Fantastic Mr Fox #BookReview

F A N T A S T I C   M R   F O X

ROALD DAHL

fantastic mr fox

My Rating : 5/5

My Review :

This was my first read ever of Fantastic Mr Fox and to be honest I don’t think I would be in a rush to read it again. While the story contains a certain amount of charm and is a classic Dahl story it just didn’t interest me that much.

Boggis, Bunce and Bean are three of the meanest farmers the world has ever seen however they have one thing that binds them altogether and that is their hatred for Mr Fox. Mr Fox however is determined not to be caught by this measly trio so he hatches a plan to feed not only himself and his family but other animals who have been affected by the trio’s actions.

Roald Dahl’s characters whether good or bad are always captivating. The three farmers all equally mean but also unique in their meanest to the next was interesting. I enjoyed it when they would try and plot together.

Even though I gave the book a rating of 5/5 mainly due to the characterisation of the farmers and the coming together of the plot at the end, this book really did nothing for me. The problem is that Mr Fox is not as fantastic as originally promised in the title. Maybe I was just too old for a first reading. If I had read it as a child I may have had a different opinion.

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The Death of Robin Hood #BookReview

T H E   D E A T H   O F   R O B I N   H O O D 

(T H E   O U T L A W   C H R O N I C L E S #8)

Angus Donald 

TDORH

 

My Rating : 5/5

The Blurb :

‘I charge you, Sir Alan Dale, with administering my death. At the end of the game, I would rather die by your hand than any other’

England rebels

War rages across the land. In the wake of Magna Carta, King John’s treachery is revealed and the barons rise against him once more. Fighting with them is the Earl of Locksley – the former outlaw Robin Hood – and his right-hand man Sir Alan Dale.

France invades

When the French enter the fray, with the cruel White Count leading the charge, Robin and Alan must decide where their loyalties lie: with those who would destroy the king and seize his realm or with the beloved land of their birth.

A hero lives for ever

Fate is inexorable and Death waits for us all. Or does it? Can Robin Hood pull off his greatest ever trick and cheat the Grim Reaper one last time just as England needs him most?

My Review : 

I am so sad that I have come to the end of The Outlaw Chronicles. It is one of the best historical series that I have come across.  It is beautifully written and the pacing through out is remarkable.  Angus Donald has done a remarkable job in bringing the legend of Robin Hood to life.

There is of course a huge spoiler in the title of this book. The novel does indeed chronicle the final days of Robin Hood and his very reduced band of “merry” men. Those who have followed the series, such as myself knew this day was coming. I just wish I had been more prepared.

As with all the books in this series the tale is told through Sir Alan a Dale who became one of Robins men when he was a boy. Alan is old now, his strength is failing and but his memories of his Lord, the Earl of Locksley still burn brightly.  The elderly Alan now resident in a Monastery is now dictating his tales to the Abbot who is as enthralled with Alan’s tales of  loyalty, tragedy, battles, blood, intrigue and overtly friendship, as we all are.

During the course of this book the loyalties of all involved are challenged. Robin is calculated and as cunning as ever, causing those who are close to him to question his motives. Alan though, as ever, remains by his Lord’s side.

I was dreading the ending. I did not want to say goodbye just yet to these wonderful characters. The ending inevitably caused me to become misty eyed. It was wonderfully heartbreaking.

Hero’s Fall Legends Live Forever

Angus Donald has made a fictional tale feel very real.

A legendary tale that will indeed life forever.

How Far I’ll Go #Moana #Review

M O A N A 

Moana1

Cast: Alui’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Andy Tudyk

Rating: 5/5 (It’s Disney)

My Review: 

“If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” – Maui 

Well if that is the only criteria I am taking a trip to the pet store! One of the many things I loved about Moana was the fact Disney was not taking itself too seriously. It was full of off the cuff remarks that related to previous Disney movies as well of course the now famous Disney Easter Eggs.

Moana3

Moana is drawn to that line where the sky meets the sea. Moana is in love with the ocean and the ocean has chosen her too. It is her destiny to get Demi-God, Maui, voiced superbly by Dwayne Johnson to restore the heart of Tafiti to its rightful place. However, Moana has a problem. Moana’s father, the village chief will not allow anyone to sail past the reef out into the ocean. Moana’s grandmother, the village crazy lady who “loves to dance with water” inspires her granddaughter to go as it is the only way she will be happy.

The movie is full of memorable characters and songs. Maui’s song “Your Welcome” is one of the best comical songs I have really enjoyed since the Genie sang “A Friend Like Me”. Maui is an interesting character you are never really sure if you like him or not till you get towards the end of the movie.

Maui tat.gif

I did enjoy his little tattoo friend. Reminiscent of the Muses from Hercules. If all tattoo’s were like him I would consider getting one. I really did enjoy the banter between him and Maui. Of course the song “How Far I’ll Go” was my favourite song of the whole movie. I had heard it a few times before I had seen the movie and it is now one of my favourite Disney songs. It encompasses my desire to travel at the moment.

The CGI animation as always is well executed. I did have a slight issue with some of the pacing of the movie, however I expect at some point in the future there might be a Moana DVD with extra scenes as I have a feeling there were quite a few cut out.

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The character who stole the show however, besides Pau (the pig) who was so cute, was Heihei the Rooster. That rooster had me in crying with laughter.

As well as being full of fun and laughter, there are some lovely touching moments. My daughter told me she was moved to tears a few times while watching the movie.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy Moana as much as I did.

 

 

 

 

The King’s Assassin #BookReview

T H E   K I N G ‘ S   A S S A S S I N 

(T H E   O U T L A W  

C H R O N I C L E S   # 7 ) 

Angus Donald 

KingsAssassin

 

My Rating: 5/5

The Blurb:

AD 1215: The year of Magna Carta – and Robin Hood’s greatest battle

The yoke of tyranny

King John is scheming to reclaim his ancestral lands in Europe, raising the money for new armies by bleeding dry peasants and nobles alike, not least the Earl of Locksley – the former outlaw Robin Hood – and his loyal man Sir Alan Dale.

The call to arms

As rebellion brews across the country and Robin Hood and his men are dragged into the war against the French in Flanders, a plan is hatched that will bring the former outlaws and their families to the brink of catastrophe – a plan to kill the King.

The roar of revolution

England explodes into bloody civil war and Alan and Robin must decide who to trust – and who to slaughter. And while Magna Carta might be the answer their prayers for peace, first they will have to force the King to submit to the will of his people . .

My Review: 

The King’s Assassin is the seventh and penultimate book in Angus Donald’s wonderfully gripping Outlaw Chronicles.

England is being squeezed dry while in the grip of the ruthless King John. Taxes to fund the Kings relentless war in France is causing dissent throughout the country and the rumblings of a civil war echo around strongholds.

Alan of Dale despite fighting loyally for a King he despises finds himself having to defend his home and son Robert from the hands of King John’s Sheriff of Nottingham. One night after arriving back to England from the war, Alan is a guest in his Lord’s home,  the Earl of Locksley, the notorious Robin Hood. Alan is present while his Lord entertains two noblemen from the north who have rebellion in their souls and a plot to assassinate the King. Robin dismisses the plot and vows to have nothing to do with it, however Alan who is having to defend his manor from the King’s men finds his ear more inclined to the plot. Will Alan of Dale kill God’s anointed king?

I really enjoyed reading this book. One of the things I have enjoyed most about this series is the mixture of fiction with fact. Angus Donald is a master of weaving his tales into history so much so I was almost convinced that the Earl of Locksley’s name must be on the Magna Carta somewhere, one day I will have to take a look.

If you have read the previous books you will be aware that the narrator is Alan of Dale who is recounting the tales of his Lord, Robin Hood while in his twilight years. In this book however Alan has aged quite considerably and is now resident in Monastery. A Monk who Alan taught to read and write has now taken up the mantle while Alan dictates his tales.  In previous books I have really enjoyed these little insights into Alan’s life as he has got older. Now the Monk has taken over this also writing down what Alan is doing and how his life is in the Monastery. It is a nice touch, it makes Alan feel very real and it makes me feel a little sad that Alan is unable to write his tales himself anymore.

I personally felt as though this was one of my favourite books in the series as it has set up the next book nicely. Introducing some interesting new characters and reacquainting us with some others we would have sooner forgotten.

Emma and I

emma and I

E M M A   &   I 

Shelia Hocken 

My Rating: 4/5

The Blurb: As a girl, Sheila never let her gradual descent into blindness prevent her from trying to do everything a sighted person could do. Then at 17, unable to see to find her way around the house she grew up in, she found herself dreading her future in an ‘ever darkening vacuum’.

But then the remarkable Emma enters her life, and Sheila begins a journey that brings her the independence, love and happiness she never dreamed possible.

Emma and I is the moving and inspirational story of the unique bond between Sheila and her dog, and shows that, sometimes, miracles do happen.

My Review:

My mother read this book about 12 months ago and recommended that I read it. To be honest I was a bit reluctant as I am not into animal stories however it was not what I was expecting.

Shelia the author of her own story is truly an inspirational human being who I have nothing but admiration for. Born to a blind parents Shelia never considered her life to be abnormal.  Shelia lived the same as everyone else only she learnt to do things in a different way, she even cooked. One story that made me smile was after she left home and moved in with her friend. Her friend brought two mice and when she was away Shelia would feed them. One day though Sheila felt something soft on the work surface and believed it was one of her friends mice, so she caught it and put it back in the cage. When her friend returned home she had a shock when she saw three mice in the cage instead of two. Shelia’s independence grew after being paired with Emma, a chocolate brown Labrador.

Reading about Emma’s exploits though is at times both amazing and humorous. Emma would do things and you were left wondering how she did it? Even Shelia was left in awe at times. Emma was truly a remarkable Guide Dog.

Throughout this book Shelia openly conveys her hope and her despair, it is a roller coaster of emotions at times for the reader. I did however really enjoy reading this book and reading about how adaptable Shelia was to the circumstances in her life has helped me re-evaluate things in my life. It is a wonderful inspirational memoir and puts things into perspective. I recommend that everyone who is feeling a little low read this.

Book: 16/60 on the 101 List   9/25 – For 2017

I Can Save Today. You Can Save The World.

#WonderWoman

Wonderwoman2

W O N D E R   W O M A N 

CAST : Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Lucy Davies

DIRECTOR : Patty Jenkins

RATING : 4.5/5

THE BLURB : Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

MY REVIEW :

While I endured Batman vs Superman there was one moment in particular that caught my attention. It was the moment we saw a photo of Wonder Woman taken with a band of four during World War 1. I wanted to know more about that photo, who were those men? And, what was Wonder Woman doing during World War 1? That was the movie I wanted to watch. Someone out there obviously had the same idea because that is the movie I got and I really enjoyed it.

WONDER WOMAN
(l-r) SAÏD TAGHMAOUI as Sameer, CHRIS PINE as Steve Trevor, GAL GADOT as Diana, EUGENE BRAVE ROCK as The Chief and EWEN BREMNER as Charlie in the action adventure “WONDER WOMAN.” ©Warner Bros. Entertainment/Ratpac Dune Entertainment. CR: Clay Enos.

This movie is not without its flaws but I am not going to spend my time pointing them out, they are fairly obvious. Instead I want to mention what wonderful job all the actors did in their respective roles.

Gal Gadot our leading lady, Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman, is simply beautiful in her role. She proves that a female superhero can be just as fierce and loyal as any male but also empathetic stating that she “chooses love”.  Chris Pine was also very good in his role as Steve Trevor. Initially I thought he was just going to reprise his role as Captain Kirk. As much I love Chris Pine, I do find he plays a lot of his roles very similar. However, you cannot help but like Steve Trevor and his comical secretary, Etta Candy (Lucy Davies).  Sameer, Charlie and The Chief are also fun.

wonderwoman1

The action sequences were engaging, I enjoyed the soundtrack that went along with them. I was interested in the way DC managed to combine the horrors of the Great War especially the introduction of chemical warfare. The scientist Dr Maru nicknamed Dr Poison was a character who was quite chilling in appearance as well as in nature. I felt as though her role should have been bigger.

For a DC movie there is quite a big dollop of humour which I would have associated more with the Marvel Movies which could be the reason why I liked it so much. Patty Jenkins did a really good job as the first female director of a Superhero movie. I think it is thanks to her that we have a movie that appeals to all, rather than just teenage boys.

I am hoping that this movie marks a turning point in the recent history of DC movies. Overall I really enjoyed this movie despite its flaws. It has erased some of mistakes made with Batman vs Superman which leads me to hope that there is some hope for The Justice League Movie.

Second Time Galaxy Savers

G U A R D I A N S   O F   T H E   G A L A X Y  –  V O L U M E   2

Guardians 2

Cast : Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel

Director : James Gunn

My Rating : 4/5

The Blurb: 

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

My Review :

I have had a few difficulties putting my thoughts and feelings for this movie into words. In short: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is a hoot and a half.

Star-Lord a.k.a Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot are back along with some old and new friends. Like the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie this is a fun super hero movie, with lots of enjoyable moments and amusing gags. There was a nice mixture of both humour and sentiment which in terms of the storytelling flowed well.

Groot 2

One of the best things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the casting and this movie is no exception. The main cast interacted so well together that you immediately forgot that two of them were CGI. There appeared to be no awkwardness or weird moments where they are talking above the CGI characters head or to their crotch. Whoever was in charge of the pointing did a good job. The supporting cast were also good and interesting to watch. Baby Groot with his adorable behaviour undoubtedly stole the show, he was just so cute.

Surprisingly one of my favourite characters in this movie turned out to be Yondu (Michael Rooker). I loved his interaction with Rocket and Baby Groot (Twig).

Guardians 3

There were however a few inconsistencies with this movie. The CGI effects in places were excellent and really drew you into the movie. The scenery in places was amazing however some of it especially while they were on Ego’s planet looked computerised and blocky. It was not enough to be bothered about really just made me a little sad after everything else was so good. I took a really big dislike to the gold people. I found their virtual fleet irritating.  The pacing was also a bit… well… different. There is not a lot of action but the movie itself did not drag.

The soundtrack Awesome Mixtape #2 was excellent and all the music worked really well. In fact any movie which begins with Mr Blue Sky gets my immediate attention.

Overall I loved this movie. I enjoyed the fact that they did not feel the need to pump it full of unnecessary action but concentrated on characterisation of the team. I felt as though the storytelling was good and the humour did not divert from that. It is laugh-out-loud funny and just as enjoyable as the first movie if not more so. I even liked Sylvester Stallone.

I think I have covered everything I can say without providing you with a multitude of spoilers. If you love Marvel and enjoyed the first Guardians movie then you will love this.

Baby Groot