Sunday 30 September 2018

Movie Reviews: September 23rd-29th

So I saw way more films at the cinema this week-yey! And I either used Movie Pass, points or A-List (yes I singed up for A-List) to see them. I did pay for Oli to see one of them with me but aside from that I enjoyed what I saw. I still have one Marvel film left to watch, I think we all know what that one is since I've been chatting about these Marvel films for a month now!

If you want to hear more of my thoughts then check out my reviews video which I will leave down below once it is uplpoaded!

Puzzle was really quite different from what I thought it was going to be. The puzzles were more of a catalyst for a women's self-discovery than the main subject of the film which I was a little disappointed in. Kelly MacDonald was fabulous in this one and I loved the way the film shone a light on ingrained sexism in society not just directed towards women but men too. I think only four or five puzzles were actually shown throughout the film but I do hope that the jigsaw shop she visits in New York actually exists because I would like to go there!

This one was even more of a disappointment and I had a private screening of this one since no one wanted to see it at 10pm on a Sunday night! This was billed as something which was going to be a weepy and Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde were the stars and I just don't feel like any of that was actually true. I cried once but that's because someone died so... It also only features these actors in 2 of the 5 or 6 (depending which way you look at it) sections. The other sections feature Antonio Banderas and are in Spanish with subtitles which I was not expecting. It all felt a little disconnected and only really came together in the final scene right at the end of nearly 2 hours. I really felt like I was miss-sold this ticket. 

I will have a full book vs movie video of this one up on my channel very soon so watch out for that one!

The costumes in this film were stunning, I wanted all of them and I felt like I really needed to add a cape to my wardrobe! Billy Nighy is also absolutely fabulous in this film, I couldn't have imagined anyone else playing his character and he really made the character stand out way more that I thought that character did in the book. Obviously this film is fairly bleak and a little sombre, it doesn't have a particularly happy ending so don't go into this one expecting that but if you are a book lover or a bookshop lover then there is definitely something here for you. 

If you're a fan of Michael Moore films then you know what you're getting yourself into in this film, this is obviously a bit of a follow up to Fahrenheit 9/11 but examining things that have gone on in America since Trump was elected as president. It examines the campaign and election a little but mainly talks about major events, negative events, since he was elected. I think this film did a really great job of profiling things like the Parkland Shooting, the Women's marches and the white supremacist rallies and highlighting the effect they've had on people without giving major opinions or trying to offer solutions. I felt informed but not preached to. And obviously being a Michale Moore film, it highlights the crisis that Flint has been going through. I thought it was a really good film. 

The only one of the week I didn't see in the cinema because I wanted to watch this one before going to see the follow up on the big screen. I thought the comedy in this film was fab. It works well as a standalone and I think even if you hadn't seen the other films in the franchise you would enjoy this one for the adventure and the comedy. Paul Rudd is fantastic and also Michael Douglas is great! It follows the same trope as all the other single person Marvel films does in that theres something like me bit bigger and evil and I must defend the city against it, but that was comforting in a way and I really enjoyed it. 

And so then I could finally go and watch this one on the big screen. This was even funnier than the first one and obviously has a due at its helm this time. I like the fact that we have a couple of excellent strong females in this film, I think it really is a film about equality as much as anything. Even though I was the only person in a 60 seat cinema seeing this one, I laughed out loud and I really enjoyed the links with the last film as well as Captain America Civil War, i thought they did a good job of tying up the corners there. I loved the character of Luis in both of these films and would really like to see him in future films, let's get him a suit!

So now I just have one more Marvel film left to watch, which I will review next week!

Have you seen any of these movies? If so what did you think?

Saturday 29 September 2018

Review: [Dis]connected Poems & Stories of Connection and Otherwise by Various

Humanity exists in a hyperconnected world, where our closest friends, loves, and enemies lie but a keyboard stroke away. Few know this better than the poets who have risen to the top of their trade by sharing their emotion, opinion, and art with millions of fans. Combining the poetic forces of some of today’s most popular confessional poets, this book presents poems and short stories about connection wrapped up in a most unique exercise in creative writing. Follow along as these poets connect with each other—offering their poetry to one of their fellow contributors, who tells a story based on the concept presented to them. With poetry, stories, and art, [Dis]Connected is a mixed media presentation of connection, isolation, love, and loneliness.

Review: This was a really great collection of poetry and short stories. The fact that contemporary poets are paired together to write short stories based on the other's poem is such a great premise and a great exercise in creative writing too. I loved the way the poems and stories connected together and the way each poet chose to interpret lines or ideas in each others poems and use that as a starting point from the story. 

Some stories highlight words and phrases from the poem that have been used and some include a note on how they have interpreted the poem. This was really helpful as a reader. I particularly enjoyed Cyrus Parker's poem and story, both were real but dark and I liked that reality. 

Another Entry that I really enjoyed was the short story by Yena Sharma Purmasir. The beauty of this is that I have not come across this poet before and so I will now go out and see what else I can find that they have written-genius! I didn't connect with each and every poem and story, but again that is the beauty of a collection like this. I did read everything, I discovered new writers and I connected with quite a few poems. 

Make sure you check out the content of each of the stories before picking this one up in case there are triggers for you but otherwise, I would really recommend this collection, especially if you are only just discovering these contemporary poets, this is a great mix!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday 28 September 2018

Guest Review: Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin

This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance…

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

Review: I'm a big fan of Holly Martin's books and was really looking forward to reading this new one. This is the latest in a series of stories set in the seaside village of Sandcastle Bay. I haven't read the other titles in this series, but this story stands alone completely successfully; reading it has made me want to go back and read the others though. As with the other books I have read from this author, this story was quick to get into and I was soon immersed in the activities in this little village, finishing the entire book in just a couple of sittings. 

The central character in this story is Isla. When we meet her in the first chapter, she has given up her life in London and moved to her childhood home of Sandcastle Bay to look after her nephew, Elliot, following the tragic death of her brother, a single dad. Luckily, she is assisted in this task by Leo, at one time considered a bit of a tearaway in the village, but now a devoted godfather who takes his responsibilities very seriously and is adored by Elliot. Between them, Isla and Leo ensure that Elliot has all the attention and fun that a little boy should have when growing up. Although Isla is at first unsure of Leo, she soon discovers a side to him that she never knew existed and finds herself growing fond of him. However, she is not sure how he feels and, indeed, whether she can stay in her lovely little cottage by the sea. 

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. There are some great characters throughout, with all the villagers and members of both Isla's and Leo's families. I was amused by how quickly 'news' travelled around the village, typical of small communities like this. The village itself sounded a really picturesque and friendly place to visit. The bakery/cafe would definitely be on my list of places to see. I can heartily recommend this wonderfully heartwarming story to anyone who enjoys a really good romantic tale. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday 27 September 2018

Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I was kindly given an advanced copy of the audiobook of this novel by Penguin Random House in exchange for a free review. 

The Carls just appeared . . .
While roaming the streets of New York City at 3 a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture she calls Carl. Delighted by its appearance - like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour - April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life.
There are Carls in dozens of cities around the world - everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires - and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an international media spotlight.
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us . . .
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thinggrapples with how the social internet is changing fame and radicalisation; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration can follow a life in the public eye.

Review: Ok so you might be thinking that a book about robots or mystery transformer-like structures isn't really my thing, but the Carls (robots) are rally just a catalyst for everything else that happens in this novel. This novel deals with loneliness and fame and the Internet, more specifically social media. It speaks directly to you as a reader and it is mainly set in New York city, what's not to love?

April May is a great character to lead this book, she is the story teller through most of the book except for a couple of bonus sections at the beginning and end of the novel and she is just like you and me. I love the fact that she is proud of having got a job that will pay her rent just coming out of college, that really is a big achievement and also the fact that she won't be coerced into anything she isn't ready for. I think she is stronger than she realises and I loved that. She is also bisexual and proud of it and so she makes for a great main character. 

I really didn't find the idea of the Carls hard to believe. They appeared and nobody quire knew what to do with them. I like the April has gut feelings about them and government officials, scientists and of course the media all want to give their two pennys-worth on what they are and why they came, also how they're going to destroy society of course! So even if you don't think you'll be into a book featuring what might be robots, give it a chance!

One of the things I loved most about this book is the use of social media. So many of the contemporary books I read shy away so much from social media because of the fact that editors think it dates the book and obviously we want books to go on selling for years and years to come BUT I think it is much more real and much more fitting of this genre to include social media in books. I love reading about how April blows up on Twitter and the camera and memory card they're using to film their YouTube videos because I am in that world every day, social media is a massive part of my life and so I can see that reflected in this book, and done very true to life and very well! So to me, the use of technology and social media running throughout this book was really one of my favourite things about it!

My takeaway from this book is definitely the message that when things are falling apart, its best if we stick together, we achieve more when we do things together. This book features a female president as well (yey) and has the message 'better together' you can read into that what you will. I really enjoyed this, I like that is is very current and very social media savvy and the ending left me fulfilled but wanting more, I just really enjoyed it and hope that there will be a follow up set in this same world!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Review: Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom

Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!

Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples - or so they thought.

Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.

Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.

And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.

Review: I am such a huge fan of Tracy Bloom's writing. What I think I love so much about it is that she has the ability to make me laugh whilst still delving into some deep topics and making me think. Her characters are well-formed and well rounded and could be me and my friends but they get themselves into some hilarious situations and they get themselves into some unbelievable situations whilst at the same time just going through life's up as downs!

This book was no exception, it made me laugh but actually there were some really serious and life-changing moments in this novel. I loved the premise behind the six friends and their dinner parties and what would happen if an outsider joined them and shook the whole thing up? This book reminded me of The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton because of all the dinners and also a lot of Liane Moriarty's work because of the structure and to some extent a little of the style. Things unfold slowly and we don't get the full story until the end. 

The characters are all pretty normal people, all of them intriguing, not all of them liable. I'd say its quite a large cast of characters although Beth seems to be the driving force behind the bock. I found Beth easy to like, despite the fact that she has flaws. Marie and Sarah, the other women in the book took me a little while to warm to and I wouldn't necessarily say I liked them but I did want to know what was going on in their heads and I could sympathise with the lives they had found themselves in. 

I wouldn't say I really took a shine to any of the men in the book, they seemed to slow the women down to a certain extent although I liked the friendship that Chris and Simon had formed and I felt I had an affinity with Chris because of his love of dips. When he comes back from the shop with one of those four packs of dips, I did a little clap, I have to admit! 

Overall I got to know the characters and the structure of the book is very compelling so I did find myself turning and turning the pages. I laughed and I gasped and I clapped so overall to me, this is another great read from Tracy Bloom!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Blog Tour: Extract from Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields, 

A DI Callanach Crime Thriller, Book 4. This book was released on 23rd August and you can click here to order your copy now. I have an extract that Helen has been lovely enough to share with us today but first, here's what it's all about:

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.
After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

Eighteen silent months later her stepfather had arrived. A
year later her brother had celebrated his sixteenth birthday by
signing up to join the army with their mother’s consent. Zoey
had hated her for it. She wondered if she would be able to
find forgiveness with her last breath, but forgiveness required
effort and concentration. It needed to be nourished by hope.
There was none left where she was lying. Her brother’s escape
had been her entrapment. There was no barrier left between
Zoey and her mother’s new husband.
The fists her brother had tolerated until he could leave were
turned to her. Her mother, a shard of broken china, said and
did nothing. Perhaps she didn’t care. Perhaps she was only
grateful the blows did not touch her. The bruises were limited
in their geography. Zoey’s face remained untouched until the
school summer holidays came around and then it was a freefor-
all, the fear of prying teachers alleviated a while. Zoey had
cried her tears into Warrior’s warm fur, and shivered into his
skinny but comforting frame in her bedroom at night. Until
her stepfather had found the love she had for the hound too
much joy for Zoey’s life. He had declared himself allergic, and
the dog food too expensive, in spite of their large house and
his good income. Letting out the odd, badly faked sneeze, he
had said the dog must go.
That day had been etched in Zoey’s memory like the scene
from The Wizard of Oz, only Toto had not escaped from her
stepfather’s clutches to return to her. Warrior was pulled from
her arms as she huddled on her bed, declaring that she would
die if they took him.

Thank you so much to Helen for stopping by today, remember to check out the other blogs on the tour for more exclusive content!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books by My Favourite Authors I Still Haven't Read 25/9/18

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This is such a good list, of course we always buy books by our favourite authors and we want to get round to reading them but sometimes things get in the way. Here is my list...

Monday 24 September 2018

UK Giveaway & Event Vlog: Milly Johnson Penny Parkes & Veronica Henry

I've been hitting lots of milestones all over the place recently, I passed 400 subscribers over on my BookTube channel and hit 1000 followers over on Instagram as well as it being my 2nd anniversary on BookTube and just getting to hang out with some of my awesome UK blogger friends recently, can you tell I love talking books on the internet?

So I hosted a US only giveaway over on my BookTube channel and now its the turn on the UK only giveaway on here-yey!

I recently attended an event with wonderful authors Milly Johnson, Penny Parkes and Veronica Henry in Waterstones Cheltenham. I made a video about it over on my channel and decided to do a giveaway of books by these authors! So here are the books you can win...

(signed copy)

(signed copy)

To enter, go and leave me a comment on the video below! For extra entries you can tweet about the giveaway and/or leave me a comment on this blog post-simple!

This giveaway is UK only and closes on 1st October at Midnight.

Any other questions, just ask on here or on any of my social media platforms!

Sunday 23 September 2018

Movie Reviews: September 16th-22nd

Welcome to another movie reviews post, as always, I do go into a little bit more detail in the video on my YouTube channel so if you want to hear more in depth thoughts on any of these films, head over there, the video is linked at the bottom of this post and has time stamps for each movie. 

I've already shared my thoughts on this one, but it was lovely to re-watch this with my best friend rather than the first watch on my own!

I also made a book vs movie video about this one which I will leave at the bottom of this post. I really enjoyed this one, it seemed a lot more light hearted than the book and there were definitely some laugh out loud moments. Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick were great on screen together, I would LOVE them to do something else in the future because their chemistry was just brilliant! For a domestic thriller, it isn't the most violent of films but there are plenty of twists and turns which had the audience I saw it with gasping at points. I had read the book so I knew what was coming. Also shout out to Andrew Rannalls who is wonderful in everything that he does and was the great addition to this film too!

This was much more of a thriller than the film above. It was very violent and involved a very high death count, however this is a female lead and so somehow feels slightly less brutal-is that possible? Had this been a book (I don't know whether it is or not) it would be an amazing thriller with twists you don't see coming and a really satisfying ending. Jennifer Garner is so powerful in this film and manages to switch between playing a grieving widow and mother to playing someone who will stop at nothing to get her revenge. The vigilante aspect of this film reminds me of super hero movies but the message of the lengths that mothers will go to for their children is also very strong!

I finished watching this film on netflix, jetlag meant I had to do this one in 2 parts. I loved it. The comedy was fab, the music was awesome, of course and the cast are just brilliant. I fell in love with baby Groot just the same as everyone else I know who has watched the film. Chris Pratt is just so funny and has a very Han Solo quality about hims o works perfectly in this role. One of the best things about this film aside from everything I've already mentioned is that message of family, not just the one you're born into but the friends you choose later in life and the people who actually raise you and influence you growing up-loved it!

Last week I said that I thought Black Panther was my least favourite Marvel film out of the franchise that I've watched so far, but I think that place has been taken by this film. I just didn't really connect with it at all. Obviously I loved the main character, who doesn't want to watch him on screen-although I think he would have been better just keeping his English accent. But I felt there was so much in this film that needed explaining when surely the storyline should have explained most of it as I was watching. I liked the variety of settings in this one and the supporting actors were also really strong, its seems Marvel has their pick of actors when it comes to their films. But I don't think I could explain to you now what happened in this film, and I don't really think I mind that!

I have 3 more marvel movies left to watch and then I will be all caught up! I am heading to the cinema today so you can expect more movie reviews next week on here and on my BookTube channel and I do have another book vs movie video coming up on there soon so make sure you head over and subscribe!

Friday 21 September 2018

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Hollie Anne Marsh Author of Sweetbriars: Leaving the City

I am very excited to be part of the Sweetbriars blog tour today. Author Hollie Anne Marsh has stopped by the blog today to share her favourite character with us. here's what the book is all about:

A Tale of Sweetbriars
Welcome to the yard! Come and meet the girls… Cate, Tabby and Violet and their beautiful horses.

Leaving The City is the first book in the new Sweetbriars Equestrian book series, which is receiving wonderful reviews. It’s a great book for young readers and readers that love animals and horses.

About Leaving The City
Will Cate ever settle into living in the countryside?

Cate is uprooted from life as she has known it. Along with her family and her gorgeous palomino show horse Odette, she moves to a charming farm deep in the English countryside.

Cate is torn. Upon moving to horse heaven, she had to leave behind her best friend Beth and her beloved horse-riding instructor Bridget. On the other hand, she has fallen in love with Sweetbriars, the farm her family has bought to make their dreams come true.

Setting up an equestrian centre at Sweetbriars is fun to Cate, but settling into a new school and having a stern Pony Club riding instructor that teaches dressage is less so. At school, Cate makes friends with Violet, who is confident and wacky, and through Pony Club she gets to know Tabby, who is sweet and popular. The girls’ lives will be intertwined in ways they could never have imagined thanks to their shared passion for horses and Cate’s determination to make Sweetbriars a success.

You can order your copy by clicking here

My favourite character to write
It would be Violet. The first book has Cate as the main character. She is the daughter of the family who buy the Sweetbriars farm. She is quite sweet, sometimes lacks confidence after she is uprooted from everything familiar... but she finds strength and happiness through moving to Devon. Violet becomes Cate's friend, and helps her on her journey. She is sassy, confident, funny, and not ashamed to admit she is a bit of a novice ridier... she also has particular habits that the future books will reveal more about. She is the kind of friend we would all like to have. She has your back and isn't afraid to tell you what she thinks. I can't wait to write one of the next books with her as the main character. 

Author bio

Hollie is an Australian author who lives in Barcelona, Spain with her partner, baby boy, and Oldenburg mare, Frieda. After having a professional career, including creating the equestrian online shop Equiporium (since sold), working for many large multinational companies, and having a baby, Hollie reconnected with her passion of writing and finished the manuscript she wrote many years ago.

Hollie has been riding since she was a little girl, enjoying activities such as Pony Club, showjumping, eventing, and trail-riding in the great Australian bush. Hollie lived in England for almost ten years where she had two horses and trained them for dressage. 

The Sweetbriars series is inspired by all the special moments Hollie spent with horses... good, funny, and challenging moments!

In creating the new Sweetbriars series, Hollie hopes that readers will not only find the books fun to read, but they will also inspire readers to learn more about horses.   

Hollie's website:

Twitter: @Hollieannem 

Thursday 20 September 2018

Review: Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

Carter is an insurance adjuster whose longing for creative expression spills over sometimes into his accident reports. Abby works for her adoptive father, Uncle Mannie, in the family bookstore, the ReadMore Café. Carter barely tolerates Christmas; Abby loves it. She can't wait past October to build her favorite display, the annual Christmas book tree stack, which Carter despises.

When an automobile accident throws Carter and Abby together, Uncle Mannie, who is harboring secrets of his own, sees a chance for lasting happiness for his little girl. But there are so many hurdles, and not much time left. Will this Christmas deliver the miracle everyone is hoping for? Where love and Christmas are concerned, there are no accidents.

Review: Well this was just the kind of sweet and sugary story the likes of which you would find in movie form on the hallmark channel and it was just what I needed when I read it! This was definitely a quick read at just 240 pages but plenty of things happened in those 240 pages! The thing I loved most about this book is that one of the characters is a writer and one works in/runs a bookstore and so both the characters are my kind of people and I could get into their worlds and minds really quickly. 

Some of the events that happen throughout the novel are somewhat improbable if someone were to tell you they had happened to them in real life but in the context of a contemporary festive romance, you can definitely believe they happened. The characters, on the other hand, are definitely true to life. Abby is a very likable character, she is an optimist and obviously loves Christmas. She also believes that she can make a difference to people and their lives, which is such an endearing quality. Carter is the opposite of this, he really doesn't get on well with his job and is somewhat estranged from his family, he seems to like being alone but once you get him writing, its almost like he becomes somebody else-so fun to watch!

Uncle Mannie is a great secondary character and does have his own storyline. I didn't like him as much as the main characters just because he is a bit of a meddler and also someone who seems to want to bury his head in the sand. I would like to see what Abby would become if she didn't have him in her life, I really hope we get the chance to see more of that in a follow up novel. There are some pretty shocking events and accidents in this book so be prepared with some tissues but overall, the romance and the books and the Christmas spirit is lovely and this will make for a wonderful holiday read when things are getting hectic in the run up to Christmas. 

Thank you to my friend Bethany for my signed copy!

To pre-order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US (out September 25th)