Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Book to Film Review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters



About the film
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a fairy tale retelling/ continuation film that was released at the cinema in the UK on 27th February. The film is rated 15 due to language and bloody violence and it has a run time of 88 minutes.

Plot
Following the Brothers Grimm’s famous tale Hansel and Gretel, as young children they are abandoned in the woods leaving them to fend for themselves. However, they come across a house made out of candy and are soon lured into the home of a witch who tries to fatten up Hansel so she can eat him. Not being your average children, Hansel and Gretel manage to fight and kill the witch themselves, learning that burning them is the best way to ensure death.

Years later, the siblings are now famous witch hunters, with towns all over seeking them out to rid them of their witch problems. In the town of Augsburg 11 children have already gone missing. Hansel and Gretel arrive just in time to stop a young woman being accused of being a witch being burned to death. After talking to the townspeople and finding out a few things, they learn of the Blood Moon and realise they may finally be in over their heads.

What I thought
After writing my dissertation on fairy tales, I’m pretty addicted to anything to do with them – they’re a bit of a passion of mine now. Although I’m not the biggest fan of retellings that go too far, I still wanted to see this film just to see what it was like.

I really liked the opening to Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters as it stuck quite close to the original story. Well, with Hansel and Gretel being left on their own and finding a house made out of yummy things. The young actors playing the characters do a great job, especially young Gretel as she fights like hell to save her brother from a fiery furnace. The opening really sets the scene for what is about to come: a hell of a lot of fighting and some bloody ugly looking witches.

Jeremy Renner as Hansel and Gemma Arterton as Gretel, the grown up versions of the characters obviously. After what happened to them as children, the siblings are out for blood and travel all over in search of witches to kill. The pair get on well as siblings, with a healthy banter between the two and I thought Renner and Arterton worked well together on screen. However, Renner lacks conviction and likeability as Hansel while Gretel is likeable and definitely kicks ass. I was sad to see that Renner wasn’t all that good in this role though as I have liked him in quite a few other films. Arterton seems to be great at whatever she does though and the boys will enjoy her in some tight leather costumes at the same time as watching her do her thing.

This is a film that doesn’t lack in blood and gore. Set in a strange looking time, a mix of old and the future, Hansel and Gretel have some pretty interesting toys for killing witches with. This is mostly the reason why this film is rated 15. The filmmakers have come up with some very inventive ways of killing people which will satisfy those who like this kind of thing. I saw the film in 2D so I didn’t get to witness the full effects of 3D. I can only imagine how many bits of flesh would come flying at you at full speed. I’m not the most squeamish of girls and I did actually really enjoy the action and the fight scenes. My cousin is 15 and wanted to see this but I did have to warn her about what it was like because she definitely wouldn’t have the stomach for it.

Famke Janssen is a wonderful actress and in my eyes, she always plays an amazing baddie. She does so here as Muriel, the big bad witch. Janssen’s character is partially shown as herself while a really ugly witch at others. The make-up of all of the witches in this film was spectacular and I would think that anyone coming across one of them would want to run for their lives. Janssen plays the role with so much determination and perfection, that she is incredibly creepy, scary and evil all at the same time. While there were some other good cast members/ characters, Janssen plays the best hands down and she also gives the best performance by far.

As for the plot, it is a little farfetched and make up in regards to the original fairy tale. However, I did like the twist that the story was given. If Hansel and Gretel did ever survive, I can imagine that they would want revenge, especially when the witches are so evil. The script tries to be funny, while failing most of the time. There were a few humorous lines here and there but mostly, the lines came across as extremely forced, especially from Renner. Unfortunately, this is a film that tries too hard in the wrong places. It is clearly an action film and tries too hard to have a substantial plot line and a clever script but this is where the film fails badly.

Overall though, I did really enjoy Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters but it’s probably one to wait for when it comes out on DVD.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn


About the book
Breathing Underwater is a contemporary young adult novel by Alex Flinn. The book was published by Harper Teen on 5th June 2011. Breathing Underwater is 272 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
At his high school, Nick is one of the popular kids. He’s wealthy, intelligent and popular but no one really knows the truth about what he has to endure at home. Meeting Caitlin is the one thing Nick believes can change his life. As the pair quickly fall in love, Nick begins to realise that his life isn’t exactly what he thought it was. His father is the one thing he is terrified of but it seems he is more like him than he ever could have believed.

What I thought
I have previously really enjoyed Alex Flinn’s other books, especially her fairy tale retellings and I wanted to read more from her. This one is a contemporary novel and a stand-alone.

Breathing Underwater begins with Nick going to court. His ex-girlfriend Caitlin is taking the stand against him, accusing him of hitting her, and after being found guilty, he is sentenced to family violence classes and must write 500 words a week in a journal. Flinn wastes no time in getting right to it in this book. Nick comes across as an arrogant, full of himself teenager who doesn’t want to admit that he has done something wrong which is why he ends up having to write a journal. To begin with, I didn’t like Nick at all and I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to considering what his attitude in general was like.

However, Breathing Underwater is narrated through Nick’s voice and through the use of his journal which means we get to understand the events in both the present and the past. I really enjoyed the way Flinn told the story as it meant that my opinions about Nick constantly changed. Although not a reason for hitting someone, we get to see how Nick’s home life affects him and his decisions. His father is a violent man and Nick never blames him for his own actions although he does begin to realise that certain genes are hereditary.

Reading Nick’s journal entries made it possible to see how he went from being completely in love with Caitlin, worshipping her, to being verbally and physically abuse towards her. He beings to get possessive, not wanting her to be friends with certain people, not wanting her to dress in particular clothes and pretty much wanting her to do everything he says. We get to see just how horrible Nick is to Caitlin and how he never sees what he is doing to her. Even when friends tell him he’s being horrible to her, he shrugs it off and ignores them.

These journal entries are mixed in with Nick’s time at his violence classes. The teacher there, Mario, was a fantastic character and one who spoke a lot of sense. Along with Nick, there are plenty of other guys in the class and over time, they have to learn to differences between right and wrong and to accept the way that they have behaved. The whole moral of this novel is to take responsibility for your actions and Flinn expresses that strongly. The classes and the journal take Nick out of his old situation and force him to look at what went wrong and what he could do to change his life.

Overall, Breathing Underwater is a pretty emotional book and one which is quite hard to stomach at times. However, I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to more from Alex Flinn. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Film Review: Movie 43



About the film
Movie 43 is an American comedy/ anthology film that was released at the cinema on 25th January 2013 in the UK. Movie 43 has a run time of 90 minutes and is rated 15.

Plot
Two teenagers wanting to get their own back on one of the boy’s little brother, they make up a video that is supposedly the most dangerous on the internet. The little brother is a bit of a genius and knows a hell of a lot about computers. By attempting to find the banned ‘Movie 43’, a film which will supposedly result is the destruction of civilisation; they end up finding a whole load of other short films which shouldn’t be watched.

Some of the Cast
Hugh Jackman as Davis
Kate Winslet as Beth
Justin Long as Robin
Jason Sudeikis as Batman
Jimmy Bennett as Nathan
Chloe Grace Moretz as Amanda
Anna Faris as Vanessa
Chris Pratt as Jason
Emma Stone as Veronica
Johnny Knoxville as Pete
Seann William Scott as Brian
Gerard Butler as The Leprechaun

What I thought
Normally when my flatmate and I go to the cinema, I generally pick the film. Luckily, she loves the cinema so will go and see anything I want. However, this time she really wanted to go and see Movie 43 so as she had been to so many with me, this was our pick of the day. I had seen the trailers but didn’t really know what the film was about. After looking up the film online after having seen it, it appears that the UK gets a slightly different version of the film compared to other countries. Why, I have no idea. I think the version we didn’t get sounds a bit better too.

Our version of the film revolves around two teenage boys attempting to pull a prank on a younger boy, one of their brothers. They plant the idea that they want to look for ‘Movie 43’, the most dangerous video online. This leads to the boys watching a whole range of other films which are either banned or just terrible, as in nobody should be watching them. The other version of the film apparently is about a screenwriter attempting to pitch his script to a film executive by telling him several of the stories that would be in the film. This is where the short video clips come in within that version.

To begin with, I really disliked the idea of these two stupid boys making up a fake movie online. While the friend gets the little brother to search, the brother is off doing god knows what to a different laptop. Anyway, the boys playing these parts, whose names I cannot remember and cannot find online are terrible actors. The bigger brother reminded me of a younger Ashton Kutcher but an even worse actor and much more stupid. The little brother was slightly better than the other two though but still terrible. The whole idea of ‘Movie 43’ was ridiculous in this version which is why I think the other one sounds better. At least the idea behind it sounds more plausible.

It states in various places online that the makers of this film had to trick actors into playing the parts. I can now see why. Although this film does have a great cast, most of the actors are wasted in such idiotic roles. For example, Oscar nominated Hugh Jackman, recently in the amazing Les Miserables, plays a guy with testicles growing out of his neck. While the role is a bit silly and different in comparison, it does nothing for Jackman as an actor. Apart from making him look stupid. Having a cast so big and with so many big names only works really well if the script and the film’s idea is good. The problem with this film is that neither the idea or the script were anywhere near good so the actors who I know are normally great, were not.

This film is so bad that we both said that if Kate hadn’t paid (I have a Cineworld Unlimited card), we both would have wanted to walk out. Even though the film is only a short 90 minutes long, it felt like it went on for forever. I had gotten pretty bored after only about 10-15 minutes or so and because of this, sitting through the rest of the film was a huge struggle for me. While I didn’t like the film at all, I can see that teenage boys probably will. Most of the material is made to either make you feel sick or extremely grossed out. While I didn’t find any of this remotely funny, I know people that would love this kind of thing.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Hello, my name is not 'Hey Baby!'




It’s not very often I write discussion posts, mainly because I get stuck for ideas or topics. Recently though, something has been really bugging me and I felt the need to have a bit of a rant. After reading a particular book recently, I began to wonder about conversation/ pet names. This post is mostly aimed at New Adult fiction, as I have been noticing things more and more since the genre emerged. However, the things I have problems with are also done in Young Adult fiction and probably adult, although I don’t read much of that.

The thing that has been driving me mad is the use of ‘baby’. Is this how people actually talk in relationships? I have had my fair share of relationships and not once have I had someone call me ‘baby’ nor have I ever called anyone ‘baby’. Personally, I would much rather someone use my actual name than use a pet name, especially this one. I know that some people must do this but it seems to be happening far too often for my liking in NA and YA books. Maybe it’s just the books I’ve been reading lately, I don’t know, but it seems to be EVERYWHERE.

Now, I’m not saying I hate it completely but I feel that it is extremely overused. I don’t mind the occasional use but to call someone ‘baby’ every single time they have a conversation… too much? I know I’m not alone in thinking that it can affect that way in which you read a book. While I did love the book in question, the use of this particular word did make me like it less than I would have if it hadn’t been used.

I’m sure there are other pet names which other people cannot stand. Is ‘baby’ one of them for you or do you not mind it being used so much in fiction? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic whether you agree with me or disagree. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Irresistible by Liz Bankes


About the book
Irresistible is a New Adult novel by Liz Bankes. It was published by Piccadilly Press on 25th April and the book is 224 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
When Mia gets a job in a posh health/country club during her gap year, she is strikes up a friendship with the laconic and funny Dan. Dan is also working in the club and keeps Mia amused. However, she soon finds herself drawn to the wealthy bad boy, Jamie. Jamie is the beautiful and privileged Cleo’s boyfriend. Mia knows that her relationship with Jamie is wrong, but there’s something so dangerously exciting about Jamie that she just can’t stop.

What I thought
So far, this is the only New Adult book I have read by a British author and I couldn’t wait to see the difference between this and American New Adult books.

Protagonist Mia has just finished her GCSEs and needs a job for the summer. She manages to score herself an interview at a really posh hotel nearby owned by a super rich family. When she somehow manages to get the job, she is well aware of Jamie, the son, after she sees him drinking and pressed up against a window with some girl. To begin with, I quite liked Mia. She had good reasons for wanting the job, she came across as a nice enough girl and had a great thing going with her best friend.

Soon after Mia starts work at the hotel, she hits it off with a boy working in the kitchen named Dan, who was sweet and lovely and nothing but nice. The two begin to have some kind of a relationship and it appears that things are going well between the two… until Jamie happens. This is where me liking Mia began to go downhill. Jamie has a reputation for being a bad boy and a bit of a heartbreaker, although he has a girlfriend. Cleo, his girlfriend, was a lovely character and was quick to befriend Mia and invite her into their circle. Then Mia stabs her in the back. Lovely.

Jamie is one of those boys who has money and seems to think he can do whatever he wants because of that and thinks he will get away with it. It is quite clear early on that he enjoys ruining other people’s lives and it is pretty much a sport to him. He’s arrogant and full of himself. To begin with, he just teases Mia a little and flirts with her but nothing else. However, when Cleo goes away on holiday, things escalate. Mia and Jamie begin to spend a lot of time together, with her sneaking out at night to see him – meaning she is also doing things behind Dan’s back.

As for the story, there is little more to Irresistible than the romance. I say romance but it really isn’t that at all. Nothing really happens in this book save for the constant lying of Mia to other people. Not only does she lie to Dan, she lies to her best friend and her family. Also, as Jamie is part of a family with a lot of money, quite a lot in this book comes across as superficial and shallow. Because of this, it was hard to like some of the characters even a little bit because they had little more to them than the money of their parents.

However, strangely I loved the ending of this book. Characters appear to have changed quite quickly and the tone of the book also changes. The things I hated about the rest of the book aren’t there at the end which makes this part feel like it was written by someone else completely. If there is going to be a sequel, considering how the book was left, I may read it and I may not. It won’t be a book I’d be dying to get my hands on. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry


About the book
The Night She Disappeared is a young adult thriller novel by April Henry. The book was published by Walker on 4th April and it is 240 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
When Kayla swaps a shift with workmate Gabie, her whole life changes. During a regular night at Pete’s Pizza, Kayla goes out to make a delivery, only she doesn’t return.

Gabie cannot get over the idea that it should have been her. She should have been working that night. She should have been the one he took. Obsessed with the idea that Kayla is still alive, Gabie teams up with Drew who was working the night Kayla went missing. Although others believe Kayla is dead, Gabie has to figure out how to save her before the rumours become the truth.

What I thought
The young adult books on my shelves are filled with contemporary and paranormal novels. Thrillers aren’t something I come by very often but I loved the sound of this one. I get sick of reading the same thing over and over again and I was looking forward to a change.

The Night She Disappeared starts off really quickly, with Kayla and Drew at work at the pizza place. After Drew takes a phone order, no different than any other, Kayla heads out to make the delivery as she is the one with the car. After a while, long after Kayla should have been back, Drew realises that something is really wrong. Kayla goes missing and the whole plot revolves around this.

This is a book with a very different way of telling the story, but one I liked very much. Narrating are Drew, Gabie and Kayla herself. However, there are also transcripts of police interviews, notes left by people, evidence reports etc. I loved how there was pieces all the way through the book which gave the situation more importance. The interviews and police reports were especially interesting and I really enjoyed seeing all of these things fit together within the narrative. I also liked each of the narrators. However, I would maybe have liked less from Kayla as it did take away a bit of the suspense and mystery concerning what happened to her.

The plot is a pretty exciting one. As the story begins quickly, jumping right into the excitement, there is a lot going on. While I didn’t always like Kayla’s chapters, there was still the suspense of finding out what would happen to her. This is never given away until the very last moment and some of the descriptions of her ordeal were extremely creepy and disgusting at the same time. This is a big contrast compared to what is going on elsewhere.

There is also a lot more to this book though than the kidnapping plot. Gabie and Drew are strong characters, each with great personalities. They’re likeable characters and ones which I enjoyed getting to know. Although both are equally as concerned about Kayla, they still have their own lives and problems. Drew and Gabie worked with Kayla but were never really friends. After the kidnapping, they are only really able to talk to each other about what happened, making a somewhat strange friendship.

The one thing that did really bug me about this book was the detective working on Kayla’s case. Far too quickly he assumes she is dead, points the finger at others without any tiny bit of evidence and pretty much gives up on her case completely at one point. Also, the way that he spoke to certain characters was extremely unbelievable in my eyes. Although I am no expert, I doubt detectives are allowed to point the finger at people without something to back up the nasty things he says.

Even with there being something that bugged me, I did really enjoy this book. It was different and exciting and just what I needed as a break from my normal reads. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - Read a snippet

After watching the trailer for The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I couldn't wait to read it! I'm sure you all can't either. Although the book isn't released until next month, Penguin have allowed me to share a snippet of the book with you all.. Enjoy!


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey Trailer

I have been reading a lot of contemporary books at the minute, and New Adult but not much has been jumping out at me as being completely different and exciting. Next month, Penguin are publishing The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which sounds amazing. I think it could be the book to finally drag me away from my contemporary reads! 

Here's the synopsis:
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


The 5th Wave also has a fantastic trailer, which you can see below. 



What do you think? Pretty exciting looking, right?

Guest Review: The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller


Another lovely review by my fiancé today! 

About the book
The Innocent Mage is the first in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series by Karen Miller. The paperback is 522 pages long and was first published on 25 July 2005.

Synopsis
Being a Fisherman like his Father isn't a bad life, but it's not the one that Asher wants. Despite his humble roots, Asher has grand dreams. And they call him to Dorana, home of Princes, beggars...and the warrior mages who have protected the Kingdom for generations.

Little does Asher know, however, that his arrival in the city is bring watched by members of The Circle, a secret organisation dedicated to preserving an ancient magic.

Asher might have come to the city to make his fortune, but he will find his destiny.

What I thought
Ah fantasy. Oh how love it. Such vivid characters, such epic escapism. Such bloody long books...and so many of them!  I can't tell you the number of times I've been in a book shop, attracted by a suitable looking cover, to find that the book I am holding is book 8 of 50! Damn it! Now I have to get hold of 7 other books before I can read this one! I am also not the fastest reader in the world. For example I have been reading through Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series for about 4 years and am still only on book 10 - I've been reading other things as well of course but you get my point.

'What has all that to do with this book?' I hear you whisper. Well I shall tell you. I appear to have happened across a series with only 5 books (so far) in the series. 
Not only that but the book I happened to find is the first (yes, the first) of them all! This never never happens to me.

I should say at this point that I actually really enjoy reading through epic fantasy series..I just get a bit frustrated with how long it takes me.

To this book! I got this book from the local library, it having been recommended by a friend who got it from the same library. She demanded I read it. I'm very glad she did.

Asher is a fisherman from a little fishing town. He is honest, outspoken, sometimes seen as rude, downtrodden by his elder brothers and understood only by his Father it seems who has not been the same since the death of Asher's mother. Asher decides to travel to the city to spend a year (no more, no less) making his fortune to take home to his poor old da so they can buy their own fishing boat. Being the youngest he wants his Da to be proud of him. However on arrival in the city, it seems destiny has other ideas for Asher and his life takes a completely unexpected turn. Is Asher the long prophesied Innocent Mage? What does that mean for his life, his goals and his promise to his dear old da?

I absolutely loved this book. Asher is such a breath of fresh air to read. He says exactly what he thinks and he doesn't care who he says it to...be it a stable hand, an innkeep or royalty. He isn't rude though. He's just Asher. 
Reading, you are treated to knowledge about Asher that he doesn't have himself which makes you root for the character even more. 

I love a fantasy world that has all types of flawed and interesting characters. Also characters with layers, with depth. All of the characters in this are extremely well written. The story is fast paced and kept me gripped.
As much as anything, this book is about the friendship between a fisherman and a prince. Prince Gar is also a great character, born to be king but seen as unwhole by his family and his subjects because he was born without the magic that defines his people. A serious, studious man, shunned by people behind his back but not to his face, Gar relies on Asher for the honesty that he doesn't get from others around him. Their relationship is at the centre of the whole story and you can see what it means to both of them.

I won't ramble on or I'll give the whole story away. I loved this book (did I mention that?). It has everything - drama, humour, tragedy and angst. Action and heroics, magic, the lot.  Now go and read it! Frustratingly the library don't have the second one. Aaarrrgggghhh! Hello Amazon.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Book to Film Review: The Beach


About the film
The Beach is a drama film that was released in 2000 and is based on the book of the same name by Alex Garland. The film is rated and has a run time of 119 minutes.  

Plot
Richard is having the time of his life travelling around Thailand. When staying in a really dodgy hotel, he befriends the guy staying in the room next door, Bugs. While Bugs is a little bit insane, he tells Richard about an island, somewhere untouched by civilisation. The beach is supposed to be a lush paradise, a place of solitary and tropical bliss. Intrigued, along with French travellers Françoise and Étienne, they set off on an adventure to see if this magical sounding place actually exists.

What I thought
Until recently, I never knew that this film was based on a book! Now that I know this though, I would very much like to read it. Anyway, on to the film…

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Richard, a pretty self-obsessed party guy looking for a good time while on his travels. While DiCaprio was not the first choice for the role, I do think that he was probably the best choice. Richard was a really immature character who really didn’t understand the concept of real life and that bad things happen when you don’t listen to the warnings. It is really strange that the protagonist of a film as big as this was someone so unlikeable. I also didn’t like his character’s development either. Over the course of the film, Richard doesn’t really change very much. He stays selfish throughout the whole film and never learns from his mistakes.

The plot, however, was a very interesting one. I loved being able to see the differences between the tourist world of travelling and the places that are left untouched. This is a film with stunning visuals and it really made me want to see more of the world. Even seeing scenes set in a packed and quite insane looking Thailand made me interested in the culture there. However, it was more of the idyllic setting of the beach and the wonderful scenes of remote locations that got me. The Beach is a film that is a feast for the eyes when it comes to place I would want to visit.

While the adventure of getting to the beach was very entertaining, it was the parts where Richard, Françoise and Étienne have finally reached their destination that this film got even better. I really loved the community setting on the beach and getting to know all of the different characters and personalities. All of these different people are what make this film so good and interesting. It was quite strange to see so many people there from different places and I wanted to know more about how they got there and where they managed to get a map from in the first place. What I also really loved was seeing the dynamics of the community and how everything worked under Sal’s command.

One thing that I didn’t necessarily agree with in this film was the romance aspect. Richard lusts after Françoise, even though she has a boyfriend who is travelling with them. I think that this film could have done without the romance, especially as it didn’t matter to the plot. The relationship between Richard and Françoise seems to be a bit of a filler in this story. There isn’t even really much time spent on this aspect of the film which is why I didn’t see the point of it. The relationship doesn’t progress much, the characters do not develop either for better or worse because of it and it wasn’t even passionate or entertaining.

While there are things I don’t like about this film, somehow it is still one of my favourites. The Beach is a film I can happily watch over and over again.

Monday, 22 April 2013

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch


About the book
If You Find Me is a contemporary young adult novel by Emily Murdoch. It was published by Indigo on 2nd May and the book is 304 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go ... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

What I thought
Emily Murdoch begins this novel with such a strong opening. Carey and Jenessa are two young girls living in a trailer in the middle of the woods somewhere. Their drug addict mother has abandoned them, leaving them to fend for themselves – which is something they are used to doing at this point. It was shocking to see two girls at such young ages to be living in such a way and Murdoch was very descriptive about how hard the conditions were. The story really begins though when a woman and a man come to the woods to find Carey and Jenessa. The man, being Carey’s biological father has sole custody, and has done for some time – something which Carey’s mother failed to tell her. Even though Jenessa isn’t biologically his, he takes her in as well and the girls have to get used to a whole new life, a father, a stepmother and stepsister.

As the girls have grown up in the woods, you would think that they were uneducated and very unaware of the world around them. However, Murdoch writes extremely clever characters. Carey has taught herself from books and then begun to teach Jenessa herself. When the girls move in with their father, the true beauty of their upbringing really shines through. However bad living in the woods may have been, Carey is able to see the good in it as well as the bad. The descriptions of never ending meals of beans sounded absolutely awful but then there were also descriptions of the smoky smells that no longer exist in their hair. It was a wonder that Carey was able to have such a positive attitude at times after everything she had been through.

Carey’s voice is also a distinct one as she narrates the story. Even though her mother was a drug addict with mental health problems, she did try to teach the girls how to talk properly, without dropping letters. This was something Carey forgot to do a lot and mostly when she gets very emotional about something. In her new life, Carey tries to be someone she isn’t and I loved watching the real her shine through. There were so many good things about Carey as a character and I couldn’t help but love her. She was so caring, especially towards her little sister and would do anything to protect her. Then there were the secretive aspect of her which very few people got to experience.

If You Find Me was a beautifully written debut with a very strong and important plot. The book isn’t only about the girls finding a better life but it is about coming to terms with their past, getting to grips with the bad things in life and making the best of what they had and also about new beginnings and new relationships. I absolutely adored this book!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Book to Film Review: Silver Linings Playbook



About the film
Silver Linings Playbook is a comedy/ drama film that was released at the cinema on 21st November 2012. The DVD will be released on 1st April. Silver Linings Playbook is adapted from the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick. The film is rated 15 and has a run time of 122 minutes.

Plot (Taken from Amazon.com)
Life doesn't always go according to plan. Pat Solatano has lost everything--his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother and father after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat's parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family's obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

What I thought
Before watching this film, I didn’t know that it was based on a book but now that I do, it makes me want to read it.

Bradley Coopers stars as Pat Jr, a man just coming out of 8 months of treatment in an institution. Pat is mentally unstable after the breakdown of his marriage and is now diagnosed as bi-polar. It was wonderful to watch Pat’s character develop throughout the film, going from a complete mess and not really knowing what was going on in his life to being at a point where he is content and happy. I’m not really Cooper’s biggest fan and I have to say that if it hadn’t been for Jennifer Lawrence, I don’t think I would have watched this film. However, Cooper is fantastic as Pat and really puts a lot into the role. A large range of emotions were needed to be able to play this role and Cooper is extremely convincing as Pat. One minute he’s very down and sad but the next he is so happy he bounces off of the walls. I have to say that Silver Linings Playbook may just have altered what I thought about Cooper.

Jennifer Lawrence is equally as good, if not better, in her role as Tiffany. She, just look Pat, is quite mentally unstable after the death of her husband. She’s loud, brash and very outspoken which is what I loved about her. The two characters really complement each other well as they are often at two different sides of the spectrum. Tiffany is a very confused character, not always knowing exactly what she wants or the right thing to say. She doesn’t have a filter on when she talks and just does and says anything she feels like. While this is a drama film, it is also a comedy and between Tiffany and Pat, there are plenty of funny moments between them. Much like Cooper, Lawrence needed to be able to be very open and emotional in this role and she does it well. The role is very different from others she has played such as Katniss in The Hunger Games. I do think this was a fantastic role for Lawrence to take because it shows that she is more than a one series actress and now she has really made a name for herself.

I also really enjoyed the plot as much as the main performances. Pat is absolutely obsessed with his wife Nikki who he is separated from. He doesn’t really understand this though and is determined to show her that he has changed and is a better man. It was heart breaking to see Pat in constant states of denial or confusion because he couldn’t understand why things were a certain way. When he meets Tiffany, things change because he is confronted with someone who is very similar to him and also going through similar problems. The outcome of the story was pretty predictable but I didn’t mind that at all. I thought the lead up to, and the ending, were wonderfully done and very inspirational to others with mental health issues at the same time.

Something that did bug me about this film though was the way that it was shot. Some scenes would finish in a really random way that didn’t really fit with the rest of the film. Some scenes are also extremely short, jumping from one thing to another very quickly which can be very confusing. However, this does also make it possible to be able to realise how Pat is feeling, with emotions all over the place. Don’t be expecting to be wowed with the settings in this film either. The majority of the film takes place in a small town where Pat and Tiffany meet and while the shots of the street over the changing seasons were nice, they just weren’t anything special. Silver Linings Playbook isn’t a film about stunning scenery though. It’s a film about the characters and all of the attention is on them instead.

I really enjoyed this film and will definitely be buying it once it is released on DVD. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs


About the book
Sweet Shadows is the second book in the Medusa Girls series by Tera Lynn Childs. It was published by Templar on 1st March and the book is 368 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Grace, Gretchen and Greer are sisters who are descendants of Medusa. Not that long ago, none of them knew about their sisters as they were adopted. Gretchen has always known who and what she is but now she must teach her sisters all about the monsters who try to kill them and how to fight. However, now that they are all together, and united, monsters of the abyss are out to destroy Grace, Gretchen and Greer.

As the girls begin to get to know one another, many obstacles stand in their way. Gretchen doesn’t know if she can trust the extremely hot Nick, Grace’s brother Thane has gone missing and rich girl Greer doesn’t want her perfect life being upset. With all of this going on, their destiny calls but will it be fulfilled?

What I thought
Being the second book in a series, there may be minor spoilers for the first book, Sweet Venom in this review.

Something that I think was common with the first book in this series was the confusion between the three sisters. It took me some time to get used to each character but as they all narrate their own chapters, it becomes easier to tell them apart as time goes on. In Sweet Shadows, after a quick recap of who was who at the back of the book, I didn’t have any problems remembering which girl was which. Now, each of the girl’s voices are much more distinct, as are their personalities. As I began reading Sweet Shadows, I felt that I really knew who each character was thanks to great introductions in the first book.

As far as characters go, even though Grace, Gretchen and Greer are all pretty equal, I did have my favourites. Grace is sweet and intelligent, thinking she is nothing more than the brains of the operation while Gretchen already kicks ass and is quite sure of herself. Greer on the other hand, I had problems liking. Maybe it was because of her upbringing in comparison to Gretchen and Grace. She’s a bit spoilt at times but she does begin to be a better character in this book. Tera Lynn Childs spends time in this book with each of the girls on their own as well as combinations of them together. I really enjoyed seeing them all in different situations and how they reacted.

Sweet Shadows sees some really interesting developments with secondary characters, who didn’t have much to do with anything in the first book. Nick, the mysterious guy always hanging around Gretchen is certainly an interesting character with many secrets. While he and Gretchen begin to know each other slightly better, there is always the thought that he is hiding something. In this book, we get to know so much more about Nick although I’m still unsure about whether I trust him or not. There is also Thane, Grace’s brother. He pretty much ran away in Sweet Venom and he is still missing for the majority of this book. Due to his texts with Grace, it made me wonder where he went and what he was doing because if it wasn’t something exciting or a big secret, it wouldn’t have been included in the first place.

This book expands on the girls’ destiny and what they were born to do. As descendants of Medusa, they are able to fight monsters and a whole range of other awesome things. While there was some monster fighting going on, I didn’t feel as though it was enough. I wanted more. There could have been so many more scenes with the girls kicking some ugly monster’s arse. However, I did find the whole mythology aspect of Sweet Shadows much more interesting than in the first book as so much more was explained. Along with Medusa being a central theme in the book, many of the other Gods are brought in to help with the background information, as well as during the events of this book.

There was a lot going on in this book and I found it very exciting to read. While there is a lot of information to take in, learning about so many new people and what they do, there was also a lot more to this book. The plot thickens deeply, the characters develop so much and there are plenty of twists and turns. I especially liked the explanations to do with Grace, Gretchen and Greer’s destiny and other people’s opinions on what they thought should be done.

Sweet Shadows is a great second book and it sets the scene really well for the third and final instalment. Grace, Gretchen and Greer are three kick ass teenagers in a world full of crazy monsters and back-stabbing characters.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Taken by Erin Bowman


About the book
Taken is the first book in the series of the same name by Erin Bowman. The book was published by Harper Teen on 16th April and it is 352 pages long. A e-book review copy was provided through Edelweiss.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

What I thought
The first thing to note with Taken is that it is told through a male narrative. Most of the young adult books I read are generally told from either a girl’s perspective or a dual narrative so it was refreshing to have a boy’s voice for once. Gray Weathersby lives in a town called Claysoot, a place where there are no men, only boys. On each boy’s eighteenth birthday, they disappear. They are Heisted. No one knows what happens to the boys or where they go. At the beginning of Taken, Gray’s older brother is just turning eighteen, with Grey’s birthday not that long behind his. Gray was a fantastic protagonist and one I liked immediately, even though he is head-strong and doesn’t really think about the consequences of his actions. However, there is a lot more to Gray than is let on to begin with and I really enjoyed getting to know his character.

The central plot of this book is the Heist and what happens to all of the boys once they disappear. The idea for me was very original and different and it was also really interesting. Due to the nature of the plot, there is a lot of mystery involved in Taken and it takes a while to get to know what’s really going on. Even then, Erin Bowman throws in some many twists and turns that you’re never really sure what is the truth and what isn’t. Although the beginning of the book begins to explain about Claysoot and the Heist, Taken isn’t completely set there. Gray is extremely brave when he attempts to climb the wall in order to see what is on the other side but I don’t really think he was ever prepared for what he would find.

Although Gray is the protagonist of Taken, there are so many other wonderful characters introduced along the way. Love interest Emma takes up a large amount of the beginning of the book, due to the way in which Claysoot is run. I liked getting to know about the town where Gray grew up and the kinds of things that they did there. However, the outside world was far more interesting but Bowman manages to mix the two places together. While there are more important things going on, Claysoot is a part of them and it was exciting waiting to find out how the town fit in to everything. However, Emma presence is quite short lived and I don’t think the character was used as much as she maybe could have been. Along with Emma, there are so many other characters on the outside world who I utterly loved but I don’t want to mention anything about them so I don’t give anything away.

All in all, Erin Bowman has created a world full of mystery and suspense but also one with an intricate background. Taken’s plot was by far one of the most original and intense that I have read for a long time. Gray’s strong and sure narrative makes Taken a fantastic read and now I am desperate for the second book to find out what will happen next. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


About the book
The Fault in Our Stars is a stand-alone young adult novel by John Green. It was published by Penguin on 3rd January and the book is 336 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
At age thirteen, Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer with the expectation of only living until she was 14. However, due to a medical miracle and experimental drugs, the tumours in her lungs shrunk even if it isn’t permanent. Two years later and Hazel is still living, forced by her parents to attend a support group for kids with cancer. Even though she hates the meetings, this is where she meets Augustus Waters. Hazel believes she will always be sick and miserable but Augustus brings fun and joy back into Hazel’s life, even love too. Their relationship makes Hazel re-evaluate her life and how being sick defines her and those around her.

What I thought
I had been putting this book off for a while due to knowing the nature of the plot. I have to be in the mood for something like this but once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

Protagonist of the story, Hazel, is a teenager with cancer. This is always going to be a tough subject to read about but John Green writes it so damn well. Hazel is far from the down and miserable character you would expect her to be. Instead, she is really witty and extremely intelligent. Even though she has cancer, she attends college classes a couple of days a week. Although she is really down (naturally) about the state of her life, she never comes across as depressing. I loved Hazel’s natural wit, her ability to say exactly what she is feeling or thinking and I loved the humour in her voice.

When Augustus comes into Hazel’s life, everything changes for them both. He too has survived some pretty horrible things for a guy so young but he doesn’t let it stop him. From the very beginning, Gus was extremely funny and a loveable and likeable character. He forces Hazel to re-evaluate everything she thinks she knows about life and cancer and really, gives her a real second chance. The pair together are wonderful to read about as the banter between them was fantastic.

The Fault in Our Stars is not exactly a book about a cancer. While characters in the book do have cancer, it is more a coming of age story. We see both Hazel and Augustus develop so much through their relationship and each of them become better and stronger people. What I wasn’t expecting from this book was the sense of adventure and the need to do something so badly. I really enjoyed watching Hazel and Augustus jet off in order to find the answers they thought they needed and this also gave them a chance to spend some real time together and have some fun.

This is strange book to be able to talk about in regards to emotions. While I was expecting to cry, which I did, I did not expect to laugh out loud so much. John Green throws in some fantastic humour, and sometimes right in the middle of a situation which shouldn’t be funny at all. At times when I thought I should be feeling really sad about what was happening I found myself giggling and laughing quite a lot. Green has a way of taking a really bad situation and making it light-hearted while still showing the importance of what is going on. This book is a whole rollercoaster of emotions but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I absolutely adored what this book made me feel and it really opened my eyes about certain things.

Although this has been my first John Green book, I am drying to read his others now. Completely loved this!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Book to Film Review: Beautiful Creatures



About the film
Beautiful Creatures is a 2013 adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The film is a 12A and has a run time of 124 minutes.

Plot
Ethan Wate has lived in Gaitlin, South Carolina his whole life, a place where nothing ever happens are films come on at the cinema months after release. When new girl Lena Duchannes starts school, everything changes. Ethan has been dreaming about her for months, not having any idea who she is. Rumour has it that her family are devil worshippers and Lena is quickly cast aside by the rest of the school… except for Ethan. After revealing secrets to each other, Lena and Ethan become inseparable, even after the warnings from both of their families. Lena is actually a witch, (a castor) and on her sixteenth birthday, it will be decided whether she will be light or dark. There are people wanting Lena to go to the dark side and will do anything they can to make this happen.  

What I thought
Having read the book a few years ago, and it being one which I really liked, I really wanted to see this film. However, film adaptations are a bit hit and miss so I was a little apprehensive about whether or not this one would be good.

Alden Ehrenreich was cast as the lead, Ethan Wate after Jack O’Connell could no longer do the role. Unfortunately, I hated him as Ethan. Playing a Southern boy, I expected his accent to be much better than it was and I found that it annoyed me every time he spoke. I remember Ethan in the book being quite funny but not at all like his character in the film. Here, he was silly beyond belief, making a fool out of himself a lot of the time and more in a cringy way than anything else. I just didn’t believe Ehrenreich was the right person to play this role, especially as the character had changed somewhat from how he was written in the book.

However, it was refreshing to have him narrate the film, as most young adult books/ films are narrated by girls. Due to his narration and him having lived in Gaitlin his whole life, we get to learn what the town is like. However, again, unfortunately not like in the book. In the first few chapters in the book, Ethan goes on and on about how slow the town is, how people never leave and how nothing happens. While he does state this in the film, you never really get the urgency of him wanting to leave as soon as he can. There is very little time spent getting to know Ethan before Lena turns up. Because of this, Gaitlin doesn’t seem like a small, quiet town at all because the excitement comes quite quickly.

Unlike for Ethan, I did really like the casting of Lena, who is played by Alice Englert. Lena is a quirky but quiet character, not wanting to give too much about herself away. She just wants to get on with life in Gaitlin until her birthday arrives and she wants to stay out of trouble. Ethan doesn’t let that happen though as he never leaves her alone. Englert brings a quiet confidence to the role of Lena, not making her too over the top when she could have been and subdued when she needed to be as well. She was also likeable, which is more than I can say about Ehrenreich.

One of my biggest problems with this film is that Ethan and Lena’s relationship wasn’t properly explained. I went to the cinema with two friends to see this, both had not read the book beforehand. They both came out afterwards quite confused and not really understanding what had happened or why. Ethan is supposed to have been having vivid dreams about Lena for quite some time before she arrives in Gaitlin although this is not really shown. Yes, we are told that he doesn’t sleep much and that he dreams of her but the importance of these dreams is never shown. This is also where their relationship in the film falls short. Because the audience never get to understand Ethan’s dreams, or see how long he has been dreaming about Lena, their relationship seems to happen very quickly and get intense even faster, making it unbelievable and silly.

Secondary characters are also lacking and underused. In the book, Ethan’s best friend Link is quite a big part of his life and here, he is brushed over quickly. Lena’s mother is not introduced well, with her just being there at one point without so much as an explanation of who she is or why she is there. Ethan’s dad is great character in the book but in the film, he is shoved away in a room never to be seen which I was very disappointed about. As a book, Beautiful Creatures has so many interesting and different characters but they are either missing completely in the film or they only get a few minutes of screen time.

While I was annoyed with the casting and the differences from the book, there are some good things about Beautiful Creatures. For one, the setting is stunning. I loved the small, Southern town setting and the use of the Civil War to explain some of the history. This also comes into play when explaining about Lena and Ethan’s pasts and how they are linked. Once the real excitement begins and things do start happening regarding Lena and her birthday, the film got much better. Up until this point though, I was extremely bored and would have been quite happy to turn the film off had I watched it on DVD.

With some good adaptations out right now, like Warm Bodies, Beautiful Creatures fell extremely short for me and now, I don’t think I would want to go and see the other films in the series because of that. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Are You Experienced? by William Sutcliffe


About the book
Are You Experienced? by William Sutcliffe is a travel novel. It was published by Penguin on 4th June 1998.

Plot Synopsis
Nineteen year old Dave lives in London and is about to have a gap year before going away to university. He hasn’t ever really wanted to travel though, his plans being to go to a Swiss ski resort instead of doing what his friends are doing. However, when friend James taunts him about his plans, he decides maybe he should get out of Europe and do something more exciting. It helps, of course, that James’s girlfriend Liz also wants to travel so he wouldn’t be on his own.

Liz only wants to go to India though, and refuses to go anywhere else so Dave is pretty much stuck. Even though Dave and Liz hit it off before the trip, by the time they get on the plane, they’re at each other’s throats. Heading to a country he doesn’t want to go to and with a girl who hates him, Dave is about to have one unique experience.

What I thought
This is the last book I had to read for my Travel Writing class at university and I can’t say I was looking forward to it too much. Most of the other reading we had to do was extremely long and boring.

Are You Experienced? begins with Dave and Liz bickering on their flight. You can instantly tell that nothing is right between them and it made me wonder why they were even travelling together in the first place. Before explaining though, Sutcliffe drops the two characters in Delhi, where they are met with beggar children, the ridiculously hot weather and a world they are unaccustomed to.

Dave is quite the outspoken character, not caring what he says to other people or what they think of him. His narrative is funny, yet very truthful at the same time. His first ideas about India are not good; ‘Delhi airport was… it was just taking the piss.’ While the other books read for this class were written many years ago, this one is very current with a young and exciting narrative to match. Although Dave does come across as arrogant, mean and selfish, I didn’t care. He was travelling and wanted to do what he wanted to do. What’s wrong with that?

For roughly the first half of the book, Dave and Liz are stuck with each other and the bickering doesn’t stop. Each of them disagrees with the other and they clearly don’t want to do the same things while in India. Hell, Dave doesn’t even want to be in India. However, he is too scared of being on his own in a strange country so puts up with Liz and whatever she decides to do. While together, they meet an interesting range of people, including J, who because he has been in India for a while thinks he knows everything there is to know.

Sutcliffe makes Dave a very stereotypical teenager of the late ‘90s. He loves his Western lifestyle and is very quick to judge anything new and different. He would much rather be having a two week holiday on a beach somewhere. While in India, Dave doesn’t want to touch anyone because they seem dirty, he doesn’t want to talk with any locals and he doesn’t really care about seeing the ‘real’ India. Really, he just wanted to get into Liz’s pants.

While Are You Experienced? has its own plot, it can also be taken as a sort of travel guide. Kind of. Dave and Liz do see a fair bit of India and go to some well-known places, thanks to their use of the Lonely Planet guide they carry around with them. There are also parts about being ill due to the different kinds of food in India, how to travel, what the buses and trains are like, etc. Are You Experienced? is a really different way to read about taking a gap year and going somewhere you aren’t exactly sure of. It’s also about new experiences and making the most of what you have.

Are You Experienced? showcases what being a backpacker is about. Sutcliffe takes the very worst of experiences for Dave and puts a humorous twist on them. His writing is extremely witty and sharp and I couldn’t put this book down. Considering I wasn’t looking forward to reading it, I ended up loving it completely. My sister has actually applied to go to India for a while so I might give her this book to read beforehand. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

666 Park Avenue


About the show
666 Park Avenue was first aired on ABC in America from September 2012 and here in the UK on ITV2 from 19th February. However, on 16th November, the show had been cancelled meaning there is only one season.

Plot
A young couple (Jane and Henry) trying to make it in New York are hired as the new managers of The Drake, a luxurious apartment building on 666 Park Avenue. The Drake is owned by the mysterious Gavin Doran and his wide Olivia, who have more secrets than you can count on one hand. Each episode follows the lives of a different resident of The Drake, showing how just by living there, all of their dreams can come true. At the same time Jane and Henry are trying to sort their own lives out but Jane being the more active manager begins to notice that something is wrong. This is a show about mystery, secrets and desire.

Main Cast
Rachael Taylor as Jane Van Veen
Dave Annable as Henry Martin
Robert Buckley as Brian Leonard
Mercedes Masohn as Louise Leonard
Helena Mattsson as Alexis Blume
Erik Palladino as Tony DeMeo
Samantha Logan as Nona Clark
Vanessa Williams as Olivia Doran
Terry O'Quinn as Gavin Doran

What I thought
With many of the shows I usually watch having finished completely or the new season not being shown yet, I was desperate for something new and different. When I saw the advert for 666 Park Avenue, I was instantly intrigued. The adverts made it looks really creepy, which is something I love in a TV show so I began watching it right away.

Another thing that made me watch this was the cast. As owners of The Drake, Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams star as Gavin and Olivia Doran. O’Quinn is probably best known for playing John Locke in Lost while Williams is known for her role in Ugly Betty. These are two actors who I have loved in other things and I was hoping for great things from them… and they didn’t disappoint. As characters, Gavin and Olivia don’t give much away at all over the course of the series with the exception of the last few episodes. They are very secretive which make them really interesting and mysterious at the same time. O’Quinn has a real knack for playing a character who isn’t at all what he seems and I think he shined in this role.

Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable play Jane and Henry, the new managers of The Drake. While I had not seen either in anything before, I liked them both. In comparison to Gavin and Olivia, these two are a lovely, likeable couple who the audience will be able to relate to. They’re just starting out in New York, with Henry wanting to work in politics and Jane being a qualified architect. What I really enjoyed about watching these two characters is the contrast between them and the Dorans. There is a lot of interaction between the two couples and I loved how different they were from one another. Although a large amount of plot focuses of Henry and his political career, it was Jane’s plot line which was the best for me. She is the one really running The Drake and is the one that really sees what things are like there.

The other residents of The Drake are the ones who show what really going on and really, are what the show is all about. As I said in the synopsis, dreams are granted at The Drake, courtesy of Gavin Doran. It is never clear how or why he is able to do these things but any character who accepts his help don’t really do so well. Yes, their dreams are fulfilled but there are also consequences that come with this kind of deal. I always had the idea of selling your soul to the Devil in mind with this show although that hasn’t been said in certain ways.

Unfortunately, this show got cancelled part way through its first and only season. Because of this, the last few episodes are yet to be aired but they will be during the summer. I read somewhere that as the show got cancelled, the last few episodes were being re-filmed so that everything would be wrapped up nicely and so that everything made sense. I’m really glad they did this as this has happened before with other shows such as Firefly, where the ending didn’t really work very well. Just as I was really getting into this series, I found out about the cancellation and was gutted.

666 Park Avenue was a show that was really different from anything on at the minute and one which was very entertaining. It had so many good things going for it and I cannot see why it got cancelled at all. I will be watching the final few episodes when they are finally aired because I’m dying to know what the real reasons are behind everything.