Monday, 19 August 2019

Blog tour: The Children Of Lir by Marion Grace Woolley


Hello Readers,
Today I am blog tour for The Children Of Lir by Marion Grace Woolley thank you at Frasers Fun House for the invite and for sending me an ebook.  I have a spotlight and miniature review for you?

Tittle: The Children of Lir
Author: Marion Grace Woolley
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Pages:  467 pages
Publication Date:  August 15th 2019
Cover Image:

Synopsis:
A curse that lasted 900 years, a legend that lasted forever.
From the Iron Age of Ireland to the dawn of Christianity, this epic retelling traverses the realms of magic and sorcery. From the fort of Fionnachaidh to the watery wastes of Sruth na Maoile, it tells of the downfall of an ancient race and the children caught in its wake.
Grieving for the loss of his wife, King Lir marries her younger sister, Aoife. Jealous of her husband’s children she calls on the power of the Aos Sí and their Phantom Queen, making a bargain that will cost her life.
The children, turned to swans, are cast out upon the waves in an adventure that sees empires rise and fall as centuries pass. Eventually, they must choose between the world they once knew and a future they do not understand.


About the author:
Marion works as an international development consultant and builds pianos in her spare time. She is currently trying to build the first ever piano in Rwanda through the Kigali Keys project.

She writes across different genres, but usually dark fiction. She is best known for Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, and her debut novel, Lucid, was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary for New Writers in 2009.

Marion’s social accounts




Review
This is quite a sentimental review for me I'm sorry. When I was asked to join the blog tour for Children of Lir I was so excited as my Irish Grandmother had told me a version of the tale growing up and before she died, she got me an Irish Folklore book that contains this legend. The Children of Lir is a story that is close to my heart and I  loved Marion's skilful use of the Gaelic language it was a wonderful reminder of my grandma and my heritage.

The Children of Lir is the re-telling of an old Irish folklore tale about the King of Lir and his 4 children who were cursed to live as swans for 900 years, the children of Lir become a legend. The Children of Lir is a legend from Irish mythology and combines both the magical elements from the Druids with the Christian message of faith bringing freedom from suffering.
King Lir is mourning the loss of his wife when he re-marries her younger sister who just so happens to have a jealousy curse that turns Lir’s children into swans.  

There is the most wonderful addition in my opinion and that is the retelling dives straight into what happened to the children before telling short stories of people whose lives were affected after the transformation. This adds another dimension to the book I never thought about.

 I think this would be perfect for anyone who hasn’t heard of the original tale as the story is detailed and is character-driven. You get an understanding of the gods, magic, time itself seem to be characters here, and I loved being wrapped up in the fabric of ancient Ireland.
L x


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Let’s Talk About… JK Rowling


Hello Readers,

I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while but I’ve taken my time with the post to try and be as respectful as I can. I am a Potter fan I was at boarding school when the gained popularity, I went to the midnight launches and I’ve been to the studio tour multiple times, what I’m trying to get at is that this isn’t a hate-filled post and I was a huge fan but as more revaluations were revealed I lose interest a little more. It's just some observation I have made since the final book and film release. 

I have come to the slight conclusion that JK Rowling is slowly damaging her franchise for the original readers. Like come on…. be honest did we need to know what happened before plumbing at Hogwarts the thought never crossed my mind.

 I will support LGBT rights till my last breath but Dumbledore being gay it honestly feels like this reveal was once again an attempt by Rowling to seem inclusive without ever actually including representation in a meaningful way and if I’m honest a way to make the second Fantastic Beast movie more interesting. I am honestly so frustrated that Rowling seems to be trying to get points for having diverse characters while never actually including much diversity in the books in the first place.

Uncle Vernon supporting Brexit. If you take both the films and book timeline into consideration this is completely irrelevant! I'm sorry the battle of Hogwarts was in 1998 which means other than the epilogue the story has finished the world is closed we don’t need this added information on current political issues.

Nagini being human, let's take a second to remember that wormtail has to milk venom from Nagini's fangs and feed it in a bottle to Voldemort in order to keep him alive. On Twitter, Rowling explained that Nagini is a human and a Maledictus, not an Animagus. Her condition is a blood curse that only affects women, and one that Nagini has no control over. Also lets remember Lord Voldemort could also possess Nagini, like he did on the night where Arthur Weasley was attacked in Order of the Phoenix the implication of this little fact are a little creepy.  Nagini was first introduced in Goblet of Fire the book was released in 2000 fast forward to last year when it was revealed she was human in the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer and again this seems like a way to make the second Fantastic Beast movie more interesting.

The last one annoys me the most, information released on Pottermore went into a long backstory on McGonagall that mostly focused on her love life instead of her abilities as a witch. The woman who took control during the battle of Hogwarts and one of the greatest female role models from the series Rowling turned her into a scorned woman’s whose marriage to muggle didn’t work out. While including information about her romantic life isn’t necessarily bad, it is weird that most of the new information about the character was about romance and not how she became the woman we love and someone I looked up to.

Oh I almost forgot, one of the biggest revelations in  Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was that Credence Barebone is actually Aurelius Dumbledore, the third, youngest, and lost brother of Albus and Aberforth. This makes no sense considering that so much of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was about Dumbledore’s family and all of the information about his family was already revealed. Oh, and to get really pedantic the dates don’t add up, Albus’ father would have been in Azkaban and his mother would have already been dead at the time of Aurelius’ birth.

L x 
What has been your shocking reveal about the Potterverse?

Monday, 12 August 2019

Review: Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Abigail, and Wunderkind-Pr for getting in contact and sending me an eBook copy of Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning
Sorry Spoilers!!

If you’ve been around for a while you know how excited I was when I learned that the first book in the series Sea Witch was a retelling of the little mermaid but then finding out the story was told from “Ursula’s” point of view I knew I had to read this book. Here’s a link to my review of Sea Witch.

The epilogue at the end of Sea Witch was a killer and when I realise that where Sea Witch Rising was going to pick up I was beyond ready to dive in (Sea what I did there). Evie is now magically merged with the giant octopus that haunted a local cove and is approached by a little mermaid named Alia seeking her help to become human in order to win the love of the prince After making a deal of her own with Evie (the sea witch), Alia’s twin sister Runa, sets out to bring her sister back to the sea as she doesn’t want her sister to die of rejection when the prince fails to declare his love. Evie desires freedom from her role as the Sea Witch and seeks to challenge the Sea King, whose magic has trapped her.

The story’s timeline puts it in that delicate point in history where on land Denmark and the rest of Europe is poised for World War II. The story becomes a little more political in a sense as naval mines and U-boats have brought the land war to the seas and is threatening the lives of the merpeople and the other inhabitants of the water. However, Sarah never lets her tale get too deep but keeps the stakes high and focuses more on friendship and sisterly devotion than romance, although Runa does bond with a handsome young human. Also, the message of female empowerment and unity is clear, without feeling overdone or cheesy.  Sarah keeps her leading ladies strong and capable, without being cliché.

The dual perspectives of Evie, the sea witch, and Runa, the mermaid princess, opens up the story significantly, allowing the author to explore multiple plot lines and themes. On one hand, there’s Runa who can’t understand the appeal of the human world and is trying everything she can to save her twin sister, she deals with a lot of identity issues throughout this story. Her love for Alia shone through every page and although I’m all for a cute romance, the strong sisterly love in this book was a refreshing change and added a different dynamic. Runa was a strong protagonist alongside Evie and I really liked her character. Runa refuses to lose her sister through such a naive act for a spoiled prince. 

Then we have Evie who is unapologetically jaded by her own past, yet compassionate to those around her. Evie is really struggling with her lack of powerful magic, trapped away from all she once held dear and has more humanity than Disney portrayed and this led to a richer story for me. There’s also a bittersweet, wistful tone that flows throughout her chapters, creating an added depth to the character an you cant help but feel for her.

I really enjoyed this sequel and I think that’s down to the fact that Runa and Evie are incredible characters. This story focuses on love but not the romantic kind. Runa and Alia are two halves to one whole, and Runa will do anything to save her sister. You also come to realise that Evie became the witch she is now for some many heart-breaking reasons. We learn that she became chained to her lair by the power-hungry Sea King and the decisions that led her to her confinement. While we’re on the subject of The Sea King get that nice fluffy image of King Triton out your head now! Okay ready for it… In this retelling he has a need for power and magic above all else, he holds his daughters close to him merely for their abilities and powers. He is a cruel man and pretty much a dictator.

Sarah weaves the story lines we know from The Little Mermaid and flips them in such a beautiful and magnificent way. I love her writing style and loved how the magic on land and in the sea is built in such a lyrical way.

I can't recommend this book enough you need to go get it so I can talk to someone about it.
L x


Monday, 5 August 2019

Review: The Betrayal of Ka (The Transprophetics, Book 1) by Shea Oliver

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Shea, for getting into contact with me and sending me a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. 
The Betrayal of Ka manages to fit so much with its 265 pages its remarkable. There was quite a bit of set up initially, around the future world, political and corporate structure, and environment. However, once you get past that, you discover a story that is rich with action, and characters you either root for or hate with a passion. There was a lot of political manoeuvring and stepping on of toes and in some ways, this felt a little bit like Hunger Games books.

The Betrayal of Ka touches on politics as well as some of the lesser-used subjects in science fiction and it will kick your butt as it’s well thought out and a solid gritty story and a protagonist who has his share of baggage. Ka is immediately likeable, brash one minute, then adorably insecure the next when talking to a girl he likes. Unfortunately, Ka doesn't make the smartest choices, landing him in a spot of bother.  

I found that I had to remind myself that Ka was just a kid who found himself in a very bad situation with some very bad people.  I honestly felt so sorry for him, events that were totally out of his control caused him so much pain both physical and emotional. Being under that kind of stress and pressure can make anyone justify action’s they normally wouldn’t and you must keep that in perspective while reading.

There was plenty of good descriptions, compelling characters and solid action, as well as self-examination on the part of the characters. This book brings up some political issues that are relatable to the real world while at the same time creating a story that is both entertaining and emotion catching.  The writing is well-spoken, entertaining and even humorous at times.

I could easily visualise this world while reading, I especially loved the description of the prison and the procedures that Ka went through. It seems that this book has accomplished everything it set out to do. The future world was well thought out and stayed away from many of the trite views of the future envisioned in many other literary and film works. 

As I said at the start this book has so much happened in such a short number of pages that it’s hard to try and convey them without giving to much away and was hard to review. I honestly enjoyed it and have already recommended it to a couple of people I know.  

Lx


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Film Review: The Lion King 2019


Hello Readers,
Today I have another film review for you, I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free but let’s be honest to original came out in 1994 and it's pretty much based on Hamlet (just saying). Just like Toy Story, The Lion King is one of the Disney films that I'm always going to feel protective of as I've spent a good proportion of my life with its characters and songs. This latest live-action re-imagining seems bound for success thanks to a mixture of nostalgia and spectacle. Also I just want to smush cub Simba's face.


The first thing I will say is that the opening is exactly the same as the opening of the original, for me that was perfect it was like hearing the opening of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings It gave me a sense of being welcomed back. I have seen people saying they could have developed the opening but let be honest if it didn’t open with the sunrise people would be complaining more. 

I loved the original and having James Earl Jones playing Mufasa again was such a great choice but I don’t think they really had another option. While we’re on the subject of Mufasa his death feels that much more tragic than the original and I think that is down to the live-action the fur looks so real you could pet it, is that much harder to take especially with baby Simba.

 The story feels that much darker and I thought the themes were a little less subtle. Scar makes a point of saying he won’t challenge Mufasa again leading to the suggestion that he was one who gave Scar his namesake injury … okay, it may be obvious in the original but I’ve rewatched it and nope!

For a PG-rated film, the elephant graveyard scene is so much darker than it needs to be. I get it in the original its creepy and dark but too far guys, I found myself jumping and turned to my friend and said I was glad we didn’t bring her little girl with us and she agreed.

Timon and Pumbaa helped make this film amazing and was a real turn around after all the seriousness and darkness.  Don’t get me wrong I love Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane but Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner did such a wonderful job and were just the right amount of funny.

That being said I also prefer Ed the hyena who was renamed Azizi in this remake and I love the interactions between him and Kamari who was originally called Banzai. The only hyena who kept their original name was Shenzi.

The soundtrack is as stunning as the first and I have been listening to it since seeing the movie on the 21st of July.  Hans Zimmer, who composed the 1994 animated version, has returned to compose the score for the remake with Pharrell Williams as a collaborator. Elton John also returned to rework his musical compositions from the original film before his retirement along with the original film's lyricist, Tim Rice. Elton and Tim also wrote a new song for the film's end credits, titled "Never Too Late" and performed by Elton.

The film also features all the songs from the original film, a cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", and the song "He Lives in You" from the Broadway production. With an added song by Beyoncé called Spirit. The soundtrack, featuring Zimmer's score and John and Rice's songs, was released digitally.

Its honestly a good film and the advances in technology are evident but it just felt like something was missing and I don’t know if that’s because of my attachment to the original. Have you seen The Lion King yet? What did you think?

L x

Monday, 29 July 2019

The Exploding Book by Mike Russell


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Jay, for sending me a ebook copy of The Exploding Book by Mike Russell for free in exchange for an honest review.

This is the fifth book I have been lucky enough to receive from Jay and Mike Russell and I honestly couldn’t wait to jump back down the rabbit hole that is the worlds Mike creates through his writing. I have previously reviewed Strange Medicine, Strange Secrets, Nothing is Strange and Strungballs. Having already read and experienced Mike Russell’s stories, as always, I started this one with an open mind and ready to jump. I knew before I started reading that it would be like nothing I have read before and I can say it is unique.

Mike Russel has taken the art of strange fiction to new levels over the past few years, and this, his latest creation is no different in his latest book which differs to his usual books as this is a full length novel rather than a collection of short stories. This book will make you feel strange, the characters are uncanny and believe in all kinds of mysterious things. The world that weaves with his world is a treat to read. I think it is the best use of imagery.

The plot itself is very different, very strange and weird, completely crazy. It looks like a mess of nonsenses, but it has its way. Everything happens with a reason and in order. I had some moments where I thought why the book is leading me this way or that some parts were completely insane, but in the end, everything comes together and becomes a solid part of the book. If you’ve seen my previous reviews of Mikes work, you know that I loved his writing style

The best part of the book is that it invites you into its world and to village Gladeville, where people have visions of a gold temple, each temple being different for each person. Slight spoiler but there is also a book simply called the Dark Book which, when it explodes, destroys all books except itself. You are not just a passive reader but an active witness of the unusual happenings of the town. Since you are a part of the world, it keeps you engaged and on the edge of your seat. I honestly had so many thoughts flying through my head while reading this. I jumped on conspiracy theories, a religious cult and the pure stupidity of humanity.

I try not to dissect Mike Russell’s stories they are just simply what they are the day I read them, tomorrow I will see something else in them. However, while reading this book, you can make so many connections, see so many hidden meanings, but at the end, it’s just a book you can’t know if the Mike wanted it to have a meaning or he has just told you a story.

If you are a lover of the strange, the offbeat, metaphors, and stories in which you can get lost you must read it!
L x

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Singapore Ghost (Ash Carter #4) by Murray Bailey


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Murray, for giving me the chance to Beta read Singapore Ghost, sending me a physical copy, a giveaway copy and for mentioning me in the acknowledgements (I still can’t believe it and keep checking). I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as I can and do a spill all review in four months. Also, I am running a giveaway over on my twitter. Now closed


We all know how much I adore the Ash Carter series check out my previous reviews here (Singapore 52, Singapore Girl and Singapore Boxer). As I mentioned in my opening that I was lucky enough to beta read this book and it blew my mind, and while reading it I sent Murray some lovingly slightly abusive messages.

This is the fourth book in the Ash Carter series, in this book Ash is in Penang babysitting a newspaper reporter. She's investigating ghost stories at the barracks but it's Ash's past that has come back to haunt him. Ash also finds himself stuck between two criminal organisations and must find a solution and put the ghost haunting the barracks to rest.

I think with Murray's books I trick myself into knowing how things are going as I tell myself I know how he writes but I was blindsided by two huge plot reveals in this story and they fitted with the story perfectly. Murray continues to have this wonderful talent where he leads you one way without giving too much away then bam goes the other way and unravels all the wonderful details. The plot was complicated and there were several twists along the way making the reader wonder just who Ash could trust and who was really pulling the strings. I loved all the twists and red herrings and I followed one of these red herrings all the way through to the end.

I still love that it remains clear Murray has done a lot of research into the time period and geographical social norms and locations have been used brilliantly. The research on Singapore during the post-WWII era, the atmosphere of the poor versus the wealthy of that time and the unease between the Chinese and the Japanese was done respectfully and well thought out the series.  I loved how the plot development and the pacing of the story was perfect and kept me on my toes it’s also an entertaining and relaxing book.

As always Murray's book leading to a satisfying end that caught me off guard and now, I’m left wanting more and waiting for book five. I honestly can’t recommend this series enough.
L x

Ash Carter Series

Friday, 26 July 2019

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Cornelia Funke and Guillermo del Toro


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the chance to read Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Cornelia Funke and Guillermo del Toro on ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

If you follow my Instagram or twitter you know how excited I was to get approved for this book from NetGalley. I had been pining over it for a while I loved the film and the cover reveal. 


I will again have my little running rant with retelling's and movie novelisations for any new people and then we will jump straight in. Remember that this book based on Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed movie, not a retelling or different story. This book expands upon the film and gives us a better understanding of what happened during the film. It’s a faithful adaptation of the film, with beautiful imagery that adds to the fantasy.

I will be honest because I have seen the film (waaay too many times), my brain was a little lazy despite the wonderfully dark and rich descriptions, I had some of the creepy imagery in my head particularly of The Pale Man and the Faun. Reading this bought back the movie in much of its original glory, haunting, tragic, painful, the magical realism, the darkest of fairy tales, immersing us the reader in all its vibrant intensity.

I’m a huge fan of adult fantasy books with a child protagonist there is something that makes the story darker and it adds more of an uncomfortable edge to the story and completely changes the tone. I particularly liked how the book split itself between the folklore-style stories of how the underworld influenced ancient times and the historical fiction narrative of civil war-ravaged Spain. There is the young girl, Ofelia, living in the brutality and terrors of the fascist Franco's regime. Ofelia desperately longs for and dreams of a world free of the everyday nightmares of her life.

You get the sense of a fairytale coming to life with this, of course, Ofelia is the princess. How could she not be? Vidal is every inch the Wolf, hunting his prey through the pages.  Ofelia and her Mother arrive at a once-abandoned mill steeped in fairy tale history, Ophelia stumbles upon a labyrinth and soon begins to explore the labyrinth in the gardens where she meets an ancient and sinister faun, who claims she is the long lost Princess of his underground kingdom. The labyrinth is so much darker in its myths and magic, reflecting the realities of life, of a war-torn nation and fascism. The Faun sets Ophelia three dangerous tasks, which she must complete while avoiding the guerrilla warfare of the forest. Despite being set the three tasks Ofelia is so grateful to be given this escape from her miserable life at the mill, however, she doesn’t allow herself to get completely swept away.
Ofelia is our protagonist and I adored her, she's the ultimate embodiment of both the innocence and the fierce intelligence that children can possess, and she’s probably the most interesting younger protagonist that I’ve come across.

Let me try and explain this Ofelia has that unquestionable belief in magic, fairies and fauns that only children can have, however, She’s intelligent enough to figure out that a dress her mother painstakingly made, isn’t really for or about her, it’s just another way for her mum to try and please her stepfather. Ofelia is beyond wise for her years I think she only 9 I may be wrong she has an understanding of what it is her mum really is doing and saying with her actions, but she just can’t fathom why she would choose to and it’s honestly so heart-breaking.
The Faun is an exceptionally creepy character and I’ll be honest I’m not really sure what his relationship with Ofelia is, and that isn’t really cleared up in this novel. However, I think the mystery is a part of the story.

This novel effortlessly captures so much of vitality of the film, reinforcing just how imaginative and beautiful it is, and the despair of this historical period in Spain, Something I LOVED was the inclusion of the older “fairy-tales”, the myths that build up the world that Ofelia is just now stepping into.  The book does a wonderful job adding depth and clarity to the world and finds a way to subtly connect most of the characters within the magical kingdom in a very clever way, adding a whole other layer of depth to the legend of the labyrinth. I was also impressed with the pacing of these stories, as they never felt unnecessary nor distracting from the main narrative.

If you haven’t seen the film read the book first, then the del Toro magic from the film will be stunning and you can compare the book to the film without any preconceptions. I can’t recommend this book anymore its brilliantly dark ad whimsical.

Lx


Thursday, 25 July 2019

Review: The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Lydia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner for free in exchange for an honest review.

Have you seen how stunning this book is, I mean matte black with silver detailing its amazeballs and fits in nicely with my black book collection.
This beautifully dark story is chocked full of horror, despair, adventure, and hope. Heather masterfully spins the dark tale of Irreélle and Miss Vesper with a careful hand, conjuring a beautiful story and multilayer relationship between Miss Vesper and Irreélle that will tug deeply at your heart. Heather's writing lures you in and you genuinely start to care for Irreélle however you won't realise it until you've released that you’ve read a good chunk of the book in one sitting or like me still reading in bed at 1 am and getting sad I had ran out of book too quickly and read it all in one sitting.

Let’s be honest guys from the cover we all knew this was going to be a book I would love. Let alone having the book be recommended to people who like Neil Gaiman's work.  I thought the premise for this story was delightfully interesting, as I liked the concept of ‘bone magic’ and beings made of bone. This dark story walks the fine line between fun and darkness, a sinister Gothic menace from an innocent edge that was delivered with a fair amount of wit. I adored the world this book is set in, with the graveyard being the perfect backdrop for this story which has the feel of a Gothic fairy-tale with its dark atmosphere.

Not only is the world of graveyard tunnels so vivid and haunting it’s easy to picture without much effort from a reader point of view and that felt a little like a dark Victorian tale. Heather balances her emotional punches with moments of macabre hilarity and they work in harmony. This book is such a dark delight and I adored every minute of it. As the plot unfolds it deals with themes of creation, identity with a sprinkle of love and we see a young girl search of her true self.

So, who is our main character I hear you scream Irreélle, that eerie little being, stole my heart. Irreélle is made of bone dust and fragments of Miss Vesper's imagination, she is a creation of darkness and yet spread only light. From the start we see her question her existence with a hopefulness that made this character melt even my ice-cold heart.

It honestly didn’t take long for her to have all of my love and Heather if you happen to see this I want to read a lifetime of books following her adventures I don’t care where we go I’m ready. Watching Irreélle grow into herself and learn to believe that she is more than just dust and bone tethered to her creator, is so empowering, and so important.

Now to the wonderful Miss Vesper, I'm not going to write much because of Heather wonderful writing I hate this woman. Miss Vesper is Irréelle’s creator, and is unbelievably cruel, constantly reminding Irreélle that she is not real and can be returned to the bone dust at a moment’s notice when she sees fit. My heart actually broke for poor Irreélle because all she ever wanted was to please Miss Vesper.

The secondary characters were interesting and well developed, Lass, Guy and The Hand, you can't help but love this little gang of misfits. With the help of  Lass, Guy and The Hand,  Irreélle sets out to uncover the dark truths of Miss Vesper and the truth about this mysterious magic that has brought her to life, putting her own existence at risk in order to be truly free from this vile being while putting her fears aside to protect her friends.  For such a dark looking book it actually has a couple of cute movements Along the way these three realise that even though they were little monsters created from bone dust and dark magic, humanity arises through the love that is forged through friendships.

I honestly can't recommend this book enough it’s a creepy yet feel-good read like getting a hug of the feel-good of a Disney film and Tim Burton (not quite The Nightmare Before Christmas) at the same time. I hope I get to go on another adventure with Irreélle.

L x

Monday, 22 July 2019

Film Review: Toy story 4


Hello Readers,

Today we're shaking things up with a movie review. I was honestly a little apprehensive when I saw that four was happening as I think they ended everything nicely with three. Andy giving all the toys to Bonnie was a nice wholesome ending in my opinion. However, I actually enjoyed the fourth film and this is your spoiler warning. also, I've mentioned some Easter eggs I spotted at the end .

I think Toy Story is one of the Disney films that I'm always going to feel protective of as I've spent a good proportion of my life with its characters, I was 3 when it came out.

This film took a wonderful creative leap with the creation of Forky. Forky isn’t like the others, Bonnie has made him from a disposable spork and some pipe cleaners. Forky’s existence raises some questions about the toys’ consciousness. Forky has been granted the gift of life, whether he likes it or not despite the fact he thinks he’s “trash”, and wants nothing more than to escape to the safe oblivion of the waste bin. Woody stops Forky throwing himself away to protect Bonnie.  the fact that Forky is, after all, a utensil, and feels most comfortable in the trash, secure in the knowledge that he fulfilled his purpose is a little heartbreaking when you apply the same logic to Woody and the gang.

It’s not until the family road trip things start to pick up and brings Woody into contact with an old acquaintance. Bo Peep is back and she is everything a child needs to look up to now. She has done a complete 360 in her character, I always thought she was a little meh and honestly, I didn’t miss her in two and three. Bo Peep always seemed a little too soft for me even back then I wanted a strong female role model (a couple of years later I got Meg from Hercules).

Let’s introduce the “villains”, personally, I think they aimed this one to the crowd from the first film. A pull string doll and her ventriloquist dummies like come on Disney they really aren’t aimed at children they are for us original crowd who have grown up and with Goosebumps and now watch horror films. All set the delectably creepy confines of the Second Chance Antiques Store.

Overall, I think this was a good film and I did cry but think that’s more of having a memory of going to see the original film at a cinema club with my grandparent who is sadly no longer with us. I think this film was defiantly and ending for the people who saw the film the first time around and there is one particular Easter egg I’ve mentioned that is purely for the original crowd.  The film was a good and good end to the franchise.


Easter Eggs I spotted
·         Tinny from Tin Toy makes an appearance in the pinball machine, Bo refers to him by name.
·         Bo's sheep bring her a bottle cap and safety pin while out foraging as a nod to the same grape soda bottle cap Russell gets awarded in "Up"
·         The guitar from Coco

L x

Friday, 19 July 2019

Review: MIB International official movie novelisation by R. S. Belcher

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of MIB Movie Novelisation by R. S. Belcher for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoiler-free

This was another book I jumped at the chance to review just for the nostalgic feels. I was four when the first Men in Black movie came out so I think I saw this for the first time around the 2000 and I loved it, it was my bedtime movie for aged (Thank for the input Mother Goose). I know the second and third film aren’t as popular as the first but anything that wants to develop the MIB universe is worth taking a chance on in my opinion.

I will have my little running rant with retelling's and movie novelisations and then we will jump straight in. Remember that this is the official movie novelisation it’s a companion, not a retelling or different story. This book expands upon the film and gives us a better understanding of what happened during the film. Perhaps the best of these are glimpses into the thoughts of the characters, we also get the added bonus of learning more about Agent H (Chris Hemsworth’s character) through a prequel short story.

The Men in Black protect us against extra-terrestrial violence and have always protected the Earth from the worst scum of the universe (yes, I am going to see how many of the song lyrics I can put into this post). In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organisation. (No spoilers) Like come on you have one of the best jobs in the world and you’re going to throw it all way. Also, just a reminder the good guys dress in black and they are our first, last and only line of defence, Against the extra-terrestrial violence. Forget Roswell the MIB know what they’re doing. This book does what any respectable move novelisations is supposed to do… it develops and complements the original source.

Quick film round up and then well be onto the book MIB: International is set within the universe of the previous three Men in Black films.  The film features a star-studded cast including Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson. They really went all out in developing the story and bring in a wonderfully talented cast.

Men in Black: International has added some modern tweaks to the franchise's premise, but puts more focus on the comedic chemistry of its leads that’s translated through the pages of the book beautifully.  Thankfully the book doesn't waste viewers' time reintroducing the entire world of Men in Black, to its readers, instead, it builds upon what came before.

Men in Black: International introduces some interesting ideas about the organization's role in brokering peace between Earth and numerous alien races, Protecting key alien artefacts and The Men in Black's role in the universe. There are enough new ideas in International to set it apart from previous films in the franchise, in my opinion, it’s the leading duo that is important to the film's success.

I honestly really enjoyed this book, all I have left to say Here come the Men In Black, Galaxy defenders.

L x
Song lyrics hidden: 6

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Podcast Review: And That’s Why We Drink


Hello Readers,

Today I am going to do a podcast review, a little different to normal but I listen to so many I thought I would start sharing my love. Today we are going to look at And That’s Why We Drink or ATWWD for short.
Stats
Total to date: 128
Average run-time: 1 hour 30 minutes (does not feel that long at all)


I discovered this podcast not long after it launched and I have been following it ever since.  I love this podcast two part of my Wednesday Addams brain get to come together with a podcast that tells one tale of murder and the paranormal finally meet! Every Sunday (Monday in my world ) I join Em and Christine for chilling ghost stories and terrifying true crime stories with a sprinkle of friendship and occasional warm fuzzy feelings. Em handles the paranormal stories while Christine gets the true crime. On the first of every month, Em and Christine read out listener stories. We also have the loveable Gio, Juniper and Eva (Eva write this down).

I honestly love how honest and real Em and Christine you honestly feel like your sat listening to a close friend tell you a story.  I know this style of the podcast might not be for everyone because it's very much like listening to two friends have a casual discussion, but I enjoy it. Em and Christine are so down to earth and I honestly don't think they have gone a single episode without saying "I love our listeners so much," at least once.

Christine and Em have this great chemistry and joke around when things get a little uncomfortable. Like when things in a story get a little too real or unsettling, they always have something to say that lifts the mood a bit. The comment will usually end up making you feel bad because you find yourself laughing at the funny comment about a murder or something equally as bad happening, but it does make me feel better and lifts the mood. Also, at times they get a little off-topic, but the things they talk about are great because they are so real and relatable.

I do have a listening warning A lot of the phrases and inside jokes from the podcast will find a way to creep into your vocabulary. My cousin and I when we have a bad day and are being a little much we say “you’re being such a Megan”, Hello? Fresh? Is a now a normal greeting and “He’s so handsome” every time a dog goes past. You will not have any regrets.

Also, the names of the episodes get bonus points A Ghost in the Nude and a Pasta Peddler, A Demonic Cold Sore and the World's Smallest Violin and finally Exorcism Colonics and a Hot Sauce Love Potion. The world's a scary place. And that's why we drink!

Overall, And That’s Why We Drink delivers some dark and disturbing material in a way that is easier to comprehend and come to terms with. I highly, recommend listening from the first episode onward because if you start with the most recent episodes you will not understand half the jokes and comments.

I also have everything crossed that they will do a live tour in England.
L x

Monday, 15 July 2019

Let's talk about...Comic con survival

Hello Readers,
Sadly, I will not be attending YALC and LFCC this year but with my four years of experience, I thought I would write up a little con survival post. This post is an update on my “What's in YALC bag” post from last year. I have added a little bit on the end about cosplay etiquette.

A couple of things to remember
It will be hot (update 24/07/19 its going to be 26 on Friday, 22 on Saturday and 23 on Sunday)
A lot of people are in a contained space
Pace yourself
DRINK 
Almost everyone is there for the same reason and friendly
Self-care

Essentials
Cash
At some conventions, there are stalls that take card but the internet can be a little intermittent and there is always a huge line for cash points
so take cash out before you arrive.
 
Comfortable shoes 
There is a lot of walking at a convention. Like, so much walking. So, you'll need some comfortable shoes.

Power bank
While you think your phone has the greatest battery in the world, once it enters the arena that is a fully packed convention centre, it'll be begging for juice like a hobbit needs a second breakfast. Don’t forget your cables!!!

Water bottle
It is hot and you will need to stay hydrated It keeps you cool when you're stuck in a line or taking a moment out for yourself. This year there is free water bottle fill ups at Crush Juice Bar.

Snacks
Do not forget to eat at conventions, take little snacks that you’ve brought in as food can be a little expensive.

Backpack
To carry all your awesome stuff. You have the stuff you need, then you'll buy a lot of stuff it’s the rules. If you’re going somewhere like YALC that’s focused on books a little suitcase might be a better option.

Hand fan
Battery powered hand fans are a must it is hot and stuffy and you will need to cool down at some point. I started off with a battery powered fan but it didn’t do as good as a job as my traditional hand fan, but that’s personal preference.

Not essential but a must for me
Hand Gel
Conflu is a thing I got infected my first year and every convention I’ve gone to since I have gone through so much hand gel. A lot of people are coming from all over in a confined space it's just a waiting game for a cold.
 
Anti-stench tools
It may come as a shock to some people that deodorant is classed as essential! Surprise!!! There’s a lot of people in a confined space all day it’s not going to be smelling of roses. I always take a little pack of wipes and a miniature deodorant and body spray to stay fresh, I’ve even changed t-shirts on the convention floor.  While we're on the subject don't forget the breath mints or gum, your mouth gets dry and not so fresh.


Spare charge cables
You know sod's law always have a spare cable or two or your phone will turn in to a glamorous paperweight

Autograph holder
Even if you say you won’t get an autograph you probably will or you might find a print you need to keep safe. I use an old university firm folder its only A4 but it hasn’t let me down yet and fits nicely
in my backpack.

Sharpies
I have lost count the number of times a guest’s sharpie has died just as I’ve approached always keep a couple of spares. Usually its quicker than waiting for the team to locate another pen.

Final thoughts
Don’t forget to have fun and talk to people. For me, conventions are a magical place where you meet likeminded people and everyone is friendly. You will be in lines and in close proximity to a lot of people be nice.

Cosplayer Etiquette
Cosplay is NOT Consent to touch
Always ask before you take you take a picture
Don’t be afraid to ask a cosplayer for a posed photo
Compliment a cosplay if you like it
If they react in character don’t be alarmed (its fun)
Don’t attack a cosplayer shock horror they aren’t the real character
Do not tear down another person cosplay

Check list
N  Charge cables (plus a spare)
N  Deodorant
N  FANS
N  Freshen up wipes
N  Gum
N  Hand sanitiser
N  Power banks
N  Sharpies
N  Small hairbrush (self-contained hair ties)
N  Snacks
N  Water

L x


Friday, 12 July 2019

Godzilla King of Monsters Movie Novelisation by Greg Keyes


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Sarah and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of Godzilla King of Monsters Movie Novelisation by Greg Keyes for free in exchange for an honest review.

I love Godzilla, I remember going to the cinema going to see it in 1998 (the one with Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno) and being so excited as this was the first “grown-up” film I had gone to see and wasn’t scared. I also had the really cool holographic Godzilla sunglasses. Luckily, I have enjoyed the newer remakes as well. I honestly love the concept of having Godzilla being used as the protector of the human race against other giant cryptids. So, this review may be a little bias but who’s going to argue with a 350-foot lizard cause I ain't. 

Just to clear up some comments in reviews I've seen yes If you've seen the movie, then you will know most of the story. It’s the official movie novelisation it’s a companion, not a retelling or different story. This book expands upon the film by adding new scenes and a better understanding of what happened. Perhaps the best of these are glimpses into the thoughts of the characters and gives a peek into past events that led up to that point of the story. I will be honest this book filled in some of the gaps and answered some question I had after watching the film.

I found this book actually refined some of the details in the film for me for example what character was where at any given moment. During the film there were bits I were I wasn’t always sure if the characters were in the submarine, Argo or a base somewhere it might have been that my head wasn’t in the right place but this book really helped me. Also, the events surrounding ORCA made a lot more sense in the book, since I think the extras scenes were cut from the film. This book will also help you to understand some of the more confusing moments. For example, the "Monsterverse" and its various elements and people and geographies and gives a few extra details to develop our knowledge on the "lesser" Titans.  If you didn't catch the names of the other monsters in the film, this book will give you their names and a better description. The quotes that show the history of Titans were kind of fun and helped to flesh out the world that had been created. There are some little Easter eggs or special touches that are included that are a nod to the older films which I think is brilliant. There were a couple of scenes that I now have a different take on and some characters I understand better.

I do have one little hiccup with the movie and that is here are chunks of the movie where you have to have a bit of faith that it makes sense, while the book does a much better job of putting the puzzle together and making it feel much more complete and polished. Saying that I can't wait to see Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020 this movie will be a sequel to Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, and will be the fourth film in the Monsterverse.

This book does what any good novelisations is supposed to do… it fills in the gaps and compliments the original source. I would recommend this book to anyone who has seen the film and got a little confused or to any Monsterverse fans.

One thing to remember all the other the monsters have come and gone, the only one remaining is Godzilla. Long live The King!

L x


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Review: Heartstruck (The Love Curse 2) by Rebecca Sky


Hello Readers,
Thank you, NetGalley and Hachette Children's Group for the chance to read Heartstruck by Rebecca Sky on ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
I am going to try to keep this as spoiler free as I can and so an update in six months.
Happy Publication day

This is your warning this review may get a little fangirly sorry not sorry. If you’ve been following me since the beginning you know how excited I was for Arrowheart’s release so I almost exploded when I got accepted to read it on NetGalley. Also, if are joining me from either my Twitter or Instagram you will know how excited I was on a countdown till the books publish date. This is the second book in the series, for a refresher on Arrowheart I have included a link. 

We all know by now that I am Greek history geek and I am loving this series as it fills me with joy that I haven’t experienced since Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan. Quick catch up for people who haven’t read the series yet this book focuses on Hedoness, girls descended from the Greek God Eros which gifts then the ability to take away man's free will and makes them fall in love with only a kiss. Eros is the Greek god of love and sex most people know him better as His Roman counterpart Cupid. 

Heartstruck again has a perfect blend of Greek mythology with modern teen life however the backdrop is slightly different from the first book. The plot and stakes in Heartstruck have been ramped up from the first book, making me worry about the character I have grown to love, and also question my feelings about them. Saying that nothing has been done for the sake of it and shock value everything happens for a reason. I found the character more relatable and authentic than the first book. The character development in Heartstruck is fantastic, revealing sides of characters I wouldn’t have believed if the writing wasn’t as good as it is.

I love Rachel, our heroine, and how involved she is with her family. We get to see how crucial family is Rachel. Rebecca cleverly uses family moments to reveal both Rachels vulnerability and strength and it’s wonderful to see this familial dynamic evolve from the first book.

The book was fast-paced and funny. I love that Rebecca's work is so easy to read, her style makes the pages the pages pass without effort.  Not only did I enjoy the Greek Mythology history and factual spin on YA, I love how incredible but believable the world Rebecca has created.

I'll definitely on the looking out for another book in this series.  To end all I have to say is I bloody loved it and What a ride!

On that note I am going to pick up pre-order 

L x

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Essential Creation Sensations wax melts review (GIFTED)


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Erin, for gifting me your wax melts from your Essential Creation Sensations Esty store for free in exchange for an honest review.

We all know how much I love my candles, wax melts and supporting small businesses so I jumped at the chance when I saw Erin asking for people to review her wax melts on Twitter I couldn’t reply fast enough.  The Essential Creation Sensations Esty store is current close but keep and eye on its Instagram to see when it will go active again.

Popcorn Pawn
I adore the smell of popcorn and as you can tell from the photo of the popcorn paw, I couldn’t wait to try this one. There’s no mistaking this one, this delicious fragrance was popcorn it was rich and sweet like freshly made popcorn, maybe even a little better. I honestly pulled out the popcorn maker as it made me want fresh popcorn. The scent was strong enough to carry through the house but not strong enough to overpower.
Black Opium 
I will be honest with the Black Opium I was worried as I find the perfume a little stronger, however, Erin has softened the scent enough to be able to recognise its original scent without it being overpowering.  I would say this is more of an Autumn/Winter type fragrance as it reminds me of being cosy with its a gorgeous smell with undertones of vanilla, coffee and spices.
Flower Explosion Scented
For something with explosion in its name this scent was surprisingly subtle in a good way, I'm not a fan of overly floral candles or melts and was pleasantly surprised by this one. Thank you, Erin, I may risk more floral scents in the future.


Savage Stars
Savage Star for me is a muskier scent, in its solid form it’s a little strong however as it melts the scent is a little softer and more pleasant.  I know when you say musk the first thought is a strong overpowering scent in the is melt it is a soft pleasant musk.


Light Blue 
This wax melt reminded me of summer It is sweet, super crisp and fresh, yet allows some more natural scents to come through.  When this one started to melt, I was a little worried the scent wouldn’t drift but I was wrong its soft scent soon filled the house without being overbearing.


I will honestly be keeping an eye on Essential Creation Sensations Etsy and Instagram to see when the store is open again and will be making order. If like me you love to support small businesses, you may be interested in taking a look at the Essential Creation Sensations store when it reopens.
L x

Monday, 8 July 2019

Vogue Parody – 73 (38) Questions


Hello Readers,
The wonderful LittleTinkablee nominated me to be part in the ‘Vogue Parody – 73 Questions post’

I’ll be honest I've cut a load of questions out (I've only done 38) as I don’t want the post to go on forever. I know people usually nominate after the answer but I’m not going to some people don't need the added pressure or have already been nominated more that once. If you want to do it, go for it and if not there is nothing to worry about. No need to make any questions up yourself,  just answer the same ones as me.

1.             All-time favourite food? Cheese
2.             Favourite Author? Don’t make me pick
3.             What do you think of open relationships? Not really my thing but each to their own
4.             What is your favourite video game? Dungeon Keeper
5.             Favourite Movie? The Nightmare Before Christmas or The Addams family
6.             Desktop or Laptop? Laptop
7.             Best advice you’ve ever received? Stop caring what people think
8.             What project are you working on right now?
·         Digital marketing course
·         WIP One (Zombies)
·         WIP Two (Paranormal)
·         Blogging
9.             Favourite Colour? Black
10.         Did you get good grades at school? I did
11.         Do you have a degree? I do
12.         Nationality? British
13.         What is your favourite kind of blog post to do?
·          I like my book reviews don’t get me wrong but I love my ‘Lets talk about…’ series
14.         What do you like to collect? Tickets
15.         Sorting house? Slytherin
16.         How many tattoos do you have? Five
17.         What’s the best thing that’s happen to you today? I started learning to crochet again
18.         What’s the best thing ever? Puppies and kittens
19.         Favourite Season? Winter but not an English winter a full Snow Storm winter
20.         Favourite Holiday? HALLOWEEN
21.         What fictional character do you relate to most? Wednesday Addams
22.         Do you like surprises? Nope they set my anxiety off
23.         Do you cook often? Everyday
24.         What’s your favourite dessert? waffles
25.         Cake or Pie? Pie
26.         What’s your least favourite food? Chilli
27.         What are three things you always keep in your purse?
·         Hand Gel
·         Lip balm
·         Hand cream
28.         Favourite Disney Character? Wall-e or Jack Skellington
29.         Movie you’ve laughed the hardest through? 50 First Dates or Wine Country 
30.         Movie that made you cry? Toy Story 4
31.         Favourite animal? Shark
32.         If One Animal Was Made The Size Of A Whale, Which Would Be The Scariest? Spiders
33.         What weird food combinations do you really enjoy? Coleslaw and Quaver sandwiches
34.         What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of? The Nightmare before Christmas
35.         What animal would be cutest if scaled down to the size of a cat? Lion
36.         If you were given five million dollars to open a small museum, what kind of museum would you create? I would collect books so the history isn’t lost
37.         What movie or book do you know the most quotes from? The nightmare before Christmas
38.         What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched? Good Girls on Netflix


L x