Wednesday, 28 August 2019

My top 5 Tim Burton films

Hello Readers,
Today I am finally going to rank my favourite Tim Burton films, this took a lot of time and planning but I think I have my top 5.   I am using a poster images I have found through google I do not own any rights and am using the image purely for review purposes (Fair use under the copyright act sections 29 and 30 under use for a review).

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Let us all pretend that we’re shocked The Nightmare Before Christmas (TNBC) claimed the number one spot. I adore the film and soundtracks to most Tim Burton’s films but TNBC beats the others to the post, purely for the Jacks Lament and Oogie Boogie’s song. I think the reason I love TNBC so much is that we are the same age, no seriously I love the film as it is such a feel-good film that has slightly twisted good morals. Another reason to love TNBC is how pure Jack and Sally's romance she literally throws herself out of a window just to see Jack but don’t worry she stitches herself back together. As Jack leaves to deliver Christmas Eve to the people of the world against her warnings your heart breaks a little. Until Jack comes to his senses and then serenades Sally, and they finally realise they are perfect for one another and are simply meant to be.

Come on Tim give me the second one I’ve waited long enough (I wasn’t even born when the first one came out but that’s not the point). Again, I love the soundtrack I can't listen to the Banana Boat Song without laughing because of the scene in Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice is also Mother Goose’s favourite Tim Burton film and was one of the first non-Disney films we enjoyed watching together. The dark humour throughout Beetlejuice has yet to matched in my opinion. Also, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!!

Sleepy Hollow
I promised I haven’t only picked Sleep Hollow because my doubleganger Christina Ricci is in it. I will say though this film is the reason I still kind of have an irrational fear of Christopher Walken, I saw this film possibly a little too young. I love the whole Gothic aesthetic it works so well with the tale and the cinematography is some of the best of Tim Burton's work.  This film also has some of the best quotes in Tim Burton’s work and still morbidly makes me laugh.
Ichabod Crane: It was a headless horseman…..But it was a headless horseman…No, you must believe me. It was a horseman, a dead one. Headless……You don't know because you were not there. It's all true...I... saw him. [faints]

Corpse Bride
Another one of Tim Burton’s films that has a brilliant soundtrack. I was 12 when this first came out and I still love the film. I also understand Emily’s tragic backstory of passion, romance, and her foul murder better than I did then. However, all this bad serves to make her such a lovable character all she wants to find love and wants someone to love her in return. I still adore the contrast between the land of the living against the land of the dead. The land of the living is Dickensian and has a dark colour pallet it is almost black and white. However, the land of the dead is bright and has loser social constructs compared to the Dickensian rules above. The dead are more energetic and “alive” than their living counterparts. In the land of the dead there is music, dance, and a party every time there is a new arrival. 

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Tim Burton was a producer it counts. If you’ve followed me for a while you know I love a good twist on a tale and this was no different. I loved the way the factual history and fiction were blended together to create a believable film (I ran a google search checking Tim Burton's involvement the search suggestion under it was ‘is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter real?’ I’m going to let that sink in). I would also like to point out that it’s safe to say the film’s creators never intended for it to be considered an accurate historical portrayal. In the movie, Lincoln battles vampires who rely on the slave population as its food supply and want to create a nation of their own. The film has the dark gothic colour palette that you would expect for a dark tale.

Honourable mention to Mars Attacks! And Big Fish

Mars Attacks!
I can be in the worst mood ever and watch Mars Attacks! And still, laugh. The constant trolling from these aliens and let's not forget the unmissable sound they make ACK ACK ACK! Yes, I did say trolling the translator tells us humans "WE COME IN PEACE!" then the aliens start blasting and killing people. I also love the female robot/skin they create to infiltrate Congress, despite not being able to talk she has some of the funniest moments in the film.

Big Fish
This is one film that never fails to make me cry. It’s such a brilliant story about growing up and the tales that parents/grandparents tell their children/grandchildren. Will, Edward son finds it hard to believe his father and his stories and begins digging into the past and discovers his father has done many great things and, although his stories are imaginative, they happened. This film honestly has such a positive message and hits you right in the feels.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Let's talk about... GCSE result day

Hello Readers,
Today is a big day for a lot of teens around the UK as it is GCSE results day. Good luck to everyone. Everyone who is picking up your results today I hope you get the grades you want or what is required for you to move on to higher education. However, if they are not what you expected you have not failed and your life will not be defined by this moment unless you let it.

We’re going to get a little personal before I went to pick up my GCSE’s I was determined I was going to be forensic anthropologist believe it or not. However, I still had a pulling inside that it wasn’t the correct choice for me so I change my A-level equivalent B-Tecs to focus on a different subject that’s felt right at the time. It wants until I was choosing where to go for my degree that I truly felt like I knew what I was doing. Turns out I didn’t. After graduation, I realised what I enjoyed about my degree was the writing and the research for each unit and that little niggle in the back of my brain I had since year 10 was to write. I have always loved writing and English was one of my favourite subjects. My highest GCSE grades where in subjects I had to write detailed answers. From the age of 13 I had a notebook I would be writing anything in, any small stories I thought of or little bits of poetry.

The point I’m trying to make is, it doesn’t matter what grades you get today. People I went to school with who were on a set career paths to be teachers are now nurses, people who wanted to do hairdressing are now SENI teachers, there is even one of the lads who wanted to be a builder who is now a stockbroker in London. Your GCSEs and today does not define the rest of your life.

L x

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:

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

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 was 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 where with each added revealed I lose interest a little more. Here are some observation I have made since the final book and film release. 

I have come to the slight conclusion that JK Rowling is 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. 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. Recommendation alert if you want diversity go read The House of Night series. 

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 (THINK link huh? its a line). 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 are 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 a muggle didn’t work out. While including information about her romantic life isn’t necessarily a bad thing, 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.  


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 Star Wars 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?