13 Aug 2019

(BENEDICTS 1): FINDING SKY.

Finding Sky (Benedicts, #1)FINDING SKY by JOSS STIRLING.


When English girl Sky catches a glimpse of bad boy Zed in her new American high school, she can't get him out of her head. He talks to her with his thoughts. He reads her mind. He is the boy she will love for ever. Shadows stalk her past but a new evil threatens her future. She must face the dark even if it means losing her heart. Will Sky have the strength to embrace her power and be brave enough to control her own destiny, or will the demons of her past prevent her from realizing her true potential? 
- Back Cover Blurb

The car drew away, leaving the little girl on the verge.
- First Sentence; Chapter 1

See 'My Thoughts' below for my Memorable Moment.

SOURCE ... A charity shop buy.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... 'He'd climbed the apple tree and was sitting outside my room, straddling the branch. I threw open the window.' (Pg 80)

Surely it can't just be me that's thinking this is suspiciously like that scene in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight in which we find Edward sitting looking longingly at Bella through her bedroom window.

New girl in school (in this case its Brit Sky Bright) with zero personality falls for the school's 'bad boy' (Zed) who, the youngest of seven brothers 

- Trace, Uriel, Victor, Will, Xav and Yves. I know! T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z. (Its just as well there wasn't an 8th child or would the parents have just started back at A?) -

all of whom are mysterious (and, it goes without saying, gorgeous), is really just a pussy cat ... until someone messes with his girl.

A 'paranormal' romance (the first in the author's Benedicts series). Whilst there was some paranormal element to the story take away the powers of Sky and the Benedict's and you were left with what to all intents and purposes I thought of as a fairly standard thriller. As for the romance. Hmm! This was kind of cute (albeit totally lacking in any chemistry between the protagonists)but it did concern me that just as with Edward and Bella in Twilight there was also something that didn't always sit too well with me when it came to what could be taken as the sometimes controlling nature of the relationship. 

Twee, full of laughable dialogue and lacking in originality but in need of something twee and full of laughable dialogue that I could sink myself into and didn't have to think about Finding Sky fitted the bill perfectly and proved an ideal diversion.


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7 Aug 2019

WWW: THE WHIPPOO WHAT?

First off if I may ... Its come to my attention that some of those using Akismet Spam Protection are encountering difficulties with comments using my now name being labelled as spam. If you weren't aware of this name change and use Akismet could you please look out for any comments under the name of Felicity Grace Terry ... they are not spam. Thank you. FGT

Not a creature of myth and legend as say the mermaid or the vampire or even the luchorpain.  Magpies aside never has a bird been surrounded by so many myths many of them involving death ...



Its call best ignored according to the Native American Omaha tribe as to answer it meant certain death,

One New England legend says  it can sense a soul departing, and can capture it as it flees, 


According to H.P. Lovecraft in "The Dunwich Horror"

"It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath. If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they instantly flutter away chittering in daemoniac laughter; but if they fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence",


Also mentioned in a short story by James Thurber in which the protagonist, driven mad by the insomnia caused by its persistent call, kills the occupants of the household and then himself,

Believed to be one of the gods of the night according to the The Colorado Utes who had it that it could turn a frog into the moon,

The Mohegan Tribe held the belief that makiwasug (magical little people) travelled through the forest at night in the shape of them,

'Old wives' tales had it that in springtime if a single woman heard its call only once she was destined to remain unmarried for that year. However if the song was to continue she was destined to remain a spinster for life ... unless of course that it is she made a wish upon hearing that first call,

As well as books and stories it features in many songs including the below ditty by Blackburry Smoke (A favourite group of Mr T's younger brother; the middle bro Terry.



It is of course the whippoorwill to which I refer
 - Here its call here.

Not your typical Wondrous Words Wednesday post (WWW being a Meme hosted by BermudaOnion's WeblogI grant you but hey-ho a word I haven't come across before. Care to share any you have come across lately?

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5 Aug 2019

PRIME FILM REVIEWS (4 - 6)


Of Mice and Men PosterOF MICE AND MEN ...

Can you believe that up until now I'd never seen a movie (any movie) adaptation of this 1937 novel by John Steinbeck? After all I'd read the book and adaptions are very rarely (if ever) as good, right?

 Largely faithful to the book; the uplifting story of the bond, of the friendship between two men. Beautiful cinematography with some stellar performances - John Malkovich is commendable as the 'dim-witted' Lennie, the world weariness of George (here played by Gary Sinise who incidentally also directed) palpable and as for Ray Walston as Candy. What can I say? His face as he surrenders his aged canine companion to be 'put to sleep' by means of a gunshot to the head (thankfully not shown) heartbreaking and yet for some inexplicable reason on the whole it just didn't elicit the same emotional responses as the book. FGT

A faithful retelling of the classic novel of depression era America. Gary Sinese as George, doing his best to earn a crust of bread trailing from farm to farm in the hope of some work. Beleaguered as he is with Lennie, incapable of looking after himself portrayed by John Malkovich. Lennie's peculiar incapacity doubles down the struggle and difficulties they face and yet there is a peculiar bonding between these two men that is forged by tragic and difficult circumstances. It is in essence beautiful story telling of a sad tale. Curley's wife played by Sherilyn Fenn portrays a softer characterisation than Steinbeck writes and carries in that a victim-hood as counterpoint to that of Lennie.  A great story told very well in this adaptation. NJT

What We Do in the Shadows PosterWHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS ...

Having watched and really enjoyed the series (at least all but the last two episodes which at the time had yet to be aired on terrestrial telly here in the UK) Mr T and I eagerly
sat down to watch the film version which by the way predates the series by some five years.

Hmm! One of those instances in which I find myself unable to avoid comparing the two. Essentially lacking the laugh out loud moments; the inherent silliness, the characters not as likeable and difficult to invest in ... to say nothing of the fact that this is missing my favourite the “Energy Vampire” Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) who drains the life force from his victims by drawing them into inane conversations ... I think it highly likely that if we had seen this first we may not have gone on to watch the series. That said, less than ninety minutes long, I can think of worse ways to spend the time. FGT

Hmmm.... kind of wish i had seen the film before I'd seen the TV adaptationThe film was a bit odd although the satirisation of the vampire genre was obvious from the outset, there were too many moments where the cognitive dissonance was not a clean cut as satire truly requires. There's some wit in there and set piece 'oh how difficult it is being a vampire' but it didn't really hang together for me as a movie and felt more like several sketches from a series that just happened to be edited end to end.  What I'm hoping were some life down under (New Zealand) cultural references that I didn't get may just be my ignorance but I did not develop any real affection for any of the main characters or even approach caring about them.  Watch it... it may be me, but the TV adaptation is much much sillier. NJT

Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, and Owen Vaccaro in The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS ...

Its star (Jack Black) an actor whose films I either like or don't like - for me there is no in between  as far as this is concerned - alas this film falls firmly in the latter category with neither Cate Blanchett nor its child star Owen Vaccaro able to save it.

Not the Harry Potter type film I had been expecting - parents Beware, this isn't a film I would suggest for younger or sensitive children  - there are some genuinely frightening moments involving scary toys/dolls (including the obligatory clown) etc and, given its PG rating (explained here)some what some would consider dark themes including rather disturbingly I thought spoiler starts ...  a witch who disguises herself as the 10-year old Lewis's dead mother ... spoiler ends. FGT


Yes, an ok movie, with an interesting premise of departed wizard who has essentially invested his life and work in his house, now occupied by a lacklustre second rate wizard in Jack Black. Not his best moment to be honest but he holds the narrative through the film although this makes his dialogue somewhat dull on long winded. Much sharper is Cate Blanchett as his muse and nominal love interest, a woman of mystery who helps him cope with the arrival of his young nephew into the midst of the unfolding story. It felt like a bit of a mannerly and reasonable way to spend almost two hours, but rather like a long mystery that suddenly and disappointingly unfolds very quickly leaving a bit of fizzle instead of a bang in its denouement. NJT

Based on Kelly's One Sentence Movie Reviews of which you can see her latest by clicking here




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2 Aug 2019

WITCHFINDERS: A SEVENTEENTH ENGLISH TRAGEDY.

WITCHFINDERS: A SEVENTEENTH ENGLISH TRAGEDY by MALCOLM GASKIL.


By the spring of 1645, civil war had exacted a terrible toll upon England. Disease was rife, apocalyptic omens appeared in the skies, and idolators detected in every shire. In a remote corner of Essex, two obscure gentlemen began interrogating women suspected of witchcraft, triggering the most brutal witch-hunt in English history. Witchfinders is a spellbinding study of how Matthew Hopkins, 'the Witchfinder General', and John Stearne extended their campaign across East Anglia, driven by godly zeal. Exploiting the anxiety and lawlessness of the times, and cheered on by ordinary folk, they extracted confessions of satanic pacts resulting in scores of executions.
- Back Cover Blurb

In seventeenth-century England people inhabited a magical universe, a cosmos full of spiritual and occult forces with the power to shape earthly events.
- First Sentence; Preface

To many spectators they must have seemed models of witchery: dirty, ragged and hunched, their faces ravaged by age, hunger and fear. Yet to Arthur Wilson their appearances suggested rather the poor and unfortunate, the decrepit and diseased - mere victims of imagination, hardly the handmaidens of Satan.
- Memorable Moment; Page 125

SOURCE ... Received from a friend, many thanks Katie.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... Interesting, insightful, thought provoking, infuriating and perhaps most of all chillingly sobering when, as the author concludes ... 

"how different are we in mentality from our seventeenth century ancestors if 'seventeenth century ancestors' is replaced with 'fellow human beings in Africa and India'?" - pg 286 

A bit dry and meandering, overlong and arguably repetitive; having read the first 15 or so accounts of how the poor individuals deemed witches (rather curiously I thought there was never any assumption that any of them were in fact witches who may well have met in covens, the author seemingly of the opinion that witches did not/do not exist) were watched, interrogated and finally convicted it all became a bit, well, samey. 

As for the execution ... I thought the formatting could have been better; the paragraphs better spaced, the pen and ink illustrations perhaps larger and most of all - why oh why such minute print? - the typeface made bigger, much bigger. 

Other than that ...

Largely following the witch hunt of 1645 - 1647 instigated by the infamous Matthew Hopkins into whom we are given an adequate though what I felt to be a typical insight (interestingly enough there is more actual information given about his father and siblings) and the lesser known John Stearne for whom no history prior to 1645 is given ... most likely because its non-existent  ... until the death of the former and the disappearance into oblivion of the latter.

What I really liked about the book however was the indepth look at how the political climate of the time, the religious issues, the social upheavel all would have contributed to the superstition, the prejudice, the fear, the intolerance that led to the execution of these men, women and, yes, children.


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