Friday 26 December 2014

Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow

Sword and ScimitarSword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an excellent read. Scarrow has a very nice style of writing and at times is very creative. This was a great story set in a pivotal moment of history. It makes you appreciate how lucky we are that a few brave souls chose to defend Malta. The plot has more to it than the defence of Malta and there is a nice sub-plot. The characters are believable and work together well to create an interesting read. Not a period of history I am familiar with so this was a delight to read. I would recommend this to historical fiction fans.

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Monday 22 December 2014

Great Review for Drachar's Demons, Thanks Lisa

This is a very heart felt review, read it all at

"This book has to quite honestly be one of the best Fantasy books that i have read in a long time! I'd definitely recommend..." Lisa

Empire of the Moghul

Raiders from the North (Empire of the Moghul, #1)Raiders from the North by Alex Rutherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I saw someone reading this on a train and liked the look of the cover. Also, being historical fiction attracted me to this book. An interesting period in history with a descendant of Genghis Khan, Babur, trying to forge his own empire. Barbur's path is not plane sailing and there's plenty of downs as well as ups. That makes an interesting tale and at times you wonder what drove him on. I preferred Conn Iggulden's books on Genghis Khan but Empire of the Moghul was still good. It didn't quite capture the people in the way Conn Iggulden's books do, but it's still a good read. It's worth understanding how one man never gave up on his dreams after many setbacks. The period is also interesting as cannon start to creep into the tale.

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Friday 19 December 2014

Awesome Review and Many Thanks from a Grateful Author

I reread this review and what a moving review it is. Read the complete review at

"Prophecy of the Kings Trilogy is an exciting, easily likeable and fast-paced fantasy adventure, which is difficult to put down once you start reading it. Fans of adventure stories will be delighted by how easily the author keeps the story flowing and delivers plot twists along the way (if you're looking for an enjoyable fantasy adventure, this trilogy will offer good entertainment for a few hours). I can recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading traditional epic fantasy stories, because it's among the best new traditional fantasy books published during the recent years."

ExtendedVersion of the Desolation of Smaug. Awesome

What an excellent film and the extended parts make it even better. I loved the book and oddly the extended parts were brilliant and made me reminisce about the book, especially Gandalf introducing the dwarves to Beorn. I had an argument with my son - I said this is the best of the trilogy but he argues for the last film.

He is wrong.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Battle of the Five Armies - Terrific Film

Well, this is why I love fantasy and this is what it's all about. The Hobbit films have been excellent and a great tribute to the book. The Battle of the Five Armies was good, but could disappoint as it's mainly battle scenes. It does entertain and is a terrific ending to the film trilogy. The opening sequences with Smaug is amazing and takes you there, to a world populated by dragons, albeit the last one.

I loved the films and what an excellent tribute to Tolkien.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Creative Writing Courses. What Should I Expect?

My comments are based on the course I attended which was via Kent Adult Education. This type of course is useful as they are usually local and they are also face to face with the tutor and other writers. Of course there are on-line courses but losing that face to face aspect is a limitation in my mind. These courses are typically £120 for a 10 week course which is not bad value. Juts Google Creative Writing Adult Education Course and then your town.

So what goes on? I personally was hoping for a steer on my writing and what I was doing right or wrong. The course was some way from that. In the first week we were given an assignment and then asked to read it at the next meeting. People then commented on the story. 

Comments were, for example, primarily around developing characters and had you thought to add something about a particular character. There was also a discussion on the direction of the tale and suggestions on extending the plot or, more usually, asking where the author felt the plot would go next. There was little or nothing about grammar or style.

A disappointment was that the tutor selected who should read an assignment and I found that several weeks went by where I wasn't asked to speak. That made the homework a little pointless. 

The course aimed at getting people writing regularly which it certainly achieved by setting assignments. It also explored different writing such as short stories, poetry and plays, so if you are interested in novel writing then this is only one aspect and may make the course less interesting to you. The course I attended covered poetry and I am dreadful at poetry and could only think of limericks. I found that quite embarrassing and was the lowlight of the course for me.

The highlight was meeting other authors. This is a useful aspect as you meet others who may be able to help by discussing ideas after class. Getting folk to the pub afterwards is not a bad idea.

Overall, the course was helpful to an extent but also disappointing as I was really interested in developing my writing and time was too limited for that. The plus point was meeting others. For the price it is worth considering.