The book I read to research this post was The Rough Guide To Cornwall and Devon by Robert Andrews which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This is a pretty lengthy tome that covers the subject in depth and there are plenty of tourist attractions in these 2 counties in Britain. The book is mostly divided into small chunks each covering a small region or town of interest. There is a coastal footpath of interest at 630 miles one of the longest in Britain that starts at Minehead, Somerset, goes around mostly the coast of Cornwall and Devon and finishes at a point near Poole Harbour, Dorset. The biggest city in the region is Plymouth in Devon and many of the centres of population are to be found on the coast. Much of Plymouth was bombed in World War 2 hence most of the buildings are quite modern. The greatest historical centre in this region is probably the city of Exeter with one of Britain’s best cathedrals that boasts the longest continual gothic roof in the world and has an amazing amount of carving and sculpture. There are 2 major wild areas in Devon, Dartmoor and Exmoor with Dartmoor being the most wild. There is the very famous Dartmoor Prison which in times past housed some of the most violent offenders in Britain. It is very old and nowadays the number of inmates has been scaled back and they are there for non-violent and white collar crime. Truro is the only city in Cornwall and achieved that status in 1877 and the cathedral that was built in 1901 was rather controversial because it is very old fashioned in design. There is probably one of the great tourist attractions of Britain in the Eden Project near Saint Austell which is an old clay pit turned into a series of amazing biodomes each with a different theme and lots of modern art and sculpture to decorate around it. There is a short free train service to the bottom of the clay pit to save you walking that far. There is also Lizard Head which at different points is the westerly and southerly points of Cornwall. Land’s End is a popular tourist attraction here. There is also the town of Penzance and not that far off shore are the Scilly Isles and the abbey ruin at Tresco with its ruins. There is both an air service and ferry to these islands. Not that far away is the lighthouse at Saint Michaels Mount the tallest lighthouse in Britain and the most westerly on this side of the Atlantic. I’m sure you can see this is a great region and the book does it justice. I really enjoyed reading it.

I am reviewing the thriller novel, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym for JK Rowling which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This is an adult which is probably why Joanne Rowling is using a pseudonym as she is most famous as a children’s author. It is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series about an ex Afghanistan veteran from the British Army who had a leg blown off by a mine and is now a private detective working for whoever will pay the most. In this installment his leg hasn’t healed up enough to take a prosthetic leg and it gets quite sore. It was blown off from the knee down and he apparently saved the life of another by pulling him clear of the blast although his commanding officer died. The case he has to take on is for the boss of a large company who has had a senior member of his workforce go missing. It was after he digitally created an offensive photo of the boss. He also wrote a derogatory book about the owner and company. Cormoran as time goes by suspects someone has changed parts of the book for their own reasons. He also investigates the murder of a rather plain lady who went with a married man and got murdered. The latter is a rather open and shut case. The husband used to regularly have affairs and would go with almost anyone. The title The Silkworm comes from the idea that when they make silk they boil the coccoons of the silkworms not the silkworms to make the silk and in reference to the derogatory book about his boss what the person wrote isn’t necessarily what was published. I think Joanne had a lot of problems with the press especially with allegations the News Of The World in Britain tapped people’s phones. There has been a big court case concerning this. This has frequently been a theme in her 3 more adult books and also exploring what is fame. This is obviously quite an important theme to her. I did really enjoy the book and it is a pretty decent length and if I had a complaint it would probably be there isn’t that much humor in it which I think Joanne excels at especially in the Harry Potter books. She is definitely one of the best fiction around at the moment.

I am reviewing the fantasy tv series A Game Of Thrones Season 4 which is the latest season and which is excellent. In this King Joffery of the 7 kingdoms is poisoned at his wedding and is little more than a boy. Tyrrell Lannister played by Peter Dinklage is accused of the murder and the king’s mother Cersei played by Lena Headey is trying to make sure he is found guilty although he is innocent. He does get fed up with all the lies and demands trial by combat. The man he hopes will duel for him won’t do it because he has too much to lose now he is married but someone else steps in. Cersei has a huge giant of a man represent her at the duel and although at first the duel doesn’t go his way he does win. Tyrrell is sentenced to death. This season is mostly based on the second half of A Storm Of Swords by George R R Martin and is part of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series of books. It is the most celebrated fantasy book series of recent years. The Wildlings are coming from the North to conquer the 7 kingdoms starting with the Northern Kingdom which is the largest and most sparsely populated. They have a 100,000 troops, mammoths and giants to name some. They are very ruthless and almost seem unstoppable although they do eventually get defeated. The gold mines in the 7 kingdoms have all become disused with all the war and the owe the Iron Bank loads of money and they fear there line of credit could end. The Iron Bank is very powerful and can even raise armies and destroy kingdoms if not paid in full. Charles Dance plays the king’s advisor who has to take care of this. Joffrey’s younger brother becomes king and isn’t as cruel as his predecessor so is quite popular if a weak ruler. Cersei knows perfectly well the rumours he is illigitimate are true and he probably shouldn’t be king. Emilia Clarke continues ridding Slave Bay of slave masters and sets the slaves free although most continue to join her army. She builds up quite an empire although in a couple of cities the governments she sets up are overthrown. She locks 2 of her dragons up after the third one kills a young child and then disappears. Tyrrell’s wife Sansa disappears after Joffrey is killed and is whisked to a far off kingdom where the ruler is responsible for the murder and wants to look after her because he had a special relationship with her mother. He has a jealous partner who is also Sansa’s aunt. There is also a crippled lad who is clairvoyant and he will develop the ability to fly by the end of the series. Sansa has a sister who has joined up with a loner called The Hound who intends taking her to the Lannisters for a reward. The Lannisters also send out a lady and her squire to bring the girl back. There is a fantastic battle between The Hound and this lady who wears armour and was taught sword fighting by her father. I think this season is the best of the series.

 

The book I read to research this post was The Top 10 Eyewitness Travel Guide To Sydney which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book isn’t all that long but does a good job of giving an overview of Sydney’s tourist attractions and there is much useful information for potential travellers. There are many celebrities with houses here like Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Judy Davis. It’s most famous attraction is probably the Opera House with it’s curved rooves and over 1 million tiles. It has the longest single span bridge in the world, the Sydney Harbor Bridge. There are steps you can climb to the top of this bridge giving fantastic views. Near Sydney is the 2nd oldest nature reserve in the world. There is the very famous Bondi Beach which is also a neighborhood for the wealthy to live in. There are ferries from the harbor to 39 different destinations. You can rent a 20 foot motor boat for $395 for 4 hours which includes a fishing permit. The Wallemi Pine was discovered near Sydney in 1994 and was previously thought to have become extinct. A specimen was sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens in London. There is the Sealife Centre with it’s 12,000 aquatic species. There is a tourist attraction where you can go underwater with the sharks called Shark Dive. There is a major zoo. There are many beaches around Sydney and you are expected to bathe between the flags which indicate areas patrolled by lifeguards. There haven’t been any shark attacks in the area since 1963 and in one incident a severed arm from an underworld killing was found inside a shark. It turned out the arm had been severed with a knife and the culprit was never found. There is an international airport approximately 6 miles from Sydney. There are government subsidized buses which are useful for getting to general areas but for most people trying to their hotel the private minibuses which take you to the exact destination and are quite reasonably priced are probably best. I did enjoy reading this book and Sydney is Australia’s premier city although it might not be the capital. Also it is one of the great holiday resorts of the world.

 

I am reviewing the science fiction novel Quarantined Planet by John Allen Pace which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book was free on kindle and was number 1 on their free science fiction novel chart. It is also fairly short at around 160 pages. The basic premise was suggested to the author in 2006 by a friend and I think he has expanded on it quite a bit. The plot which starts in the present day is a young girl is kidnapped by humanoid aliens who give her a job as one of the crew on a space freighter and take her to their planet. As time goes on the planet starts to notice it has been cut off and supplies which are never late aren’t arriving. Her spaceship I think is limited to nearby planets and as time goes on someone comes up with the idea of putting all these humanoids in energy pods and using them for electricity. Some of the others on the planet are also humans kidnapped from Earth. The planet is called Gaiea & they do resist and some of them get away and 2 of them are kidnapped by Greys which are what we might typically think of as aliens. The young girl kills the 2 Greys and then learns they were trying to rescue them and they are a bit stuck but the Greys have modified their respiratory systems so they can breathe the lethal atmosphere aboard the ship. I won’t spoil it by telling you any more of the story. Suffice it to say it is an enjoyable story which maybe if it had been longer would have been better. I can speed read so do appreciate longer stories although I think a lot of people will be satisfied with the length of this story and it is well written.

I am reviewing the horror novel Relics by Shaun Hutson which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This is quite a controversial which features ritual sacrifice of children and dog fighting among other things. At the time it was written both topics were considered off-limits even in horror novels. Shaun received a lot of hate mail over the dog fighting scenes and a visit from the police who assumed he must have gone to a dog fight due to it’s realism. The story is mostly about a black magic who use dogs that have their throat and collected in a chalice in their ceremonies. They also use teenagers to do sex magic in exchange for heroin. I suppose they have a habit and are desperate. Two characters, Kim and Wallace investigate the sect. There is also a scene where a bottle of nitric acid falls off a shelf and gets someone in the face. There are also gruesome murders carried in a kind of serial killing fashion. The book is complete with a shock ending. This book confirmed Shaun’s status as the Godfather of Gore and he does say is one of his favorites. It’s certainly a very gruesome book which does maintain your interest throughout. I enjoyed reading it and must admit the gore didn’t bother me too much.

I am reviewing the updated Robocop movie which is an excellent film. This movie has been released on blu ray and dvd quite recently in the UK and where as the original was more of a violent thriller, this movie is more of a science fiction film. In a lot of ways although I enjoyed the original, I prefer this movie. For those ┬áthat don’t know the story is set in the near future when street violence has reached unprecedented levels and organized crime is rife. The story in both films is set in Detroit and a policeman played by Joel Kinnaman is very seriously injured mainly due to the other cops being corrupt and landing him in it. He gets blown up and a technology company turns him into an android that still embodies the human side of him. The dilemma of how someone half machine, half human has to still have some kind of relationship with his wife and is quite intelligently explored. With at one stage him being almost being turned into a kind of zombie to cope with the disturbing emotions he experiences and at one point not recognizing his family. He isn’t allowed to investigate his own murder which is another dilemma he ultimately ignores. He shoots an unarmed man in revenge for the attempted murder on him and the corporation try to have him shut down partly because the trail leads to the head of the company played by Michael Keaton. There is another dilemma in that he can’t damage company property including Keaton who wears a special bracelet that causes him to shut down if he breaks that protocol. Samuel L Jackson plays one of the directors of the company & Gary Oldman plays his inventor. Abbie Cornish also gives a nice performance as his wife. Robocop in this film is far from invincible unlike the original film which really works in this film. It’s the kind of film I bet would be really impressive when viewed at the cinema and the special effects are magnificent especially when Oldman shows Robocop what he has become and removes the mechanical parts and he is just left with his head, neck and chest and the various organs. It’s a very disturbing scene.