Saturday 30 December 2017

2017 Goals in Review

In tradition, I will go over the goals of last year.

  1. Read 52 books or the same number I buy. I want to go back to reading at least a book a week as I think this is the best thing for me. I buy way more books than I read and I mostly read books I don't actually own. I just
  2. Finish 10 book series. I own a lot of full series and I just want to finish them. I'm even sitting on one book away from finishing it.
  3.  Write. I've just not been writing the way I should be. I think I've put too much pressure on myself. I just want back to aimless short stories.
  4. I would like to post weekly to this blog. This blog is sitting empty a lot of last year and I have stressed myself out to much the quality of content and this was never what this blog was for. It was for quality so I was away writing something. I need to go back to something, instead of nothing.
  5. I would like to edit the footage I'm sitting on. I have 2TB harddrive that almost full and I need to sort it because it kind silly to sit on that much raw footage as I have edit some of it and I'm never going to re-edit it. I guess its just hard to let go of your past self.
  6. I would like to push myself more in my film making. I think I have been playing it too safe and the only way to improve is to get out of my comfort zone. Take more risks. Make more I guess too.
  7. Train & regularly walk the puppy that I acquired recently. She not had all her jags yet so she can't be walked but I 'm working on her learning her name and the other basics.
  8. Start Journalling regularly again. I don't want to miss moments anymore. Even when I was blogging properly, I didn't share everything on here as something are too personal or just too weird to say on the internet where a future employers can google you and find this.
So I have missed out on sum.
1. I'm going to just do this. I'm sitting at 51 books, but should be able to finish the book I'm currently reading. But I also read IT and the House of Leaves so I'm awesome.
2. No. I finished two series this year. So eight missing...
3.I feel the need to write sometimes but no.
4. This blog was empty for a while last year. Very few new posts besides book reviews. so fail.
5. No...I did not do either. There was months of nothing.
6. I didn't really make my own film this year...I did produce a decent one.
7. Leia is a coward at 1 years old. She will walk now, instead of me have to carry/drag her along the pavement. But she will still freak out and escape her harness. She going for Walks in 2018 like a good girl.
8. I did not do this but I did it randomly for a day in December.

A very much a failure. 2018 might be better. 2017 sucked. Let's all go running.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

What a cheery way to spend Christmas Eve.


She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

I don't actually have the summary that's convinced me to read this book because it was a paperback that I decided not to buy because the library had on ebook, meaning I read it shortly after discovering it, instead of the months/years it probably would have spent on my TBR if I had brought it.

Fun fact: This book ends on Christmas Eve and I finished reading it on Christmas Eve by pure coincident.

This book is told in a few point of views, but mainly from a third person narrator focus on Laurel in the present, with first person sprints. This works well for the most of the part.

The characters and the family dynamics are probably the best part of the novel. I felt for Laurel, despite her faults and wanted better for Ellie so that was job well done. It also explores the destruction of family from tragedy.

In terms of the plot, once of all the main players have been introduced, it pretty obvious what went down. There is an attempt to have a twist at the end, which is set up well, but I saw it coming across well. It pretty straight through mystery, when layout in paper with facts anyway.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for unwanted Hamsters. This was an okay book to spend two days reads on the run up to Christmas. It could have took me one sitting but I had things to be doing surprisingly as an adult with two days of Christmas. It what I would consider a light read and would recommend to others that like murdery crime light reads.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Book Review: The Long Drop by Denise Mina

Murder and Glasgow go well together.

William Watt wants answers about his family's murder. Peter Manuel has them. But Peter Manuel is a liar. 

William Watt is an ordinary businessman, a fool, a social climber.

Peter Manuel is a famous Liar, a rapist, a criminal. He claims he can get hold of the gun used to murder Watt's Family. 

One December night in 1957, Watt meets Manuel in a Glasgow Bar to find out what he knows. 

I probably wouldn't be reviewing this book, if I wasn't doing the British Book Challenge which I see as reviewing every book by a British Author I read.

This book is weird fictionalised version of real event that happened. It weirdly formatted. I honestly don't how to review this or what to say about it.

This book is set in Glasgow, I listen to the Audiobook version, it was 7 hours long with a narrator with Scottish Accent, that did different types of Scottish Accents. That's the main reason I listened to it.

I looked up the real case when I read this book, but can no longer remember anything. I look up a lot a murder cases. It decent setting as well for a crime story as a lot shit was going down in Glasgow at this time.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for police driving. If you're interested in Denise Mina, this is probably a bad place to start. It was written fine, but not much of a story really.

Book Review: Devotion by Ros Barber

The cover is better than the book.

April is angry. Only nineteen, April is an elective mute, accused of a religiously motivated atrocity. 
Dr Finlay Logan is broken, a borderline suicidal criminal psychologist, still reeling from his daughter's death. He must assess her sanity in a world where - ten years after the death of Richard Dawkins - moves have been made to classify religious believes as a form of mental illness. 

Both April and Finley struggle to understand what happened to them

Asking fundamental questions about the nature of reality, Barber skilfully explores the balance between the emotional and rational sides of human experience. 

Sharing Secrets, silence and inability to deal with the world around them. Gently unpicking the lives of these broken characters.

This book was disappointing. I read this book mainly because Skulls and 'Elective Mutism'. Skulls on the cover and it's cool cover. Makes senses with the actual plot. There's no Elective Mutism in this book or the more modern term of Selective Mutism. It's always fun where stories set in the future have outdated terms. Even acknowledging the old definition, it's used just to be smart more than describing April; who is deciding not to speak to her count appointed Psychologist, Logan who will decide her whether she insane or not.

Going off the description, I thought it would be a dual protagonists, but it's very much Logan's story and the effect he will have on April's final outcome. This puts me in the awkward situation as I read this as part of the silent protagonist review video series I'm doing. I have seen better summaries that rightly focus on Logan. Moving on.

So Logan is a bland, male that cheats and has done terrible things to woman and his children.

The prose is fine. I didn't think about it until I seen other people talking it. It has that whole literature thing going on. It's fine.

The plot is half-arsed questioning god, but also not really. Its end up being more about choices and the whole butterfly effect thing again. Its deals with mental heath and with several characters having bad mental health. Though, they all have had fucked up stuff have happened to them. This book raises questions to abandoned them. It's fine. The classifying religion as mental illness, only deals with the type fundamentalism that involves blindly killing yourself for the cause; that's badly defined and go against your actual religion's beliefs so probably should be.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for ill-advise charity events. This book brings nothing new to the table but is also not terrible. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't had such mislead ideas about what it was about. It's fine. There's nothing to rave for or against. If you like the idea, go for it.

Saturday 16 December 2017

A Bad Week.

It's Saturday, 16th Decembee 2017 and I haven't written a post in months. This has became mostly random book reviews that I fudge the dates on slightly. Still Always Wedesday where as Saturday remains dusty and cold. With very few spiders. I haven't been in the mood to write for a while.

My week has been bad this week. Life has not gone to my plan and death sneaks in at 3pm on Monday. Mysti died unexpectedly. She had a sore on a face, I was going to take a picture but now I can't. Her death is a weird blow in that its not the disvastion of Shep or Inky. First Cat and first companion. Mysti was my dog but she wasn't MY dog in the way Shep was. One of the last things I would have done is stepped into her in the night and sore at as she didn't move. Like Normal.

She didn't eat her dinner which was the only warning her time was coming. She had been like coughing, chocking on nothing a lot but she was fine and she had been doing that for months. She was such a lifeless dog. She was weird for a Border Colie in that she wasn't engeric and never moved when came near her. She would lie in the way and make you climb over her log of a body.

She was fat, study thing. Lying half on her and using her as footstod as she always layed under your feet when you sat on the couch. She didn't care if you sat and poked her.

I don't know how Leia is taking it. Mysti was never the same after Shep died. Two years and she followed him into the grave exactly nine years old. She died on her birthday in her sleep. Shep was almost 15 and he couldn't move, so we had to put him to sleep. He was gone beyond hope, my dad feels guilt about that but I would have felt guilt if it was any other way.

She was left at the vet for blood tests and they found her dead. She was alone and I haven't seen her since she left for the vet which leaves her alive in my head. I'm not sure how its affecting Leia. I think she misses Mysti. She lies in her spot and looks for her at Dinner time (to steal her Dinner). She seems bored a little bit more. She spent hours alone in her bed.

She no longer has someone to lie with blocking the door as bumpy, living rugs.

I also have asbestos in my house. I learnt this from trying to get Key Metre out so I don't have to leave the house as often. I'm now in Limbo but it looks exposed and they put that Key Metre in recently so why was it left? That Metre seems to be eating up money for no reason. I hate it and want it gone.

On the Wednesday, I drove up in the dark with snow, lightinng and the wind. Snow and Wind makes driving a trippy experence. With the ice and country roads makes this dangerous. I drove up to a Midnight Screening to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

It wasn't worth the difficult trip. It wasn't terrible but it was a let down and some of the choices were bad. I don't think a lot has been left for the next one. I'm just not excited for Ep 9 now. I think a problem is that it took place back to back with the last video which took out protential character and relationship develop that would have really helped the film. I will see the next one. Not that the Han Solo one.

I've just been down generally this week with continuing not to produce anything or reading much. I'm tired as well. Lets not think why that is. It's not fun.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Book Review: For Holly by Tanya Byrne

All the girls in comas nowadays.

Lola Durand hates her stepmother. It's a cliché but it's true.

Lola Durand can't get through to her father. He never wants to talk about the things that matter: why they had to move to Paris, why he had to marry evil Agatha, and how they can get through the heartache of her mother's death together.

If he won't listen, she'll show him. She'll show him the truth about his new wife and then her life can go back to normal, just the way she likes it.

Lola Durand knows a secret about her stepmother. She's going to share it.

This is the second novel by Tanya Byrne that I have read (and reviewed). I probably enjoy this book less, but I really like Follow Me Down.

This book is in a diary/confession form from point of view Lola going over the events that lead outcome of the book. Most of the main plot has already happened by the time Lola starts writing. This book has a lot of tropes, but uses them to explore the emotion of the characters.

Lola is a sympathetic character going through a hard time since the death of her mother and her father's half abandonment. She has done dumb stuff, but I feel for her as she is a motherless 17 year old whose not handling her grief well with a bad support system. The adults aren't really better, as they aggravate the situation.

It explores grief and being from a mixed race character, Lola having a white French father and black Barbadian mother (I got this book from library, I might be slightly wrong), without the parent she takes after and feeling disconnected from her father without Mother's presence.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for stolen lippy. This was a decent YA distraction, with complex character and though is filled with medical tropes (this is third book I've read with a coma in the past few months and it's a random first in books), they are used well as away get to the emotion.

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Book Review: Whispers in Graveyard by Theresa Breslin

This book might have been written for me if only for a few things.If it was Harder core and female lead.

They want me to join them. All I have to do is to reach out to them...

Nobody understands Solomon's dyslexia. The only place he feels safe in the old graveyard, under the rowan tree. But when the workment uproot the tree, a dark and terriflying power is released, and only only Solomon can stop it...

Whispers in the Graveyard won the Carnegie Medal, and has became a modern classic of children's literature.

This book has Graveyard in the title and main character dyslexia. If you've been playing attention then you'll know I am dyslexic (which explains weird spelling and grammer mistakes) and that if book has a graveyard in it I specifically tag it. Also Graveyards because character limits. It's a thing I have been doing since 13 February 2013. So of course, I checked this book of the library.

This book was written purely for Dyslexia by a librarian. I also stopped at Dyslexia so didn't see the modern classic bit. So once I started I checked when this book was written which as 1994.  Two years before Dunblane shooting where at lot of laws changed. It's of its time, but not in a bad way, it was just odd going in thinking this was a modern contempory and not realising that is was when it came out 23 years ago. When I was tiny and cute. So I'm talk a little abit about Dyslexia during this time and whether it get's it right.

So I was dynosis when I was eight meaning sometime in 2001, but had been probably going through tests since 1999 so 5 years after this book was published. Solomon has his eyes tested, colour tested, and hearing. I don't remember getting my hearing tested (nor does my mother). But my eyes were tested several times and remember doing the colour blindness tests a lot. Dyslexia was the thing during time, then it was ADHD (my headteacher was convinced what I had, though I had none of the symtoms). Now it's Autism, which basically means people know what it is in theory but also not at all.

So the writer has done their research. Do I think it is captured well? Not really, but kinda of. So I was dynosised just for having Dyslexia when I was eight, but also then Autism when I was Twenty-Two so my symtoms overlap. The crumsness of Dyslexia is there, but he never get offically dysnosised. There's just a wonder teacher that realises his disability.

My worst compliant about this book is that there's speech by the Wonder teacher that says dyslexia is not a dysabily. Oh, honey I just wrote Disability completely wrong and I will forever miss-spell basic words. I live in a world with google and voice reconsigation software and you didn't know those things were coming. Dyslexia is a Learning Disability. It's a disability. Calling it a difficulty as those two thing don't mean the same thing in this situation, is missing the point. It's like getting upset when someone calls a novel a book. Yes, two different definitions. A book can be a non-fiction or a collection of short stories but novel always come in book form whether e-book, physical or a stack of maginze. Not that last one so much now and the best of those ended in up physical book form. It's ableism. A Disability is something about your body that makes life more difficult for you than people who don't have the disability, that can be how brain processes things or that you can't walk un-assisant. Being Dyslexia obvious never used be a big deal when most people were illiterate and didn't go to school. You were just clumsy and had bad joints (yeah, those are dyslexic symptoms). However, you can be a real disadvantage now. A lot of Daily Life is reading whether that's paperwork or just trying to watch YouTube videos. Disability is not a dirty word. I know this was written over 20 years ago but I don't think enough people realise that now either. I say this as someone who could just passes as a bad speller most of the time and can read most things unaided. It's re-creating the written word I mess up (then there's the Autism and the thing that making my hands go dumb as I try to write this).  Also Beslin made the main character a boy because Statistically more boys have it, so stereotyping then.

There's a lot of other issues going on. Solomon's mother has left the family home due to Solomon's father being abusive Alcoholic and then there's the ghost in the graveyard. Also this book is set in Scotland somewhere. Probably Central Belt. He love his local Graveyard, which is next to Kirk (church) which how I realise that this was set in Scotland. There also an evil entry connected to Scotland's past (go on guesss what it could be linked on, if you know anything about Scottish Supernatural history then you're get it, but I'll leave out because it kinda spoiler). There is a lot for a book less than 200 pages and some stuff does feel underdeveloped. The graveyard and Solomon's home life storylines don't fit that nice together. Hell, the evil enty doesn't even specifically want/need Solomon. Anyone in theory could have stopped it. The plot kinda works, but I think it just need more developed or more character agrency in the plot. Things just kinda come to point and that's that. This book is set in a Primary school so I probably should be less forgiving about the plot but I found it in the YA Section of the library. That was probably a mistake like the time I found R.L. Stine's one adult novel there too.

It has horror elements in it, but it's not scary hence the P5 main character (9 years-old). Horror didn't come to mind till I saw other people call it horror in the review. But I was already desenstive to any horror by the time I was in P5. The idea I like, the excuation not so much. It's fine, some of it works. Someone does die in there's that.

Solomon is pretty defined by his Dyslexia. He doesn't have any other characterisation. The story is told in his POV. Even the Dyslexia side is surface level. No one really does have much characterisation. His dad is probably the one with the most depth. The wonder teacher is unrealistic try hard. Also shows up at student's house which also how you know it was written in the 90s. Pretty sure you can't just take a kid out of his normal class on a hunch, even if his teacher is terrible and kicks him most of the time.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Rowan Berries. I think the dyslexia is really all this book has going for it. Of the other Carnegie Medal winners I have read, it doesn't match up to them. I would like this book if his teacher had Dyslexia. I felt like it was building to that in places but she doesn't. It's an okay portrayal of dyslexia and his homelife is the better part of the book. The magic part doesn't work. I would love a book with magic with Dyslexia or any other disabled character published in the main steam but this wasn't great on the supernatural side. However, this book is less than 200 pages and is worth a read if anything that I have said interested you. While I wanted better it's fine for its intended age group, not amazing but worth the read.