The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards are Back!

This is a great event. Excellent company.
A wide variety of blogs and people..
Well-deserved awards.
I’m buzzing already.
Come along and join the fun.

The Annual Bloggers Bash

Now in its fifth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked, the date is set for Saturday 15th June 2019 and the committee is busy working behind the scenes to ensure the day is full of fun, learning opportunities, networking, and, of course, the Blogtastic award ceremony. For more information about events on the day, click here!

The Awards

The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards are open to bloggers from all over the world, and are nominated and voted for by the blogging community and general public.

This year, we have changed a number of the categories and the process in which the nominations happen, so please read the information below carefully.

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Book Review: Euphonics – A Poet’s Dictionary of Enchantments by John Michell

EuphonicsEuphonics by John Michell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wonderful book was a thoughtful gift from my BFF, Eloise De Sousa, who has encouraged me in my quest to become a published poet.

Everybody loves alliteration. Well, almost everybody. Many people don’t even realise that they love alliteration yet reading a story or a poem that is littered with alliteration gives them a warm and comfortable feeling.

This book explains why that is the case. It also explains how the use of each letter of the alphabet, and even sounds such as “CH” and “SL” affect our moods. We are treated with snippets of poetry to illustrate the points that are being made, which are further enhanced by the wonderful drawings of Merrily Harpur.

Allow me to show you with a quote from the book on the page that explains “SL”.

“Since you’re such a slippery slug,”
Hissed Sally with a sullen shrug,
“Slink to Susie’s sluttish slum.
She’s your sort of slimy scum.”

Isn’t that wonderful? How does it make you feel?

In this delightful book of treasures, you will reach the end of each page with a different feeling and you will understand much more about the endless possibilities that good use of letters and sounds can bring to your writing.

It is a perfect complement to The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth, which my father, Tony Greenfield, gifted to me about four years ago.
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Book Review: The Nameless Children by Toni Bunnell

The Nameless Children (The Soil Chronicles Book 1)The Nameless Children by Toni Bunnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The idea behind the story is very clever and creative. As you would expect, mortality of babies in the mid-nineteenth century was much higher than it is today. Very often, these babies were buried in mass graves without even being named. Imagine ten tiny bodies being stacked into a single grave.

Many years later, in the current era, four of these children emerge from the grave as teenagers, full of resentment and driven by a desire for revenge on the descendants of those who put them there. As they learn to communicate and to survive in the modern world, they discover more about the circumstances of their deaths and burials and they interact with the community around them.

It gets scary!

The story is very well written and it drew me in like a river in flood. I was swept along.

The ending is worth waiting for.

The author seems to use her novel as a vehicle for expressing many personal views. There is nothing wrong with that except that it does sometimes tend to distract from the main storyline. I am sure that some would disagree with me and say that the opposite is true, that it enhances the telling of the story. For example, is the view that the life of a dog belonging to a homeless person being better than that of a dog who lives in a house and is often left alone for hours at a time, relevant to the story? Perhaps it is. You’ll have to read the book to get the context.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a ghoulish, spooky ghost story.

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Book Review: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, #1)Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The idea that underpins the story is very good. A very advanced biotech company develops a virus that kills the victim but keeps them walking until they have bitten somebody to infect them with the deadly virus. It is terrifying. But money will be made out of providing the antidote.

The genius behind the biotech company teams up with Islamic terrorists to hatch a plot which is going to kill the United States of America.

In the meantime, Baltimore Detective Joe Ledger is recruited into the top secret unit, Department of Military Science, DMS, which is dealing with the threat. He is a super-hard policeman, although I had to laugh at part of his assessment. The head of the DMS is the mysterious Mr Church, who is answerable only to the president.

“Elapsed time from the slide locking back to completed kill is 0.031 seconds,” said Church. “Tell me why I want him for the DMS.”

Can you believe that anyone can react to an event and complete a move to kill somebody in three-hundredths of a second? The move itself would have taken over half a second.

There were a few more minor irritations.

“Sure, what do you want?” “My usual. Iced half-caf ristretto quad grande two pump raspberry two percent no whip light ice with caramel drizzle three-and-a-half-pump white mocha.” “Is any of that actually coffee?” “More or less.” “And you think I’m damaged.”

Is that necessary?

Counting Javad, our patient zero, we have a loss of life totaling one hundred and eighty-eight civilians and twenty-four DMS operatives. Two hundred and ten deaths as a result of one carrier.

I make that 212.

“LOL,” Bunny murmured.

Clearly didn’t laugh out loud if he was murmuring!

“I hate to break up this Dr. Phil moment but I kind have to go fight some zombies.”

Where does “like” come into it?

Those irritations aside, the tension in the story builds with a race against time to save humanity.

The middle section of the book became a bit predictable and boring for me, as it resembled a shoot-em-up computer game, but the last third was all action and compulsive reading, with lots of twists and turns.

It is exciting, and the ending is good.

I really don’t know what “normal” zombie stories are like, but I believe that this one would be different. I enjoyed the ride.
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What is beautiful to you?

If you pause long enough to look and listen properly, you can find some beauty in everything and everyone. True beauty, when I see it, stops my heart for a moment and then makes it beat so strongly, like timpani, out of my chest.

What makes my heart burst more than anything and brings the most tears to my eyes? It is the way that people treat their fellow humans. I have witnessed extreme acts of love and kindness in the face of the most awful adversity.

THAT is real beauty!

Thoughts by Mello-Elo

What is beauty to you? Is it the soft curves of a woman’s form or the visions of humanity and its gods captured on canvas or in stone? Or is it the natural beauty you find in the world around us?

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Film Review: The Favourite

There are three outstanding leading ladies in this film and they deserve equal credit for the way that they portray their very different characters. Olivia Coleman plays the frail and slightly crazy Queen Anne who is, initially, controlled by Lady Sarah Marlborough played by Rachel Weisz. As the Queen’s word is law in the two-party parliament, it is really Lady Sarah who is running the country.

favourite

The three co-stars. Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

The balance of power soon starts to change when Sarah’s cousin, Abigail, brilliantly played by American actress, Emma Stone, whose English accent is convincingly authentic, makes a very muddy entrance onto the scene. The audience feels pity for Abigail, who has been left destitute after her uncle has burned down the family home, killing himself in the process. She begs her cousin for a job in the Queen’s household and starts as a lowly maid, suffering beatings and humiliations at the hands of the other servants. However, she is devious and manipulative and, before too long, she is in a battle with Sarah to become the Queen’s favourite.

All of the characters in the film are wonderfully developed. I put this down to some excellent writing by Deborah Davies and Tony McNamara and the first-rate directing by Yorgos Lanthimos. My understanding is that the director trusted his actors to bring the characters to life, giving them the thumbs up most of the time with the occasional intervention when he spotted room for improvement. It worked well.

There is tragedy and comedy, cruelty and debauchery and some graphic cinematography. The scenery and settings are amazing.

The story, and the interactions between the characters could be transposed from the early 18th century setting into any other era in history. Indeed, I found many parallels to the craziness of the 21st century world in which I live.

There were some irritating periods in the soundtrack, particularly when a monotonous ‘deep boing’ beat pervaded for several minutes. That was distracting.
I loved the rabbits, the Queen’s children, which were very significant in many ways. You will have to watch the film to understand what I mean.

The ending was a bit quirky. It was mostly very meaningful, but there was one aspect of it that I think could have been dropped. Again, I don’t want to say more for fear that my opinion might act as a huge spoiler.

I am probably almost unique in picking the rolling of the credits as the most heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping moment of the whole film. My reason is that the song that was played as they rolled was Skyline Pigeon by Elton John. This song is off one of his early albums, Empty Sky. I still have my copy, which I bought when I was a teenager. The song means a lot to me. I was walking out of the cinema as the credits rolled. It stopped me in my tracks, and I stood, listening, until the final notes died away. I played it again when I got home. It was absolutely the right song to close this film. Elton plays the clavichord rather than his usual piano. Great lyrics too and bang on period.

I loved this film and I recommend it very highly.

Next week, I shall be going back to the cinema to watch Mary Queen of Scots. I hope that it compares well with The Favourite. I’ll let you know.

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Book Review: Wrong Time, Wrong Place by Simon Kernick

Wrong Time, Wrong PlaceWrong Time, Wrong Place by Simon Kernick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pacey, tense, horrific and unpredictable

The pace is fast. The tension is tense. The violence is horrific.

From the moment that a dysfunctional quartet of hikers in the Scottish Highlands rescue a young, naked East European woman from her pursuers, they are in serious danger. It is not long before the blood is spattering all over the place.

It is very unlikely that you will predict the ending.

This is one of the better quick reads. You’ll read it in one sitting as you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve read the last word.

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