Monday 29 July 2013

July Hit, Miss or Maybe

1. Now You See Me - HIT

I really enjoyed this. I've never been to keen on magic shows but magic and magicians as a film subject is another thing, especially when its mixed with mystery and a police chase. I loved the entire cast, literally I didn't not like anyone of them. This is rare indeed. To be honest you can rarely go wrong with Woody Harrelson. The film is centred around 4 street/amateur magicians who are introduced through what their specialties are. They all receive a tarot card with a place and time to meet. They all think they have been chosen to be inducted to 'The Eye' a mystical ancient order of magicians, or so I gathered. A year later they are pulling in huge crowds in Las Vegas which is where they rob a bank, in Paris. They promise to pull off more daring stunts in their next few shows, all in different locations. The main focus isn't actually the '4 Horsemen' it is more about the cop (Mark Ruffalo) and the woman from interpol (Melaine Laurent) trying to solve how they robbed a bank in Paris. It is a fun and thrilling film, thrilling because the 'tricks' are so awesome.

2. On the Road - MAYBE

This would have been a miss if I hadn't loved the actors (except Kristen Stewart, sorry Twilight fans). The story is all over the place but I liked that. I wasn't about just one journey, it stops and starts. There was a sense that the personal journey that Sal is more important than the physical ones made with, mostly, Dean Moriary (damn cool name for a actual horrible person). But all the lovely men in the film has deep husky voices so I missed a lot of the dialogue, forever having to rewind and listen again.

3. The Art of Getting By - MISS

(SPOILER ALERT) Is it me or is Freddie Highmore just dull now he's made it through puberty. He was great as Charlie Bucket in that chocolate factory but in this, he was dull. His character was dull. In fact most people in this film were either dull or predictable. The only people I liked were the crazy old guy art teacher and Alicia Silverstone as the english teacher. Both small roles but both were far better than everyone else in this film. I know that is harsh but this film wasn't great. I liked it at the start but then it lost its way. It became stereotypical cliched teenaged love sick boredom. I liked the title though. the story is simple, loner outsider artist George doesn't do any work because he is lazy. He meets pretty run of the mill, has issues, Sally. They bond, he likes her, she likes him but don't say it. George befriends artist who used to go their school. They become friends, until Sally goes out with the older artist. Boring. George tries to win back Sally even though they weren't together. He has to complete all the homework he missed during the year including a painting which oh what a surprise is of Sally. They get together ultimately over a painting. Predictable.

4. Spork - HIT
Loved the trailer when I first saw it. The music was catchy. It isn't perfect but its just adorable yet depressing, but it is ultimately a feel good film, in a way. Spork is a 14 year old intersex (hermaphrodite)  teen who identifies as being a girl. She lives with her brother is trailer park. Her only friend and neighbour is Tootsie Roll, who all tries to include Spork in things. She plans on entering a dance off and using the money to visit her Dad in prison, but hurts her leg days before. Spork enters instead. The setting for this film is all over the place. The bitchy girls dress in 80s clothes and like 80s music but also worship Britney Spears. Spork and Tootsie dress in 90s clothes and listen to early 90s hip hop. This just makes the film better. The message is clear too, just be who you want to be and ignore those who try to mess things up for you. Not as eloquent as it sound sound. The end dance sequence is a Napoleon Dynamite worthy surprise.

5. Monster University - HIT

Pixar's first prequel and despite the one line error from Monsters Inc, this film was very good. Almost all the characters from the first one make cameos or supporting roles. We see how friendships were made, how enemies were made, how if someone believes in you, your talent can be discovered. The new characters were amazing especially the brothers of Oozma Kappa. Some were stereotypes but because this is the monster universe they are hilarious. Someone commented saying that the film was full of 'in jokes' for those who went to university, not true. If you went to school at any point in your life you can relate. The person who made the comment was promptly dealt with, no need to worry there Pixar fans. It's fun and games and about believing in your friends and of course yourself. Could not love it more.

6. The World's End - HIT

It's been a while but Wright/Pegg/Frost fans, the wait is over, the third film in the unofficial Cornetto trilogy has arrived and its all we ever wanted plus its grown up. We've had zombie romances, buddy cop adventures and now its alien robot things. Gary King gathers together his group of mates who he has touch with, mostly because he's a selfish idiot. He convinces them to go back to their home town and finish 'The Golden Mile' pub crawl that they failed to complete when they were teens. But all is not what it seems, no one remembers then and are acting strange. Fantastic cast assembled with the token hilarious addition you wouldn't expect (Pierce Brosnan this time) as well as the familiar faces. Everything about this film screams tradition and old comforts back for one last hurrah. In a way its sad because it feels like there won't be another collaboration like this again, although the trio have said they will work together again. I really though this film great, genuinely funny, so much that I was still laughing about one joke half way through the film. I love how all these films have things in common, mostly small towns, pubs, drinking and surviving something but above all that, these films are very British and that is a fantastic thing. Shut up all you British (film) haters, this was a great British film.

7. The Wolverine - MISS

I almost forgot I saw this. In truth I only sat through this so I could see The Lone Ranger. This was one of the films I couldn't talk about until it's release. I was so disappointed by the first Wolverine Origins film that I had not planned on seeing this at all. But seeing I saw this at the event, what harm could it be to see it. This was better than the first but still not great. Set mainly in Japan and following on from events in the equally awful X-Men 3, Wolverine is taken back to Japan to meet the man he saved back during World War 11 when Nagasaki was bombed. The man he saved is now very wealthy buy dying and he wants Wolverine's ability to heal. All chaos ensues when Wolverine does indeed mysteriously loose his power to heal and the mafia get involved. There are only two mutants in the entire film. Disappointing. Half the reason for seeing a film like this is to see the mutants. There is one amazing fight scene on top of a bullet train which was good but otherwise, meh.

8. The Frozen Ground - MAYBE

What is John Cusack doing? What is lovable Cusack doing? Seriously. You play one crazy sick murderer and then you get typcast. I really think Nicholas Cage should have swapped roles with Cusack. Just saying. Based on a true story of 1980s Alaskan hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen. He stalked and murdered around 20 young women, kidnapping them then taking them out to the Alaskan wilderness where he let them lose, hunted them down and then buried them. It's a grim tale but a good story to put on film. The cast is good, even Vanessa Hudgens as the victim that got away and helps bring the murderer to justice. I saw this film at 22:30 at the Media and Trade preview event. I saw it straight after another true story, also about murder and kidnap, it was alot to take in last thing at night just before I travelled back home on the last train, but it was good film, worth seeing. Maybe save for the DVD release.

9. The Heat - MAYBE

I loved Bridesmaids, I liked this. I am not that keen on Sandra Bullock but like a few other actress's, she has got better, or I have warmed up to her in her older age. Both the lead ladies are hilarious. But I wish that Melissa McCarthy would get given other roles rather than 'large tough foul mouth woman'. She is better than that, she was Sooki from Gilmore Girls for gad sake! Basic cop conspiracy story. Up tight FBI agent (Bullock) is sent to work on a case in Boston, the case leads her to end up working with a crazy, loud mouthed cop (McCarthy). They work together to find who is the major drug dealer is but going through the seller, suppliers and distributors, most if not all scenes are funny. Great twist in the old odd couple buddy cop movies, which all feature men in the main roles, this was a nice change, and I hope this isn't the last.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

It Combines Two Of My Favourite Things

Books and Films.

Or rather, story and film. Having to do a good deal more reading than I usually do, I have a reading list. A very long list. I am currently reading something old, something new and something by force. I had planned to re read the entire Chronicles of Narnia for old times sake but that plan has been put on hold due to the long list. Most books on the list are either going to be films/TV series, already are film/TV series or something I think would make a good film/TV series.

In no particular order, these are the books on my mammoth reading list:

  • (Currently reading) Mariah Mundi and The Midas Box by G.P. Taylor - this is the first book in the series following the adventures and exploits of Mariah Mundi, set in Victorian England. It has also been made into a film and was meant to be released this year, but I'm not if that still stands.
  • Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner - The classic 1931 German adaptation of the book is being released by the BFI and the National Theatre is putting on a production in November this year.
  • Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James - a follow up from Pride and Prejudice but this time with a murder. The BBC have or are making this into a mini series. Not sure when it will be aired, but the cast looks good.
  • Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde - this is the fourth book in the Thursday Next series. I have listened to the first books on audio but alas this book didn't have a reasonably priced one so I got the book.
  • The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta - HBO are creating a new TV series based on this book. The concept was so good I decided I had to read the book before it came out. The story follows the residents of a town after The Rapture occurs, the people who are left behind.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth - This has been made into a film (its all over Comic con) with the other two books close on its heels I bet. Said to be 'the next Hunger Games' so I am intrigued.
  • The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman - This is a new book, I read the back and an article about it and was very intrigued. Time travel, sci-fi, noir, sounds perfect.
  • Claire DeWitt and The Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran - I just liked the story. Female detective tries to solve case of dead ex-boyfriend.
  • The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde - This screams out to be made into a film. Nursery Crimes Division. Brilliant.
  • Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters - I like Sense & Sensibility much better than Pride & Prejudice, the latter is over done (unless there is follow up with a murder). With added sea monsters, I sounded interesting.
  • Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham - it came out ages ago and usually I eat up all things Fables comics related but I wasn't too keen on the artwork so I have taken my time with this. 
  • X-Women by Chris Claremont and Milo Manara - another comics collection, I love X-Men and the idea of the stories focused on the women of X-Men was great, but time and distraction, I haven't had the chance to read it.
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion - Simple. I wanted to read the book before the film. Both are still on my to read/watch list.
  • Paddington Takes the Air by Michael Bond - I love that bear from darkest Peru.
  • Peril at End House by Agatha Christie - finished another Christie book not long ago and loved it, I just wanted more of her books to read, plus I love Poirot and needed a book I hadn't seen on TV.
  • The Life and Times of Hercule Poirot by Anne Hart - He is one of my favourite detectives.
  • Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure - I loved the mini series on ITV earlier this year, so when I saw the book (going for cheaps) I grabbed it, then paid for it.
I said it was mammoth and I'm sure I have left a few off the list.

I have also noticed a pattern. Most of the books are about murder/mystery, some kind of detective and have strong female characters. With the exception of Paddington.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Dystopian Generation Next

The Hunger Games was amazing, I know that, you know that. Even those who didn't take to the books or films knows it was a 'big deal'. Unlike Twilight hellsville. Can't speak for the books, but the films were bad.

this year looks amazing, this year, the year of Avengers and the year Scott Pilgrim were and are the years I desperately wish I had been at , I am making mental notes to actually save up and go next year, as well the Maine trip. So many things to save for

This year at not only is , the second enstallment of The Hunger Games everywhere but the 'new Hunger Games', is all over the event. With talk of trailers and panels, the excitment is all too much. I have to wait for these trailers to show up on the internet somewhere because at the moment there are just hideous fan made trailer showing up. When the first teaser trailer for   came out I watched it a thousand times, but I need new footage to stare at.

For those who are not in the know of , it is, like Hunger Games, adapted from a young adult book of the same name by Veronica Roth.  is part of a trilogy, like Hunger Games. It is set in the future, in Chicago and the citizens live in a society that is divided into five fractions; Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peaceful) Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave) and Erudite (intelligence). The story centres around Beatrice who lives in Abegnation with her family but feels drawn to Dauntless. Each year, all 16 year olds take an aptitude test that will tell them which fraction they are best suited for. But when Beatrice takes the test she is discovered to be a 'divergent' as she shows an aptitude for three fractions. She is told to keep this a secret when she joins her fraction. It has a great premise and as Kate Winslett is in the cast, I think its going to be good. The once and future Mary Jane, Shailene Woodley is the heroine, Beatrice. The sequel, Insurgent is already out and the final book, Allegiant, will be published in October 2013.

Another dystopian young adult book trilogy made into a film I wanted to mention was The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Though not seen as the 'new Hunger Games', its definitely in that category because of its setting, but the main character is a male. The Maze Runner (at the time of me typing this) hasn't been seen or mentioned at . Maybe it will, maybe it's still in production, I'm not sure. 

'The story is about Thomas and other boys trapped inside a maze. They have no memories of the outside world. The people inside the glade (called Gladers) have developed a social and political life. Each week supplies are brought into the maze through a lift, known as the box. One boy is sent up through the box every month. The Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Again, excellent premise and the cast looks good too, mostly because one of my favourite British actors, Will Poulter is in the film. Also all three books in the trilogy have been published so if you are dying to know the story, you don't have to wait a year!

All this young adult books interest has been heavily influenced by my current position as a development intern, reading book, reading about books, just makes me want to write books too. Watch this space.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Watching 9 til 5 (actually 11pm)

Could not believe my luck.

I finally won something or got through to something on IdeasTap and it is thanks to this blog actually. The event was advertised as a ' #film  blogging workshop' where people who have had a blog, relating to film, for over a year can improve their skills and blog posts. Unfortunately due to the short notice I couldn't make all the days. This meant I actually missed the workshop part of the event. The event, Media & Trade Preview Event, UKCINEMASHOWCASE ran from Sunday to Wednesday.

I'm really annoyed I missed the first two days of the event, absolutely gutted but I'm hoping I'll get a second chance at another event.

Another unfortunate thing is that because it was a preview event, I can't talk about all the films I saw, I can't even mention some of them by name. I had to sign a few embargoes. So I apologise now if the rest of this post is frustrating.

Tuesday was a very long day. 9 am start and straight in with a Friday release, #TheWorldsEnd. I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw the schedule, in fact the entire schedule. I'll review The World's End after this Friday when I plan to see it again. I didn't get out of the cinema until near midnight, the last film ran long, but over all it was damn worth it.

Wednesday was also an early start but a shorter day, which I didn't mind as I was really tired, and the film I saw before lunch was just too long, I actually drifted off for a bit.

Between each film I wrote a few notes down which I will save for the film's releases so as I don't break any rules. But I can list a few films I did see, no opinion attached, for now.

Films included; #TheWorldsEnd, Hawking, The Lone Ranger, Pain & Gain, The Frozen Ground, Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Watch this space for reviews and things!

Thank you #IdeasTap !

Sunday 14 July 2013

The Art of VHS

This weekend, although it was face meltingly hot, I ventured out on public transport, the worst place to be in a heatwave.

My sister and I ventured out to Old Street to see the exhibition, Not For Rental at 71A. The home of Little White Lies and Huck magazines. It is a marvelous place. Office on the ground floor, complete with a small shop front, then a gallery/screening area in the basement.

The room was set up like a video rental store. With all the video cases displayed (some empty). All the artwork was on the covers. There was also a game to guess the film from the artwork, most cases had the answer on the back. We, unfortunately had missed the public viewing and had arrived on the day the artwork was being sold. So there were a few gaps and as we looked around, videos were flying off the shelves. The exhibition was for a good cause, charity. The money was going to the Macmillan cancer support charity. At the back of the gallery there was a projection set up, playing an odd looking film on the back wall. After being distracted by it we realised it was Conan the Barbarian, with Schwarsenegger.

Looking at those videos made me think of the old video store that used to be up our high street. It was crammed full of videos, with little room between the shelves (floor to ceiling), it was great! But then a chain took over, Apollo, then they went bust and one night all the stores in the area were cleared out, left abandoned. Blockbuster did the same, except slowly, at least the one near me did that.

After the exhibition, it was onto The Book Club for brunch! I had never been there but my sister has and she recommended it. We had amazing ice coffee and I couldn't resist the pancakes, a small stack packed with berries and maple syrup. So good! Thinking of it now makes my mouth water.

After those pancakes we wondered over to one of my favourite places, Drink Shop Do. We indulged in more ice coffee and shared an amazing piece of victoria sponge. It was such a hot day more ice coffee and water was needed. On the way to the refreshments we stopped at a bookshop that had a trolly outside saying 'Books £1 each) so we had a rummage through. There were some ancient film journals and some even older copies of BFI Sight and Sound magazine from the 70s! Of course I picked up a copy, for £1, it was bargain to come across this history!

Anyhoo, to round up the day here are some of my favourite video cover artworks. See if you can guess the films.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Just One of The Fans

The other day, I got up early to go the office, early. I had intended to get their early so I could leave early. 

But that was until I saw an event on Facebook (like you do) saying there was a signing. Not just any signing though. To celebrate the up coming release of The World's End, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would be signing of posters of the new film in the afternoon. There was a limited amount of people allowed (200) and they would be given wristbands.

I, of course rushed to HMV in the morning, early, to make sure I got a wrist band. 

Later that day, I got to HMV way too early for the signing and wondered around for a bit before going to stare at books in Waterstones. I got back to HMV bang on time to see the other 199 people waiting in que. We, the loyal and eager fans, all waited for ages for the three to turn up. They were 45 mins late. Not to mention that they were also in a rush as they had to be on a TV show later that day. So we weren't allowed photos unless it was from the que and instead of the DVDs, they were only signing posters. Can't be helped.

I didn't mind, I was meeting them. I had met Edgar Wright before, briefly at Movie Con a few years back. I have a blurred photo my friend took to prove it.

I was annoyed in the queue though as this totally douche had shuffled in front of me, I tried to trip him up, but in vain. He shuffled past the guy in front of me too, I really wanted to punch him. I hate queue jumpers, what's the point of pushing in front of two people?? None you fool! I really hope his signed poster was ripped or damaged on his way to dungen. 

Away, they were really cool (we had a little banter), just wish I could have had a photograph with them or a proper one of them.

When I got home an hour later, guess who was The One Show (terrible show by the way). Simon Pegg and Nick Frost being interviews about the film. So they really did have to rush right over.

No idea where I'm going to put my poster . . .

Sunday 7 July 2013

June Hit, Miss or Maybe

1. Byzantium - HIT

I would describe this film, not about vampires but about a mother and daughter on the run, which is technically right. The fact that they are immortal beings that live on blood is just an added detail. I though this film was so refreshing, especially if you compare this to other vampire genre films. The two leads are brilliant, playing the whore mother and the mysterious writer daughter. The way they have survived for years is intriguing but lightly touched upon which makes them more mysterious and in some part intimidating. The story of the brotherhood is well played out too, making the men the evil ones, which I liked, nice touch. The location which most of the film is set, a seaside town that seems a dead end but in fact begins a new chapter in the runaways lives. The daughter befriending a sick young man worked well too, this character has a reason to believe her story and has no fear of dying. The dying guy in question, Caleb Landry Jones. He was in X-Men First Class, Contraband and Antiviral, I've said it before but he is one to watch. Great cast, plenty of excellent British actors, story is good and not stereotypical. People should have given this film more of a chance and not just assumed, oh its a vampire film, its not. It is about survival.

2. Hyde Park on Hudson - MISS
I love all the actors in this film, especially Bill Murray and the underrated Samuel West, but the film was dull. Had to say it. The only good scenes were with the King and Queen (West and Olivia Colman), they were actually hilarious. The film, I thought was about the visit, when the King and Queen of England came to visit Roosevelt (Murray) to ask for help with WW2 but it wasn't. That part of the story was only a quarter of the time. The rest was so dull revolving around Daisy and her affair the President and how she discovers that he actually had affairs with loads of other women and how she was eventually ok with it. Terrible story basically. The rest was just making fun of English people which is always tedious. I waited for DVD for this and I'm glad. Very disappointing.

3. Much Ado About Nothing - HIT
Words are not enough to describe how perfect this film is. Shot in black and white in one (amazing wish I lived there) loaction, Weadon's house, the cast is just utter perfection and the play, well it's one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I couldn't ask for more! The cast, mostly from Weadon's past shows, used to gather at his house and read Shakespeare plays. So when there was a break between the end of Avengers shoot and post production, Joss Weadon shot this film on a very low budget and in a 12 days. There are a few stories going on but the one everyone knows is between Benedict and Beatrice who are are at war with each other but eventually fall in love as they are made for each other. Another main attraction to this film was obviously seeing Fran Kranz in a main role again, he plays the lovesick Claudio. I think I just love Shakespeare plays told in a contemporary setting that works.

4. The Aryan Couple - MAYBE
I saw a trailer for this film years ago and waited for the cinema release and then DVD release that never came. I found it on ebay eventually and watched it. It is a familiar setting, Germany, Nazi's are exchanging safe passage out of Germany to wealthy Jewish families in exchange or all their money. The story is based on fact which makes this film more terrifying to watch. The treatment of the people was hideous, as well as the non Nazi German people. The couple in question are working for the resistance and are servants to a wealthy Jewish family are being shipped to Switzerland. The couple are in fact Jewish themselves and try to escape. The isn't bad, it's well done but ultimately it is so-so. There are a few typical war story elements that don't make it stand out. Such as the one crazy Nazi officer who, for no valid reason, becomes obsessed with the couple. Things like that.

5. Behind the Candelabra - HIT

I don't know much about Liberace, just that line from that song 'Mr Sandman'. Steven Soderbergh's last film, and its a definite high end. Matt Damon and Micheal Douglas are a very convincing couple, so effortless, and very well played. I did think half the film was creepy but that just shows how good the acting was, then I was told, Liberace was actually even more creepy than that. The story is heartbreaking in places, such as when Liberace wants to change Scott's face to look like him. Scott later has a breakdown saying he has nothing, not even his own face. The film is carried by the two leads as it seems they are the only two in the film, this isn't a bad thing at all. It is a great biopic of sorts even though its seen from Scott' point of view.

6. Mean Girls Quote Along

Written by Tina Fey, who could ask for anything more. Apart from the above event!! I have only been to one quote along and that was the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball and that event was amazing. This one was a bit more low key. It was in the screen up stairs at The Prince Charles Cinema, which is smaller but on the plus side more intimate. We were greeted by a fabulous host, complete with pink shirt just like Damien from the film. He interviewed Mark Waters the director and he gave some details about the film that I, personally wasn't aware of. For example, Lindsay Lohan was originally going to play Regina and Amanda Seyfried was going to play Cady. The original script was also R rated and the director shot takes with Regina swearing like Joe Pesci in Casino. Classic. Being in a room with other die hard Mean Girls fans was great. We all laughed ridiculously at everything, the Pimms helped, and we all quoted together. Bliss. A fantastic event! No, a Fetch event. #FetchEvent

Friday 5 July 2013

Into The Unknown Book World

I know I pledge to read the printed word but I was mostly talking about magazines and maybe a few books.

Right now I am interning (I know I've gone full circle of disaster) and its development work, something I wanted to do since University. I'm getting a bit more of a taster of development, drama anyway, and its been good, the office is amazing. It's like walking into a library but there are also desks and its 2 mins away from a Starbucks. BUT. Yes there is a but. I don't get to choose what I read and write coverage ( a sort of report) about.

My first task was as yet unpublished manuscript and for plenty of legal and moral reasons I cannot give away any information about the story and author. I will say this; reading a 300 page book, aimed at 9 year old boys of a laptop is not an easy task to take on. It is basically just like another series of books but its set in Japan the hero is British/American. There are parts that are exciting but overall I did bash my head against the keyboard a few times. I really don't enjoy reading off my laptop screen. You can all look forward to this unknown book I talk about as it is out next year, with sequels to follow. I am painfully aware that the book is not aimed at the likes of me but still, I can comment in the story. It was so so. Writing the coverage was fun though.

My current task or should I say tasks. The latter. I am reading the first book in a series from a very popular author but the genre is new to me. New Adult. I am familiar with Young Adult, I still read that genre. The Hunger Games is in the YA genre believe it or not. But New Adult is new. It is far easier to read and the characters are usually all the same. Think Fifty Shades of Grey and thousands more books like it. The book, I should mention, is a cross between NA and YA, so not as sexually charged as other books in this genre.

I have great respect for the authors of these novels, some of them churn out a 300 page novel everything few months. To me, that is quite a task. The covers are ridiculous though, always a man and woman either in the rain, holding hand or wrapped around each dripping in sweat or something similar. I am researching the genre so each day I discover a new and 'exciting' author and their books. There are 4 books in the series I have to read, wish me luck.