t need any of that, I’m writing fiction!’

Tired of doing #research for your next fiction WIP? Children's Author JR Barker discusses ways to make research interesting again over here at ReadWrite Muse!

The truth of the matter is you do need to do research no matter what genre you’re writing for.

You can read the rest HERE and find more writing tips on their site.

The Zombie Chronicles Gets 3.5 Cups of Tea!

This is now my second Zombie book and, although I liked the story,  I don’t think I’ll be picking up another zombie book in a hurry.
It turns out that zombies just don’t tickle my literary fancy but hey, you gotta try these things right?

I shall review this one based on plot, readability, writing skill and characters.

The story starts with a happy couple on their first date and, within the first chapter, everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
Zombies come out the woodwork and people are forced to flee, the survivors manage to hole themselves up on a series of nice safe islands.
It’s  safe for all but  a group of siblings, who crash land into zombieland with a potential cure that they were supposed to be taking for analysis on another island, and an infected girl who they can’t bring themselves to kill because *spoilers*.
Trapped in zombieland they are set upon by many hoards of, you guessed it, zombies.
There are some nice subplots and a few twists and turns, which I won’t discuss until you have read it yourselves!
It was a superbly action orientated story. The cause of the outbreak isn’t known at this point, but it is a mutating virus, which means it effects everyone at different rates and spreads in multiple ways.
So storyline and readability has a big fat check next to it.

Writing- the writing style and description was pretty good.  I felt like I was there struggling through with them, I bought into their situation, the action scenes were faultless and the zombies were portrayed really well. Nasty little blighters that they are.
On to the peoples! The older brother and sister were pretty cool characters but some of the motley crew felt a bit false to me. At the beginning they were supposed to be but by the end I still hadn’t bought into them as people; they didn’t seem to develop believably.
There was also a irk on the romance side of things, everyone got paired off, which was odd because two of the characters had to undergo a little personality surgery to make it work.  It felt like they’d been put together because they were both good looking and therefore why not?

It’s written that they came together by circumstance, but I just didn’t feel it.
I would like to see how this series pans out, the end of this book ended on a cliffhanger good enough to make me want to grab the next book.

However, I don’t think I’ll be looking out for any other zombie books. Not because I didn’t like this story, but because I find zombies dull.

Tea Verdict?

3.5 cups of tea, the extra half star was lost on the romance and secondary characters.

TeaTeaTea

Keep Ponies off the Menu!

A few years ago I made a documentary with my other half about Dartmoor‬ Pony‬ Conservation.

Dartmoor ponies have been in decline since they ceased to be used as work horses in the mines of Dartmoor. Their numbers have dropped even further since their use as riding ponies has fallen out of fashion.

When we made this documentary a charity called the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust were making headway and were slowly bringing these iconic animals back into popularity.

Our little video went out across the globe and the Dartmoor Pony became famous and the charity flourished.

Today we heard that some pony owners are giving up and starting to sell these beautiful creatures for sausage meat. Our conservation video is up online for anyone who wants to see it.

Please help keep these beautiful ponies off the menu!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28465981

The Night Circus gets 3 Cups of Tea

I had been looking forward to reading this for aaages, so whether this factored in how disappointing I found it, I don’t know.

I had to nibble away at this book, chapter by chapter.

Every time I got into a scene I got whisked away somewhere else, I was never allowed to settle, after a while this got wearying, then boring.

The premise was intriguing, the cover was enticing, the plot was there, even the writing skills and descriptions were there, but because it dotted around so much I just found myself distracted by almost anything that wasn’t the story.

You never got to hang around any of the characters long enough to connect, large sections of the story could be condensed into, “ this was added to the circus, isn’t it pretty?”

I can describe this book in one four letter word, “nice”, the characters were intriguing, but not enough to save the book, the storyline was o.k, but it could have been spectacular.

And that’s the rub, it could have been spectacular, if it had been laid out in a more linear fashion, if the author stuck to one scene for more than a few pages at a time, if we’d gotten to know the characters under the skin as well as outfits they wore and the circus they worked in.

I liked how it ended, it didn’t need a big flashy finish, but the journey to get to the end felt like a mirage, all glitz and glamour and no substance.

Perhaps if I’d read it in another time and place maybe it would be something more than it was, but I read it here and now and it simply felt flat.

It gets three cups because I’m haunted by the story it could have been.

TeaTea

Tea

The Night Circus image is an affiliate link, which means that if you buy it I’ll get a portion of the proceeds.

My Brain was Hijacked by Lord of the Rings

So my Hobbit journey is complete, Bilbo is now safe at home wearing a lavish waistcoat, trunks of gold and silver hidden away.

The years have rolled past and I’ve begun the journey of The Lord of the Rings.

As I read the beginning, where Gandalf arrives, I could hear the opening music from the film, and my minds eye kept seeing those fireworks he set off for the children, despite the fact that it did not happen in the book.

My mind also tried to insert the part where Merry and Pippin set off the dragon, despite the fact that it did not happen in the book either.

I do wonder how much of the film is going to insert itself into my brain and overwrite the written version.

I hope not much more otherwise I’ll have to wait a few more years until the films have faded from memory.

On another note I have created a The Adventures of the Frog Prince notebook through Zazzle, I’m rather pleased with it myself.

The  Lord of the Rings image is an affiliate link, which means that if you buy it I’ll get a portion of the proceeds.

Judge A Book by its Cover- The Night Circus

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the next instalment of Judge a book by its Cover!

Today we have The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern!

How to play!

All you have to do is guess what the story is about by looking at the cover then leave a comment below.

If you have already read the book you may still join in by posting a review, or with an opinion of what you think the cover says about the book, just please NO SPOILERS!

My review, and the link to the book, will be posted on Friday so you can see how close you came.

The Hobbit Stole my Heart

The last time I read The Hobbit I was at school, (I had the book in year 7)  it has been longer still since I’ve read Lord of the Rings.

I struggle to remember anything about the LOTR except how much I struggled with the middle of the second book. So much walking.

Then again, I was young and naive, so now I’m an older and wiser goat I want to give it another go. Perhaps it’s one of those things you mature into.

But if I’m to read LOTR first I must read The Hobbit, no?

(After all I haven’t seen the films, and the more I hear about them the less I want to.)

I’m near the end of The Hobbit now and I have to admit it’s like reading a cup of hot chocolate, sure Tolkein often wonders off on tangents, but it’s been a comfortable journey.

Especially as I can’t seem to bring myself to read another e-book. I have a kindle on my computer, but if I’m on my computer I’m writing, or on a media site, and so the ebooks are becoming somewhat neglected.

But it’s been a while since I’ve been engaged in only one story at a time, one book to snuggle down with, no other stories blocking my mind, and a story that takes me away from my computer.  All these things are bonuses and I’m relishing it.

This does mean when I get back to my kindle I’ll have to start reading whatever I was reading from the beginning, but for now The Hobbit’s stolen my heart.

What do you think, should I bother watching the films?
 

(The image is an affiliate link, which means that if you buy it I will get some of the proceeds)