REVIEW: Tirzah and the Prince of Crows, Deborah Kay Davies

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Brought up by a staunchly religious family, Tirzah has always lived quite a sheltered life in the Welsh Valleys. As she reaches her teenage years, she begins to question her upbringing and her values, moving for the first time beyond the narrow confines of the world she knows. She begins a relationship with Osian, a local boy, but the guilt of their secret relationship weighs on them both heavily and they are soon forced to go their separate ways. Tirzah turns to the forest for comfort, where she finds another lost soul, a boy named BrĂ¢n. As they try and find their way in the world, things take an unexpected turn and Tirzah finds herself experiencing things she could never have imagined.

Oscar Winner Predictions

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Despite the shitshow that has surrounded this year's Oscars, I haven't been able to stop myself from falling for the annual buzz and speculation that surrounds the ceremony. I like films, I like the glamour that comes with celebrating them and, although the industry continues to be fraught with issues, I do not believe that should not be brought down onto the individuals working in it.
I mean, unless they are the ones causing them.
But that is entirely different blog post.
In this one, I am continuing the tradition that I started (and loved!) last year, by throwing my uncultured, low-brow hat in the ring to try and guess the winners. It's like Academy Award Bingo and, like in everything else, I want to win.

Best Picture
  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody 
  • The Favourite 
  • Green Book 
  • Roma 
  • A Star Is Born 
  • Vice 

I admit that my general dislike of Olivia Colman (I don't know why I don't like her either) taints my potential adoration for The Favourite, but that does not stop me picking it as the cream of this crop. Its portrayal of queer female desire and love is filled with great nuance and honesty in a way that hasn't hit mainstream film since... who even knows when. And it winning the Academy Award is sure to signal a tide of films that feature female/female romances that have other purposes than just to titillate its male viewers.

REVIEW: Toxic, Nicci Cloke

Friday, 22 February 2019

Hope has never been happier. She's on her way to Crete, after a group of her friends have made her an honorary 'lad' and let her tag along on their boys' holiday. There's a slight complication in that one of those boys, Logan, is Hope's ex-boyfriend, but they're still friends and Hope's pretty confident it won't be too awkward. The next couple of days are exactly what Hope was hoping for - lazy days in the sun, and long, drunken conversations. She can't help but notice that Logan's flirting with her. Logan and Hope end up alone and Hope is horrified when, after she leans in to kiss him, Logan completely rejects her. Embarrassed and annoyed, Hope is on a mission to get drunk, and with the alcohol flowing, and the sun going down, Hope's starts having a great time. The next thing Hope knows, she's being woken up on the beach by two strangers. It's 9 o'clock the next morning and she can't remember anything about the previous night . . . what on earth happened?

REVIEW: An Anonymous Girl, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive, and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr Shields may know what she’s thinking . . . and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and what is one of Dr Shields’s manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

REVIEW: Vegan Reset, Kim-Julie Hansen

Monday, 18 February 2019

No matter what diet you practice, a reset is a way to jump-start or refocus healthy habits and get your body to a state of optimum health. Here, blogger and Instagrammer Kim-Julie Hansen of Best of Vegan and Brussels Vegan offers a practical and easy-to-follow program, laid out day by day with meal plans, prep, shopping lists, recipes, and personal tips and inspiration. If you want to become a vegan and don’t know where to start, this is the ultimate guide. But it’s also invaluable for anyone (vegan or not) looking to kick-start healthier habits, whether to lose weight, become fitter, or simply cultivate a more balanced lifestyle. Kim-Julie introduces you to the benefits of a reset; guides you through the 28-day meal plan; and finishes with additional recipes to carry you beyond the reset—all brought to life with her gorgeous photography throughout. With its emphasis on satisfying plant-based foods and its achievable 28-day plan, this program is a great way to meet your goals of health and well-being.

5-Star Predictions, or Books I Want to Read in 2019

Saturday, 16 February 2019

For me, 2018 was a bloody shocking year for reading.
I mean, sure, I read a lot. A shit ton, in fact. But, the quality of the books and the amount of enjoyment I gained from them, hit new lows on the spreadsheets that I obsessively compile about my reading life. 
In my goal of reading widely, I stumbled upon book after book that successively knocked my confidence as to whether reading is something that I actually enjoy doing.
I do like it, right? I'm not just kidding myself?
Sometimes, like in this moment right now, I doubt it. That is because, out of the 161 books I read in 2018, I rated 72 - 72! - of them, either 1 or 2 stars. Which means that, added with my other ratings and jumbled around a bit, I rounded out the year with an average rating of 2.8 out of 5.
Which is just terrible.
Has anyone known a year of reading so bad? Right now, I doubt it.
On the back of that, alongside wanting to throw all of those books on a bonfire and dance around its smouldering funeral pyre, I am making a concerted effort in 2019 to stop this year from morphing into the disaster of the last one. Therefore, I have compiled this list of twenty-or-so literary darlings which, if the near-unanimously positive opinions are to be trusted, means that I should end up with a far more successful year.
... Or, a more disappointing one.
Time has still yet to tell, but I suppose we'll find out in December.