Why Should You Subscribe? Wildest Dreams Book Box @wdbookbox

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Wildest Dreams Book Box: January (Theme was Loyalty)

There’s a ding alerting me to an email. “Your package is on its way”. I’m filled with joy, excitement and a little bit of frustration ‘I want it nooooooow’. Mainly because each month I’m left feeling as if these boxes have been curated with me in mind.

Wildest Dreams Book Box was conceived a little over a year ago by Zoe Collins; an inspiring and wonderful blogger, vlogger and all round awesome person. Her aim was to provide a monthly book box that was inclusive; from the price to the content. Each one centers around a theme for a recently released book and includes tea that is always out of this world and a number of beauty products sourced from up and coming independent companies.

I’ve never really been able to post photos before this month; as most people know my previous abode was not the most photogenic at the end. Plus, most months my box would end up at the post office. Every time I’d say ‘Wait until you’re home to open it.’…. Yeah, that never happened.

So here it finally is; a proud photo of a wonderful, heart-warming subscription box.

January’s Box

I’ve not had a book that I didn’t think I’d like. This month was no exception. Devoted has been a book I’ve coveted since YALC. I missed out on the hard copy proof. I lucked out and managed to bag a Ecopy through NetGalley, but it was certainly one I wanted to own.

I squealed a little at the addition of the wax melt. I’m not one for candles, so this little beauty is perfect for me. All the candles I’ve ever gotten have been so well scented that merely having them out and open is enough to fill a room with a literary smell.

Jewelry and art cards are always a welcome addition in the box. This month’s offerings are stunning and represent loyalty of two fandoms I love; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters. Finally, my favourite part of my monthly Wildest Dreams is the tea. Loyal-tea is perfect for anyone who isn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the Christmas spirit. An added joy this month was opening the packet and getting my dad to guess the ingredients.

So, if you’re new to YA and haven’t got a clue where to start or you are simply wanting to gift yourself, or a friend, a monthly postal hug head over to Wildest Dreams and see the subscriptions on offer. Remember to follow on social media for updates on themes, renewal dates and waiting lists: facebook, twitter and Insta.

Love Han x

Not all Doom and Gloom

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From the Feeds

This first post is about inclusivity and how easy it can be.

Next up is this novel approach to how to read Fahrenheit 451.

Next is a story about Joe Manganeillo letting his geekness hang out with pride in order to bring joy to a hospital in America.

Daily Three

1. I’ve sorted out the internet and gotten a better deal. I’ve got to wait four more days, but I can cope with that.

2. I gave the kitchen a proper good clean and made spaghetti bolognese.

3. There have been so many little things that have made me smile today; from a blogger who is offering a proof to disadvantaged teens to the Starbucks barista who let me know I was able get a free refill on my coffee. But, the biggest little joy was the fact that there is a job going as an education officer in the Beatle’s Story. Well, if that isn’t a job made for me, I don’t know what is.

Incredibles 2 (2018)

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Length: 2Hr 5

Rating: PG

About: Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

The Good

The best part of this film is the character of Jack-Jack. Not only is he cute, Jack-Jack brings with him some of the best scenes. From his face off with a tash panda to his sleepover with a fan favourite. I almost wish more time was spent on this plot thread.

Having Elastigirl take on the bulk of the crime fighting was a good move; it allowed for Mr Incredible to keep house and explore their dynamic a little further. I loved the scenes in which Bob helped his Children develop and I couldn’t help but chuckle at his screams over maths.

Interestingly, I loved the deep conversation that happened over dinner regarding how children should be brought up. An interaction that will go over most pint-size viewer’s heads, but it really struck a chord with me.

Michael Giacchino is back and he impecibly builds upon his original score. Giacchino’s work is brilliant and this is no exception.

The Bad

I’m not fond of the 1950s styling this time around. I’ve been spoiled by my Marvel movies and this blend of nostagia and future don’t work for me. However, I’m sure on another viewing it won’t bother me so much.

The Ugly

The first Incredibles came at the beginning of the superhero genre taking off. Unfortunately this second intallment has come at a time when the market is reaching its usaturation point. As a result, some of the plot points are too predictable and over used.

The momentum has definatly been lost with the length of time between films. I’ll admit, I haven’t recently watched the first installment, but a good film shouldn’t need you to.

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

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Length: 1Hr 38

Rating: PG

About: On his birthday, Omri (Hal Scardino) is given several simple gifts, including an old wooden cupboard and a small plastic figurine of a Native American man. When he locks the toy inside the cabinet it magically comes to life as a tiny, cagey warrior named Little Bear (Litefoot). The boy then places other toys in the cupboard and they too come to life, even engaging in entertaining battles. But after Little Bear is wounded, Omri begins to understand that his animate toys are not mere playthings.

First Thoughts

This was my birthday film when I was 10. Upon watching it today, I really do wonder why I chose this to watch. Turns out, I’d had quite a month in the cinema and The Indian in the Cupboard would have been my 6th outing in December. Quite incredible really; I don’t remember seeing quite so many in such a short space of time.

The Good

There’s some deep and meaningful themes within the story that appear to be pulled from the book from which the film is adapted. From exploring responsibility to death and funeral rituals, it’s an easily passive education.

The way in which the film has mastered the perspectives to have the actors as different sizes still stands and I’d say it’s better than films like the Burrowers, which had a larger budget.

It’s quite nice spotting Steve Coogan in a role of humanised toy soldier many years before becoming Octavian in Night at the Museum.

The Bad and the Ugly

Its an odd sort of kid’s film. The plot is rather slow, overly serious and somber for younger viewers, while adults probably would rather check out Mannequin than watch this anxiety riddled kid play with plastic made human.

It’s rather slow in a way that makes it feel overly long. Part of it is to do with the role of Omri; there’s no real development of his character other than him deciding to no longer use the cupboard. I’d have liked to have seen him become a more confident child. By lacking a significant development, it subdues what should be an uplifting ending.

Final Thoughts

It was nice to watch this film again, but I can see why I’ve not rushed to see it again.

Bird Box – 15

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Length- 2 Hr 4

About- When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain — if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they’ll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them — and complete the trip blindfolded.

The Good

Sandra Bullock is able to hold her own in Bird Box. She’s long been considered leading lady material, but it’s taken her time to break out from the romantic comedy role or plucky positivity hound. The sour and angry demeanour that once seemed so alien and forced in some of her performances fits her like a glove. She is scary and heartbreakingly detached from the children in her care and I don’t think that was something I would have seen as a convincing role from Bullock even 5 years ago.

Let’s face it, this film is A Quiet Place with a different bodily sense being the focus. That in itself isn’t significant or would encourage those who’ve seen the John Krasinski directed film to watch this approach. However, what I will say this has, that A Quiet Place perhaps lacks is the body count. A Quiet Place feels stifled by its limited cast, while Bird Box allows you to explore the aftermath as a society, rather than a family.

It’s a curious story, which an ending that is much more hopeful than I was expecting. I’ve heard talk of A Quiet Place gaining a sequel, which is odd as I don’t think there was enough to it, or characters sympathetic enough for me to wish for more. Bird Box, on the other hand, is well set up for a sequel.

The Bad

It is a little too derivative. Something that I feel is more to do with timing than anything else. It’s A Quiet Place meets Mom & Dad; both films that were released earlier this year. Mom & Dad is in itself a sudo remake of the 1976 Who Can Kill a Child? Sometimes, with films like these it doesn’t matter which is better, just which one got there first.

It was a sensible thing to have it released on Netflix rather than a theatrical release. I’m not sure people would have dropped the money on a film that, on paper, seems to be A Quiet Place bandwagon jump.

The Ugly

Its a violent affair and it all comes at once. I’m not a squimish person, but I found a number of scenes just a little tough to handle. At the root of this, is perhaps the fact that when faced with this sort of situation, the mob mentality in our own society would result in this sort of violence.

Final Thoughts

It’s a decent watch and I’m always grateful to see Sandy Bullock on the screen but I can’t see it jumping to people’s most loved films. However, if I’m watching films of this ilk; I’d rather watch Who Can Kill a Child? again.

Blade Runner 2049

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What a pile of wank. I’m currently 57 minutes in and I’m starting my review. That’s after I’ve checked Wikipedia for the plot to find out what the fuck was going on. That’s not unique to be fair, I needed Wiki for the first one. Although I at least held off until the hour mark. This incarnation had me reaching for my phone 20 minutes in.

The Good

The basic premise is there: replicant sprogged up without anyone knowing so there’s a time sensitive Mcguffin and some connections to the original. Hell; this should be a fast paced, action heavy film that has them looking for the child of the replicant revolution.

Robin Wright is brilliant casting. A million miles away from Buttercup, but actually not all that different. Wright always seems to be drawn to strong female characters and this is no exception. Robin Wright will forever stand side by side with Carrie Fisher as powerful women and role models not only for me, but for all who want to level the playing field. Her presence in the film is strong, but I’d have loved to have seen more of her.

The female presence and representation on the whole is brilliant. Not only as female characters, but as women who aren’t held back by society; they’re strong, motivated and add something that was missing in the first.

The Bad

This is a personal thing, but visually this film isn’t right for me. It’s not a successor to the 1982 Harrison Ford helmed outing; its not strong enough and tbere’s nothing about this that will be seen as iconic decades to come. There’s a tonal asymmetry; from the barren landscapes and the concept that the the future is bright and bleached of all colour to the dark and Japan inspired landscape that became the benchmark of future landscaping in movies. For me, they don’t gel and really pull me out of an already precarious viewer attachment.

Another personal issue is how the future is represented. I would have preferred the style to have progressed from the 80s movie and not from the technology available today. Obviously, when I watched Blade Runner last year, the film looked more nostalgic than forward thinking, however if you develop the concept it then becomes an almost ‘alternative’ future. It needed some visual continuity that didn’t feel like homage. Plus, I’m sick of glossy technological futures. All you need to do is look in HMV (sadly, perhaps not for much longer) and see that vinyl, mock VHS and distressed books are all the rage right now. The creepy ‘full of crap’ dude in Labyrinth said it best ‘sometimes the way forward, is the way back’.

The Ugly

What sort of Frankenstein filmmaker casts Ryan Gosling in the staring role and strip him of all his charisma and personality?! You don’t bring someone like this to the table and neuter him. It’s not that he can’t act. This is all about direction and source material.

Is Jared Leto on mission to destroy his own career? While he may be pretty and have the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen, between this and Suicide Squad I’m getting very close to avoiding his films. His character is not really needed, especially considering the violent and overtly rapey scene in which he cuts open the replicant’s stomach for not being able to reproduce. The scene is too intimate, too naked for me to be comfortable with it. Never mind the fact that I feel like he’s blaming the woman for his failings.

Why the fuck did it take 1 hour 41 minutes to get Harrison Ford on my screen and why, oh why, did I immediately wish he’d not showed up at all?! In the biggest casting disappointment since the Ghost and the Darkness (sold on the casting of Michael Douglas, who is in the film for no more than 20 minutes), Harrison arrives way too long after I’ve lost the will to live. And to add insult to injury, I don’t even feel like he’s Decker. I mean where’s this love of the crooner’s come from? Why do I feel like Harrison came to set, read the lines and took his wodge of money. Won’t lie, he peeked my interest with ’that was the plan’; but I couldn’t tell you what that plan was.

Final thoughts

Blade Runner was, without a doubt, style over substances; its a Christmas poo in which someone has swallowed a glitter pill. Blade Runner 2049 is neither style or substance. It’s that premature shit you have after a heavy night on the town and your early morning hangover coffee opens your bowels before you, or your guts, are ready.

Christmas Film Advent- Gremlins (1984)

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Christmas carolers. I hate Christmas carolers. Screechy-voiced little glue sniffers.

Length: 1Hr 47

Rating: PG

About: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper is reluctant to sell him the `mogwai’ but sells it to him with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.

First Thoughts

This was horror film to me for many years. It scared the crap out of me. Obviously Gizmo was adorable and cute, but the creations of the after midnight feast was petrifying.

I wasn’t looking forward to watching this, and I wasn’t sure why. It recent years it’s become a classic that has stood up against some modern movies of similar ilk.

The Naughty List

  • What the hell was that Phoebe Cates monologue about?! “That’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.” What the fuck? How do we go over an hour without knowing that this sweet slice of American pie loathes Christmas like a Grinch? While we’re at it, there’s no mention of her dad being dead. Just don’t think we need it
  • What happened to Judge Reinhold? They set him up as this massive dick and slime ball who has his sights on Phoebe Cate’s Kate. It’s brilliant; Zach has a challenger for her affections (It doesn’t matter whether Kate has any interest in him, Zach is worried that she might and that’s enough). Reinhold either needs a character development in which he helps them fight the gremlins or he needs to see his gristly end at the hands of Stripe.
  • Another dropped character was Corey Feldman’s Pete. Considering this is written by Chris Columbus, who is known for his friendship group films The Goonies and Harry Potter, its ripe for grouping the young ones together to fight.

The Nice List

  • The music is brilliant. I love the way in which it progresses from the theme of gizmo to the much more complex gremlin theme. This is certain a film I would love to see with a live orchestra.
  • I love the first hour’s set up. I’d mis remembered the wicked witch music playing when Mrs Deagle blasts through town and into the bank. I loved the way her character is disposed of by the gremlins; it’s quite possibly my favourite scene; even if it wasn’t when I first watched it.
  • I love that one of the most auctioned filled scenes is the one in which Zach’s mother, Lynn, gets to be a massive bad ass and take on the gremlins single handed. She does really well and dispatches at least two of the bastards before one attempts to strangle her.
  • The chief of police getting his after the shit he gives Zach is pure genius. I especially love his second in command’s mutters of fear.

Final Thoughts

I’m actually still not sure how I feel about it today. I feel as if the second half needs a little more work to match the first and I found myself feeling really restless once Kate’s ‘I hate Christmas’ blabbings.

I also feel it would have been improved by having Feldman and Reinhold joining forces to help beat the “little green men”.

Christmas Film Advent- Just Friends (2005)

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Well, if she wants Mr. Rogers, then I’m going to show her the biggest pussy she’s ever seen.

Length: 1Hr 35

Rating: 15

About: High school student Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) loves his best friend, Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart). He finally confesses his feelings, but she tells him that she just wants to be friends, and he leaves town in shame. Ten years later, Chris is a successful record executive and involved with self-absorbed pop star Samantha James (Anna Faris). He still pines for Jamie, though, and when his plans to go to Paris for the holidays fall through, he returns to his hometown to try and win her heart.

First Thoughts

This is another one that I know I’ve seen, was certain I owned on dvd but didn’t remember much about it. I don’t remember being to enamoured by Ryan Reynolds and I certainly wasn’t too impressed by his previous film, Van Wilder. I’ve not been inclined to rewatch it and I didn’t remember that it was set at Christmas.

The Naughty List

  • The plot is a little over complicated. The key problem I have is that it needs to lose at least one of the characters. Either Chris Kline’s Dusty or Anna Faris’ Samantha needs to be left on the cutting room floor for me, at the very least. I have a feeling that over the years I will change my mind as to which one causes the most problems to the plot. Today, it’s both.
  • On the one hand, Samantha is just too underdeveloped and too wacky for this sweet film. She’s a brilliant foil for Reynolds’s in a different movie, but her insistence that she’s dating Chris is a thread that’s not followed through properly and I feel as if parts of their relationship have been rewritten.
  • Then there’s Dusty; they live in a small town, how has Jamie never bumped into him before, why doesn’t his alter ego at the very least preceded him and why on Earth was he waiting to get his ‘revenge’? The better, funnier and missed story here would have been to have him make moves on Chris’ mother.
  • I’m not sure, in hindsight, Amy Smart was the best casting choice. In 2005, she was in everything and perhaps considered to be the next ‘Meg Ryan’. However, I find her a little too harsh and far from the sweet girl that would be friends with the larger Chris. She comes across as the mean girl cheerleader. The irony being that The Notebook, the film within the film, stars Rachel McAdams who effectively transitioned from mean girl to American sweetheart.
  • There were just a few sour notes that could have been sweetened by easy changes in the plot; Chris works in music and Dusty plays. Couldn’t we have had Chris help him out? I just find it odd that it’s so overlooked and it feels a little like a rewrite.

The Nice List

  • Chris’ development is brilliant. From his soured ‘I’ll hurt before I get hurt’ approach to a return to his teen-like persona is a heart warming and sweet approach to the film.
  • I absolutely love the relationship between Chris and his brother, Mike. Not only is it where you see Chris most himself, it prompts most of the laughs. I’d have happily sacrificed Faris or Kline to see more of this relationship.
  • I like that the film didn’t go for the obvious root of having Faris pretend to be his girlfriend to make previous love interest jealous, only to discover he now loves Faris. Although, not having this plot point makes me feel like Samantha is a redundant character.

Final Thoughts

A fair film and much funnier than I remember. While Reynold’s doesn’t have the balance of charming bastard he brings to the Merc with the Mouth, he won me over with this viewing.

Change the reason why Chris is on the plane that takes him home and remove Samantha and I think I’d be on my way to loving this.

Oh, and one final thought. Chris Pratt circa Guardians would be a perfect fit for the role of Chris and it would have been awesome to have seen him act alongside Faris.

Christmas Film Advent – Scrooged (1988)

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I’m gonna give you a little advice Claire. Scrape ’em off. You wanna save somebody? Save yourself.

Length: 1 Hr 41

Rating: PG

About: In this modern take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and curmudgeonly nature has driven away the love of his life, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). But after firing a staff member, Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), on Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his past.

First Thoughts

This version of Dickens’ classic has been in my life so long I couldn’t tell you when I’d first watched it. I’ve always been a fan of Bill Murray and love him even more when he’s playing the grump.

Part of my enjoyment of Bill Murray and his films, Ghostbusters in particular, is that he reminded me of my brother. Murray’s dry humour, confidence and what I’ve always considered faux grump are comparable to my brother’s charm.

The Naughty List

  • About the only thing I can really pull this up on is the uptight ‘Lady Censor’ who pulls a Weinstein in the final act when she jumps the tied up Brice. Hell, I get that some people will find it funny, but but them in the reverse and people would be up in arms. It doesn’t matter what way an assault goes, or how ‘small’ the act is; if society is going to pull some up, we need to pull them all up.
  • I also wish the film presented us a different look at the Ghost or Christmas Yet to Come. It had done so well with the others, Marley being one of the most creative, I’d have like to have seen something different. However, I did appreciate how more time was spent within this perspective and how much of an impact it has on Frank.

The Nice List

  • The biggest change to the story’s narrative is the film’s biggest strength. Always relegated to a sub plot, the relationship between the titular Scrooge (Bill Murray) and the woman he loved and lost (Karen Allen) is the focus of Scrooged and the key to Cross’ salvation. The romantic element is heart breaking and setup from the appearance of the Marley figure. It ensures that it’s not just a paint by numbers retelling. It does mean that the ghosts do focus much more on her impact in his life and, in some cases, his on hers. It’s not a sweet romance, but you can’t deny that it’s true.
  • Ghosts of Past and Present are wickedly good. In all of the versions I’ve watched, these two incarnations are my favourite. David Johansen is wonderful as the Ghost of Christmas Past who takes no shit from Murray’s excuse giving Cross. Then there is the ever glorious Carol Kane with her high pitched, high maintenance fairy-like Ghost of Christmas Present. As a child I giggled away at the physical comedy she brought to the section and it wasn’t much different watching today.
  • The role of Cratchit is played by Alfre Woodard. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but the cast/gender changes of some of the characters is way ahead of its time and something to be commended. It’s a perfect example as to why you shouldn’t force artistic forms to conform to a politically correct tick box: this is organic and beautiful. The Cratchit family (named Cooley for this production) wouldn’t be complete without its Tiny Tim. Young Calvin has been rendered mute since his father died. It’s an interesting change and it’s understandable why it is something to worry about, but also is a better infliction to be cured than in previous versions. Calvin’s brave moment never fails to reduce me to tears before warming my heart.
  • Murray’s change of heart is powerful and his speech that goes out to all watching, ties up so many of the plots threads and, with a breaking of the 4th wall, brings the film to a musical end.

Final Thoughts

I was worried when I’d watch the 1951 version that this glorious 80s offering would pale in comparison. It’s been my favourite for so long that I wasn’t quite ready for it to be replaced.

It’s hard to compare the two side by side, as there are fundamental differences that make them both unique. It means that Scrooged currently, with a few days left to go, remains my all time favourite Christmas movie while it is fair to say the 1951 offering is the most true to the source material.

Christmas Film Advent- Rare Exports A Christmas Story (2010)

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Watch your mouth! It’s Christmastime, so let’s act like it

Length: 1 hr 25

Rating: 15

About: A young boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) think a secret mountain drilling project near their home in northern Finland has uncovered the tomb of Santa Claus. However, this a monstrous, evil Santa, much unlike the cheery St. Nick of legend. When Pietari’s father (Jorma Tommila) captures a feral old man (Peeter Jakobi) in his wolf trap, the man may hold the key to why reindeer are being slaughtered and children are disappearing.

First Thoughts

Rare Exports first came on my radar when it appeared on YouTube as a self contained short. It was something rather different. The training of feral Santa’s was unsettling in a weirdly good way. It perhaps was one of my first explorations into Christmas horror and the film itself became a Christmas Eve watch for me and my brother once our dad had gone to bed. Which year is was, I’ll leave to my brother to inform me.

I don’t remember the inclusion of what I would come to call Krampus (Joulupukki in Rare Exports) in the short and I’m definitely certain this was my introduction to the anti Santa.

The Naughty List

  • It’s length is a doubled edged sword. While a short film, it’s pacing is rather slow compared to the film short that preceded it. You feel every minute of celluloid. Some minutes even feel doubled. Watching it this time, I was able to appreciate how this creates atmosphere and comments upon a different lifestyle than the one I’m used to living, but when I watched it the first time; it felt like Rosemary’s Baby all over again.
  • It won’t feel very Christmassy to some when you consider that the profession of the main family is to kill Rudolph for its meat. The film could risk dampening your Christmas spirit, depending on your outlook. Me? I’d eat Rudolph for Christmas dinner if he tasted good.

The Nice List

  • It’s a short film at 82 minutes and if I was well versed in the original language it would feel even shorter than it already does.
  • Subtitles aren’t for everyone. Even I sometimes veto a film on original language alone, the only thing I hate more being a poor dub. Original language films get my attention better when I’m in a cinema and free of all distractions. That said, I would never want to see this film given a Hollywood treatment; it’s more about the culture and mythology than anything else.
  • The kid (Onni Tommila) holds his own in the film and it’s quite refreshing to have a young lead in this type of film.
  • I know this is stupid thing to pick up on, but I loved seeing Pietari using nails in a candle as an alarm clock. It’s such a vivid image that immediately came to mind before I started my rewatch.

Final Thoughts

It’s not one for the whole family and certainly one that would make very few people’s regular festive viewing. That said, with the lifestyle Swedish and Finnish becoming popular within the UK, this should be on everyone’s list to ensure they’re of an understanding that life isn’t all about hygge hipster bullshit that’s now bordering on a stereotype.

Jack Loves Rosie Blog Tour- Important Journeys

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Rosie Loves Jack by Mal Darbon is one of my favourite reads of 2018. It hooked me from the first page and reduced me to tears by the delightful ending. It is my absolute pleasure to be part of this blog tour, telling you about my own journey of discovery.

Getting Lost and Finding Myself

The Giant’s Causeway

In July 2016 I was in a weird place. I’d lost a bit of who I was while trying to be what I thought other people liked. Namely a boy. I’d convinced myself that if I lost enough weight, he’d at least look at me in away that wasn’t disgust. To me, he was beautiful, funny and I would have been happy for him to just be my friend.

He never did see me as anything other than ugly and pathetic and I didn’t speak to him again when I left my job in July. I was 3 stone lighter,but I was also beginning my journey into managing the chemical imbalance in my brain that had led to life defining anxiety and depression. I don’t think I’d ever hated myself more.

One of my favourite people in the whole world suggested a trip to Oban and the Outer Hebrides by way of landing on the beach of Barra. I jumped at the chance and hoped time away would mend my broken soul.

Finding Myself

One thing I decided before we left was that I would use this opportunity to try foods I wouldn’t normally. No burgers, no pizza and no salads. Being Scotland, my diet became primarily fish based. From the ‘best fish and chips’ to muscles, I tried it all.

The best part of this new mind set was trying oysters for the first time. London isn’t void of the shellfish; but they’re never cheap especially when you’re not certain you’ll like them. Turns out, I love them and that moment marked a much more experimental me when it comes to food.

The whole experience was documented

Searching for gods in all the Ancient Places

My friend, knowing I was struggling with my mental health,found some ancient rituals that took place in the area we visited. One was sacrificing wine to the god in order to be given good health over the following year. I didn’t have any wine on me, so I’m hoping the grapes I chucked were accepted with equally good grace.

The other was to walk 7 times around the church in a clockwise direction to improve your mental outlook. Having waded into the sea to offer my grapes, I didn’t want to put on my shoes. I figures the surrounding area of the church in question would be grass so off I went down the path towards the church.

How wrong I was. Not only was the quarter mile to the church(only accessible by foot) pathed with sharp rocks and nettles, so was the entire path around the church; it was almost as if someone knew I was going to attempt to do this barefoot.

The first lap was unbearable and I considered giving up and just letting my friend complete it without me. That was when I noticed there was a small concrete section next to the wall of the building. If I was careful with my footing and pace; I could walk it pain free. And so I did.

There were the corners that were hard and if I took them too fast, my feet paid the price. However, the last two laps were taken without a single misstep. Not sure it was what I was meant to take away from the activity, but I certainly saw it as a perfect metaphor for my own mental health.

From God to a Naughty Dog

I wasn’t the only person who was lost on this holiday in the highlands. While trying to find out way to our fourth (possibly fifth?) hotel of the trip, we encountered what looked like a frightened and lost terrier dog.

After getting our directions from the Post Office that just so happened to be back the way we’d come, I decided to walk while my friend drove ahead. This was in the hopes of me capturing the lost looking pup and getting him back home. I should point out here that I’m a little bit like Hagrid; I’d spent the entire trip trying to stroke the cows and any other animals we happened upon.

Alvie

However, I soon realised he had a cunning, yet dastardly, plan. The ankle height beauty would stand still, trembling until I got to grasping distance; when he’d run away at full speed. He then leapt over the grassy dip at the side of the road and waited on the other side. There was nothing for it but to jump over myself. Except I fell into the dip and plastered myself with mud. I swear I heard him laugh.

I gave up after that and decided to inform whomever lived at the house we’d just past, figuring that it must be theirs. The gentleman opened his door. Between myself and my friend, we explained that we’d seen this dog, that we’d tried to catch him and that if he was to hear about a lost dog we’d last seen it in what we assumed was his field.

“Oh, that’s Alvie! He’s forever getting out of my neighbour’s yard and causing mischief.”

Rosie Loves Jack is out now. 

Christmas Film Advent- Christmas Carol (1951)

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“There’s more gravy than grave about you”

Length: 1 Hr 27
About: Crotchety Victorian businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) has no use for festivity, even at Christmas. After resentfully allowing timid clerk Bob Cratchit (Mervyn Johns) to have the holiday to spend with his loving wife (Hermione Baddeley) and family, Scrooge is swept into a nightmare. The ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern), appears, warning that Ebenezer will be visited by three more spirits who will show the cold hearted man the error of his parsimonious behavior.

If there’s ever a film that demonstrates the exact reason why remakes are redundant, this is it. 

The Good

I don’t actually know where to start. It’s not shiny, new or sickly sweet and I adore it. Alastair Sim is the Scrooge I never knew I needed; the bitterness that often comes across as one note is layered and tinged with such a regret that I feel for him, even before the supernatural visitors that will change his outlook.
 The famous Marley scene in which Scrooge is met with his late partner is nothing short of masterful; the music and sound effects are chilling, the acting is on point and Marley’s ghost is more realistic that the ghosts seen in 2016’s Ghostbusters. Sure, you can tell its some sort of camera trickery, but that is all part of its charm.
What caught my attention with this version was the religious commentary throughout. If you asked me to state one line from Christmas Carol, it would undoubtedly be ‘God bless us, everyone.’ Yet, I’ve never really considered it a religious film at all. Yet, the premise itself is one of salvation; Marley, knowing what awaits his friend sends Scrooge on a journey to save his soul. It’s a beautiful message that demonstrates a truer meaning of Christmas than any other film could ever address. 

The Bad

This isn’t so much a bad, but more of a sad. We spend so much time with the ghost of Christmas Past, and yet the Present and Future seem nothing more than fleeting lip service. It’s a shame because it’s quite clear a lot of his change in view happens within the latter two ghosts that its hard not to feel. in hindsight, a little overdosed by exposition. Of course, at the time I was just happy to see how the story played out.
Then, there’s the matter of what the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows dear Ebenezer. It’s hard to make out at first when the audience arrives at the Rag and Bone man’s shop who the three people are talking about with such disregard. Then you feel the knot tighten in your stomach and you hope that your suspicions are not going to be right. It’s the curtains that give it away; they’ve ransacked Ebenezer’s house for all its worth. It makes for an interesting contrast to Scrooge’s treatment of Marley’s estate, but this is something that has been overlooked in modern retellings. I can see why; its a dark, ashamedly realistic, portrayal of humanity. It, again, is here in the bad not because it shouldn’t be there, but because it pulled me up short. I’m certain its exactly how Scrooge would have felt hearing it.

The Ugly

Not something about children again?! Yes, I’m afraid so. Only, this time our leading man is free and clear of my wrath. This time my issue is with Tiny Tim. What the hell?! Aren’t I meant to feel sorry for the character whose described in ways that are no longer politically correct?! The actor they’ve got is an over acting little shit and I all but cheer at the future that sees him buried in a ‘lovely’ patch with shade.
That’s not how Tiny Tim should be; you should understand his popularity within the Cratchit household and feel the insurmountable loss that his absence brings with it.
Luckily, he isn’t burdened with my favourite line and outside of Christmas present, the actor’s lines are kept to a minimum and I can pretend he’s cuter than he really is.

Final thoughts

This film has not only shot to the top of my Scrooge/ Christmas Carol movies, ousting long standing Murray from his perch, it currently is claiming top spot of the all the movies watched so far this advent. I’ll be honest, it’s going to take something amazing to replace it.
I’m off to watch Lethal Weapon on my phone; the internet won’t play night and stream the Gibson festive offering on my TV. Humbug!

Good night and god bless us, everyone x

Q and A with Victor Dixen

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If you were part of the crew, waiting to meet your future partner, what would your approach to the speed dating be?

 

Well, I think I would adopt the same position as Léonor: enjoy the trip to space and try to stay authentic, escaping the show business madness.

I would probably use a “logical” rule as she did, inviting each contestant the exact same number of times to attend the speed-dating sessions with me.

But is it really possible, to be both part of the game and out of the game?

This is one of the questions raised in Phobos 

 

 

The Phobos series feels very epic. Would you be happy to see your work turned into a film or tv series?

Actually, I wrote Phobos a bit like script or a storyboard. Instead of “chapters”, I chose to organize the text around “sequences”, each of them corresponding to a different camera angle. Since Phobos is primarily a novel about images and screens, I thought it would be logical and impactful to have this kind of partitioning.

 

I really visualized this story in my head while writing it, and I would love to see it again on a real screen – re-imagined by a director!

 

 

If the series was turned into a TV show or film, do you have any cast in mind?

Not really…

But I’m always interested to see the proposed casting posted by readers on social networks and blogs. I gathered a few of them here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/victor.dixen.books/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1046079018771786

There is one actress though who I could totally see playing the role of Serena, though: the great Tilda Swinton!

 

 

Were you ever tempted to make fundamental changes to the series before translation?

It always feels great when I learn that one of my books will be published in another language, because it means that the story will be shared with new readers.

For the English translation, a very talented translator has been appointed by my British publisher Bonnier: Daniel Hahn. He actually pointed out a few things we should change for the English edition, for the sake of cultural background or consistency. Apart from that, I didn’t feel the need to make significant changes.  

 

 

 

If you could give your readers an insight into the third book with three words: what would they be?

NEVER . ADMIT . DEFEAT

 

What was your initial inspiration for the series?

There are two ideas at the origin of Phobos.

The first idea is linked to space conquest, a theme that has always interested me since I was a child. Today, we have the technology allowing us to go to Mars, but not to come back. The possibility of a one-way ticket stimulated my imagination.

The second idea is linked to the way our world seems to be fascinated by images. We are surrounded by screens, for better and for worse. On the one hand, screens give us the possibility to establish dialogues and relationships throughout the world, and they are also an unlimited territory for creativity. But on the other hand, it is difficult to escape from the flux of images: screens prompt us to react emotionally and instantly to every stimulus, without thinking first. 

That is the reason why images are so important in Phobos :image of the self, image of the others, false appearances. 

 

 

Which other French authors, other than yourself, would you recommend for young adults taking their GCSEs in order to develop their language skills?

Christelle Dabos has built a great fantasy world in her series “La Passe-Miroir”, that has just been translated to English this year under the title “The Mirror Visitor Quartet”. It’s great that this story is available in the 2 languages, for readers who want to develop their French while still keeping an eye on the English text. You will find here the same sense of wonder in the magical “His Dark Material” series, by Philip Pulman.

For those of you who would like to win the first two books, comment on this post telling me who you would most like to head to Mars with.

Distortion by @VictorDixen @HotKeyBooks

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About:

After a speed-dating show that is literally out of this world, twelve young astronauts are set to become the first humans to colonise Mars. They are also the victims of the cruellest of plots.

Léonor thought she was a pioneer on an extraordinary mission. She thought she had left all regrets behind her on Earth. But when memories are this painful, there can be no forgetting . . .

Characters

Leonor is as wonderful as ever. Her relationship with the rest of the crew is a little more open. It gives the story scope and allows her to become the leader, whether she wants it or not. She is the consistent within a world of chaos and you’ll want to stay by her side from start to finish.

Returning characters Harmony and Andrew are thrown further into the fray in Distortion and they are a welcome addition to the narrative. Now Andrew is not trying to put pieces together on his own, the tension has changed somewhat. Allowing him to spend time with Harmony gives the reader more scope into his character and he’s someone I want to spend even more time with.

Plot

Not going to lie, I wasn’t sure where the sequel was going. By the mid way point I was convinced there wasn’t a sequel. I assumed that perhaps the trilogy was condensed, and it was leaving me a little sad. It’s on of the reasons why the final act pulled the rug from under me and yet again had me begging for the sequel. 

Collision cannot come quick enough for me. The writing is engaging and the story is compulsive. You can’t put it down and it certainly would make the perfect TV show for all ages.

 Pick up Distortion and Ascension now. Collision is due April 2019

https://amzn.to/2AmrhVq

Review: Condemned and Admired by Bree Wolf

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Author’s Bio

USA Today bestselling author Bree Wolf has always been a language enthusiast (though not a grammarian!) and is rarely found without a book in her hand or her fingers glued to a keyboard. Trying to find her way, she has taught English as a second language, traveled abroad and worked at a translation agency as well as a law firm in Ireland. She also spent loooong years obtaining a BA in English and Education and a MA in Specialized Translation while wishing she could simply be a writer. Although there is nothing simple about being a writer, her dreams have finally come true.

“A big thanks to my fairy godmother!”

Currently, Bree has found her new home in the historical romance genre, writing Regency novels and novellas. Enjoying the mix of fact and fiction, she occasionally feels like a puppet master (or mistress? Although that sounds weird!), forcing her characters into ever-new situations that will put their strength, their beliefs, their love to the test, hoping that in the end they will triumph and get the happily-ever-after we are all looking for.

If you’re an avid reader, sign up for Bree’s newsletter at http://www.breewolf.com as she has the tendency to simply give books away. Find out about freebies, giveaways as well as occasional advance reader copies and read before the book is even on the shelves!

Book Blurb

A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son.

And a chance encounter on the high seas.

VIOLET WINTERS, a French privateer’s daughter who fled England with her mother when she was a little girl, takes the chance to return to her home country unrecognised when fate delivers an English lord into her hands. OLIVER CORNELL, EARL OF CULLINGWOOD, fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, does not hesitate to offer his assistance…and pose as her husband.

Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after?

 

Links:

Webage: www.breewolf.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7333700.Bree_Wolf

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/breewolf.novels/

Facebook EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/408576936315941/

Where to buy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Condemned-Admired-Cunning-Second-Chance-ebook/dp/B07D3TBHL7/

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/condemned-admired-the-earls-cunning-wife-bree-wolf/1128641189?ean=2940162096047

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/condemned-admired

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/condemned-admired-earls-cunning-wife-9-loves-second/id1382213939?mt=11


Review for Condemned and Admired

This stand alone in the Love’s Second Chance series is my first outing into Bree Wolf’s writing, but it certainly won’t be my last.

Characters

Violette and Oliver are beautifully strong characters that stand out among the others. Their alternating view points give strength to the narrative. Both hold modern outlooks within a period world, which makes for a refreshing read.

Plot

The story deals with putting right something Violette feels is an injustice. It’s fast paced. with an exploration into characters and motivation as Violette completes her personal mission. You won’t put it down once you’ve started reading. Unless of course you’re like me; you’ll put it down once, to order the other books.

Writing

The writing is clear and engaging. It is the part that will keep you reading until the end. The comfortable read, that doesn’t rely on period language which is a big turn off for me. The focus is on the characters and society in that period.


To win one of five e-copies of Condemned and Admired, answer the question below in the comments section.

Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for the wrong guy?

Excerpt:

Drawing in a shuddering breath, Oliver reached out and drew her hands into his. “Once your sister makes her decision,” he said, “what will you do then?”

At his question, her eyes dropped to the ground. “You know what I will do,” she replied before forcing her gaze back up. “I need to go back where I belong. There is no place for me here.” Regret shone in her blue eyes as well as the agony of disappointed hopes.

“Stay,” Oliver said before he could stop himself, knowing that he had no right to ask that of her, no right to force that decision on her. “I don’t want you to leave.”

Violet’s eyes grew wide as she stared at him. Then she swallowed, and to Oliver’s utter astonishment, her lips curled up, clearly tempted to smile. “A part of me wishes I could,” she whispered, her hands squeezing his gently. “I wish I could stay with you, but I can never–”

Tugging her into his arms, Oliver silenced her objections with a searing kiss. His hands pulled her closer, one sliding up the graceful line of her neck and up into her hair as he kissed her with a passion unmatched as it was fuelled by the desperate need to forget that their love was a doomed one.

There was no happily-ever-after for them. She belonged out at sea while he had his place here…as the future marquess. He had a duty to the realm, and he knew that she would never be happy here. Even if she stayed, their love would not survive such a strain. It would undoubtedly end in a disaster until the day she finally did choose to leave. To return where she belonged.

Lost in the moment, Oliver did not hear the man’s approach. Only when rough hands seized him from behind did he realise that they were no longer alone.

With a harsh snarl tearing from the man’s lips, Oliver was flung backward and crashed into the seating arrangement set up on the western side of the terrace.  His ears rang, and his back ached from the collision. Still, Oliver was back on his feet without a moment’s hesitation, all thoughts focused on Violet. Was she all right? Who was this man and what did he–?

As Oliver rushed forward, the air was knocked from his lungs as he stared at the dark-haired man standing beside Violet. In that moment, he seemed like a messenger of doom, and Oliver could barely keep himself from sinking to the ground in despair.

Blog Tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

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Characters
Lulu is a brilliant young woman, growing up in a mixed culture household and not knowing where she truly belongs or its impact it has on her identity. That’s all before we even get onto the fact that she’s a teenager in high school and dealing with the social etiquette of that too.
I love her fire and loyalty. She’s honest and uncompromising with her views; it gives you a good basis for the plot to revolve around.
James is a curious individual who isn’t overly likeable at first, but as Lulu gets to know him, you’ll be forgiven for having a change of heart.
Plot
It’s Easy A meets Heathers, by way of Mean Girls. You get an understanding of teen life, before Lulu’s life is turned upside down. It causes her to confront aspects of her life that she has always questioned; enabling her to understand herself a little better before the status quo is finally reached.
You don’t leave Lulu’s perspective, so her friend’s views are given to us through Lulu’s perspective or second hand news. It gives you an interesting view of what Lulu thinks of herself and others.
Writing
The writing is crisp, clean and emotional; you can clearly feel the torment of a person caught between two cultures. It is perfect for anyone wanting to understand what it feels like to almost have your very existence questioned.

Not the Girls You’re Looking For – Book except

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“It’s a matter of principle.” Audrey crossed her arms.

When it came to Audrey and her sister, everything was a matter of principle. Lulu shrugged. What Lulu knew of sisters, apart from Audrey, she had taken from fiction. Lulu suspected that Audrey found her sister to be a Mary Bennet– priggish and pedantic– while Audrey’s sister probably thought of Audrey as a Lydia Bennet– thoughtless and selfish. Or maybe they were Amy and Jo March and this was all about a burnt manuscript and an heiress of a boy. Lulu found the idea of sisters fascinating, but her only vocabulary for the relationship was borrowed. She did the best she could to keep up, given the circumstance.

Audrey turned the radio back up. Lulu flicked Audrey’s fingers, like swatting a fly, and turned the radio back down. Audrey sighed. After waiting a beat, she turned up the radio in one grand, sweeping effort, “So where to first?”

“‘Emma’s, then Lo’s,” Lulu punched off the radio with her knuckles. Her ears vibrated from the aftermath of that decibel level. “Then I’m thinking tacos. We haven’t had tacos in forever.”

“Two weeks. Yes, that was forever ago.” Audrey used as much condescension as she had in her. And Audrey had been bred to hold plenty of condescension.

Lulu laughed. Her freshly won freedom made her gracious enough not to hold a grudge. She had taken the blame for the night of the pool incident, getting Audrey off nearly scot-free. But Audrey would do the same for her, even if Audrey knew the world to be a certain way. A way that didn’t hold water, but still.

Lulu made an unprotected left turn and Audrey swooped in to turned the radio back on. Lulu paid these antics no further attention. They constantly danced around like this, attracting one another with what ought to repel. The two girls chatted and laughed until they became four. How any of them could hear one another, over each other, or the music, or the wind coming into the car as it sped along, was anyone’s guess.


BOOK INFORMATION

 

TITLE: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

AUTHOR: Aminah Mae Safi

PUBLISH DATE: June 19th 2018

PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends

SYNOPSIS:

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

 

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

 

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35795940-not-the-girls-you-re-looking-for

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250151813

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-the-girls-youre-looking-for-aminah-mae-safi/1126791458?ean=9781250151810#/

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250151810

Audio (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Youre-Looking-Aminah-Safi/dp/1250314577/ref=tmm_abk_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks.

 

Author website: http://www.aminahmae.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16090821.Aminah_Mae_Safi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aminahmae

Instagram: http://instagram.com/aminahmae

Tumblr: http://aminahmae.tumblr.com/

Ascension by Victor Dixen @VictorDixen

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Release date: 28.6.2018
About:
Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

Leonor, an 18 year old orphan, is one of the chosen ones.
She has signed up for glory.
She has signed up for love.
She has signed up for a one-way ticket.
Even if the dream turns to a nightmare, it is too late for regrets.
Pre-order here


Characters

I love Leonor. She’s a good voice to have when you’re stuck in space; she grounds you, so to speak. When you have a character like her; passionate, flawed and insightful. The way she works through the speed dating is interesting and something I easily identify with. Not only that, it adds a level of internal conflict that some narratives miss.

We learn bits about the other crew, but it’s those left on earth that are the most interesting. We have Serena, who communicates directly with the participants and becomes the ‘host’ of the broadcast. She’s a piece of work, you’ll quickly learn, but I want you to find that out for yourself.

Plot

It reads like a brilliant Sci-fi blockbuster. There are many threads in play and they change your perspective like a rubrics cube, waiting to be solved. Being the first in a trilogy, you go in knowing that you will have a resolve of some sorts, but there will be questions left unanswered to ensure you want more. It’s expertly done so that it doesn’t feel like it’s the first in a sequence, but a story in its own right.

Writing

Being a translated story, there’s always a worry that the writing loses something. This story, I’m delighted to say, doesn’t. It’s language is clean, its engaging and powerful. It makes for such a consumable, compulsive read.
I just wish I knew enough French to read the other two books in the series. Yes, they’re already published guys but you need to have progressed further than a GCSE in French to be able to access them.

Rampage – 12A

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thVLVTRTW9

About 

Release date  11.4.18
Summary
Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
Time 1hr 47


Trailer


The Good
This is a Dwayn ‘the Rock’ Johnson movie and I’ll hold my hands up here and now; there’s no wrong this man can do (sidebar: My dad calls him The Fairy because of The Toothfairy. When an actor or film gets a Dad Hunter pseudonym, that means they’re on the win list). With Johnson, so come some film expectations. There’s going to be fast paced action, quips and smouldering. There’s also an understanding that the plot will stretch reality to provide a fun plot and indeed it does provide. Bucket loads of it to the point that I’m not so sure we can really call it Science Fiction.
Johnson’s character works well with George, the CGI Gorilla saved from poachers during infancy and taught to sign (Yup, We verge into Congo territory. I’ll reassure you though; I think this one will be considered a little better). Some of the best scenes involved the two of them interacting. There’s heart and humour in their banter and it allows you to feel for them and root for their survival when the shit hits the atmosphere about 2 minutes later.
In addition we have Naomie Harris and Jeffery Dean Morgan helping Johnson ‘save’ his friend and Malin Akerman and Joe Manganeillo playing for the company that caused the mutations in the animals.

The Bad
It really is a shame that most of the film sees George and Johnson’s Davis separated. Not only that, but essentially on opposite sides. They truly do have amazing chemistry that no one else can come close to and it removes some of the natural humour. If the film could keep them together by tweaking the plot it would keep the comedic tone and not seem to be bookended by a separate movie.
The two outside sections have a lighter a tone and sees everyone in on the joke and having fun, however the bulk of the film takes itself a little too seriously.

The Ugly
The CGI is rather ropy and it’s worrying that I picked up on it the first viewing. Normally because it’s all new, I miss the little flaws and only catch them during a repeat viewing, usually at home. It means I wasn’t as engaged in the story as I normally would have been and that could be because of many factors; one being the lack of feeling for the characters.


Cinema offences

A new segment for my reviews. I’m going to list the problems with the cinema going experience as it is something I think we all face issues with.

Viewing date/time: 12.4.2018/ 11.40 showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: Quite a busy showing for early in the morning. That said, there couldn’t have been more than 40 people.

Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 4 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): 0
Talking: 3 separate groups, all persistent.
Oh this was a big one today. Fresh off the back of my annoyance from The Quiet Place I think my patience had already warn thin. However, it was people in the row right behind me and it was persistent; like a running commentary on a DVD. Imagine my horror, when I turn around to bollocks the tween triplets I’d mentally given three chance to are not in fact three kids, but a mum and her two sons. Instead of telling her kids to stop, she was engaging them in conversation. I was rather reserved, for me; I politely asked them to stop talking. Well, my dear readers, I might as well have taken a dump right there on her lap based on the look she gave me. All I heard was ‘don’t listen to her’ from the mother and I’d had enough. Premiere seats be damned, I got up and moved to one of the nice seats; I figured Odeon owed me this for allowing this sort of behaviour to become the norm (Disclaimer: It’s not an Odeon problem, the is a all-franchise epidemic. Seriously, this woman will have spent at least £25 on tickets. Alone. I’m sure she’d jacked her kids up on sugar too and when a ‘kids pack’ starts at £4.50, surly just setting fire to your money would be better?! Or at least buy a dvd, rent one from Sky and then let them chatter away to their hearts content at home.

lonely child

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon #bookreview #gem @gemlovesbooks

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Buy it here
Goodreads

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Paige’s world is so exciting; it’s full of magic, mystery and danger!
It’s a very refreshing take on a dystopian genre with the beautiful writing, the language which is used and the imagery that has been created drew me in from the very first page and kept me utterly hooked until the last word.

It’s more literary, and more *clever* than The Hunger Games and Divergent etc., but by no means does that mean it’s hard going; I was completely enthralled by the plot, I loved Paige and Warden! The relationship that builds between them is not what I expected, and as the plot progresses and we learn more of Sheol 1 and the Rephaim, this adds an extra element of intensity and mystery. To me it’s one of those books that you just want other people to read so you can talk to them about it – there are plot elements that aren’t resolved (as you’d expect for what is projected to be a 7 book series) so I want to know if other people think the same things as me!
What I will say is that I hadn’t realised there was a glossary as if I turn to the back I have a naughty tendency to read the last few lines, so make use of that, it will help you get to grips with the different characters much quicker than I did.
NB. I wrote this review on 10th January 2014 and since then I have bought over 10 copies to give to friends and family, organised a Q&a and signing at Waterstones Bham with SS and her wonderful publisher sent me a box of copies to give away at raffle prizes for one of our fan parties. I always made sure this book was displayed in both the YA and fantasy sections of the shop so I could get more and more people to discover Paige’s world.

My love for The Bone Season and subsequently The Mime Order and The Song Rising) knows no bounds!

Rick and Morty. S3 Ep2: Rickmancing the Stone

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Background
I’m incredibly new to this show, but oh so very passionate. My ex introduced me to it and we watched all of series one in a single sitting. Every so often he would pause it to tell me something offensive was coming up thinking I would hate it and demand for it to be turned off. Far from it, I loved every second.
I will always remember him texting me a screenshot of an episode and him being incredibly impressed that I’d gotten it with one guess and having only seen all the episodes once.
Since our split I’ve been determined to not do my usual thing and for once, not create attachments to a show we shared. Hell, if I did that, I’d have nothing left to watch seeing as I we both loved the same shows, films and he’d even started to get me into gaming.
In the past I’ve stopped watching shows such as Lost (although I hear I didn’t miss much) and films like Goonies had not been watched by me in 8 years since my first boyfriend and I parted ways. Some couples have THEIR song, I tend to have that one movie that will forever be mine and that person’s.
I had explained this to my ex, that I have emotional connections to movies and shows even to the point where I’ve walked away from screenings I’ve paid money for because I’d known the situation would take away from the film I’d loved (Example: a screening of Scrooged was meant to be my works leaving do. I knew had I stayed, I would no longer watch that will in the same way). However, it didn’t stop him from using a conversation we had to inspire him to watch my favourite film (Leon) with another woman literally a day after the conversation. It also didn’t stop him shouting at me for being upset about it.
So, I’m not going to let that happen this time. I don’t want to lose any of the shows I loved before I met him (Stranger Things, House, How I Met Your Mother… hell Star Trek.)

I figured if I blog about the episodes it’ll give me a little bit of motivation to watch them as they’re released. I couldn’t find someone to watch it with me, so I’m afraid my dear readers, you’re the ones holding my hand through this.

 

So, into the fray with go …

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Rickmancing the Stone takes no time in reminding us about the divorce between Beth and Jerry. It’s always been there in the background; Beth’s frustration has built over the two series. I never thought the showrunners would break them up though and I’m very happy they did. Things are tense when Jerry pops over for a visit and the siblings use Rick as a means of escape. Seconds before the title sequence comes a whisper only Jerry can hear ‘loser’ the wind calls. It’s genius; I love to hate Jerry and this is just the kind of abuse I want him to get.

I’m loving Summer’s active role in travelling with Rick. Long gone is the Summer of Series 2’s Ricks Must Be Crazy. She doesn’t shy away any more. It’s when they travel to the post-apocalyptic dimension that we really start to see how strong Summer has become. In fact, she’s the catalyst for the whole episode and long may it continue.
Her story sees her find herself very much at home in this world, but she soon works through her issues regarding the divorce and comes to an interesting conclusion that resolves some of her angst by the end of the episode.
It’s interesting to see her romance develop. I would love to see Summer become the Kirk of the traveling trio. Also- Sumsum! Rick gets to give all the best nicknames.

Morty is as annoying as ever. I know that’s the whole point of the character, but I’m starting to need the showrunners to pull a South Park Kenny on his arse.

We see him take on a revenge mission that is worthy of Game of Thrones (another show I’ve stopped watching owing to a man). It’s a brilliant. Very WTF and ties nicely into the Mad Max homage they have throughout the dimension. It’s good to see how he works through his hang-ups about his father and the divorce. Although I reckon some of you are like me and would have liked to have seen what Morty would have done with the muscle memory had Jerry been there himself.

Rick was as awesome as always but there was very little in way of progression for him. I want him to show some real concern relating to the divorce and I hope we’ll get it in the next few episodes.

Overall, I have found the episode to be tackling a tricky, complex and relevant subject. They are doing it well, exposing some of the rawness to comedy (and gore) will probably enable viewers who have experience divorce to see it from other the other side. From my understanding of the audience it gets here in the UK, it certainly will be helping those most effected by divorce.

Questions/Predictions

  • Will there be any fallout from Summer’s relationship? We’ve obviously done the pregnancy thing with Morty before but I’d certainly like to see that storyline come back.
  • Rick and Beth need some bonding time during her divorce to Jerry.
  • Will Beth and Jerry reconcile by the end of the series?
  • Will the Cthulhu from the title sequence make an appearance this year?

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Fan Entitlement

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I’m a fan! We’re both fans. Of many things. Find us on twitter, give us a topic and we’ll talk… at length, whether you want us to or not. We love music (Panic! At the Disco, MCR, The Killers), TV (Buffy, Hex, Star Trek for Han) and Films (Jurassic World, Princess Bride, Harry Potter). We are advocates of YA (Holly Bourne, Laini Taylor and Non Pratt) and have just spent an amazing weekend at YALC.

However, we’re both upset right now. Mainly because of this article: http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/brendon_urie_wont_be_meeting_fans_after_kinky_boots_shows_anymore

I know Brendan has refused to sign at Panic! Gigs for the last few years for essentially the same reason. In 2015 I (Han), caught the set list at a Hammersmith Apollo gig and waited for two hours at the “stage door” to be told he’d been accosted at a gig in the US. He’d agreed with his body guard and not signed since.
Thanks to “fans”, people are now losing out on meeting a role model and idol. We’d normally have our bitch together if it was an isolated incident. But it’s not. And it’s not fair.

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Tom signing and posing for photos early in the Coriolanus run,

Back in 2013/14 Tom Hiddleston was in Coriolanus at the Donmar in London’s West End. I had tickets, I watched the play and then queued for SIX hours to have the honour of telling him how amazing he was. However, my anxiety is a bitch and I didn’t get to say a word to him while he signed my programme.
A month later I had another ticket to see him. Due to the restrictions at the stage door, this meant I had the chance to join the line for his autograph. I decided at the last minute to join. Only what I saw as I approached was nothing short of chaos; mob mentality ensued and the main door was so swamped that a man in a wheelchair struggled to get out. Fans refused to move in fear of missing their chance to get a photo with Hiddleston.
This alone disturbed me. However, that was before I was informed why Tom had refused to leave via the main door that evening, meaning his security was not policing the crowds.
The reason, as I feared, was fan related: two girls a few days before had crossed the line with Tom. They attempted to place their hands down his pants while he was signing for them. This ensured that for the remaining 5 weeks of the production, no one managed to engage with Hiddleston. This did not make the news. Had it been Sienna Miller, who is currently starring in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it would have made front page news. It would have been sexual harassment. However, Tom kept this quiet.

Now Brendan has had to do the same. He was doing something he loved and fans enjoyed, however warped sense of entitlement that meant the minority has spoiled it for the majority.

My reason for stage dooring or wanting to meet celebs is not to say “I’ve met Mr X or Ms Y”, but to tell them they have made an impact in my life and thank them for the performance they’ve just been in. Because of my anxiety, I find programmes for plays they’re in are the perfect prop. While they’re signing, their attention is elsewhere and I can talk. It doesn’t always work. Heck, its worse without a prop though. Upon being wingperson for a friend when meeting Domnhall Gleeson all I could muster was “My brother is really looking forward to seeing you in Star Wars”. Not the fact that I adored his recent film Frank or that he broke my heart with About Time. This was before my crush on him had fully developed too.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who thinks like this. It takes courage to open my bloody mouth. In fact I’m starting to avoid stage doors because of these sort of situations. Yet out there are “fans” who not only take advantage they have this sense that it’s okay and that the celebrities welcome this behaviour. I’ve also seen these people melt down when they don’t get what they want. Even if they’ve already had countless opportunities to meet the person.

Case in point: I went to see Lyndsey Lohan in Speed the Plow. It was an okay play, but her performance was appalling. I had a moral dilemma; I wanted Richard Schiff and Nigel Lyndsey’s autographs (By autographs, I mean I wanted to tell Schiff that I loved him in The Lost World and the Infidel. That he is an awesome actor and in all honesty I just wanted to see him smile.) but it was a three person play, Lyndsey was a full house. I was struggling to bring myself to do this as I didn’t have something positive to say about her performance in the play. I text a few people to gage their opinion about the stage door and how to handle it.

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I need not have bothered seeing as everyone and their aunt were outside; their cameras ready, sharpies poised on their Mean Girl prints. People who had not even seen the play were there, in the prime positions as well.

All I could hear during my wait were vile comments. Links to Lyndsey’s drug use past (and predicted present) and her bad performance of the play. I couldn’t help but wonder why these people were waiting let alone coveting the spaces at the front of the barrier.

After a time we were informed that Lyndsey has already left the building via a different exit. I totally understand that and was ready to get home and move on with my day. However other people did not. What followed the announcement was abuse. She was a whore, people would not watch her work again and she was worse than Satan and someone even wished her dead.

I would say about 90 percent of my encounters have been amazing, uplifting and unique. The best experience I had was meeting Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Alexander Siddig when he was performing at the Globe. I headed to the stage door and thanked every cast member who came out (cast of 25 and I got every single autograph, meaning I was able to thank every single one of them for a play that meant so much to me). There were two other women there, just hanging out for Alexander Siddig; to the point they blanked other cast members when they drew them into the conversation we were having owing to them being stood so close.

Out came another cast member and when he finished signing for me he questioned whether we were waiting for Siddig. The girl’s ears pricked up and they listened intently as I was told he would be in the bar and that if I had any issues, to tell Alex that he’d sent me.

I watch these two girls run to the bar and shadow him. By some stroke of luck he ended up beside me as I was calming myself at the bar. I was able to have a chat to him (before the women I might add) and express my gratitude for playing the character that got me into Star Trek. We ended with him asking for a hug and telling me his name. The one thing I love about my encounters is that I seem to have a way of making them forget the fan/celeb line and they introduce themselves to me as if I haven’t got a clue who they are. I mentally tell myself as I walk away “That’ll do Pig.”

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With Alexander Siddig

I have no desire to meet many of them again (Who am I kidding, there are a few I would love to see again. But in a ‘let’s go for a cuppa, put the world to rights’ sort of way.) I know I can’t improve my experience or gain them as my friend, so it blows my mind when people will actively repeat their actions, gain nothing out of it but a photo and/or autograph. How can it be fulfilling and don’t some of the more ‘devout’ fans see the look of fear on their target’s face?

What can we do to take back our fandoms my friends? I want these victimised stars to know that we’re not all the same. I also want to be able to continue to stage door without having to compete with these people who despite having 5 autographs, will step on your neck to get another. Even if you were to explain to them that you’ve never met them before.

Movie Review Stan & Ollie (2018)

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Length: 1Hr 37
Rating: PG
Release date:11th January 2018
About: Laurel and Hardy — the world’s greatest comedy team — face an uncertain future as their golden era of Hollywood films remain long behind them. Diminished by age, the duo set out to reconnect with their adoring fans by touring variety halls in Britain in 1953. The shows become an instant hit, but Stan and Ollie can’t quite shake the past as long-buried tension and Hardy’s failing health start to threaten their precious partnership.


The Good

  • Steve Coogan and John C Reilly are absolutely perfect as the legendary Laurel and Hardy. There is no one in my mind that could have out performed these two men and it’s truly a shame that it was over looked by so many of the awards.
  • The relationship between Stan and Ollie was beautifully presented and it really broke my heart at some points; forget about this being a nostalgic biopic, it’s a love story that proving that there is so much more to love than romance.
  • I loved the nod to Hardy’s nick name ‘Babe’. Such a sweet name and in a world of toxic masculinity, it was heartwarming to have Stan use it with such affection.
  • The Black Country Museum was used for a number of outside shots. Some people may recognise those locations as being from Peaky Blinders.
  • There’s some beautiful cinematography going on; from the opening scene’s mirrored faces to the shadow dance at the end. It’s a film student’s dream for analysis.

The Bad

  • It’s a rather slow film that feels much longer than it is. While the film had the relationships spot on, the plot and pace needed a good fine tuning.
  • It’s one of those films that will have fans of the duo a little irritated with some of the inaccuracies, while those who are unfamiliar may not feel as completely engaged as they could have been.

The Ugly

  • I think I’ve been spoiled by Bohemian Rhapsody, but I didn’t leave this film as uplifted as much as I thought I should have. Perhaps had the film ended two scenes earlier, but even then I’m not certain.

Final Thoughts

The joy of the film is to be found watching the two main leads, but I perhaps would have liked more of their better days than the tour around the UK. It’s worth a watch and a weep, but I can’t see it being a repeat viewing for many.

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The Television Tag

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Another tv tag

lottieiswriting

I was tagged by the wonderful Michelle to take part in The Television Tag. I watch a lot of Netflix, so the vasty majority of the shows I’m mentioning come from there, other than the odd scattering of shows I don’t keep up with any more.


The Television Tag

1. Favourite Shows?

My favourite shows right now, in no particular order, are Altered Carbon, Jessica Jones, Daredevil (RIP), Suits, The Good Place, Punisher, You, and Sex Education.

2. Favourite Genre?

I find it weird, I like everything from Game Of Thrones hardcore fantasy to more contemporary stuff like Suits.

3. Least Favourite Show?

I’m not sure if I really have a least favourite show. I either watch a show or I don’t, so if I’m no longer into a show I just don’t keep up to date with it.

4. Most Re-Watched Show/Favourite…

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TV Tag

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Thank you so much Tanvi @ A Reader to Whatever End for tagging me for this. She clearly knows me very well because this tag is totally perfect for me – I’m a huge TV buff, I have grown up watching lots of soaps and dramas on television and binge watching is my favorite activity other than reading books. Just go ahead and checkout Tanvi’s blog for more amazing book reviews and other wonderful posts.

I have tried but there is going to be a lot of repetition in my answers below, because I’m very picky and have very few favorite shows and I love binge watching them. So, let’s get started.

From https://ksahitya.wordpress.com/about/

I’ve not been tagged. I just found it, liked it, tagged myself!
Hope you enjoy my answers
Han x


Favourite Shows

  • Grey’s Anatomy (2005 – Present) I love this show. I can’t explain my reasons, but this show is my life. From the first ‘seriously’ to undoubtedly teary last narration, this is MY show. I’ve even made a tag for the show, which is my top viewed post to date.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)
  • Stranger Things (2016 – Present)
  • Glow (2017- Present)
  • Friends (1994 – 2004)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993- 1999)
  • Doctor Who (1963 – Present)
  • Suits (2011 – Present)
  • Line of Duty (2012 Present)
  • Lucifer (2016 – Present)

Favourite Genre

Sci-Fi has always been my genre. Crime/procedural dramas come a very close second, but its Sci-fi that has made me who I am today.

Least Favourite Show

  • Bojack Horseman
  • Archer

Most Rewatched show/ Favourite show to Binge Watch

  • Grey’s Anatomy Every year I start from the beginning and watch all the way through. Most of the time. Sometimes Izzy gets to me and I skip until she’s gone.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007) I’m not sure I like this show all that much, but I find myself binge watching every year or so.
  • White Collar (2009 – 2014)
  • Stranger Things
  • Glow Season two landed on Netflix on a Friday. I put it on with the understanding that I would watch ONE episode… I think it was something like 1am and I’d finished the whole series.

Week-by-week or Binge

It depends. Shows like Line of Duty, Bodyguard and Star Trek Discovery work well as week-by-week as it allows each episode to be thought about and predictions to be made.
However, there are shows that just beg to be binged; whether you want to or not. Netflix shows like Stranger Things and Glow are ones that I binge like hell. Repeatedly.

Favourite TV Character

  • Amelia Shepherd; Private Practice (2007 & 2013) & Grey’s Anatomy. An unpopular choice for those who only have Grey’s to go off, but anyone who has seen the younger brain surgeon face her darkest moments in the Kate Walsh spin-off will understand just how much she’s been though.
  • Dr Julian Bashir; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Chief Jim Hopper; Stranger Things I don’t think I really need to explain this one.

Favourite TV Ships

  • Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke; White Collar This is a total bromance. I love it because it shouldn’t work. Neal’s a conman and Peter’s the man who caught him. However, you just have to watch the emotional exchange in the series one finale to know that these two are soulmates in much the same way as Grey and Yang.
  • Jim and Maggie; The Newsroom (2012 – 2014) One of the reasons why The Newsroom ended too soon is the development of Jim and Maggie’s relationship. They’re one of the will they/ won’t they couples, but we never really get the pay off.
  • Paul and Hugh: Star Trek Discovery I love these two, mainly for the fact that their sexuality is simply there. It’s not commented upon and it allows for a better and deeper exploration of their characters and relationship.

Shows you Couldn’t Get into

  • Black List
  • Dexter
  • Grimm
  • Mr Robot

With both Mr Robot and Dexter, it was about the narration that runs throughout the episodes. I just can’t marry the narrative and the visuals together. It’s a shame because I love both of the main actors.

Shows You Fell Out of Love With

  • Lost (2004 – 2010)
  • Heroes (2006 – 2010)
  • Marvel’s Agents of SHEILD (2013 – Present)
  • Supernatural (2005 – Present)
  • House (2004 – 2012)
  • NCIS (2003 – Present)
  • The Big Bang Theory (2007 – 2019)

With all of these shows I lost interest in the stories and, more importantly, the characters. I shed light on Lost and Heroes in my post here.

Cancelled Too Soon

  • Selfie (2014)
  • Our Zoo (2014) The mini series that looked at the creation and opening of Chester Zoo by the Mottershead family could have easily gone on for a number of series. It was a blow to hear, long after the final episode aired, that there were no plans for a second series.
  • Newsroom There’s no denying that I started to watch this show for David Harbour, but I stuck around because the story had me hooked. Much like West Wing, this Sorkin produced drama was drawing from politically and socially prominent stories. I wasn’t ready for the end and I would happily welcome a recommission.
  • Pan Am (2011 – 2012) Yup, this show also has David Habour on it’s roster, but I did what the first few episodes back in 2011 when it aired late night on BBC2. This is a show that would have fairedsefore we only have 14 episodes of this wonderfully 60s show.

Guilty Pleasure Show

  • Selfie This show was amazing. A modern retelling of My Fair Lady/ Pygmalion with Karen Gillan and John Cho at the helm. Their chemisty and humour make this short-lived so bittersweet. You know Gillan’s Eliza and Cho’s Henry are meant to find each other. Unfortunately time was called on the show early into its run.
  • Once Upon a Time (2011- 2018)
  • Hex (2004- 2005)
  • Switch (2012)

Currently Watching

  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Miracle Workers (2019)
  • The Flash (2014 – Present)
  • Arrow (2012 – Present)
  • Supergirl (2015 – Present)
  • DC’s Legends of Tommorow (2016 – Present)
  • Charmed (2018 – Present)
  • Star Trek Discovery
  • IZombie (2015 – Present)

I’m sure there are others but its hard to think. It’s like naming all of Santa’s reindeer.

Favourite Theme Music

  • Crystal Maze
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • White Collar
  • Hex

The Characters You Love to Hate

  • Jez Heriot and Azazeal; Hex
  • Louis Litt; Suits Oh, Louis! There isn’t a character that’s made me facepalm as much as the Suits antagonist. I love him and his annoying over reactions.
SUITS — “Hitting Home” Episode 507 — Pictured: Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

Favourite Swan Song Episode

  • Hex; S2 Ep13 The Showdown
  • Friends S10 Ep17&18 The Last One: Parts 1 & 2

If you’ve gotten this far, consider yourself tagged.
Drop me a message in the comments. Do you agree with any of my choices? Any shows you think I should give a second chance?

Love Han x

The Television Tag

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My World of Books

Thank you so much Tanvi @ A Reader to Whatever End for tagging me for this. She clearly knows me very well because this tag is totally perfect for me – I’m a huge TV buff, I have grown up watching lots of soaps and dramas on television and binge watching is my favorite activity other than reading books. Just go ahead and checkout Tanvi’s blog for more amazing book reviews and other wonderful posts.

I have tried but there is going to be a lot of repetition in my answers below, because I’m very picky and have very few favorite shows and I love binge watching them. So, let’s get started.


Favorite shows?

img_0214The West Wing is my most favorite of this lifetime and I don’t think that will ever change. It has some of the best characters on television I have ever seen.

Police procedurals are a particular…

View original post 944 more words

TV REVIEW Star Trek Discovery: Series 2 Ep8: If Memory Serves

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Air Date: 7.3.2019
About: Spock and Burnham head to Talos IV, where the process of healing Spock forces the siblings to confront their troubled past. Stamets desperately tries to reconnect with an increasingly disconnected Hugh, while Tyler struggles to shed the crew’s suspicions of him due to his past as Voq.


When the early description of this episode and first images were released for If Memory Serves, I knew this was going to be the episode I was waiting for. I’ve literally been like a kid at Christmas all week. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such anticipation for a TV show.
Little did I know, there was much more to the episode that I didn’t even know I needed.

It all starts with a heartfelt and surprising ‘previously on…’. This isn’t one you’re going to want to skip over this week; creators have edited footage from the Star Trek Original Series pilot The Cage in order to give new audiences a condensed story. It’s charming and tasteful while staying true to the show.

It’s a truly amazing episode and everyone is giving their all. There are two things that make this episode a potential contender come next years awards season.

Michael and Spock

  • Fans get some answers to why the Federation have stopped people from visiting the system; something they’ve been waiting a long time for. Its a great way to open the scene and give Michael, and the audience, further information.
  • Getting onto the planet itself is rather problematic. It leads to a fight between Michael and the catatonic Spock. Its wonderful on so many levels. It adds a touch of humour to a tense storyline, but more importantly; it adds a level of realism to the relationship and, by extension, the show. I just love that intimacy between the siblings that breaks the boundary of being Starfleet.
  • Talos itself is stunning. Yes, its a clear upgrade from The Cage but the set designers have stayed true to the original concepts. Just wait for Michael discovering the plants that emitting a beautiful sound.
  • There’s a familiar face guest starring as the famous Vina; the woman who graced the credits in most of the Original Series run.
  • As part of the story, audiences will get plenty of answers to questions that have remained unanswered. It’s a traumatic process for both Michael and Spock. Both ? and ? are amazing in their roles. Again, my favourite interaction being a point when Spock has regained control of his mind and there’s a verbal sparing between the siblings. The conflict, regret and love between the two characters is clear to see, and its not from a script that this is gained; its the chemistry and interaction between the two actors.

Hugh, Paul and Ash

  • This was the character and relationship exploration I’ve been waiting for. I loved the relationship of Paul and Hugh last series; it was understated and representative (hopefully) of a natural progression of a gay relationship. The show didn’t make it a thing and I found that incredibly beautiful. Then obviously we had to face the loss of
  • When I heard about Hugh’s return, my mind was all a buzz with what the fallout could be. Never, did I think it would be quite so good. I’d imagine it’s an actors dream to be given such a story line to sink their teeth into.
  • Wilson Cruz is heartbreakingly powerful in all of the scenes in this episode. While it’s clear that Hugh is still processing the trauma he has been through and there’s such a lost and stranded tone to Cruz’ performance. I can only begin to imagine what a strain on a person’s sense of self this situation could cause, but Cruz helps make it a little easier.
  • I have been very vocal of Anthony Rapp’s performance since the very first episode here. Over the time, we’ve seen the range and scope of his acting and it did not disappoint. However, the scene in which he brings dinner home to Hugh is just something else. The pain in which Paul asks ‘Why are you angry with me?’ was so raw, that I wanted to reach in and give him a hug. It’s an understandable situation that I’ve seen in real life; When my dad thought he was losing my mum to COPD, there was a change. He took her the cinema, he helped around the house more and, at my insistence, he did not smoke in the same room as her. Paul is so grateful to have Hugh back that he’s trying not to take his second chance for granted. I was moved by Rapp’s performance and how real it felt.
  • I was shocked by the character reveal of Ash Tyler in series 1. Shazad Laitif is an incredible addition to the cast and having him back within the crew was always going to provide some brilliant plot points. In this episode not only we get the knowledgeable security crew member, but we see his vulnerability from his relationship with Michael but also from the actions he can’t take back as Voq.
  • The moment I was waiting for actually took me by surprise for so many reasons. I knew there would come a time in which Ash and Hugh would be in the same room and I imagined so many ways in which it could go. This wasn’t it. I was not expecting this powerful display of anger from Hugh or the resulting fight. However, there was another unexpected response that shocked me completely. At the climax of the fight, Hugh and Ash admitted to each other that neither knows who they are any more. I have so many predictions about this turn of events but for now, all I want to say is that it was one of my favourite scenes in the whole episode because it took me by surprise and was buzzing with energy and potential chemistry.

Final Thoughts, Questions and Predictions

I know, deep down, its a better episode than New Eden but I can’t quite move the second episode of series 2 from my favourite top spot. That said, this has everything you would want from a Star Trek episode. I’ve actually already watched it three times, simply because I enjoyed it so much.

One question that was raised for me was with the reveal that the Red Angel and Spock changed Michael’s fate. I hope the remainder of the series looks into answering the question that the episode raised for me: will there be a consequence for saving Michael’s life?

There’s two ways I feel Hugh’s journey could go. It’s been made clear that there’s a fracture in his and Paul’s relationship, which leaves it open for some romancing on either part.
But the much more interesting relationship development is that of Ash and Hugh. They are both men who have gone through a change at the result of something traumatic and as unconventional as it would be, they really could help each other recover. How that progresses, I’m not sure. Obviously there is the fundamental friendship that could develop from shared trauma, but I don’t think it’s beyond the show to develop a romantic relationship between them. As much as I feel like a Paul/Hugh traitor, I’d be open to them exploring this.


I cannot wait to see what the show has for us next.
Until next week
Love Han x

MARVELous Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

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“Well, Thanos is fucked.”
Anjie J Han/ Twitter

Release: 8 March 2019
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 5min
About: Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls.

The Good

  • Fury’s Benjamin Button trick. I don’t know how well it will hold up to repeated viewings, but I was very impressed with the CGI retro-aging of Samuel L Jackson. In fact, I loved Sam Jackson taking centre stage for an outing on the whole.
  • Brie Larson makes for a sound Captain Marvel and she works well with the script and story she’s given. Larson is able to balance the tone between conflict and humour really well. I’m looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the upcoming Endgame.
  • Ben Mendelsohn’s duel character of Talos and Keller.
    Mendelsohn has well established himself as a Hollywood ‘bad guy’ over the last few years. Without going into detail regarding his character’s impact on the plot, Mendelsohn seems to truly enjoy himself in the role. It was awesome to hear his native accent too.
  • The cat, Goose! Move over Groot, we’ve got a new cutie in the MCU. There’s the nice little nod to Top Gun with his naming and he gets added points for reducing Fury to baby talk.
  • 90s vibes; its good to see the 90s in cinematic form. From the costumes, settings and pop culture references its a comfortable setting that brings the fun. The best part is the use of music throughout the whole film. While still not on par with Guardians’ Awesome Mix, it gives it a good fight.

The Bad

  • Coulson’s Benjamin Button routine is not as flawless as Fury’s. Perhaps not as much money/time was spent on Clark Gregg’s youthful glow but it does stand out as a computer rendering.
  • Jude Law gives a good go as Veer’s mentor and he’d even be up in the category above if it wasn’t for the bloody trailers. Yet again, outsourcing the trailer production reveals plot points the film conceals from the audience. It throws off the intended story and takes away any shock factor the director intended.
  • 90s vibes- I feel old! When did the 90s become nostalgia?! I’m not ready to look back on the 90s as if it was 30 years ago. It was only last year we were freaking out about the Millenium Bug, and there’s nothing you can say that will change my mind.
  • Other than Coulson and Fury, it felt a little short on the Easter eggs. If a film is going to retcon an entire franchise, I’d like a little more connections; even just a nod to Stark Snr and Stark Industries would have been enough.

The Ugly

  • Another origin story. It’s old hat now and Spiderman has shown viewers that MCU is more than that. It feels too formulaic 10 years in and I’m really tired of the check-box approach to plotting.
  • The storytelling seemed clunky, messy and, at times, painfully slow- the first 40 minutes really needed a good editing. While I like its use of flashbacks, it felt a little bluff on a double bluff by the time Larson lands on Earth.
  • The comedy is as jarring as ever. This time it was a dick joke: do we really need Fury checking out the dead dudes junk and comparing sizes?! I laughed, don’t get me wrong. I laughed louder than anyone else, but it was hollow and cheap; leaving a bitter after taste.
  • As always, the film falls down when it comes to its villian/s. The motivation or even the origin of the ‘bad guys’ is rather unclear and is left somewhat unresolved; which doesn’t help this film fit within the MCU timeline as smoothly as we were assured it would.
  • The dedication- this being the first movie out since the great Lee’s passing, Marvel have something heartfelt for the franchise’s creator. It had me ugly crying

Final Thoughts

It’s not the amazing outing it could have been. While there’s things I know of Captain Marvel that could come into play when we come to sit down for Endgame in May, I’m not certain there was anything in this film that gave me hope that she’ll be the saviour audience’s say she’ll be.
What I will say, if a character is going to take the glory from any of the long standing Avengers, it better be that damn cat!

Have you seen it?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments.

Love Han x

TV REVIEWS Star Trek Discovery S2 Ep7 Light and Shadows

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Air Date: 28.2.2019
About: Burnham goes to Vulcan in search of Spock, where she unearths surprising family secrets. In researching what is left of the Red Angel’s signal over Kaminar, Pike and Tyler end up in battle with time itself. Georgiou has a few tricks up her sleeve for Leland and Section 31.

Spoilers Ahead

The episode has gone back to having two very distinct plot lines, and it feels all the better for it.

Michael and Spock

Michael’s trip to Vulcan is much more rewarding than I was expecting it to be. Having watched the OS episode Journey to Babel earlier in the week, I was able to truly appreciate how well the casting was.
Sonuqua Martin-Green’s performance in this episode is quite simply perfect; she is able to portray a human raised in a Vulcan environment with such emotive force that I was reduced to tears. Her relationship with Spock is something I want, and need, to see more of.

I’m a little unsure as to why Michael agreed to take Spock straight to Section 31. I’ve trusted her judgement since that first episode and it saddens me somewhat that Michael doubts herself. I’m also quite curious that it wasn’t the Black Ops that tried to recruit her.

I feel like we’ve been lacking hand to hand combat this series, so it was amazing to see Michael face off with Phillipa. It’s well choreographed and that final head smash made me gasp.

Michael’s episode ends with her discovering the numbers Spock is repeating are indeed pointing at a place. One I’m excited, yet equally nervous to visit. Done well, this is going to be an amazing following episode that may even answer questions left unanswered by the Original Series.

Pike, Ash and Disco Crew

I’ve always loved temporal disturbance plots and this episode is no exception. Mainly because it has all my favourite Discovery elements:

  • Tilly being her passionate geeky self
  • Saru being the authoritative, repressed mentor
  • Pike being the best god damn Captain I’ve experienced in Trek history. That twist of a smile when he responds to Tilly’s curse is just … well, it’s what I’d want in a leader
  • Stamets and his amazing brain
  • Pike butting heads with Ash
  • A resolution with progression

I still feel that unease when it comes to the Red Angel. It feels as if it’s something that is hiding plain sight and I’m going to kick myself when it comes to the reveal. I do get a sense that it is coming to a head, but all its doing is making me wish I could binge watch the rest of the series.

Final Thoughts

Another strong episode that adds to the ongoing story. It was lacking any feature of Henry and Wilson Cruz was sorely missed. I need an episode focused on him soon and I certainly need a scene with Henry and Ash! I’m nervous about how badly it will go and I just need it out the way.

Love Han x


TV REVIEW Star Trek Discovery: Series 2 Ep 6 The Sound of Thunder

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Sorry for the delay. I’ve had a difficult week and a bit sleep-wise so it meant I had to watch the episode twice before writing my review. All should be back to running normally next week, but today you get a double dose of reviews.

I actually wasn’t sure about this episode when I first watched it and I can only think it was that I wasn’t in the right mind-set for such an emotional-wrought story line.
Saru’s journey within this episode is quite incredible. We see his relationship with Michael strengthen once more; there’s a heartwarming scene in which he takes Michael to meet his sister. It’s charming and gives us such a depth to Saru’s character.

The plot involving the seemingly superior Ba’ul is incredibly reminiscent of stories you’ll have seen before; Antz, Bug’s Life and many others all cover this idea of a weak group being strong, if only they work together and accept they can be more.
What I did enjoy with this retelling of the underdog is that it wasn’t always that way and the ethical situation Discovery find themselves in when faced with being a bystander to genocide.

The Ba’ul leader! Bloody hell, he was scary. The look is absolutely terrifying on its own, but then you add that voice that will cause nightmares for weeks to come. It’s hard to see that they were once the prey on the planet- gulp!

The episode resolves with a heartfelt goodbye between Saru and his sister. I’m hoping that the journey within this episode will ensure we gain a balance between his mild mannered and volatile self. I guess only time will tell.

My only issue with the episode is in regards to Hugh Culber. The first scene is okay and fits well within Saru’s story. However, this was not an episode that could fit in a secondary storyline, so the second scene which has such a beautiful story that explains how Hugh came to be a doctor feels a little out of place and clunky. What I felt it needed was either a resolution with an additional scene at the end or the second scene removed.
It’s something I probably wouldn’t have noticed had the previous episodes been quite so high quality. It’s not that I don’t want to see Hugh either, its an incredible story and I’m itching to have an episode that focuses on both him and Stamets. However, these out of place scenes don’t do the character’s justice.

Its a well made episode, with only a few missteps. It was quite nice to have a break from the search for Spock and have an almost ‘bottle episode’ on a planet. I’m also strangely loving the clashing of Pike and Ash; long may it continue.

February Wrap Up

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Books I Got

  • Extinction Trials: Rebel by S. M. Wilson (Usborne Purchase)
  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M McManus (Penguin Purchase)
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Black & White Publishing Net Galley)
  • Widows by Lynda La Plante (Bonnier Zaffre Book Post)
  • Widows’ Revenge by Lynda La Plante (Bonnier Zaffre Net Galley)
  • Star World byAudrey Coulthurst & Paula Garner (Candlewick Press Net Galley)
  • Meat Market by Juno Dawson (Quercus Children’s Books Net Galley)
  • Emily Eternal by M G Wheaton (Hodder & Stoughton Net Galley)
  • On the Come Up by Angie (Walker Books Wildest Dreams Book Box)
  • Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic Competition Book Post)
  • Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein (Charlesbridge Teen Net Galley)
  • Bible Journaling for the Fine Artist by Melissa Fischer, Kate Peiffer (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Little People, Big Dreams. Stephen Hawking by Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Little People, Big Dreams. Muhammad Ali by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Brosmind (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Little People, Big Dreams Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Little People, Big Dreams Emmeline Pankhurst by Lisbeth Kaiser
    (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Little People, Big Dreams Ella Fitzgerald by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & Bàrbara Alca
    (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (Bloomsbury Charity Shop buy)
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler (Simon & Schuster Charity Shop buy)
  • Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron (Pan Macmillan Net Galley)
  • We Won an Island by Charlotte Lo (Nosy Crow Book Post)
  • Home Girl by Alex Wheatle (Little Brown Group Net Galley)
  • Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Charity Shop buy)
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Pan Macmillan Charity Shop buy)
  • Black Music Greats by Olivier Cachin (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Your Mind is Like the Sky by Bronwen Ballard (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The Woolly Monkey Mysteries by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press Net Galley)
  • The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi (St Martins Press Net Galley)
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (St Martins Press Net Galley)
  • The Sages of Chelm and the Moon by Shlomo Abas (Green Bean Books Net Galley)
  • The Bet Between Us by Brandon Moore (B L Moore Net Galley)
  • Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe (Zephyr Net Galley)
  • Little Bear Wants to Grow by Judith Koppens (Clavis Publishing Net Galley)
  • Darksoul Anna Stephens (Harper Collins Net Galley)
  • Bright Start – Feel Better Daddy by Nancy Loewen; Hazel Michelle Quintanilla (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Bright Start – A Thank You Walk by Nancy Loewen (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The Story of People by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The Lost Book of Adventure by Unknown Adventurer (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Wish by Chris Saunders (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The Cave by Rob Hodgson (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The School of Numbers by Emily Hawkins (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • What Do Machines Do All Day by Jo Nelson (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Read to Your Baby Every Day by Chloe Giordano (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Maria Montessori by Isabel Sanchez Vegara; Raquel Martín (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Ada Lovelace by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Zafouko Yamamoto (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • The Near Witch by V.E Schwab (Titan Books Book Post)
  • The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale (Penguin Purchase)
  • A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven (EgmontPurchase)
  • Amelia Fang and the Half-Moon Holiday by Laura Ellen Anderson (Egmont Publishing Net Galley)
  • Presley the Pug Relaxation Activity Book by Karen Treisman (Jessica Kingsley Publishers Net Galley)
  • Opposite of Always by justin a. reynolds (Pan Macmillan Net Galley)
  • The Furies by Katie Lowe (Harper Collins Net Galley)
  • Handcrafted Cocktails by Molly Wellmann (F + W Media Net Galley)
  • Crazy Beautiful Letters by Judith Graves (Sassy Lassie Designs Net Galley)
  • 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada (for Kids) by Sarah Sawler (Nimbus Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Steak and Cake by Elizabeth Karmel (Workman Publishing Company Net Galley)
  • The Happiness Diary by Barbara Ann Kipfer (Quarto Publishing Group Net Galley)
  • Darksoul by Anna Stephens (Harper Collins Net Galley)
  • Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell (Stripes Publishing Net Galley)
  • The Crying Machine by Greg Chivers (Harper Collins Net Galley)
  • The War Blog by Glen Sobey (Black Rose Writing Net Galley)

Library Loans

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Pan Macmillan)
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu (Penguin)

Books I Read

  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Extinction Trials: Rebel by S. M. Wilson
  • Monsters in the Mirror by A J Hartley
  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M McManus
  • Meat Market by Juno Dawson
  • Widows by Lynda La Plante
  • The Lost Book of Adventure by Unknown Adventurer
  • Wish by Chris Saunders
  • The Cave by Rob Hodgson
  • The School of Numbers by Emily Hawkins
  • Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez
  • What Do Machines Do All Day by Jo Nelson
  • Maria Montessori by Isabel Sanchez Vegara; Raquel Martín
  • Ada Lovelace by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Zafouko Yamamoto
  • Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron
  • We Won an Island by Charlotte Lo
  • Little Bear Wants to Grow by Judith Koppens
  • The Magic Misfits: The Second Story by Neil Parick Harris

Books for March

  • Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena
  • Emily Eternal by M G Wheaton

Goodreads total:

Its been an amazing book month and I’m 23 books ahead of schedule, which is beyond amazing. That said, I’ve been finding it really hard to focus and setting myself a massive TBR last month was a big mistake; I think I’ve only read one out of it.
I’m hoping to get my reading speed up this month and be distracted less by my phone. I also need to get the final chapter from my fan fiction written and published.

Love Han x

Marvelous Movie Reviews: Iron Man 2 (2010)

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“The suit and I are one.”
Tony Stark

Release: 30 April 2010
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 4min
About: With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.

The Good

  • The biggest highlight for me is the casting; both Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell are amazing as this installment’s bag guys. I’ll admit, I still struggled to hear everything Rourke was saying but I didn’t mind once the subtitles were on.
  • Tony is even more Howard Hughes than ever and I love the entrance to the Expo. Its a brilliant way of showing his approach to his superhero life.
  • The humour in the court hearing is rather pitch perfect. It’s on the right side of tongue in cheek; from the comment that nods to the casting change of Rhodey to the responses given to Senator Trump Stern.
  • I don’t think I picked up on this in the first outing, but I love the Red Dwarf-like robots Tony has in his basement.
  • We get more Happy and Black Widow’s introduction is rather subtle for newbies, allowing them to be on side with Stark, while remaining perfect for fans in the know.
  • The CGI of the wrecked car at the Monaco Grand Prix is still as breath taking as it was on the big screen. It’s hard not to wonder what went wrong with the graphics department down the line.
  • As Tony becomes reckless, it allows Rhodey to have more to do. There’s a few scenes between Rob DJ and Don Cheadle that are rather beautiful, sincere and something I feel is missing from some of the later movies.
  • Have to give a shout out to Queen for the vocals to the fight sequence between a drunk Tony and Rhodey. THIS was a better Civil War than, well, Civil War.
  • “I don’t want to join your super secret boy band.” – I love the relationship between Stark and Fury. It’s like an angry uncle and a rebellious nephew. It’s something the film could have done with more of.
  • Okay, I briefly mentioned Sam Rockwell at the beginning but of all the anti-heroes, Justin Hammer is quite possibly my favourite. Perhaps its because his motivation is pure stupidity and a drive for power that he should never have. He’s the guy you meet wherever you work, shop or play. He’s the guy who thinks he means well, has charm but he wouldn’t think twice about throwing his nanna under the bus. He’s a big dick; a brilliant, snivelling, brown nosing dick. And who better to handle this character than Sam Rockwell?!

The Bad

  • What is with Mickey Rourke’s Corey Feldman skunk stripe?! Don’t get me wrong, Rourke has my admiration for The Wrestler and I’m sure it’s more to do with the costume department, but I want to chop it off.
  • The opening exposition wasn’t as clear as with Hulk and, as a result, I missed Ivan’s beef against Stark. It was over an hour in before I made sense of his one-man war path.
  • Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is a little too loud and shouty in this outing. Her freaking out in the car really doesn’t fit with what was otherwise a flawless scene.
  • Coulson was a bit pointless in this. It felt too forced “Hi, I’m coming to tell you I can’t stay.”…. okay. I get the feeling it was to prepare the way for the sting, but he wasn’t required in the film proper for that to happen. That said, I do love Gregg Clark so I shouldn’t really complain.
  • Happy and Black Widow! We so need more of those two together. It was the best part of the god damn movie.

The Ugly

  • I feel as if there’s a bit of a continuity error when it comes to Stark’s involvement in the Avengers Initiative. He was very much involved within the sting of Hulk, but this film seems to ignore that.
  • Its still the same ending; bigger, meaner version of the hero. Only this time they pressed the copy button. It’s already feeling stagnant when it comes to the bad guys.
  • This could be where the problems with Black Widow start. Both Happy and Tony fawn over her; even Potts mentions how it was a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Final Thoughts

My opinion has improved some what since the first, and last, time I watched this. To be fair, I was so bored that I left my boyfriend-at-the-time in the screen and went for a walk. Twice. What I will say though is that I wasn’t the hard core Marvel CINEMATIC Universe fan until Joss Whedon gave me Assemble.
It still has its faults, but I must say I actually enjoyed it much more… even if I did have to watch it in two sections.

Next up, as the sting revealed, is Thor.

Love Han x

Blog Tour Book Review: Monsters in the Mirror

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Publisher: UCLan Publishing
Pages: 424
Release Date: 1.3.2019
About: Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors in to different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world…and only he can save it.The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Monsters-Mirror-1-Beyond/dp/099551559X

I fell in love with Dawen, his world and the story almost immediately and I couldn’t put it down. From the first page, you’re thrown into the story and it doesn’t let up until you close the book on the final page.

It holds a nostalgic magic that’s not only reminiscent of Snicket and Potter, but of one of my favourite childhood book series; the Shivers collection. They were an alternative to Point Horror and they were my go to. My favourite of them all was Madness at the Mall and Monsters in the Mirror really gave me such a throwback to it that I’ve been searching my bookshelves ever since.

Monsters in the Mirror would be an upgraded, movie quality version of those delightfully scary books of my childhood. With a chilling reminder of Return to Oz, I was hooked with both worlds presented and I really would love to see this being made into a TV progamme with 90s vibes. The worlds are artfully and passionately built that I dare people not to love them.

It’s a perfectly set out plot, that sees the protagonist develop relationships that have a fulfilling arc over the whole book while also laying a foundation for whatever comes next. Which, believe me, I’ll be here waiting for any news of an upcoming release date.

Its a story for all, but most of all… this could be the book series that gets parents recommending books to their children, digging out their old paperbacks and sharing them with a new generation of readers.

Book Review: Enchantee by Gita Trelease

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Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 480
About: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

My heart is aching, this was such a perfect book for me. It is charming, hopeful and gracefully historic. I’ve had an inexplicable and emotional draw to the French Revolution for as long as I can remember. The ancien regime and the civil unrest that led to the end of the French monarchy has always held my attention. I have a theory as to what was the root cause of the breakdown within French society, but I’ve needed to find someone more read in the history than me.
I knew I would enjoy this book going in, perhaps be a little critical if history was not played out quite right but I k. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think I would have my heart stolen and my senses transported to such an authentic (yet utterly magical) world. Move over The Night Circus and make space for your literary equal.
Normally, it is the characters that pull me in first; there’s something about them that makes me root for them. While it’s fair to say this is true of the gorgeous and loyal Camile, it is the author’s use of language that charmed me so utterly that I was torn from the moment the first chapter ended; on one hand, I wanted to devour this story in one sitting but, on the other I wanted to savour it and make the book last forever. The use of French is the key. In other books, it wouldn’t have sat so organically beside the English. There’s a glossary, but the phrases and words are so well integrated into the dialogue that I certainly didn’t feel the need to search their meaning.
There are so many characters that bring life to this entwining plot of magicians, class system and the romance. As a reader, you will be as confused and lost as Camille when it comes to your appraisal of some characters, whereas others will win you over instantly.
I must say, I didn’t see the ending coming; literally and figuratively. I was so enchanted by the storytelling that I am still processing that I’ve read the final page let alone the fact that I missed something that with a lesser writer I would have called much earlier.
I cannot wait to reread this novel once I have the physical book in my hands and I am already looking forward to what Gita Trelease will publish next as I will forever be a devoted fan.

Love Han x