Month: December 2017

Happy Birthday Han

My birthday has been very hit and miss. From everyone being a no show for my 13th birthday party, to my father refusing to wish me happy birthday. Yep, there have been years that have SUCKED beyond belief and there have even been a good handful where I have sobbed myself to sleep the night before because I’d not want the day to arrive.

However, there’s one thing I have always loved, and that’s a trip to the cinema and a happy meal on the way home. Keep it simple and I’m happy.

1989- All Dogs Go to Heaven

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1990- Little Mermaid

1991- Beauty and the Beast

1992- Aladdin

Interestingly, I was offered the chance to see this just before Christmas and I said no. Logic should have shouted ‘oi idiot; go and you get to see two films’ … alas, my sentimental heart won and it was saved until my birthday.

1993- Adams Family Values

1994- Miracle on 34th Street

1995- Indian in the Cupboard

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1996- 101 Dalmations

1997- Spiceworld

This one breaks my heart. In my attempt to grow up, I would not let my mum come and watch with me and my friend. Back before the mass ownership of mobile phones; my mum spent the time in the McDonalds.

I’m sure she wasn’t cut up about missing the Spice Girls run around London.

1998
1999
2000
I sacrificed my love of movies for a home-based parties.

2001- The Princess Diaries

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2002- Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

2003- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

2004- Without a Paddle

My mum actually suggested this one. I’d wanted to see Ella Enchanted, but she was too ill to get ready for it as it had been out a while and there were very few showings. Worked out brilliantly; I love this film.

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2005- The Producers/ Just Like Heaven/ Narnia

I’m not sure any of these were on my actual birthday. I sulked massively because my mum wouldn’t go with me. I didn’t appreciate how unwell she was… so, yeah, I sulked.

2006- Perfume

2007- Enchanted/ The Golden Compass

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2008- Twilight

2009- Sherlock Holmes(January 2010)

I was in Ankara, Turkey in 2009. It was not a very good birthday seeing as my then-boyfriend was actually there to meet up with a potential new girlfriend. It wasn’t fun. The cinema trip was meant to be 10 people+, however it was snowed out so there was about four of us.

2010- Tron Legacy

2011- Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows

I don’t remember ANY of this movie past the first 20 minutes. I’d been for a meal before hand and had wine and I’d smuggled in some premixed cans. To this day? I’ve attempted to watch this film about 4 times and I STILL don’t know the plot.

2012 – The Hobbit/ Pitch Perfect

2013- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It counts… sort of. I got very drunk the night before, so a 3D screening was not the best idea.

2014- Exodus: Gods and Kings

2015- Snoopy Movie

My 30th birthday film. Such a good, and childish, call.

2016- Rogue One

2017…

Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

Welcome to The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

We are going to read a book for every letter of the alphabet in 2018…

They will be a mix of new releases and #QOG favourites.

The list below are some of my  favourites combined with some up and coming releases for 2018.

This is not a list anyone should feel obliged to stick to, they are just suggestions of ones I love and ones I am looking forward to! 😊

If you want to join in with myself and @hscptcrash  the hashtag for this is  #QOGAZ  (I’d get so many Scrabble points for this!)

Throughout 2018 we will be posting about this challenge, and we will be reading books in any order so don’t think you have to start with A!

I’ve included a link to order the book through Waterstones as I worked with them for 7 years, but obvs feel free to order from whoever your preferred supplier is or get them in libraries, charity shops or as I do Abebooks.co.uk.

My friend, @ChelleyToy (award winning blogger extraordinaire, who gives wonderful hugs) is hosting a British Books Challenge, so if you could combine the two that would be even more spectacular! Chelley’s link to sign up is below;

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2017/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up-britishbookschallenge18/

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 The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

 #QOGAZ

A; Almost Love https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

B; Batman: Nightwalker https://www.waterstones.com/book/batman-nightwalker-dc-icons-series/marie-lu/9780141386836

C; Children of Blood and Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/children-of-blood-and-bone/tomi-adeyemi/9781509871353

D; Department 19 https://www.waterstones.com/book/department-19/will-hill/9780007354467

E; (The) Extinction Trials https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-extinction-trials/s-m-wilson/9781474927345

F; Fallen https://www.waterstones.com/book/fallen/lauren-kate/9780552561730

G; Grasshopper Jungle https://www.waterstones.com/book/grasshopper-jungle/andrew-smith/9781405278102

H; (The) Hazel Wood https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-hazel-wood/melissa-albert/9780141388663

I; Ink & Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/ink-and-bone/rachel-caine/9780749017224

J; (A) Jigsaw of Fire & Stars https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-jigsaw-of-fire-and-stars/yaba-badoe/9781786695482

K; (A) Kiss in the Dark https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-kiss-in-the-dark/cat-clarke/9781780870472

L; (The) Luxe https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-luxe/anna-godbersen/9780141323367

M; Monster https://www.waterstones.com/book/monster/michael-grant/9781405284837

N; Noughts and Crosses https://www.waterstones.com/book/noughts-and-crosses/malorie-blackman/9780141378640

O; Orphan Monster Spy https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

P; Panic https://www.waterstones.com/book/panic/lauren-oliver/9781444723052

Q; (The) Queen of Tearling https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-queen-of-the-tearling/erika-johansen/9780857502476

R; (The) Renegades https://www.waterstones.com/book/renegades/marissa-meyer/9781509876433

S; (The) Sin Eater’s Daughter https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-sin-eaters-daughter/melinda-salisbury/9781407147635

T; Truly Devious  https://www.waterstones.com/book/truly-devious/maureen-johnson/9780062338051

U; (The) Upside of Unrequited https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-upside-of-unrequited/becky-albertalli/9780141356112

V; Vampire Academy https://www.waterstones.com/book/vampire-academy-book-1/richelle-mead/9780141328522

W; Wicked Deep https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-wicked-deep/shea-ernshaw/9781471166136

X; SiX of Crows https://www.waterstones.com/book/six-of-crows/leigh-bardugo/9781780622286

Y; If You Find Me https://www.waterstones.com/book/if-you-find-me/emily-murdoch/9781780621531

Z; Zeroes   https://www.waterstones.com/book/zeroes/scott-westerfeld/margo-lanagan/9781471124891

British Book Challenge

We, The Queens of Geekdom are going to take part in the British Book Challenge #BritishBooksChallenge18 hosted by the awesome @ChelleyToy over at Tales of Yesterday.

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2016/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up/

We’ll be doing this in conjunction with the  #QOGAZ A-Z challenge so some titles will count towards both challenges, double the fun!

@gemlovesbooks books;

The books I’m intending on reading for the challenge are a mix of ones which have already been published and some that I’m impatiently waiting for in 2018!

I’ll put a link to Waterstones for the books so people can click to see the full synopsis of my chosen books.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

Release by Patrick Ness https://www.waterstones.com/book/release/patrick-ness/9781406331172

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

@hscptcrash books:

I’ll be starting with the same list, except for one that I’ve already read.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK Release date: 22.03.18

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From Goodreads: Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Semi-Definitive-List-Worst-Nightmares/dp/147140661X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513773899&sr=8-1&keywords=Krystal+Sutherland
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36222995-a-semi-definitive-list-of-worst-nightmares

My first thoughts

It’s ET meets I am Traitor in this wonderfully thrilling story. I couldn’t put it down.

The Characters

I love Jaya. She is headstrong, wonderfully moral and self assured. This is quite possibly the first LGBTQ+ main character who knows what and who she is and therefore doesn’t divert some of the plot with that exploration. Plus, it’s wonderful to just have a character who happens to be gay and her sexuality have no direct impact upon the plot.

The angel that falls is wonderful and while unable to vocalise her pain, confusion she is able to communicate. I’ll leave the name for you to discover, but it’s a delight and reflective of her innocent charm.

The Plot

The plot is perfectly woven out of a teen thriller nursing an injured angel back to health and a commentary upon religious belief and how we respond to the end of the world.

The sub plot looks at cults that can arise in such situations and the people who join them. It comments upon the challenges people face when drawn in without considering a way out.

It’s a well developed plot that has a balance between humour and tense drama. Something that will keep you up at night; if you start it, you won’t stop till its finished.

The Writing

It’s clear storytelling and third person narrative gives the story a film-like quality. It’s demonstrated best as the action heats up in the later section of the book. It’s a perfect read and I’d gladly welcome a sequel.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz @MacmillanKidsUK @MelissadelaCruz

Characters

For fictional characters based upon historical figures, these are all wonderfully crafted and instantly authentic to me. From their social behaviours to their relationships with other characters, it’s how I would expect people of that time to act.

Alex and Eliza are wonderful and I’m drawn to both of them. While there’s initial conflict between them, it’s never dismissed and often referred back to.

I find myself drawn more to Eliza than Alex. I engage with her a little more. However, seeing elements of the story from Alex’s point of view adds tension you would not perhaps get otherwise.

Plot

I don’t think I can gush enough about this book. I want to fall into its pages, Potter-style. I love that this book expands upon what is essentially one song within the award-winning play.

It doesn’t skirt around the hardship faced during the time, nor does it romanticise it. However, it adds to the characters, their motivations and the development of the plot.

I love how it ends and where the characters end up. However, It’s left me begging for more.

Writing

The writing is truly stunning. It incorporates the past without being too bogged down with heavy language; something, I’m not going to lie, i was worried thats what i was getting myself into.

I loved the two voices presented through an omniscient third person narrative. It gave the book a feeling that it was making a commentary of the letters that were written between the pair.

I cannot wait for the second book, which is due for release on 17th April 2018.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press
Release date: 10.10.17

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From Goodreads: Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

 

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nowhere-Girls-Amy-Reed/dp/0349003076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513777716&sr=8-1&keywords=the+nowhere+girls
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28096541-the-nowhere-girls?from_search=true

My first thoughts

Its not a book that people want to read, but it’s a book that everyone needs to read. While there are books that have tread this ground before, they have not brought together the complicity of rape culture in order to educate and inform a reader while delivering an immersive story.
This is a book that I will forever suggest alongside

The Characters

Erin, Grace and Rosina are the trio of girls that are developing their friendships under pressure. Grace feels more like our protagonist, she’s relatable in the fact that we arrive to the story when she does.

Each girl has her own story to tell, her own motivation to make the town listen to them in their mission to reveal the truth about Lucy’s rape. It hits home with each one individually and its different times.

Each of the trio have their time to shine, but it is Erin who I love most. Struggling against her autism diagnosis and her own past, Erin is an insight into the complexity of a condition close to my heart.

The Plot

Its not a comfortable read, but if you’re comfortable you’re missing the point. Much of the action takes place before the novel starts and deals with the fallout within the town.

It’s so shocking how the town responds to the accusation of rape. However, what is most shocking, is the fact that this will happen in many societies. Only a few years ago was a female monk thrown out of her community for being gang raped at the back of a bus while the driver looked on.

There’s an ending that should satisfy all and, most importantly, it will leave you with questions on how you perceive gender equality and rape culture.

The Writing

Amy Reed’s challenging and ground-breaking novel is such a well written jigsaw of a story. It’s engaging and heartbreaking, told with such heart. The story will haunt me for a long time and recalls the spirit of Moxie and the rawness of Asking For It.

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks
Release date: 5.9.17

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From Goodreads: A funny, moving love story about facing fears hand in hand – one snake/spider/potentially unstable fourth-floor balcony at a time. From acclaimed author of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, Krystal Sutherland.

Esther Solar’s family is . . . unusual. Her father hasn’t left the basement in six years. Her brother is terrified of darkness.

Esther isn’t afraid of anything – because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators are off limits, as are open spaces, crowds, family pets, birds, needles, haircuts, dolls and mirrors.

But when Esther is pickpocketed by her cocky old classmate Jonah Walker, Esther and Jonah become surprising friends. Jonah sets a challenge: every week they must work their way through the world’s fifty most common phobias. Skydiving, horse riding, beekeeping, public speaking, reptile houses – they plan to do it all.

Soon their weekly foray into fear becomes the only thing that keeps them tethered to reality, and to each other. But each is keeping a secret from the other, a secret that threatens to rip them apart.

Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Semi-Definitive-List-Worst-Nightmares/dp/147140661X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513773899&sr=8-1&keywords=Krystal+Sutherland
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36222995-a-semi-definitive-list-of-worst-nightmares

My first thoughts

I loved this book. It struck such a chord with me it ways I never expected it to. I hated that I started it while I was still working, which meant it became my commuter read, instead of devouring read that it should have been.

The Characters

Esther Solar is a unique and beautiful character who belongs in the wonderful world of Tim Burton. She is charming and delight to have on this journey. As a reader, I feel her pain and her triumphs.

Jonah is a mysterious addition to the narrative. He brings Esther out of her shell and helps her to come to terms with her life. He has his own personal challenge to face too. While it appears to be journeyed without the reader, the bulk of it is felt regardless.

The Plot

Its story is simple in terms of its outset, but is complex in its completion. Esther must complete each one of her fears in order to get her notebook back off Jonah. Having 50 items to be checked off could have become a little tiresome had Krystal chosen to depict every single conquest. Happily, we skip through them in order to progress to the deeper meaning of fears.

By the time the reader gets to the final act, we’re giving some heart wrenching twists that will tear up even the driest of eyes.

The Writing

The book is written in a fresh quirky style that pulls you in from the first sentence and doesn’t let you go, long after you finish reading.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: the Last Jedi 12a
Release date: 14.12.2017

Trailer:

The Good
The world building is as good as ever. The creatures, bar one, are masterful and awe inspiring. Adam Driver is as wonderful as before with his portrayal of Kylo. It’s interesting to see his development and conflict. In a mirroring, I enjoyed Rey’s struggling between the light and dark.
New character, Rose is a delight… if not a little far from what we’d expect to see within Star Wars. She appears a little bright and twee; someone who wouldn’t be out of place in Gilmore Girls.

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The Bad
Hux! What did they do to my General? He was a panto villain of the highest order. From the initial holding call to his slapdown inside an At-At, Hux was the focus of the films more slapstick humour. And he wasn’t the only one who appeared to have a character change that irked me. Poe was not the same character I met in Force Awakens and there was nothing to explain away this change. He was too ‘hot headed’ and worst of all it had no impact upon the plot.

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The Ugly
The plot, the reveals, the humour. I’m not going to lie, I *enjoyed* the film while there, part of an audience and constantly reminding myself by the credit roll, it would be worth it.
However, I enjoyed it as a film, not as a the part of a well established franchise. As a Star Wars film, it was appalling and an insult to fans. It pulled apart anything JJ put in place in the first installment and it will be hard to see it flow through to the third outing.
Two of my most hated scenes involved the Skywalker siblings; you’ll know what they are when you see them. They happen early enough within the film and are both completely out of character.
The whole film (jar) jars with the franchise. The tone is wrong, the treatment of the characters is far from what I would consider canonical and quite simply, I’m feeling a little at odds with the Force right now.

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