Monday, 24 February 2020

Film Review: The Addams Family (2019)

Hello Readers,
Seeing as the new animated Addams family is going to be released to DVD soon, I thought I would finally share my views on the new version and the classic and I may even bring up the musical (YES, I said musical).


First off, I actually liked the new animated version and saw it twice. You can call me a soppy cow but I liked the added bit at the beginning with the Wedding and with the Queen that is Christina Aguilera singing Haunted Heart was a beautiful touch. Let’s be honest we all love watching the Addams family be ghoulish because deep down we know they’re loving, decent and fiercely loyal to each other.

I also have a theory; this is a shower set the world to right theory but…. Almost all of Addams families fit into one timeline. What!!! I hear you cry! Take my hand and follow me down the rabbit hole, you ready?

So, in the original series, Wednesday is a young child. Then comes the 2019 movie where she is a pre-teen. Followed by the live actions (we are ignoring the Tim Curry one sorry not sorry) which let’s be honest is a full teenager. Then the musical which I think is very late teens early twenties. Comment down below if you think I’m crazy. 

Okay so back on track.
The film places the Addams in the present day and modernises the mob mentality this poor family usually faces. Instead of pitchforks and torches, we have moved into paranoid online neighbourhood watch groups run through mobile phones. The usual themes follow about being different and being seen as odd.  The morbid awareness of the Addams family compared to the normal boring dull everyone is the same neighbour equals

One thing I have always taken from The Addams Family is that’s it's okay to be different and this film highlights this beautifully. This new movie still has its dark themes, Morticia using an Ouija board and crystal ball to talk to her parents, Pugsley attempting to kill Gomez, Wednesday shooting arrows at Uncle Festers. Oh, and slight spoiler the IT joke well played guys, well played. I also love the nod to the headless horseman with a tree names Ichabod, Along the lines of great names Wednesday pet being called Socrates is brilliant. 

Also, all the way back in 2010 there was rumours that Tim Burton was set to co-write and co-produce the film, with a possibility to direct a stop-motion movie. But in July 2013 however, it was reported that the film was cancelled. Hey, people in charge please make this happen giver Tim free reign. 

Also, just for fun my rankings (Let me know if you agree?)
The Addams Family Values
The Addams Family
The Addams Family Musical
The Addams Family Animated
The Addams Family Animated TV Series
The Addams Family TV Series
The Addams Family Reunion

L x

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Franks Cayenne Pepper BBQ pork belly Ramen (PAID, AD, GIFTED)

Hello Readers,

Before we start a little disclaimer: Schwartz sent me Franks Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce for review, but all views are my own. Franks Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is available from Tescos.

I’m not going to lie the first recipe I thought of was spicy BBQ chicken wings but lest be honest there are probably over 100 recipes. So, I thought about my current food crush and that is Asian inspired dishes. I remembered when I visited my cousin last year, he made me chilli ramen so we both put our heads together to get this recipe (also for the record my recipe is nicer than the one he made).  

This recipe is for two people but feel free to add and change bits. That’s the great thing about ramen it can be easily changed or evolved, if you want to add more garlic or ginger go for it. This recipe makes a slightly spicy pork belly, even with the chilli added and a couple of drops of the Franks added to the broth it isn’t overpowering. 

So it seems like there’s is a lot of ingredients in this recipe but a lot of them I already had, which is something I was aiming for. I messaged a couple of friends asking if they had them too so it wasn’t going to be an expensive and over the top recipe. I’ll be honest the broccoli is left over from our Sunday roast. I honestly think the only ingredients I had to buy was the pork belly, spring onions and the Pak Choi.

Also, I am honestly such a lazy cook if I can put it in the slow cooker and forget about it for a couple of hours, I am so on it which is the start of this recipe. This also means the recipe isn’t that complicated I think the hardest part is timings on noodles and stir frying.

Let me know in the comments if you give it ago. 

  • 1 and a half tablespoons of Franks Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • Slice Pork belly
  • 1 Pak Choi
  • 1 Chilli slices
  • 4 Broccoli little florets
  • 1 nest of Egg Noodles
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • Pickled Ginger (Let me know if you would like the recipe)
  • 2 Spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 750ml Stock (Chicken or vegetable work best)
  • Sugar pinches here and there
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1cm nub of garlic

Prep the night before
Whenever I cook with pork belly, I sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and lay the pork on kitchen roll to also help add flavour you can keep or remove this step its personal preference, I think.

The day of cooking
  • Place the pork belly in the slow cooker on low for 2 hours with the stock, garlic, ginger, and a little sugar. This also helps build a beautiful broth for your noodled later on.
  • Once the pork belly is in the slow cooker, I mix the Franks and the BBQ sauces together with a little ginger and garlic.
  • After two hours remove the pork belly from the slow cooker but keep the broth.
  • Coat the pork belly with the franks and BBQ sauce mix and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar to help blacken the pork in the oven.
  • Place in the oven at 200 degrees in a glass dish for twenty minutes.
  • Cook your noodle by following the method on the packaging, instead of plain water I tend to use the broth the pork was cooked in.
  • While the noodles are boiling away its time to stir fry the Broccoli, Spring Onions, Chilli and Pak Choi with the soy sauce.  
  • Slice the cooked pork and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
  • Divide the noodles between two bowls
  • Top each bowl with the stir-fried broccoli, Spring Onions, Chilli, Pak Choi and pork belly
  • Add the broth for your own personal preference (everyone likes it slightly different)

L x

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade (Spoilers) Gifted

Hello Readers,

Thank you, Jamie and Tor for sending me a copy of Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade for free in exchange for an honest review.

Straight off the bat this book set itself up as a brilliant book and it doesn’t disappoint!

A great prophecy foretells that the chosen one will save all life from extinction. When Mathias's grandmother reveals he is the chosen one he is shocked but determined to set out on his quest to save the world. We are all set up to prepare for the golden boy Mathias to begin his quest but instead of the small-town boy fulfilling the prophecy and becoming a hero, he dies in the second chapter. I bet you didn’t see that coming.  

His best friend Aaslo has to take over and does all he can to help save his friends and family. As you can guess most of the story is from Aaslo’s perspective and it’s hard not like him along the journey he’s stupidly likeable. Can I just mention that Aaslo didn’t want to go on the quest in the first place but knew he had to accompany Mathias on his quest to make sure his best friend wasn’t hurt. Aaslo never wanted to be a hero, but that's exactly the role he has been forced into. 

Aaslo is pretty relatable, he's grumpy and has his bad off days. Also, let’s be honest we would all be wooo epic adventure gets halfway and be like Aaslo with his desire to go back to his trees throughout the journey. What complicates Aaslo's job even further is the fact that he also has to contend with a bunch of arrogant gods who are playing games. Aaslo meets many characters during his journey and encounters some questionable individuals who may or may not be able to help him, which was a massive part of my enjoyment. I enjoyed the wayward thieves, Teza and special mention to Dolt. Honestly, despite being side characters they are just as exciting as the main protagonist, and I enjoyed the interactions and reactions that Kal has written. Kal I will forever hold a place for this a band of misfits.

The fate of the Fallen is a story that I couldn’t put down. It is everything you could possibly want as a reader. Kals book is wonderfully descriptive he spoils us. You can easily picture the environments we visit on this breath-taking journey through cities, forests, swamps, sprawling estates, wide open plains, the setting never gets boring or stale and gives an epic sense of adventure. The dialog and prose of the story flow from moment to moment but is not jam-packed with so much action and detail that the reader gets over whelmed.   

The world-building is really great and helps it to stand out is the number of different elements from all fantasy sub-genres included and one of the most welcome aspects in this book is how often I was truly surprised by some of its choices. Kal has a talent for lulling you into a false sense of security then bam the rug is gone.

I’m a big fan of this goofy yet terrifying fantasy. 

L x

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Blog tour: Traumata by Douglas Renwick (AD/GIFTED)

Hello Readers,
Thank you again, Bookollective for inviting me onto the tour and for sending me a copy of Traumata by Douglas Renwick for free in exchange for an honest review.

I'll be honest Traumata turned out to be a little different to what I imagined but in a good way. Some of the book is shocking, and graphic, but not for the sake of it making it unnecessary. The story is explosive, emotional and very compelling. However, don’t let that throw you off there is tenderness, love and some nice fluffy bits. 

Douglas has given us the reader a vivid insight not only into a young woman’s grief but life and death in an Afghanistan village. Despite the challenging topics in this book, the captivating situation that Melanie finds herself in, and as her story is revealed it’s so easy to get entangled in her story. I loved the email transcripts and the legal element of the story and they really helped bring the courtroom scenes to life. It’s one of those books where you get that engrossed in the story you just have to know what happens, and you buckle in for the bumpy ride that each reveal and twists and turn gives.

The writing is faultless and concise, making what could have been a dreary legal case book into an action-packed thriller with clever use of language, imagery and intriguing plot lines. Douglas’s research into the legal system has certainly been thought out and developed. Douglas has also managed to create an extreme unimaginable situation yet it remains relatable and human. A good read overall that keeps your interest throughout with a clever ending. Douglas is a great storyteller and he kept me guessing until the last page. I am going to look into some more of his work. 

L x

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett AD/REVIEW/GIFTED.

Hello Readers,
I would like to say thank you to HQ books and HarperCollins for allowing me onto the blog tour for The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett and for sending me a free ebook (Netgalley) copy in exchange for a review.

The first thing I will mention is that this story is set during both the past and present and is told through two main characters, Lizzie and Esther. However, unlike some books I’ve read this story doesn’t get muddled and details lost, leaving the reader confused which is a credit to Kerry’s writing. Kerry honestly does such an amazing job making you connect with these two remarkable women and their journeys. The Kerry brilliantly weaves the lives of two courageous women, despite the time difference Esther set in pre-WWI London and the Lizzie in a modern-day Kent village. They are surprisingly alike as they are both strong women who know exactly what they want.

I loved these strong female characters, they're very likeable as they seem so real and they want the best for others, no matter what. I honestly love then and the way they get up, dust themselves off and off they go again. I admired their determination to succeed and their ability to try again.

Lizzie lives in the present day as she finds herself restarting her life and has a little baggage as she begins her new life as a teacher at Elm Heath Primary. Esther story takes place in 1910 she is a suffragette who is advocating for women's rights to vote and has been dealt a difficult blow with her father passing away, leaving Esther and her mother with an impossible amount of debt. I’m not going to lie I was a lot more interested in Esther's storyline as a Suffragette. No spoilers but I was completely invested in Esther relationship.

The Suffragette’s fight for the vote is one of my favourite periods in history and I enjoyed finding out more about it. Although I did appreciate the subtle ways Esther tale was interwoven into Lizzie's modern storyline.

Kerry has clearly done her research for this book and I liked the way she subtly included real historical events into the story. Some parts were a little emotional and made my eyes a little teary and I had to stop reading and take a minute to collect myself. I thought this book was perfectly paced and plotted to draw the reader into the story. I soon found myself lost in the world of the characters and unwilling to put the book down.

 This book honestly has it all its shocking, heart-warming, funny and superbly researched, what more could you want from a book.

Thank you again for the tour invite

L x

Monday, 3 February 2020

The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Jamie for sending me a copy of The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman for free in exchange for an honest review.
The Mortal Word is the Sith title in Genevieve Cogman's wonderful Invisible Library series
Books in the series
The Invisible Library
The Masked City
The Burning Page
The Lost Plot
The Secret Chapter

A quick round-up on The Invisible Library series is a multiple-parallel-world fantasy in which our universe contains untold worlds, many of them inhabited with humans in some alternate version of history, with only a few beings aware of the multiplicity or able to travel between worlds.

The balance between worlds is maintained by the Library and its Librarians. Librarians have unique technology, their own form of magic and the ability to traverse worlds using gateways from their huge and timeless Library into local libraries on the individual worlds.

As a Librarian, Irene is frequently called upon to steal specific rare editions of books to take back to the Library. Usually, Irene can sneakily make off with the said book and the owner is none the wiser. Slight hiccup this time So now, Irene and Kai are now working with dragons and Fae in an alternative Vienna to steal a picture so Irene can obtain a book which would save a world (you following?). Things go awry for the unlikely allies when the mission becomes more dangerous than it first appeared.

not only am I excited that I got to see Irene and Kai in action but I got to meet several new characters. As always, when there are lots of faes involved there are plenty of opportunities for funny, over the top characters. I enjoyed learning more about how the dragons and how they think and their political machinations. I adore the magic system in this series where the Dragons live in high-order worlds & the Fae live in high-chaos worlds. We also get to meet Irene's parents and learn quite a bit more about her complex past and meet some more of Kai's relatives.

Some series favourites are missing and I think it's a brave choice Genevieve has made, I think it worked well and has allowed her to develop Irene and Kai's relationship. There are also deeper themes at work, around family and the weight of the past on how we see things now and there are so many interesting twists and turns that keep you turning the pages. While other story plotlines in this series have examined the Library and Fae this one had some bigger developments surrounding the dragons and their origin story.

Genevieve is stupidly clever at not revealing too much at once but not holding back so much it annoys the reader. This was another well-written story with new information that will probably build into the next books and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Genevieve’s writing style is incredibly witty and interesting, it immediately pulls you in and connects you with the story right from the start.

This book pushes the world building and lore past the last book to newer places, setting the stage for some consequences (slightly worried not going to lie). The writing style also allows you to know a lot of information without feeling too info-heavy, and without information dumps, it is cleverly written. I enjoyed my time with Irene and I can’t wait to see how the revelations about the dragons in this will play into future books.

L x