Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Review: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Title: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Rating: 15
Cast:

Benjamin Walker - Abraham Lincoln
Dominic Cooper - Henry Sturges
Anthony Mackie - Will Johnson
Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Mary Todd Lincoln
Rufus Sewell - Adam
Marton Csokas - Jack Barts
Jimmi Simpson - Joshua Speed
Erin Wasson - Vadoma






The first thing I have to say is this is a brilliant film. It is the best vampire movie I have seen in a very long time. From the title I assumed it was going to be somewhat cracky, but it isn't. It is a solid vampire movie with a great cast, superb writing and brilliant filmography.

Okay, so lets break it down a little. Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln and he plays him with depth and feeling and as a character that everyone can relate to. He's not perfect and he definitely isn't the great statesman he becomes at the beginning of the film. He grows and takes us with him and he definitely isn't Buffy with a beard. His relationship with Mary Todd is also beautifully done and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is superb.

I'm putting in a cut now, because there will be spoilers.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Loki's Escape!

So I received many wonderful pressies yesterday, but I have to admit one made me squeal with delight. We opened our pressies at my parents house and then walked home and I left all of them there to pick up today except this one, which I brought home. Then I sat in bed putting it together.

This resulted this little photo story ...


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Recipe - Chicken Liver Parfait


This is a recipe I tried out for the first time the other weekend for our Christmas/Birthday party and it was a huge hit :). I forgot to share it here when I posted it to LJ. It is a Bryn Williams recipe which can be found in his book called "Bryn's Kitchen" and is what you might call moreish.

Chicken Liver Parfait
Makes 16 slices (or enough for a party as buffet food)
Ingredients

  • 125ml Port (1/2 cup)
  • 125ml Maderia (1/2 cup)
  • 50ml Brandy (1/5 cup)
  • 6 shallots (finely sliced)
  • 1 Sprig of thyme
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed) - I used squeezy garlic from a tube
  • 500g (17.63 oz) Chicken Livers (trimmed and chopped)
  • 1 tsp pink salt (don't worry if you can't get this - just use ordinary salt, your parfait will be more grey, but still taste just the same)
  • 1 tsp normal salt
  • black pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • 500g unsalted butter (I only had salted butter and I left out the tspn of ordinary salt and it still worked well)

Instructions

  1. Put the port, madeira, brandy, shallots, garlic and thyme in a saucepan and reduce over a medium heat until almost dry.
  2. Leave to cool and once cool put in the fridge for at least an hour.
  3. Place the chicken livers in a bowl and add the cold port/shallot etc reduction and the salts and the pepper and mix. Cover with cling film.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and leave to come to room temperature.
  5. If you keep your eggs in the fridge, crack them into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature, otherwise, just crack them into a bowl to make sure they are good.
  6. Line a 25x5x7cm terrine dish (loaf tin) with cling film (plastic wrap).
  7. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F)
  8. Blend the chicken livers with a hand blender, in a blender or in a food processor.
  9. Once they are all room temp, mix all the ingredients together and then blend again.
  10. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into the lined terrine dish.
  11. Cover the top of the terrine tightly with foil.
  12. Place the terrine in a roasting dish and fill the roasting dish with warm water up to half the height of the terrine dish.
  13. Place in the oven and cook for 45 mins.
  14. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge over night for use the next day.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

eBooks - The Prefect Christmas Gift

Are you looking for that last minute Christmas gift? Want something easy and small to send to a friend? eBooks are almost instant and in many cases very easy to obtain and send.

Imagine it's Christmas Eve and you suddenly realise you need to send a present to Cousin Jo who lives in Scotland and is snowed in. eBooks are virtual, all you need is an internet connection and you're sorted. You can even get personalised autographs through http://www.authorgraph.com/ if you want to make the gift extra special.

I've used the term DRM throughout this post and it means Digital Rights Management. A good reason to go indie is that most of us don't use it so files are not tied to devices and you can send them to who you like. Just remember to buy one copy of the book for each person you want to give it to because starving writers need to eat too :).

Reading if You Don't Have An eReader

You do not need an eReader to read eBooks, most formats have a PC reader that can be downloaded for free or just open in software you most likely already have installed.

Kindle books have the Kindle App which can be downloaded from your local Amazon site.
Barnes and Noble - have Nook Apps for various devices and PC which can be downloaded from their site.
Diesel eBook store offers links Adobe Digital Editions.
Smashwords offer formats that can be read straight on a PC without any new app.

And there are other options as well, like Kobo.

How to Give An eBook for Christmas

The problem with eBooks is the idiots at the top still think of the world as separate markets, which means you can't buy all books in all countries. This is a pain, but you can get over it with some patience as long as the book has no DRM. You can break DRM, but it's technical and illegal, so I'm not going to tell you how here. If you want to know, Google it. Just buy from those of us sensible enough to know DRM is a pain and not worth putting on books in the first place - it might send a message to the big publishers.

Amazon:
If your friend/family member has a Kindle then Amazon is the place to go. If you are lucky enough to be in the US, or able to buy from the US store then there is a gift option on the eBooks. All you need is your giftee's Amazon email addie (the one associated with their Kindle that allows them to send books to it).

If you are outside the US site where they haven't implemented gift giving yet, then it's a bit harder. Firstly it will only work for books that do not have DRM because otherwise you can't move the book from one device to another. There used to be a way to see this on the book page, but they seem to have removed that. The only way is to check out the publisher, for example we at Wittegen Press do not use DRM for any of our books.

Then set up the Kindle app on your computer, buy the book with the options set to deliver to the Kindle ap and then take the file and email it to the person you wish to give it to. They can then add it to their Kindle manually.

Smashwords:
This is the easiest option because they offer a gift option and many many formats all on one site. You only need an email address for the gift book to be sent to, then your giftee can download whichever format they would like.

Barnes and Noble:
They have a gift giving option as well. I don't have an account so I'm not sure quite how it works, but I assume it is similar to Smashwords.

Diesel:
You can buy books from here and download them and they indicate if the have no DRM right on the book page. As long as they are DRM free you can then send them on to the recipient and they can use Adobe Editions to read it on their PC or upload it to their eReader if their reader accepts ePub.

Help, I can't get the file in the format I need for the person I want to give it to.

Never fear, as long as the book is DRM free, this is easy to overcome. You want to download a nifty piece of software called Calibre. Calibre is easy to install and will allow you to convert from one format to another and it does just about anything.

eBooks are quick and easy and rewarding. They make a great virtual stocking stuffer and are well worth looking into. Here is a link to all of Wittegen Press' eBook available now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The big 40 :)

So Soph and I hit the big 40 yesterday and had a wonderful time doing it :). We also had a fabulous party over the weekend which was for my hubby as well because he hit 40 last week too ::g::. We have had many people who said 'no way!' as well, which was good for the ego ;).

We went to see the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate Britain yesterday with the parental units, my aunt and another friend, which was amazing. I think it's a bit of a cheek charging £14 to go in and then expecting you to pay £4 more for the audio tour as well though! Bad form. Especially since it was only an average audio tour at best. Six rooms full of paintings and only 21 entries in the audio tour. The exhibition is not to be missed, but the audio tour was a bit meh.

Then we went to have a late lunch in the Miller and Carter steakhouse at Bexley (near where my aunt lives) and they had sent me a voucher for a free bottle of bubbly for my birthday so that was lovely. Their food is also very good. A place in the UK that knows how to cook steak - I was stunned! ;)

Thank you to everyone who has wished me a Happy Birthday and thank you very much to sammaetz, veritas03, spike7451, annelislashfan and nenne on LJ for the lovely v-gifts.

I also want to say a huge thank you to all my friends who came to the party and made it such a wonderful time. It was a brilliant weekend and I love you all.

Also I want to say thank you again for the lovely presents. We have already started to watch Monkey and it as cheesy and wonderful as I remember :). Also, Tom has pride of place in a new frame on my desk:

And I have worn the necklace every day except yesterday because I didn't want to risk it being lost in London. In fact I am wearing it now - it looks lovely being set of by a big t-shirt and star wars lounge pants ;). Thank you all so much for such a fantastic gift, I shall treasure it always. Here's a piccie so everyone can see how amazing it is.