Thursday, 25 August 2011

Holiday Reading

Hi all,

I am off for a well deserved holiday tomorrow, and time-off for me equals reading! So I thought I would let you know what books I am taking away with me.

  1. Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver
    I have been reading this one for a few weeks now, and thanks to a busy schedule I haven't managed to progress more than half way. But I am looking forward to getting stuck in and finishing this one.
  2. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
    I have no idea what this one is going to be like. It was recommended to me by my Mum, so it will keep me busy for a day :P
  3. The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver
    One of the last books we have in the house that I haven't read. Again came highly recommended by my Mum as a good read.
It is going to be a crime thriller holiday! It is only a week away so all I can hope is this will be enough. But I always seem to find a book store selling English books no matter where I am and will undoubtedly be picking up some more!

Hope you are all having a great summer.

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie xx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver - Book Review

I have mentioned in previous reviews, Jeffery Deaver’s novels have been my first choice when it comes to the crime/thriller genre for a while now. My mum and I have read most (if not the full 28) books he has written. And as hard as it is to say – I think this has been my favourite one yet!

Front and back cover
I have always liked the way Deaver has adopted different themes in his novels. I find a lot of crime thrillers rely on tired psycho killers that go bump in the night. Where I enjoy Deaver's varied imagination of speed change artists (Vanished Man) to computer hackers (Roadside Crosses) and now electrical engineer’s using electricity or ‘juice’ as a weapon.

Lincoln Rhyme is at his finest in this book, with the mix of weakness and strength that makes him such a well-rounded character. His personal struggles with his health and mental stability provide as much of the action in this book as the killer's electrifying stunts do.

The twisting roller coaster of the final chapters, provides enough red herrings to fill an aviary. The main reason I regard it so high is it just kept me guessing till the end! The duel narrative sometimes had me a little confused with who the characters were chasing at each moment, but the book answered all necessary questions to satisfy any curiosities by the end of the book. 

Overall it was action packed roller coaster of false leads and detailed crime scene analysis that receives a rare 5/5.

A must read!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie xx 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Spellbound by Kelley Armstrong - Book Review

I was really looking forward to the release of this book, as regular readers will know. To say I was disappointed would be a lie, I love Kelley Armstrong’s writing style, but I wanted more.

This book follows seamlessly from Waking the Witch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two books were written very shortly after each other, or split in to two by an editor. Unlike the previous books which can jump between character sets (such as: Clay & Elena / Paige, Lucas & Savannah / Hope & Carl / Jamie Vegas) this one includes all of them in fantastic style. I have always liked how Armstrong crafts well rounded characters. With so many protagonists in one series of books it must be challenging to make each one individual, but they are all so well portrayed.

Savannah on cover of Waking the Witch
 The main protagonist of Spellbound, Savannah, is now pretty much the same age as me. I am sure this attributes to why I love reading about her so much. She is an awkward in between stage of her life, no longer a teenager but not quite an adult which I can emphasise with. Yet at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to ‘woman up!’
The underlying sexual tension that is present in all the books was as frustrating as Waking the Witch and Personal Demon. There is a reason Women of the Otherworld is an adult fantasy fiction series and that is really getting down to the crux of the issue and running with it. The werewolf books are particularly satisfying on this level (with Frost Bitten being almost soft core erotic literature!) Yet I am confident that Savannah’s narrative will progress and we will soon see her healthy and happy.

I can’t help but think that the narrative is getting very same-y. The threat of exposure of a secret community of supernaturals has been tackled in Harry Potter! But I cannot deny it is conquered very differently in Spellbound, and avoids the trap of True Blood of creating a utopian world where everyone is learning to co-exist in harmony. I am really interested to see how this progresses and read how Armstrong can keep her series fresh.

It is quite clear (much to my pleasure) that the end is nowhere in sight for my favourite supernatural series. I like the way the series is going despite the lack of passion in the latter books.
My next hunt is for the limited edition copies of  the fan stories/novellas: Becoming, Counterfeit Magic and Angelic at my price range. If all else fails I will download them to get my fix! I have also just learnt that there is to be a new novella, Hidden, to be released 31/10/11 which gives insight into the lives of Clay and Elena’s twins age 4. I can’t wait to get hold of this!

In summary although this is not my favourite book in the series, I am loving how the narrative is progressing!


Thanks for reading,

Love Rie xx

Friday, 12 August 2011

My Time at Carswel Gould - Week Three

Now that I have just completed my third and final week at marketing communications agency Carswell Gould, I am here to report how it has all gone!

As I mentioned in my last post, my main task last week was to complete a digital marketing plan to launch the RIBs to the Limit challenge film. I put a lot of effort in creating an easy to read document and it appeared my efforts really paid off. Ed seemed genuinely impressed with how I kept the objectives in mind whilst creating a table of action points to carry the plan through.

This week I have been carrying out the action points I could, whilst talking to the rest of the team about the bits I couldn’t, such as improvements to the website. Firstly I updating the profiles of the RIBS to the Limit accounts on YouTube, Flickr and Facebook to ensure that Carswell Gould’s involvement in the challenge was more widely recognised. Next I added some copy and links on each of the videos currently hosted on YouTube so that people knew a feature length video is being released, Carswell Gould’s involvement and where to go for more information.  As Twitter can only have a 160 character profile, I have written and scheduled a list of tweets for inform current followers about the upcoming release of the challenge film, their presence at the PSP Southampton Boat Show and related topics. Lastly I have left the task of designing and coding an extra case study page to the CG site to Graham and Tom (design) and Rob (web development).

My first tweet apearing on the website's twitter widgit.

To break this task up I have also been given some smaller tasks including: proof reading, looking at a brief for a new client, writing and scheduling different online content for Twitter and Facebook, milk runs and made numerous rounds of tea and coffee!

The most memorable moment of this week has unfortunately been the London riots. The buzz in the office was replaced with people sharing news of the riots and their spread across England this Tuesday. When rumors started circulating online about problems in Southampton there were some meerkat moments of us all looking out the window as riot vans parked on the high street and sirens went past. Luckily nothing happened, but it was good to see how in touch the local police force was with social media. They channeled reliable news via Twitter that the office and the rest of Hampshire could follow and not the many rumors. And if all else failed we always had guard dog Scamp to look after us!

These last three weeks have gone so quickly, and I am sad to leave the office. However the time has not been wasted, and I have learnt so much about how social media can be used by individuals and businesses. I am taking away a bank of knowledge to help me improve my appearance online, and looking forward to using the skills I have learnt. Areas that I need to improve has also been highlighted, namely by spelling and grammar. When getting my work proof read it was evident that although no one is perfect, my work was needing a lot more corrections than others, and I will be concentrating on improving this in the future.

Thank you so much to the team at Carswell Gould for having me, and thanks to all the people that have come along and read how I have been doing. And most of all, thanks for the chocolates!

Love Rie / Marie Malyon xx

Monday, 8 August 2011


You know a book is good when you wake up early in the morning to read more before you go to work.

I am loving Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong. It was on the mat when I got home from Carswell Gould on Friday and I have read it at every opportunity since.

Looking forward to any chance to read the next chapter (fashioning my new skills of reading whilst walking!)

Watch this space for review very shortly.

Thanks for reading,
Rie xx

Friday, 5 August 2011

My time at Carswell Gould – Week Two

I am currently completing a three week placement at Carswell Gould, a marketing communications agency in Southampton. Now I have finished my second week in the office I have come back to tell you how it has all gone!

My first task this week was to present my comparative analysis of the use of social media by other agencies. I was quite nervous about doing my presentation, I have done a lot of similar tasks at university nut nothing really stops you getting nervous about how your research and hard work is going to be received went really well!

It was kept quite informal and I felt confident in knowing what I was talking about, thanks to the work I had put into each graph and point on the slides. I was expecting a ‘thank you’ and for them all to move on but each member of the team got involved in what I was presenting. A series of action points were made and tasks were shared out to help put these into action. I even got a few well done posts on Twitter which was really self-rewarding.

 To find out about what the GORE-TEX Arctic Challenge is visit:

Early in the week my main tasks were to finish off the jobs left over from the week before, especially with RIBs to the Limit: GORE-TEX Arctic Challenge. It was one of the first tasks mentioned to me when I started this placement 2 weeks ago, but I was kept busy with other jobs with shorter deadlines. Focussed mainly on social media, I have uploaded some images on to Facebook as well as organising folders of images to be sent to the sponsors of the challenge.
Part of the original task was to create a digital only marketing plan for the launch of a 20 minute film on the challenge, as well as the behind the scenes version to highlight the expanse and success of the integrated marketing campaign run by Ed (who was taking part in the challenge) and the team back in Southampton. I struggled early on with what this really meant and when I finally worked on it independently I found that I didn’t really understand the content of the video or the objectives of my marketing plan. A quick chat with Lisa and a briefing from Ed really helped me to understand the objectives and put the plan right back on track. More than being a piece of written work to sit on a pile they would also like me to follow out the plan in the final week of my placement, which will create a really great complete piece of work I can take back to university and include in my portfolio. The deadline for the plan is the end of today, so watch this space to see how it comes into action online!

My highlight of this week was observing the process of how the team works with a new client. A simple 30 minute meeting of all the staff sat on office chairs in a circle showed the way the CG office worked. Rather than clients being given the knowledge and skills from one person, the whole team is involved in providing creative ideas that fit the brief of the client. Time is taken to really explain to everyone what the target market, objectives and key messages of the campaign are, so to provide the best environment for everyone to get involved. The result was not what I expected – a group all pitching in ideas immediately of crazy PR stunts for the client to put their name to, but a more focused and objective response that I am sure will bring out some fantastic and practical creative solutions to help the client.

I would love that I am getting used to the 7 day week and early starts, but if anything they are getting harder. However, I am really enjoying my time so far at Carswell Gould and I am eager to start my third and final week as I feel I am leaning so much every day. I even have the company work experience placement, Emma Frost who started this week and is helping me make connections elsewhere.

Thank you all for reading,

Love Rie / Marie Malyon xx