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, 27 March 2014

Authorgraph - it's a great site - authors can autograph eBooks

Have you heard of Authorgraph? It is a great site because it lets authors autograph eBooks.

Here are my books on Authorgraph:



Readers

You simply pick a book, go to the site, set up an account to point at your digital reading device and voilĂ , you can have any autograph you wish. It's all free.

You don't even have to own the book. Authorgraph sends you a companion file to go with the book.

Authors

It has a widget like above for your website, which makes the Authorgraphs easy to find.

It also has Authorgraph Live which is great  to take with them to events to sign books live for your readers.

When you set up your account you create your digital signature using a pen and tablet of some sort. Then you can do a personal message to go with any requested autographs which is typed and it attached the signature.

This is a screen cap of a test autograph I had my twin, Sophie do for me when we were first setting up our accounts. In reality you can see the autograph sign every time you open it.

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier - It's Awesome!

Title: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Rating: 12A
Cast:
Scarlett Johansson ... Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Sebastian Stan ... Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Chris Evans ... Steve Rogers / Captain America
Samuel L. Jackson ... Nick Fury
Robert Redford ... Alexander Pierce
Anthony Mackie ... Sam Wilson / The Falcon
Summary:
Steve is having trouble reconciling his role as an agent of SHIELD with what he feels is right. When a legendary assassin known as the Winter Soldier shows up to cause trouble within the very heart of the organisation Steve must find his own path.

First of all, just like all the MCU movies, this is awesome. It's fast, it's plotted well and the characters are wonderful. As ever there are moments of the most serious actions interspersed with gems of humour that lift the whole thing.

However, I didn't feel like it was actually a film about the Winter Soldier. Don't get me wrong, he's important, but actually not the most important part. I can't say too much or I will give things away and this is a spoiler free review, but I kind of felt as if I had been miss sold the movie. I totally see why they did it that way and it's kind of genius, but yeah, I definitely did not see the film I thought I was going to see. Please note I am not a comic fan, so I take very little knowledge about them into the MCU.

This does not mean I didn't love it, not at all, it was utterly awesome.

The action in this is non-stop. It is a array of the most wonderful fight scenes, special effects and stunts and by the end I was exhausted, yet wanted to see it all again immediately. I think the comic book movies are coming into their own these days because the technology is finally there to pull them off. The look of this film is amazing. I never once stopped to question the physics or the machines; they were just real.

Then there is the plot which is part action movie, part espionage thriller and part buddy movie. It's superb. It was partially obvious, even Rob spotted it a mile off, but there were details which were a shock. Again, not a comic fan, so I didn't have any info to give away all the subtleties. There was only one really big surprise, however, and that was the end, but I can't say what that is, however, it's epic.

The characters are also fabulous. I love Falcon, he is so good and I definitely wanted more of the sidekick in the movie, not less. Anthony Mackie plays him beautifully and he's not just a 2D prop for Cap. The way we see them first meet if comic gold.

Sam Jackson is as awesome (sorry, that word seems to fit so well) as Nick Fury as ever and in this one we actually get to see character evolution, so yay!

Scarlett Johansson is simply brilliant as Natasha. We really get to see the grey in her nature and she is the perfect foil for Steve with all his truth and justice mentality. She gets her world view shaken and it is amazing to watch. She also, of course, kicks arse.

Finally for what I think of as team Cap we have the big man himself and Chris Evans is fabulous as ever. He is the rock in the film, the pillar of all that is right. At points you have to ask is he the only thing that is right. The way he is struggling with the modern world, not because of all the technology, but because of all the social changes is well handled. I thought it was the perfect angle. His fight scenes are also epic.

Then we have Robert Redford as Secretary Pierce, or the guy who bosses the Council around. He is played beautifully, and that is all I am going to say.

Finally Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier is superb. He's cold, he's dangerous and he's merciless. I can't say much more just in case someone is reading this who isn't aware of the worst kept spoiler known to man and doesn't recognise actor names.

Now for my shallow moment - oh lord this is an attractive cast. It's not quite as overwhelming as The Avengers, but Chris Evans' abs and chest should have a health warning. We don't actually get a shirtless scene, but with the t-shirt he wears at times being quite so tight, we don't need one! Then there are the "superhero" costumes - oh boy, I love those. Scarlett is, of course, stunning as well and just, yes, this film has eye candy out the whazoo.

[Edit - Soph made a good point when she shared this on G+ - we might not get a Cap shirtless scene, but we do get a Winter Soldier shirtless scene with lots of hurt/comfort possibilities. As she said - buttons pushed, oh yes.]

P.S. There are two credit scenes, one in-credit and one after-credit - stay for both.

When's the DVD coming out again (adds it to Amazon alerts)?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Supernatural AtoZ - We're looking for blogs who have a supernatural theme for their AtoZ this year

  1. Are you doing the AtoZChallenge?
  2. Do you have a theme?
  3. Is that theme something supernatural like demons, vampires, ghosts, spirits, werewolves, monsters or anything like that?
If the answer's yes to all of the above, then we'd love for you to join out list. 

On theme reveal day a few of us realised we had chosen supernatural themes for our AtoZ and since it is a niche we thought why not link up so we could find all the other supernatural posts out there? If you fit the criteria we'd love to add you too.
  • You can add yourself to the list using the "Add your link" button at the bottom of the post. (new additions are open until April 16th)
  • Then we simply ask that you link back to us somewhere. 
We doubt the list will be hugely long, so you could add that to your posts ( get the InLinkz code to add to your blog )

or you could link back using the code in the textarea below which is just the image and a link as shown below the textarea:




Supernatural AtoZ

If you're not sure if you fit, then just drop a comment and ask :)



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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Recipe: Banana Flavour Marshmallow Custard Cream Bites.

I know, a bit of a mouthful, but it's descriptive. I just came up with these and I think they are yummy so I have to share.

They are based on this recipe for Raspberry and Custard Bites with two major changes - no raspberry and added banana :).

Time to make ~20mins (inc cooling time) - very easy and great for children to make. Just be warned the biscuit crumbs go everywhere.

Ingredients

  • 3 standard packets custard cream biscuits (600g/21oz/2.5cups once crumbed/~54 biscuits) (you could use any hard plain biscuit/cookie and just throw in a little vanilla to give it a custardy taste if you can't get custard creams)
  • 2 packets marshmallows (400g/14oz) (sorry, no idea how to convert marshmallows to cups)
  • 40g/1.5oz/2.8tblsp butter
  • 1 packet of banana pudding mix (59g/2oz/ 1/4cup) (I used Angel Delight because I happen to love their banana flavour)
Method

  1. Put the custard creams in a food processor and blitz until fine, add the banana pudding powder and blitz again for a second to mix.
  2. Take a small shallow tray (11x7x1inch is the size I used) - if using a metal baking tray line it with grease proof paper, if using ceramic you don't have to line it but it makes it easier to get out if you do.
  3. Put the marshmallows and butter in a microwave proof dish and microwave on full power for between 1.30 and 2 mins.
  4. Pour the biscuit crumbs into the melted marshmallow mixture and combine thoroughly.
  5. Push into your tray until flat (you can use a rolling pin with some grease proof paper over the top of the mixture to flatten things down).
  6. Put in the fridge for about ten mins until solid.
  7. Turn out onto a board and peel off the grease proof, then cut into bite size pieces (I tend to get about 40ish out of the recipe).
  8. Eat ;)

Friday, 21 March 2014

AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal

Click image to see other sites in the
reveal

Welcome to my blog. Today is the day for the theme reveal for the AtoZ April challenge. Thank you #TeamDamyanti for organising today's event.

For those who don't know what the AtoZChallenge is, it is a blog hop with hundreds of blogs taking part that runs through the whole of April bar Sundays. Everyday those playing along will post using a letter of the alphabet in order to inspire them (see below).

It's not compulsory to have a theme for the challenge as long as you use a letter on each day correctly. Last year I didn't have a theme, but this year I do so I decided to join in with the theme reveal.

My theme this year is Vampires. I admit it, I'm a huge vampire geek. I've been a fan since I saw The Lost Boys as a teenager and have never looked back. I love vampire lore, vampire books, vampire movies, vampire TV ... well you get the picture, so it seemed like a good choice for a theme.

Every day there will be:
  • a short entry about vampires inspired by a the word of the day in the table below (in bold) - they were all chosen for their connection to vampires (except X, I admit with X I was reaching :)), 
  • an intro to a vampiric creature beginning with the letter of the day (in italics) (sorry I couldn't find one for Q)
  • a vampire film recommendation based on the letter of the day (if I could find one I had seen; I have failed with X, Y and Z),
  • a short flashfic about my new vampire character Ianthe Jawara inspired by the word of the day.
Hopefully this will mean you will find something to interest you even if you're not enthused by all the sections :).

The posts all have pre-created addresses so the links will work once the scheduled posts pop up at midnight GMT on the correct days and, yes, they are already written :).

April
SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
////01 (A)02 (B)03 (C)04 (D)05 (E)
//
//
Attitude,
Abchanchu
Blood,
Baobhan sith
Coffin,
Camazotz 
Darkness,
Dhampir
Eyes,
Estrie
0607 (F)08 (G)09 (H)10 (I)11 (J)12 (K)
Fangs,
Farkaskoldus
Grave,
Gayal/Geyal
Hellhounds,
Hahn Saburo
Immortality,
Impundulu 
Junkie,
Jaud 
Killing,
Krasue 
1314 (L)15 (M)16 (N)17 (O)18 (P)19 (Q)
Lemon,
Loogaroo 
Madness,
Mara
Nails,
Neamh- Mhairbh
Occult,
Ohyn
Priest,
Pey
Quixotic
2021 (R)22 (S)23 (T)24 (U)25 (V)26 (W)
Roses,
Revenant
Stake,
Shtriga
Thrall,
Tlahuelpuchi
Underground,
Uruku/Utukku
Vendetta,
Vyrkolakas
Wall,
Wurdulac
2728 (X)29 (Y)30 (Z)//////
Xanthodont,
Xiang Shi
Yarrow,
Yara- Ma- Yha- Who
Zealot,
Zburator
//
//
//
~~*~~
A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Resources for Writers and Designers - compiled for TLWLexicon

Soph and I did a couple of panels at TLWLexicon this last weekend focused on Selfpublishing, and we put together several pages of resources and information. I thought I'd put together a post with links to them all so they are easy to find if you have missed them:

On the Wittegen Press Website:
On this blog:
They are also all linked in my tabs above, but I wanted to point them out as well.


Review: Mrs Amworth - how to make a vampire movie and miss the mark

Title: Mrs Amworth
Cast:
Magenta Brooks ... Mrs. Amworth
Daniel Ross ... Jed Stokely
Christy Sullivan ... Sarah McMillan
Summary: Jed is a photographer having a few relationship problems with his reporter girlfriend Sarah. The appearance of their beautiful and mysterious neighbour, Mrs Amworth doesn't help matters, especially since people in the small town are dying of a mysterious illness.

I wanted to like this film. It's a low budget horror, but sometimes that's the best because they have to rely on plot and dialogue rather than special effects. Unfortunately this film has neither.

Firstly, don't believe the artwork - I don't think they had the budget for fangs, only lots of blood.

Secondly, this is simply a classic vampire story told badly. It is almost exactly Dracula, just with more people dying and less depth. Jed and Sarah seem to share the part of Mina and several others fill in for Lucy. Doc is Van Helsing and I suppose that would make the editor of the paper (whose name escapes me and who isn't listed with a name on IMDB) Jonathan Harker, although he doesn't have anywhere near as much to do.

I was hoping for a twist or a fullfillment of the glimpses of a back story that were dotted through the film, but nothing ever appeared. It was almost as if the writer had an idea and then forgot what it was.

The back story as is also makes no sense. It breaks the rules set up for vampires within the actual film.

I have no trouble with a film not making sense in reality, but if it doesn't make sense given it's own established boundaries then I am always disappointed.

Frankly I was hoping that Mrs Amworth would end up turning Jed, Sarah and Editor guy and they could all go off and be bad together in New York or something like that. In the end what actually happened was just bizarre, unfulfilling and plain bad.

I saw this for free on Prime Instant Streaming and I'm very glad I did because I would be most disappointed if I had actually paid for it. It's not the worst vampire film I have ever seen, but I will not be bothering to see if I can add it to my collection.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

TLWLexicon - Literary Festival - come see us

So this weekend Soph and I are going to be at TLWLexicon, a literary festival in Faversham, Kent, along with lots of other lovely authors and creators. Check out the TLWLexicon website for all the details.


This is the festival's first year and there are going to be panels and presentations and dramatic readings and huge amounts of fun.

Soph and I are doing two panels on the main stage, one on Sat at 4pm and one on Sunday at 12 noon and we will be in the 'everyone' panel both mornings as well.

Saturday's panel is called '"Self-publishing" or "Independent Publishing"' where we will be nattering on about the percieved differences.

Sunday's panel is called "Creating worlds and building audiences" and is just what it says on the packet.

Basically we're going to try and tell everyone the things we have learned as publishers and authors in the shark pond that is the self publishing world today.

We also have goody bags to give away with bookmarks, keyrings, sweeties and other nice things in them, and all you have to do is take the flyer with all the money off codes as well to get it - so win/win :).

If you are anywhere near the south east of the UK this weekend this is going to be a lot of fun, so come see us and all the other lovely people involved. It's only £1 to get in and under 14s go free.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Added a new page to the blog full of links to resources for Bloggers and Designers

I've just added a new page to this blog full of a list of resources for Bloggers and Designers.

These include free image sites, sites containing downloadable photoshop actions and scripts, image reference sites, free books sites and more. These are sites I have used when designing book covers and making web images.

Click here to visit the new Resource Links page.

Great site resource for designers - PSDCovers.com

This site (PSDCovers.com) is awesome if you have Adobe Photoshop and you need to mock up objects with your own designs. They have books, bottles, cartons, boxes, iphones, ipads, DVD/blu-ray cases and more. I played around and I created this with one of my book covers in five minutes.

Most of that five mins was waiting for the action to run because my machine is old and clunky and I had 40 tabs open in Chrome as well. The images the actions create are very large so I would suggest only having Photoshop running when you are using the them.

After trying to run the action twice my machine did decide to reboot all on it's own because it's cranky like that. :) Save everything, save often.