Review: Condemned and Admired by Bree Wolf

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

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

“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

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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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.

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

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.

The Flash S5 Ep1

And into Season 5 we go. While The Flash is a show that on the surface improves each season, I really didn’t enjoy season 4s antagonist; the phd and his wife. Season 5s opener, however, is a strong episode that reminds viewers of plot threads from last year along with some hints as to what’s to come.

The theme of responsibility is at large and I think will play a big role in this season and my favourite thing about the episode is the fact that we’re not introduced to what could be the season’s big bad until the post credit sequence.

Some highlights

Schunchie-do-hickie I do love Cisco and drunk Cisco is the awesome. But the best? Hungover Cisco is best! “Don’t drink and vibe”.

It really annoys me that this would have been a perfect time to get Tom Felton back! ‘we haven’t filled your position.’ – You used to have two people work the lab, how on earth do you not have someone in the lab. You have no idea how much I loved his chemistry with the team.

Awwwww the scene with Barry and his daughter. It was so sweet to see them interact and bond. Although I do fear she might be like Dawn in Buffy or the original annoying add on, Scrappy Do; the actress is adorable, but the character is annoying.

Ralph! I love his misunderstanding of time travel. I’m so happy the brought him back last season. The presence of Ralph also gives me hope in the sense that Ralph was the Scappy Do of Season 4 and he won me around so much that points have to be given to the actor for such a good job.

Nora and Iris bonding. I love that she is happy referring to Barry as Dad and embraces the role of “mom” like a duck to water. It’s an amazing parallel to Barry and how he’s uncomfortable he is calling Iris mom. Her scene near the end where she cries is just perfect. I’ve never been massively fond of Iris, for reason I can’t quite put into words, but this role of Mom really fits the character.

Cisco and his references. He’s my man! Damn, the ‘I am fortunes fool’ line; why don’t these guys exist in real life? Be still my hear, he knows Trek, Movies AND Shakespeare! Sigh! He’s too perfect.

There is a wonderful moment where Barry remembers a lesson from the wonderful Wells and it just reminded me; I can’t wait to see which incarnation we get next. Wells is my favourite plot point about the Multi-Verse! The fact that they have this brilliant actor who can bring these character to life… Gah, I just hope its not too long before he’s back

 

OtherEarth by @jasonsegel and @banksirregular

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What do you do when your first novel in the Otherworld trilogy is near perfect? Well, you up the stakes of course. And with Jason and Kirstin at the helm, boy do they amp up the pressure!
A year ago, I went on an adventure that surpassed all my expectations. This year, I feel as if my imagination has been hijacked, given an upgrade and thrown onto a high speed rollercoaster. I was a bit worried that we’d be spending too much time out of the simulated world, but it’s actually where the drama and tension can really be found.
Simon has a plan, and he can’t do alone. In what can only be described as a Bond on the run, Simon and his friends locate allies, makes deals with enemies and try to not get the rug pulled from under them too many times.
The plot is such a wonderful treat, its best kept a secret until you read it for yourself, but I will say that there is a gritty realism within the narrative that is a refreshing change from the nostalgia trips other books like this provide. Kristin and Jason are able to provide a commentary on some deep and serious topics, including addiction.
The final act brings a mental health sub plot to a head. It’s something that is so subtle and unobtrusive to the plot that don’t be hard on yourself for it blind siding you.
The only fault I can find it that there wasn’t more of the book to read. It ends in such a way that you’ll be screaming and shouting about it for weeks after. Then, just to escape the fact that there’s a year until OtherLife reaches us, you’ll head back to Otherworld for another trip with Simon.

Skyscraper 12a

Skyscraper
12a
1hr 42
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell.
Release date: 18th November 2018

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The Good

It’s a summer action film with the Rock at the helm; you pretty much get what you pay for in terms of expectations. You get the added bonus of Millennial Scream Queen Neve Campbell who works so well with Johnson that I really do wonder why they’ve never worked together before.

I adore the idea that the protagonist is someone with a disability and someone who is one half of a multi-racial couple. The characters, their relationships and the whole ‘people in peril’ plot has me sold from the beginning.

The Bad

There’s too much exposition for a film that should have an easy flow to it. Dwayne spends too much screen time alone and it makes the film a little clunky. Johnson works best when he has someone to bounce off, and what we have to remember is, even John McClane had a radio to communicate with his ‘partner’ and bad guy Hans. It’s the biggest thing that is missing from this.

The Ugly

It’s been done before in a much better format, with a much smoother plot. It’s bordering on a Epic/ Date Movie type spoof feel with the way in which it homages movies; from Cliffhanger, Die Hard and Towering Inferno to Poseidon Adventure, High Rise and even Jurassic Park.

 

It’ll make for an ideal Christmas present for any Rock lovers out there, but my advice is to rent it rather than buy.

The Wider Earth at The Natural History Museum

https://www.kxtickets.com/whats-on/the-wider-earth

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Something wonderful has transformed the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum. Not only are you transported to a world of inexplicable beauty, you travel in time to meet a 22 year old Charles Darwin on his epic journey of discovery.

Story

Written by David Morton, Wider Earth details Charles Darwin’s five year survey voyage upon the HMS Beagle. Today, Darwin’s theory is widely accepted and faces very little challenge. However, the journey Darwin takes is not simply one of discovery. Morton uses the play to emphasise the challenges Darwin faced, not only of his personal faith but the reaction of others as the diversity between Religion, faith and Science becomes a catalyst for potential social change.

The mystery, the awe inspiring vision and the violent opposition that Darwin faced is all within Morton’s commentary. Not only that, Morton seamlessly alludes to the slave trade and abolition within the realms of religion in order to pose undisputable arguments at to why we are all equal, despite our differences.

Production

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The set it quite simply breath taking. From the opening recitation of Genesis, to the final moments in which Darwin returns home from his voyage, every part of the set it utilised. The revolving centre piece is used throughout the 2 hour production as buildings, the Beagle and even the exotic island landscapes. The lighting and video backdrop only add to something that is already perfect. Between the recreations of Darwin’s scribbles and the blue wash the production uses to recreate the ocean, you will be transported and immersed in Darwin’s world.

I would not be able to write this review without mentioning the one thing that reduced me to tears. The puppetry is out of this world. from the smallest butterfly to the turtles, from the movements to the interactions; the only thing that could have rendered me more in awe would have been in they’d placed an actual new born hippo in my hands.

Casting

The cast of seven are who really sold this play to me. It’s nearly 40 minutes before the audience witness their first puppet animal. but they are the icing on the already beautifully constructed cake. The people on the stage allow me to have an emotional attachment and a connection with a historical figure that I’ve respected for so long.

Bradley Foster brings a curiosity and passion to the biologist and naturalist that everyone knows. There’s a joy and boyish charm in Foster’s role that breaks down the wall between the man and the theory. The conflict between Darwin’s faith and the questions his exploration raise is raw and unapologetic, and is only solidified by the relationships we experience. Notably those of his beloved Emma, played by the delightful Melissa Vaughn who helps bring life and character to many of the puppets we meet, and Captain Fitzroy, played by the incredible Jack Parry-Jones whose handsome frame brings a level of authority and passion to the Captain who dissolves throughout the play as his mission doesn’t quite go to plan. Marcello Cruz plays Jemmy and provides some of the most heart breaking scenes either side of the interval.

It is Matt Tait who held my attention throughout; with his husky Scottish tones that sooth the soul and bring authority to Fitzroy’s second in command, Wickham. He also has an amazing ability to bring to life the puppets he controls. The highlight is the bird that soars around the stage.

Andrew Bridgmont, and Ian Houghton round out the cast and play multiple roles on land and sea. Without them, we would not see the inspiration behind Darwin’s curiosity. They both bring charm, joy and humour to the play and ensure I’ll be coming back for another viewing.

City of Dust by @MKennyPR @HQDigitalUK

City of Dust_FINALCharacter
Talia is back on fighting form, with Max and her twin right at her side. The book jumps right back into Arafel life and brings with it a reunion of old friends and introduction of new players.
Talia continues to remain a character that will forever remain the perfect heroine that from the very start joined the ranks along with Katniss, Triss and Hermione. The impact of Book of Fire is clearly ingrained; she’s battle bruised and trying to keep her thoughts on track. It’s only really when she’s set on a new path that her strength is really propelled to the limelight.
While those who have given their hearts to August will have to wait patiently for his presence within the pages, it only gives you the opportunity to consider Max as a strong character and romantic partner for Talia. He’s Talia’s equal and not scared to show his annoyance. There was the briefest of minutes when I’d forgotten about August.

Story
The world building is as immersive as ever and will consume you completely. The description of the desolate streets are hauntingly beautiful. Aside from the characters, the world building is my favourite part of this series.
The story sees Tailia back in old territory and searching for a stolen item. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg as the plot opens up to an exploration of eugenics of mythic proportions.
Readers will need to breath when they can, because as the story reaches its final act you won’t get opportunity to. It’s fast paced and epic showdown will leave your heart in your mouth. No one is safe and the fates of many will be left clinging to the edge of a shocking cliff when the final page comes around.

Writing
Just like meeting up with an old friend, the words envelope you in a comfortable hug. Just like Book of Fire, City of Dust contains a glossary for terms. However, the world is so beautifully written, and the action so carefully crafted that the words don’t need the glossary.
The only negative would be that it’s so good that it’s going to be a painful wait for the next instalment.

Film Review: Hotel Transylvania 3

In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

https://youtu.be/d5exSS74Lh0

The good

As sequels go, this one has a fair go and keeping fresh and avoiding the pitfalls of gimmicks that worked in previous outings (blah blah blah, for example was referenced, but not over worked)

As always, my favourite was the Wolf-man, his wife and his brood, discovering the on board childcare was a definite highlight.

Drac’s loneliness actually hits an emotional chord. It’s lovely to see films embrace the concept of love after grief.

The humour is spot on. I laughed the loudest and the most throughout the film. I’m sure there were many questioned from confused kids ‘mummy why’s that lady laughing?’ at some of the more adult-based jokes that rendered me a giggling mess.

The bad

It felt a little long for a kids film. Even I was wriggling in my seat. It really could have done with about 20 minutes shaved off, just to keep the audience focused.

The ugly

It was very episodic. Almost as if it was created as part of the Netflix tv series and they were all stitched together. It’s a personal thing, but I’m not a fan of that type of storytelling. War Horse being the worst for that.

Oh… and Al Brook’s gramps and his speedo clad saunter past the witches was a sight I could do without.

The Heartsick series by @ChelseaCain wrap up

 

Click on the title link below to see my coverage of individual books and commentary on who I’d cast in the prominent roles. Hint- David Harbour.
Keep on reading and you’ll see a link to my Pintrest board that might compliment Cain’s AWESOME work. I was tempted to make predictions on any upcoming Archie/Gretchen novels, but I really want to keep those to myself. However, I did once entertain the idea of writing a fan fic that saw Susan on a book tour in Europe. She managed to be held hostage on the London Eye which would have given nail biting ticking clock.

 

https://www.bookdepository.com/Heartsick-Chelsea-Cain/9780312657819?ref=grid-view&qid=1535216223272&sr=1-10=CappyCrash

Heartsick

Sweetheart 

Evil at Heart

The Night Season
Kill You Twice
Let Me Go


My Pintrest Page

https://pin.it/r3zcf6omhoh6q7

So while reading this time, I started researching things (Namely Susan’s hair colours) and put them into a Pintrest board. Whenever my dad was talking AT me for so long that I could feel my vein popping in my head and I found myself reading the same line four or more times, I’d go into research mode.
Within the board you’ll find that it’s split into the individual books, with a separate one for Archie (David Harbour. Not going to lie, I’ve given up on anyone being cast other than that damn fine man! Follow him on Insta, I beg you.), a Misc one for Susan where it’s items of clothing she is described to wear more than once or I’m not sure which book it should be in.
I also spent some time falling in love with Portland and I’m now planning on going on holiday there in the next few years (read: ASAP).

Please enjoy and comment on any changes in casting you would have.

 

Love

Han x

Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain

I stayed up until midnight when this was released. However I completely forgot I also changed my address so I lived in New York because this one wasn’t released in the UK until MONTHS later.

Reading it at the time was a little disorienting at first. I’d already planned out a story based on the blurb; Hollywood has ingrained in me that ‘trapped in a party’ translates to a skyscraper (Die Hard and Rising Sun are my keystones here). Cain’s story didn’t match mine; It was so much better. It was a million times scarier.

The story really uses its time frame (Halloween) to get under the reader’s skin. When this is made in to a film, this is the one that will be closest to a horror movie than any of the others. The final third is so incredibly tense that during my reread, I got to this point about midnight and the cats decided to come to bed. I haven’t jumped so much in my life.


Casting couch


Bear

T J Tyhne Bones alumni and beautiful man is the only person I could imagine pulling off the facial fuzz Chelsea describes.

Richard
T J Miller
A truly controversial choice, but this is my geeky nod to Die Hard’s Johnson and Johnson.

Sanchez


Oscar Issac Thanks to this little light bulb choice, I need to go back and imagine him in the role. What’s interesting about Issac, is his chameleon tendencies. Watch Ex Machina and Force Awakens back to back and you’ll swear that they’re not the same guy. While I’m not as in love with Poe as I was during Force Awakens (Hell, I’m not as in love with Star Wars as a franchise as I was cerca Force Awakens), I do believe that he has that knife edge charm that will have you understanding Archie thinking he’s dirty.

Cooper

Dave Bautista Cooper has to bring the fear, but deep down have that teddy bear protective quality towards Susan. Who better than the muscles behind Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. Also, I want him in everything. I want a Being John Malkovich style poster just of his face for the way he’s beautifully putting two fingers up to the Mouse House for the firing of director James Gunn.

Karim

Riz Ahmed The Brit has been seen in dark comedy Four Lions, but Americans will recognise him from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was an uncomfortable casting because of the current climate around people of Middle Eastern origin. However, you know the thing I love about Chelsea Cain?! She doesn’t once mention Karim’s religion. This wasn’t about Islam. The very first sentence in Sweetheart tells you that Cain does not buy into stereotypes by making her antagonist a woman.
I also love that, within a few hours of posting this particular review, a new article talking about the new Bechdel test that will analyse the appearance and characterisation of Middle Eastern actors within films. It’s aptly named the Riz test. You can head it here to find out more for yourself.

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

Another crime thriller knocked out of the park. There’s development of relationships, a character back from a previous outing (Pearl) and one of the most heartbreaking ending of the series. This reread I found myself stalling while I read. I considered, very briefly, that the stall was perhaps fatigue and that I would need another book inbetween this and the next one.
It wasn’t the case; I just didn’t want to get to the ending. I feel everything Susan does and this not only brings back memories of the Night Season, it sucker punches her, twice. I get the moment I’ve been waiting five books for, and not only is it cut short… we get Archie’s internal thoughts afterwards.

There isn’t really anyone for the casting couch today. Yes, Rachel does make her appearance in this book, but I really think that she would be played by an unknown/upcoming actress.

Book review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

This book should, and I predict will, stand along side Handmaid’s Tale, 1984 and Only Ever Yours for its speculative commentary on society and the dangers of censorship and gender politics.

The book’s narrative will have anyone reading bringing it up in comversation; it’s haunting premise will ensure everyone wants to pass on the book in some attempt at prempting it’s possible outcome. The scary part is that it is a possibility and while history does tell us that women have been oppressed, the fear is that it will return full circle.

The exploration of the impact of religion is quite interesting and something I personally wanted to know more. I love that it doesn’t necessarily say that it’s religions fault and is very clear in stating it’s the interpretation of one and the following of individuals. Had the narrative not focused on the one character, I’d have loved to have see the leader’s rise to power; which is a testament to the writer and her ability to build a world with potential beyond the one book.

That said, I loved the protagonist; she’s all of us and the true Suffergette of Vox.

The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

This has always been my favourite installment of the series. My review on Good Reads claims its because there’s no Gretchen. I’m sure that’s part of it, but certainly for this reading it was because it’s the one I see being a movie most. I love the history that’s woven into the plot, I love that it’s someone other than Archie or Susan who finds themselves in a hospital bed.

I gave these books to one of my best friends and the bit I love the most; the relationship between Archie and Susan, is the bit she hates. I love how subtle he is compared to her. I believe that. Maybe because I see so much of myself in Susan I want to believe that it can happen.

My favourite part of this book is the weather; it’s atmospheric and reminds me of the filmic boldness of Se7en (1995). While the rain adds a subdued tone to Se7en, it must have been a bitch to film in.

Casting Couch

Lozenzo Robbins


Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Perhaps a little older than the book describes, but I have always loved this dude and I think he has the ability to bring sass to the role.

Chadwick Boseman Newly appointed Avenger needs so grounded roles to even out the superhero stuff. Small role means it can be fitted in between Mouse House projects. While he’s an obvious choice in the same strand as Donald Glover (see below), he currently only has the Panther as his standout role. This could be the project that propels him beyond the Wakanda King.

Donald Glover This one for me is a little too obvious and bias. He’s Lando! Lando, for anyone who doesn’t know, is my all time favourite Star Wars character. He has all of Han’s roguishness, and ten times the charm. Never mind the fact that he’s now canonically pansexual. A flirt who finds anyone sexy, regardless of shape, size, colour; I admire that.
However, as I said, he’s too much of an obvious choice. With his film and music career, he’s the man of the moment. Nothing screams ‘ticking boxes’ like picking the most well known person of colour and saying ‘look we’re diverse’.
In reality, if I was producing this series, Robbins would actually go to a relatively unknown and upcoming actor.

Martin Ngyun


Ross Butler Another 13 Reasons Why actor in the mix here. Butler has been one of the stand out performances over the two series and I’m really glad he bowed out of Riverdale to complete series 2. He may be a little on the young side at 28, but hell he’s just spent the last few years playing characters ten years his junior, I’m certain he can go the other way.

Harry Shum Jr The Shadowhunters Alumni would be perfect for this role. Such a beautiful man! Okay, so I’ll also admit it, while this is a dream casting I am also thinking strategy. Having Either of these two in the role would bring a fandom to the cinema and if we start making these movies, there’s no way on earth we’re not getting to THIS film.

Jeff Heil

tye
Tye Sheridan really got my attention as Wade Watts in Ready Player One! Interestingly enough I dismissed another 13 Reasons actor for his age, yet he’s is actually the same age as Tye. There’s a few scenes in this book that I would love to see Tye get his teeth into; two that see him play against Susan.

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain book review

Quite possibly book I’ve read least out of the series. Have no idea why as it’s an incredible addition to the series. I did notice during my reread it was the only I don’t own on kindle as well as paperback.

My favourite aspect about this book, is the exploration of fandom. We get to see an almost cult following for Gretchen, people keeping track of how long she’s been free for, a manicure inspired by her and what is discovered to be a run of copy cat killings that, at first glance, are believed to have been done by Gretchen herself; breaking the pact she had made with Archie at the end of Sweetheart.

We see the introduction of the Reynolds family, which is brilliant enough on its own. A drug lord who lost his daughter to Gretchen. Jack, the patriarch of the Reynolds family, is someone Archie can turn to. It subverts that corrupt cop perception; Archie may be turning a blind eye to Jack’s enterprise, but he’s certainly not on the take. Then you find out that the family lawyer, is just that. Leo is the son to Jack and he seems to be enamored by Susan. While I am very much wanting Susan and Archie together by the end of this series, it’s nice to see someone showing Susan some affection and, more importantly, her playing it cool with him.


Casting couch

Leo Reynolds 

Brendon Urie
There’s no one else I’d have in this role. I’m so set on this casting choice, I even used my question for a Q&A to see if he was open to film roles now that he’s done theatre. This inspired casting came about because Panic! At the Disco have a namesake song: Let Me Go.
On that thread, I would have a Panic! song within each film.

Jeremy Reynolds 

Ansel Elgort
Lucas Hedges
Both Ansel and Lucas have this underlying creep factor while oozing charm. I think a little twist in their performance and they could bring Juston to life.

Joe Kerry
Charlie Heaton may be the more obvious choice from the Hawkins High boys, but hear me out. Charlie is exactly that, obvious. Stranger Things used and played up the ‘creep’ offensive. Add that to his ‘bad boy’ off screen persona, I just feel that it’s a little bit of typecasting that wouldn’t work for this.
However, in the book, Archie describes his connection to Justin. The fact that he’s a survivor, just like him. Who better to play against David Harbour than his hollywood ‘mini me’

71c18f176ccff37aa792af845ce28234

Miles Heizer
Miles has already shown many layers to his acting throughout two series of 13 Reasons Why.

Jack Reynolds 

  • Chris Cooper 
  • Bryan Cranston
  • Richard Jenkins
  • James Caan

The only person on this list I’m a little unsure of, is Bryan Cranston. He might be better suited to the senator from the previous book. Chris Cooper would be my favourite choice as he has that air of command and a closer look to Urie. Damn, it’s hard when you have one person in mind.

Pearl

Bella Thorne
Multi talented Thorne is a chameleon and would be perfect for the runnaway Pearl. Her music persona fits the description from this book, while her other roles prove that she is able to represent the adaptable Pearl that reappears in book 5.