TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week it’s time to be honest and to shed a light on the books that have been on our shelves since before we started blogging. I set this blog up in the summer 2013 but only started regularly blogging from the start of 2014. So these books will have been sitting unread on my shelves for at least two and a half years.

Always Looking Up by Michael J Fox
I love Back to the Future and Michael J. Fox so when I went through a bit of an autobiography phase many years ago, his was one of the ones I bought. I still haven’t read it.

The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
When there was a film adaptation of The Dark is Rising in 2007 I was all like, “I want to read the book before seeing the film” so I bought a big bind-up of all the books in the series. I’ve still not read any of the books and I’ve also never seen the film.

Last Man Standing by David Baldacci
This book actually belonged to my grandfather. I think we got it him for Christmas one year, he liked it and when I said I was interested in it he let me have it.

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
I love the Bourne film trilogy so thought “Why don’t I give the book a go?” but that still hasn’t actually happened.

The Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan
I bought this book years ago when it seemed to be everywhere in bookstores. Maybe I haven’t read it because I’ve kind of drifted away from fantasy over the past few years… who knows?!

Jack Reacher: One Shot by Lee Childs
My gran bought this for me when the Jack Reacher film came out in 2012. I love spy/thriller stories so I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet.

So I couldn’t find ten unread books that have been sitting on my shelves for over two years. I’ll take that to mean that by 2019 all the books that I have currently unread will pretty much all be read and my unread books will be new ones! What books have you still got sitting unread on your shelves?

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favourite First Sentences

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about memorable first sentences of a book and what they do to pull you into the story.

i capture the castle“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” – I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
I’ve not actually read the entirety of I Capture The Castle, in fact I’ve only ever read the first chapter (not sure why I ever put it down and I must rectify this soon) but this first line has definitely stayed with me.

 

 

FullSizeRender (75)“I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.” – The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian starts as it means to go on and this opening sentence(s) give you the best introduction to Mark Watney.

 

 

pride and prejudice“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
I like how kind of blunt yet sarcastic this line is and straight away you know this is going to be a story about marriage and romance and the politics that will probably come with it.

 

 

harry potter“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
I like how the Philosopher’s Stone starts because it is so normal and potentially boring but then then you know that something decidedly not-normal is bound to happen.

 

 

stormbreaker“When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.” – Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz.
I read Stormbreaker for the first time over ten years ago and this is the first sentence that immediately sprang to mind when I saw this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic. It’s so memorable because it is so true, no one ever wants their phone or doorbell to ring in the early hours of the morning because it’s never a good thing.

 

What are your favourite first sentences?

August’s FairyLoot Box

This month’s FairyLoot box arrived a last week and after seeing much excitement on Twitter about what was inside it I was looking forward to getting my hands on it. This was my second FairyLoot box, I got May’s box (and completely forgot to blog about it because it arrived just before I went on holiday) which I liked and I knew I had to sign up for August’s box as the theme was Dark Deeds and I love a villain.

FairyLoot is a monthly YA subscription box based in the UK that tends to focus more on fantasy stories. You can find out more about the box here.

The book in this month’s FairyLoot box is Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and it came with a signed bookplate, an art poster, a bookmark and a letter from the author. Now you may have seen that that book has already come into my possession through my subscription to another YA box, Illumicrate. Yes, it’s a shame I got the same book but it’s understandable. Each subscription box wants to have the newest and most anticipated release and if you’re subscribed to multiple boxes it is only a matter of time before you end up with the same book. I’m sure I’ll find a good home for my spare copy soon.

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The goodies that came with this box were great. There’s a candle that smells of The Dark Side – turns out The Dark Side smells like Fruit Loops (glad the card that came with the box told me that as I’m a Brit who’s never had Fruit Loops in her life) which is an interesting scent but I like it. There’s a cool Harry Potter coaster with a quote from Draco Malfoy by BookOtter and a bar of soap inspired by Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses which smells lovely from Behind The Pages. There’s also some evil-inspired nail decals from House of Wonderland and then there’s the Animorphia notebook that I’m absolutely in love with. I’ve been thinking about getting an adult colouring book for so long but haven’t got around to yet so this is perfect, it’s a notebook but there’s beautiful animal illustrations you can colour! I honestly love it. It’s my favourite thing in the box and the fact I already have Nevernight doesn’t even bother me because this notebook more than makes up for it.

FairyLoot is a great box if you like fantasy books and related goodies and each month has a theme. It’s not too expensive but I know I just can’t keep on top of monthly subscription boxes so I’ll only get one if the theme takes my fancy.

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Petes_Dragon_2016_posterPete (Oakes Fegley) has been living in the woods for years with his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon, but when Pete is discovered by park ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) their happy life is upended when she and the townspeople try to take Pete back to civilisation.

Pete’s Dragon is old-fashioned and kind of nostalgia-inducing in the best way. It is full of imagination and wonder and is such a light, hopeful film after all the grim, dark stuff we’ve got lately. It is a family film full of great character dynamics and no one is made into a pantomime villain, even Gavin (Karl Urban) the man who believes Elliot to be dangerous has some redeemable qualities and you can see the reasons behind his actions.

Pete’s Dragon is a beautiful film. The shots of the forest are stunning and the work gone into bringing Elliot to life is top-notch. He looks like a real creature and the way he interacts with Pete and other characters is brilliant. Elliot has the characteristics of a big friendly dog and he is so well animated that you can see his personality shine through in his actions and in his eyes.

The film is a bit slow to really get going. It takes its time setting up Pete and Elliot’s relationship as well as other characters in the town like Grace and her relationship with her father Meacham (Robert Redford). However, once Pete comes into contact with Grace and the rest of the town the pace does pick up a lot and the final act is a roaring adventure.

Pete’s Dragon is a lovely film, full of heart and old-school adventure. 4/5.

August’s Illumicrate Box

I went to my Gran’s yesterday and my Illumicrate box was sitting there waiting for me. Illumicrate is a UK based subscription box for YA book lovers, the box is sent out every three months and you can find all the info about costs and shipping here.

I’ve had the Illumicrate box for a while now and you can check out what was in the February box and the May box – so far I’ve only read one of the books I’ve received, hopefully I’ll catch up on the books I’ve received through various subscription boxes by the end of the year.

I was really impressed with this month’s box. On social media it said it would contain two books, both of which would be pre-releases which is very cool, but I had no idea what books they’d be. The two books were Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and The Graces by Laure Eve. I’ve not read anything by Jay Kristoff before (Illuminae is currently sitting unread on my shelves) but wow Nevernight is such a beautiful hardback book I can’t really deal with it. The story sounds interesting too but really I just can’t get over how pretty this book is. The Graces is all about magic and witches and it’s not released in the UK till the beginning of next month! I like the sound of both books and I can’t wait to read them. Both books came with a signed bookplate and Nevernight also had a art card, bookmark and there’s a video from the author you can access while The Graces came with some temporary tattoos and a letter from the author.

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Now for the goodies, there’s a Gilmore Girls-inspired tote bag by Colorful Geekiness (a show I have never seen but have heard nothing but good things about), Colouring Quotes by Ashley Poston, a couple of amazing Harry Potter coasters from Taratjah Art (I love them so much!) and some Strawberry Tea from Post Tea that smells absolutely gorgeous – I’m not much of a tea drinker but I think I’ll have to make an exception and try this tea.

There’s also some extras relating to Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Unboxed by Non Pratt and A Torch Against the Night by Sabba Tahir. There was supposed to be a sampler of A Torch Against the Night in all of the subscription boxes but the publisher was unable to send enough copies so in my box that was missing, however the lovely people at Illumicrate has it all sorted out and if you’re like me and didn’t get the sampler, you can contact them with your order number and they’ll send one out to you.

I really do like Illumicrate, so far the books have all been new to me and in the case of When We Collided from May’s box, the sort of thing I wouldn’t normally pick up. It’s been nice receiving I’d never even heard of, books from new-to-me authors and from genres I don’t always read. I do get a bit worried about just getting more and more unread books and goodies that I won’t necessarily use but so far that hasn’t been the case. The next box will be sent out in November but you’ve got to be quick if you want one, they seem to always go super fast!

REVIEW: Tallulah (2016)

Tallulah-Movie-PosterFree-spirited Lu (Ellen Page) is looking for food and a place to stay when a dissatisfied housewife (Tammy Blanchard) mistakes her for hotel staff and asks her to babysit. Soon Lu has a toddler to look after and she goes to the only place she can think of, her boyfriend Nico’s (Evan Jonigkeit) mother Margo’s (Allison Janney) place.

Tallulah is a comedy drama that takes a stark look at motherhood. All three leads are well-rounded and flawed and bring a lot to what could be a made-for-TV-movie. Housewife Carolyn finds motherhood hard and is angry at all the other mothers she see’s finding looking after a child so easy. She doesn’t know how to cope and what could be an unsympathetic and horrible character is actually played as a struggling woman who doesn’t know what to do.

Margo is struggling with her divorce and tries to keep up appearances while Lu doesn’t want any responsibility at all and then a small child is literally thrust upon her. Lu is reckless and doesn’t even feel bad for taking another person’s child, but as the film progresses the script and performances show these aren’t just stereotypes. Each character has layers and they all feel let down by the men in their lives.

The relationship between Lu and Margo is unconventional, Lu is brash and swears and is nothing like Margo but somehow they connect. They both allow each other to open up and they stand up for each other too. Janney and Page’s chemistry is wonderful and both of their performances ground what could be an outlandish and overly dramatic story.

Tallulah is a lovely indie drama with brilliant performances, it’s well worth checking out on Netflix. 4/5.

REVIEW: Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide-Squad-posterSecret government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together a team of supervillains to take on a dangerous covert mission in exchange for shorter prison sentences.

Suicide Squad tries to juggle a lot. There’s a lot of characters so it begins with a bit of backstory for more of the major ones, namely Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) courtesy of Amanda Waller and a case file. The rest of them have less than a minute backstory and trying to set up all these characters this way did make the film slow to start. However, when you think the backstories are done and you can focus on the main plot of the movie, i.e. the mission, there’s flashbacks sporadically throughout the film that really interrupts the flow of the whole thing.

As well as the mission at hand, there’s also the Joker (Jared Leto) in the background, popping up every now and then to cause problems and provide more of a backstory for Harley Quinn. Much has been made of this new Joker and while he is naturally a lot different to previous incarnations, he is just OK. He is more of a gangster and his voice and laugh does sound odd and not necessarily in a good way but he is not on screen enough to really make much of a last impression.

The soundtrack to Suicide Squad is notable but not in a good way. It’s full of memorable songs ranging from Eminem to Queen and even features Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum – that one really doesn’t fit in the film. It’s as if the filmmakers wanted to have music queues for certain characters and just shoved in as many cool songs as they could think of. It was jarring and didn’t work for a lot of the film.

Suicide Squad is an entertaining film for the most part but it’s not as fun as the trailers make it out to be. Also while you don’t need jokes in every superhero film, any attempt at humour in Suicide Squad fell flat. Lines of dialogue or moments that were clearly set up to cause a reaction from the audience just don’t. These characters are an eclectic bunch and with a good script they could easily have bounced off each other and had some humorous moments or lines but there was nothing.

The big problem with Suicide Squad is by the end of the film, it wants you to feel like these characters all care about each other and even go as far to see themselves as a family unit, but it doesn’t do enough to make you feel that way. The film keeps focusing on the mission rather than the characters on the mission. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are the most fleshed out on the team and they actually have multiple interactions so you can see their relationship grow but all other characters are secondary and barely have any lines between them.

Suicide Squad is OK. The action sequences are entertaining but the film does nothing to make you care about these characters and that’s where it really falls down. 3/5.