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Everything posted by Kell

  1. Dying Light Author: Stuart Macbride ISBN # 0007193157 Publisher: Harper Collins First Published: 2006 432 pages Rating: 9/10 The Blurb: It's summertime in the Granite City: the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and people are dying! It starts with a prostitute, stripped naked and beaten to death down by the docks - the heart of Aberdeen's red light district. For DS Logan MacRae, it's a bad start to another bad day. Only a few short months ago, he was the golden boy of Grampian police. But one botched raid later, he's palmed off on a DI everyone knows is a jinx, waiting for the axe to fall with all the other rejects in the 'Screw-up Squad'. Logan's not going to take it lying down. He's determined to escape DI Steel and her unconventional methods, and the best way to do that is to crack the case in double-quick time. But Rosie Williams won't be the only one making an unscheduled trip to the morgue. Across the city, six people are burning to death in a petrol-soaked squat, the doors and windows screwed shut from the outside. And despite Logan's best efforts, it's not long before another prostitute turns up on the slab! Stuart MacBride's characteristic grittiness, gallows humour and lively characterisation are to the fore in his un-put-down-able second novel, confirming his status as the rising star of crime fiction. The Review: This is the second novel by Stuart MacBride and is a sequel to the excellent Cold Granite. I’ll admit to being a tiny bit biased as, once again, this novel is set in Aberdeen, which is home to me, so I recognised all the locations as well as the people, but familiarity only counts for an insignificantly small part of my overall rating. Thankfully, this time round, it’s set during the summer (Cold Granite’s setting was the run-up to Christmas, so the weather was, understandably, appalling, even if that is a cliché in connection with Aberdeen), so the descriptions of the sparkling buildings and Aberdonians wandering about in short-sleeved shirts, soaking up the sunshine (yes, there was still some rain, but in moderation this time!) during the daylight hours, and tottering about in skimpy outfits during nights on the town (although, to be fair, young Aberdonian women do that in the foulest of weather – we’re dead hard up North!). The writing is as tense as it was in the prequel, leading one to believe that this will be characteristic of Macbride in future offerings; his characters are developed more fully here as we have already been introduced to them prior to this, but this could still easily be read without having first delved into Cold Granite, although there are references to past events. The plot is finely tuned and MacBride does not make the rookie mistake of having the entire police department focus on just one single crime – there’s a lot happening here, keeping everyone on their toes and making this a gripping read. As a follow-up to an exciting debut, MacBride has proven that he can sustain the suspense and should become a forced to be reckoned with within the crime fiction genre – I can highly recommend giving him a try.
  2. Life of Pi Author: Yann Martel ISBN # 184195392X Publisher: Canongate First Published: 2002 319 pages
  3. The opening lines of every novel set the scene and the tone of the entire story. Change the second line, and you change that story... The premise is simple: You post the opening sentence from any novel, then replace the second sentence (whatever it was) with "And then the murders began." Don't forget to mention the novel and author, in case anyone else wants to try reading it! I'll kick things off with a few: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. And then the murders started... Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. And then the murders started... The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. And then the murders started... 1984 by George Orwell: It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. And then the murders started... A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. And then the murders started... Give it a try!
  4. Doctor Who Series 10 + New Doctor?

    I confess, I'm really excited about the casting choice for the 13th Doctor - I've waited my whole life for them to cast a woman in the role. When you think about it, there have been 12 (13, if you count John Hurt!) white men in the role since it started, it's only law of averages that the Doctor would eventually regenerate into a female form, and I'd say there's a very likely chance the 14th Doctor will be either black or Asian - again, law of averages, rather than PC casting! We haven't caught up with the most recent season yet, as we went back and watched all the episodes since the reboot with Eccleston with the kids. We were going to leave the new casting as a surprise for the kids when the Doctor regenerates in the Xmas special, but Xander was desperate to know, so today I showed him and Josh the promo vid that shows Jodi Whittaker. They were both absolutely over the moon to have a lady Doctor - Xander actually said, "At least! It's about time - after all, the Master became Missy!" Turns out, it's not just little girls who have been waiting a long time for this - some of the boys think it's been a long time coming too!
  5. Game of Thrones

    Having watched the first two eps of the new season now, I think it's a good, strong start to the season, and I'm really looking forward to see what happens!!!
  6. I know this is several years later, but this is exactly what happened. I loved the first book, thought the second was, well, OK, but nothing special, and then couldn't even finish the third one because I really wasn't enjoying it at all!!!
  7. I'm no longer a student, but a few simple meals I still make now from my student days. If you don't already have one, invest in a slow cooker - they're great for chucking stuff into in the morning and having your diner ready when you come in at night! I also like to batch cook when I get the chance, and portion stuff up to freeze. I don't know if you're vegetarian, but as I'm not, here are a few meals I make. Most of them can be made vegetarian by just leaving out the meat and using an alternative source of protein, such as quorn, tofu, or pulses. I make a huge batch of basic bolognese base (mince, tomatoes, onion, garlic, whatever other veg I have - usually courgette, peppers, mushrooms, etc), then I split it into 3. 1/3rd gets portioned up as bolognese. 1/3rd gets made into individual lasagnes (make a basic white or cheese sauce, and layer up with pasta sheets, top with cheese - these can be frozen without pre-cooking the pasta, and just defrosted and popped in the oven). 1/3rd gets kidney beans, chillies, and chilli powder added, and is portioned up as chilli. I don't add pasta or rice to these dishes, as they're quick and easy to cook in whatever quantity I want on any given day. Serve with chips or baked potato, or salad for a healthy, filling meal. Other meals I batch cook are: 1) curry (chicken, beef, fish, vegetarian - whatever you like) with loads of veg in, sometimes with chickpeas or butterbeans or lentils in too, so extra protein. I freeze as is without rice, because sometimes I have something else with it. 2) corned beef hash (cook potatoes, swede, and carrots, then mash them all together with some fried onion and corned beef). Serve with whatever extra veg you like, add sauce or gravy as preferred. You can serve as is, or grill it for a crispy top. Very nice with cheese melted on top too. Freezes well. 3) corned beef stew (corned beef, potatoes, and veg, bunged in the slow cooker with whatever veg I fancy - usually root veg - and some beef stock). Again, freezes well, and you can serve with extra veg, or as is. I often steam some cauliflower and broccoli to have with it, as it works better that way than putting it in the slow cooker (they kinda turn to mush if you cook them in the dish!). 4) soup (honestly, any kind of soup you fancy, or just chuck veg in and hope for the best - great for using up leftovers of veg at the end of the week, when you have a lone carrot, a sad onion, and some leftover chicken or whatever). There are also loads of quick, simple, healthy meals you can cook within about 20 minutes including prep. I love stir fries for this very reason. I also often cook chicken or salmon in a mixture of soy sauce and honey, then add that to the veg I'm stir frying. Again, I just tend to use whatever I have to hand - peppers, onion, garlic, courgette, mushrooms, baby corn - whatever I have in. A roast chicken can provide meals for several days, as you can make curry and soup with leftovers. Don't be afraid to use frozen or tinned veg - they all count as your five a day too, and can help keep things economical (especially with frozen veg), as it lasts longer and you can just take out what you're going to use.
  8. Never Have I Ever...

    Me neither Neither have I (although I've been skiing) I have - I adore reptiles I have - it's yummy! Madeleine: I've never eaten oysters (and wouldn't want to either). Me neither - the thought of it makes me want to throw up! Never have I ever jumped out of an aeroplane...
  9. What's Up in July 2017?

    Last weekend I had a gig singing at a 60th wedding anniversary, so I did all stuff from the 50s and 60s and wore a 50s style dress, complete with net underskirts (which are uncomfortable and scratchy - I don't know how women wore those things all the time back then!). Josh's sports day got cancelled due to bad weather, which was a shame, because it would have been his first one. Xander's was yesterday and he came first in the egg and spoon race (he ran like the wind and never dropped the egg even once - I couldn't believe it!), 2nd in the sprint (he was up against the fastest kid in his year, who happens to be one of the fastest kids in the whole school!), and third in the sack race. We missed the first half hour because I got my times wrong, so we missed the sack race - totally gutted! Tomorrow we have Grom coming round for Sunday dinner, so I'm spending today doing loads of housework (which I hate!). Next Saturday is my cousin's wedding. I managed to find the perfect outfit last week, so I'm all set, because it even goes well with some shoes and a matching bag I already had - awesome!
  10. I'm pleased to announce that I'll be playing the role of Sonia in the Bede Players production of Godspell this November! :)


  11. Favourite and least favourite Harry Potter books? Favourite is Goblet of Fire, least favourite is Half Blood Prince Favourite and least favourite Harry Potter movies? Favourite is Prizoner of Azkaban (because it was the one that made me want to read the books) and Order of the Phoenix. Least favourite is The Deathly Hallows Pt 1 (aka Harry and Friends Go Camping...FOREVER!!!) Which house do you think you would be sorted into? Ravenclaw Which house did Pottermore sort you into? Ravenclaw Favourite and least favourite characters? Favourites are Luna Lovegood and Remis Lupin. Least favourite is Dobby - I couldn't stick him - too bloody annoying! Favourite and least favourite professors? Favourite professors are Lupin and McGonagle. Least favourites are Snape (because he's just a nasty, obsessive person full stop), and Dumbledor (because he plays favourites and is rather manipulative!) What would your patronus be (have you received details from Pottermore, or do you have your own idea)? I'm a dapple grey mare according to Pottermore. I don't know why, but I wasn't at all surprised! What would your wand be made of? (Pottermore) Elm wood with a unicorn hair core 10 3/4" and Quite Bendy flexibility Favourite spell? Wingardium Leviosa (I'm a total Hermione and I would have been correcting people about pronunciation in exactly the same way she did - LOL!) Favourite subject at Hogwarts? Transfiguration, History of Magic, and Muggle Studies Favourite thing/s about Hogwarts? The feasts in the Grand Hall!!! Also, just generally exploring the castle - I love old castles. I actually live not far from Alnwick Castle (which was used for exterior shots of Hogwarts) and love visiting it! What would your post-Hogwarts occupation be? I'd probably go into teaching, to be honest. I'd quite fancy teaching something like Muggle Studies. Either that. or I'd write for The Daily Prophet. Was anything left out of the movies that you really wanted to see? I can't think of anything right now as it's years since I read the books - I've just started re-reading them as of yesterday, starting with the first one. Was anything you would cut out (or down) in the movies? I wouldn't have split the last book into two movies. It felt like the first one was just the three of them camping for, like, EVER, and I got heartily bored with it. The second half was much better though. Favourite shop in Diagon Alley? Amanuenses Quills and Scribbulus Writing Instruments (coz I adore stationery), and both Obscurus Books and Whizz Hard Books (of course!) Favourite place in the wizarding world? I'd love to go visit Hogsmeade village Additional question: What is your Ilvermorny House? (Pottermore) I was sorted into Winged Serpent, which is not (as one might think) the Slytherin equivalent, but is instead (to my joy) the Ravenclaw equivalent.
  12. What cheered you up today?

    I got the part of Sonia in a production of Godspell today. Am chuffed to ribbons, because my favourite song in the whole show (Turn Back, O' Man) is MY song!!! <3
  13. Starting Terry Pratchett?

    I think he didn't really hit his stride till the third one, which is when the Witches books started. I think that's why the Witches books are so well beloved (that, and the fact that Granny Weatherwax is just all kinds of awesome - LOL!). By the time of the Death and Watch books he absolutely soared!
  14. Starting Terry Pratchett?

    I don't recommend starting with the Rincewind books - I have to admit, they're my least favourite, and when I read the first two books in the series (which were actually the very first two published in the whole Discworld series), I felt like if I'd read them first I wouldn't have bothered reading any others, and then I would have missed out on some awesome reading! My favourites are the City Watch novels, closely followed by the Witches novels (including the Tiffany Aching books) and the Death novels tied, then the Industrial Revolution novels tied with the Ancient Civilisations novels. When I go back to the Wizard books, I tend to miss out the first two, but if you do plan on reading the Wizard books, then do start with those because they do give some good back history to Rincewind who crops up time and time again, and the likes of Interesting Times is definitely worth it. It's also worth mentioning that the last few books are missed off that graphic, as it hasn't been updated in years...
  15. WWI Historical Fiction

    Then there#s no reason for you to be on a thread about WWI historical fiction - LOL!
  16. Outlander

    I'd say for nudity and some visceral content, it's closer to Game of Thrones than Midsomer Murders - there's a lot of sexy bits in there - Claire and Jamie go at it a fair old bit, but there's also a fair bit of her and Frank. There is also some corporal punishment in the form of whipping and some sexual assault content that could be upsetting for some viewers. It's all incredibly well done though, and filmed with the female gaze in mind. <3
  17. Tattoos!

    I saw something on FB the other day about soundwave tattoos which is pretty cool. The idea is that you record the sound you want to commemorate, convert it to soundwaves, then get the soundwaves tattood on our skin. You can then scan the tattoo, and using the programme affiliated with it, play back the sound! I was thinking I'd have my kids laughing tattood on me! <3 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4487502/Sound-wave-tattoo-lets-listen-body-art.html
  18. If I know I'm coming up to a particularly busy period, I'm less likely to choose a longer or harder going book, and will instead turn to light, frivolous reads (I'm reading a lot of cozy mysteries at the moment!), as they don't require my concentration as much. When I know I'll have time, like when I'm on holiday, I'm more inclined to go for a thicker book I've fancied for a while. For the record, The Stand (the complete and unabridged version, at well over 1000 pages) is one of my all-time favourite books. I haven't read it in a few years now, and need to get myself a new copy, because I'm starting to hanker after a long-overdue re-read! Some longer books/series I have on my shelf waiting to be read include The Count of Monte Cristo (which I've been DYING to read), and several books from the Romans series by Simon Scarrow - it's been quite a while since I read the earlier books, so I'm thinking of starting the series again from the very beginning to get all caught up again. Same with the Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride. The books themselves aren't all that long, but the time I'd invest in re-reading the series is comparable.
  19. The Last Film You Saw - 2017

    Hidden Figures About the black women who worked at NASA on the space project in the 60s. They were largely unappreciated due to their gender and colour, despite being bloody geniuses and doing some absolutely stunning work - they were women ahead of their time, blazing a trail for the future generations. Brilliant film! <3
  20. Live Music

    I went to see Adam Ant in concert last week (the first night of his new tour in Newcastle!) and it was all kinds of awesome! All his biggest hits, a whole bunch of B-sides, and some older, more obscure stuff that really big fans (like myself!) would know but would be totally new to others coming later to their fandom (such as Whip In My Valise from Dirk Wears White Socks). Had an absolutely fabulous night - we were right in the centre of the row, just three rows from the stage - almost close enough to touch!!!
  21. Live Music

    I'm going to see Adam Ant a week on Friday!!! <3
  22. What's Up in April 2017?

    Well, that's me now finished the Easter panto production of Puss In Boots (I was playing Puss). It's been a blast, and i've had a day off to go to the theatre to SEE a show (The Woman In Black), but tomorrow I'm back in rehearsals for a cabaret show which will be performed in a couple of weeks, then a couple of weeks after that, I have a WWII re-enactment to sing at, and in July, I'm singing at a 60th wedding anniversary (I'm getting rather busy all of a sudden and I'm even getting paid for some of it!).
  23. Cozy Mysteries

    I'm currently on the last book of the Food Truck Mysteries series by Chloe Kendrick. They're very cozy ad easy to solve, but I've enjoyed them.
  24. Reading America

    I spotted this online somewhere and thought it a neat idea - reading a book set in each of the American States. The list I found had several I'd already read, some I'd never heard of, and an awful lot that didn't interest me in the slightest, so I think I'll do a little research and make my own list - one for each state. Of course, if anyone wants to join in, please feel free, and if you felt like recommending any books, please post telling me the title, author, and the main state in which it's set, and I'll take a look to see if it tickles my fancy. I think I may well do this, and then continue with a book set in each of the South American countries. This will be a long term challenge, and perhaps one I may not even finish - who knows? But let's see how I go, eh? I'll be adding potential books to the list as and when I get a chance to research them. USA: AL: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee / Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg AK: The Call of the Wild by Jack London / The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey / Gentle Ben by Walt Morey AZ: AR: True Grit by Charles Portis CA: Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown / The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick / Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde / The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain CO: CT: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain / The Ice Storm by Rick Moody DE: Beloved by Toni Morrison / Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuiuk DC: The War of the Roses by Warren Adler FL: Duma Key by Stephen King / To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemmingway / Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay GA: Deliverance by James Dickey HI: From Here to Eternity by James Jones ID: IL: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury IN: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington IA: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller / The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson / A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley KS: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote KY: Beloved by Toni Morrison / The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis LA: ME: 11/22/63 by Stephen King / The Cider House Rules by John Irving / 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King MD: MA: MI: MN: MS: MO: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn MT: The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans NE: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty NV: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson NH: NJ: Election by Tom Perrotta NM: NY: NC: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon * ND: OH: OK: True Grit by Charles Portis OR: PA: Christine by Stephen King RI: The Widows of Eastwick (Eastwick #2) by John Updike * SC: SD: TN: TX: Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy UT: VT: Pollyanna by Elanor H Porter VA: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson WA: WV: WI: WY: Shane by Jack Shaefer * I've already read the rest of the series up until this point... CANADA: Ontario: The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford Quebec: Deja Dead (Temperence Brennan #1) by Kathy Reichs Nova Scotia: Before Green Gables (Green Gables #0) by Rudge Wilson New Brunswick: Manitoba: British Columbia: Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables (Green Gables #1) by Lucy Maud Montgomery Saskatchewan: Last of the Plainsmen by Zane Grey Alberta: Newfoundland & Labrador: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham / The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx CENTRAL AMERICA: Belize: Our Man in Belize: A Memoir by Richard Timothy Conroy Costa Rica: El Salvador: The Weight of All Things by Sandra Benitez / The Fifth Son by Nicholas A Patriccia Guatemala: Betrayed by J. M. Windle / The Evil That Men Do by R. Lance Hill Honduras: The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux Nicaragua: A Thousand Deaths Plus One by Sergio Ramirez (trans. by Leland H. Chambers) Panama: The Tailor of Panama by John le Carre SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina: The Lighthouse at the End of the World by Jules Verne Bolivia: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Brazil: Brazil by John Updike Chile: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Colombia: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Ecuador: Guyana: The Middle Passage by V. S. Naipaul Paraguay: Peru: Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa Suriname: Uruguay: Venezuela: The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara