Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

Blurb:

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

Ebook – CLICK HERE TO BUY!

Subject:

I realised as I was working on one of my novels, that it would be much better suited as a TV show or even film. I visualised it so much whilst working on it I decided I should investigate the possibility of editing it into a screenplay.
It was at this point that I realised my study hadn’t included a huge amount about it, and so many people just ended conversations about screenwriting by saying things like, ‘Why bother, it’s all about who you know, not what you know.’
Whilst this could be true, the six steps from Kevin Bacon do seem to cover the whole of Hollywood and beyond, I don’t like being fobbed off or deterred so I decided to learn a bit more about before writing it off (sorry really rubbish unintentional pun)

Continue reading “Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder”

No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

I imagined him in a slightly mucky rain coat, hair a bit unbrushed, a bit of dandruff on his collar. In his youth, an army uniform well pressed but also well worn.

No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

Title: where my heart used to beat

Author: Sebastian Faulks

Copyright: Sebastian Faulks 2015

Ebook

Audio Book

Blurb:

On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

Plot:

This story follows the life, as told by the main character to another, so very much from his view point.

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks”

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

It reads like an epic, maybe one day we’ll see it transformed into film, it has that cinematic feel.

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

Title: Part Star Part Dust 

Author: L M Valiram

Copyright: L M Valiram 2017

Ebook

Blurb:

A millionaire, a widow and a monk. A plane crash. In Part Star, Part Dust, the poignant and unforgettable debut novel by L.M. Valiram, three destinies are linked for eternity in a tale narrated by Time.

Meet Radha. She was left in a dumpster on the side streets of Mumbai to die as she was born; premature and undernourished. Meet Mira. At sixteen she is to marry a man she has never met before. On her wedding day, she carries a knife. And Gaurav. People say love is more important than money. But what happens when having one means you can’t have the other?

Scattered across India, these three are intertwined in unlikely ways: the flower shop owned by Mira’s husband employs Radha’s boyfriend, Mira and Gaurav become partners in business and most importantly, an ill-fated trip to Delhi links them all in death and life. Set in the sensuous worlds of Bombay and Delhi, Valiram’s dazzling novel explores the deep meanings of love, family, and time.

Plot:

The blurb just about covers this, it’s a literary novel, following various well drawn characters through their lives. It is a fairly short book (the frustration with ebooks is that you can’t ‘feel’ it’s weight)

Continue reading “No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram”

Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn

I’ve also been ‘let go’ and it’s hard to bounce back but Pat gives you the tools, and motivation to do it.

Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn

Title: Let Go

Author: Pat Flynn

Copyright: Pat Flynn

Ebook 

Audio Book 

Blurb:

Let Go is Pat Flynn’s touching memoir about overcoming adversity through a commitment to pursuing your own path. Pat’s story chronicles the extreme highs and lows he faced as an ambitious and hardworking architect. When his luck was down, Pat turned away from the expected path and built his own through perseverance, investment in self, and a devotion to helping others. Along the way, Pat managed to not only achieve financial success but more importantly discovered what matters most: passion and purpose. In Let Go, Pat reveals the inside story of his transformation into one of today’s most beloved thought leaders in the areas of Internet business, online marketing, and lifestyle entrepreneurialism. He shares the challenges and feelings he faced as he pieced together what has become a thriving online enterprise. If you share Pat’s impulse to pursue your own path, then you’ll enjoy Let Go. After all, we all must confront the same risky idea if we are to unlock our true potential: letting go.

Subject:

I listened to this audio book in my car, it made for a really entertaining drive. It could be a self-obsessed depressing subject but it certainly isn’t, nor is it promising riches to anyone who wants them. Pat Flynn describes his naive optimism when starting out in his chosen career. How it didn’t quite turn out as planned and how he moved forward.

Continue reading “Book Review – Get to know the iconic Smart Passive Income guru – Let Go, Pat Flynn”

Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.’

Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

Book Review

Title: Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur

Author: Joanna Penn

Copyright: Joanna Penn 2014

Ebook 

Audio Book 

Blurb Extract:

Everything you need to run your business as an author. This is not a book on creativity or the craft of writing. This is not a book for hobbyists. This is a book that will take your writing into the realm of actually paying the bills. You will learn how to go from being an author to running a business as an author…’

Subject:

I started out as an amateur blogger, just chatting online for fun whilst working full time. I was also studying for a degree in literature at the Open University. I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.

Continue reading “Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn”

Is An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

Audible on an ipad with Beats headphonesIs An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Summary

Product Name: Audible UK – an Amazon Company

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K of the best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Price:

UK £7.99 per month subscription, or one off payments as you buy (Free one month trial is on offer, as at January 2017)

Pros:

Easy to use

High quality audio

Makes the best audio books accessible to your mobile device

Cons:

The Audible app is getting some poor reviews, hopefully this is a short term problem

If you don’t read very many books, you may not benefit from the subscription.

It isn’t your local library.

Summary:

If you have an Amazon account signing up is ridiculously easy. The book choice is vast, the best audio books with high quality audio, often by the author brings the stories alive. You can even listen to a free sample before deciding. Search easily filtered virtual bookshelves, sample and download your book choice in minutes. The whole process is smooth and customer focussed, recommended.

Buy Now

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

————————————————

Product Name:

Audible – an Amazon Company

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Audible is a part of Amazon if, like me, you steer away from the huge companies, be reassured on this occasion it’s a good thing. OK, so it isn’t your local library where you may be able to obtain free audio books. However Amazon has the buying power and the technology to do their job well. The choice of books you can download is vast, up to date and as far as the ones I’ve sampled so far, with excellent audio, often by the author themselves.

The Audible app is ideal for anyone who uses a smart phone or mobile device. Sadly at the time of writing the app had been through an update and is receiving poor reviews. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. Amazon want happy customers to return to them again and again.

If you don’t fancy the Audible app, you can use your Kindle / Android etc.

I recently signed up for the free trial at Audible UK. I’d been asked by Audible to review the process

(For transparency this post does include Affiliate links, but I am not being paid to write this post)

So how did the sign up go? Easy!

  • I signed in as suggested using my Amazon ID. It auto-populated a payment option for the potential subscription cost to be paid on my chosen card. It had brought this information through from my Amazon account. Don’t worry you have an option to use a different payment method.
  • The sign up process immediately accepted me. I was auto-redirected to the ‘shopping’ page, my account already given ‘1 Credit.’ You get a credit a month, which you can spend as you choose.
  • The best value is box sets or anything over the cost of your subscription, but I guess you will work that out all on your own. My free trial has resulted in me being the proud owner of a £23 Stephen King audio book, so no complaints there.
  • The prices are shown in cash money prices or credit prices, so it’s easy to see what you can afford.
  • As with Amazon the search is quick and easy, filters apply for best sellers, genres, authors etc.
  • If you are community minded you can join up and follow other readers, see what they are reading etc.
  • If not, just click and buy, then sit with a brew and listen to your book. Job done.
  • My wi-fi is quite quick anyway so my new 10 hour listening book downloaded within moments. I’d recommend doing it on wi-fi when possible, if you are on a limited data package, just in case.
  • From start to finish it took me less than five minutes. If you don’t have an Amazon account allow a bit longer to add all your payment and account information.

Price:

Current UK price £7.99 a month, starting with a free month’s trial. Drop it in your calendar so you don’t pay after the first month, if you want to avoid payments going out after the free trial.

Pros:

If you haven’t discovered audio books yet, try it or maybe give a gift of a subscription to someone. They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

The audio format is ideal when out on a walk or on the treadmill. I’d be reluctant to recommend listening in a car or whilst driving as I think it can be distracting, but maybe it depends what book you are ‘reading.’ I’ve recently got into baking again and use that time to listen to both podcasts and audio books.

How about downloading a children’s book and listening with your kids? There are free books on there too, ideal for bedtime.

Cons:

It’s not your local library and it’s not paper books. But get over it. It makes books accessible, you can read many more books and currently it really is great value. You can still snuggle up with a paperback when the mood takes you.

The subscription could become onerous if you don’t read enough, so don’t allow it to be like your gym membership, paid out but ignored, OK? In fact, listen to the books at the gym you’re already paying for but not using, exercising brain and body all at once. Result!

It’s part of a big machine, Amazon so I encourage you to drop in to your local charity or book shop and buy the odd paperback.

Summary:

The audio book will not be going away any time soon, it won’t replace a paper book, just yet anyway, but it can help you to ‘read’ many more books.

It’s quick and easy to sign up, the best audio books are immediately available and the ‘credit’ each month, if you subscribe, can be a real bargain.

I’d recommend listening to the free sample, you may be listening to that voice for a LONG time, so make sure it doesn’t grate on your nerves.

Buy Now:

Want to know more?

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

Young Adult (YA) Fiction Book Review – Matched, Ally Condie

The young characters are not only learning about love and honesty, but also hidden agendas. They learn that not everything is as it seems, decisions are not always easy, in other words adulthood does not bring all the answers.

Matched book cover

Book Review

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Copyright: Allyson Braithwaite Condie 2010

Ebook  

Blurb:

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.

Except he’s not. In Cassia’s society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die.

But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that’s when her whole world begins to unravel . . .

Plot:

No spoilers, as ever. We follow Cassia, her friends and family as they learn that growing up isn’t just about falling in love and getting a job. It involves learning about things you didn’t even contemplate.

There are a few clever hints back at a life that we, in the present day, may recognise, these made by reference to Cassia’s grandparents and their stories.

Cassia now lives in a very controlled environment, everything and everyone is regulated for their own protection, apparently. Secrets are kept, lies are told. Who and what can be trusted?

Why do they all carry pills?

Continue reading “Young Adult (YA) Fiction Book Review – Matched, Ally Condie”

Book Review of THE BRILLIANT – His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

A small town murder occurs, in true ‘TV detective Columbo’ style you know who did it, but you are still drawn into the tale. Brutal moments, hidden undercurrents and stubborn survival instincts all described simply and in deserved prize-winning ways.

HIs Bloody Project Book Cover

Book Review – His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

Book Review

Title: His Bloody Project

Author: Graeme Macrae Burnet

Copyright: Graeme Macrae Burnet 2015

Ebook

Blurb: The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.

Plot (or subject if non fiction): This aspect is confusing. Is it fiction, or non-fiction. It’s brilliant and I’m guessing it’s fiction compiled around fact. That’s what it says it is.

Isn’t all fact just one person’s version of events? History is after all, HIS STORY, yes some feminists did want to change the word.

A small town murder occurs, in true ‘TV detective Columbo’ style you know who did it, but you are still drawn into the tale. Brutal moments, hidden undercurrents and stubborn survival instincts all described simply and in deserved prize-winning ways.

You must read the whole book, don’t do what I confess I often do, which is to skip the preface.

I’m looking into my own heritage. If I can uncover a long lost relative like Roddy and put together a compulsive and heart wrending story around the facts as Graeme has I’ll be thrilled.

OR is it totally fiction, all made up in Mr Macrae’s imagination? I’m still not sure!

Characters: Roderick Macrae – a descendant of the author, a grieving son of a, now deceased, loving mother Una

Roderick’s father John Macrae – recently widowed, hard man of the hills, struggling to keep afloat

Lachlan Mackenzie aka Lachlan Broad – not a nice chap, but did he deserve what he got?

Conclusion:  The ‘story’ is funny, heart breaking and educational. It will make you glad you’re alive now and not in the time or place of the events at the heart of the book. 

I love an underdog so it really broke my heart.

The court scene has discussions that brought to mind the old skulls you can find in museums when they studied phrenology as a science. The so called experts of a view that there was a ‘criminal class’ you could spot by their physical attributes.

I guess in some ways we haven’t come that far, you still hear people saying ‘he looked dodgy.’ Maybe we are hard wired to judge by appearance.

Recommended: YES YES and YES. I don’t usually like or always understand the Booker prize choices but this is one I whole heartedly agree with. It has become one of my FAVOURITE books.

Pick it up, devour it and let me know if you agree, I’m sure you will.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/forensics-the-anatomy-of-crime-val-mcdermid/

Book Review – The Missing, C L Taylor

https://www.waterstones.com/author/graeme-macrae-burnet/1886613

Handy Shopping Links (If you use my links to go to pages such as Amazon, to book your holidays, or investigate software options I earn a small commission. You’re supporting my work, enabling me to continue writing and keep this website and content free to you, thank you!)

I hope I’ve inspired you to buy a book and read more. Tweet me from your next coffee stop! If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.

Book Review – The Missing, C L Taylor

I’ve always thought it is horrific when a child goes missing, never to be seen. No funeral, no mourning, no moving on.

The Missing C L TaylorBook Review – The Missing, C L Taylor

Book Review

Title: The Missing

Author: C L Taylor

Copyright: C L Taylor 2016

Ebook

Blurb: When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Continue reading “Book Review – The Missing, C L Taylor”

Book Review – The Girl In The Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz

Lisbeth has quite a few really good reasons to hate men and I believe Mr Larsson’s writing shows he was a true feminist

The Girl In The Spider's Web

Book Review – The Girl In The Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz

Title: The Girl In The Spider’s Web

Author: David Lagercrantz

Translation: George Goulding

Copyright: 2015 – Multiple – please see your own language print publication

Ebook

Blurb:  The girl with the dragon tattoo is back. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time.

Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story – and it is a terrifying one.

More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker.

It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters – and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.

Plot: I bought it, read it and am now sharing my thoughts. I don’t write spoilers so if you want a detailed breakdown you’ll need to look elsewhere.

The main witness to a crime is a small boy with communication issues, a clever way to highlight Lisbeth’s own personality and to add suspense. Lisbeth does show her soft side in this book, with a cleverly written relationship with the child. A meeting of minds, maybe a bit predictable but a nice development.

You can expect violence, suspense, numerous plot twists and turns, computer hackery (if that isn’t a word yet it should be) and the more than slightly damaged Lisbeth being frustratingly but understandably independent.

Lisbeth as ever is quirky, self reliant, violent, misunderstood and under threat. She must have more scars than, well, than most people! I just hope her dragon remains forever intact.

Characters: This book won’t really make much sense to you, or you won’t get much out of it, if you haven’t already got to know the characters.

The usual suspects are all mentioned in one way or another. You even get a handy list reminder at the start telling you who everyone is. I’m not sure if that’s in the hope that you’ll read it as a stand alone, I found it a handy reminder since it’s been some time since I read the first three books.

The highly dysfunctional Salander family is given more depth, with Lisbeth’s sister making an appearance.

I never liked the philandering Blomkvist and his actions in this book doesn’t change my opinion. The sexual tension between the two leads bugs me, I’ve just never thought it’s needed. Maybe he’s a father figure, I’ve not really decided.

In years to come Lisbeth and Blomkvist could settle down with baby girls running round chasing wasps but I don’t think he’s her Mr Right, she deserves someone stronger on her side, and most probably a woman.

Conclusion: If you are, like me, a Lisbeth Salander fan you won’t be able to resist this book. It was commissioned, not sure who by, as the author of the original three books, the Millenium series, died before he made his fortune from his excellent writing.

Cue a massive dispute over the fiction rights and subsequent fortune.

Anyway, back to the book. I had to buy it, I felt obliged to support the cause, which is ridiculous as the dead author, Mr Stieg Larsson, is not around to appreciate my loyalty and it’s not even his work.

I did enjoy reading it but didn’t devour it like the first two, or finish the trek as enthusiastically as I had with the third slighty less easy to read book in the trilogy.

Recommended: Yes, just to keep up with Lisbeth. If you haven’t read the first three please do, they are truly modern classics. They also spawned a whole new genre.

The Swedish title for the original novel was Men Who Hate Women. I read (can’t recall where) that originally the author wanted the book called The Woman Who Hates Men. This meant he apparently couldn’t get published. If that’s true it’s a shame because Lisbeth has quite a few really good reasons to hate men and I believe Mr Larsson’s writing shows he was a true feminist. Either way, they switched to the tattoo theme for the English market and that seems to have done just fine.

I won’t give this fourth tale a massive hype as I found it less compulsive than the originals. I’m not sure why, maybe the voice wasn’t strong enough. The dark deeds not quite dark enough. The characters a little off kilter. It just generally felt lacking, maybe it would be best to let Lisbeth walk away into the sunset. I’ve no doubt Mr Lagercrantz is an excellent author and I can only imagine how daunting it was to take on this classic sequel, but in some ways I wish it had been left alone.

Let me know what you think, should true classics have sequels or prequels by different authors?

You may also like:

Book Review – Midnight Sun, Jo Nesbo / Translation, Neil Smith

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-wikileaks-inside-julian-assanges-war-on-secrecy-david-leigh-and-luke-harding/

Handy Shopping Links (If you use these, I earn a small commission. You are enabling me to continue writing, and keep this website and content free to you, thank you!)

I hope I’ve inspired you to buy a book and read more. Tweet me from your next coffee stop! If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.