- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
My husband and I are getting ready to move house and that means a lot of packing is needed. I wanted all of the boxes to be clearly labelled and done so in a way that wouldn't rub off brown packing tape. My first thought was to buy a Sharpie permanent marker as they have such a good reputation. I had never owned a Sharpie before but was a little bit excited about buying one as I love stationary.
While I purchased my Sharpie permanent marker from my local Sainsbury's, they are widely available online and Amazon especially sell a huge range. For a pack of five black fine tipped permanent markers you can expect to pay around the £5 mark. You can also get larger packs and different coloured pens.
These pens do have a fine tip so they are great for a multitude of uses. Not only do they work really well on cardboard boxes but you can also use them to write on paper, CDs/ DVDs if you're copying them on your computer and really, anything else you can possibly think of. The black pen stands out on everything I have written on so far and although the tip is fine, it still works great when writing big letters. Also, the colour of the pen does not bleed at all so if you are writing something small, you can be sure that the words won't blend into one another. This can happen with a cheaper quality pen so paying that little bit more is really worth it.
It makes me quite sad that I don't really have much use for permanent markers as I would love to buy more of these. Like the Staedtler pens, I love having a collection of most of the colours that are on offer. A large pack of 24 pens with assorted colours only costs £12 on Amazon at the moment and I would definitely be buying them if I could think of something to use them for.
Sharpie pens also last really well. I have written on so many boxes so far and the pen hasn't even begun to fade which is fantastic. With cheaper permanent markers, they tend to run out of ink very quickly, especially when writing on cardboard but this is not the case at all with a Sharpie pen.
I really love my Sharpie pen and I'm so glad that I bought this over anything else.
About the book
Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always is a new adult novella by Jessica Sorensen and is part of the The Secret series. The novella was published on Kindle on 24th December and is 87 pages long. I received and ebook for review through NetGalley.
Lila Summers and Ethan Gregory are having the time of their lives while road tripping across America. They used to be best friends and now that they're more than than, Lila wants to know that it is forever. She can't imagine her life without him anymore but as soon as she brings up the subject of forever with Ethan, something changes.
Ethan definitely doesn't doubt his feelings for Lila and the idea of living without her scares him to death. He doesn't want to lose her, that's for sure, but he isn't sure if he is ready to make the commitment of forever with the chance of losing everything.
What I thought
Jessica Sorensen is one of my absolute favourite new adult authors and I have loved every book I have read by her so far. I couldn't click the request button quick enough when I saw this title on NetGalley not too long ago. As this is a novella and a sequel of sorts to The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, it can't be read as a stand-alone book.
At the end of The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, the title characters were finally happy together and planning to go off with one another road tripping across America. This is where the novella is set. Lila and Ethan are spending their nights under the stars and bathing in lakes but one of them is enjoying it more than the other. Both characters also have a conflict of emotions when it comes to their future together. Lila wants a forever with Ethan but as soon as she mentions marriage, things change between them and he becomes distant whenever she brings up the subject.
As short stories go, this one was great. There is a lot packed into the 87 pages and Sorensen manages to cover all bases. As someone who had already read The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, I felt an instant connection with the characters but new readers will find things quite confusing. I liked how Lila and Ethan were on an adventure, not only across America but also on an adventure with their emotions. As this novella is told in dual narrative, it was nice to see how each character was feeling and what was bothering each of them.
Not only is there a great deal of emotion but so much passion between Lila and Ethan. I couldn't get enough of the steamy scenes between the two, especially as there were some quite exciting situations they were in. The setting of the great outdoors was also something I loved in this novella. It was good to have a change from the seedy bar scene or that of a big city.
I really enjoyed reading this novella and it was a great addition to the series. I can't wait to find out what happens to Lila and Ethan next.
About the book
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is a new adult book by Jessica Sorensen. It was published by Sphere on 8th May 2014 and the book is 320 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.
Lila has always been a well behaved girl who likes preppy boys and expensive clothes. Since her best friend Ella introduced her to Ethan though, she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him but he's exactly the opposite of the guys she normally goes for. Ethan has tattoos and is definitely a bad boy. He has never had trouble with the girls and can normally have his pick of them but he's never had anyone like Lila.
Ethan and Lila seem to be as different as they come, but they're drawn to one another for multiple reasons. After becoming really good friends, they have a strong friendship line drawn between them but do they both secretly want more? Will Ethan and Lila be able to get over their different upbringings and the secrets each of them fight to keep?
What I thought
The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is part of the 'Secret' series by Jessica Sorensen and as a lover of the other books, I couldn't wait for this one. There have been brief moments between Lila and Ethan before now and I had always hoped something would happen with them well before I knew they were getting their own book.
Protagonists Lila and Ethan come from completely different worlds. Ethan has had to struggle along while Lila comes from a wealthy family and her tastes reflect her upbringing. However, when Ella (from the other books) introduces the two, they instantly hit it off and become great friends. In this book, it was great to see how they both got along without Ella and Micha around. Lila depends on Ethan quite a lot to save her when she's in trouble and even though he's got a bad boy reputation, he's always there to save her.
Lila is the kind of girl who has to live by a certain set of rules in order to function properly. Unfortunately, these come from her uncaring parents who only want her to not make a fool of herself and the family. It was quite heart-breaking to read about how Lila was treated by her parents and how cold hearted they were towards her. Luckily though, Lila's parents aren't around as she's moved from California to Las Vegas. Now that she's free though, Lila acts out as she tries to figure out who she really is.
Over the course of the book, Lila and Ethan grow much closer as friends as secrets begin to come out. Ethan is the kind of guy who doesn't care what other people think of him, he's poor and just enjoys his life the way it is. He's such a rock for Lila even when she's a complete bitch towards him. Even though Ethan has a bit of a rough exterior, he is so sweet and lovely deep down. I couldn't help but absolutely fall in love with him.
Jessica Sorensen has such a talent for writing about broken characters but in a way that makes the reader care for them and hope that everything works out. Parts of this book were pretty hard to read due to the subject matter but I just couldn't help but to carry on. Sorensen's writing is addictive, along with her characters. I absolutely loved this book.
== About the book ==
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me is a contemporary adult novel by Sarra Manning. The book was published by Corgi on 3rd February 2011 and it is 560 pages long.
== Synopsis ==
Since university, Neve Slater has been in love with William. But, William is in LA and Neve has next to no self-esteem. As a larger lady she believes that she could never get a guy like William so she's spent the last three years slimming down and changing herself. Now she's changed, she can't wait for the day that William returns and falls madly in love with her. Only problem is, she's never had a boyfriend and needs to learn about having one... fast.
Neve needs someone to show her what being in a relationship is all about and she needs some experience with men in general. Max is a well-known player from Neve's sister's office and he's sexy as hell. Neve knows that she could never fall in love with someone like Max so he should be the perfect person to show her what to do with a man!
== What I thought ==
Sarra Manning, one of my favourite authors of young adult fiction also writes adult novels although I have never really gotten into them until recently.
At the beginning of the book, Neve is getting herself ready for distant love William's return to the UK. He's been off in LA for the past three years and she's been spending that time reinventing herself by slimming down so that he will fall in love with her. Poor Neve has never really had any confidence due to being overweight for the most of her life so she hasn't gone out there and had any experience with men. I instantly loved Neve. I'm not the slimmest of women and I could connect with her immediately. There have been times where I haven't felt the most attractive and I have put myself down a lot in the past.
Neve constantly put herself down throughout the whole book and by the way she spoke about herself, you would have thought that she was massive. Maybe she had been at one point but she also works with a personal trainer the whole time and is extremely careful about what she eats. It turns out that Neve is actually a smaller size than she thinks of herself as and this also shows how much pressure society can put on someone. Neve saw herself as something completely different than how other people saw her.
Just like Neve, I also loved the whole premise of the story. Neve needs a man to show her certain things and for her to practise on. Max is someone Neve meets through her sister Celia at a work party. He's incredibly good looking and he knows it but he shows an interest in Neve and they end up going home together. However, this really doesn't work out as he had planned and Neve feels so embarrassed. As she tries to apologise, and explains her situation with William, Max becomes even more interested and offers to become her 'pancake boyfriend' (you'll have to read the book to find out what that means).
As the two get to know each other better, the book just gets funnier and funnier. Max lives a completely different lifestyle to Neve and this introduces her to a whole new way of living. Max takes her out to swanky parties and work dos and even a WAG wedding at one point and the situations they get in are hilarious. It was also super sweet watching them get to know each other better. Max doesn't do girlfriends and Neve hasn't had a boyfriend so their whole situation is a big learning curve for the both of them.
Not only is this one of my favourite adult books by Sarra Manning but one of my favourite books of hers altogether. It's sweet, funny and romantic all at the same time. It has everything I could want in a book.
When we were looking at things to do in Orlando, we wanted something that was different from theme parks as we knew we'd get bored with them after a couple of days. High up on the most popular attractions in Orlando is Ripley's Believe It or Not Orlando Odditorium. I didn't really know what to expect but on the day we visited, all we really cared about was getting out of the sun and being somewhere cool for at least an hour.
== What is there to see? ==
To start with, I think I should give a bit of information about Robert Ripley, who travelled the world and collected so many oddities along the way. He has 27 different museums in 10 different countries and there is a claim that each is 90% different the all of the others. Having not been to any of the others, I can't say how true this claim is.
Anyway, as soon as you enter the building which looks as though it is half sinking, there are photo opportunities. While we were there, there was a ginormous statue of a really fat man which you can stand behind and pretend is your body. When you go through after paying, things only get even stranger. You will be seeing things you could have never imagined seeing as you walk through the museum. My photos don't seem to be in order so I can't actually remember the order in which we saw things but I'll explain some of the different sections of the museum.
Quite close to the entrance is a large interactive area which is aimed more at children than anyone else. There are pinball games on tablets which were actually great fun. Be warned though, these kept us occupied for ages and it might be hard to get children to step away from them. In this section there are soundboards, mirrors which show you in different shapes and sizes and also a fortune teller. This costs $1 a go which isn't a bad price and it is a little bit of fun.
One of my favourite sections was the strange animals (this is just after the slanted pool table room). This part is really weird. There are animals born with irregular features which you would just never expect to see such as a pig with six toes, a merman and two-headed animals. Although this section was really interesting, it was also a bit gross as some of the deformities are just gross.
As well as strange animals, there is also a whole lot about strange humans. Dotted all over the museum are statues of people who had weird things about them such as the most tattooed and pierced people, someone with massive lips, an Egyptian dwarf who was only 17 inches tall and a guy who can pop his eyes out of his head. I really enjoyed looking at these statues as these things/ people are things that you are never going to see in your day to day life.
Also throughout the museum are different pieces of art. There is one main section for this but there are also pictures dotted all over the place. You can see pictures such as Beyonce made from sweets, Van Gough painted in nail polish and The Mona Lisa made from bits of toast. I love this kind of thing because it shows just how inventive people can be with different items from around the house.
These are just a few of the things that you'll be able to find and see at Ripley's Believe It or Not Orlando Odditorium. While the museum was fun, there was a hell of a lot to read along the way. I can see kids just wanted to walk around it rather than reading all of the information available. I didn't even want to read about everything as that would have taken us hours and hours and I didn't have the energy for that. However, this place is certainly different.
== Address and getting there ==
8201 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819
As Ripley's is location on International Drive, it is extremely easy to find and to get to. You can take the I-Ride trolley north and stop at 17 or south and stop at green 9.
Ripley's has free parking.
== Opening times and prices ==
9am until midnight. 365 days a year but call for seasonal closing times.
Adults $19.99 plus tax
Children (4-12) $12.99 plus tax
Online discounts are available and you'll find discount vouchers all over Orlando.
== Facilities ==
Ripley's only has a toilet at the entrance of the attraction and the staff at the desk will advise you to go before you enter as you won't have the chance again until you leave. Ripley's is a pretty big place and can take ages to get around especially with children so I think it could definitely do with having at least one more set of toilets put in half way round.
There is a small gift shop at the end of the attraction but it doesn't really sell much that is interesting or worth the money to be honest. There was absolutely nothing that either me or my husband wanted to purchase. There are pictures and books about Ripley's available and a selection of toys though which the children will probably be interested in. You'll also be able to purchase drinks in the shop at the end.
== Overall ==
I really didn't think that Ripley's was worth the money. We didn't pay full price (we paid about $15 each). Yes, we spent a fair bit of time in here but mainly because it was too hot outside. I don't think I'd visit another branch of Ripley's if I were to go past one again.
About the film
Carrie is a 2013 horror film that was released in the UK on 29th November. The film is an adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by Stephen King and a remake of the 1976 film of the same name. Carrie is rated 15 due to language and violence and has a run time of 100 minutes.
At the time of Carrie White's birth, her very religious mother was in two minds about whether or not to kill her baby. She decided against it and years later, Carrie is now in high school but a very shy and an outcast to others around her. Carrie has been sheltered her whole life and her mother Margaret hopes to make sure that Carrie never sins or never does anything wrong.
During a day at school where Carrie gets her first period, she's ridiculed for the way she reacts although it isn't her fault that her mother never told her about what would happen to her body. Although extremely upset and shocked at her experience, Carrie manages to find something within her. She has the ability of telekinesis. Carrie's power goes from strength to strength and while things look up for her for a little while, her junior prom proves too much and the powers get out of hand.
Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie White
Julianne Moore as Margaret White
Gabriella Wilde as Sue Snell
Ansel Elgort as Tommy Ross
Alex Russell as Billy Nolan
Portia Doubleday as Chris Hargensen
Judy Greer as Miss Rita Desjardin
Zoe Belkin as Tina Blake
Karissa Strain as Nicki Watson
Katie Strain as Lizzy Watson
Samantha Weinstein as Heather Shyres
Cynthia Preston as Eleanor Snel
What I thought
The 1976 version of this film is actually one of my all-time favourites and when I saw that it was going to be remade, I was quite excited. The trailer looked great and I thought it would be a good film.
Playing the lead role of Carrie White in this version is Chloë Grace Moretz who you may know from Kick Ass or Let Me In. She's a great young actress and one who I like a lot. However, the character of Carrie White requires someone who can play awkward and different with ease and I'm afraid that Moretz was not the right choice for the role. Throughout the film, I found myself getting more and more annoyed with Moretz as Carrie. The scenes where she is supposed to shy away and not know how to act socially were very hard to watch. Instead of Moretz playing an awkward character, her actions looked too forced and not natural at all.
Another thing about Carrie's character is the pain and torment that she has experienced throughout her life. The original actress of this role, Sissy Spacek was utterly amazing and she really did look tortured for the whole film. Moretz couldn't pull off this aspect of the role either unfortunately. Never did Moretz look pained or worried especially. One of the biggest scenes in the film is that of the prom and honestly, it was laughable. Moretz looked far from scary and possessed like Spacek did in the original and I wouldn't have been scared of her at all.
Although Moretz is a let-down in the lead, there are some notable performances in this version of Carrie. I really enjoyed Julianne Moore as Margaret White, Carrie's mother. Margaret was always an interesting character to me as she's someone who truly believes in her religion but lives in a place where not many others do. Moore plays Margaret extremely well and is absolutely bonkers! There is also Judy Greer who is best known for comedic roles but in Carrie she plays the role of the teacher who tries to help Carrie. Greer puts a good amount of empathy and care into the role and made the character very likeable.
As the plot goes, there aren't too many changes from the original, which is a good thing. I didn't want to see the film rehashed completely. However, there are a couple of differences. The original film spends a good amount of time watching Carrie getting used to her new powers and trying to figure out what is going on. In the original I really liked watching her powers grow slowly and her realising just what she could do with them. In this new version, this isn't the case at all. It seems that Carrie realises about telekinesis quite early on but she never really seems phased by what she can do. She also goes from being able to do something small to something massive in a matter of minutes. Carrie never appears to have a problem with what she can do and I was very disappointed with this. Her abilities were shown to be nothing strange.
As the original was released in 1976, the effects weren't anything impressive but I did like how simple things were. The 2013 version of Carrie has so many effects in comparison but that isn't a good thing in my opinion. There is far too much CGI put into this remake and it was not impressive at all. The final prom scene is far too elaborate and everything is blown out of proportion for it to be enjoyable. I enjoyed the original version of this scene far more as this film made the events look ridiculous and crazy instead of intense and scary.
As remakes go, this one should never have been made. My husband enjoyed it but he could barely remember the original and wasn't as big of a fan of it as I was. If you like the original, I would advise you to stay away from this one.
About the film
Runner, Runner is a 2013 thriller film. It has a run time of 91 minutes and is rated 15. The film was produced by many people, one of which was Leonardo DiCaprio.
Richie Furst is struggling to pay his way through Princeton after crashing out in his former job. When he attempts to win his tuition fees on an online gambling website, he believes that he's been swindled when he loses all of his money. With nothing left to lose, Richie heads to Costa Rica to confront the owner of the website, Ivan Block. Instead of just getting his money back, Ivan offers Richie a job and promises great wealth. To begin with Richie is having the time of his life and loves what he's doing but he soon realises that there is a lot more to Ivan and his business than meets the eye. Richie is right in the middle of Ivan's dirty dealings and it looks like he will take the fall for everything.
Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst
Gemma Arterton as Rebecca Shafran
Anthony Mackie as Agent Shavers
Ben Affleck as Ivan Block
David Costabile as Professor Hornstein
Sam Palladio as Shecky
Oliver Cooper as Andrew Cronin
Ben Schwartz as Craig
What I thought
I didn't know much about this film before going to see it apart from the fact that it starred Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake but those were good enough reasons for me to go and see it.
The plot surrounds Richie Furst who used to have a great job on Wall Street. Unfortunately, that ended and Richie goes back to college to complete his post grad. However, due to his past employment, he cannot get any help with tuition so he has to pay it all himself. Richie's character is extremely intelligent and figures that he can get sign ups to an online gambling website and receive a cut of everyone who signs up. But, the dean of Princeton threatens to expel him if he keeps it up. I liked how the beginning of the film set up the explanations of online gambling and the way that people chase money on there. But, after that, it all got a bit too crazy and unrealistic.
You see, Furst runs off to Costa Rica to confront the owner of the website face to face. He knows Ivan Block in incredibly hard to get to but figures it's worth a try anyway because he's desperate. Even though it's stated that Ivan Block is hard to get to, Richie seems to manage it with very little trouble at all. Playing Ivan Block is Ben Affleck who has had a bit of a bad run of acting jobs in the past few years. However, I quite liked him in this role for the most part. He plays a character that is quite smarmy and slick, who knows that he can do pretty much whatever he wants. Affleck acts cool, calm and collected for the most part but is also able to lose his temper and show the meaner, more devious side to him when he needs to. Even though he did a good job, there are loads of actors who could probably have done better.
Justin Timberlake hasn't had that many roles since hitting the film business but he does always manage to switch it up a little bit. In Runner, Runner Timberlake plays main character Richie Furst. I found Timberlake to be absolutely fantastic in this film. At the beginning he is confident, clever and doesn't see that he's doing anything wrong. It's only when he loses all of his money gambling online that he begins to change. He makes the change from Princeton student to wealthy and stylish very quickly which goes to show what money can buy you... a nice suit! Anyhow, Timberlake manages the transition pretty damn well and became more likeable as the film went on due to what was happening to him. However, I would have liked to have seen Timberlake lose it a little more towards the end of the film as he was too calm for what was happening around him.
Runner, Runner doesn't have the most complicated or exciting plot because basically, it's been done before. This is a film that doesn't really offer anything new which was quite disappointing. While this may not be an original film, it is still very entertaining. There is plenty going on throughout, even with a slow start, and there are little clues being dropped everywhere. I enjoyed watching Richie get to grips with his new life and to figure out exactly who he could trust around him.
There are also a few things that didn't make a whole lot of sense. Richie is supposed to be incredibly intelligent but he doesn't see what's going on around him until quite near the end of the film. He also should have been able to outsmart Ivan with ease or at least do more about what was happening. Not only that, but if he was so clever, he should have probably known that Ivan's offer was far too good to be true. Things like that just don't happen. It's a shame that such little issues let this film down.
While I did enjoy Runner, Runner, it could have been such a better film. The plot was quite standard and there were problems throughout. One to buy on DVD when it's cheap though.
About the film
Battle of the Year is a dance film that was released at the cinema on 15th November 2013 in the UK. The film has a run time of 110 minutes and is rated 12.
Each year, the USA sends a team of b-boys to the Battle of the Year, hoping to come back victorious only they haven't actually won for fifteen years! Dante Graham is promoting the current team but knows he needs to be the best in order to win. He hires friend and former basketball coach Jason Blake to step in and prepare the team. After losing both his wife and son, Blake is in a deep state of depression but Dante knows he's the only man for the job.
Instead of coaching the existing team, Blake decides to fire the whole lot of them and form his own new team instead. Can a brand new team of b-boys learn to work together to win the title?
Josh Holloway as Jason Blake
Chris Brown as Rooster
Josh Peck as Franklyn
Laz Alonso as Dante Graham
Caity Lotz as Stacy
Jon "Do Knock" Cruz as Do Knock
Ivan "Flipz" Velez as Flipz
Richard Carmelo Soto as Abbstarr
Terrence J as Himself
Sway Calloway as Himself
Anis Cheurfa as Anis
Weronika Rosati as Jolene
Alex Martin as Punk
Dominic Sandoval as Grifter
Steve Terada as Sight
Victor Kim as Aces
Jesse "Casper" Brown as Rebel
David "Kid David" Shreibman as Kid
What I thought
I can't actually remember this one being released here in the UK. I actually saw it while on holiday in Orlando with my husband last year. We both love a good dance film and we also wanted to get out of the heat for a couple of hours.
Josh Holloway stars as Jason Blake, an ex-basketball coach who suffered a huge loss which sent him into a deep depression. Holloway is fantastic has Blake. He has this darkened, hard exterior to him and comes across as a real hard-ass who doesn't really care much about anything anymore. When old friend Dante comes to him to ask for help, and to try to sort his life out, Blake doesn't want anything to do with the b-boy crew. He is quite happy drowning everything out with alcohol. Holloway is best known for his role in Lost and not really much else I don't think. It was great to see him in a film and for him to play a character with so much depth.
Not only does this film follow the story of Blake trying to get his life back together but also that of the b-boy team who will take on the Battle of the Year. As Blake fires the existing team, he has to find a whole new crew of b-boys and he only wants the best. After recruiting quite a large number, Blake lets them know that not everyone will make the team. He prepares to put them through the roughest training they will ever know. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film. There are a lot of different personalities within the recruits and that causes quite a lot of problems. The film also shows the attitudes of b-boys and how they think they must act in their profession. I know that a lot of b-boys come across as cocky and arrogant but that is apparently because they need to show that they're the best so that's how they act.
Battle of the Year got quite a bit of bad press and it didn't do very well at all here in the UK and some of that has to do with the cast. Singer Chris Brown takes one of the lead roles, playing a very sure of himself Rooster. After all of the stuff that happened with Rihanna not a whole lot of people are fans of him anymore and maybe that was why the film bombed. Regardless of what he did, I didn't mind Brown too much at all. I think he did a pretty okay job in his role and his dancing was up to the level of some of the other b-boys. He wasn't better, but he was still pretty good.
As plots go, this film isn't the most original. However, it is entertaining throughout and has some fantastic dancing if you're into that kind of thing. Also, most dance films focus on hip-hop and contemporary so it was nice to see a film focus solely on b-boying. The tricks that some of these guys can do are outstanding and I was pretty amazed by them. There are a couple of twists and turns throughout the film but not enough to make the plot truly shocking unfortunately.
This film was shown at the cinema in 3D but I have to say it really wasn't worth paying any extra for. There are only really a couple of moments where the 3D is really noticeable. The effect is used mostly when the b-boys are performing certain tricks but there isn't anything impressive enough to make it worthwhile. I don't really understand why dance films are in 3D as they don't have the same kinds of effects as big, action films.
Overall, I did enjoy this film but it wasn't worth paying for the 3D viewing and I certainly wouldn't buy the 3D DVD.
About the film
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a 2013 film adaptation from the book of the same name by Cassandra Clare. The film has a run time of 130 minutes and is rated 12A.
In New York, Clary Fray is going about her everyday life when she sees someone and something she shouldn't have in a club. Problem is, no one else around her can see what is going on. Clary is the descendant of a Shadowhunter, a group of half angel warriors who fight to destroy demons. After her mother disappears without warning, Clary is forced to ask for the help of other Shadowhunters as they may be the only ones who can help her. She is thrown into a new life filled with demons, vampires and werewolves, amongst other things, and must quickly learn to accept what she thought could never be possible.
Lily Collins as Clary Fray
Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland
Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis
Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood
Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fray
Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn
Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway
Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood
Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
C. C. H. Pounder as Madame Dorothea
Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine Morgenstern
What I thought
The Mortal Instruments is a series of books that I absolutely love so when I heard about the film being made, I was a little wary about it. I had never heard of the girl playing the lead and the actor playing the male lead just didn't sit right with me. I had also heard bad things from others who love the books just as much as me.
City of Bones has quite a quick beginning. It doesn't take long for protagonist Clary to be introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters. While out in a club with her best friend Simon, she thinks she witnesses a murder than no one else can see but learns that the now dead man was actually a demon. Here, she meets Jace (a Shadowhunter) and he explains what is really going on although he is surprised she can actually see him. While I was thankful that the beginning of the film wasn't dragged out, I do think that Clary became all too okay with the changes in her life too quickly. I remember in the book that she took a while to get used to everything that was going on around her.
Speaking of Clary, Lily Collins plays the character and I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by her performance. Collins makes the character likeable while still being able to show strength and bravery. There are a few times where she comes across as a bit whiney but not overly and I was thankful for that. As someone I hadn't previously heard of, I was unsure about how well she'd be able to portray the role but she did a good job. Collins shows emotion well throughout the whole film and considering how much the character has to go through, she needed to show quite a lot. I think that Collins also dealt really well with the action scenes which I wasn't expecting.
As with the beginning of the film, the plot moves along at a quick pace. There is a lot going on in this film and it is pretty non-stop all the way through. As soon as Clary learns of the Shadowhunters and what they do, her life is filled with secrets, lies and demons. The fight scenes were pretty impressive and well done by all involved. There are quite a few characters in the film, not all of which are Shadowhunters. There are allies and enemies between different kinds of creature and I really enjoyed how this was explored. There is a whole host of supernatural creatures to get to know in City of Bones and it was interesting to see how they worked (or didn't) together to get things done.
As this is a film adaptation of a book, there are certainly things missing that I think should have been put in. People who have read the book might be a little disappointed to see some quite important parts missing but obviously, the film can only be so long so things needed to be cut. However, while I would have liked to have seen some things, I was still happy with the film overall. Author Cassandra Clare had a hand in writing the screenplay and watched over production so I guess if she was happy, then book fans should be as well. For me, casting was most of the problem rather than the plot and bits missing.
One thing that did get talked about a lot was the portrayal of Jace Wayland, Clary's love interest. Playing Jace is Jamie Campbell Bower. Now, for those who haven't read the book, I'm sure you will all find him to be great in the role. Jace is a character who is full of himself, cocky and very witty. Campbell Bower manages to get this part of the role absolutely perfect and he comes across as arrogant and as someone who loves himself. His acting skills are not to be frowned at and I do think he did a really good job. However, he still isn't the Jace I imagined. In my eyes, Jace was a bigger guy with a lot more muscle and Campbell Bower is quite slim although he did bulk up a bit for the role. It wasn't that I didn't like him though, he just wasn't perfect.
Overall, City of Bones wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected it to be. The plot moves at a fast pace and is exciting the whole way through. Even without my perfect choices in the casting, this is a really entertaining film and I can't wait for the sequel to come out.
When we visited Disney's Magic Kingdom, Orlando, one of the rides that I was looking forward to the most was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I didn't know what to expect but I love pirates so figured that this would be the ride for me.
This version of the ride was not the earliest as the original was built in Disneyland, California and opened in 1967. The version in Orlando didn't open until 1973 and then Tokyo and Paris in the years afterwards. In Magic Kingdom, this ride can be found in Adventureland along with a pirate tutorial run by Captain Jack Sparrow. You won't be able to miss this ride as it is housed inside a fortress with a big pirate ship banner outside. The fortress also has the message 'Dead men tell no tales'.
The queuing isn't too bad for this ride in comparison to others such as Space or Thunder Mountain and I found us moving along quite quickly. There are actually two queues to choose from which are pirates and soldiers although I really can't remember which we went down at the time. As you walk through the fortress and through an underground cavern to get to the actual ride you will be hearing the theme song, 'Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life)' the whole time and it does get quite annoying at times.
The reason the queue moves so quickly is because the boats you're in can hold about 25 people each as they have six rows and can comfortably fit 4 people in each. As this is a really slow moving ride, there are no safety harnesses or bars apart from there being quite high sides on each side of the boat. The beginning of the ride shows a waterfall with a projection of Davy Jones and then you carry on to a shipwreck and some pirate skeletons. There are a few ups and downs as you climb small hills in the boat so you really do get a feeling of being in a boat on the sea. After coming down the first hill, you'll have pirates firing cannons at the water and Captain Barbossa mumbling something or other about Jack Sparrow. The cannons were exciting and made the ride more than just seeing pirates on the sides.
Next up you slowly sail through a pirate town where they're all drinking rum and having a good time. If you keep an eye out you'll also see Jack Sparrow himself. The pirates are all singing Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life) which by this point I was so sick of hearing. The town is torched by flames and they're trying to escape from either their cells or their chosen drinking place. Towards the end of the ride you'll have the opportunity to see Jack Sparrow again as he's surrounded by a pirate's booty.
I hate to say it but I found this ride to be extremely boring. The ups and downs hidden in the water are very small and not all that exciting. As the boat moves so slowly, the ups and downs are also really slow and take quite some time to get over. But, this does mean that there is plenty of time to look around and take in all of the fantastic detail that this ride has to offer. The costume and explosions were great and there were so many pirates to look at, each of which was different looking and doing something different to the others. I think children will enjoy this much more than adults and both me and my husband were unimpressed.
I didn't even know that this ride is where the idea from the film Pirates of the Caribbean came from and since its release, certain characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow have been added and they weren't there before. As I didn't really like it with these additions, I think I would have disliked it even more before. It's a shame as this was one ride that I was really looking forward to.
About the film
Make Your Move is a 2013 dance film and is based on Romeo and Juliet. The film has a run time of 106 minutes and is rated 12. Make Your Move was written by Duane Adler who was also responsible for film such as Save the Last Dance and Step Up.
In New Orleans, Donny has just gotten out of prison and doesn't have much going for him. All he has ever wanted to do is dance but doing it on the streets just ends up getting him into more trouble. Although he's not supposed to leave and is supposed to report to his parole officer, Donny heads off to New York. He knows that there is no other place better to make it as a dancer and he's lucky that his foster brother lives there.
Donny's brother Nick has his own club and he prides himself on having the best acts perform. Brother Donny just doesn't measure up in his opinion and must prove himself first before being let on the stage. He also has to deal with a rival club owner and his ex-business partner so knows he can only have the best on his stage. Kaz, the ex-business partner has a younger sister whose visa is running out and unless she can get a deal for her dance group, she will have to go back home. Aya constantly tries to perform in Nick's club but due to the rivalry, she is thrown out every single time.
It is at Nick's club that Aya meets Donny. He is instantly impressed with her moves and would love to get to know her better. Can the brother and sister of two rivals make it without causing the fight to turn into a war?
Derek Hough as Donny
BoA as Aya
Will Yun Lee as Kaz
Wesley Jonathan as Nick
Izabella Miko as Tatiana
Jefferson Brown as Michael
Miki Ishikawa as Natsumi
Dan Lauria as Parole Officer Foster
Rick Gonzalez as Rene
What I thought
As a massive lover of dance films and television show such as Dancing with the Stars, I couldn't help myself when it came to this film. Main character Donny is played by Derek Hough, a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars. His dancer sister Julianne Hough has already broken into the film industry, starring in films such as Footloose and Rock of Ages. In my opinion, Derek Hough is the superior dancer out of the two but his acting skills were unknown up until this point.
As the main character, I actually really liked Derek Hough as Donny. Although he had obviously made some mistakes in life, he wanted to do better and to make something of himself. He was a likeable character and even from the beginning, I was routing for him. However, I think the plot could have been a bit better to begin with. Donny is on parole and I'm not sure that someone would get away with leaving the state for such a long time without being caught and having to go back to prison.
Something I can't deny is the fact that Derek Hough can dance. Although best known for being a ballroom dancer, Hough showcases his talent for tap in this film. Choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo have mixed Hough's talent and with fresh and different dancing which I don't think we have really seen in a film like this so far. Not only was Hough's tapping great but Boa, who plays love interest Aya, is someone worth watching too. She, along with her group of Cobu dancers were amazing. Cobu is a form of dance which involves drums and I know this is definitely something I haven't seen before. I loved seeing the diversity of dance in this film.
While the dancing was fantastic to watch, the plot was weak and clichéd. Donny and Aya come from families who have a rivalry going on due to events in the past. This part of the film could have done with a whole lot more depth and meaning as I didn't really feel that the problems were that big or that important. The writer tries to add importance to this part of the film by using quite big, violent exchanges and I didn't really think this was necessary. It didn't make the film any more exciting for me so something else could have been done with the plot.
Another thing that was lacking was chemistry. Hough and Boa don't connect as either characters or actors which was a real shame as they're both so talented when it comes to dancing. I wanted more from the both of them. Separately, they were pretty good in their performances but the scenes where they are together were very disappointing. There are other dance films around where the two main characters have great chemistry and are able to make their relationship believable but unfortunately, that isn't the case here.
Overall, Make Your Move isn't the best dance film out there in regards to plot and acting but it does try to do something different which the actual dancing which was nice to see.
About the book
It Felt Like A Kiss is a contemporary novel by Sarra Manning. The book was published by Corgi on 13th February and it is 576 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.
Ellie Cohen has a pretty good life. She works in a lovely Mayfair art gallery, has great mates and a fantastic family. Problem is, she has a tendency to fall for the totally wrong guy. She believes she can fix their problems but her friends see them for what they really are - losers!
When a vengeful ex sells Ellie's biggest secret to the press, her whole world turns upside down. Her life falls to pieces around her and she has no idea how to make things better again. David Gold, lawyer, is there to sort it all out for her... but only because he works for her secret, famous father. David immediately thinks that Ellie is a gold-digger, wanting a piece of her father's fame but she thinks he's a shark in a nice suit.
With her life in a mess, surely falling in love again is the last thing she Ellie needs.
What I thought
While a fan of Sarra Manning's young adult novels but this is the first of her adult novels that I have read.
Manning begins by letting the reader really get to know protagonist Ellie. We learn that she is a bit of a party girl, falls for the wrong guys that her flatmates hate but she also has a family that she's really close to. Immediately, I could imagine the kind of woman that Ellie was and I could picture her doing certain things like going for a night out. Manning has a great way of writing her characters and there is always so much development written into the story as well.
Unfortunately for Ellie, she has picked the wrong man... again and after a break-up, he steals evidence from Ellie and sells her story to the press. Ellie actually has a pretty famous father but she has never spoken to him. While she knows who he is, she has never wanted anything much to do with him. So, when the press come knocking on her door, everyone instantly believes her to be a gold-digger, including her dad's lawyer. As mean as it may sound, I did enjoy watching Ellie struggle with what was happening around her. Not because I'm cold-hearted, but it really showed how strong she could be at times.
While the majority of the plot was enjoyable, the book does have a long, drawn out beginning. There were a few times where I wanted to give up because I was quickly losing interest. It takes roughly a third of the book before all of the exciting things happen. While I liked getting to know Ellie and her life, I think this aspect of the book could have been shortened a little so that the plot could move on. However, once Ellie and David are forced to spend more time together, I decided that it was worth carrying on to see what happens.
Ellie and David are completely different people and that's why they were so great together. David is so straight-laced and concentrates only on his job while Ellie knows how to get the most out of working and having a social life. I really enjoyed seeing these two characters together and seeing how they challenged each other. Due to something that happens quite early on in the book, there is a great amount of chemistry between them which was a huge bonus.
What was also nice about this book was that it wasn't just about the romance. There is a solid, entertaining plot running throughout the book and the romance aspect was really just a nice bonus. Compared with contemporary young adult books, where romance normally takes the forefront, it was nice to have quite a few things going and not to be bombarded with multiple kissing scenes.
Even though it took me a few goes to get into this book, I really did enjoy it in the end.
About the book
Time After Time is the second book in the young adult 'Time Between Us' series by Tamara Ireland Stone. The book was published on 24th October by Corgi Children's and it is 400 pages long. I received a copy of this review through NetGalley.
Anna and Bennett are in a long distance relationship... but with a difference. Anna lives in Chicago 1995 and Bennett comes from San Francisco in 2012. They never should have met, never should have fallen in love... but they did and now they can't go back to being without each other. However, Bennett is only able to travel back to '95 for short periods of time which puts a huge amount of strain on the relationship and also causes him to lose time in his own life. Both Anna and Bennett are confident they can make things work but after witnessing something he shouldn't have, Bennett isn't so sure. Will he be able to keep the future he wants with Anna or use his ability to time travel for something else entirely?
What I thought
The first book in this series, Time Between Us was one of my favourite books of 2012 and it has been a long wait for the sequel.
In this book, Anna and Bennett are now in a pretty good relationship, even though Bennett has to travel back in time in order to see his girlfriend. I really enjoyed the problems that came with the time travel aspect of this book. It isn't easy for Bennett to leave his regular life and to lie to the people he loves in order to see Anna. He does have his own life to live, his own school to go to and his own friends to see but Anna is so important to him. There is a lot more of Bennett and his home life put into this book and I really enjoyed getting to know more about him instead of Anna.
Sadly, I didn't completely enjoy where the plot was taken in this book. In the first book, I felt as though there was quite a lot of excitement and a lot to find out about but in this one, I didn't feel that there was much of either of those things in this book. While Anna and Bennett come across problems in their relationship, I found them to be a bit bland. I wanted bigger problems or problems that caused greater consequences. What I mean by that is that there just wasn't a lot of urgency in the plot and it just plodded along at a quite steady pace.
However, there were a few new things that happened in Time After Time that I did like. There were questions raised about Bennett's ability and what he could actually use it for. Not only that but what would he use it for. There was quite a lot going on regarding the right choices to make and what would happen should Bennett change things too much in the past. These were the aspects of this book that I did really enjoy because it was about time travel. I wanted more of this and slightly less about the relationship between the two main characters; or for them and the time travel to be better intertwined.
Being a book about time travel, there are obvious references to the two different years visited, among a few that aren't. I absolutely loved the things that brought into the story to make it both current and to give older readers a sense of nostalgia. Bennett and his sister use the ability to time travel to see their favourite bands and very current names such as Maroon 5 were mentioned and some certain things about Adam Levine which made me very happy. Then, there were mentions of awesome '90s films such as Empire Records (which is a favourite of mine) that really made me smile.
While I didn't completely love this book, I did enjoy reading it and being immersed in the lives of Anna and Bennett once again. The ending was pretty good though and it left a lot of questions for what could happen next.
About the book
Haze is the second book in the Rephaim series by Paula Weston. The book was published by Indigo on
Gaby Winters had a pretty normal life living with her best friend and working in a library. The only problem she had was getting over her twin brother's death. She didn't think anything of the crazy dreams she was having until Rafa arrived and told her that everything was real. She is one of the Rephaim, a descendent from fallen angels. Since finding out who she really is, everything changed. Gaby knows that demons exist and that they're coming for her. With a battle on her hands, finding out her brother might actually still be alive could alter everything she had planned on doing.
What I thought
The first book in this series, Shadows, was one of my all-time favourite angel books. I couldn't put it down and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel.
Haze begins where Shadows left off, with Gaby getting used to her new crazy life and realising that she doesn't really know her true self at all. She's constantly being told about the old her, the one she doesn't remember and that person couldn't be more different than who she is now. Gaby knows that there is a chance her brother is alive and she, along with Rafa, Jason, Maggie and Simon, will do anything to find him again. Although this does give the book an exciting and mysterious feel to it, there is more. This series has demons, numerous fights with awesome weapons involved and many, many secrets. Honestly, Haze is one of the most exciting books I have ever read due to how much is going on.
Australia isn't a location used too much in young adult books and that was another reason for me loving this series. Paula Weston uses somewhere fresh and exciting but also as the setting isn't typical, it makes it different. Australia isn't the only setting though. The Rephaim are able to travel to any location by shifting there. The use of shifting throughout the book enables the location to change and for the plot to take unexpected turns at any moment.
Although the demons and the fights are exciting, Haze has something even better going for it. Gabe and fellow Rephaim Rafa have been inseparable since the first book due to her not knowing the dangers she faces and Rafa's friendship with her brother. Since the beginning, there has been a fabulous sexual tension between Gabe and Rafa. Paula Weston doesn't give much away between these two characters but littered through the pages of this book are sexy as hell smirks, tense moments and a connection that rivals any other. Gabe and Rafa's romance does not take over the whole book though, unlike in some others, and instead makes for an interesting sub plot. Their connection adds to everything else in the story and makes it a whole lot more intense. I kept reading Haze waiting for something big to happen between them but Weston held out, making me want it even more.
Haze has characters that I deeply cared about, ones that I was hoping would do well throughout but it also has characters who I hated (because they're pretty evil). There is a fantastic contrast between good and evil in this book and I really enjoyed reading about such diverse characters. Gaby especially was one of my favourites, along with Rafa of course. These two are very different but also very similar due to their backgrounds. Speaking of their backgrounds, this is what makes most of the characters so interesting. Gaby is this normal girl, or so she thinks, but she also has this past that she knows nothing about and finding out about that past is incredibly interesting.
Just like Shadows, I absolutely loved Haze. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning just so I could finish it in one sitting. Haze was also so much better than Shadows, which I didn't think would be possible. Paula Weston certainly has a gift for writing and this series is seriously addictive.