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Book Review: It by Stephen King

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
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In Derry a dark force has awoken, named It.

Seven children battled It twenty seven years before and almost beat it. This monster wakes every twenty seven years and murder, dismember and feed on children. It has the ability to change its form, to become the things that individual children fear and likes to take the form of Pennywise the clown.

Then following a big event were It reaches its peak of activity, then the monster sleeps. This cycle has been repeating since before records began, but nobody likes to talk about it or write about it. It’s like all the citizens of Derry have willful blindness.

It tells the story of Bill (Big Bill), Eddie, Richie, Bev, Ben, Stan and Mike. Their battle with It as children and their return to Derry as adults to face It again.

As adults will they have the same magic that they had as children to beat It? And this time, will they be able to finish what they started twenty seven years ago?

This book is way too long. It has 1,166 pages and the reader will find themselves counting down the pages. The plot is simple, most of the book is character development, rather than storytelling. Whole sections of this book could be cut without any interfering with the plot and would still have give the reader a good sense of each individual character. The description was overly wordy at times.

There are some iconic horror scenes that will stay with the reader long after they have read the book. These scenes would lend themselves brilliantly to film, which is why it is no surprise that it was recently made into a film.

Overall what made It mildly enjoyable was getting to know the characters. The plot lacked any captivating moments, twists or turns. This story could easily have been told in a standard novel size, rather than this massive book. Inadequate editing and seemingly no harsh cutting let this book down.

It is available to buy on Amazon and at all good book shops.

Review soon,



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Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
the-graveyard-book-neil-gaiman-cover In The Graveyard Book, Nobody Owens (also known as Bod) is saved from murder by Ghosts. As a toddler, Bod, crawls out of his cot and walks up the hill to The Graveyard in the dead of night. Meanwhile his family are being murdered in their sleep by a man named Jack.

Jack tracks Bod up to The Graveyard. The ghosts save Bod’s life after Mrs Owens makes a promise to the Spector that is Bod’s mother. The ghosts agree to raise Bod and grant him the Freedom of The Graveyard.

Bod is to be raised by ghost surrogate parents Mr & Mrs Owens, with Silas who belongs to neither the world of the living or the world of the dead acting as Bod’s Guardian.

This is the start of a truly remarkable adventure story. Bod is taken through a gravestone that leads to a desert and city of the ghouls, he develops a friendship with a dead Witch and a living girl, he is taught how to fade, he goes to an ordinary school and uses

fear and dreamwalking to deal with bullies, he learns the ways of The Sleer and finally learns the truth of why his living family was murdered, why the man Jack is still after him and has to fight off The Jack’s order.

The Graveyard Book is the most wonderfully imaginative story that I’ve read in a long time. As the plot unravels the reader is captivated throughout and ponders on the mystery of why the man Jack murdered Bod’s family and why he continues to search for Bod to finish the job of wiping out his family.

The characters are superbly surrounded in mystery with hidden talents that make each character brilliant.

The Graveyard Book has made it on to my top shelf – where I keep my favourite books and there is no doubt in my mind that it is a book I will read again and again. It was a book that I honestly didn’t want to ever end.

At the end of the book, in an acknowledgments section Gaiman writes that this book was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, that Gaiman read as a child, and also inspired by his own children at a certain age. This inspiration shines through as I found myself thinking that The Graveyard Book reminded me of the story of The Jungle Book, way before getting to the end acknowledgements section.

I would highly recommend that anyone and everyone reads The Graveyard Book, which is available to buy on Amazon and at all good book shops.

Review soon,



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My First Fishing Trip

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, NatureNo Comments

The Fishery

My mum’s getting married next week to a lovely man named Ian.

Sometime ago Ian asked me to be his best man, to which I agreed. But what could I do his Stag Do considering he doesn’t drink and nor do I? I thought to myself.

Then I came up with the idea of a fishing trip. Ian likes fishing, as does Neil, my big brother. Besides which, I’ve always said that at least once in my life I’d like to catch a fish, so here was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone*.

So a few weekends ago, we set off to a fishery somewhere near Morecambe and Lancaster. On arrival we were greeted by the Warden who was in his fifties, had dishevled hair, a beer belly and clothes that looked like they hadn’t been washed in quite sometime.

The Warden staggered towards our car, can of Carling in hand and then stood there swaying. Ian showed him our booking form, but he looked at it as if he either was trying to get it in focus or couldn’t read it. He directed us to the Head Office, instead of Reception where we collected our keys to the static caravan. On the way to our caravan, we saw that the Warden lived just three caravans away.

As I enjoyed a coffee and cigarette on a picnic bench in front of the caravan with Ian, the Warden drove past in a Jeep, giving me an intense stir – the sort I imagine serial killers give to their intended victims. The Warden came to a stop on the road opposite our caravan and continued to stir.

Ian went over to speak to him through the Jeep window. He said in the creepiest tone of voice possible: ‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Yes the Warden.’ Ian replied.
The Warden wound up his window, gave me a long hard stir and then slowly drove off.

During that stir I imagined that he was planning to rape me (after all, I was easily the prettiest on the site and the closest to being a woman), murder me and chop my body into pieces to feed to the fish. This sounds a little dramatic and like I’m trying to make this part of the story funny – but he really did freak me out.

So I called Neil, told him the situation and that he’d better get here before dark. I told him: This is how horror films start! That night we all chatted, played Harry Potter Top Trumps and Superhero Top Trumps, with Neil coming out as the victor.

Later, as the weekend wore on, I became slightly more relaxed about this encounter wih the Warden telling Ian and Neil with a smile: ‘Listen it’s alright for you two. You’re old, either bald or going bald. I’m the jail bait in the static caravan.’

The next day, after a big cooked breakfast was the fishing. I caught the first and by far the biggest with Ian’s kind help. There’s so much innuendo in fishing terminology; I was figuratively rolling on the floor laughing the whole weekend. Phrases like: Keep tight hold of the rod. Bait me up. Owe…what a lovely little tiddler.

Here are some photos from the day’s fishing:


Mother Duck and her Ducklings – But that isn’t what we came for.


Ian & Neil in their fishing gear.


Me in my fishing gear…I hate to say it…but I’m like the Tiger Woods of the Fishing World LOL.


This is exactly how I imagined fishing to be.


The first and biggest fish of the weekend – caught by me with help from Ian.


A close up of the big fish…definitely bigger than a gold fish.


The fish I was most proud of catching. My first fishI caught all by myself. Isn’t it a lovely little ‘tiddler?’

On Sunday, being still in recovery, I was exhausted. So while the boys went out fishing, I took it easy reading The Humans by Matt Haig. It’s an awesome book that I’ll be writing a review on when I’ve finished reading it. In the late afternoon we headed back home.

We all enjoyed the trip so much, that it is to become an annual event. Known in the family as ‘The Annual Fishing Trip.’ I love that the time spent male bonding brings us closer together as a family.

Write soon,


* No birds, fish, ducks or other animals were harmed by Ian, Neil or myself during the trip. However the odd human stranger did push his luck and came very close to being maimed.

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A Week Without Facebook & Twitter

By Life, Technology, The Web2 Comments

I banned myself from Facebook and Twitter for a week. I felt like social media was taking up too much of my time and that it was too accessible (being available on my phone, tablet, through the internet, etc.). I used the week to reevaluate my relationship with social media: how I use it, how often I use it and what I use it for. What I learned about myself, Facebook and Twitter was fascinating.

Antony-Simpson-Writer My Relationship with Social Media
The week off social media has caused me to realise a few things:

1. Facebook & Twitter are the main sites I visit on the web.

2. I hate incorrect information on the social media sites along with hateful comments/status’/groups. As an example, my friends were sharing a group called KGT (Kill Gays Today) on Facebook, with good intentions. They were sharing it to encourage people to report it, so that it would get banned. But having seen a few of these hateful groups shared recently, I honestly just don’t want to see another. Ever.

3. I check social media, while doing other things at the same time. This means that social media wasn’t taking up as much time as I thought – and – that giving them up didn’t give me a load of free time back.

4. Checking social media distracts me from activities were I need a high level of concentration, such as writing. So I did benefit for a whole week of not being distracted while writing.

5. I had to stop myself throughout the week from habitually checking Facebook & Twitter, which made me realise that I use them daily.

6. I found myself making excuses to myself to check them and then forcing myself not to, behaviours common with a developing addiction.

7. I found out that I do like seeing what people are up to without having to speak to them.

8. I love unique content people create and share on Facebook & Twitter, but sometimes I just wish there was more of it.

facebook-logo Facebook’s Sneaky Tricks
Facebook used sneaky tricks to try and make me go on it. First in a week it gave me 30+ notifications, all cleverly worded to make me feel like I was missing out. I had posted a status update saying I wouldn’t be on for the week; yet friends continued to message me, tag me, etc. This caused me to question how many of my friend’s actually see my status updates? I realised that I felt more identifiable on Facebook, so was more likely to be cautious about what I post/share on there.
twitter-logo Twitter’s Lack of Appeal
I have to admit that I barely noticed not using Twitter. I only received 3 notifications all week. My pet hates on Twitter are: the 140 character limit, the shameless self promotion by some, the lack of pictures/photos and the bad filtering of my home page feed. I actually realised I could live without Twitter in my life, if it wasn’t for the number of Publisher’s Publicists on there.

Giving up Facebook and Twitter has made me more aware of social media’s limitations and the temptation to overindulge. I love the unique content people make and share; so I shall be the change I want to see. Later on in the year I’ll be sharing/tweeting some of my short stories I’ve been writing, and continue to share my journalism articles with you all.

Blog soon,


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