Month: August 2017

Suits Series 7 Episode8 (100) #review #Han

Suits Series 7 Episode 8 (100) #review

From Netflix:  Rachel puts her family at risk to help Mike and Harvey in the prison case. Donna takes a stand with an old flame. Louis faces a disappointment.

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The strongest episode of the series. Still a little on the dark side, but having Harvey and Mike working together does make a difference to the dynamic and tone of the show.

Louis
Louis has a good episode and it was good to see him with his secretary, Gretchen. She’s really good for him and should be in it more.
Shit, Sheila Sazs is back. I love the actress, the character is awesome, but no!!! Last time she was on the show, she broke him and he’s still not fixed from the other love of his life. Especially as the news she hands him is that she’s engaged. I’m so glad they didn’t make her pregnant too. That just would have been a step too far.
I do love how moral Louis is, but I’m glad out of him and Donna, he’s the one who took up the advances of a previous lover.

Harvey and Mike
Batman and Robin are back together. I didn’t like the fact that they got Robert, Rachel’s father involved, and at the time it felt like more fuel to my theory that Rachel was a target.
However, as the episode progressed and it’s revealed that Gallo has been killed (something I’m not quite certain I believe.) My theory is out the window.
The case is settled with a loop holed ‘death-bed confession’ by Gallo. It’s a little anti-climactic and too neat for my liking, but hell; I’m just glad it’s over.

Donna
I was quite happy that Donna phoned Mark; the guy that got away from the flashback episode last week. It doesn’t matter what her motivations are for reaching out, it’s initially quite healthy for Donna.
However, very quickly we find out that he’s married. Unhappily, but still married. I love Donna’s response; it’s classy, clear and most importantly, true to who she is.
So it’s quite a shame that a chance encounter with Paula leads her to agree to meeting Mark in his hotel room. I’ve been waiting all series for this and it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. It’s difficult seeing Donna vulnerable and I’m so happy that she received Rachel’s ‘You deserve the best’ text at the right time.

Overall, questions and predictions
It really was a high-quality episode, Gallo aside. I think that’s the only bit that lets the episode down.
I think Alex will go back to his own firm, because the actor was signed on for a story arc.
Donna is going to have to say something to Harvey.
Will Sheila cancel her wedding? How will Louis cope if he doesn’t?

Bullshits count – 4
God Damn it count – 1

American Made- 15 #filmreview #Han

American Made- 15
Release date- 25.8.17
Trailer
1

The Good
From the opening, I knew I was going to like this Crime Drama Biopic. There was something a little hipster about its phase from fancy, shiny new age Universal logo to the static one of old. The film geek in me loves a gimmick when it comes to studio logos. (Side note- to this day Ralf hums along to every 20th Fox film. It’s head cannon to me now.) It sets the tone and the setting of the film. Got to love the meta of it; it’s harking back to an era in which the president was a former actor. I have much more insightful things to say about the progression of Hollywood during the Regan era, but now is not the time.
The humour from the get going is quirky, gritty and a refreshing change for a Cruise film. Once or twice I found myself being the only person laughing, or understanding the punch like a beat sooner than the rest of the audience.
The plot is given a clear narration with the same flare as 2015’s The Big Short. It’s narration is what ties the whole thing together.

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Okay, I’ll level with you here before I gush at the awesomeness. Cruise and Gleeson meet fairly early and yes, their initial scene would never stand up to that of Deniro and Pacino in Heat when it comes to a sit down; how would it, that was DECADES in the making.
However, Gleeson is once again showing his versatility as the unlikeable ‘CIA’ operative handling Cruise’s pilot Barry Seal.
I know I’m bias as Gleeson is my movie catnip, but I loved his sudo-command over A-list Cruise. It also gives you an insight into Cruise’s character. You know had this been Ethan Hunt the other side of the table, Gleeson’s Monty Shafer would have pissed his pants by the end of the first conversation.
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The Bad
I wasn’t a fan of the shaky cam. It certainly didn’t do the film justice on a Super Screen. I know it was trying to achieve a sense of realism, and aesthetically it makes more sense and you appreciate it more when you get to the final act. Had I watched it on a smaller screen, it might have been okay. However, as it stands, it left me a little dizzy.
I did also find it a little slow in places. Not as slow as other Colombian cartel movies (Yes, I’m looking at you Scarface… You’re long, you’re over rated and I hate you), and while it’s okay for a first watch I don’t think it’s a regular viewing film.

The Ugly
This is not about the film itself, but film etiquette and ultimate audience faux pas that led to me becoming a little bit more aware of the films pace; the couple next to me. (Side note: they shouldn’t have been next to us. I’d used my Cinema Magic skills to combine my Cineworld card and Meerkat movies to get myself and a friend in for free. I’d specified the later showing, but the grumpy twenty-something was too busy making her face express her wish to be outside, so she gave me tickets for the screening before… so a seat hop, or three, we find ourselves beside this couple)
The talked, at length and at volume. Throughout the entire film. I don’t get it?! It was central London; the tickets were £16.50 each (hence what I did being a magic trick). Why bother? From the little bits I did hear, it wasn’t even about the film. During the fight and flight sequences it wasn’t so obvious. However, during the quiet bits it was a little like torture… ergo slow pace makes the film fall a little for me.
People, be proud though, I restrained the inner Scouse and I actually let them chat away. I don’t know if it was because the sound system in a Super Screen was a little louder than normal, or if I’m just realising I gain nothing by allowing myself to be wound up by ignorant people. It really is an ugly side of cinema, but I don’t want it to stop me enjoying my time with friends.

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I’m just going to leave this last image of Domhnall here 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

From Amazon: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Goodreads

download

First Thoughts
It was going to be a tough read for me. I always knew that. In fact, until Zoe announced it was this week’s focus for the Zoella book club chat I had no intention of reading this book. I thought it was too close to home and I buried it, much like my feelings about death and grief.
I’m really glad I did. Yes, it was a painful read. It was tough going, but there was something a little cathartic about the process.

 

Characters

I was able to engage and empathise with most of the characters. Brigid Kemmerer was able to create almost mirror-like characters that reflect the reader’s experiences that add depth to the characters. From the frustration and anger of Juliet, the warmth of the English teacher to the angst-ridden guilt of Declan.
The characters do grow throughout the narrative, but what I like most is that their growth does not end when the book does. You know that they have further to go, but they’ll get there.
I have more of an attachment to Declan. Perhaps it’s how long he’s had to grief by the opening of the narrative or his specific form of guilt. It could even be my love of his friend, Rev but what I love most of all is how genuine his character is; I’ve seen kids like him in my classes and it’s fascinating to see potential inner workings.

Plot

In what could have been a predictable You’ve Got Mail, grief by numbers I am delighted to say I had the rug pulled from under me a few times; and I was looking at it analytically trying to see the red herrings. I can’t really say more without spoiling the twist/s, but I can say that it helps develop a refreshing look at family, coping with death and living up to your own expectations.

Writing

It did take me a few more chapters than normal to get into the flow of which voice belonged to whom. I think this was perhaps owing to many chapters having the voices of Juliet and Declan both present; one as narrator other letter writer.
However, by the time the characters moved to other forms of communicating, I was well and truly hooked.
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If you’ve read the book, please join the wonderful @zcollins1994 (along with myself and Gem) on Saturday 2nd September 6pm as Zoe hosts her weekly #zoellabookclub chat on Twitter (http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/07/zoella-book-club-chat.html – Zoe explains it much better in her own words here). If you haven’t read the book, head over to Zoe’s YouTube channel at 5pm https://www.youtube.com/nosaferplace and you also still have time.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Buy it here
Goodreads
Han’s Review
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Full of wit, cynicism, sarcasm and humour, Solitaire is a fantastic début novel and I’m incredibly that Alice Oseman is only 19! Accurately depicting modern teenage life, this book is relatable yet original at the same time. I really loved Tori’s narration, and as the plot advanced it was fascinating to read her thoughts on the situation she was in, and I liked seeing how her friendship with Michael Holden developed. The Solitaire aspect was fascinating, I guessed who was behind it pretty early on but it was still great seeing what they would come up with next! I would recommend this to fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, it really is awesome!

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE #mentalhealth

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE
Trigger warning- emotional abuse, depression, anxiety
*names have been changed for obvious reasons.

I met Dick through a dating site. It wasn’t until after our first date I found out the name I knew him by was false. About a month in, he told me he was in love with me. A little too quick for my liking, but as he was the first bloke to ever use those words, I went with it.  By January, he’d informed me that he no longer loved me. That he’d ‘trained’ himself not to love me anymore. Strangely, that didn’t make me walk away; it made me try harder. It was my fault after all, right?

The man who showered me with affection, who insisted on going out on our 2nd month ‘anniversary’ and proudly wore a matching t shirt for our Christmas was a fake. At the time I didn’t know what a sociopath was, or how they worked through a relationship. I was the proverbial frog in the pan, rising my temperature until I was compromised. It led to my darkest rabbit hole journey.

Before you read any further, please understand that this will not be an easy read. I do not mean to offend, upset or anger anyone. This is not attention seeking or story writing. Everything you read here is the truth, as I saw it. I wasn’t perfect and my actions towards the end of the relationship were desperate and certainly not something I am proud of.
This candid look at a sociopathic/narcissistic relationship is perhaps a little selfish. While part of me is putting it out there so that other people will recognise traits in this man and save themselves from the pain I endured, there is a bigger part of me having to put this out there so that it never happens to me again.

 

Why am I doing this? Firstly, I had a heart to heart with my best friend and admitted to her (and social media), that I’m still very much broken over Dick. I don’t want him in my life, I want my memory wiped of him. Secondly, while searching for a photo for a blog post I found this:

 

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I look like shit. But what struck me most about this photo was how miserable I looked. My eyes are dead, when they normally have that little bit of a sparkle. Even I can tell that my smile is fake. It’s a portrait of pain and abuse. Scars I’m worried that will never heal.

To give you an idea of what was going on in my head within 12 hours of this photo being taken I have found notes I’d made on my way to Copenhagen with a friend. Someone who didn’t know I was still with Dick. The secret was taking its toll, because I trust these people who I kept it from. I knew what they’d said in the past was the truth; there was something fundamentally wrong with the man.

He’d gone away on a business trip and he’d pulled out a trick from the Sociopath’s bible: ghosting. At this point we’d known each other 5 months, and I’d had a text from him EVERY SINGLE DAY. Good morning, good evening, even a ‘meep’ when I hadn’t text in a while. However, this week was strained and cold. Rather than annoy him with my thoughts about what was going on, I wrote this out;

Han’s Heart – I miss Dick, I want to text him… just because. (Well… no. Like a muppet, I want him to text me)

Han’s logic brain- but he’s not text you first in weeks. You need to back off so he can miss you. You can do it. Just don’t text him till he texts you.

Han’s Gollum brain- but… but… but… what if he doesn’t text back, ever because he thinks you not texting is actually a good thing and feels relieved that he’s not hearing from you. He just doesn’t know how to tell you that you’re horrible and repulsive.

Han’s logic brain- you know he doesn’t love you any more so he doesn’t think about you as much; it’s normal for him. Stop poisoning me Gollum.

Han’s Heart- but I want to be normal. Normal for me is texting him when I want to and not caring if he texts back.

Gollum brain- but he wishes your texts were from someone else. ANYONE else but you.  No one likes you. You can’t keep the weight off. You’re shit in bed and he never wants to touch you. He doesn’t care if you get off.

Logic brain- it doesn’t matter. He’s a good person. He likes you.

Gollum- he lies

Logic- for good reason

Gollum- I bet he uses the condoms you buy on other girls. He won’t even think about it. You gave him a great out as well when you brought the new ones. 

Heart- why hasn’t he text?! He must be waiting for his plane now. What did you do wrong Hunter?!

Gollum- you’re being punished because you’re evil and horrible. I bet he doesn’t even smile when he sees your name any more. He groans and puts his phone away. He wishes he could have the orgasms you give him without seeing you. I bet he’d rather Nel was the one he fell for. That’s if he ever loved you.

 

He text just before I got on the plane. It didn’t make me feel any better. Not too long after that, I found this in the Notes section of my phone. I don’t think this is one I’d sent to him.

So…. I think I know what it is that’s putting me on edge. I don’t want to lose you. The man you were right at the beginning (bringing sushi randomly to mine was WAAAAAAAY better than any rose), the things you said (why am I so lucky to have you?)… I couldn’t want for anything more and the best thing; I don’t think any of that was an act. I literally thought I’d found my dream man and in all honesty?! I still think I have.

At the start, you were doing things that came naturally to you. Now you second guess everything and while I know you’re doing it to ‘protect’ me and keeping me at arm’s length, it’s coming across as apathy and almost like I’m a chore that is making you miserable.

If you want to spend time with me, just do it. Stop thinking about this stupid ‘once/twice a week rule). You want to stop worrying about me being hurt; start inviting me to things yourself. Not leaving it me to ask and get the response that you’re with someone else. (Yes, I know you’ve said it’s always her that asks and you just say yes… but I’m not part of it. I don’t know. I am always worrying about whether I’m asking too soon, too late or worse, if I don’t ask I won’t see you at all. It’s exhausting.) you have ideas, you just need to go ‘Hey Han, can I see you Wednesday this week. Meet me in Ealing and we’ll go for food.’ You can’t tell me that’s not something you can do; because it’s EXACTLY what you ARE doing by being on the dating apps. You’re actively seeking company.

Honestly. I think you want me more than you’re letting on and what is stopping you is the fear of being alone. The fear that we won’t work and that you might lose me. I think you’re scared of your feelings.

 

It’s making me feel so ill reading these. Even at his cruelest, I was making excuses for him and trying to massage his ego. The sad thing, I think I believed all of this.

Any normal person would feel some sort of remorse for knowing the pain they were causing someone. Nope. It made him angry. It bored him and made him want to be with one of the other girls. How do I know? He told me! Said I was the better girl, the best girl… but I just didn’t behave right.

Why wasn’t I behaving? Because I didn’t know all the rules. Not one for failing, I tried to learn the rules. Please believe me, I tried. So hard. However, the rules would change and I’d be punished. To be clear, I did tell Dick at the beginning that I take things literally.

I’d not been in a relationship for a long time, so I thought telling Dick things like this would make things easier. What I hadn’t realised though, was I was giving him a blue print to my undoing; I handed him his gaslighting road map on a plate.

Stella by Helen Eve #bookreview #Gem

Stella by Helen Eve
Buy it here
reviewimagestellabyheleneve_zps69a662dd
This is a brilliantly engaging and pacey YA thriller – think Mean Girls meets Pretty Little Liars with a heck of a lot more venom thrown in!
The dual narrative by Stella and Caitlin was brilliant, it allowed insight into each characters thoughts as things got more and more complicated and heated. Each chapter provides more revelations into Stella’s past and Caitlin’s developing character and your alliances to characters change consistently.
This is a really dark tale of friendship, romance, obsession and power play… I loved it!

Hopes for the Next Decade (Written in 2009) #Han #ramblings

updated Sometime in 2012 8.12.2013 and 8.11.2014 and 26.8.2017

Lose the four stone I’ve put on since Uni (One down, three to go) (2.5 lost… but a further 2 put back on! D’oh) [8.11.14 Heaviest I’ve ever been- double d’oh]

Have Labyrinth ball for my thirtieth birthday (David Bowie being a guest would be the ultimate bonus) (Have a garentee that people will turn up and not stand me up like my 13th or my most recent leaving do. Seriously, almost 28 yet I still feel like that damn 13 year old that everyone hated)  Didn’t happen, I had an awesome 30th anyway.

Attend Hallowheadon (Buffy themed Halloween convention) at least once No longer exists.

Spend the summer holidays in America doing a theme park tour.

Go on holiday with Gem Gem

Go to the following gigs-

  •                 Alice Cooper (Going with a friend in November!)
  •                 Paramore (2013)
  •                 Muse
  •                 Daft Punk
  •                 Pink
  •                 Bon Jovi
  •                 My Chemical Romance (highly unlikely now)
  •                 Snow Patrol
  •                 Eddie Izzard (2015)
  •                 Mark Thomas (He was in the audience of a play I saw)
  •                 Panic! @ the Disco (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  •                 The Pretty Reckless
  •                Christina Perri
  •                 Lady Gaga
  •                 Katy Perry
  •                 The Who (had a chance this year and missed it) [Had yet another chance and passed up on it]

Have cooking lessons

Run at least a half marathon

See the Northern Lights (Ideally Alaska but anywhere really)

Go camping (2013)

Go to a festival- not bothered as long as it’s not Glastonbury (2014- Summertime thing in Hyde Park with McBusted as headline 2016- Slamdunk)

Go to Ireland

I want a Snood like the one Carrie has in Sex and the City when she goes for the Sleigh ride with the Russian.

Well, on that note I’d like Sarah Jessica Parker’s hair from that episode too.

To at least be paying a mortgage for my own house.

And because that’s too serious I want to spend the weekend at Alton Towers

Get through all of the Lord of the Rings books

Get out of debt (overdrafts and what not) and begin saving for wedding and what not

Break the world record set by the Fox network and 24 by having a marathon of either Supernatural or Red Dwarf!!!!

Go to London to see a West End Play- Ideally Little Mermaid! (Summer 2013: Rock of Ages)[2014- Coriolanous, Blithe Spirit, Holy Warriors, The Crucible… to name but a few]

Go back to New York to go Ice Skating [to see theatre]

Have ice skating lessons

Learn to sing

Get married to a man who meets my intensive criteria set out by myself and Gem Gem years ago and briefly revised tonight:

  •                 No shorter than Seth Green (5’4), no taller than John Corbett (6’5)
  •                 Ideally in a band, but must at the very least appreciate music
  •                 Must not have Ernie issues
  •                 Must not be confused or indecisive
  •                 Must be funny
  •                 And be able to cook
  •                 Must not have stripper best friend that he maintains he ‘could have’
  •                 Understand that I’m an insecure fuck-wit (like most other women)
  •                 Understand that I’m quirky as hell and I’m not to be change.
  •                 Accept that they may be my boyfriend/partner/husband but Gem Gem is my twisted sister soul mate!!!!
  •                 Be prepared to wear converse for the wedding
  •                 Allow me to watch Buffy for the millionth time.
  •                 Understand and support my obsession with Jurassic Park
  •                 Love Red Dwarf
  •                 Have a cool accent
  •                 Have longish hair
  •                 Be outgoing and impulsive

Additional criteria 2011

  • Be able to grow a decent beard
  •                 Into his music and at least tolerate MCR
  •                 Artistic
  •                Cannot believe that ‘money buys you happiness’ or brag about money
  •                Must be humble
  •                At least accept my geeky-ness (added bonus- be a cool geek himself)
  •                Must love Dr Who
  •                Know that I want a huskie Or a dog! Any dog will do
  •                Must accept that first born daughter will be names Evelyn
  •               Must accept that we’ll have a GemGem room in our house.
  •                Still want to have date night when we’re 60
  •               Must like Nandos
  •                Must like dinosaurs
  •                Must not be ‘festival Ken’, ‘Ernie Problem Ken’ or ‘Pretentious Twatbag Ken’
  • Must not be a sociopathic fuckwit with a god complex

2014- I’ll settle for falling in love.

 

be thinking about having a baby

Have my a-symmetrical/ Thelma hair again 2011

Written a fictional novel

Published a book that will help other aspiring RE teachers

 

Additional criteria 2013

 

Be head of department ish 2014 ish 1026/17 (I don’t want it any more)

Go to the London Premire of Star Wars

Now London based, I would like to meet (and get photos with):

  • Tom Hiddleston
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Emma Thompson [Easter 2015]
  • Martin Freeman [Seen him in a play…. that sort of counts]
  • Peter Capaldi [potentially at the Paddington prem in a few weeks]
  • Matt Smith (Damn me not getting that ticket to American Psycho before I knew he was in it) I got to see it 😀

Suits Series 7 Episode 7 (Full Disclosure) #review #Han

Suits Series 7 Episode 7 (Full Disclosure) #review #Han

From Netflix:

Having lost Harvey’s trust, Mike puts his career on the line to drive the prison case forward. Louis’s therapist pushes him to take a risk.

Certainly, one of the stronger episodes of series 7 so far. A lot of the threads are at least coming into fruition, even if there is still a lack of fun or even team work within the firm I normally root for so much.

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Overall
Mainly set inside a flashback, it was still in keeping with the episodes of the series. Intense, with no sign of any let up for any of the characters. It’s a hard episode to follow as stylistically there are no identifies between the present and past; except Donna’s hair. Instead, it’s all about dialogue.

Louis
This was equally the character’s best and worst episode. The reason being is that his story is set mainly within the time-frame of the flashback. I was at first very upset that I had to see the angry, nihilistic man on the warpath. Even with Jessica (Yes, another excuse to have her back.) he is vicious and rude.
However, I learned to love this arc, because it gives us an insight into how much Louis has grown over the seven seasons.
There are some epic lines from him too “Shrinks are for pussies.” To “Back the truck up.” However, it is the cringeworthy ignorance that leads the rawest, most beautiful scene I’ve ever seen on Suits. As a Jew, Louis takes an issue to his shrink’s accent. Knowing that he is a long-standing person in Louis’ life make his bigoted opinions a little easier to bare. Had the line “Oh my, you’re a gad damned Nazi.” Been uttered on any other show, I would have seen it as tasteless and cheap. However, they handle it with class and it leads to a reveal that breaks my heart and shows people how, even today, relevant Holocaust education is important.

Others
Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience or empathy for any of the other characters now. From Mike continuing with the suit, to Harvey cutting him off at the pass. It’s the same story that has been dragged out all series and I’m bored. The flashback gives us some ‘excuse’ as to why Harvey must support Alex and not Mike, because we all know that normally Harvey would have suited up and had Mike’s back by now.
However, what I will say is that when it comes to that final scene, when Alex confesses to Mike and Harvey talks with Donna, the editing of that reveal is incredible. It’s dance-like and does detract from it being a complete and utter anti-climax. So, there’s a gun at Alex’s back. Great, believability about this level of corruption aside; it’s just too conceited. I can see where this is going; two episodes, tops, and Mike et al with have it wrapped up and dressed like a Christmas morning.


Final Thoughts, Predictions and Questions
Just a middle ground episode with very little progression for anyone other than Louis.
Inside that reveal from Alex, we know that the people involved are prepared to kill to keep this conspiracy covered up. My money is on Rachel, but Alex could be in the firing line too. Even comedy/legal drama Ally McMeal had a significant death and we’ve gone 7 series without one (I know there was Mike’s nan and Louis’ receptionist, but they are not part of the main cast. I’m talking main cast significant)
I actually want to see Louis try to adopt. I think it would ground him and I don’t want to see him in another romance just yet. Baby, then love I think will work for him. Uncommon, but I think it would work.
There needs to be a gear change with Harvey and Donna. They either need to get them together or she needs a romance. It’s too heart-breaking right now and I think she’s the only person who can provide us with the light-hearted romance.

Bullshits count- 4
God Damn it count-7

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han
Release date: 7.9.2017
From Amazon: On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.



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Initial thoughts
Another competition win that I very gladly received. Having read History is All You Left Me as part of Zoella’s book club, I was very excited for the release of this. Not only does it not fail to disappoint, it surpasses History in its engagement and concept.

It kept me calm while waiting for my first counselling session on Thursday. Believe me, when my anxiety is high it is hard to keep my attention so that is a true testament to Silvera that not only did he keep my attention, his words soothed my soul.

Plot
I have to talk about the plot first, as it is ‘high concept’. This is a world in which you are informed the night before that you have 24 hours left to live. No other details or specifics are given; just that you will not be around for the day after and that you should get your affairs in order.
I love that there is no explanation about how the system works. I don’t need to know, it exists and that’s all good to me.
Social media has hooked into this phenomenon and have introduced apps to help people through their last day, and that’s how two boys, on the cusp of adulthood, find themselves meeting. The are each other’s Last Friend and they do amazing jobs in helping the other live for the day.
You know how it ends; the clue is in the title. However, you don’t ever find yourself wishing it wasn’t true. At least I didn’t, it would have cheapened the experience.

Characters
I loved the joint protagonists; Mateo and Rufus. Not only were they able to pull me into their lives and make me care, they helped me live along with them. I liked the approach both took towards their deaths.
As I said before, I didn’t want them to survive. That sounds harsh and makes it sound like the deserve it. They don’t, but for me there is still hope at the end of the book for both of them and that’s the important part.
With death, it’s very rarely about the people who die, but those left behind. I found it an important factor to have chapters from their perspective, it’s what some of the recent books I’ve been reading have lacked because you don’t identify with those people and they’re left feeling a little flat. Not here, you find yourself identifying with those people. A subtle touch, but it makes all the difference.

Writing
The writing was addictive. The chapters were a perfect, digestible, length and had circumstances been different, this would have been a one sitting read.
There were subtle differences between the voices of the characters participating within the narrative. There’s nothing worse than having a book that requires a different font to distinguish between characters. For the two protagonists, you didn’t even need the chapter titles to keep up with who was speaking.

Without being specific, Silvera was able to convey the emotions of both boys clearly. I found that quite a refreshing read and makes me want to read more with male protagonist.


Final words

It is a book that will leave you thinking about what you would do and how you would live your life each day; whether it be because you know you are not set to die that day, or even more importantly, you knew any minute it could be your last.

It’s a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Slvera has done an amazing job once again, and I look forward to reading more from him.

Harry Potter Tag – #Gem #Han

we got the tag

So… we got the call! I’ve attempted to complete it a few times over the last few weeks. But weddings, overgrown toddlers and books have gotten in the way. So with a drink in hand and my best friend at my side, we finally got to grips with the questions.

Big thanks to https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/hogwarts-tag/amp/ for tagging us.

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AM I A PUREBLOOD, HALF-BLOOD, OR MUGGLE BORN?

H: Total Muggle.
G: Same as Han, total muggle!

WHICH WAND CHOSE ME?

H: Picture1

G: Alder and Unicorn Hair, 10 and ¾ inch

DID I TAKE AN OWL, CAT, RAT, OR TOAD WITH ME?

H: I picked a cat, ideally a ginger cat. I have a soft spot for gingers in all walks of life, so it was the natural choice. It would be a male, very friendly and loyal. Only I’d spot this beautiful creature in the shop and I’d name him Janus.

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G: I picked a snowy owl. I think they are stunningly beautiful and I remember seeing one on my porch roof when I was 3 or 4 years old. It stayed there for a day or two and then we never saw it again, I’m pretty sure it must’ve escaped from someone’s aviary, although as a child I just remember thinking it was magical because I’d never seen such a nice white bird (as seagulls are clearly evil chip stealers, even at a young age I knew this!)

WHERE DID THE SORTING HAT PUT ME?

H: Ravenclaw– it lies. When I did this years ago, it put me in Hufflepuff. All the quizzes put me in Hufflepuff, but in the last year I’ve been getting Ravenclaw. Have I really changed that much?

G: Ravenclaw, and I’m stunned. Every quiz I’ve previously done, including this one years ago, have put me in Slytherin. Therefore I’m going with Slytherclaw from now on.

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WHAT HOUSE DID I WANT TO BE IN?

H: Hufflepuff and proud. I have the t-shirt and everything. I’m a Hufflepuff and you can’t make me move!

G: Slytherin, but Ravenclaw would be my second choice so I’m happy to be Slytherclaw!

WHAT LESSONS ARE MY FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE?

Favourites:

H:The year in which Professor Lupin was running Defence Against the Dark Arts, it became my favourite. I secretly had a crush on the Professor. Okay, so it wasn’t so secret. I think this makes me a hipster Huffle! After all, I didn’t join the many fawning over Lockheart the previous year.

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I prefer my men brave, moral and good hearted. So, his clothes were threadbare; that’s what happens when society is prejudiced against afflictions people have no control over.

It might surprise people to hear, but I really enjoyed potions lessons. I got the impression Snape didn’t like me all that much; mainly because I was too clumsy and flighty but that didn’t stop me having a blast in his class. Still, I had a lot of respect for the overgrown bat. He knew people didn’t like him, but he didn’t care.

 

G: Potions was my all-time favourite. The idea that you could mix a few ingredients together to create something so powerful was intoxicating. Snape himself is clearly a legend. I don’t think I’d have necessarily been a popular student, but I’d have certainly been an attentive one.

I also love the idea of being able to transfigure, particularly to the level of the Marauders and be an Animagus  – and probably like them I’d have been unregistered. It always surprised me that it was never revealed in the books that Snape had the ability to transform into an actual bat, it seemed to me so likely that he would have added that to his repertoire.

Least favourites:

H: I didn’t enjoy Muggle Studies. I lived it, I didn’t need to study it. Weirdly, I’d get things wrong as well, not because I was wrong (It was how baking a potato would be done in my house), but it wasn’t what was in the text book!

G: Divination. Absolute nonsense and a waste of time that could be better spent learning something that had an actual use.

 

THE FORM MY PATRONUS TAKES:

H: A bloody Wild Rabbit. I bloody hate rabbits. If I’d have a choice mine would be a hippo.

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G: A vole apparently. I literally have no idea why or what this means! I do remember being on a family day trip to Matlock and sitting by the river (or canal? It was water anyway!) and me and my brother feeding the water voles with the remnants of our Sonic the Hedgehog biscuits. That biscuit reference alone indicates quite how long ago this was!

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WHAT DOES A BOGGART LOOK LIKE FOR ME?

H: My boggart takes the form of an empty room. My biggest fear is isolation so a room in which I am alone would suffocate me.

G: A Pennywise from IT type clown, and as a muggle I’d have been aware of this reference.

DO I PARTAKE IN ANY MAGICAL HOBBIES OR SCHOOL SPORTS?

H: I think I’d be involved in something underground, like the DA! I’m not sporty in the slightest, but I would attend Quidditch matches.

G: As much as I’d love to be on the Quidditch team I am massively uncoordinated. Uh, so Duelling Club?

WHERE WOULD I FIND MYSELF HANGING IN MY FREE TIME?

H: The library or Hufflepuff common room (not Ravenclaw! You can’t make me)…. Reading, writing or listening to music.

G: I’m assuming Gem would be with me with this.

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WHAT WOULD I MOST LIKELY GET DETENTION FOR?

H: Either being clumsy and making a mess; annoying Filtch or forgetting to complete my homework. I’d start it, get distracted and completely forget about it.

G: Cheeking the teacher, wandering around after hours or arguing with fellow students who disagreed with my opinion!

WHAT CAREER DO I WANT AFTER LEAVING HOGWARTS?

H: I would work in muggle relations and education. I’d reform Muggles Studies and ensure that it’s kept up to date to ensure wizards don’t freak non-magic folk out by brushing their hair with forks.

G: I love the idea of being an Auror and capturing and putting away the truly dark wizards. I think there are various levels of power, and whilst it’s perfectly ok to seek to further your knowledge in a particular subject (such as potions) it is unacceptable to use that power to discriminate against people, or to take it as far as Voldermort’s loyal Death Eater’s did.

I think other than that, I would probably just end up in a random role within the Ministry of Magic and try and work my way up!

 

So there we have it, we’ve finally sat down and completed it. Phew!

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Patti Cakes- 15 #PattiCakes #filmreview #han

Patti Cakes- 15
Release date: 1st September 2017
From IMDB: PATTI CAKE$ is centered on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, who is fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.

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The Good
Patti Cakes is a stylistically stunning indie underdog film that takes you by the heart. The protagonist’s fantasies are played out as music video clips and give you an insight into Patti’s figurative dreams. Even those people, including myself, who are not partial to the rap genre, will not be put off by the music represented in the movie.

It is a raw, honest and funny look into family life, the challenges faced in trying to make it, and how you cope when you don’t. It unfolds into a bittersweet final act that I challenge anyone to watch without tearing up.

Danielle MacDonald steals the show as Patti; called Dumbo by the boys in her neighbourhood, she represents the body positive character many women have been needing for a while. She crosses so many cultural boundaries and subverts the genre of rap without being a stereotype. The relationship with her mother and Nan provide the films core humour and heart.

The music is excellent, and not being someone who goes out of their way to listen to rap artists, I found myself making a mental note to check out the soundtrack come pay day.

The Bad
There are arguments that the film is a little formulaic and there are already comparisons made to Juno, 8 Mile, Muriel’s Wedding and Strictly Ballroom. While I can’t deny there isn’t those comparisons to be made, I would argue that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being put up there with the caliber of Indie films such as these.

It is also an updated look at the similar themes found within those movies; ones that perhaps would not reach an audience of today. With such an important message, it’s vital it gets an uplift from time to time.

The Ugly
There is nothing within the film that I can pull apart. However, what I will say is that it will be a terrible shame if this film doesn’t make bigger waves here in the UK Box Office.

In a world were we’re sheep and go in our droves to the film with the loudest bangs and the biggest star; it’s time to stop being a sheep.

Ignore any preconceptions you have as the door and watch this film for what it truly is; a bittersweet family drama showcasing talent, humour and a massive heart.

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney #bookreview #Hanreview

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney #bookreview #Hanreview
Release date: 25.08.2017
From Amazon: Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.
Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.
An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her lifelong friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.
She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut.

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My first thoughts

I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of this wonderful debut novel. I devoured it, I loved it, I want someone to wipe my memory so I can read it all over again. I felt like I was dipping into a world born from my childhood favourite sci-fi movies and books. From Logan’s Run to Mad Max, this book was what I always wanted.

The Characters

All characters are well rounded and being fully engaging, you care for them and you wish for the people of Arafel to remain safe. However, there are certain characters who take your heart straight away.

Talia is a new breed of hero that is emerging in the literary field; confident, strong and accepting of what fate brings her way. Those of you who have just read Will Hill’s After the Fire will feel right at home with the strong-minded twin from Arafel who finds herself on a rescue mission.
Being the protagonist and narrator means you get to know her a little more, feel her pain, urgency and motivation.

My favourite character was Unus, the Cyclops. He’s Ludo in Roman glory; the beast that’s friendlier than a Labrador puppy. Proving that we shouldn’t judge on appearances. I’d go so far as to say I loved him more than Ludo; and he’s been in my heart for over 20 years, so that’s some feat.

There are also Max and August. I’m going to say very little about them, as I feel they speak for themselves. August, however, I will say has won my heart like a certain Warden in Sam Shannon’s Bone Season. They are not alike in any way, other than I have the upmost respect for the challenges they face as part of their lives.

The Plot

It is a world building, McGuffin plot of the most outstanding order. It’s the perfect introduction to what I hope will be many novels inside this wonderfully constructed world. It’s a new age of future; one in which the people have driven themselves to and aspects are reminiscent of the ground-breaking novel Brave New World. It’s scary, but there is a way out in the form of the Arafel. I just can’t wait to see them successful.

Having to save her family is the perfect motivation for Talia. I’m quite happy with the partial resolution to the narrative knowing that there is a second book. Even if there wasn’t, the open ending is rather refreshing and the final line of the epilogue is fuel for the fan fiction bunnies out there.

The Roman element of the plot is genius. It gives an almost Steampunk feel to the novel. So much so that I feel there should be a name for this element or historical fusion. It’s integrated well and explores the idea that sometimes the way forward is the way back. I have always loved the ancient civilisations to the point that I felt at home reading the book.

The Writing

Kenney’s writing is digestible and clear, despite having many Latin words and phrases to add to the world building process. I often found I didn’t need to look to the glossary provided, but it’s a nice touch for those who are not as well acquainted with the past.

The mission is well constructed single person narrative and the action sequences are so well written it’s as if they’ve leaped of the silver screen.