The Amityville Horror (Or, The Amityville Mildly Creepy Film About A House)

Monday, 30 January 2017

4 stars
Nothing that begins with copious use of strobe lighting can be good. If you're starting by blinding the audience and inducing a headache they can't shake for the rest of the film, you're off to a bad start, right?

Dexter (Dexter S1E1)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Dexter is rated 18+ for a reason. While it is a fantastic show, if you're under 18 please watch with caution or ask a parent's permission. It's heavy on murder, blood, swearing, and much more. Know your limits.

Pets and Mental Health

Friday, 27 January 2017

I'm speaking from my experience with cats, but I'm sure the feelings are the same for dogs, rabbits, hamsters, and all other pets.

People are often very quick to offer their solutions when you open up about mental health - most being along the lines of trying yoga or getting professional help. While these two things can be extremely helpful, they don't work for everyone.

TBR Feature #38

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly

Poisoned Iris by Cindy Mezni

Monday, 23 January 2017

Poisoned Iris
Cindy Mezni
Genre(s): Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published: December 26th 2016
Pages: 463
Rating: 3 stars

Athens was once the cradle of civilization. Now it's slowly but surely becoming the tomb of humanity.

The Red Plague, a violent virus which had run rampant decades ago, left its imprint on the planet and the flesh of men. All that remains of the modern world is an endless wasteland of ruins—Erebos—and two cities—Elysion, the obscure island of the Non-Infecteds about which no one knows a thing, and, Tartaros, the crumbling town of the Infecteds where despair, hatred, violence and poverty are the operative words.

And at the heart of this universe lives Irisya, a sixteen-year-old Non-Infected girl, staying recluse in her home to be safe and relying on her brother, Memphis, for everything.

But then, one day, he disappears without a trace.

Irisya has no choice. To save him, to survive, she will have to brave all the dangers of the outside world.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced by thoughts.

What would you do for the person you're closest to? Irisya, the main character in Poisoned Iris, is willing to sacrifice herself and her safety in order to find her brother, heading out into the world of the Infecteds with next to no knowledge on how to defend herself.

We join her on her adventure almost immediately - there are very few chapters spent explaining the new world before Irisya leaves on the hunt for Memphis. I really appreciated this fast pace, as it meant nothing dragged and we could get right into things, while still having the essential information about Tartaros. (I also really liked how this was set in what would have been Greece before the Red Plague, as I'm a sucker for the mythology.)

While I liked Irisya as a character, I didn't really care for Memphis. The way he treated her at the start of the book put me off him, and I never really came around. His sister, however, interested me from the get go, as she starts off as quite a timid, unsure person but soon grows stronger and learns a lot as she journey's through Tartaros. Gem and Cillian are also intriguing from the moment we meet them - they're fierce and loyal to each other but have distinctly contrasting attitudes when it comes to helping Irisya.

The writing was nice - not too slow, not confusing or overly complex - but I did feel like it was a little... off. Some word choices, and the phrasing of certain things were odd and could have benefitted from some refinement and heavy editing to get rid of mistakes. Gem, especially, made me question the writing style, as she doesn't speak in complete sentences. However, this is more of a stylistic choice and we learn why as the story progresses. Overall, though, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story for what it was.

The plot was a little on the meandering side as the story progressed, jumping from place to place and taking time in providing the answers you need. It wasn't necessarily bad, but I would have preferred it to be a bit faster as it did take me some time to get through it and it became less enjoyable to read. There were certain parts that stood out to me - like Mount Thanatos - but there were others that I didn't care for at all.

My biggest problem, however, was Cillian. I just... didn't like him. He constantly flip flopped between angsty and brooding to sweet and hurt, and I didn't like his moments of vulnerability as they felt fake and just down right odd coming from him. I also didn't like how he was used to withhold information; telling Irisya that now wasn't the right time for her to know things, meaning we were kept in 'suspense' for far too long. It did more to irritate me than compel me to keep reading.

Things do get back on track towards the end, but by that point it's a little too late. Which is a shame as I love the ideas behind this and felt that it had so much potential. That being said, it's not a bad book by any means and if you're intrigued by it, definitely give it a go.

Cindy Mezni and her work can be found at...
Amazon UK
Amazon US

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

Sunday, 22 January 2017

This Netflix Original series kicks off with a fantastic opening theme that manages to capture the mysterious steampunk vibe of the books and previous film. From the glimpse we get from the title credits, the casting looks outstandingly close to the first set of actors, and the aesthetic appears almost identical.

Recommendations: Classics

Friday, 20 January 2017

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
If you're after something a little more thrilling and easier to read than, say, Wuthering Heights, you need look no further than this modern classic. Following Merricat, her sister Constance, and their Uncle Julian as they survive in a town that hates them, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is full of ups and downs, unreliable narrators, and mystery. It's hard to say much more without giving away the essence of the plot, but trust me in that this will not disappoint. 

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
There's a reason why A Streetcar Named Desire is cited as one of the best plays from the last century. Despite being so short, you're instantly transported to 1940s New Orleans with Blanche, a character you can't help but feel pity for while simultaneously wanting to shake some sense into her. Powerful, raw, and deeply concerned with family and mental illness, Williams will leave you thinking long after you've walked away.

The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A little darker than the others on this list, but no less gripping. Again concerning women and mental illness, this short horror story is both an excellent introduction to classic horror and Penguin's little black classics. A snippet of classical literature that will not bore you or become a chore to read - definitely worth the 80p.

TBR Feature #37

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

Dark Tide by Jessica Donnelly

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them... Except Not Really

Monday, 16 January 2017

3 stars
If you can look past all the issues with the newest addition to the Harry Potter franchise then I'm sure you'll really enjoy it. Whether it's because I'm cynical, or just because I firmly believe that Potter is done with and should be left well enough alone, I didn't find it all that great.

Sherlock 103: The Great Game

Sunday, 15 January 2017

In the season finale, we start off in Belarus with Sherlock doing what he does best: riling up an accused murderer. We're then whisked back to London only to never hear about the Minsk murderer again.

The Perfect Day In

Friday, 13 January 2017

I was recently contacted the team at Leesa - the company behind the best foam mattress - and challenged to come up with my perfect day (or night) in. Seeing as how I'm a self-proclaimed introvert who's loath to leave her bed, this was the perfect opportunity for me to share how I keep comfortable.

TBR Feature #36

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Monday, 9 January 2017

Marissa Meyer
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published: January 27th 2015

Pages: 222
Rating: 5 stars

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told … until now.

Fairest had me torn between feeling sorry for Levana and hating her even more. There's no denying her tragic backstory and troubled life, but that doesn't excuse her actions. It makes them more understandable and allows us to get inside her head, but it doesn't make her any less of a monster.

Situations like Levana's go one of two ways: things can change for the better, or things can change for the worse. Levana's jealousy and need for vengeance took things to the extreme, turning her into a villain.

In this prequel to The Lunar Chronicles, a lot of a questions are answered. We learn why Levana is so obsessed with maintaining her glamour and making sure no one sees through it, but we also learn more about Luna. The relationship between Channary and her sister is explored, highlighting the resentment Levana harboured for her which no doubt led to her turning into the queen she is. Her burning desire to never be like her sister has her turn into a worse version.

While I cannot forgive Levana for all the murdering, torturing, and manipulating she's done, I can offer her sympathy. Not a lot, but some. Her childhood, lacking in parental figures and friends, constantly being chided and told she'd never be good enough by the thaumaturges was beyond unpleasant. Meyer manages to capture the repercussions of this neglect perfectly in shaping Levana's character.

The writing, as usual, is fantastic. It flows well and has a perfect balance between the descriptions of luxury and Levana's poisonous thoughts. The prose draws you in, immersing you in the Lunar courts, creating the world so vividly you have trouble picturing it.

Once again, Meyer has managed to create something wonderful. But after three books that just kept getting better and better, what do you expect?

Sherlock 102: The Blind Banker

Sunday, 8 January 2017

An old friend reaches out to Sherlock after an unexplained security breach. What unfolds when Sherlock and Watson begin to investigate is more than they expected.

2016 End of Year Book Survey

Friday, 6 January 2017

As always, I'm taking part in the End of Year Survey that The Perpetual Page-Turner created.

TBR Feature #35

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

Runemarks by Joanne Harris

Doctor Strange: Magic, Medicine, and Motion Sickness

Monday, 2 January 2017

3.5 stars
Doctor Strange is not to be feared if – like me – you disagreed with the casting choices, as it’s actually a nicely crafted addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. It has its faults, of course, but what doesn’t? If you’re willing to accept and look past them then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this film. I know I did.

Sherlock 101: A Study in Pink

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Season one of Sherlock kicks off with a case of three oddly connected suicides that soon turn into four even more mysterious murders. If that's not enough to hook you from the get go, the beautiful cinematography and humour certainly will be.
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