Book Review – Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone By JK Rowling

I decided to reread this series in the lead up to getting and reading the new releases so let’s see how it lived up to memory…

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So as always we will begin with the Goodreads blurb…

 

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

First thing I have to say as a reread this was a little bit of a shock to the system. You might ask why, after all the book has been around for ages as have the films but that is exactly what the issue was. Over the years I have watched the films with the kids far more times than I have read the books, and the films are so well done gradually you forget what was left out of the films from the books or added in. First I have to say the writing style is really simple, no frills, exactly as it should be for the age group it is aimed at, it is of course now impossible unless you have been living under a stone not to visualise the characters as those portrayed by the actors in the films, this does make it harder to now regard the book as an individual entity.
There are a few things that I realise I had maybe not really noticed for example, I am now convinced Mrs Weasley was out to sabotage Ron’s Hogwort’s education from the start, when we know how important it is ‘The wand chooses the wizard Harry!” So the fact poor Ron is sent to start his wizarding education with his brothers second hand wand which was obviously faulty otherwise he would not have replaced it. My theory is she knows she cannot keep any of the others at home with her, especially her strong willed daughter and Ron seems like the best bet for her to be able to keep with her to mother.
The best thing about these books is the fact it made reading cool with kids again, it made parents who maybe didn’t bother take the time to read the stories with their kids, have to be honest no idea why people felt they needed an adult cover on the books, if you are going to read something don’t be afraid to let people see what it is. The style is fairly simple and yes you can pick out influences from other works but I feel that criticism is unfair, after all every thing we read influences us in one way or another.
So scores, what else can I give this other than 5 out of 5, my daughter loved the books as they came out, my son now enjoys them via audiobook and I am enjoying revisiting them.
Gold star
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Lazy Sunday #4

It has been a strange lazy day here, I actually awoke quite early but decided to lie in bed and watch the wrestling I had intended staying up to watch last night. Then I got up and did a load of washing which I was thrilled to discover I could peg out and allow to dry in the sunshine.

This was the point when I should have sat at the computer but instead I got it into my head to decoupage an old bathroom cabinet, which turned out to be rather messier than expected.

It is now mid afternoon as I finally sit latte in had and rugby on the radio (the Giants are playing) though at the minute they are not doing well and I might wish I were not listening soon.

So I shall begin our wandering through a few blog from this week, so if you have your beverage of choice in hand and are sat comfortably…

  1. If you have followed this blog for any length of time then you will be aware I hail from an Irish heritage, like so many others. I love this blog because even though the photos are taken all over the Emerald Isle it is easy to dream that ancient ancestors may have strode across the fields or over the streams so often featured, plus the addition of great info and poetry is a bonus, http://nigelborrington.com/2016/03/09/irish-national-tree-week/
  2. I don’t write poetry very often, but that does not mean I do not enjoy reading it so I have several blogs I follow from which I take my poetry fix and one for today is this one which, as someone who enjoys a good soak, I can totally relate to https://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/epiphany/
  3. Another of the blogs I really enjoy is this one which is a specialist photography blog which concentrates on close up photos. Like writing everything can appear so very different when taken out of perspective and this blog constantly reminds me how many things you can miss if you only look at the big picture and not the details http://drawandshoot.me/2016/03/08/frayed-edges-of-winter/
  4. Sometimes you read blogs where the writing expresses feelings that are so raw that you feel the pain and can empathise from your own experiences, life sometimes deals us hands we would rather dismiss, rather not deal with, bury under a million different excuses, to take responsibility for your own life is not an easy thing but I have so much respect for this lady and her journey https://kissthemuse.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/4-3-not-in-vain/
  5. Not much to say about the next blog, if is dark and macabre and he is talking about vampires and mentions my favourite vampires, those created by Anne Rice of course https://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/vampire-month-ambrose-hall-interview/
  6. Finally a post written by a friend, she was the first blogger turned friend I ever had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, just wish she had not moved so far away as to make coffee meetings rather difficult but I chose this post for her honesty which I have come to know is completely genuine. This post is a little different from most of the stuff she posts, if you are easily shocked you might want to put the cup down away from the computer before you explore her blog further but this post I think relates to many of us and to different aspects of our lives. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and I cannot help think of a certain timelord and the words, “Physician heal thyself” while knowing we never do http://hornygeekgirl.com/perfect-clarity-the-right-thing/

So myfriends I shall leave you now, my cup is empty and shortly I shall wander to the kitchen to see about making dinner, the monster is watching Pokemon and I really should get a little more house work done, I hope you enjoy this weeks choices and will join me again next week for another coffee time xxx

Book Review – Haunted By Lucy Williams

Something a little different today…

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Lets see what the Goodreads Blurbs has to say…

This book is a collection of poems written during and after Lucy’s bouts of depression. They delve deep into her emotional state with refreshing honesty about an illness that affects many people.

First up I have to say I received my copy from the author as a birthday gift, although I do not know her personally I have followed her work for a while and she has also read some of mine, however the views and opinions expressed in this review are totally my own honest opinions.

My initial response on opening the packet was that although I loved the cover it seemed a very thin book, more of a pamphlet than a book however once I started reading I soon realised that given the subject of these poems and monologues less is more. They are deeply moving and though the authors experience of depression differs from my own I could relate to much of the emotions depicted and imagery used.  There were a couple of typos but they did not distract from the reading, possibly however one thing that should have been mentioned either in the blurb or at the start of the book was a trigger warning, because of the nature of the poems and references to self harm I do think that this book may warrant one.

The poems themselves are evocative, there primary aim is to provoke empathy rather than to focus on being overly clever.  While there is a delightful use of imagery they do not lose the reader in the complex metaphors, or literary devices many poets use, this is poetry you can pick up without needing a degree and immediately identify with.

Another bonus feature of this book is a Q & A with the author where she addresses questions that have been frequently asked of her, she is candid in her responses and open, you can see her honesty as she discusses her treatments and other aspects of how this illness has affected her life

The one thing I would possibly suggest is that rather than doing this as a print version on its own it may be interesting to see it in a section of a larger body of work, maybe release the individual sections as ebooks but then have a poetry anthology and include a wider range of poetry to show a contrast between the light and dark which I feel would really highlight the emotions for those who have not suffered from depression and cannot personally appreciate its nuances.

So onto the score I have to be honest and say as much as I enjoyed the poetry I have to give it a 4 out 0f 5 stars, I think that without the few typos I would still have given it the same mark, it possibly needs a little more in terms of volume for a print version

4stars

Vlog Time 7

I decided to make the Vlogs weekly rather than fortnightly in an attempt to keep the time down so I decided to give you one today but normal scheduling will be for a Friday from now on and that means you get a #TBT photo ever week of me as well which I hope you enjoy, I would love to see some #TBT photos of you guys so if you are up for the challenge post one this Thursday for me to come and smile at xxxx

A to Z Challenge 2014 – P is for Poetry

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P I don’t often repost my own stuff but I got behind by a day with this challenge and as it is poetry and I love this poem I wrote I decided to repost this one.

It also fits really well with the O post which I know so many of you really seemed to enjoy.

I would love to know what your favourite poems are either by famous poets or provide a link to your own poem.

 

 

 

The Goddess lies and waits in

Each and every living woman.

As she walks through wind and gale

She does not bow her head.

She looks forever forward

Never dwelling in the past

Facing every challenge

As it crosses in her path.

In young and old alike

She patiently bides her time.

The choice of God irrespective

 Her own strength she bestows.

Subserviant to no one

Her worth she full well knows.

Through her many struggles

She gains empathy and strength.

She loves without condition

She is loyalty beyond words.

She shares herself without

A second thought or pause.

And once she gains her freedom

From her slumber deep inside.

The Goddess can be seen

By those that recognise

The dignity, love and grace

That embodies womankind.

And now for something a little different!

It is Tuesday so it should be Mysteries of Udolpho but I will be honest I have not read enough to write a post about, there are just so many more interesting books, maybe I will have to put away all the other books round the house until I get it finished so I don’t get distracted.  So today I debated what to do and I thought I haven’t written a poem in a while and most of the ones I write are a little depressing so I have challenged myself to write a raunchier poem.  I read a few blogs by people who write erotica some in verse form and while I have written rather kinky sex scenes in my novel I have never really tried writing sensual so here goes at least if it fails miserably we can all have a good laugh.

I close my eyes,

Feel your breath

Upon my cheek.

Its warmth

Sends a quiver

Through my body.

Slowly you peel

Back the sheet

Revealing me

Exposing me,

My vulnerability

To your touch

Hypnotised by the

Steady warmth

I wait anticipating

Loving for those

Practised moves

That play a concerto

With my senses

Building to the crescendo

Where I will thrash

In the waves

Of your music.

Eyes remain sealed

To open them

Would break the spell

And I would know

You are not here,

And all I have

Is the memory.

Author Interview with Maureen Flynn

I know I promised that Sunday Story would be returning and I promise there is a Who fan fiction waiting in the wings but today I have the first of two special guests for this week.

This one is very special as Maureen and I share a passion for the mad man in a blue box and that was how we first got to know each other so please welcome my friend Maureen……

229224_10150180835873546_3183210_nHer new book of poetry My Heart’s Choir Sings has just been released and I was lucky enough that she allow me to prod her with a sonic probe and find out a little more about her and her writing, I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did

Tell us a little about you and why you decided to write poetry.

I actually started off writing speculative fiction. I have one manuscript being assessed at the moment. It has been work-shopped before with Kate Forsyth but it needs loads of work. That’s first novels for you! I am also working on a second novel in a different world which is only at 10 000 words. It had to take a back-seat for this poetry release. I also write short stories and want to start marketing them this year. My New Year’s Resolution was that this year I took my writing to the next level.

I first started to write poetry in high school to deal with teen angst. There was the usual stuff teens get angsty about but I also used poetry to express my feelings about being a carer. My brother has autism and my mother been ill for a number of years. Those first few notebooks of poems are truly, truly awful but they did help me when I felt down and everyone has to start somewhere! At university, I joined a writers group and got into poetry that way. I also read the verse novels of Dorothy Porter, a truly wonderful Australian poet, whose free verse is edgy, full of emotion and meaning. Ever since then I’ve been addicted to the idea of telling a story in verse.

I like poetry because word choice is so important. Nothing can be wasted. I love painting images with words and capturing people’s hearts and toying with emotions. I think there is something so passionate and heartfelt about good free verse.

There are many who would say poetry is a dying art. What’s your opinion on that?

Who says that? Maybe I hang out with the wrong crowds. I don’t think poetry will ever die. I do think that its form or presentation may change. For example, many singers write songs that are poetry. For a contemporary example look no further than Amanda Palmer and her Theatre is Evil album. I don’t care what anyone says, songs like Trout Heart Replica and Berlin are poems as well as songs. Songs aren’t going out of fashion any time soon.

Verse novels are huge at the moment, especially young adult verse novels. For example, Ellen Hopkins is famous for them, as is Lisa Ann Sandell. Author, Gabrielle Prendergast, runs Verse novels.com, a website dedicated to the popular form. You only have to read a few posts to see how many names are out there!

Do you believe that you can make a living as a poet in this day and age, without using poetic talents for songwriting?

Well, you’d certainly be richer writing songs! I don’t know. The reality is MOST writers never earn enough to give up their day job altogether, and that’s regardless of creative form. I think the average income for an Australian author per year is $20 000 which is very low when you consider that this is an average. As an indie poet, it’s even worse as all of the marketing and promoting has to come from you.

I’d argue that poetry is a niche market. If you find your audience, then you can do reasonably well but that doesn’t mean you’ll be a millionaire any time soon.

Can you tell us a little about the concept behind your book?

Well, as I said previously, I have loved verse novels since I read Dorothy Porter’s crime verse novel, The Monkey’s Mask, in first year university. I have always wanted to write one. Embarrassing story: I have a simply terrible skeleton of a Sydney murder mystery verse novel on my USB which is a shameless rip of Dorothy Porter. It will never see the light of day but it helped me to get better at word choice and poetry.

My Heart’s Choir Sings came about because I wanted to write about London. I’ve been on exchange to the UK twice and I love it. If I could, I would spend half my year there. Anyway, I was stuck in London in December 2010 during that awful snow storm and temperature drop that saw masses of flights cancelled. I’d never really seen snow before and even though I hated the cold, I liked the effect.

I really like writing about relationships using poetry. I think it’s a very visceral way of writing about them. I am also a History Honours Graduate and love messing around with concepts of memory, gender relations and ways the past, present and future can intertwine. I started off writing a poem called Blue, which was very popular on my blog. It was from the perspective of the male in the relationship, remembering his dead partner. Don’t ask me why I ended up writing from a male perspective. I am a feminist and this sequence discusses gender issues so maybe I just wanted to try something new! It went on from there. Image after image came to me and before I knew it I had a little story happening.

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My Heart’s Choir Sings is set in London and is told from the perspective of Stuart Hinchcliffe, a creative who loses his fellow creative and partner in tragic circumstances.  As he goes through their old flat, each object or item reminds Stuart of a new aspect of their relationship. Where did everything go wrong? Was it all the fault of the mysterious dead woman, or is Stuart and society to blame? The 25 poem sequence acts as a eulogy and as a process of healing for Stuart. It took me two years to write, edit and publish and it is very dear to my heart. I really hope people love it!

What is next for you creatively?

Where to start? Late last year, I started working on a verse novel detailing the story of Merlin of King Arthur fame. I’ve always had an obsession with ‘the historical Arthur’ and I’ve done quite a lot of research into the area. I’ve written about 30 poems for that verse novel and Merlin is just about to prophecy for Vortigan. Given that My Heart’s Choir Sings took me two years to get on the web, I doubt that this novel will be finished before another two years is up.

I am also working on a young adult fantasy manuscript. I really love the idea so hopefully it’s one that I can sell to agents and/or publishers down the track. When I’ve done the rewrite for this manuscript, I have to rework that beast of a first novel. It’s not a total write off yet.

I have a number of speculative fiction short stories in various stages of development and I want to market those to magazines such as Aurealis this year.

As you can see, I like to be busy. I always have a thousand ideas. The trouble is having the time to work on a project. I always want my work to be professional and that’s why it takes me so long to do anything with a project.

I will be working with an author this year on a writing mentorship, so hopefully that will teach me some great new skills!

People here will not know that we met through a Doctor Who fan page, but are you excited about Capaldi taking over the role and would you ever consider writing Who?

This is actually such a tough question. I LOVED Eleven. I knew Matt before he was cast in the role from a television movie called The Ruby in the Smoke. I kid you not, my brother and I both stated that he was Doctor material before he was even speculated to be up for Eleven.

Matt had such a way of being young and old, mad and serious, rage filled and gentle, a wizard, a good man and a fairy story all at once. His era isn’t perfect but he is definitely MY Doctor.

However, I love Capaldi’s fierce eyes from Day of the Doctor and though what we saw of him in Time of the Doctor was brief, he looks to be a refreshing TARDIS change. I always give new Doctor’s a season’s chance.

YES YES YES I would write Doctor Who. Somebody page Stephan Moffat. There has been very few female script writers on New Who. What I love about Doctor Who is that you can write practically anything in time, space and genre. There is no such thing as canon Doctor Who. I have never written a script before, but writing a Who script is one of my secret author goals, so never fear, one day it may well happen! Maybe a tie in book is more achievable…

I just want to thank Maureen and you can find all her links below please pop over and take a look…

Facebook

Goodreads

Blog

Or you can find the book here…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402166

http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Choir-Sings-Maureen-Flynn-ebook/dp/B00I5LT638/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1391259195&sr=8-3&keywords=my+heart%27s+choir+sings