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Book (so far) Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson

It feels a bit silly to write about a book I haven’t even finished yet, but I have my reasons. Firstly, it was one of my resolutions to read 6 new books this year, working out at a generous 2 months per book. Well, it’s the last day of February and I haven’t managed it yet. Secondly, it’s been ages since I’ve written about a book here, and I didn’t want to wait any longer!

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My favourite book series’ are The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss and The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. I’ve re-read both multiple times and so I’ve been on the hunt for something similar to sink my teeth into (and obsess over) for a while now. The name Brandon Sanderson has cropped up many a time and so I decided my first book of the year would be the first of his Mistborn trilogy, The Final Empire.

I don’t know where to start in describing the story so far, because the worldbuilding is just so detailed! The main fantasy element however is called Allomancy, and it’s fascinating. Basically, Allomancers are people with the ability to ‘burn’ a metal within themselves to use it’s power. There are 8 basic metals and 2 higher ones, and each has it’s own special ability. Allomancers can only use 1 type of metal, but there are very few people out there who are Mistborn, meaning they can ‘burn’ all metals.

The way Brandon Sanderson describes the use of these powers is brilliant, I can picture the action so clearly in my head. It’s taken me a while to familiarise myself with the many characters involved, but I’m half way through now and definitely into the pace of it all by now.

What I found weird was when I first started reading the book, I got the craziest feeling of deja vu, to the point I knew how the first chapter was going to end. I can only assume I started reading it years and years ago perhaps from my local library and never carried on further!

Anyway, I’ll be back sometime soon with a proper review once I’m done, but I am loving the book so far! Has anyone else read the Mistborn trilogy? What did you think? I’m hoping it doesn’t take me the entire year to finish, because I have a feeling I’m going to want to start book 2 straight away which is even bigger than the first…

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Going Off Topic (#9) The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

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Oh you guys, this week has just been the worst. I’ll give you the option to just close this tab now, because honestly, this post is here more because I find it therapeutic to write about rather than talk about. It’s nothing movie related, and it’s not very interesting either, but it’s all about one of the worst weeks of my life. Normal blog posts will resume shortly…I hope!

Where to begin? It was on the Thursday. I had to take our little one for her 16 week immunisations in the morning. They’re horrible, she had 2 jabs in one thigh and another jab in the other and oh, she cried. She stayed grisly for the rest of the day, and then it came to nighttime. I think we’ve been quite lucky really, she has a feed around 4-5am but otherwise sleeps through the night. Not this time though. She was up at midnight wanting a feed, as well as her usual.

Actually, I need to rewind a little further. I’d asked my husband to book a couple of days off work that week anyway as I’d been really struggling by myself and could really do with his company (and help!) just to recharge myself a little. It was great, those two days, but as soon as he went back to work it all fell apart again. I’ve struggled emotionally ever since our little girl was born, I lost a lot of my pregnancy weight in the first week because I had no apetite at all, and I cried spontaneously for at least the first month. Things started to get a little better, there would be the occasional bad day, but nothing out of the ordinary. 4 months down the line though, I don’t know at what point it happened, but every day was a bad day.

I just found everything difficult, and couldn’t enjoy the things I used to. It’s hard to explain to be honest. That Thursday was my breaking point, and I booked myself an appointment to see a doctor the next morning.

The doctor was really helpful and asked me a whole bunch of questions, and I was nervous to answer them all. I told her about how I felt like each day’s goal was to just survive and make it to bedtime, just to start all over again, and when she asked me how I felt about the future I realised just how bad I was truly feeling. Long story short, I’ve been diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression and been put onto medication to help me out.

That’s great and all but the horrible thing about these tablets is how ill they make you feel. I was told I’d feel sick and tired, and I might go off my food, but for the first 4-5 days all I ate each day was one piece of toast, and I lay awake at night absolutely freezing but sweating like crazy.

The night I took my first tablet, our little girl had a funny turn. She refused her milk bottle at 6pm, which is completely unlike her. We kept her up till 9pm and got her ready for bed, and she refused that bottle too, but then started screaming non-stop. After about an hour we got her to sleep, but she soon woke up screaming again, and refused the bottle, so we took her to the emergency room at the hospital. We spent about 5 hours there in total through the night. They monitored her temperature, pulse and blood sugars and we kept offering her milk in between her sleeping, but she drank none of it. Eventually we were told to go home, let her sleep and try her again in the morning.

At 6am she woke up again and actually had some milk! She went 15 hours all together which was so scary. She wasn’t herself for another few days but is feeling much better now thankfully.

So, on that Monday my husband called in sick to help me out because I still felt awful from my medication. He doesn’t get paid for sick days and with me on maternity leave it’s a huge deal, but I was so grateful. Tuesday morning came and I told him I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day, and I think he felt awful for leaving me. However, 2 hours later he came back home and told me he’d arranged with work to have the rest of the week off, huzzah!

However…within an hour of being home he became ill and spent most of the day in the bathroom. We took him to see a doctor the next morning and got some anti-biotics. It’s probably a water infection that he’s got, but could actually be the first signs of appendicitis. Needless to say, I spent the week looking after him instead.

So where are we now? Our little one is back to her usual self, my husband is back to work and fingers crossed, feeling better, and I’ve got my appetite back. It’s still too early for my medication to make me start to feel better, but I’m getting by okay for now. Fingers crossed I’ll be back to watching movies and blogging real soon!

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Review: Downsizing (2017)

downsizing-movie-review-2017After falling in love with Colossal (2017) last year for it’s unique story line, I was over the moon when I saw a trailer for Downsizing (2017). 2 movies in the same year with an interesting, different tale to tell that isn’t a remake or a sequel? Count me in! Plus it stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis? Shut up and take my money, cinema lady.

Us humans are slowly killing the Earth with our waste, and quite frankly, we’re running out of room. It’s a miracle then, when scientists discover the ability to irreversibly shrink people down to a fraction of their actual size. Years later, tiny settlements have been set up and roughly 3% (or was it 5%?) of the world’s population are now tiny. It’s environmentally friendly, and also economically friendly, as your money is worth a heck of a lot more when you’re only 5 inches tall.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple who make the difficult decision to downsize themselves. Things go belly-up however when Paul wakes up after the process to discover his wife changed her mind at the last minute, leaving him behind. Thus, Paul starts his new, tiny life.

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I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I’m actually gutted, but also impressed to learn that this is an original screenplay rather than one adapted from a book. So many details have been thought about, from the intricate details on how the downsizing process works to the social issues that would arise from this. Things such as terrorism, as these tiny people are so hard to track, or how they should be able to vote as they don’t contribute much back. It really is a lot to think about!

Sadly, it’s also this movie’s huge problem. None of these issues are explored at all, they’re just brought up and never really mentioned again. The thing is, if these areas weren’t mentioned, we all would have complained that the movie was too simple, so it was never going to win really. Downsizing should have been a TV Series, where each season could have been dedicated to a particular issue. Heck, the first season could have just been about how the process began!

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There’s still some fun to be had though, mainly with the relationship that Paul strikes up with Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau). At first Ngoc Lan seems like a timid cleaner, but she has the most amazing personality and completely overpowers Paul in every single scene. She alone makes this movie worth a watch!

The other thing I have to wonder is what was cut from the movie? One of the coolest moments in the trailer was a giant bottle of vodka being drank by the tiny people. If a scene intended to actually sell the movie was cut, what else? Mind you, it’s long enough as it is!

All in all, I’m gutted this movie wasn’t a TV Show instead, so that the story and all the ideas behind it couldn’t have been explored properly. It’s 3 out of 5 bottles of vodka from me!

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Mini Reviews: The Snowman (2017), Lady Bird (2017) & Call Me by Your Name (2017)

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Not that I want to jinx it or anything, but I’ve been doing better than I thought at watching movies these last couple of weeks! Mainly thanks to it being awards season and wanting to at least have a clue about what’s what of course. The BAFTAs are in a week’s time and I still have a few nominated movies I’d like to catch (Phantom Thread, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool & I, Tonya) but I’m closer than I’ve ever been I think.

I do like to write a little something about each movie I’ve seen but some of the award movies are so hard to write about, so I thought it would be a good time for a Mini Reviews post! Every now and again though I need something a little lighter to watch in between these powerful movies, and that’s how The Snowman has found it’s way here.

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The Snowman (2017) is one of those movies I saw the trailer for ages ago, got super excited for it, and then forgot all about it. That is, until it started cropping up onto everyone’s ‘Worst of 2017’ posts. Torn between taking everyone’s advice and punishing myself, I decided to give it a go anyway. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Read this next bit in a Janice voice. Oh. My. God.

It should have been something I loved. A crime/mystery where Michael Fassbender is trying to solve a series of murders where a snowman is left behind at the scene of the crime. You know, one of those whodunit movies. Only The Snowman just didn’t make any sense. The start was so weird I questioned whether I was even watching the right movie! Plus, there’s throwing in some red herrings and there’s making half the plot completely pointless. Ugh!

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I didn’t know anything at all about Lady Bird (2017) until Saoirse Ronan was on the Ellen Show promoting it, and then I knew I had to see it. I also spent the next hour trying to work out how to even pronounce Saoirse (it’s sur-shah if you were wondering). Gosh, it’s like Domnhall Gleeson all over again! Bless you lovely Irish people.

Anyway! Lady Bird is a beautiful coming of age movie in which Saoirse plays a seventeen year old girl wanting to escape her small home town and live out her dreams at college in New York. I loved every single minute of this. I usually feel luke-warm about these kind of movies but I saw so much of myself in Lady Bird. It’s one of my favourites of the year for sure and I so hope Saoirse wins the Oscar!

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So, Darkest Hour was the one I was least excited about seeing, but after that it was Call Me by Your Name (2017). I know everyone loves it, but I need my romance to have a splash of comedy, and it didn’t look like this was going to give it to me. Set in beautiful northern Italy, a young lad named Elio falls in love with his Father’s research assistant Oliver.

It’s such a slow burn, and I really struggled to stay alert through the whole two hours plus of it all. I can appreciate the beauty in it, and if anything it really makes me want to visit Italy myself, but this just wasn’t the movie for me. Plus I can never, ever eat a peach again without thinking about that scene. Shudder.

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Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

the-cloverfield-paradox-review-2018The Superbowl isn’t a big deal over here in the UK, nor is it watchable at a decent time in the day thanks to the time zones, so I woke up on Monday morning to a lot of exciting news! A Han Solo trailer (I’m holding onto all hope it’s good), some other big movie announcements, and the crazy news that not only is the new Cloverfield movie ready, it’s released right now on Netflix! You’ve got to hand it to everyone responsible for keeping that under wraps so well in days like these.

I’ll admit I’m a little sad it’s not out in the cinema, but it’s such a breath of fresh air to watch a movie you’ve been anticipating for a long time without seeing a single trailer or knowing anything about it! I’d like to say I wish Star Wars Episode 9 could be released like that, but I’ll be scouring the internet for any news on that for the next (almost) 2 years!

So, this new addition to the Cloverfield movie universe is The Cloverfield Paradox, and it’s a story set in space following an international crew aboard a space station who accidentally smash into an alternate dimension whilst using a particle accelerator to try and solve Earth’s energy crisis. Bit different to a creepy guy in a bunker, right?

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What I love about this discovery is how much it opens up possibilities in the Cloverfield universe. There was no energy crisis mentioned in the previous movies – that’s because those movies happened in different dimensions! The team can literally do whatever they like now, and it sounds like they are as the next instalment is set during World War II.

Sadly, one only needs to Google the name of this movie to discover that the internet hates it. Sigh. I can understand their points, the plot is a bit silly in places but for me that’s what makes it so much fun. If I’m watching Sci-Fi I don’t always want it to be ridiculously hard to understand like Interstellar, or terrifying like Alien. Sometimes I just want to be entertained! Besides, as silly as it is I still think it’s better quality than last year’s Life and the previous year’s Passengers.

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I found the crew to be incredibly likeable, and I felt a real connection to Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character Hamilton. She’s the star here and she’s presented with such a horrible situation that I won’t go into for spoilerific reasons. Perhaps many will disagree but I thought the story took a lot of twists that were unexpected, and I really didn’t have a clue how it would end until the credits themselves. How cool would that final moment have been on the big screen though?!

I realise I’m completely in the majority here on enjoying The Cloverfield Paradox but that’s okay with me. I give it 4 out of 5 severed arms!

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