Episode 1 – Ethel
After 9 years apart, John Reginald Christie and his estranged wife Ethel reunite and move into 10 Rillington Place. As war breaks out, the fractures in their relationship reappear beneath the thin veneer of married respectability.
I watched this for three reasons, the preview looked good, I’m interested in true crime, and I’ve seen both Tim Roth and Samantha Morton put in some very very good performances in the past.
The first of three episodes is seen through the eyes of Christie’s wife, Ethel, and as a result you see little of what Christie himself is up to, only a portrait of an unhappy marriage as seen through the eyes of a passive woman who almost meekly goes back to a husband who she finds in jail and who cheats on her and abuses her.
The era and the environment are very well recreated in this BBC drama, and both Tim Roth as John Reginald Christie and Samantha Morton as Ethel put in wonderful performances, but the lack of action and the slow pace ultimately drag this down. I was tempted after watching this opening episode to forget about watching the rest, but checking IMDB I see that the following episodes are seen from different characters’ perspectives, so I will give them a go and hope it gets better.
Road To Gandalfo
War hero and infamous ladies’ man General MacKenzie Hawkins is a living legend. His life story has even been sold to Hollywood. But now he stands accused of defacing a historic monument in China’s Forbidden City. Under house arrest in Peking with a case against him pending in Washington, this looks like the end of Mac’s illustrious career. But he has a plan of his own: kidnap the Pope. What’s the ransom? Just one American dollar—for every Catholic in the world. Add to the mix a slew of shady “investors,” Mac’s four persuasive, well-endowed ex-wives, and a young lawyer and fellow soldier who wants nothing more than to return to private life, and readers have in their hands one relentlessly irreverent page-turner.
This is a pretty dated book now but don’t let that put you off because, despite not being sure whether it’s a comedy or a thriller, I really enjoyed it.
Mackenzie Hawkins and Sam Devereaux bounce off each other brilliantly as mistmatched and reluctant partners-in-crime planning the most audacious crime in history. The build-up to the crime, the planning and prep is detailed but written in a way that is both fun and interesting as ‘The Hawk’ – as Hawkins is known – blackmails a variety of criminal figures to raise the capital for his ‘operation’ and gets his lawyer into so much trouble it’s a miracle he isn’t killed multiple times.
What happens when they are ready for the biggest crime in history and what happens after is as good, if not better than the build-up.
Coming from the man who wrote the Jason Bourne books this is a very entertaining read, though it won’t be for everyone.
I got a very nice surprise today, a friend from Goodreads, Alexis Wills, sent me an email with a present attached; she had been creating some graphics for a book she has been writing and decided during a break to do a few for me, the intention was to encourage me to join the Book of Faces, a place that fills me with dread.
I haven’t yet taken the dive, Facebook requires a level of social skills that I simply don’t possess, just the thought of it kicks of my anxiety and sends me shuffling towards a panic attack, but I am very grateful for the graphics.
What do you guys think?
I think they’re brilliant, and much better than anything I could produce, but if you want to see something really good, I suggest you take a look at her site and see the cover she created for her upcoming release, if I could produce covers like that I could save myself a fortune.
Julie A Gerber & Carole P Roman
Social media guru, Julie A. Gerber and award-winning author of forty-three best-selling, independently published books, Carole P. Roman, team up to travel the winding road of self-publishing, promoting, and marketing a book. Join these two self-help experts as they share their vast store of experience in an easy to read, comprehensive guide, complete with end of chapter checklists to keep an author on track. Learn the importance of a beta reader and the value of a good editor. Know what’s needed when preparing a list for choosing an illustrator. Compare the many ways to promote your book. Find out what each step can cost and where you can save. This guide takes new independent authors from the first draft, through publication and the complicated world of marketing. Included is a directory of resources to help get there faster. Navigating Indieworld will end up being the ultimate travel guide for writers on their journey to published author. Join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NavigatingIndieworld
I was gifted a free copy of this book, not for review but because I have connected with Carole P Roman through Goodreads and she was kind enough to want to help me with my writing and promoting efforts. Having read the book, however, I just had to review it.
Julie Gerber and Carole Roman have done a great job of putting together a guide for anyone thinking of publishing a novel. The focus is on publishing as an independent, as the title suggests, but they also cover, briefly, getting published through a publishing house.
The book is organised into a number of different areas that encompass every conceivable aspect of writing and publishing a novel, and each one is written in a way that makes it easy to understand what is being said. Not only are the sections clearly written, they include examples where appropriate – I found the section on blurbs particularly helpful, it’s an area of writing I’ve always struggled with but seeing the examples enabled me to restructure my blurb into something that I feel is more appealing.
Having published in the past, I knew some of what was written about in Navigating Indieworld, and would have liked a little more detail to help me in the areas I didn’t know, such as social media – this is an area I’m uncomfortable with, so more information might not help me all that much, I’m actually thinking of paying for help – but for a new author this is a book I’d recommend reading this book so you know what you’re getting into and how to get the most out of it.
Scrolls of Zndaria
J S Jaeger
Join Nathanial “Nate” McGray, the fifteen-year-old son of the king’s woodsman, on an unforgettable adventure. He is determined to be the first peasant to become a wizard in the magical world of Zndaria. Wedged in a sticky spot, Nate is saved from the town bullies by a mysterious elf named Blinkly. Together, Nate and Blinkly embark on a journey to the Halls of Magic. Along the way, they encounter vicious Dread Vikings, deadly bounty hunters, and a deranged beast. Just as Nate begins to learn magic, the Infinite Wizard and a devilish army attack his Kingdom. Will Nate become a wizard? Can he save his Kingdom? The story unfolds in Scrolls of Zndaria–Scroll One: The Golden Wizard.
This is a difficult book for me to review, not for any bad reason, but because the target audience is ages 9-12 and I am definitely not in that group so it wasn’t easy to look at it from the view of a much younger person.
The story is decent, if undemanding, and likely to appeal to those children not yet old enough to cope with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. The central character of Nate is pleasant, and well-enough written for the genre and intended target audience, though if I’m honest I thought he was younger than the book’s description says and I think it might be hard for such a young audience to relate to an older character.
I won’t spoil anything by giving away plot points but there was one that I think might upset some readers; fortunately it was handled well enough that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
If there was one thing that disappointed me, it was the limited exposure given to Demon, I would have liked to see more of this interesting-looking creature. I have hopes that he will turn up again in the next book, and person feature a little more.
Overall I’d say this is a 3* read for adults, there isn’t enough depth to maintain interest in a more sophisticated reader – it being a series I may have to read the next book simply because I don’t like not knowing how a series ends – and a possible 4* for those in its target audience; I suspect 9-12-year-olds will really enjoy it.