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.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Drabble Cascade #25 - More Than Eternity (PG, fantasy)

This week on the Drabble Cascade, to celebrate 25 weeks, we are having a competition. If you enter the cascade you can win an Amazon voucher for your Amazon of choice. Click on this link to see all the details. It's very easy, all you have to do is write a drabble or a flash fic. Our prompt word of the week is 'time'.

Click to read my drabble and see the list of the other entries.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Rambo - Film Series

So I have finally seen all three of the Rambo movies and they were not what I was expecting (well not all of them).  My apologies there are actually four Rambo movies, apparently, I had totally missed the 2008 one, I'm talking about the original 80s movies. Edited appropriately.

First Blood (the one I always thought was called Rambo) is a deep, thought provoking, harsh movie that I was shocked I enjoyed. Having mostly only seen stuff about the later movies it was definitely nothing like I was expecting. It's violent, but, wow, does it have heart. Very much not the action type movie I thought it was having seen the hype about the other two.

Rambo II - now this is mostly a kick arse action movie with some terrible 80s stereotypes. It was actually entertaining, but some of it made me cringe so hard :). I was ticking off clich├ęs as I watched ::g::.

Rambo III - was mostly WTF! Hot Shots Part Deux suddenly makes so much sense. It was like a bad 80s TV show with a bigger budget. I had to forward wind through the temple scene because it was just so, so, so cringe worthy. I must admit, it was fun to see the good guy stick it to the bad guy (isn't it amazing what a difference the ending of the cold war made on film making), but I was laughing at things I'm pretty sure were supposed to be deadly serious. The best thing about the movie was Rambo suddenly seemed to have gained a sense of humour (must have been the monks).

I doubt I will even seek out those movies to watch again, but I feel I have gained knowledge that is important :).

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Review: Love Bite, 2012, 15

Title: Love Bite
Rating: 15
Cast:
Jessica Szohr ... Juliana
Luke Pasqualino ... Kev
Timothy Spall ... Sid
Ed Speleers ... Jamie
Robert Pugh ... Sergent Rooney
Summary: Teens are going missing in the dead-end seaside town of Rainmouth. While Jamie's friends are obsessed with losing their virginity (in two cases) and getting as many girls as possible (Kev), he's bored and looking for something special. Jamie meets Juliana and falls for her. His first problem is she might be the werewolf that is killing virgins and the second is that he's a target because he just can't seem to lose his virginity.

This film it terribly British and it's the kind of horror movie that made me hide behind a cushion because of secondary embarrassment rather than horror. That being said, it made me laugh out loud so many times I lost count and it was entertaining and the ending was  sheer genius. There aren't many movies where I don't have it completely worked out way before the end.

This comes under my heading of it's so bad it's brilliant.

The thing is you're supposed to cringe and think a large percentage of the characters are losers, because they are. When the whole premise of the film is werewolves eat virgins, therefore don't be a virgin, you know it's going to be full of failed sex and bad innuendos. It's kind of an explicit, modern version of a Carry-on film with teenages. Kev (Luke Pasqualino) is the Sid James character, thinks he knows everything about women and doesn't and always after dipping his wick and Jamie (Ed Speleers) is the straight man of the piece like Jim Dale in Follow That Camel.

I suppose that would make Juliana (Jessica Szohr) the Joan Sims or Barbara Windsor character, but she's much more kick ass than that.

Ed Speleers is great as Jamie and seems to spend a good percentage of the film in quiet resignation or mortal embarrassment. He's sweet and a bit romantic and dependable and totally cannot catch a break. The girl he falls for might be a werewolf, the local police sergeant seems to have it in for him and his mum is a pothead and her B&B only runs because he does most of the work and so it's very easy to love him as a character. He also gets his kit off several times which is very nice eye candy :). (This is a film with equal opportunities nakedness, of which I totally approve.)

The teenager characters in this film are all as stupid as each other, the girls coming off just a little better than the boys, but not by much. This, however, is the point and all the actors pull it off beautifully. The boys especially are idiots, but they're kind of endearing in their own way and have absolutely not concept of what is actually going on (or girls). The scene in the arcade with the dance game is genius and so very, very funny.

Quite possibly the only completely competent character in the whole thing is Juliana, because even Jamie is a bit of a wreck at times, but that's what makes it funny. Jessica Szohr plays her as beautiful, sexy and knowing exactly what she's about and I really liked her.

Timothy Spall is also as good as ever as the bit batty werewolf hunter.

This film made me go 'oh god no' a lot and then laugh really loudly because it was just funny. It's hard to pinpoint why I enjoyed it as much as I did, but I have to admit that I did. I'm actually considering purchasing the blu-ray. When the end arrives it turns out that a rather chaotic plot has actually been put together  really well and makes perfect sense. All the character motivations are spot on and I was impressed because it was well thought out.

I don't think this is an instant classic, but the comic timing is beautiful, the characters actually start to mean something as you watch and the acting is good. I really enjoyed this film, even if I did have to go hide behind my computer screen so I could kind of watch round it because my second hand embarrassment alarm was going off all the time.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Fanfic: Something (Part 3 of the Sacrifice Arc), Teen Wolf, Sterek, PG13

Title: Something (Part 3 of the Sacrifice Arc)
Author: Beren
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Sterek, Scott/Allison/Isaac hints
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Jeff Davis et al. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: spoilers for s3
Summary: Stiles wakes up after his ordeal and has to deal with what he did and everything that has happened since. Not even Deaton has an explanation. Then things get weirder.
Author's Notes: Yep, officially addicted to Teen Wolf, this cements it. I don't know if I got the layout of the Stilinski kitchen right, I don't even know if we know it because I couldn't find any info when I Googled, so please forgive me if it's wrong. I'm also making up bits of Derek's loft we haven't seen because there has to be amenities somewhere. Thanks to Soph for the gramma and typo check (still trying to pimp her into the fandom ;))
Word Count: 7,441
Links to fic: LJ | DW | AO3

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Fanfic: The Sacrifice Arc (so far), Teen Wolf

Title: Self-Sacrifice (Part 1 of the Sacrifice Arc)
Author: Beren
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: none
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Jeff Davis et al. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: could be read as character death (but word to the wise - I hate character death), spoilers for s3
Summary: Things are not going to plan so Stiles takes desperate steps to make sure his friends and family are safe.
Author's Notes: So this week's Drabble Cascade word is tree and so I immediately thought nemeton :). This is a 500 word flashfic, but there will be more. P.S. haven't watched the latest preview.
Word Count: 500

Title: Rebirth (Part 2 of the Sacrifice Arc)
Author: Beren
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: pre-Sterek, pre-Scott/Allison/Isaac
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Jeff Davis et al. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: spoilers for s3
Summary: In the aftermath of defeating the Darach no one knows what's happened to Stiles and there is still the whole problem of the Alpha pack to deal with.
Author's Notes: Writing this as fast as possible before it gets Jossed, although I suppose the proper term for this fandom would be Jeffed :). Have seen the latest ep, not the extended preview of next week. Thanks to Soph for fixing my spelling and grammar.
Word Count: 4034

Title: Interlude (Part 2b of the Sacrifice Arc)
Author: Beren
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Scott/Allison/Isaac
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Jeff Davis et al. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: threesome, spoilers for s3
Summary: Interlude - Scott has to deal with the change in Isaac's behaviour.
Author's Notes: I thought about writing this in part 2, but I wanted that to be all from Derek's PoV, so I wrote it as an interlude instead. This is where I'm going with the Scott, Allison, Isaac dynamic (what is the ship name for that, BTW, anyone know?). Thanks to Soph for sorting out the spelling and the grammar.
Word Count: 1, 575

For more of my fanfic, check out my AO3 account: My Fic on AO3

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Den of Eek II - tickets are now on sale

Remember last year when I was one of three winners who got to read their short story out at Den of Geek's, Den of Eek with lots of other better known writers? Well even if you don't ;) last year was Ghost Stories, this year is Urban Legends and those of use who were in it last year were invited to send in a story for this year.

It's a bunch of lovely authors standing up and reading short horror stories (written by them for the event) for the enjoyment of the audience. Of course I jumped at the chance :). It was so much fun last year and looks to be just as great, if not better this year.

When: 18 September, from 7.30pm (doors at 6pm)
Where: The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, London (nearest tube: Oxford Circus)
Price: £5, plus 95p booking charge (not their fault - it's a standard charge by the booking company)

Den of Geek has a post with the full listing of authors and details here:

Tickets are now on sale for Den of Eek 2: Urban Legends!

All proceeds go to Den of Geek's Geeks vs Cancer appeal, so it's in a great cause and last year the stories were brilliant. You can buy last year's offerings in eBook form, proceeds also going to the charity:
Den Of Eek! A Collection Of New Horror Fiction (at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com)

Also if you're a writer and can make the date, you can submit a story to be considered as well. Here is the post all about how on Den of Geek's site: Den of Eek 2: a call for short story writers. Closing date is 23 Aug 2013, so get your writing hats on.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Fanart: Sterek

So I've been inspired to create some fanart. Hope you like it.
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Sterek
Rating: PG


Thursday, 8 August 2013

The art of jumping (yes this is a completely random post)

I've always wondered what it would be like to be able to jump. It's one of those mysteries in my life since I can't do it.

See this:
Source tumblr post
this is like me with the whole jumping and going nowhere. I was the child who, when we had athletic lessons at school, took the run up for the long jump and didn't even make it into the sand pit. I kid you not :).

Ooh, and then there was hurdles - that was hilarious. The only way I can get over a hurdle is to dive over it ::g::.

In case you were wondering, I have an ankle condition which means they are mostly fused, hence no bounce, at all, not even a little bit.

There are many things in life we find we can't do; I can't skateboard either, but for some reason I have never wondered what that was like. Seeing people jump always makes me wonder.

Same with running actually. I probably run slower than you walk and it tends to hurt so I haven't actually tried that in years. I can put on a short burst of speed forwards (I used to like non-competitive squash), but longer and the no bounce comes in. My athletics teacher only ever tried to make me run 400m once - I was so slow everyone else had moved on to other activities by the time I made it to the finish line. I always preferred the lessons where we threw things or hit things :).

Don't get me wrong, it's never really bothered me that I can't run or jump; I could barely walk anywhere until I was seven and had surgery to correct some of the problem, I just wonder. Y'know. Like sometimes you wonder what it would be like to fly.

What do you wonder about?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Drabble Cascade #22 - Singing (gen, G)

This is my gen drabble for this week's drabble cascade. If you would like to join in with your own drabble or flash fiction, just check out this intro post for the instructions (it's really easy).

Singing
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Some people think rain is mournful. I think it is the rhythm of the world. If I could I would dance, but, let's just say I lack the physical prowess to do that justice. I could possibly manage a small shower, but a thunderstorm would be beyond me.

Hence I sing.

There is a tune in everything if you listen and find it: in the wail of a storm; in the breath of a summer breeze bringing the drizzle. Notes from deep alto to floating treble lie just under the surface.


Next time listen for the song in the rain.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Review: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon (adapted for screen), William Shakespeare
Cast:
Amy Acker ... Beatrice
Alexis Denisof ... Benedick
Nathan Fillion ... Dogberry
Clark Gregg ... Leonato
Reed Diamond ... Don Pedro
Fran Kranz ... Claudio
Jillian Morgese ... Hero
Sean Maher ... Don John
Summary: A modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy about two pairs of lovers and the bumps in the road of their relationships.

The first thing I have to say, in no uncertain terms, is: this film is awesome. I've been waiting for ages to see this film because it was not on general release and so wasn't showing in a cinema near us. It finally came to the University cinema this week and it was so very much worth the wait.

I have seen several adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing in my life and this one, is hands and shoulders above the rest. In places it is laugh out loud funny and the only other Shakespeare play I have seen that made me do that repeatedly was Midsummer Night's Dream. I've never found Much Ado hilarious before.

The script adaptation is spot on and the few extra little non-speaking scenes that had been added in are truly superb. Joss has done it again. Whenever he touches Shakespeare in the future I am going to be right there because the man is a genius. Actually, truth be told, I'm going to be right there to see whatever he does. I've never really followed a director before, but I'm totally a groupie now.

In case you don't know the plot of Much Ado, it's about Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and Hero, two couples who are very different in the way they come together. Claudio and Hero are the sweet, innocent, madly in love pair who are the focus of villainous Don John's plots to wreck everyone's lives and Beatrice and Benedick are the couple who profess to hate each other and are brought together by their friends' matchmaking skills.

The thing about this adaptation is that it goes from hilariously funny (the two scenes where Benedick and then Beatrice are eavesdropping on their friends have to been seen to be believed - I was laughing so hard it hurt) to ripping your heart out thanks to Don John's evil schemes. It is simply brilliant.

Then there is the cast. Oh my god, what a talented set of people. They do sexy, they do dramatic, they do the most incredible comic timing. Every single member of the cast was stunningly good. If you are afraid you won't understand the Shakespearean language, don't be, because they way they deliver it means that it is totally comprehensible.

Amy Aker as Beatrice gave the role the spark it needed, the venom and the sweet romance that is still gloriously amusing. She was punchy and strong and, at points, fearsome.

Then we have Alexis Denisof who was stunning as Benedick. He is the funniest Benedick I have ever seen and yet managed to bring out the drama of the role. As he challenges Claudio it felt as if there was going to be bloodshed there and then.

Thirdly we have Clark Gregg as Leonato, Hero's father, and his comic timing is just wonderful. The way he brings the roll to life is absolutely brilliant and his conflict when Hero is accused is palpable.

The cute couple are Fran Kranz as Claudio and Jillian Morgese as Hero and they play it so sweetly that when it comes to the scene where they are torn apart by Don John's scheme it is literally painful to watch. We know it's all false and yet Claudio's pain and betrayal is so real and Hero's confusion, disbelief and shock are heart wrenching.

Sean Maher is amazingly sininster as Don John, even though he never even raises his voice, Reed Diamond is both amusing and resolute as Don Pedro and Nathon Fillion is brilliantly funny as Dogberry, playing 'the ass' so very well.

The fact that the whole thing is in black and white made it atmospheric, but, to tell you the truth, I barely noticed it after the first few minutes. It simply seemed natural.

And finally I have to talk about the setting, because, OMG, Joss has a lovely home and wow, did he use it well with the direction. There are so many scenes that were enhanced by the use of structure and placing that it's hard to come up with a favourite, but in the end it has to be the scene where Benedick is eavesdropping on Claudio, Don Pedro and Leonato. Benedick is outside and there is peering in windows, running across french doors, hiding behind shrubbery and more and it is so very, very funny.

This film is magnificent and I have the blu-ray on order. If you have a chance, go and see it.

Forgot to add, if you are in the UK here is a listing of all the cinemas showing it.