Sunday, 22 April 2018

Weekly What's Up - back to school...


This week I started up with school again, and it's going alright. I also got to see a blogging friend - Ruby - on Saturday, and we had a great time at a bookshop together. 

I've also been doing quite a bit of clothes shopping this week. It's really unusual for me, because clothes are so expensive and I struggle to allow myself to spend money on them, and I've never been particularly into fashion or shopping, etc, etc. But recently I've just felt like I want to "define my style", if that make sense. I want to be more conscious about the colours and styles I wear. 
So I had a wonderful time clothes shopping ;) 

P.S. I also made a Pinterest board for my clothes style. Check it out :)   


Posts of the Week

I did a collab with Abby and we answered a bunch of Marvel related questions in preparation for the upcoming Infinity War :)

I shared some info about one of my WIPs: a spin on the King Arthur legend.

I reviewed The Hazel Wood, a book I neither loved nor disliked.

I reviewed the film Battle of The Sexes. It's an incredible movie - go watch it.

I posted two mini reviews for A Great Reckoning and The Whispering Room. Both books bored me so much.

I did two mini film reviews for Thor Ragnarok and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Currently Reading

I'm still unsure what to think of these books so far...





For Review

Got this from Netgalley! It looks really good.



Around the Blogosphere

Aimee shares some amazing resources if you're wanting to revamp your blog design!

Suzanne reviews Sky in the Deep

Erica some ideas for Author Events

Amber Elise reviews Ash Princess




How has your week been? What are you reading and watching? 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

2 Mini Film Reviews: THOR RAGNAROK and JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

THOR RAGNAROK - 2017
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth / Tom Hiddleston / Cate Blanchett / Anthony Hopkins / Tessa Thompson / Idris Elba
Score: Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe.
Triggers/Content Advisory: PG 13 for sci-fi and fantasy violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Source: Rented.


Thor is imprisoned on the planet Sakaar, and must race against time to return to Asgard and stop Ragnarök, the destruction of his world, which is at the hands of the powerful and ruthless villain Hela.


Even though I knew it would be a light, fun film with little substance or emotional depth, I was still extremely disappointed.

Chris Hemsworth cannot do comedy, and the others struggled too - with the exception of Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston, who lit up the screen considerably every time they were present. If only we could've seen more of them.
Otherwise, the dialogue is shoddy, awkward, and cheesy. Even Cate Blanchett struggled to pull off those one-liners.
The plot is fast-paced, the action is good, and the soundtrack is awesome, but it isn't a great movie. I didn't even think it was very entertaining or fun, and for that I blame the generally cheap humour and terrible dialogue.

          



JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE - 2017
Director: Jake Kasdan.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson / Jack Black / Karen Gillan / Kevin Hart
Score: Henry Jackson.
Cinematography: Gyula Pados.
Triggers/Content Advisory: PG 13 for adventure action, suggestive content, and some language.
Source: Rented.


Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game.





I never saw the original Robin Williams Jumanji, but because I love Karen Gillan and because this one looked like so much fun, I decided to watch it.

Yes, it is predictable, but the story is still so fun. It's entertaining, exciting, and although the cheesy themes are ones we've seen so many times before, there's still a truth to them that never gets old. The frequent action is also awesome, and the CGI is solid. The plot is kinda episodic, but because it's meant to be a videogame, it works.
I laughed a lot. The humour is terrific. Jack Black is an absolute hoot, and he gets all the best lines. I loved how he took on Bethany's character. He owned it ;)

The characters are all enhanced stereotypes, but they're meant to be. Their performances are charming and amusing, and I liked all of them. I don't think the Rock is a good actor, but hey, he's ok in the role he's been given.

   
  
   





Hope you liked these reviews! 
Have you watched these movies? What do you think of them? 

Friday, 20 April 2018

2 Mini Book Reviews: A GREAT RECKONING and THE WHISPERING ROOM

A GREAT RECKONING (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #12) - Louise Penny
Published: August 2016 - Sphere
Pages: 498.
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mature themes / bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must. And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map. Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor. The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets. For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.


This book has a lot of positives:
1: It is so atmospheric. I love the snowy setting and the chilling tone.
2: Dialogue is realistic and sharp.
3: The writing is punchy and eloquent, with short sentences.
4: There's good, dynamic tension between all the characters.
5: The mysteries are clever, and they're seamlessly revealed.
6: I love the relationship between Armand and his wife, Reine-Marie.

But there are negatives, too:
1: The cast is so, so, so big. I couldn't keep track of everyone. It's a waste of some genuinely compelling personalities.
2: There's diversity. Nathaniel (and Jacques, I think?) are gay, and Huifen is Chinese.
3: The story is sooooooooooooooooooo slow. I was so, utterly, completely, bored. It kinda undid all the good elements of the story for me.

          



THE WHISPERING ROOM (Jane Hawk #2) - Dean Koontz
Published: December 2017 - HarperCollins.
Pages: 528.
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence / bad language
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacherCora Gundersun takes her own life, and many others', in a shocking act ofcarnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, itseems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better. In the wake of her husband's inexplicable suicide - and the equallymysterious deaths of scores of other unlikely individuals - Jane picks up thetrail of a secret cabal of powerful players using a terrifying technologicalbreakthrough to gain power for their own monstrous ends. But these people neverbanked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue - and become thenation's most wanted fugitive - in order to derail their plans. Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-oldson she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator.Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls acrossthem.


I tried with this book. I really, really tried. And if it hadn't been against my unspoken rule that I will never DNF a book, I would've definitely DNF-ed.

The writing is over-descriptive. It is so heavy, there are so many ridiculous details, and it's not concise at all. Honestly, I don't want to know every teeny tiny minuscule detail - especially when it's supposed to be a thriller. I mean come on. The author over-describes every. single. thing, and I was literally itching to throw the book across the room.

The dialogue is melodramatic. It's like the author's trying to make it smooth and slick and cool, but instead he's just trying too hard. It's cheesy.
(Just FYI: There's very little dialogue at all. So get used to large chunks of boring text over-describing the atoms in the room. (That's is a teeny little exaggeration there, just btw).  


The book is extremely boring. I didn't care for any of the thinly drawn characters or their problems, and the writing killed everything. There's little action, little dialogue, and too many unnecessary words.
           





Hope you liked these reviews! 
Have you read or heard of these books? What do you think of them? 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (film) is sublime entertainment

BATTLE OF THE SEXES - 2017
Directors: Jonathan Dayton / Valerie Faris
Cast: Emma Stone / Steve Carell / Alan Cumming / Andrea Riseborough
Score: Nicholas Britell.
Cinematography: Linus Sandgren.
Content Advisory: PG13 for a sex scene, sexual content, and partial nudity.
Source: Rented.

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.




This is the most I've ever been interested in tennis. I didn't expect to love this film as much as I ended up doing.


The music is beautiful, the cinematography is breathtaking (Sandgren did La La Land - you can tell immediately) and the sets are radiant. The use of colour is amazing, the dialogue is rich, and every scene is saturated with an amber tone that dates the story in the 70's. It's atmospheric, and it sweeps you into the time period. I absolutely loved drinking in the scenes and the stunning sets. They're incredible.



What a story. I laughed, I had tears in my eyes, I was furious, I was triumphant. I could almost feel the weight King was carrying when she walked out onto that court with everything to prove, and I am so empowered by her victory and her fierce determination. She fought for women in a man's world, and when she played Riggs she was fighting for women everywhere. It's both heartbreaking and inspiring to watch.
The plot is fast-paced, entertaining, and utterly engrossing. I was glued to the screen. Towards the end the story becomes extremely hard-hitting - with aching emotion - and my heart was pounding for King. She won against Riggs, but her story is bittersweet. Seeing her break down in the locker rooms after the match made me realise just how much pressure she must have been under. It made me admire her even more.

The cast is excellent. Everyone is on their A-game. Steve Carell is brilliant as always, but it's Emma Stone who is especially captivating. She's so immersed in the character, and her subtle facial expressions are particularly riveting. Sarah Silverman as Gladys is also a standout.




Battle of the Sexes is a game of pain and beauty, of fear and bravery, of love and triumph. The cast is wonderful, the production is lavish, and the script is excellent. It's a fanatically entertaining and moving film.

      

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

THE HAZEL WOOD - by Melissa Albert

THE HAZEL WOOD - Melissa Albert.
Published:  February 2018 - Penguin
Genres: Young adult / fantasy /
Pages: 359.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence / infrequent bad language / mild horror 
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate - the Hazel Wood - Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away - by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began . . .


This book has been getting such mixed reviews. But as a lover of dark fairy tales, I expected to enjoy it, if not love it.


The writing is extremely specific and colourful. At first I liked that, because it felt rich and vivid, but soon it became frustrating. The prose is too purple, there are too many nonsensical metaphors and smilies, and it's all just excessively flowery. For example, take this sentence: "My mouth tasted like dead coffee." Honestly, that doesn't make sense. If you loved Caravel by Stephanie Garber, I think you'll love Albert's writing, but otherwise you'll find it bizarre - like I did.
But the dialogue is good. I really liked it, and I think the characters' voices come through clearly.

The plot is very slow. It's creepy, wildly imaginative, and because I love fairy tales, I thoroughly enjoyed all the twisted stories and magical happenings. Sure, it doesn't make complete sense, but it's not supposed to; it's otherworldly and fairytale-like.
For me, the ending is the best part of the book. I think Albert wraps everything up incredibly well, and the grand twist is intelligent, satisfying, and deeply thought-out. It works so well, and it ties everything up wonderfully.


“Life never turns out how you imagine it will when you’re young. Everything is smaller than you think, or too big. It all smells a little funny and fits like somebody else’s shirt.”


The characters are well-drawn and eccentric. I can't say I was mad about anyone, but I liked them and I thought Alice was a quirky, interesting heroine to get behind. I particularly loved her relationship with Ella. Ella is a fantastic character.
The romance isn't anything amazing. I personally never felt the chemistry between Finch and Alice, and was more invested in Alice's relationship with her mother. Finch just seemed like a hero who had to be there, not because he was particularly needed.




The Hazel Wood is abstract, creative, and packed with interesting characters. It's an enjoyable, slow story, but the flowery writing ruined it for me.