Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Synopsis from Google Books:

Discworld’s pesky alchemists are up to their old tricks again. This time, they’ve discovered how to get gold from silver — the silver screen that is. Hearing the siren call of Holy Wood is one Victor Tugelbend, a would-be wizard turned extra. He can’t sing, he can’t dance, but he can handle a sword (sort of), and now he wants to be a star. So does Theda Withel, an ambitious ingénue from a little town (where else?) you’ve probably never heard of.

But the click click of moving pictures isn’t just stirring up dreams inside Discworld. Holy Wood’s magic is drifting out into the boundaries of the universes, where raw realities, the could-have-beens, the might-bes, the never-weres, the wild ideas are beginning to ferment into a really stinky brew. It’s up to Victor and Gaspode the Wonder Dog (a star if ever one was born!) to rein in the chaos and bring order back to a starstruck Discworld. And they’re definitely not ready for their close-up!

This is the tenth book in the Discworld series, and in my opinion, one of the best, alongside Mort, which was hilarious.

In this adventure we see the creation of Moving Pictures, basically films. This is Pratchett’s take on the creation of the movie world. Set in Holy Wood, the alchemists have created something dangerous and enchanting.  People rush to Holy Wood from all over the Discworld to seek fame and fortune – but something is not right. As Victor gets drawn into the fray, him and his co-star Ginger find out the secret danger that is Holy Wood, and with the aid of Laddie and Gaspode, a talking dog, they have to save the day.

This book is incredibly funny. Pratchett is subtle and sly with his humour and mocking of Hollywood. We see the characters chasing fickle dreams and destruction. As ever, the books are engaging and exciting. There was adventure and some heart stopping moments. Pratchett does not fail to catch the imagination and like with the other books I was quickly and easily transported to the Discworld.

As in the other books, Death features. He seems to be the most regular character, and as always he made me laugh. I loved it when he was in the bar drinking, very funny. Gaspode was probably my favourite of the new characters. His dry humour and sarcasm were great reading. There were so many funny characters and story lines in this book. I loved the troll, Rock and his aim for fame, and the troll Ditritus and how he tried to date Ruby, and I think the funniest part of the book for me was when the senior wizards were sneaking out of the university like naughty students.

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. There is action, film, adventure, love, trolls, dwarfs, talking animals, wizards and Death, alongside fire, hidden cities and Dibler, the man always out to make a fast profit. I can’t think of a complaint for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

9/10

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Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

blue-smoke

Synopsis:

Reena Hale grew up with an intimate knowledge of the destructive power of fire. When she was a child, her family’s restaurant was burned to the ground, and the man responsible was sent to jail. The Hale family banded together to rebuild, and Reena found her life’s calling. She trained as a firefighter and then as a cop, always with the end goal in sight: to become an arson investigator. Now, as part of the arson unit, she is called in on a series of suspicious fires that seem to be connected-not just to each other, but to her. And as danger ignites all around her, Reena must rely on experience and instinct to catch a dangerous madman who will not stop until everything she loves has gone up in smoke.

I really enjoyed this book. I had never read Nora Roberts before, but I already have two others lined up. Catarina Hale first experiences fire when to get revenge, Joe Pastroelli burned down the Hale family restaurant, Siricos. Pastroelli is taken off to jail, in front of the neighbourhood and his own son. Having experienced the adrenaline fire produced, Reena trained up on the arson unit in Baltimore. Yet someone is out to get revenge on her – setting fire to all around her, from buildings to lovers. We follow Reena as she tries to second guess the man tormenting her and prevent her whole life, herself including, going up in smoke.

This book had me gripped right from the beginning and by the end, with so much excitement on the last few pages, I could not put this book down. Never did I get bored. I was hooked, and trying to work out the arsonist’s next move too. The anticipation of finding out what was to burn was intense. It was interesting that right from the start we know who is after her – it really isn’t hard to work out – but then as Reena doesn’t know until 100 pages towards the end; in fact it takes her a while to realise she is being targetted, there is a new and exciting level of dramatic irony.

I loved the Hale family. They are a big, Italian family, firmly rooted in the neighbourhood and loved by all. They all look out for each other and protect each other. I loved Xander, Reena’s younger brother, because despite his age, he always had Reena’s back, and saved her on many occassions. I loved Bo, the next door neighbour. It took me a while to figure him out, but he comes through for her and won’t desert her even though he is in danger. And I loathed the arsonist and really wanted to see him taken down. All the characters sparked a response from me, which I think is important in a book.

There was a fair amount of sex, and plenty of bad language, which I didn’t like, but that aside, this was an incredible book. Exciting and engaging. Robert’s writes a fantastic story. I highly recommend this book.

9/10