TV Review: Doctor Who ‘Thin Ice’

Hello!

This weeks Doctor Who episode brought us to Regency London where something is lurking under the frozen Thames, and worse, it’s feeding on the locals! This foe brings out a very different side to Bill as she discoveres more about the Doctor and his past. Overall, though lacking excitement in the plot, this was a thought provoking episode…

Read more of my thoughts on last week’s episode of Doctor Who ‘Thin Ice’ here, you can let me know what you thought aswell!

I hope you have a great week!
Anna 🙂

Book Review: The Monkey’s Mask, Dorothy Porter

Hello!

For those interested my review of Dorothy Porter’s The Monkey’s Mask was  posted on the RMITV In Review blog last night to coincide with last nights episode of the ABC’s, The Book Club. This post is a bit late but I thought it would be worth doing anyway, here’s a little snippet of the review:

“I want you, trouble,
on the rocks.”

Dorothy Porter’s The Monkey’s Mask is one of many novels I probably wouldn’t have picked up at all if it weren’t for uni, but I’m thankful I did. Porter manages to seamlessly blend the genres of crime thriller and lesbian romance into nearly three-hundred pages of verse. Yes, you heard me correctly! Verse. This somewhat unusual combination of crime, passion, and poetry makes for an intensely engaging read right to the last line….

Click here to read the rest of my review of this beautiful verse novel, and maybe take a look at some of the other review on the blog too!

I hope you all are enjoying your week! 🙂

TV Review: Doctor Who ‘The Pilot’

Hello!

So recently I joined the RMITV ‘In Review’ writing team, and as a part of that I will be reviewing each episode of Doctor Who Series 10 as they air and posting it to their blog. Though I can’t post the review here, I though it wouldn’t hurt to do a spot of ‘shameless promotion’ of some more of my writing!

“Well, most people when they don’t understand something, they frown. You…smile.”
~ The Doctor

So, Doctor Who is back for Series 10, and it’s not just back…it is back! And terrifyingly so!

The first thing I should say about this episode, is that it was bloody scary. There is no other way to put it. It has been quite a while since an episode has really given me the shivers, and sitting in that cinema tonight was no exception…

Anywho, click the link here to go have a read!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter or long weekend for those who don’t celebrate it! 🙂

Book Review: Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford

bad-behaviourGoodreads Blurb:

It should have been a time of acquiring confidence, building self respect and independence, of fostering a connection with the natural world through long hikes…

A gripping, compulsively readable memoir of bullying at an elite country boarding school.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Reading Bad Behaviour off the back of The Golden Child was either an interesting coincidence or just not a very well thought out decision on my part. I do not regret reading this memoir, more than that, I am so glad I did, but I feel there is a certain waiting time that I should have taken before reading a book of such a similar strain. The more I think about it now however, the more I come to realise that whenever I read it, I would still be just as shaken.

In writing Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford has written something which is incredibly, but beautifully raw. She paints a brutal picture of the pack mentality which can develop within large groups of school girls and how that can affect the victims of the resulting bullying. Her year spent in a Victorian boarding school not only brought out a side of herself which she never thought she had, but also left her scarred.

For me, this memoir left a much deeper impression than I could ever have expected. The scenes and actions of the girls a reminder of the first couple of years at my own all girls’ high school. Though for me and my year of girls the bullying never got as bad, it was all still was painfully familiar, and not just the group dynamic but the people as well. Despite this, it was written in such a way that even though the events recorded were true enough, to me they felt almost surreal. So that in finishing this book I was left with the feeling of waking up from a bad dream.

Reading the breakdown of the relationship between Rebecca and her mother however was what most struck a chord with me. It is something which I found to be the most heartbreaking to read. Lastly Rebecca Starford’s memoir is poignant, deep, and a real insight into the turmoil which teens experience and work through at this age. Beautifully written, this memoir something which I am sure will stay with me for quite a while.

Book Review: The Golden Child, Wendy James

Goodreads Blurb:

Blogger Lizzy’s life is buzzing, happy, normal. Two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. For her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling. Tensions are simmering with her husband, mother-in-law and even her own mother. Her teenage daughters, once the objects of her existence, have moved beyond her grasp and one of them has shown signs of, well, thoughtlessness …
Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth’s clever, beautiful child. Shattered, shamed and frightened, two families must negotiate worlds of cruelty they are totally ill-equipped for.
This is a novel that grapples with modern-day spectres of selfies, selfishness and cyberbullying. It plays with our fears of parenting, social media and Queen Bees, and it asks the question: just how well do you know your child?

My Thoughts:

There is something rather haunting but oddly familiar about both the characters and the story of The Golden Child which left me speechless and almost in tears. However, beyond my own personal reaction to finishing this novel (though brought on by personal experience, having done my first three years of high school at an all girls school, it was something quite possibly close to an overreaction), I am lost as to where to begin.

Wendy James has created a pretty much accurate reflection of the mentality of girls in high school school, and how the ‘top gang’ carries more than just power over the rest of the cohort, but also sets the standard for which others have to meet to even be respected. However there are some details which didn’t quite fit with the ‘modern queen bee’ person. Things like the pop culture references which were more aligned with those girls who in my experience never made it in the ‘cool’ group, and so felt quite out of place within the darker tones of the novel.

Throughout the events which unfold in the body of the novel are blog posts by the mother in the family which the story follows, and the unidentified ‘Golden Child’. These posts provide both contrast and context for the horrible occurrences surrounding the youngest daughter’s ‘gang’. Cleverly written, The Golden Child has a rather sinister undertone which is reflected in both the actions of every family involved, as well as in the blogs and their comments.

Though I picked the shocking, and almost heartbreaking twist quite early, it didn’t stop me from questioning not only the main group characters motives within the novel but the side characters too. James brings into question how well you know both yourself and those around you, even those you are closest to, especially when it comes to one’s online persona.

The Golden Child is a gripping yet haunting read which will keep you guessing and bring into question not only the characters in the novel but the people you know in your own life as well. Cleverly written and plotted, this is definitely worth reading and persevering with for any fans of a domestic thriller. Though I found the ending to be well rounded it left me shaking, so I can’t quiet guarantee that it will leave you with a feeling of warmth that you probably want when finishing a novel.

Book Review: Me Before You, Jo Jo Moyes

Me Before You

Goodreads Blurb:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

My Thoughts:

This was an utterly beautiful read! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started it but I rather quickly fell in love with the characters And got completely sucked into the story. It got to a point in the process of my read where I just couldn’t seem to be able to stop reading. Thus I ended up finishing it at nearly 3:00am.

Me Before You sets out a story which both asks and answers the difficult questions of the preciousness of life and what ‘living’ really means. In this way, finishing this novel left me somewhat stunned. It didn’t end in the tear fest I had expected, yet it left me with a mixture of emotions I didn’t really know how to explain. All I could do was lie in bed and ponder what I’d just read until I fell asleep a good while later. I found the small bouts of humour cleverly and well placed, especially in regards to Will’s sarcasm. Something I seemed to connect with right from the start.

Moyes wrote in such a way which really drew me in and hooked me into the romance of it all. Despite the almost obvious outcome and ending I was taken on a long on a ride which  contrary to my expectations, I rather enjoyed. There was a certain tenderness to the characters, even the ones I didn’t like as much, which got me caught up in wishing for everything to turn out okay. Yet, as expected, reality happened and there was little I could do keep myself from feeling my heart break along with Louisa. However, though the ending was heartbreaking, I didn’t get as emotional as I expected. Maybe because my emotion wasn’t driven by sympathy for Louisa but more of an understanding of what Will wanted for himself. No matter how much I speculate over this, its something which I will probably always be trying to get to the bottom of. One thing I am sure of though is that because of how I feel about the ending, there is no question of whether or not I will read the sequel. In my eyes, it isn’t really needed, and I have no desire to go near it. For me, in this case the end is the end, full-stop.

Overall I found this to be a wonderful and engaging read. It took me on a journey which kept on going beyond me having closed the book, which is something I find really special in a novel.

Book Review: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Goodreads Blurb:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a novel I had been meaning to read for a while. Both family and friends have been telling me for years that I would love it, and quite stupidly, I think it was just that which put me off reading it. Whether it was the possibility that I wouldn’t like it even though they said I would, or the fact that they had told me I would definitely get very emotional (to say the least), I’m not sure. Quite possibly it was both?

However, I picked up a second hand copy of the book at the university Thursday markets, and at that point there was no turning back. I have never regretted ‘not reading a book sooner’ more than I did in the moment I finished reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

The Book Thief is one a part of a very small group of books where I have not been able to physically move for quite a while after finishing because I have been so overwhelmed by either emotion, the writing, just the plot in general, or some deeper meaning. With The Book Thief it was option ‘E’, all of the above. This was one of those novels which has left me a sobbing mess on the couch with a box of tissues, a near empty packet of Maltesers, and the feeling that I had just experienced a whole years worth of varied emotions in one sitting.

I would be lying if I said I was completely hooked from page 1. It took a while to get used to the narration style as it seemed rather jarring to me, and in some ways difficult to connect with. However after reading further I got used to it and began to connect with the novel in so many different ways. Soon enough I had fallen in love with the story and it’s characters, leaving me with the certainty of heartbreak when I finished reading. For me, it was ultimately the characters and all their individual quirks and faults which drew me in and kept me reading. Each with their own personal motivations, which were each extremely human, which within the darkness of the overarching plot, gave me something to hang onto.

The writing itself is rather unique, but it is definitely worth persevering with if you are initially put off by the novel’s unusual style. Overall this is a rich and beautifully told story. It left me in a whirlwind of emotions, some of which I didn’t know I could feel. I am so glad that I have read this, it really was a beautiful read!