Posted in 2018, ARC, Harper Teen, Net Galley, Reads of ...

All of This is True

Release date: 15.5.2018
About: In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book–with devastating consequences.
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck–especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was–and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.
Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…
Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying–and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book–this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
Buy it here


Character/s

This book wouldn’t be the same without each and every one of these complex characters. Their personalities don’t work in isolation and are a result of actions of others. Meeting them in a Pretty Little Lies post-event environment makes for some unreliable narrators and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Plot.

It’s a puzzle piece plot that will only make sense once you get to the end. Because of the nature of the plot, I can’t actually talk much about it, other than the fact that it will consume you completely. You will not want to put it down until you have all the answers.

Writing

It’s amazing when you have so many different characters with their own narratives going on that a writer can give each one a unique voice on paper. You don’t have to read the start of chapters multiple times to find out whose views your reading.

 

Posted in 2018, ARC, Han, Han's Reviews, Hot Key Books, Net Galley, Reads of ...

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.

Posted in 2018, ARC, Hot Key Books, Net Galley, Reads of ...

Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Release Date: 8.2.2018
About:
Lily has died in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily’s really not at all sure she wants to ‘move on’ . . . This funny, heartbreaking novel is perfect if you loved John Green or The Lovely Bones.
Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road.
She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.
But what is she supposed do now?
Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family – her parents and her twin brother – start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .
Buy from Here


Character/s

Lily is one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen on page. She’s dead from the moment we meet her, so we never really get a true sense of who she was. Being in the first person means we get a reflective character full of regret. It’s just as untrustworthy as other characters you meet and establish as untrustworthy.

Plus, a good chunk of the time, she’s not being herself. She’s being her brother. Now that is interesting and is truly good at showing how little we can sometimes know people.

Plot

The supernatural Freaky Friday plot really works here. It toes a perfect line of light-hearted scenarios and a deep emotional look at grief and loss. It’s not for everyone, but for those people who have lost someone close and have found it difficult to process those emotions, this might actually be the story for you.

Writing

The sign of good writing here is how the movements of Lily. Regardless of her form; ghost or host, there’s no confusion as to where she is or who she is. The writing also keeps emotion in play while allowing the reader to remove themselves from the grief.

Posted in Ramblings

Avengers: Infinity War (12a) With Major Spoilers

Release Date: 26.4.2018
Summary: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Time: 2hr 36


The Good

The first good I really need to talk about is Thanos. He’s the first decent villain in the Marvel Universe (Loki is an  anti-hero, not a villain in my eyes) and he does up the stakes a little more.
The crew count was handled well. Certainly much better than Civil War, which felt very bloated and overwhelming in terms of characters. This film upped that count, but was as strategic as a game of chess in its placement of characters and relied heavily on perfect smaller team ups than aiming for everyone on the screen at the same time.
The humour was on point! Those beautiful one liners and the films play on language; from Peter Parker’s pop culture references to Thor and Steve’s misunderstandings, it’s the perfect lift to a film that has very heavy emotions throughout.
Spoiler (This is the ONE I wouldn’t want spoiling so highlight the section at your own peril)
DINKLEDGE!!! If you didn’t know, I have major love for the Dink! He’s just amazing in everything he does and he’s the kind of bloke I’d love to sit and have a drink with and put the world to rights, you know? So having Dink play a giant who towers over Thor was just a stroke of genius. 
Spoiler
For once, we where light on the romance, save for already established pairings. It was great to not have that trope in play, meaning any romantic gestures in play had deep rooted meaning and purpose.

The Bad

While the handling of the cast was good, it didn’t escape without casualties. Black Widow is reduced to mere window dressing and it doesn’t do one our long standing heroes justice. It was almost to the point where I wish they’d benched her until the second outing.
Some of the CGI was ropey. If you’re truly into a film, you possibly don’t notice until watching at home. However, I’m a little concerned that there were bits I picked up on (namely the Hulkbuster Iron suit) on my first viewing. Not because I wasn’t engaged, but simply because they stuck out like sore thumbs.

The Ugly

The ‘deaths’. So there’s two separate deaths in play here. Firstly, we have the one that the Russo brothers had declared of one main cast member ‘there’s no take backs this time’. I believe this is the opening sequence death of Loki. It lacks the punch that it could, mainly because that dude has played dead so much it feels like a bit. It didn’t have any emotional resonance for me.
Nor did the final rug pull of the Infinity gauntlet dusting genocide. I’ll admit, I did gasp at the first character’s disappearance and I was close to tearing up. That was until we lost pretty much everyone who has been confirmed for a solo outing film in the next however many years. To me (and I know its not everyone’s thoughts. A student was unimpressed that I did not warn her about the ending), it takes away any jeopardy for the characters. It’s a shame, because this was the first film in a long time that made me feel there was something at stake.

Side bar- this isn’t the fault of Infinity War. The biggest problem was Avengers Assemble and the choice to resurrect Agent Phil Coulson. Damn, that death meant something. That death gave the assembled heroes something to avenge. Most of all, that death had me crying like a bitch. I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t prepared. I was begging the screen for it not to be true. I mourned the character who had been given a place in my geek heart.
Then in a ‘it was all dream’-esque twist of fate, my tears had been wasted and I vowed never to cry over a Marvel death again.

Except Yandu! Damn, that was a harsh blow and was more about his words preceding his death than anything else. I sobbed like a baby with that one too.

Posted in Movie reviews, Ramblings

Truth or Dare – 15

About 
Release date  13.4.18
Summary A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.
Time 1hr 40


Trailer


truthordare

The Good
If you like your horrors with a body count and a supernatural tone, this is the one for you. It’s reminiscent of the early Final Destination films; the deaths are scary because some of them can be easily passed off as an accident. It’ll chill you to the core.
The Bad
The premise is a little far fetched. I can’t get past the initial decision of Markie (The Flash’s Violett Beane) to withdraw Olivia (Lucy Hale) from her planned work experience holiday, never mind the fact that the whole group join Olivia and Carter on the big trek up the mountain. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m tired and done on a night out, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me going home.

The Ugly
While it’s not exactly torture porn territory, but it’s almost there and is almost tasteless because of it. The dares are quite horrific and morally corrupt. I found the ‘lust’ triangle nauseating and the treatment of the gay character bordering on offensive.
The plot is so familiar and predictable that you can’t help but feel a little cheated.


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: 13.4.2018/ 4pm showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: About 20 people.
Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 8 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): One of the girls that arrived late Boomeranged the screen for Instagram and then spent the next 5 minutes uploading it, with emoticons and everything! 
Talking: Same late girl was talking 3 -4 times throughout.

Posted in Ramblings

Social Creature by @NotoriousTIB

Release date: 14.6.18
About: A friendship to die for.
A Ripley story for the Instagram age set in contemporary New York; a world at once sophisticated and sordid, irresistible and irresponsible, unforgettable yet unattainable
Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being cat-called by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.
Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, bars, the opera, shares her clothes, her coke, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?
Pre order at Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Social-Creature-Tara-Isabella-Burton/dp/1408896117/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523567025&sr=1-1&keywords=social+creature


Characters

Louise at first is a likeable character who is in over her head. Who wouldn’t embrace the new life she is offered? However, as the narrative unfolds I find myself fearing her and scared of the lengths she will go to keep her place in the social circle that she has become so comfortable.
Lavinia is the embodiment of people I really do not like; privileged, spoiled and, worst of all, lacking any sort of independence. I found her incredibly realistic to the point of hatred for her.
Rex, Hall and Mimi are bystanders of the whole unravelling and its interesting to see how they fit and how Louise’s thoughts about them change over time.

Plot

It’s hard to say anything about the plot without giving away some of the books best parts. What I will say is that when you think you have it all set in your head how it will end, you will have the rug pulled violently from under you. You will, from that point, settle again. You’ll be on edge, heart in mouth and unable to do anything but consume the story.

Writing

The writing was something I’ve never come across before. It threw me off at first, the almost conversational tone that was present in the moment, but also had an insight into what was to come. Won’t lie, it also brought a sinister tone to the book; I was scared for quite a lot of it.

Posted in Movie reviews

The Quiet Place – 15 (With spoilers)

Details
released 5th April
time 1h 30

About
A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

Trailer

a-quiet-place

The Good

Holy crap, this is one scary movie. There’s an intensity and a stillness that not only gets under you skin, but right into your bones as well. From the opening scene, to the credits your heart is in your mouth.

It also sucked me into the world (certainly, me at least) and while I’d normally gasp and in some cases, scream. I ensured I was absolutely silent too. The kids are amazing and both John and Emily bring their A-game and potential Oscar acting chops to the table.

The Bad

Lee and Evelyn are the most idiotic adults ever seen in a horror movie. Their decision to have another child once they find themselves in a post apocalyptic wasteland is hugely irresponsible and completely dangerous. Regardless of how the plot develops, the parents lose me as a viewer 15 minutes in due to their selfishness.

I mean, come on you’re in a world where if you make a sound, you’re shish kebab. Evelyn has had three other kids so she knows her childbirth alone will bring all the creepy things to their yard. Then there’s the baby to deal with… and I’m sure they haven’t forgotten that they cry. A lot.

I’ll agree, without this plot point, there isn’t much of a film. However, just a slight change in the dating and it makes the parents a little more sympathetic. Or have one of their children older and pregnant.

The Ugly

While this is an amazing film, worthy of award season hype when it comes around, it does highlight an epidemic within our cinemas. So often I have to ignore people on their phones, whispering, asking questions or even having a casual coffee shop chat. Most films have enough dialogue to drown out the annoyances, but in a film where there is very little dialogue it can’t be ignored.
People arrived late, a group of twenty-somethings whispered through the first act to the point where I considered going and complaining. But what was the point? It would have caused more disruption by getting someone in and they probably wouldn’t have stopped talking.