Opening Lines #YA #TuesdayBookBlog

I read a great post recently written by Cathy from Between the Lines book blog. Cathy shared some of the opening lines from books she’s read over the past twelve months that drew her in. It was a wonderful collection. You can read it HERE.

With the release of my new young adult urban fantasy book, Oath Breaker on the horizon (8th June 2017 with BHC Press) I thought I’d do a twist on Cathy’s post and share some of my favourite opening lines from YA fantasy books.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire

Every day, Jess Brightwell passed the Spartan warrior statue on his way to and from his quarters. It was a beautifully made automaton, fluid and deadly, with a skin of burnished copper. It stood in a dynamic pose on its pedestal with a spear ready to thrust, and was both a decoration and a protection against intruders.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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There will be no awakening.

The sleeping woman will feel nothing the next morning, only a vague sense of unease and the unshakable feeling that someone is watching her. Her anxiety will fade in less than a day and will soon be forgotten.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point. Most of the thousands of slaves in Endovier received similar treatment – though an extra half-dozen guards always walked Celaena to and from the mines. That was expected by Adarlan’s most notorious assassin. What she did not usually expect, however, was a hooded man in black at her side – as there was now.

Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

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I stand at the edge of the crowded square, watching the executioners light the pyres. The two men, dressed for work in red cloaks and charred leather gloves, circle the narrow wooden platforms, their lit torches held high. At the top of each pyre, four witches and three wizards stand chained to a stake, bundles of wood heaped around their feet. They stare into the crowd, determined looks on their faces.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel

London, April 1878.

The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Mythology by Helen Boswell

Mythology

We all have secrets. Skeletons that insist on hanging around no matter how hard we try to banish them. We hope they won’t rise up and clatter their bones at the wrong times or in front of the wrong people. Of course, there are the good kind of secrets too – the ones we eventually tell the people we care about. But most of the secrets out there are the real kind, the deep and dark kind. I would know. I can see them.

One Way Fare (Null City Book 1) by Barb Taub

One Way Fare

1972, Seattle

Gaby’s new employee handbook was clear: missing a client appointment was an excellent way to get fired. But it didn’t say a thing about breaking and entering. She’d checked. Over the past hour, she’d knocked, called, tried the house phone, paced and automatically straightened the paintings lining the elegant hallway of Seattle’s Olympic Hotel. Despite the muted voices from within the suite, the brass-bound double doors to the Presidential Suite remained closed.

Awake at Dawn (A Shadow Falls Novel) by C.C.Hunter

Awake at Dawn

“You have to stop it, Kylie. You have to. Or this will happen to someone you love.”

The spirit’s ominous words flowed from behind Kylie Galen and mingled with the crackle and pop of the huge bonfire about fifty feet to her right. The frigid pocket of air announced the spirit’s presence loud and clear, even if the words were only for Kylie’s ears and not for the other Shadow Falls campers standing in the ceremonial circle.

Guardians of the Lost Lands (The Guardian Series Book 3) by Shelley Wilson

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Claws scratched at the cold rock just inches from his bare feet. The twisted limbs of these tormented creatures snaked through the bars of his cell as they tried to reach him. Starved and beaten, the monsters craved his blood.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to add your favourite opening line in the comments below; it doesn’t have to be YA or fantasy.

Inspirational ABBA logoExciting news! I’ve been nominated for the Most Inspirational Blogger Award 2017 at the Bloggers Bash.

The criteria is: Who consistently inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Or perhaps they have become a muse to you with constant provision of inspirational content or imagery? Who’s the one blogger that’s touched your heart? This is the nomination for them.

I would be eternally grateful if you could throw a vote my way – link HERE

 

The Soundtrack Of My Life #Music #MondayBlogs

The Soundtrack of my lifeMusic has always played a big part of my life. However, I’ve never really nailed down one particular genre, or artist that sums up the soundtrack of my life. I have a varied taste and will pretty much dance to anything!

When I spotted the ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ tag on Em Linthorpe’s blog I knew I wanted to give it a go. You can read Em’s music choices HERE.

Once I started to reminisce about my childhood and teenage years I came up with an eclectic mash of songs, but oh my goodness, it was so much fun to put it all together!

There is no format to this tag; you can list your favourite songs for every decade, follow a timeline of your life, or simply include your all-time favourites. I’ve decided to share the songs that made an impact on me at various times in my life.

My Earliest Music Memory

I was born in the early 70s, but it was the sounds of the sixties that I grew up listening to. My parents loved the Beatles, The Who, Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and even good old Cliff Richard! Even now, forty-odd years later our family dinners are always accompanied by Cat Stevens, Buddy Holly, or Manfred Mann.

The first song I remember vividly when I was a youngster was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band, and it turned this little girl into a lifelong Beatles fan.

Naughty Boys in Nasty Schools

Singing along to a song about headmaster’s breaking all the rules, pulling hair and eating dirt was what the 80s was all about. Madness featured in my early school years, and I still get that foot-tapping joy when I hear this tune start.

The Tween Times

The term ‘tween’ is relatively new and covers the years where ten to twelve-year-olds think they know it all! Being a tween in the 80s was no different, but at least we had neon leg warmers, permed hair, and the Wham Rap!

Teenage Tantrums

I hated being a teenager. I was awkward and gangly (the downside of shooting up to 5ft 10inches in height at 14!), but I do remember the discos. A local nightclub by Birmingham airport opened its doors on a Thursday night for local school kids. It was fabulous! Kids poured to Blazers from all over Birmingham, and we danced, laughed, and hooked up with guys and gals from other schools.

I’m pretty sure the song choices would have included Dead or Alive (You Spin Me Round), Starship (Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now), INXS (Need You Tonight), Pet Shop Boys (It’s a Sin), and New Order (Blue Monday).

My love of all things purple began during my late teens, and I always remained a devoted Prince fan.

My Twenties Weren’t a Calm Oasis

My twenties were all about getting married and having my kids. Oasis dominated these years, and my favourite song will always be Wonderwall.

Although this next song came out in 1979, its title was totally perfect for the next period in my life. 2004 was a time of great turmoil, emotion, and fear as I left my abusive marriage and became a single mum to three small children, but it was also the start of a fabulous new life.

Since then I’ve embraced every genre of music from Guns and Roses to Adele, and I love it all.

Music really does feed the soul.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to do a ‘Soundtrack to My Life’ post on your own blog, then go ahead. Feel free to tag me in so I can take a look.

 

Inspirational ABBA logoExciting news! I’ve been nominated for the Most Inspirational Blogger Award 2017 at the Bloggers Bash.

The criteria is: Who consistently inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Or perhaps they have become a muse to you with constant provision of inspirational content or imagery? Who’s the one blogger that’s touched your heart? This is the nomination for them.

I would be eternally grateful if you could throw a vote my way – link HERE.

#FilmReview King Arthur: Legend of the Sword #Myth #Legend

Film Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – 4*

King Arthur Legend of the Sword

As a huge fan of fantasy, myth, and legend it was inevitable that I’d be drawn to a film with sorcery, knights, and mythical swords.

Legend has it that King Arthur was the head of Camelot where he ruled with his Knights of the Round Table. Whether he truly existed is still open to discussion, but as I am a believer, I will sign myself up for any book, TV show or movie which feeds my fantasy.

Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur is pretty good. There is a man called Arthur, a brief mention of Merlin and Camelot plus a sparkly sword set in stone. That’s about as deep as the myth and legends go. However, if you do love fabulous special effects, plenty of sword swinging action, and Ritchie’s well known punchy humour then you’ll enjoy this movie.

It’s got Guy Ritchie written all over it, but I think he’s pretty cool, so it was a win-win for me. There’s a cameo appearance from the man himself as well as a well-known ex-footballer whose acting might be slightly questionable, but for eye-candy purposes, I’ll let it slide.

I’m a big fan of Jude Law, and he plays a marvellous part as Vortigern, the ruthless, power crazy King. He is joined by an impressive line-up of stars including Djimon Hounsou (Furious 7, Tarzan), Eric Bana (Star Trek, Deliver us from Evil), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Maze Runner), and Annabelle Wallis (The Tudors, The Mummy). The mage sent by Merlin is played by actress, Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).

As I’ve never (or haven’t got around to it yet) watched Sons of Anarchy, I’m relatively new to the charms of Charlie Hunnam, after watching him in action as Arthur I can say he’s won me over! He’s a perfect fit for Guy Ritchie’s unique way of filmmaking and delivers his one-liners with grace.

There’s that typical Ritchie laddish thread of camaraderie running throughout the film which is tied up nicely at the end. The cinematography is great with fast action interspersed with that thing filmmakers do when time slows down to create an impact (I’m pretty sure there’s a specific word for it, but I haven’t got a clue what it is – answers in the comments please).

We see Arthur mature from a child to a man through a series of fast snippets of film. At the same time, we watch the kingdom slip deeper into darkness as Vortigern’s power increases. In a way, it was a huge info dump in a short space of time, but it worked.

King Arthur has received a bad rap from certain film critics, but I liked it. If you crave lots of sword fights, special effects worthy of a Harry Potter film, and the occasional laugh, then I’d recommend King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Film Blurb:

After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from stone, Arthur embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader.

If you enjoyed this post then pop over and see my other film reviews – you can find them HERE.

#BookReview Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Review

Title: Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

Author: Dr. Tim Cantopher

Category: Self-Help

My Rating: 4*

Depressive Illness

My Review:

I’ve blogged about my struggle with depression on a few occasions, and so it’s my ongoing mission to find books that help me make sense of this horrendous affliction.

The Curse of the Strong is a short book at only 114 pages. This appealed to me. If you suffer from depression, you will understand the struggle to sit and concentrate for long periods of time. Holding this book in my hand, I felt like I could finish it without too much trouble.

As well as the manageable size of this book I was also drawn in by the content.

  • What is depressive illness?
  • What causes it?
  • What to do when you get ill.
  • Recovery.
  • Staying Well.

These are the questions I ask myself daily.

I’ve been told to ‘snap out of it’ a couple of times and believe me, I wish I could. To discover in the first few pages that depressive illness is not a psychological or emotional state and not a mental illness, but a physical illness was a huge relief.

According to Dr. Cantopher, Clinical depression is every bit as physical a condition as pneumonia or a broken leg. He goes on to explain that this can be demonstrated in the chemical analysis of the cerebro-spinal fluid (this is the fluid found around the brain and spine) by showing a deficiency of two chemicals.

What I liked about this book was the way in which Dr. Cantopher feeds his reader the scientific information behind depression without losing his audience. I was grateful for the simplistic way he describes the limbic system for example.

He uses cases studies to put his points across, and the section on cognitive therapy was interesting to read as I didn’t find CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to be of any help for me when I had my sessions. It made me review a lot of the work I’d already done.

He lost me completely when talking about medication as he goes into great depth about the history of antidepressants and their chemical and trade names. I skimmed over these parts as I just couldn’t focus.

To finish, Dr. Cantopher reviews practical ways to help yourself, including relaxation exercises, time management, and tips for sleeping.

I liked his down to earth approach and the fact that he has worked with clients for many years. Although Dr. Cantopher hasn’t suffered from depression himself, he has seen the harsh realities, symptoms, and effects on his patients and uses his knowledge to offer a practical, manageable book that will offer some help.

People who get stress-induced depressive illness tend to run too hot. They spend too much of their lives putting in too much effort. When confronted by a sea of troubles, they try to deal with them all at once. By now this will be a familiar picture. When they get over-whelmed they just push harder. Because they are so over aroused, they have difficulty in getting to sleep and then, when they become ill, they start waking in the early hours of the morning as well. Then they deal with the mounting tiredness by trying to push their way through it. So the conditions are in place for the fuse to blow.

At the end of the book, there is a list of useful addresses and recommended further reading suggestions.

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong is an easy read that offers good advice. It will be helpful for anyone suffering from stress-induced depression as well as family or friends who wish to understand this illness better so they can offer support.

BUY a copy from Amazon UK or Amazon US

Book Blurb:

This book has helped many thousands of those who have depression. This new edition, written by a leading consultant psychiatrist, explains that depression tests the strongest of us. Dr Cantopher guides the reader through the nature of depression, its history, symptoms, causes and treatments. He covers the latest information on medications, new guidelines as to the management of depression, and stresses that no one should be to blame for succumbing to depression.

 

#FilmReview Alien: Covenant #SciFi #Horror

Alien Covenant

It was 1979 when Ridley Scott released his first Alien movie, introducing impressionable youngsters to the joy, horror, and excitement of deep space. As a child, it was Enid Blyton who encouraged my love of fantasy, and it was Ridley Scott and also George Lucas (Star Wars) who tempted me to explore the stars.

Actress, Sigourney Weaver became a firm favourite of mine from that moment, and I loved how her character evolved throughout the films. John Hurt will always be remembered as the poor man who suffered the most brutal of deaths thanks to the organism bursting from his chest. The aliens were so frightening and fierce that the audience was filled with dread at the slightest twitch of a tail or sniff of that acid blood.

As with all the Alien movies, we expect a certain level of blood and gore, Alien: Covenant offers its fair share of this, although the brutal alien attacks we’ve come to expect (and crave) are constrained into a couple of ten-minute bursts. Yes, we see aliens bursting from various body parts in a shower of blood. Yes, we are tempted to lean over the egg as it opens up revealing the spidery bug inside. Yes, we’ve seen it all before!

After seeing the trailer for this movie, I waited eagerly for the release date. As an avid Alien fan, I wanted to see how Ridley Scott was going to shape his creation and terrify us beyond belief. I was sorely disappointed!

The trailer shows an abundance of action shots, unfortunately, the trailer shows nearly all of the action shots. There was nothing original about this film, nothing exciting or enticing. The storyline was dull, slow, and predictable and apart from the last ten minutes, the aliens looked more like melted waxworks than the terrifying beasts we know and love to hate.

If you enjoy films that explore relationships, and the dynamics of people living and working in close proximity then you may enjoy Alien: Covenant. If you are looking for an action packed film with fun and quirky characters, plenty of explosions and moments that take your breath away then this isn’t that film.

A couple of people walked out of the cinema before the end, and I really wanted to join them, however, in the interests of my review I stuck it out to the bitter end!

I had high hopes for this film, but it didn’t deliver.

Film Blurb:

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.

#FilmReview Their Finest #WWII #Drama #Romance

Their Finest Film Review 4*

Their Finest

I took my place in the cinema and eagerly awaited the start of director, Lone Scherfig’s latest release, Their Finest based on the book Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans.

I confess I haven’t read the book. I was drawn to this film because I’m a huge fan of Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy and having these two actors in the same picture is bound to be a treat! Continue reading “#FilmReview Their Finest #WWII #Drama #Romance”

#BookReview The Devil’s Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Title: The Devil’s Lieutenant

Author: Shervin Jamali

Category: Supernatural Thriller

My Rating: 4 Star

 

The Devil's Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali
Amazon UK | US

 

My Review:

I enjoyed this novella. Although it’s written using short, snappy sentences the flow works incredibly well and substantiates the distracted, grief-stricken pain of the main character, Michael. Continue reading “#BookReview The Devil’s Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog”