Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Book Review: One Minute To Ten by Dan Hodges

10 PM, on the 7 May. The exit poll predicting the result of the 2015 General Election is announced. 
In that instant three lives are changed for ever. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg were three very different men, from very different backgrounds. But they shared one ambition. To lead their country. In pursuit of their dream they were forced to make sacrifices. Of their principles. Of those they loved. Of themselves.

And right up until the final moment the exit poll was released each man clung to the hope those sacrifices had not been in vain. Then the clock struck ten. In One Minute to Ten, Dan Hodges brings to life the most dramatic general election campaign in living memory, and tells the untold story of the three men who contested it. And in doing so reveals the price paid by those who risk everything in their quest for the ultimate political prize...

My Review: 
I am a big fan of political non fiction, especially behind the scenes of a government in chaos or an election night or political upheaval like Brexit. I enjoy seeing who was fighting with who, policy disagreements etc as I find that interesting. This book said it was a behind the scenes with the three party leaders on Election Night 2015 so I just had to read it.

The phrase 'false advertising' comes to mind after picking this book up. The blurb says 'Dan Hodges brings to life the most dramatic general election campaign in living memory, and tells the untold story of the three men who contested it.' That sounds like a behind the scenes with these three men on election night, right? Answer this then. Where in that blurb does it say that this is actually more like a made up parody of what the author thinks the men might have been thinking? That is pretty much what we get here.

We start with three introductions of David, Ed and Nick as kids. David is playing cricket at Eton, Nick is on a European family holiday and Ed is at his father's feet. I don't really know what we were meant to take from this other than Nick liking travelling in Europe. We jump next to getting in the heads of the men on election night, which again is obviously made up. We have David sitting there thinking about IDS's bedroom tax as if it was Ian's idea and Dave didn't agree with it...which is utter crap! Ministers ideas will not become policy unless Cabinet approved!

It gets worse. We next get a chapter on the previous Labour leadership contest and whether Ed Balls had enough votes to be number two in the party to David Miliband. What follows is a supposed phone call between Gordon Brown and some unnamed guy backing Ed Balls for number two and being asked to then support Ed Miliband for leader. This is the exchange.

man-He's asking me to back Ed. But I'm already backing Ed
GB-No not Ed. Ed!
And at last he understood. This wasn't about Ed. It was about Ed. But it still didn't make any sense. He was backing Ed. Gordon was backing Ed. They were all backing Ed. They'd been backing Ed from the beginning. Not Ed. Ed.

What kind of utter rubbish is that? The next thing we get is a bunch of them waiting to meet Bill Clinton as he has The Thing and Tony Blair wants to have The Thing but he doesn't have The Thing. Jeez this was grating on my last nerve by now. The grammar was dreadful as was the sentence structure, made up of short abrupt sentences. The content was made up waffle that kept trying to be funny and falling flat. It was badly conceived and badly written and what annoyed me the most is that the people involved in publishing it were not honest about the content. This was marketed to sound like a serious political book about the election when in fact it was just a poor parody with no facts to it. I would never have wasted my money on this had I known what it was. 

Read May 2017.

1 star. 

Film Review: The Shallows

My first Deep Blue Terror weekend was a huge success with 7 films watched so far and 3 books! Here I share with you my thoughts on another one I looked at.

A woman attacked by a shark while surfing is stranded on a rock far away from the beach...and the tide is coming in.

Starring Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen

Nancy has found the Mexican beach that her mother loved so much when pregnant with her and she joins two local men surfing. Just after they quit for the day, Nancy is attacked by a shark and takes refuge on a rock jutting from the water. But the tide is coming in, she is losing blood and strength and the shark refuses to go away.

I liked this one. The beach and sea are stunning and it is the kind of place you would love to hang out for a day. We get a short intro to Nancy's anger over her mother's death making her give up her medical career, bringing her into conflict with her father. But mainly we get straight into Nancy deciding to go surfing and joining two local men in the water. As the men leave the water, Nancy is still out there and is attacked by a shark. They don't hear her cries for help, leaving her stranded on a rock jutting out of the water from a coral reef. With an injury to treat, she has to face a night stuck out in the water with the shark hiding in the gloom.

What follows is a fight to survive and find a way to get to the beach without being eaten. Can she attract the attention of the drunk man on the beach? Will her two surfer friends return the next day? Can she treat her wound and stop it bleeding? Can she risk swimming for the beach? How can she attract the attention of a passing ship? Nancy is determined to survive and uses the few things around her to help her in a few plans to outwit the shark.

The film is pretty tense and for the most part Nancy is on her own with an injured seagull for company. I liked the way she was constantly trying to think of a way to get out of this mess and the number of close calls she has with the shark. It is well worth a watch.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!  http://www.brokeandbookish.com/   

This Week-Ten Books/Plays that were required reading when I was at school. The first eight were ones I was forced to read for my classes, the others were books that my friends classes had to read.

1) Arthur Miller-Death of a Salesman 
Ugh! I had to read this two years in a row for my English class and it was so dull and boring! I didn't care why nobody went to his funeral or why he fell out with his son!

2) DH Lawrence-Sons and Lovers 
I firmly believe that this may have been the dullest book I've ever read. Having to then sit and analyse every conversation for hidden meaning was a new form of torture! The obsessive love that woman had for her son was stomach churning!

3) William Shakespeare-Hamlet 
Every other class was doing Macbeth but ours did Hamlet. Although it was a struggle to understand what he was saying with all ye olde language, I actually did quite like the story.

4) George Orwell-Animal Farm 
I hate animal cruelty of any kind so I didn't enjoy large sections of this one. I know the reason we looked at it was the communism aspect but as a story, I didn't enjoy it much!

5) George Bernard Shaw-Pygmalion 
I never understood the point in studying this one. I didn't care much about a girl getting taught society manners. I've never been interested in watching the musical either.

6) William McIlvanney-Laidlaw 
I thought reading a book about a Glasgow police detective might be interesting but this was a dull book with a dreadful MC!

7) Katherine Paterson-The Great Gilly Hopkins 
We had to read this in first or second year and I hated it. I just found it dull and boring. Could there not have been vampires or zombies or something... 

8) Robert C O'Brien-Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
I liked a few bits in the book but others seemed to really drag on. It was suggested we read the sequels but I decided not to care...

9) Harper Lee-To Kill a Mocking Bird 
My best friend's class were reading this one so I got it out of the library to read. Yes it was well written and it was a social issue that is important, but as a story I didn't like it, especially the ending.

10) JD Salinger-The Catcher in the Rye 
My other friend's class was reading this but the only reason I was interested is because I'm a big Beatles fan and this is the book John Lennon's killer read before and after the murder. I wish I hadn't bothered as I hated the MC.

To be honest, being forced to read these books in school left me with a healthy dislike of the so called classics and I don't enjoy these kinds of books even now!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Game of Thrones Review: Season 7 Episode 6

Welcome to my Game of Thrones reviews posts which are an episode by episode guide of season 7. The entire post will be nothing but spoilers so don't read it if you intend to watch it! The format will be done as a house by house analysis, not a minute by minute report. 

Arya confronts Sansa about the message she sent Robb asking him to bend the knee to her beloved Joffrey. Sansa is angry at the accusation that she was doing Cersei's work and tells Arya that she has no idea what she has suffered through. Sansa is concerned about what Arya will do with it and Arya realises that Sansa fears losing the support of the Northern Lords, some of whom have already questioned her marriage to Ramsay Bolton. Sansa turns to Littlefinger, wondering where Arya found this letter but he doubts her sister will betray her. Sansa doesn't trust the Northmen anyway but Littlefinger reminds her that Brienne is sworn to keep both sisters safe and may be useful. Sansa however, chooses to send Brienne to the meeting at King's Landing with Cersei, fearing she might be taken hostage again if she goes. Sansa finds the faces when she searches Arya's room for the note and is freaked out by how creepy Arya is when they talk about it. Arya points out that to become Sansa, she just needs her face. She then gives Sansa Littlefinger's dagger.

Brienne is far from happy with her instructions to go to King's Landing, declaring it is not safe. Sansa misunderstands and says that Jaime is unlikely to let anything happen to her as they are friends. An irritated Brienne says she is not worried for herself, but doesn't want to leave Sansa alone with Littlefinger. Sansa says she has plenty Northmen to protect her and Brienne asks if she is certain that Littlefinger hasn't already secured their service. She wants to leave Pod but Sansa tells her to get going and Brienne reluctantly agrees.

Dany and Tyrion wait for news and she berates the men she knows for playing the hero and ending up dead. Tyrion points out that all the men mentioned in the conversation have fallen in love with her and she is sure that Jon has not. They start discussing the upcoming meeting with Cersei and what traps she will want to set and Dany wonders if they should be setting any for her. Tyrion is critical of Dany killing the Tarlys and she gets angry when he says he promised Jaime he would stop her doing anything rash. She questions his loyalty, his planning and turns cold over the subject of who will rule after her if she has no children. When the plea for help comes by raven, Tyrion begs her not to risk herself for any of them but she ignores him and leaves on Drogon, taking the other two dragons with her.


The Fellowship march north with a few men extra as cannonfodder/backup. Gendry becomes alarmed by Tormund's plans for keeping warm without women, and he challenges the Brotherhood about selling him to a witch to be killed. The Hound is not impressed by his whining. Jon tries to give Longclaw back to Jorah but he says it was given to Jon and Jorah himself lost all right to it when he brought shame on House Mormont. Tormund tells The Hound of his desire for Brienne, and The Hound realises who he is talking about. Beric tells Jon that Ned sent him after The Mountain and that all they can do after being brought back is keep fighting. When a blizzard hits the men as they see the mountain from the Hound's vision, they are suddenly ambushed by a dead bear and during the fight, Thoros is maimed defending The Hound from the fiery bear. 

This however, is just the beginning for the men. They see an advance party of the Army of the Dead and fight the White Walker and his creatures, winning the brawl and taking one alive. Jon spots the rest of the army approaching and sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to get a message to Dany for help. The men run for the refuge of a rock formation in the middle of a frozen lake, and after losing a wave of creatures to the icy waters, a standoff begins. Thoros dies during the cold night and the lake freezes again. Beric wonders if he and Jon should try to kill the Night King and end the battle before it starts. The Hound throws a large rock which does not break the ice...and the enemy sees this and starts to advance. Gendry has reached Eastwatch and Dany is alerted.

What follows is the Battle of Beyond The Wall, so to speak, and the army close in on the stranded men. The Hound saves Tormund from the dead. Dany arrives with her dragons and starts taking out the army. The Night King throws his ice spear and kills one of the dragons to Dany's horror, leaving it crashing into the lake. The men and the captured wight are loaded onto Drogon as Jon hold off the dead. When he sees the Night King getting ready with another spear, Jon tells Dany to go without him and she reluctantly does. Jon ends up surrounded...but Benjen rides to his rescue. Benjen gives Jon his horse and sends him riding for Eastwatch while he is buried under the dead. With Jon finally recovering from his ordeal, he makes it clear that he will bend the knee to Dany.

The Night King resurrects the dead dragon...

My thoughts:

I loved the male bonding within the group of men especially Tormund raving on about Brienne to The Hound. I loved how proud he was that together he and Brienne would make monsters to rule the world! Loved Jorah bonding with Jon and Thoros. Loved the bear fight and the battles with the army of the dead. Loved how creepy Arya was when dealing with her sister. Finally, Dany understands exactly what danger Westeros is in-about time she got with it! I liked that Thoros risked his life to save The Hound who freezes up at seeing the bear on fire running at him. Can't really blame him!

The Noooo! moments were there as well. My heart was in my mouth when the dead grabbed poor Tormund! I thought he was a goner and the panic in him was getting to me. It's the first time I've ever seen him afraid and I could have kissed The Hound for saving him. The death of the dragon and the resurrection were something I had known about for a while but it was still shocking to see it happen. I'm not sure I approve of Arya giving that dagger to Sansa...

Random thoughts...

Where is Ghost???!!!
Why is Littlefinger still slithering around?
Why did Sansa really send Brienne away?
Is Ellaria's daughter not dead yet and why aren't we seeing it?
Where is Yara?
Did Theon ever get to request help from Dany?  
Does an undead dragon retain it's flames or will it breathe ice?

Film Review: Dino Shark

My first Deep Blue Terror weekend was a huge success with 7 films watched and 3 books! This weekend I've already looked at four films. Here I share with you my thoughts on another one I looked at.

An ancient shark trapped in the northern ice thaws out and heads off on a coastal trail of destruction.

Starring Eric Balfour, Iva Hasperger, Aaron Diaz

A thawed out ancient dinosaur shark has arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and begins a feeding frenzy on the locals in the ocean and the rivers. A local boat captain and environmental science teacher team up when a mutual friend is killed by it, with help from a marine biologist when local police prove useless.

This is one of the better shark films as the quality of the acting shows, compared to other cheap shark films. I first saw Eric Balfour in season one of Buffy and liked him in Haven and he gets the starring role in this one. The rest of the cast are good including horror legend Roger Corman as the marine biologist. There is also the slimy resort owner who is a real sleaze around the women and I was hoping he would be shark bait. The shark itself is pretty realistic for this kind of film with lots of good special effects and plenty of dinoshark mayhem to enjoy as the shark hits everyone on the water.

Well worth a watch. 

Around The Blog With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out.

This week!

1) Book Review-Final Girls by Riley Sager
Verushka takes a look at horror tropes in a novel


2) Game of Thrones-Eastwatch
Greg looks at the latest episode of our favourite thing!


3) Game of Thrones Review-Season 7 Episode 5 
Pop over to Dragons and Zombies to see another review of the new episode!


4) Netgalley Installs YES/NO Voting ButtonAnd My Heart Dies A Little
Bark gives her concerns about the new thing on Netgalley and others agree.


5) Book Review: The Last Colossus by Michael Hodges 
This horror shark tale is already on my tbr and I'm planning  to read it this week!


Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Many Trials of Sloth Chuckles

I'm getting a bit annoyed at Sloth Chuckles! I seem to be unable to focus on getting shit done and I don't know why. I'll give you an example. 

Since 1994, I have been doing news scapbooks. By that I mean putting small cuttings, (sometimes just paragraphs but occasionally bigger articles) cuttings about news, sport and entertainment into scrapbooks year by year to remember what has been going on in the world along with funny pictures, quotes and cute animal stories. Cutting all the stuff I'm considering putting in it from newspapers takes a lot of time but getting them all into the pages of the darn scrapbooks is like the most frustrating jigsaw puzzle as all the articles, pics and paragraphs are different shapes and sizes and I hate leaving gaps!

For the front cover, I take small pictures of the people making the headlines in each scrapbook. Depending on the amount of cuttings I use each month, I can fit 6 months to a year of news into each one. I have a few filled since 1994! If there is a big event, I use multiple cuttings on several pages to cover it ie here is my two page spread on the London riots and the Royal Wedding of Kate and William. You can see why it takes time to piece all the cuttings together!

Anyway I've neglected this hellish task for a while and looked at my last scrapbook last night. The last thing I stuck in was August 2012!!! How can I be 5 years behind in cuttings??? EEK! Well done Sloth Chuckles! Gah. It'll take me MONTHS to catch up with this as on a good night I can get half a month of cuttings stuck in. Guess I'll be doing some of that this winter...

Isn't it typical that Sloth Chuckles picks a time consuming hobby! Do you have a complicated hobby or one that takes up too much time? Is there a big task that you need to get done right now that you know will take forever?

Film Review: Avalanche Sharks

My first Deep Blue Terror weekend was a huge success with 7 films watched so far and 3 books! Here I share with you my thoughts on another one I looked at.

aka Snow Sharks

Starring: Richard Gleason, Eric Scott Woods, Kate Nauta

It's Spring Break and a ski resort is doing good business until pguests start going missing. Only the Sheriff seems to take it seriously with the resort owners more worried about bad publicity. The guests are being killed by strange snow sharks that had killed on the mountains many years previous and have now returned.

Oh dear, where do I start. We have the steriotype bimbo girls in bikinis and oversexed males lusting after them on Spring Break in the mountains. The acting is dreadful, the conversations between characters are dull and dumb and the resort staff are all lazy obnoxious idiots who should never be working with the public. For example the Ski Patrol guy who sits and sleeps on a sun lounger instead of searching for the missing people. There are about two characters in the whole cast that I didn't actually hate!

The special effects of the shark attacks aren't bad really but all the drivel and poor script writing bores you between the attacks. Mike's death is a prime example. He's mourning his dead girlfriend and as the sharks come he decides they are somehow connected to him not saying he loved her and he starts shouting how he loves her, his parents, his job etc, screaming like a religious fanatic as if love is going to save him. The sharks eat him. It is so stupid!

Dumb film that even a few decent shark attacks can't save. Oh and for those who love dogs, be advised that dogs die in this one. 

Chuckles Cover Love #39

If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all.

This series only seems to have two books but it has two sets of covers and I like them both! I haven't read the books though.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my new feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my social media! Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
Welcome Cave Dwellers! It's been a bit of a mixed week here for getting stuff done. My Deep Blue Terror Week started last weekend with watching 7 shark films, which is good but I didn't watch any during the week and only got 3 books looked at which was disappointing. This week coming I intend to do better! I've got a few great sounding films and books planned! I got distracted by following news reports on the Spain terror attacks as well as the ongoing saga of my scrapbooks-I'll be doing a post about it later, maybe tomorrow. Too much to do and not enough time. Speaking of time, I'm sorry I took so long to reply to all the blog comments last week. I just wasn't very quick at getting anything done!

On the book buying side of things I ordered one paperback about cannibals and gory murders which sounds like a load of Chuckles fun, and a few downloads. Overall I have cut my book buying over the last couple of months which I'm pleased about but I haven't read as much as I'd have liked. More effort this week!


Chuckles Blogging World:
 Still keeping three weeks ahead in most of my weekly posts which is helping. Top Ten Tuesdays take forever to write so getting them planned and ready well in advance is great! I'm working on three book tags at the moment so hopefully I can get at least one done and posted this week. Now that I'm finally getting films watched I hope to do a film review post every week. I'll be starting a new semi-regular feature The Many Trials of Sloth Chuckles where I show what I'm failing to get done! Should be fun! As always, a link is provided for each blog post from last week to take you straight to anything you missed. Comments are moderated so it might take a day or two to see it on the blog! Check out my Next Week section to see what is coming next at the Book Cave...

Book Reviews:
I think I've uploaded reviews of all the series I've caught up with in the last few months so now I can get on to individual horror, apocalypse, zombie and UF reviews. I'm hoping I can get through these bad boys quicker. I feel a bit happier with the way things are shaping up.

Rachel Caine-Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires #12)

Rachel Caine-Bitter Blood (Morganville Vampires #13)

Rachel Caine-Fall Of Night (Morganville Vampires #14)

David Nelson-Building Bridges (Blaine Family Chronicles #4)

David Nelson-A New Horizon (Blaine Family Chronicles #5)

 Regular Features:
This week on Cover Love I featured Zoe Marriott, I brought you the best of the bloggyverse in Around The Blogs With Chuckles. Top Ten Tuesday continued with great books that became films or TV series, Can't Wait Wednesday I featured Cannibal Creek. No Chuckles Goes Sampling this week as I had no samples to fit my current Deep Blue Terror theme.
Chuckles Cover Love-Zoe Marriott

Around The Blogs With Chuckles
Top Ten Tuesday-10 great books made into films or TV series

Can't Wait Wednesday-Cannibal Creek

Discussion Posts: 
Chuckles Chat this week looked at , while  my Game of Thrones Gossip looked at Jorah Mormont! I also reviewed episode five of my Game of Thrones Season 7 analysis and posted a discussion on who should sit on the Iron Throne.
Chuckles Chat-Favourite Things To Watch As A Kid
Game of Thrones Review-Season 7 Episode 5

Game of Thrones Gossip-Jorah Mormont
Game of Thrones-Who Will Sit On The Iron Throne?

Film Reviews:
Finally I am getting time and motivation to sit down and get some films watched! My Deep Blue Terror viewing so far has been all about the sharks. Have you seen the films? Stop by and share your thoughts!
2 Headed Shark Attack
3 Headed Shark Attack

5 Headed Shark Attack
Ghost Shark

Special Features: 
none this week

Book Tags: 
none this week
Book Challenge Updates:
My Goodreads Challenge total currently stands at 165/250.

TBR total of books I own but haven't read yet stands at 808. *grimaces* I hope the sampling for the second half of the year instead of impulse buying helps. My totalwent up as I bought a few sea monster books for my Deep Blue Terror theme!

Currently Reading/Next Up:
I read the three books I planned to read-Just Add Water(grow your own sea serpants!), Hell's Teeth (sharks attacking underwater habitat) and The Kraken Rises (huge Kraken and an army of man sized squid climbing over platforms and boats). Good reads! These are what I plan to read next:

Next Week On The Blog? 
Chuckles Cover Love features Louisa Klein, Top Ten Tuesday features Top Ten books books I had to read at school, Can't Wait Wednesday features another horror, Game of Thrones Gossip features Sandor Clegane, Chuckles Chat looks at Favourite TV as an adult. There will also be a Game of Thrones special post on S7 Ep 6 to enjoy, one on Game of Weddings and some more blog posts I've enjoyed this week online!

That's all for this week! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog and leave comments. You guys are great! 


Book Review: A New Horizon by David Nelson (Blaine Family Chronicles #5)

It's been three years since the world went dark. Matt Blaine and his family, as well as their fellow townsfolk, have gotten on with their lives as best as they could under the circumstances.

Then the unthinkable happens: the town is attacked by two antagonists, one viral, one human. It will take everything Matt and his family have, with the help of some newcomers, to overcome and survive, while trying to save their town at the same time.

My Review: 
Three years after the blackout, Alan is on the move away from Detroit, trying to get to his former employee Matt's farm. He encounters Cappy with his enforced truck and guard dogs and they agree to travel together.

Matt has his own problems as a serious flu virus hits the town, rendering him and many others seriously ill. He is on his way to the train station to collect supplies with Lonnie and Joe when he suddenly collapses. The town is in quarantine and visitors from the ranch are restricted for fear of the illness spreading to them but Shelly puts her nursing skills to good use.

If this wasn't enough to deal with, a new enemy has come. Directly after Matt's collapse, Lonnie and Joe watch a couple of small planes fly over the town and start dropping homemade napalm bombs. Lonnie rushes to tell Shelly about Matt while Joe runs into town, shocked by the scenes of death and horror that he witnesses. He decides that he is going to get a posse together to hunt down those that think they can attack their community and kill innocent people. An enemy is gathering nearby, launching aerial attacks followed by a ground invasion to kill everyone and take their supplies for this militia. But Joe has other ideas.

The people have been lulled into a false sense of security as the community and trade have thrived but now they are facing the terror of the early days of the blackout all over again. It is a tense book and we see Joe almost becoming unhinged by his thirst for revenge on this militia group. I liked the fact that they have a new enemy to fight and it leads to some good action.

At the moment this seems to be the last book in the series and I don't know if any more are planned. If there are I'll happily read them as I have grown to love these characters.  

Read August 2017.
4 stars.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Book Review: Building Bridges by David Nelson (Blaine Family Chronicles #4)

It's been fifteen months since the power went out. Matt Blaine and his family, both blood and friends who have become family, are in a bind. Supplies are running low and game is getting scarce. Matt must make a decision: does he relocate everyone to a place where game is more plentiful, or does he travel far from home in order to try and expand the trade routes?

While Matt is trying to bridge the trade gap, others at the farm have their own bridges to build; some personal, some beneficial to all. Max's disturbing leap into manhood and US Army Colonel Blanton's return with a "wealth" of information from the outside are but a couple of them.

Travel with the Blaines as the strength of these bridges is put to the test.

My Review: 
15 months after the apocalypse, Matt has reached his breaking point. The trade routes are coming much slower than he had hoped, small game in the area is drying up and supplies are starting to get low. He decides that he needs to try and get trade with people In Nebraska and Kansas, who can supply things that he can't grow. He decides that he must go on a solo trip and get this done.

Lonnie and Frank spend several days tracking animals for food, venturing farther than usual before they find anything. When they do, they run into another lone hunter and decide to share the meat between them but things don't go quite according to plan. And when Lonnie gets home, he is not impressed that Matt was allowed to go off on his own, and decides to get supplied and try to catch up with him. Knowing the direction he took is one thing but finding him out there could be impossible.

Pug, Max and Kara are in town when they are attacked by two men. Pug is left injured on the street as the men ride off with Max and Kara. A furious Joe and Eddie give chase while Max tries to come up with a plan to escape that won't get his sister killed. jimbo and Dog are determined to use the kids as human slaves to cook and fetch firewood for them and Max soon realises that the long term prospects for survival are not good.

Matt is so stubborn and pig headed with his hero complex in this book. He thinks that he is the one who has to do everything and save everybody when there are perfectly capable people around him who could do just as well. The decision to go on a solo hike to Nebraska and Kansas in the late autumn on his own is just stupid, which the following events prove. I honestly can't believe that Shelly and the others just let him go alone and have his own way when it was far too dangerous.

There are some tense scenes like the kidnap, Matt's trouble which changes his plans, Pug's health issues and Joe's mini posse. I liked the mixture of action and danger, along with the continued character based story. I'm enjoying this apocalypse series and will review the fifth book in the series next.  

Read August 2017
4 stars. 

Chuckles Chat #30 Favourite Things To Watch as a Kid

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

Lets have a bit of fun with this one this week and look back at our favourite TV shows over the years! 

As a kid I loved TV! My early days were spent watching Bod, Mr Benn, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Rhubard and Custard, The Trapdoor, Scooby Doo, The New Schmoo, Wacky Races, Button Moon, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Runaround, Grange Hill, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Phooey, Around the World with Willy Fogg, Count Duckula, Play School, Rainbow, The Wombles, Emu's World, The Muppet Show...ah the memories! Who remembers some of these classics??! 

Back in the days when there were only three/four channels on our TV in the 1970/80's, everyone I knew at school watched things like Charlie's Angels, Dallas, Blake's Seven, Doctor Who, Hart to Hart, Wonder Woman, Sapphire and Steel, Columbo, Cagney & Lacey, TJ Hooker, Juliet Bravo, Fawlty Towers, The Muppet Show, Miami Vice, Knots Landing, Diff'rent Strokes, Van der Valk, Crimewatch, The Fall Guy, Bionic Woman...ah the endless hours in front of great TV! I loved each of these at the time but some aged better than others! Some I can barely remember anything about like Sapphire and Steel, others like Wonder Woman weren't so good watching years later. I still enjoy looking at Dallas, Miami Vice, Blake's Seven and Columbo on dvd boxsets. Which shows from your childhood did you buy boxsets of? 

My friends used to have many happy days re-enacting the plots of these shows in the school plaground. Charlie's Angels games usually resulted in a big fight as we all wanted to be Kelly! Sometimes I would relent and be Jill who I also liked! Mainly our combinations has Kelly, Kris and Sabrina. We also used to act out the stories at home on rainy days with our Sindy and Barbie collections! Funny how these were the only dolls I ever played with. When friends had prams with baby dolls, I used to have my stuffed monkeys in the pram instead...guess I never was very maternal! 

My parents gave me permission to watch a horror film at a friends house when I was about 11. It was The Hills Have Eyes and we loved it! Gail and I then raced upstairs to act that out...barbies were being dragged by their hair out of the big yellow Barbie Camper Van to be murdered to the horror of Gail's mum! Her dad found it pretty funny! It was at their house that I first saw Jaws 2 on the day when I'd been to the dentist. Great timing...My dad was letting me watch horror films from when I was 9 and I loved them! The first two I really remember were The Thing and The Burning which I still love to this day. He knew I wouldn't be bothered by nightmares or anything and I just fell in love with horror then! The Thing is still one of my all time favourite films. Were you allowed to watch scary films at a young age or did you always avoid that kind of thing?

It looks like I was forever in front of the tv but I wasn't really. I loved playing with my friends, making up games indoors and outdoors depending on the weather. We didn't have social media or games consoles and we made our own fun. We were never bored or lacking in imagination. I think games consoles do have ther place to entertain kids but these days young kids don't seem to play outside like we did, spending endless hours on social media instead which is a bit of a shame. I wouldn't trade my summer games for any gadgets! I wouldn't trade my Barbie games or being an Angel for worrying over how many likes I got or being paranoid that I look too fat in my photos! Young kids seem obsessed by how others see them rather than being carefree like we were. Our biggest worries were was it going to rain...

Do you think kids are losing out by not exploring their imagination like we used to? What did you do and watch as a kid?

Film Review: Ghost Shark

My first Deep Blue Terror weekend was a huge success with 7 films watched so far and 3 books! Here I share with you my thoughts on another one I looked at.

When a couple of redneck fishermen shoot a great white shark, it retreats into a sea cave to die but is brought back by old magic in the form of a ghost shark that manifests physically in any water and eats people. 

Starring: Richard Moll, MacKenzie Rosman, Dave Davis

I expected this to be pretty bad but I was pleasantly surprised. OK you need to set aside reality for this one and just enjoy the crazy shark action! We have the typical redneck steriotypes being obnoxious during a fishing trip, shooting a great white shark who steals the fish they were trying to catch. Poor sharky goes to a nearby cave to die but magic glyphs on the walls ressurect it in the form of a special ghost. This shark can move from the sea, vanish and reappear in any water-in buckets, puddles, rain, baths swimming pools etc which makes it a tricky blighter to get away from. It'll make you kinda nervous about using the toilet!!! 

There are lots of fun shark attacks to enjoy as the whole town is under threat and the only way to be safe is to stay away from any kind of water, which is easier said than done. Decent special effects, decent acting and an intriguing plot. Well worth a watch! 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Game of Thrones: Who Will Sit On The Iron Throne?

The big question on the minds of every Game of Thrones fan watching season seven is who will eventually sit victorious on the Iron Throne? Basically there are four houses in the running for this and I'm going to take a look at their prospects of winning.

House Stark:

PROS-If Jon Snow leads the north and anyone else who fights to victory over the White Walkers then his stock will be pretty high among nobles and poor alike. He has the bloodline of Stark and Targaryen, which could unite people in the north and south, especially former supporters of The Mad King. Jon ended the war between the wildlings and the Night's Watch and will have them fight with northmen to defend the Seven Kingdoms. Varys might well come to see him as a better option and if Dany turns mad, Tyrion could desert her too with Jon as a viable option.

CONS-Jon doesn't want to be King in the North never mind sit on the Iron Throne. I feel he would be happy to live at Winterfell with Ghost and Arya! Never mind Sansa, she sucks! He is still thought of as a bastard son of convicted traitor Ned Stark in King's Landing so until his real roots are declared, he would have no chance. As a Targaryen son, he would be in direct conflict with Dany if he wanted the throne and does not have an army to match the Dothraki or dragons if things turn hostile between them. He is untested as a ruler in the type of political environment that Lannisters thrive in and I can't see Ghost at King's Landing.

House Targaryen:

PROS-Dany has a large army of Dothraki, Unsullied and dragons to make most people bend the knee to her. She is a proven leader of people and the day to day running of things as seen in Meereen. The Targaryen name may still command some respect in Westeros and she really does want to change Westeros for the better so the people could grow to love her as the former slaves have. If she can show the people that she is changing things for the better for them, they would probably follow her.

CONS-The people of Westeros are more likely to fear her than love her, comparing her to her father who burned people with wildfire. Nobody will welcome Dothraki hoardes and Unsullied into King's Landing and will see her as the foreign invader that Cersei had labelled her. Her desire to burn her enemies will always be an issue and if another option came along, the people might turn on her.

House Baratheon:

PROS-Gendry is the son of Robert Baratheon and though he is a bastard he is Robert's son which Joffrey never was. The current Queen murdered House Tyrell, sleeps with her brother and may wed a Greyjoy so the people wouldn't bother much about a bastard ruling if he was a good King. The poorer people in Flea Bottom might have high hopes for a ruler of their own as that is where Gendry was born, and he would want to see things get better for them. Perhaps he could get the backing of those who were loyal to any of the Baratheon brothers, especially if they see him on a horse with his hammer like Robert in his prime. He would be a good bet to marry into power-Sansa, Dany, Arya.

CONS-Gendry wouldn't want to rule the country. He has no leadership skills, battle experience  or sense of politics and how to rule. He would need excellent advisors around him but would the rich be loyal to him after deposing Cersei? He has no rich or powerful allies so he would be a very long shot.

House Lannister:

PROS-Cersei currently resides on the Iron Throne behind the protection of the King's Landing walls. I expect that her pyromaster has been hard at work making more wildfire in case Dany's ships come to the bay, having learned from Tyrion's tricks. She has The Mountain as her personal bodyguard so it will be tough for anyone to kill or capture her. She has ruthlessly dealt with her enemies and has a sharp mind and intinct for how to play the game and win. Qyburn is also a master of tricks with a good spy network and Cersei has survived one battle for King's Landing, defeating Stannis. She has the naval backing of Euron Greyjoy.

CONS-Cersei is not well liked in Westeros and if Dany convinces the people and soldiers that her way is better, they may fight for her. She has already lost a portion of her army to Dany and lost the supplies they took from Highgarden so a long siege could be a problem. Tyrion knows King's Landing and it's strengths and weaknesses even better than she does. If it looks like they are losing the war, very few would stay loyal to her.

PROS-Tyrion is the other option. He is intelligent, politically minded and knows how to play the game. He is not cruel and he did save King's Landing from Stannis. Varys would be invaluable to him. If something happens to Dany, he would be able to control the dragons but would be less likely to use them the way Dany does. There is still a possibility that he is of Targaryen blood which would make him Dany's older brother and a better claim than she has.

CONS-He may have problems with loyalty as he is still accused of killing Joffrey and did murder Tywin. Would men trust a man who killed his family? As a dwarf he does not have the respect of people and lacks the ruthless nature of his sister. If he is actually Targaryen his claim is better than Dany's but Jon's is better than both of them. He is more cautious and less ruthless so would he make a better leader or a less effective one? His decisions are not always the best.
Who do you think will sit on the Iron Throne at the end of the series? Who do you WANT to see sit on the Iron Throne? Who would you hate to see on The Iron Throne?