Shona and Isla

16 04 2014

Shona and Isla

In the need of a quick post and under the idea that everyone on the internet likes looking at pictures of Cats. Here are some pictures of my family’s Cats; Shona and Isla. Enjoy.

Shona Isla Isla Shona Isla Isla Shona Shona Isla Shona (in the sink). Shona and Isla

GENEPOOL





LIGHT

5 02 2014

LIGHT

After going to see The Hunger Games in 2012, I got back into reading for the first time in years, (despite the fact that I had been unsuccessfully trying as well as struggling to read “the Smash Hit Debut Novel Mogworld by internet sensation Yahtzee Croshaw” – YAHTZEE). Since then I have regularly visited my local Waterstones looking for more books to read. One of the first ones I noticed was a book called FEAR. It was a round about the same time I was reading The Hunger Games that I noticed it, and the one thing that struck me about it was the front cover artwork. It looked interesting and so I went in for a look, and saw that it was part of a whole series of books, the first of which was called GONE. I was interested to read it, but I didn’t want to interfere with my current reading schedule at the time, So I just kept it in my mind. This past June after almost a year of wanting to read it, I started reading GONE, the first book in the series, and since then I have read through every book in the series. GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE and I have just finished reading FEAR.

FEAR

This past Saturday I went into town, and it was a very auspicious (if that is the right word) moment as I purchased LIGHT, the final book in the series. Since June I have been consistently reading a thrilling and almost unstoppable book series, and now the end is coming. I have known about the coming of this day for a while, and it is one I am greatly excited about, and sad that it is approaching too. I feel like I am in this amazing world created by Michael Grant. I can feel like I am there and have my own feelings towards the characters and how I want their story to end, but also the world. I also have my thoughts as to how if I was in it, how I would want it to end.

GONE (Michael Grant)

One thing I am certain of though, is that whatever the ending will be, it will not be sedate. As the series has progressed, life inside the FAYZ has gone from bad, to worse than traumatic, and while FEAR has somehow ended the paranoia I have felt as the reader from LIES and PLAGUE, it is probably nothing more than the beginning of the end, a possible calm before the typhoon. But what that ending might be, I am sure it will be worth it.

GONE HUNGER LIES

The one thing getting to me at this stage though is; What am I going to read next? I have some ideas; I could finally get round to reading Mockingjay, or I could get back into The Spook’s series, or maybe read the copy of BATTLE ROYALE that is staring at me from my bookshelf. Or maybe, just maybe, I might take a gamble on a couple of books I have spotted, Stone Heart or The Fire Within. Will need to make a decision soon though.

Stone Heart

GENEPOOL





A Fire Every Thursday

29 01 2014

Fire Alarm

You know that feeling when you are in bed and suddenly the fire alarm goes off? No? Well I do. When I was at Teesside University there would be a fire every Thursday. Why? Because that’s when they as in the people who managed the residence would test the fire alarms. An ideal thing to do yes, but not at 7:00 am when you’re trying to sleep.

TU

When I first went to Teesside University, within a week of moving in, there was a fire alarm going off. At first I thought it was the alarm clock, so I covered my ears, and the sound drowned out a little. Then (a couple of minutes later) I realised that it was still night time and that the sound was louder than the alarm clock. So I got up (with only some pants on) and tried to leave, but then I was told by a flat mate to get some trousers on, which I did before the head warden urged me to get out of the building, the alarm still going off. Eventually the sound finished and all was clear, no explanation as to what happened. A few minutes later it went off again but that was due to it not being turned off properly, but that didn’t stop people running for the door. The following Thursday it went off again at 7:00 am, so me and my house mates bolted for the door to be told that it was just the time when the alarms were tested. And it was the same for the next few weeks until I got to the point that I could have a mini lie in and not notice it, something that was probably not a good idea to do at the sound of a fire alarm. But we could rest assured that Fire was an impossible eventuality on Thursday’s, and even if there was one, it was nothing to worry about as it was only a test gone wrong, so back to sleep.

Bed

My halls of residence, well the whole university was weird but that’s a story for another time, but I will say this. The common space in our block had one of the world’s greatest inventions in it; a shopping trolley.

Shopping Trolley

Well a couple of weeks after the first fire alarm, there was another one, thankfully at a better time, so that’s at least one thing, however it turned out to be a drill, So I don’t know what the one ‘TWO WEEKS EARLIER’ was about? I remember what the woman said after the drill, “Next time, it will be real”. Well that was not exactly the case. We still got the fire every Thursday, but the next 2/3 times we had a fire alarm going off it was mainly mistakes made by students (sorry, residents) who couldn’t do the ironing.

Halls Of Residence (Teesside)

It was about January when the last one (back in 2011) took place. It had been snowing outside recently (I think it was January) and when the alarm went off at about midnight, you instinctively knew (unless it was Thursday) to get out of the building. I was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, trousers and shoes and I had to cross my arms in hope of keeping warm, while everyone from the upper floors thought that when the alarm went off you took your time to put your dressing gown on instead of running out of the building. They were there, all nice and warm while I was freezing in the snow at about midnight wanting nothing more than to get back inside. In the end this one turned out to be almost real as it was indeed someone leaving the iron on. Disaster averted and then there were no more fire alarms for the rest of the year……….except for Thursdays of course.

Freeze-side University

GENEPOOL





Book Review – The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

27 11 2013

The Spook's Apprentice

Title: The Spook’s Apprentice

Author: Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Red Fox

ISBN: 1862308535

Fantasy Books taking many different forms and shapes and sizes. There are ones which involve a group of heroes or a solo hero going on an adventure, some which have the hero or heroes going into battle with malevolent villains and some which revolve around a real life location such as a school and then adapting it. However one area that appears to be relatively untouched is that of the world of work. Set in a fantasy location where the young hero must begin to learn his trade just so he can make a living.

Written in 2004 by Joseph Delaney and published by Red Fox, The Spook’s Apprentice (The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in America) is the first book in The Spook’s Series also known as The Wardstone Chronicles. The book follows the story of young Thomas Ward who is the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. His family agrees to have their son trained to be a Spook. The Spook is an old man who initially appears to be a bit grumpy and it is his job to take care of the things that go bump in the night such as Boggarts, Ghosts and Witches. He takes on Tom as his new apprentice and immediately starts to train him. Although initially tough, Tom continues along this career path, but it is not really the best time for him as the malevolent Witch Mother Malkin has returned, the most dangerous with in existence and the Spook now needs to train his new apprentice a lot quicker to be able to deal with this ancient threat.

I first heard about this book about just over a year ago. I was in Waterstones in Preston when I saw a sign indicating both the release of, Spook’s: Slither’s Tale and the announcement that the author was going to do a book signing. While I was looking for a different book, I asked about the series and what the first book was, thinking that I would give it a go. Much like GONE, it did take me some time to get into it. Eventually I started to read it on the train on my way into University and that is when I really got into it. I pretty much could not stop reading it, and when I finally finished it, I immediately went to Waterstones in Lancaster to pick up the next two books in the series.

The author has also drawn a lot of inspiration from the myths and legends as well as folklore of his surroundings. Joseph Delaney lives and works in my home county of Lancashire, which has a wide variety of folklore surrounding it. But it is not just the folklore of his surroundings, but also its views and its places. As you read the book and see what is being said you grab the identity of where all this is taking place with the use of the original/old-fashioned names for the places in the county used instead of what they are known as today.

It’s not just the county that he draws from but also his early life. While he was not trained to hunt for Witches, he was trained to be an apprentice engineer and it is through this experience which shows how he can relate to the work and characters he is writing because he has been in a similar position to his work and the characters he is writing. But unlike other fantasy setting which are made from the ground up, Delaney has taken the essence of his home county and put it all into writing for the enjoyment of others.

The book is told in the first person view with the character of Tom narrating his experiences as well as the people and things he encounters along the way. The other characters that tom speaks to are kept in context and speak but only from the point of view of Tom writing down what has happened in his Diary.

The Spook, while initially appearing to be a grumpy person is actually a very caring person and his grumpy nature which is initially shown, grows into more of a caring nature and very much cares for his Apprentice. Which with the position he holds is one of the few upsides. The people of the county appear to not like the Spook all that much as he is believed to have some connection with Dark Powers. This is something that gets attached to his new apprentice rather quickly. The Spook however does not appear to mind all that much as his age shows that of someone who knows better and from his own experience he can tell if someone is potentially good or bad, and one particular way he teaches this to Tom is to not trust girls with Pointy Shoes. Enter Alice, a mysterious girl with a dark upbringing who initially tricks tom into doing what she wants, however as the book develops it is clear that Alice’s apparent intentions are not quite as they appear to be.

The training and career path that is represented in this book also show the careful attention that the author has put into the book. The Spook tells Tom everything he knows, he shows him how to keep his note writing, how to identify and categorise each creature they encounter as well as the best ways to deal with the more dangerous species. The Spook also teaches Tom how to deal with people as well including how to interact with them. But the author keeps all this in nice, simplistic terms so that the young reader base does not get too confused.

What in one case could be considered as a lucky find also turns out to be one of the best books I have read most recently. With fantasy elements such as Ghosts and Witches as well as the real life connections such as the authors time as an apprentice and the area he lives in. While the book is written more for young children, it has been carefully constructed so that older reader can enjoy reading it too. With a film adaptation due for release next year it will be interesting to see how it compares to this, but whether or not the film is good or bad, it can’t take away the great magical feeling from this book.

GENEPOOL





I Have Been Nominated

14 11 2013

VBA

This past Thursday, I was checking through my emails, I logged in to WordPress and it appeared that someone had left a couple of comments. I read through both of them and I was surprised to see that I had been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. This was a lovely surprise, even more so as I had not heard of any blog awards. The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award dictate:

  • Thank      the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include      a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out      how to do it.
  •  Next,      select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow      regularly. (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate      those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a      link to this site.
  •  Finally,      tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

The person who nominated me was Title Screen, for which I am very thankful, it really made my day, so very happy about it, thank you so much.

Title Screen

Now here are my nominations for the VBA:

So there are my nominations for this award so finally we move on to 7 things about me.

  1. I am a huge Godzilla fan.
  2. I have watched 27 of the current 29 Godzilla films (30 in 2014).
  3. I have over 130 films on DVD and Blu-ray.
  4. I love playing Board Games; my Favourite is Monopoly Here and Now Edition followed by Yedo and Quarriors.
  5. I started writing a novel in 2006 but have not worked on it for about 4-5 years.
  6. I consider 24 as the best TV Drama Series in the world.
  7. I have recently started playing Pokémon again after about 10 years of not playing it.

So once again, thanks to Title Screen for the nomination and thanks as well to the above Blogs for providing amazing content and thanks to everyone who continues to read and support my blog, thank you so very much.

GENEPOOL








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