Wednesday, 31 July 2013

No Books Allowed - July


Thanks to the wonderful Raimy for hosting this monthly feature. You can find her over at http://www.readaraptor.co.uk/

Another new job!
Last month I talked about me moving to Norfolk after university and starting a new job as well as applying for another. It took a couple of weeks and a few interviews but I am so happy so say that I got the promotion I had applied for. It's all been a bit overwhelming to be honest. I had only been in my original position as a General Assistant for 7ish weeks and now I'm the manager. 

I have had a hell of a lot to learn in such a short space of time too. After being officially offered the position, I only had a week with the manager at the time before she left for her new job. That isn't a lot of time to think of everything I wanted or needed to ask and it also isn't a lot of time to get used to the idea of taking over. Regardless of the insanely busy first couple of weeks, I really couldn't be happier about getting the job. I'm not sure I'll have as much time for blogging any more though with working a lot of hours but I'm still going to do my best with it. 

Holidays
While John and I are heading off to Florida in 2 months to get married, we have also been thinking about holidays for next year this month. Even though we have had some ideas of what we wanted we hadn't been able to decide anything until I found out about my promotion. Now that we know more about how we will be with money, we have decided on Paris! I have always wanted to go to Paris but for some reason, chose other places to go first. 

Hopefully we'll be heading to Paris in March for my birthday which will be super exciting. To anyone who has been to Paris already, what are the must do/ must see things? Also, any ideas of what to do that isn't quite so obvious?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

About the book
Waiting for You is a stand-alone contemporary young adult novel by Susane Colasanti. The book was published by Speak on 6th April 2010 and it is 336 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
A new year at school means a brand new start for Marisa. She wants people to think of her differently, be cooler and get herself a boyfriend during her sophomore year. Who will the guy be though? There’s Derek, the hot and popular guy, geeky next door neighbour Nash and the mysterious underground DJ who seems to understand everything that Marisa is going through. Marisa’s choice seems easy enough to her but will it be the right one?

What I thought
I was really looking forward to reading this book after having it sat on my shelf for so long. I really enjoy contemporary stories during the summer and I was hoping that this was going to be good.

Waiting for You begins just as Marisa is about to start her sophomore year at school which means for her, a brand new start. She loves reinventing herself every year and trying to become the person she wants to be. While I did think this was a lovely and brave idea, it did also seem that she just wanted to fit in with whatever was happening each year. Marisa seemed like a nice enough girl, and a pretty normal teenager but I just didn’t warm to her very much. She came across as a bit of a sheep, only wanting what others had and not being herself a lot of the time.

There were, however, some good secondary characters though who made things more interesting. Marisa’s best friend Sterling was a great character to read about because she had a wonderful personality, loads of unique aspects to her and generally pretty fun. The next door neighbour, Nash, was also a good character who was very different to Marisa and the popular guy love interest, Derek. I kind of wish that Sterling had been the protagonist in this book instead of Marisa because she was far more interesting to read about.

I hate to say it but the plot was extremely bland for me for the most part. Waiting for You is pretty much the story of Marisa deciding which boy to choose. There is very little chemistry between her and her love interest, nor is their relationship believable. I didn’t understand Marisa’s choices other than the fact that she thought Derek was hot which is definitely not enough to go on. There are a few problems that Marisa encounters along the way though which are supposed to spice things up a bit and make the plot more interesting but for me, these things felt like page fillers and they weren’t really needed.

Also, the whole underground DJ aspect to the book bugged the hell out of me. Honestly, it read like a written rip-off of the film Pump Up The Volume but for a younger audience. Even the kinds of advice the DJ gives and the things he talks about are similar to things that happen in the film. Pump Up The Volume is one of my all-time favourite films and I felt a bit cheated by having to read something so similar and not at all unique. I think that this DJ idea could have been used and done well if it wasn’t so similar to something that already exists.


I really wanted to enjoy this book but the plot was quite non-existent and the protagonist a bit boring. 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Film Review: Life As We Know It


About the film
Life As We Know It is a romantic comedy film that was released in 2010. The film has a run time of 114 minutes and is rated 12A.

Plot
Years ago, Holly and Messer (Eric) were set up on a blind date by their mutual friends Peter and Allison but it did not go well at all. Peter and Allison being married though means that Holly and Messer are forced to see each other now and again, especially when it concerns their god-daughter Sophie. When Peter and Allison are killed in a car crash and Holly and Messer learn that they have been named as Sophie’s guardians, they are in absolute shock. They can barely stand to be around one another, let alone bring up a child together and have no idea how to handle the situation.

Deciding to try to honour their friend’s wishes, Holly and Messer move into their house and begin to learn how to be parents. However, both Holly and Messer are single and have their own lives. How are they supposed to work together and be parents for Sophie when they can barely manage their own lives?

What I thought
Although not a fan of babies, or films about babies, I actually wanted to see this film. Katherine Heigl is one of my favourite romantic comedy actresses and Josh Duhamel certainly isn’t bad to look at. I didn’t go into this one with high hopes but was expecting something easy to watch.

Heigl plays Holly, a single woman who runs her own business but doesn’t really have time for love. Duhamel plays Messer, a guy who loves the ladies but not commitment. The two characters had been set up by friends Peter and Allison but they didn’t even make it to a restaurant because it started off so badly. However, as they have mutual friends and are god-parents to their daughter, they are forced to spend time with one another. When their friends die in a car accident, Holly and Messer are left to look after Sophie, Peter and Allison’s baby daughter but neither know where to start with being parents and even worse, they can’t stand each other.

Holly and Messer were two completely different characters but great contrasts to one another. Heigl plays Holly who is very serious about her café business and wants to do well for herself. Messer doesn’t want anything serious out of life at all apart from in his job working behind the scenes for the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. It was clear from the beginning that these two characters did not get along and that Holly was the more grown-up of the two and the more responsible. Messer, on the other hand, was the funnier of the two characters with his slacker attitude.

Although the death of Peter and Allison happens very early on in the film, it was still and extremely sad event. I think that this was mostly due to being able to see how hard it hit both Holly and Messer and what kind of a mess everyone was left in afterwards. Their poor daughter Sophie is left in the care of people who have no idea how to be parents but at least they have been a part of her life up until this point. Holly and Messer don’t want her being with strangers so decide to do what Peter and Allison wanted. Going from such a sad event, we then go to hysterical scenes of Holly and Messer trying to cope with a very young baby. They don’t know how to change a nappy, nor how to do anything else really so there was a lot of trial and error going on.

At the same time as learning how to be parents to someone else’s child, Holly and Messer also have to learn how to get along and actually live with each other. I really enjoyed watching them trying to cope to organise their lives, especially as they both had completely different schedules and things to do. They also had to try and fit in their personal lives, more Messer than Holly though in this department. I have no idea how I would cope in this kind of situation but it would be a lot to deal with on top of having your best friends die so suddenly. Watching Holly and Messer attempting to cope was really funny and although their situation was pretty bad, it did provide a lot of comedy.

While the comedy in this film was great, the romance wasn’t nearly as good. With this kind of film, the outcome is always pretty predictable which I am more than ok with but it is the way that the characters get there that count. Holly and Messer couldn’t stand each other at the beginning of the film and while they are forced to live together, they still didn’t seem to like each other very much. At one stage, they seem more comfortable with each other than they once did but there just wasn’t any passion or chemistry between the two really. The end outcome of this film was just not believable due to the events happening throughout the film. If there had been more going on with the two characters, rather than separately, I would have believed it more.


Life As We Know It is a pretty average romantic comedy due to the lack of good romance. The plot and the comedy aspects though were what really made this film watchable. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hold Your Breath by Caroline Green

About the book
Hold Your Breath is a stand-alone young adult novel by Caroline Green. The book was published by Piccadilly Press on 1st June and it is 240 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Tara has a pretty unique ability. She is able to find lost things. This can range from keys, phones and even lost little boys. But, her ability has caused her nothing but trouble so far and her family thinks she should forget about it and never mention it again.

After moving to a new town, Tara has kept being able to find things a huge secret. No one knows about what she can do but when local girl Melodie Stone disappears, Tara knows she has to use her gift for good, even if she doesn’t want to. Are the people here going to think she’s just as crazy as everyone else or is she going to be able to convince people that she knows what is happening?

What I thought
Usually with review books, I know what to expect through the door. I don’t get that many random books anymore so I was surprised to see this one especially as I had never heard of it or the author. But, the plot synopsis grabbed me and I wanted to know what the deal was Tara and her ability.

Thrillers aren’t something I see enough of in young adult books and it really makes a change to read something so exciting. Hold Your Breath starts extremely well with a short prologue and then jumping straight into an explanation about what Tara can do. She isn’t like other girls her age… or any age really, because she can find lost objects. Early on it is explained that Tara’s family do not want her using her gift after things went terribly wrong where they lived before. I really loved the fact that Tara’s parents knew what she could do but not so much that they were against her doing it, even though the reasons why are explained later in the book.

Tara was a very interesting character, but not just because of what she can do. In the new town, Tara has no friends… at all. She keeps to herself, gets on with her life and generally just wants to be left alone. Even though she acts quite shy and reserved, this is only due to past experiences. She can be outspoken though when it comes to something she believes in and something that she thinks should be done. I really liked Tara especially because she tried to keep her family happy while doing the things she believed in at the same time.

The plot was extremely exciting for me. Small events lead up to the realisation that one of Tara’s classmates has gone missing, even though no one else seems to think that. Tara trusts her instincts about Melodie after finding one of her earrings and seeing visions of her in a bad place and decides to figure out exactly what is going on. Hold Your Breath has a slow lead up to the main events but this added a lot of tension and suspense. It was unclear as to whether or not Melodie would be saved and whether or not anyone would believe Tara in time.

As well as a kick ass plot, this book has some fantastic secondary characters and a little romance to boot. It was great to see Tara putting herself out there with Leo, a guy who works at the local pool and Melodie’s half-brother. The sweet romance was lovely to read about but it was also great to see Tara interact with someone other than her parents and brother. She definitely needed friends outside of her home life and she needed something to look forward to and to have some fun, especially with some serious stuff going on around her.


This book was pretty near perfect for me. There was a few too many mean girls for my liking but other than that, I really did love everything that was going on. Caroline Green writes a fantastic thriller story and still manages to put in aspects of other young adult books that I have loved. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

While it Lasts by Abbi Glines

About the book
While it Lasts is the third book in the new adult (Sea Breeze) series by Abbi Glines. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April and it is 304 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Cage York may have messed up his full baseball scholarship by getting into trouble drink-driving. In order to save his future his coach is making him work on a friend’s farm for the whole summer. Cage isn’t used to being stuck out in the country with no women to keep him entertained and he definitely isn’t used to having to deal with cows. Never was he expecting to run smack bang into a girl with the most beautiful blue eyes he has ever seen. Shame she seems to hate him though.

Eva Brooks is the daughter of the farm owner and Cage’s new employer. She’s had a pretty hard time of it after losing her fiancé at such a young age. Her and Josh had been best friends since they were eight and now she feels incomplete. Eva thought that she could never feel anything for anyone again, swearing that she would spend the rest of her life alone. Cage gets under her skin though and she finds it hard to resist his incredible smile and charm. Eva soon learns that the things she needs may just come in very unexpected packages.

What I thought
Although this is the third book in the Sea Breeze series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

In the previous book, Because of Low, I found Cage to be a bit of an ass for the most part. If you’re going into this one not having read the previous book, you’ll be lucky to not have any preconceptions about the main male character. In Because of Low, Cage is shown as a massive player, jumping into bed with a different girl every night but he is also shown as extremely caring when it comes to his best friend. In While it Lasts, we get the best of both worlds with Cage. His bad boy ways shine through as he is being punished for driving drunk but as he spends more time on the farm and getting to know Eva, he changes.

Eva, the poor girl, has been through such a lot at a young age. Being engaged to her best friend was heaven for her but then he died in a bombing in Baghdad, leaving her all alone and with not a lot to live for. Ava was extremely protective of herself and those around her to begin with and she certainly didn’t like Cage to start off. She disagreed wholly with everything that he was and didn’t want to give him the time of day… until she begun to get to know him and to realise how hot he was.

Cage and Eva were characters who brought out the best in each other. Eva doesn’t know how to open up to a new man in her life and she doesn’t know how to react to someone so different from what she is used to but Cage makes it easier for her because of how forward he can be. Eva lost a lot of herself after her fiancé died and by exploring a relationship with Cage, it brings out her personality and makes her realise that there is more to herself than she once thought. I loved watching these two characters getting to know each other better and for different things about them to get stronger. Eva becomes more confident in herself and more experimental when it comes to having a sexual relationship while Cage becomes sweeter, more attentive and very caring.


However, as much as I loved this book, I do wish the plot had been a bit stronger. Unlike its predecessor, While it Lasts is all about the relationship between Cage and Eva. I would have loved for there to have been a few more problems in the road to happiness and I would have loved for a bit more drama. But, regardless of a less exciting plot, Abbi Glines makes up for this with amazing characters who are amazing together. I really enjoyed the journey that these two characters went on together and they are now two of my favourites from Abbi Glines. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Crush by Nicole Williams

About the book
Crush is the third and final book in the new adult ‘Crush’ trilogy by Nicole Williams. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 4th July and it is 400 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through www.overflowinglibrary.com

Plot Synopsis
Lucy and Jude have had a rollercoaster of a relationship so far but three years later, they’re in college, engaged, living together and happy. When Jude get drafted to play in the NFL, things should only be getting better. Jude has finally managed to get his dream and his success means big changes. Lucy isn’t like most of the other player’s girlfriends and wives though and all the money in the world can’t buy her happiness.

Lucy has always wanted to be a dancer and for her, that can’t happen in California. With Jude in there and Lucy in New York, will their dreams keep them apart or will they find a happy ever after?

What I thought
This series has been one of my favourite new adult series so far and I really couldn’t wait to get my hands on the final book to see what would finally happen with Jude and Lucy.

Something that I have loved about this whole series has been Lucy and Jude’s explosive relationship. Even though they have both been idiots at times in the past, their strong love for each other shines through and I could never doubt their feelings for one another. In this book, I think these feelings are only intensified due to the plot. Right at the beginning, Jude is waiting for the call from the NFL to see where he is going to be drafted to. Unfortunately, even though his dream has finally happened, he gets to play for the team in San Diego which means he’s a couple of thousand miles away from the love of his life. Speaking from experience, I know how a long distance relationship can make you want someone so much more and that’s how things are for Lucy and Jude.

As characters, I think Jude wins hands down in regards to development over the course of the series. In this book especially, we get to see exactly how Jude has changed from book one and I do love the changes in him. Before, he was the guy who could flip so easily and not think anything through. Now, although he still does have some jealousy and a temper, he is much more mature. He is still possessive of Lucy but because he doesn’t want anyone else taking her away. While some could see this as a bad trait, I liked it about Jude. It showed how much he loved Lucy and that he would do anything to protect her.

Lucy on the other hand I didn’t like so much in this book. While it was clear she was happy about Jude getting to play in the NFL, she did a hell of a lot of moaning about things that happened because of this. Yes, I get that she didn’t want to be seen as a gold digger and there was emphasis on the whole ‘money can’t buy you happiness’ thing but she was just so damn ungrateful. Jude wanted to show Lucy the finer things in life, but she kind of threw that in his face. I could understand his reasons for doing so because they’ve had a pretty hard struggle and he’s from a place where he had no money or hope for a better life. He had worked hard to get to this place and he wanted to share that with Lucy.  

I really liked how this book managed to have a great plot, with some great twists and turns, while still wrapping up the story nicely. In Crush, we still get to see Lucy and Jude at their very best with some great arguments/ disagreements and then some hot make up sex. There is plenty going on due to Lucy and Jude being apart and this also brings in a whole host of secondary characters which make things a lot more exciting. Someone I was happy to see again was Jude’s long-time friend Holly and her son. Holly provided some much needed friendship and female company for Lucy.


Crush wasn’t my favourite out of the three books but I did certainly enjoy it. Nicole Williams writes amazing characters with sizzling chemistry and she makes her books ridiculously hard to put down! 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Film Review: Fast and Furious 6


About the film
Fast and Furious 6 is the sixth film in the Fast and Furious series. The film was released at the cinema on 17th May and it has a run time of 130 minutes. Fast and Furious 6 is rated 12A due to violence and language.

Plot
After the success of their last job in Rio, Dom and the rest of his crew are off living their lives and enjoying their new wealth. Brian and Mia are celebrating the birth of their son while Dom is quite happy with Elena. The rest of the crew are scattered all over the world. At the same time, Agent Hobbs and his new partner are tracking a crew of drivers causing havoc over 12 countries, led by mastermind Owen Shaw. Hobbs knows that Shaw cannot be caught with the usual methods and the only people who will know how he works are the criminals he once attempted to catch.

While asking Dom and his crew for help, Hobbs shows a picture of Letty who is supposed to be dead. Dom doesn’t believe the picture to begin with but desperately wants to know what it means and if Letty is actually alive. This gives him no option but to round up the crew, head to London and help Hobbs catch someone even harder to track down than Dom himself. Knowing that Hobbs cannot do this mission without them, Dom and the crew say it’s full pardons for everyone or no deal. All everyone wants is to return home and live their lives again and helping Hobbs may be the only way to ever get that.  

What I thought
The Fast and Furious series is one of those that you either seem to love or hate. I know many people that cannot stand the series but I am one of those who absolutely loves it. I have loved it from the first film, and each film (with the exception of maybe Tokyo Drift) is better than the last. After the ending of Fast and Furious 5, I was extremely excited about the sixth film.

Fast and Furious 6 begins by showing Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his new partner Riley (Gina Carano) in Russia after a driving crew has caused havoc and destruction to a military convoy. Hobbs is beginning to get really frustrated with the fact that he cannot track down and catch leader of the crew, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Quickly after, we are shown how the characters from the previous film are living their lives after getting extremely rich in Rio. I really liked how the film reintroduced the audience to old favourites while also introducing the new characters at the same time. The opening scenes really helped to set up the plot for the rest of the film without wasting any time.

Setting wise, this time around the majority of the film is set in London, as well as parts in Spain. Previous films have seen locations such as Rio and Tokyo, quite extravagant and stunning places but I think the London setting here gave the film a grittier feel to it. Before, it has been about girls in the skimpiest of clothes at races and the luxury of the character’s surroundings. With scenes in the London Underground, back alley garages and pawn shops, Fast and Furious 6 is different to the other films. While we get to see a less touristy view of London, there are also fantastic car chases around the streets including places such as Leicester Square which adds a bit of colour and the more well-known parts of the city.

Next to Fast and Furious 5, I think that this film had one of the best plots in the series. The fact that Hobbs had to ask Dom and the crew for help was a great thing for me. It showed that there was a lot more to a character I thought was quite one-sided and it also showed that you can’t do everything on your own. The addition of villain Owen Shaw and the mystery of Letty were extremely well put together and they worked really well too. There are great reasons behind most of the things that happen in this film and I feel as though every little detail had been thought of; however crazy some of those reasons may have been.

Everything in this film is bigger and better than it has been before. The car chases are more extravagant, the cars are bigger, better and faster and the plot is more complicated. The car scenes have always been one of my favourite aspects of these films because they are just so exciting. This time around, the action and excitement is on a completely different level. Instead of just using cars and bikes, we get military vehicles, strange little go-kart looking things and more interesting and exciting places to be chased. The fight scenes are also larger, longer and with bigger guys fighting it out. I cannot fault the action in this film whatsoever.

Although a fast paced action film, Fast and Furious 6 also has a wonderful message about family. Throughout the film, Dom explains that you never turn your back on family and that family sticks together through anything. Regardless of what is going on in their lives, the crew are willing to drop anything if one of them calls, especially if that call comes from Dom. When he explains about the new job and about the possibility of Letty still being alive, everyone gets together quickly and are prepared to do anything to get her back. Many of the crew members are ‘manly’, for lack of a better word, so it was nice to see something like this soften them up a bit.  

The cast all do fantastic jobs in Fast and Furious 6. Vin Diesel reprises his role as hard man Dominic Toretto but as I said before, the family aspect of the film gives him a softer side. We also get to see him act differently when it comes to Letty. I forget that amongst the tough talking and fighting, Dom is a character who loved Letty with everything he had and she was everything to him. It was nice to see this side of him and also the character development compared with how he was in earlier films. It was also great to see Dom and Brian (Paul Walker) having such a close relationship now. In the first thing, these two were near enemies and a lot has happened between the two. With Brian having a son with Mia, Dom’s sister, these characters have a great relationship and the banter and conversations between the two were great to watch. Other cast members worth mentioning are Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce and Chris Bridges as Tej Parker. These two have a wonderful bromance going on and many of the jokes in this film come from these two.


Fast and Furious 6 is by far one of my favourite films in this series. There are great characters, an evil villain and such an exciting plot. This one had everything I could have wanted and more and I can’t wait to see where the series goes next. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Just for Now by Abbi Glines

About the book
Just for Now is the fourth book in the new adult ‘Sea Breeze’ series by Abbi Glines. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April and it is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through www.overflowinglibrary.com

Plot Synopsis
Preston Drake is used to having a different woman every night. He likes no strings attached and he really just wants to have fun. But, he can’t seem to stop thinking about the one girl he is forbidden from touching… his best friend’s little sister who is now all grown up.

Luckily for Preston, Amanda Hardy has had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. After one crazy night, Amanda thinks she might finally have gotten what she has always wanted but Preston can’t seem to get far enough away from her.

No one wants these two to be together but will they be able to ignore their feelings for one another?

What I thought
So far, I have read books 2 and 3 in this series (book 1 isn’t released in the UK yet for some reason) and I have really loved getting to know the range of characters. One that I have found to be extremely mysterious though (even though he hasn’t been featured too much) is Preston Drake and thankfully, this book revolves around him.

Amanda had previously been introduced to the series in Because of Low as she is Marcus’ little sister. From that book, I could quickly tell that she was a sweet girl with a lot of compassion for others around her. However, in that book she came across as quite young but she has definitely changed in this Just for Now. She begins by showing she has grown up and wants to put out a particular image about herself. She wants people to know that she isn’t a little girl anymore and makes sure she comes across as more mature and also as a woman instead of a girl.

Amanda’s sole aim at the beginning of the book is to get Preston’s attention after liking him for so long but this annoyed me a little bit. It was like Amanda had no life if Preston didn’t notice her. She acted as though her world would end and everything depended on him. However, I did admire the girl’s determination especially when it consisted of walking into a club all dressed up on her own, wanting fun and a good time. That is something I would never dare to do.

Just for Now is told through a dual narrative so we get to see what is going on from both points of view. Preston is a really mysterious character who doesn’t let on too much about himself and that made me want to know him so much more. Not many people know what kind of home life Preston has or what he does to earn money to support his family and a large chunk of the plot of this book revolved around revealing Preston’s secrets. I really enjoyed getting to know more about Preston and his reasons behind certain actions.

The relationship between Amanda and Preston was pretty explosive throughout, especially at the beginning. I could feel the tension between the two characters on every page and I loved the push and pull that went on between them. While one character stands by their feelings, the other is worried about the consequences of following their heart. Not only do the two have a great sexual chemistry but there are some wonderfully sweet moments when secrets are revealed and each character opens up to the other.


Just for Now has been one of my favourite Abbi Glines books so far!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

About the book
Fins are Forever is the second book in the Fins series by Tera Lynn Childs. The book was published by Templar on 1st April 2012 and it is 304 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
After severing the magical bond with human boyfriend Quince, Lily has dedicated herself to a life on land instead of under the sea. On her eighteenth birthday, she will denounce her title as Princess of Thalassinia and the date is coming around quickly. When Lily’s cousin Dosinia is exiled, Lily knows she must have done something terrible. Now, Lily is in charge of getting Dosinia used to life on land and to rid her of her hated of humans. That might be easier than once thought too with Dosinia batting her eyelashes at Lily’s ex crush, Brody.

With enough on her plate, Lily could do without even more to deal with but then childhood friend from the sea turns up. He questions her decision to stay on land and gives her a very tempting offer to think about in the run up to her birthday.

What I thought
Over the past few months, my reading pile has been taken over by either new adult books or contemporary young adult books. There has been little time or interest put into reading things like paranormal or dystopian etc books. I just haven’t been feeling it recently but I have decided to attempt to read some older books which I have had on my shelves for months now. One of these was the second mermaid book by Tera Lynn Childs and as this is a review for the second book, there will be minor spoilers for the first book.

In the first book, protagonist Lily gave up being a mermaid (a mermaid Princess to be exact) in order to be with her human boyfriend and to live on land. What she didn’t tell boyfriend Quince though is that by doing all of that, she would be giving up her right to be the Princess of Thalassinia. A large amount of the first book was set underwater but in this one, Lily is going to high school, preparing for SATs and thinking about her future and college. I really liked the difference in setting as it helped to show what a big decision Lily had made.

Fins are Forever had quite a few plot twists which I really liked. Not only does Lily have to deal with everything that comes with being human, but her cousin Dosinia (Doe) turns up after being exiled. Doe has a strong hatred for humans and has been forced to live in the same world as them instead of her happy home under the sea. Lily is furious and doesn’t want to be the one to deal with her but that’s exactly what she gets. It is Lily who has to show Doe that she is wrong and to learn to love humans. Doe is all kinds of crazy and I loved the drama she brought to the story. She is the complete opposite of Lily so it was great to see the contrast between the two.

Something very unexpected was that Doe ends up forming a bond of her very own with a human… Lily’s ex-crush Brody to be exact. While this did bring out different emotions and characteristics in both Lily and Brody, it also forced the story to head back to the water for a while. It was nice to see familiar characters again and also for the world to be explained more. In this book, we get to know quite a bit about how the underwater world works and their political agendas. There was some quite serious stuff going on but I really enjoyed these aspects of the book. It made it something more than a cute mermaid romance story and gave it added depth.


I really enjoyed Fins and Forever and considering the ending of the story, I cannot wait to see what happens with Lily next. The end was a big shock for me but I loved every word. If you’re wanting a cute, easy read that’s a bit difference then I recommend this series. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Because of Low by Abbi Glines

About the book
Because of Low is the second book in the new adult (Sea Breeze) series by Abbi Glines. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 25th April and it is 320 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Marcus Hardy hates being stuck in Sea Breeze. All he wants to do is get a better life and get out. Living with a friend of a friend, Marcus has it pretty easy at home until the gorgeous red head walks through the door. Problem is, she sleeps in his roommate Cage’s room each night and he can’t get her out of his head.

Willow ‘Low’ Foster is Cage’s best friend and he’s the one person always there for her when she needs someone to run to. Cage is a player but believes Low will be the one he marries someday, even though they have never been anything but best friends. When Low notices Marcus checking her out, she can’t help but return the feelings of lust. She knows she shouldn’t go there with her best friend’s roommate but there is a lot more to Marcus that she initially thought and his secrets could have the biggest impact on her life.

What I thought
Although not particularly liking another of Abbi Glines’ series, I had three of the books in this one sitting and waiting to be read. I went into this one with an open mind and hoping to like it better than I did Fallen Too Far. Although this is the second book in the series, each book can be read as a stand-alone as they focus on different characters each time.

Marcus instantly came across as a really nice guy, which is a chance for Abbi Glines as she tends to write bad boys for the most part in her books. However, in Sea Breeze everyone knows who he is and he hates that fact that he has had to drop out of college and move back home. He’s had to move back home to look after his mother and sister since his father became a cheating rat. I loved that Marcus was such a family orientated guy and it showed that he really would do anything for the people he loved. He also wasn’t going to listen to other people’s opinions when it came to Low. As soon as he saw her, he knew what he wanted and tried his damned hardest to get her.

Low was also a great character. She has a rough time at home with her sister constantly kicking her out even though Low looks after her niece a lot. Whenever she has nowhere to go, she runs to best friend Cage, who also happens to be Marcus’ roommate. Even though it may sound like she can’t do much for herself, she is definitely independent and really does fight to support herself. Her family situation is through no fault of her own and she deals with it in the best way she can. She also is a really sweet and loving girl who has a positive attitude towards everything.

I also really liked the relationship between the two main characters. Marcus was nothing but sweet towards Low, with the exception of a few slight jealous moments, and this was a really welcome change for me. Low is also really happy for someone to really like her for her and look past the fact that she has a dysfunctional family and her friendship with Cage. Low and Marcus also have a lot in common so there were some really great scenes between the two that didn’t involve sex. As a new adult book though, these scenes are also in there but I really liked them. This couple has the ability to be both sweet and romantic whilst also have some extremely steamy scenes at the same time. Their chemistry was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of these two.

As much as this book sounds like it is all about Marcus and Low’s relationship, there is also more to it than that. There are secrets that effect both character’s lives and while I had my suspicions about what this was throughout the first half of the book, I was never completely sure until it was revealed. I liked that there was more to this book than just a relationship and I thought it was a great idea to bring in the main character’s families and the problems that went with them. Also, other characters from the Sea Breeze series make appearances throughout which is a nice thing for when you have read others in this series.


Overall, Because of Low is a great new adult book by Abbi Glines. This one has a fantastic mix of sweet romance and an intense sexual relationship between Marcus and Low and I really enjoyed reading about them. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Book to Film Review: Dreamcatcher


About the film
Dreamcatcher was released in 2003 and is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. It is rated 15 due to strong violence, language, horror and sexual references and is 128 minutes long.

Plot
Four childhood friends, Pete, Beaver, Henry and Jonesy share a very special gift after saving another boy, 'Duddits', from bullies when they were younger. The four men are on their annual hunting trip when a big storm hits the area.

Jonesy and Beaver come across a very ill man, Nick, while out in the woods and decide to let him come back to the cabin to rest but leave him there to go and see why there are helicopters flying overhead. When they return to the cabin, they find Nick dead in the bathroom and the walls are covered with some weird red stuff. Nick was possessed by an alien that left his body once it died and the four friends realise the storm brought in something much worse than just bad weather and they must use their special gift to try and stay alive.

What I thought
I'll start by saying that I haven't read the book so I have nothing to compare this to so if there is anything missing/ changed then I can't comment on that.

To begin with, I thought the story looked like it was going to be pretty good and until about half way in, it was, then things just got silly. After watching this for a second time, I'm thinking the book is bound to be better and I should probably read it. I loved IT and The Shining which were genuinely scary films and that is where this one fails.

There is quite a lot of suspense during the first half of the film but as I said, after that it got kind of silly and ruined everything. The aliens aren't very believable and neither was the ending. Maybe if the aliens had been better designed then I would have found them scary but they were very 'been done before' and boring.

Morgan Freeman has been amazing in pretty much everything I've seen him in so far...until this film. His character should have been someone really important with a big presence on screen but I thought he was out shined a couple of the other main actors.

Damian Lewis who played Jonesy was my favourite character. While this is a horror film, Lewis managed to add a little and much needed, humour to his role with his split personality character and broke the film up a bit for me. Even though I liked him, I have to mention that he was terrible at using a fake English accent. That was my only downside to him.

The rest of the cast weren't all that great and their performances weren't very memorable apart from Jason Lee plays Beaver. He has been amazing in Kevin Smith films and My Name is Earl but he was a big let-down in Dreamcatcher. Not the best reason to be memorable now is it?

Dreamcatcher the book was a best seller but unfortunately, this film wasn't. If you are easily scared then it might be for you, but as a die-hard horror fan, I wasn't impressed and wouldn't recommend it.

Monday, 15 July 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

About the book
All Our Yesterdays is the debut novel from young adult author Cristin Terrill. The book is published by Bloomsbury on 1st August and it is 384 pages long. Thanks to the publishers for providing me with an ARC for review.

Plot Synopsis
Em is locked in a prison cell with only the boy, Finn, in the cell next door to talk to. Inside the drain she finds a list of instructions, one of which is ‘You have to kill him.’ That isn’t the strangest thing about the list though. Em has never seen it before but it is written in her handwriting. She has tried multiple times to stop the creation of a time travel machine but each time, her fate has landed her in the dark, dingy prison cell.

Marina is wealthy, popular and the best friend of James – the boy next door. James comes from one of the most famous families in America and is a science prodigy, always working on one thing or another. One night, James’ life falls apart with one massive event, and Marina’s hopes of him ever loving her back seem to disappear. Still, Marina will do whatever she can to protect him, even when someone is trying to kill him. However, she’s about to find out that James has more secrets than she ever could have imagined and they’re going to change her life forever.

What I thought
I absolutely love time travel books so it didn’t take me long to read this one once it came through the post.

All Our Yesterdays is told from the dual narratives of both Em and Marina, one lives in the present while the other is in the past. Due to the way of telling the story, time jumps from one time to another depending on who is narrating that specific chapter. While this could get confusing, each girl has a quite distinct voice and the events in each time are very different so it is easy to follow what is going on. The plot mainly follows Em and Finn who must go back in time to stop something horrible from happening. Unlike in some other time travel books, this one is far from confusing. I felt as though Cristin Terrill created a plot that was exciting and a little bit complex but she explained everything in such a simple way. I completely understood why time travel existed and what happened in order for it to exist.

As main characters go, Em was pretty fantastic. At the beginning of the book she is stuck in a cell, being tortured and having a pretty crap time of it. She is extremely strong, determined and pretty kick ass at the same time. Em is also really mature and after having to deal with a lot, she’s had to grow up really quickly. Along with Finn, she must deal with the past but after many attempts, there is only one option left. Unfortunately for Em, this option pulls at her heart strings and forces her to deal with people from her own past.

Terrill brings together the characters from the past and present in such a fantastic way. The plot makes it possible to see how each character has changed over time and also what made them change. Marina in particular starts out as a quiet young and naïve girl wrapped up in her own world but she soon comes to realise that there is more out there to be worried about than boyfriends and dresses. This all happens quite slowly, due to the flitting between the past and the present. Little snippets about each character are revealed throughout and it was nice to see little changes over time. I loved the character development in this book and the author really did seem to think of everything when it came to this.  

Terrill has not only created such fantastic characters but also one hell of an exciting world. The differences between the same world in both past and present settings all become clear once the plot does. Some events have a larger impact than some but everything helps to result in the world that Em and Finn live in… which is not a good one. One aspect of the book is full of expense and lavish lifestyles while the other is grimier and very rough. The excitement comes from how the world has changed and the problems that the characters face. Think car chases, guns and secrets on top of secrets.


It’s quite hard to describe what is so good about this book without giving away major plot twists. Overall though, Terrill has written an amazing debut novel full of suspense, action and sweet romance. I cannot wait to read more from this author. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness



About the film
Star Trek Into Darkness is the second instalment of the newest Star Trek series of films. It was released at the cinema on 9th May. The film is rated 12A and has a run time of 132 minutes.

Plot
After venturing out to the planet Nibiru and managing to save it from destruction, the crew of the Enterprise is called back home. Shortly after though, Captain Kirk is demoted to First Officer, and former Captain Pike takes his place after putting his crew in danger and not following protocol. When someone from within Starfleet bombs a secret area called Section 31 in London, all hell breaks loose. An emergency meeting of all Captains and First Officers is called but is attacked by the man responsible for the bombing. The attack results in many deaths, including that of Captain Pike. With a personal vendetta to settle, Kirk takes charge of his ship and leads a man hunt for Khan, the man responsible for everything. However, Khan is unlike any other Starfleet Officer and Kirk and his team have a near impossible mission on their hands if they’re going to stop him and save everyone they know.

What I thought
Star Trek Into Darkness was one of the films I have been looking forward to most this year. Each time I saw the trailer at the cinema, it gave me goosebumps and I was obviously desperate to see it and I went a few days after it opened.

The film starts off full of action, with Captain Kirk and his crew running through a beautiful planet but away from the inhabitants that live there while Spock is trying to stop a volcano from erupting. Not only is the beginning of the film really exciting but it is also stunning to watch. We also quickly get reacquainted with the cast and crew of the Enterprise. James Kirk is back up to his old tricks by not following the rules and doing whatever the hell he feels like, Spock is there to try to talk sense into him and his relationship with Uhura has deepened. I liked the reintroduction to the characters as it meant the film was able to get right into the plot instead of spending a long time establishing who everyone was.

Chris Pine reprises his role as Captain James T. Kirk, a strong headed and selfish kind of guy. It doesn’t seem as though his character has come very far from where he was in the first film. He still thinks he can do what he wants and nothing bad will happen because of his actions. He still cares mostly about himself with the exception of a few moments between him and a couple of other people. As the lead role, you would expect Kirk to be more likeable but he isn’t. I couldn’t warm to him very much at all and I had been hoping that in this film, he would have changed a little bit.

Spock, on the other hand, was every bit as fabulous as I remembered him to be. Zachary Quinto is an exceptional actor with the ability to take on pretty much any role. The role of Spock is so far away from that of those he played in either Heroes or American Horror Story but yet he pulls each of them off with perfection. As a character not feeling human emotion, nor the ability to lie and break from the rules, he is so interesting to watch. Not only that, but the relationships that he develops are almost as interesting as the character due to the fact that they are unlike any relationships I have seen before. Spock’s character is also funny in an unconventional way due to his strange mannerisms and the fact that he doesn’t think he is in the wrong… ever.

The plot follows the crew of the Enterprise, Starfleet and the man responsible for bombings and attacking the Captains and First Officers. The man in question is Khan, aka John Harrison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Khan’s character has a lot of secrets and reasons behind his actions which are slowly revealed over the course of the film. He’s unlike any other Starfleet member though and for a fantastic reason. The whole film revolves around Khan’s past and where he comes from. As a villain, he was supposed to be very devious and cunning, with skills beyond belief. While Cumberbatch has a wicked evil look to him, I just didn’t believe he was that bad. Never did I think of him as a huge threat, even when he did wander around with massive guns shooting the crap out of Klingons.

While a large amount of the cast was a let-down, the action never stopped. This is a film with fight scene after fight scene and constantly changing settings. Both of this things are what make this an enjoyable film. Into Darkness concentrates strongly on good vs. evil and the need to do the right thing. It was interesting to see these lines blurred throughout the film. Kirk is sure he is doing the right thing while Spock continues to tell him he isn’t There are also However, with characters lacking in substance, it makes it hard to care who lives or dies, who fails and who succeeds. There are however, a few nice moments regarding the friendship between Kirk and Spock but this doesn’t last nearly long enough.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t love this film as much as the first one. While it was exciting and quite emotional in parts, the villain was somewhat of a let-down and I just didn’t care as much. Don’t get me wrong though, Star Trek Into Darkness is still a good film just not as good as the first. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie

About the book
Falling Fast is the first book in the series of the same name by Sophie McKenzie. It was published by Simon and Schuster on 1st March 2012 and the book is 256 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
River wants to fall in love. Not any kind of love though, she wants that all-consuming kind of love like that of Romeo and Juliet. When River auditions for a part in that very same play, she becomes attracted to Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. Love does not come easily though as Flynn comes from a damaged family and River has extremely high expectations. Will Flynn becomes River’s one true love or will their relationship suffer a tragic end.

What I thought
Having not read a Sophie McKenzie book before, I didn’t know what to expect from this one.

River quite quickly came across as very young and inexperienced in the ways of relationships and love. She’s obsessed with the idea of being completely in love like the Romeo and Juliet and believes that a connection like theirs could actually happen. Auditioning for the play doesn’t help matters either when she falls for lead boy, Flynn. While River’s sweet and innocent personality was nice to begin with, it ended up being too annoying for me part way through the book. She expected too much too soon and even with her friends giving her advice, she just didn’t get that she wasn’t going to get exactly what she wanted.

Flynn on the other hand, was extremely real. His family has quite a lot of problems which causes him to be guarded and a bit secretive with River. He doesn’t want her to know about his home life and doesn’t want her to think anything less of him because of how he lives. Due to his own problems, this causes Flynn to act a bit strange around River and she never really understands why. I really liked Flynn’s character and the way that McKenize wrote him. He’s one of the most realistic teenage boys that I have read about in a long time. He’s moody, a bit up himself and then also a bit mysterious at the same time.

I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of River and Flynn’s relationship though. Before meeting Flynn, River had the idea in her head about the Romeo and Juliet romance so I wonder whether she would have liked him if he hadn’t have been playing the lead role in the play. I also didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two either. It seemed to me that River pushed for more than what Flynn was ready to give and then went off in a huff when she didn’t get what she wanted. There was just too many arguments and bickering for me.

Something I did really like about Falling Fast was the way that it dealt with the things that teenagers get up to. Teenagers drink, they go to parties and pubs when they shouldn’t and yes, they have sex. Sophie McKenzie tackled these issues in a really well written way and because of this, her characters were like real teenagers. In regards to sex, while McKenzie makes it known that teenagers do this, she also makes a clear point to say that it is ok to say no if you’re not ready which was a really great message to send out to her readers.

Plot wise, Falling Fast was pretty average for me. I did like the references to Romeo and Juliet and for something to be happening throughout the book. But… I think if it hadn’t have been for the play (which also introduced other characters well) then there would have just been an annoying relationship between River and Flynn. There were a couple of great moments and revelations concerning Flynn and his family though and I really wish these had been explored a bit more.


Overall, Falling Fast was an average read for me but I do still kind of want to know what happens next. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt


About the book
Right of Way is a contemporary young adult novel by Lauren Barnholdt. It was published by Simon Pulse on 9th July and the book is 320 pages long. I received and e-book for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

What I thought
Right of Way is the companion novel to Two-Way Street, which was released quite a while ago now. I didn’t even realise this before reading the book. However, you don’t need to have read Two-Way Street before reading this one and it can work as a stand-alone. The characters from Two-Way Street do make appearances in this one although you won’t be confused about who they are.

I really enjoyed this book from the first page. We meet protagonist Peyton sitting in some bushes, having a massive panic because her plans for the whole summer have just been messed up. She’s stuck in Florida after going to a wedding, her parents have flown home already and she is all on her own. Peyton and her best friend were supposed to be running away to North Carolina but her best friend’s mum found out and pretty much has her on house arrest. Now, Peyton is stuck in Florida with very little money and no way of either getting home or to North Carolina.

Jace is Peyton’s knight in shining armour – even though they have some awkward past and they’re not really speaking. Jace steps up and offers to drive Peyton home, not realising at all what he’s getting himself into. I loved Jace because even though he knew things were awkward between him and Peyton, he still did the right thing and looked after her. He was gentlemanly and kind and thoughtful when he decided to go on this road trip.

Right of Way is told through a dual narrative. Both Peyton and Jace get their own chapters. However, this book is done slightly differently. Chapters go between the past and the present and through Peyton and Jace. Telling the story this way meant we got to learn about what happened with Jace and Peyton before and to know why things are so weird between them. These things are slowly revealed throughout the book which meant there was always a little bit of mystery about what had actually happened.

The actual road trip taken in this book is really entertaining. Jace and Peyton get themselves into some quite funny situations which had me giggling while there are also some more serious things going on at the same time. The past/ present narrative breaks up the monotony of them driving for so many miles and it also made the book fun. I do wish we had gotten a little bit more of them on the road though as it didn’t seem to last very long.

While this was a fun and cute read, the end was very abrupt. I felt as though everything ended far too quickly and I wanted answers. Some things were answered well but there were some massive issues which were just left up in the air. I would have liked for either everything to have been dealt with or to know that there was going to be a second book.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

About the book
Fallen Too Far is the first book in the new adult series of the same name by Abbi Glines. The book has a release date of 4th July and is published by Simon and Schuster. This book is 247 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
After her mother passes away after a three year struggle with cancer, nineteen year old Blaire Wynn finds herself homeless. With only one person left to turn to, she phones her father, the last person she ever wanted to ask for help. But when Blaire turns up to his house all ready to move in, she is quickly surprised by the fact that her father and step-mother have gone to Paris and have left her with her new step-brother.

Rush is not the kind of guy that Blaire is used to having to deal with. He’s rich, arrogant and a massive player. However, he is also gorgeous and Blaire can’t take her eyes off him… even when he’s with another girl. Rush isn’t the kind of guy Blaire should be attracted to but she is, and maybe he feels the same way. Rush has secrets though and they could be exactly what pushes Blaire too far…

What I thought
Having previously loved Abbi Glines other new adult series ‘The Vincent Boys’, I couldn’t wait to give one of her other series a try.

Unfortunately, Fallen Too Far doesn’t really have much of a plot; not a substantial one anyway. The beginning of the book sees protagonist Blaire without a home and roughly $20 to her name. She has a small case of clothes, a gun and her truck but no one she can really turn to and trust. After her mother’s death, she is forced to move in with her estranged father who left her mother for another woman. Needless to say, Blaire isn’t his biggest fan. When she turns up at his house, he isn’t their but her new step-brother is. Most of the book follows Blaire as she steps into a completely new world and tried not to fall for her step-brother.

Now, first I feel like I must address the step-brother aspect of this book. I know some people have found this quite creepy/ a bit wrong but this wasn’t the bit that I minded so much. Blaire and Rush had never met before and they didn’t know about each other really. Also, they are step-brother and sister, not half which means in no way are they related so technically there is nothing wrong about them being together. Also, as the parents were absent for the most part of the book, it didn’t even feel as though they were step-siblings anyway.

However, I did have pretty mixed feelings about Rush. While he was pretty damn sexy in ways of his tattoos and piercings, there wasn’t much to him. He was shallow, self-centred for the most part and likes to sleep around. Even though I hated these parts of his character, he did have one or two slightly redeeming qualities which are explained later on in the book. I just wish there had been a lot more depth to Rush as I really wanted to like him a lot more.

Blaire was a much more likeable character although again, she had her own problems. Blaire isn’t used to the kind of life that Rush leads because she isn’t rich and can’t just do whatever she wants. She’s tough, knows how to handle herself and generally doesn’t let anyone walk all over her and these were the qualities that I loved about Blaire. She has had a pretty rough time of it with looking after her sick mother and I really did want her to catch a break and for things to get better. At least she did well getting a job that paid well and gave her a lot more independence.

As a girl with little experience outside of her own life and with guys, I did find Blaire to be quite naïve at times and this definitely affected her relationship with Rush. As the more experienced of the two, he had the ball in his court every single step of the way. He knew exactly how to play Blaire and how to get what he wanted out of her. At the same time though, Blaire did know what she was getting herself into after seeing the kinds of things that Rush got up to. The romance aspect of this book just didn’t completely do it for me, even with some pretty steamy sex scenes. These were slightly ruined by the lack of thought put into the content. As a book aimed at older teens/ early 20s, unprotected sex should not have happened in my eyes. I don’t think that this promotes healthy and safe relationships especially as there wasn’t even talk of the morning after pill afterwards.


While there are a few small shocks throughout the book, it was mostly just full of shallow characters who thought they could throw money at their problems. There were only a couple of good aspects for me and it certainly wasn’t as good as The Vincent Boys which was a book from the same author that I loved completely. Even though I wasn’t in love with this book, I will still read others by Abbi Glines with the hope that it was just this one I didn’t like. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Book to Film Review: Safe Haven


About the film
Safe Haven is a 2013 romantic comedy film that is based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film was released on 1st March, is rated 12A and has a run time of 115 minutes.

Plot
On the run, mysterious Katie ends up in Southport, North Carolina after her bus takes a small stop there. Deciding to stay instead of carrying on with her journey, Katie distances herself from everyone and everything in town by living in a house in the middle of nowhere. She doesn’t want to form any personal relationships in order to save her secret but neighbour Jo won’t stay away and neither will Alex, a widow with two young children. Knowing that she can’t stay completely alone forever, she befriends a couple of people but barely lets them in. However, Katie’s past is catching up with her and quickly and she realises that taking a chance on someone new may just be worth the risk.

What I thought
As cheesy as Nicholas Sparks’ stories are, I can’t help but like them especially in film version. A Walk to Remember is one of my all-time favourite films and because of that, I will generally give anything Sparks related a go.

In Safe Haven, protagonist Katie is seen early on fleeing a house with blood on her hands. We don’t know why or exactly what happens but then we see her with short blonde hair instead of the long, brown hair she had before and boarding a bus out of town. Playing Katie is Julianne Hough who is now making a name for herself in romantic comedy films. Previously, Hough has been a professional dancer (sister of Derek Hough) and was a pro on Dancing with the Stars as well as having a record deal. Although not having a long list of previous films, Hough has been in the remake of Footloose, Burlesque and Rock of Ages – all films making the most of her ability to sing and dance. However, in Safe Haven Hough has to rely solely on her acting ability. While she does a pretty decent job, she is far from amazing. There are scenes which need her to act scared and scream but she comes across as a bit whiney and there isn’t much feeling behind her performance in these parts. On the other hand, she still manages to make her character Katie likeable, even though we don’t know exactly what happened to her.

Playing opposite Hough is Josh Duhamel as love interest Alex who is a widower with two young children. It is clear that Alex is instantly interested in Katie even though he is still not used to the fact that his wife is gone. He wants to look after his children and get on with life and is definitely not looking to fall in love but he can’t seem to help himself when it comes to Katie. Duhamel is a pretty standard actor in this genre but I definitely preferred his performance compared to Hough’s. He makes it possible to feel for his character, to understand what he’s going through and the character is also a really nice guy. It would be really hard to not like Alex and to hope things go well for him.

As far as romantic comedies go, this one is pretty standard, especially for one adapted from a Sparks novel. The plot is extremely clichéd but I kind of love that about these kinds of films. I generally know what I’m going to get when I watch a romantic comedy and I like that because it means I will always enjoy the film… or at least not hate it. While the plot was okay, it really could have been better. As there is more to this one than just the romance, I would have liked to have known about Katie and her past. We only get glimpses of what happened to make her run away for the most part of the film and it is only near the end that we really get to know what really happened. I wanted to know more about this part of the film.

There is a twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting but I really don’t think the film needed it. If the film had ended after the big drama scene, I would have been extremely happy with the outcome but instead, some weird stuff happens. I do think this ending was very typical for a Sparks story but I also think it slightly ruined the ending for me. At the same time, it did tie in really well with other things that happen throughout the film and I can see a lot of people liking the ending due to how emotional it is.


While I didn’t love this film, I wasn’t expecting to. I wanted an easy film to watch one night and this was definitely that. Don’t watch this one thinking it will be great and you might just enjoy it more than you think.