Friday, 31 July 2009

Friday Fill-Ins - July 31st we go!

1. It's time for me to stop bumming around, get in the shower, get dressed and finish my book :-).

2. Sainsburys; it's not a bad place for heaps of vegan food considering it's a big supermarket chain that sells lots of cooperate crap.

3. I must be allergic to the summer no matter whether the sun comes out or not - I haven't stopped sneezing for weeks!

4. Cuddling with the one I love on a rainy day is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My brother is simply insane - he hasn't stopped listening to Eminem's new album for days.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was rewatching the series, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing my book and trying the new vegan Pesto I bought out (yeah, I know, little things ... ), tomorrow my plans include meeting up with my man to give him his last birthday present and Sunday, I want to be productive!  

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Whip It (2009) trailer

Just because I'm the world's biggest Ellen Page fan, I'm posting the trailer for her new film. Based on the novel by Shauna Cross (which I'm totally gonna read now), the story centres on a rebellious girl who joins a roller derby (how awesome does that look? If there was a local one, I'd be there!). Directed by Drew Barrymore.

Ellen Page + Drew Barrymore = <3


Happy 191st Birthday, Emily Bronte.

The author of Wuthering Heights turns 191 today. I wonder how she would have celebrated her birthday back then. Anyone a history buff here? I also wonder what she would have thought of how she is regarded as a figure of English literature today. Bronteblog are celebrating her birthday online here if you want to check it out.

by Emily Bronte

HOPE Was but a timid friend;
She sat without the grated den,
Watching how my fate would tend,
Even as selfish-hearted men.

She was cruel in her fear;
Through the bars one dreary day,
I looked out to see her there,
And she turned her face away!

Like a false guard, false watch keeping,
Still, in strife, she whispered peace;
She would sing while I was weeping;
If I listened, she would cease.

False she was, and unrelenting;
When my last joys strewed the ground,
Even Sorrow saw, repenting,
Those sad relics scattered round;

Hope, whose whisper would have given
Balm to all my frenzied pain,
Stretched her wings, and soared to heaven,
Went, and ne'er returned again!

BTT: Funny Reads

Booking Through Thursday's Question of the Week is:

What’s the funniest book you’ve read recently?

This was a really hard question to answer because the books I immediately thought of weren't supposed to be funny. When I look at the books I've read this year/recently, these are the ones that made me laugh:

1) The Color Purple by Alice Walker. (Not a funny book but as Celie grows as a character, her sense of humour develops through her narrative and she's a riot.)
2) Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin. (It's a non-fiction book on what you eat. Great fun and hilarious.)
3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. (Ohhhh, I'm so mean. I laughed through the ridiculousness of this book - It had been hyped up and I was disappointed with what I'd read.)

I really need to read more typically funny books.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, my debut YA cover ...

Ok, so it's not actually my YA book cover. But this picture would totally look like something that would be on the front of my first novel.

This is a fun game I got from Amanda at The Zen Leaf and I couldn't resist doing it. What you do is you:

1) Go to Fake Name Generator. Whatever name comes up is your new author name.
2) Go to Random Word Generator. What random verb comes up is the title of your book.
3) Go to FlickrCC. Type your title into the search box. The first picture that contains a person is your cover.
4) Put them together and put it on your blog :-D

I don't have Photoshop so I had to use Paint. My font was black at first but it wasn't very clear so I changed it to white. What do you think? I like it :-D  

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

O Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thy career?

"Oh my God. Leonardo DiCaprio is sooooo dreamy. He's gorgeous. He's so sexy and amazing. And he's such a nice person. He wouldn't hurt a fly. And how brilliant was his performance in Titanic?"

Girls my age will remember these words. They are the words of our tweenhood. Words we ourselves have uttered and said with the fullest conviction of our lives.

But it isn't just us. For generations there have been idols for young girls to look up to, whether they were actors or musicians (I use that term lightly - my 'musician' dreamboats included any current boyband who knew how to do stay in time with the choreography and spike their hair up). My mum had David Cassidy, for example. And even today young girls are still fauning after those pin-up hunks that are splashed across the front pages of Tiger Beat or whatever the equivalent is these days (When I was that age, it was Girl Talk, Bunty and M&J - awwww, are they still around?).

The thing I wonder is why we have these idols (who we're going to forget about in fifteen years anyway)? What purpose do they serve? Do they set us up for the time when we begin dating boys? Or are they setting us up for disappointment more than anything? After all, amongst all the perks of being a pin-up, there are more than enough cons to outweigh them.

When Titanic was released in 1997, DiCaprio was it. That man could do no wrong in the eyes of pre-teen and teen girls worldwide. I was one of them. But, like many before me, I'd also been a fan of darling 'Leo' since seeing Romeo + Juliet the year before. That man's idol career couldn't have been timed better.

I was crazy for him. I had posters, pictures, all of his films on video which I watched religously, a collection of articles and magazines dedicated to him, a 'Leonardo DiCaprio annual' book, stickers, bookmarks with his face on them, and (and here's the truly embarassing bit) a video I found in a bargain bin called 'Love Leo' (on which contained a cheaply-made documentary dedicated to all things Leo - when he was born, where he's from, masses of quotes, his favourite food, his favourite music, his favourite actors, his favourite films ... blah, blah, blah, ... all the answers a young girl wants to hear. :-P) You get the point.

The following year I started watching horror/thriller films and a new fandom was made - Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. Anyone remember I Know What You Did Last Summer? Or She's all That? Or *dies* Cruel Intentions? (God, that film's hot!) Yup ... and with these teen movies came another handful of 'scary movie' hotties slapped on the cover of teen magazines. Well ... you can see where I'm going with this.

What's interesting is that Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich ... all those 'wave of new young actors' ... are now no-where to be seen. Their fans have grown up, realised 'Wow, you kind of ... can't act that well', and moved on. Where does this leave them? I realise that DiCaprio was probably a bad choice for this post as, a few years after Titanic, he cut off his trademark floppy hair, lost the attitude and became a serious actor and humanitarian. But this is rare. Look at the two Coreys. Which duo had it better than them in the '80s? Too much fame too fast brings along the heavy parties and a fabulous cocktail of drink and drugs that teens don't want to see. Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Scott Wolf, Joshua Jackson ... yeah, the list goes on.

What I found funny was growing up and realising that half the crap I'd been fed about these idols was pure fiction. Gorgeous Leo was not the angel I'd thought he was - Adults had actually been more accustomed to hearing about his hard-partying, drug-experimenting, womanising ways. But, of course, you can't tell a child that. Once you're placed into that idol category, you're expected to act a certain way, talk a certain way, look a certain way ... just for a film. And, as a young 'un, you believe it. You look up to these young men as 'pure' and wonderful people ... a fabulous personality that's been entirely created by magazines and studio executives.

Listen up, 'tweens and tee ns, nobody's that perfect. You see that sparkle in your idol's eyes? That's tiredness from being flown from film shoot to magazine shoot to press junket to red carpet and back again. Is it any wonder that they end up on drugs? Or seeking early retirement? All the Robert Pattinsons and Zac Efrons of the world are not perfect. (Unless you're the Jonas Brothers apparently - what the hell is up with those kids?) And blockbusters like Twilight and High Schooo Musical do not make them a good actor (it ain't hard to smoulder and look seductive for 90 minutes ;-) ) - Wait until they break out and do the little indie film, or make you gasp at how gritty the performance is. (Or pull a Leo and cut off their floppy/crazy hair.)

But, yeah, geting back to my initial point. Why do you think young girls need idols like these? Does it set them up for disappointment when they realise that these idol hotties are just products/images created and no man is ever that perfect? Is is healthy? And (you knew I was going to ask you this one) who were your idol/pin-ups as a 'tween/teen?

(I've just found out that GirlTalk magazine is still going. And look at who's joining the young girl on the cover? :-O :-D ;-) )


Tuesday - The Queen's Culinary Meme.

1) If you could put thyme in a bottle, what is the first thing you'd like to do?
Sprinkle it into four cups of tea and give them to Take That (along with a few more dashes of 'natural' herbs and a heavy dose of 'personality and charisma'). Then we'll see how those Northern boys handle life on the wild side. (No truer lyrics have been sung than 'Everything changes but you' ... Zzzzzz ...)

2) Do eggs really crack or do they merely have a nervous breakdown?
They feel sad about life one day, go to the egg doctor, get pumped with million of happy pills, and become a statistic along with 80% of the Western world.

3) Why are you whipping the butter? What did it ever do to you?
It's been a very bad boy. (And also enjoys an occasional dose of light ear nibbling.)

4) Do your spoons spoon in the drawer? Have you ever noticed? And more importantly, if wooden spoons spoon do they get splinters?
My spoons do not spoon. They repel each other quite viciously. The wooden spoons are very fond of the whisks.

5) You hear: "Dumpling, my Dumpling, come hither." The candles are lit, the fondue is dipping, the Godiva is pouring, the scallions are steaming and the music is playing ... but wait, the windows are open.
Why did you close them?
Because the dish ran away with the spoon and life is now super awkward.

6) Do you need a recipe to cook or are you a bohemian chef? Show us your reckless and wild side in the kitchen. Don't have one? Here's a recipe I made just for you: You will need a spatula, a whisk, a gallon of Chardonnay, a banana and a rump roast.
What is the name of your dish?
It's called 'Lady Lazarus throws up all over her ingredients because the Queen made her put a dead animal in her kitchen.' Sorry, your majesty. :-(

7) After dinner, the dishes are so dirty that the dishwasher refuses to wash them.
What did they say to get in hot water?
They said: "When £!$%*$£& told &^"* she was ^£%^£$, you pulled the ^"&£(3 into the &%"£ and you know it!"

8) Is your pot black?
Does that matter in this day and age? Tut tut.

9) What is the sexiest spice or condiment in your cabinet? What makes it so?
'Chilli' ... good for making things hot. ;-)

10) How much crock is really in your crock pot?
My crock pot is full of crock. Every single day. Don't listen to it. Really.  

Alice in Wonderland (2010) trailer

If you haven't already seen this, I urge you to. I've been looking forward to seeing this since I heard Tim Burton was making his own version of Lewis Carroll's classic novels. I'm a massive fan of Tim Burton and am so excited for this film.

The trailer looks amazing. My only problem is it features the Mad Hatter too heavily but that's probably the studio's doing - the actress playing Alice is an unknown, Johnny Depp is a massive star. Feature him heavily in a preview for a new Tim Burton film and you've got yourself an audience.

What do you think? Will you be going to see it in 2010?  

Monday, 27 July 2009

Mailbox Monday

I'm probably not going to make a habit of this meme because I rarely buy books these days (what with my TBR pile getting no smaller) but, as I actually received some books through the mail today, I thought I'd take the opportunity to show off what The Book Bag have sent me to review.

Shame on You by Clara Salaman

Caroline Stern is just like any London teenager. Except that she lives in a religious sect.

As a child of 'The Organization' her every move - from what she eats to when she talks and who she'll marry - is dictated by her elders. But as Caroline's freethinking ways bring her into conflict with terrifying Miss Fowler and brutal punishments push her to breaking point, she acts on a terrible impulse and exacts a horrifying revenge.

Twenty years later Caroline is living with her lover, Joe. He knows her as Lorrie and is unaware of the troubled childhood she's left behind. Until an old friend reappears and Caroline discovers that the past isn't so easily buried . . .

Wicked - Witch & Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Wright

Holly Cathers' world shatters when her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Wrenched from her home in San Francisco, she is sent to Seattle to live with her relative, Aunt Marie-Claire and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole.

But as Holly struggles to settle into her new home, her sorrow and grief soon gives way to bewilderment at the strange incidents going on around her. Such as how any wish Holly whispers to her cat seems to come true. Or the way a friend is injured after a freak attack by a vicious falcon. And then there's her undeniable, magnetic attraction to a boy she barely knows . . .

Holly and her cousins, Amanda and Nicole, are about to be drawn into a family feud, spanning generations. And as they uncover a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient magic yields dangerous results, the girls learn of a shared destiny that is beyond their wildest imaginations . . .


So, here's the question: Wicked: Witch & Curse is two novels in one book. Should I count these as two seperate novels or just one for my 50 book challenge? What do you think?

Also, here's the link to my Love, Aubrey review - another young teen's book that The Book Bag sent me. So touching and such a sweet story.  

Saturday, 25 July 2009

New Reading Challenge - Harry Potter

I've joined a new reading challenge. It's the Harry Potter Reading Challenge! Yayyy!

This is actually kind of perfect for me because I'm a newbie when it comes to Harry. I've never read any of the books and I've only seen the first four films (the 3rd and the 4th I seem to mix up all the time!). One of my personal goals for this year was to read 50 books - That list must include one of the Harry Potter books, so now thanks to this reading challenge, I have an excuse and something to spur me on. :-D

I hate fads which is why I have avoided Mr Potter until this point, but now I'm starting to feel a little left out and feel as though I need a touch of magic in my reading.

This challenge is being hosted by Michelle at GalleySmith, and all you need to do to take part is read or listen to the seven Potter books between 1st August, 2009 and 31st July 2010.

Further details and where to sign your name up are here. Then make a bloggy post about it and link up to the August HPRC here. It's as simple as can be! (Though you don't even need a blog to take part.)

Thank you to Amanda from The Zen Leaf for mentioning this in her blog - otherwise I wouldn't have heard about it. :-D

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Review: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Title: Let the Right One In

Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist

Year: 2004

Rating: 5/5

Plot: Oskar is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city's edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he's frightened.

Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood.

(Taken from the back of John Ajvide Lindqvist, 2008, Let the Right One In, Great Britain: Clays Ltd.)

Review: This is going to be another review I'll have trouble writing because I enjoyed this ... a lot. With all the Twilight/Sookie whatsherface vamp books and writers turning Mr Darcy into the undead creature, it's refreshing to find an author who has managed to take an overused figure and create a truly original story and new take on it.

The plot above doesn't give the book half the credit it's worth. What began as something I found quite slow and hard to get into soon turned into a page turner that I found difficult to put down. While the aforementioned Oskar is our main protagonist, Let the Right One In focuses on how a single person can affect an entire community. From the school teachers to the bullies, from the police officers to the bums on the bar stools, Lindqvist manages to bring realism and depth to every single character featured, no matter how small their role is.

The most interesting aspect to all the characters? None of them are perfect. No-one is a hero. No-one goes out of their way to be likeable. While it may seem bold for an author to do this, I admire this choice as it presents true realism. No human is perfect so why should these characters be? It makes horrible situations that much scarier if we know that these characters are just like us.

Oskar is a great central character who goes through many changes in the book. Starting out as the wimpy kid of the school, getting bullied on a daily basis and forever showing his weaknesses, you can't help but notice the change in his mind as his meetings with Eli increase. Though he's still just a frightened and lonely 11-year-old on the outside, on the inside he's finding the strength through Eli to take charge of the situations and be comfortable with who he is.

A character I adored and would love to see a spin off book based on what happened to him after the events of Let the Right One In is Tommy. Tommy is the 'cool kid' neighbour Oskar looks up to; the rebellious teenager who hands out with his friends, sniffs glue, steals, and makes his mother's life a misery for dating a gun-toting, Christian police officer. I can't speak too much about Tommy's role in this book without giving everything away but let's just say that after the ordeal he goes through, you want to know much more about him. Much, much more. I demand elaboration on this character, Lindqvist!

It's hard to explain what makes this story so different. I think it's the tone Lindqvist uses: a certain Stephen King style, but not. But, as I've said, it's the characters that really make this story what it is. None of them are bland or one-dimensional. There's a real history behind each and every one (and there's quite a few!) and that is how the story manages to carry itself.

This book really takes you through the motions - it's dark but humourous, full of nitty gritty details that'll shock and scare you. One thing I must mention is that if you have a weak stomach, it's probably best you avoid this. Last time something other than illness made me feel queasy was when I went to see Hard Candy (2005) at the cinema. Lindqvist's descriptions of abuse, dismorphia, and supernatural transformation are not for the faint of heart. Like I said, the writing really gets under the skin of the characters so you do not want to be eating lunch while reading this.

Thank you to my ying, Rhi, for recommending this book to me. I can see why this is one of your favourites - it was an amazing read. I'm even looking up the author to see how I can get a hold of any more of his work. Top marks for this one for a fabulous spin on an old genre. Brilliantly written and great third-dimensional characters.

About the author: John Lindqvist is a Swedish author, born in 1968, who grew up in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm. He wanted to become something awful and fantastic. First he became a conjuror and came in second in the Nordic card trick championship. Then he was a stand-up comedian for 12 years. He has written great parts of the TV series Reuter & Skoog as well as stage plays and TV drama. Let The Right One In is his first novel. (Taken fromthe author's profile on  

Thursday Thunks: July 23rd

1) You walk into a store and the cashier is being held up by a robber. The robber's accomplice is dead on the floor at your feet with a shotgun laying next to him. The robber does not see you, but the cashier does - what do you do?
I'd like to say I'd pull a Bruce Willis but I know myself better than that. In all likelyhood I'd probably stand there, dumbfounded until the robber did notice me. Or if a smidgen of bravery came over me, I'd sneak back outside and phone the police from my mobile. (I very anti-gun and wouldn't even think of picking up the one by my feet :-P ).

2) We go to an ice cream shop for an ice cream cone. You say you are buying and I am going to stay in the car. You ask me what I want and I say "surprise me". What kind of ice cream cone am I going to get?
Probably a dairy free one (just to see if you can taste the difference). The flavour will be cookie dough or mint chocolate chip.

3) You have a dream that your co-worker, friend or whoever is hit by a garbage truck after they back into a ladder with a black cat on it. The next day you see that person standing by a ladder with a black cat on it and there is a garbage truck driving down the road ... what do you do?
I quickly, but very calmly, go up to them and ask them to move away from all three things for a few minutes to humour me. I have a very persuasive manner so they will follow me to a safe distance until the truck is far away. While it's going past, I tell them about my dream while they give me a very bemused look. :-D

4) What is the most lottery you've won on a lottery or scratch off ticket?
Nothing. I've never even won a fiver from the lottery and I've never played a scratchcard. :-P

5) A neighbour kid down the street comes to your door and offers to wash all of your windows outside for $10 - do you have him do it?
No. For a number of reasons:
a) This house is my mother's. She hates anyone touching her windows but my father.
b) I wouldn't have a tenner to give him - I'm broke.
And c) He's just given me an idea to make some money. Move over, kid. That's my job now! ;-)

6) Go to Google Images. Type in the name of the last movie you saw. Post the first picture that comes up.

7) Your local animal shelter calls you and says there are 3 dogs that need an immediate foster home for 3 days. If you do not accept, the dogs are put down that day. Do you take them in?
Of course! 'No pets allowed' is the rule in my parents' home but I don't think even they could turn those dogs away.

8) What is the messiest room in your home?
Probably the living room. It's full of people's unwanted crap and lots of boxes full of my old stuff.

9) Have you ever been to a wedding that participated in a strange tradition that you had never heard of?
No. Though ... when I was five I was bridesmaid for my aunt and uncle's wedding which was in a registery office. I thought I'd get to walk down the aisle and hold the bride's train but I did bugger all :-P (Except look like a pink fairy princess.)

10) Name one sport that you just don't get.
One? How about all of them?

11) What was the last email that came into your inbox about?
It was about blogs from a group of graduates from my old university.

12) Have you ever purchased anything from a sex shop? Extra points if you tell us what ...
Unfortunately no. I've been in and out of plenty - I don't even need an excuse most of the time - but never actually bought anything because I never have enough money on me. Everything's always so expensive.

13) Go back to the Google Images link... type in the last food item that you ate. Post the 2nd picture it comes up with.

14) Got any bumper stickers on your vehicle? What are they? I don't drive. :-)

15) What meme question do you wish was never asked again?
I hate the 'What does the earliest text message in your inbox say?' one because I never delete messages enough and it takes forever to get there. :-P  

BTT: Quick Preferences

Booking Through Thursday
's Question of the Week is:

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

  • Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? Something serious.
  • Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? Hardcovers
  • Fiction? Or Nonfiction? Both. In equal doses.
  • Poetry? Or Prose? Prose.
  • Biographies? Or Autobiographies? Autobiographies.
  • History? Or Historical Fiction? History.
  • Series? Or Stand-alones? Stand-alones.
  • Classics? Or best-sellers? Classics.
  • Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Straight-forward, basic prose.
  • Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Depends on the context/author.
  • Long books? Or Short? Long.
  • Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? Non-illustrated.
  • Borrowed? Or Owned? Owned.
  • New? Or Used? New.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Review: Religulous (2008)

Title: Religulous
Director: Larry Charles
Writer: Bill Maher
Year: 2008
Genre: Documentary

Rating: 5/5

I have been dying to see this documentary film since my other half showed me the trailer for it over a year ago. I wasn't always a big fan of Bill Maher ... Then again, I hadn't really seen much of his work. My first glimpse of him came just after Steve Irwin's death when Maher was photographed attending a Halloween party dressed in Irwin's standard green uniform, with a stingray sticking out of his chest. I thought it was too soon for jokes and in very poor taste and, as Maher stood posing with his trademark smug expression, I took an immediate dislike to him.

Later I caught a few clips of his show (Real Time with Bill Maher) and my opinion seemed to completely change. His nonchalant but hilarious way of expressing his opinions on politics and religion were something I admired in him. I'm very interested in religion (my other half is responsible for that too) so when I saw that Maher was making a documentary on the subject, I knew this is one I had to see.

Maher sets out on a journey around the world to interview people from all kinds of backgrounds, creeds and religions to find out why these intelligent, seemingly rational men and women feel the need to include religion in every aspect of their lives. He is not on a journey to ridicule those who agree to interview with him; He simply poses 'doubt.' He wants the answers to all the contradictions found in every religious text to be confronted and answered as best they can by those faithful followers. He never claims to have all the answers to one thing; he just wants to understand more about those who are devout to things that dispute one another.

I've seen a lot of religious documentaries over the last couple of years and there isn't much in this one that's new to me but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It's Maher's fierce nonchalance that brings humour into such serious convictions given by the interviewees while providing us with information about how dangerous organised religion is in today's society and, worst of all, when mixed with politics.

We go from Christianity, to Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, and even Scientology. His interviewees include priests, devout followers, ex-members of churches, scientists, senators, 'Jesus' from the Holy Land theme park in Florida, and even a self-proclaimed second coming of Christ. (Watch Senator Mark Pryor in one of the best foot in mouth moments captured on camera as he takes a very 'meh' attitude towards issues of huge importance and proudly proclaims, "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate." - Well done, dude. Ladies and gentlemen, your elected official.)

Maher just asks us to open and expand our minds; to take into account that for one man that believes in one God, there's a second man that believes in another. That if your religion teaches you one thing, you should not automatically dismiss anything else that conflicts with it. (Especially Science - I can't emphasise enough how important Science is and how unevil Scientists are.)

If you're interested in learning a bit about the many religions (and religious sites) around the world, I'd recommend picking up a copy of this. Especially as Bill Maher doesn't take you through it in a 'Shoving it down your throat' kind of way. He keeps the tone lighthearted and isn't afraid to tell people how ridiculous they're sounding if they get a little out of hand. Clips of interviews are intercut with references to popular culture to keep the audience interested, and scenes are never filled too heavily with preaching. On top of that we even get to learn a bit of background about Maher himself (His father was Catholic, his mother Jewish) which helps us relate more to the fact that this is a man who has experienced religion in his life and made his own comfortable decision about where he now stands.

Top rating for this film as it didn't disappoint and I'd watch it again and again for an important message and a good laugh.  

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Happy Birthday

A special blog post for the love of my life, Dan Grosvenor, on his 23rd birthday today.

Happy Birthday, angel. I hope you have a fabulous day.

Here's a collection of funny videos we've laughed at together over the last year.

You're made of pure awesomeage, babe. I love you. <3


And, of course, not forgetting my baby brother who turns 18 today too. How are you that age already? *sigh* They grow up so fast ;-) .

Happy Birthday, bro.

Teaser Tuesdays - July 21st

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser

"He didn't want to be here any more. It was completely quiet and empty in the apartment, and everything was so ... abnormal."
- Page 338,
Let the Right One In
by John Ajvide Lindqvist  

(Late) Queen's Meme

I'm one day late but decided to give The Queen's Meme a go today, as recommended by Mimi herself so here goes:

The Mission Impossible Meme
Lift off!

1) You are a guest on the space shuttle. You just arrived on the moon and realize you forgot something back home that you can't live without. What is it and how do you convince them to go back and fetch it?
I forgot my favourite book of all time, The Time Traveler's Wife, which we desperately need to go back for or else the crew are doomed to spend the rest of the trip with a cold, heartless biyatch. That book melts my heart and makes me believe in true love. Plus it has some great theories on time travel which could come in handy in space.

2) Pretend you are a teacher in a rough public school for one day. You have been assigned to teach Manners 101. You have the "challenging bad butt kids" class (remember this is a pretend school and anyway I can't say ass on my blog 'cause it's so unQueenly and I might get fined or something).
They are jumping up and down, cursing, and throwing things at you. What is the first thing you would write on the board?

I would opt to not write on the board and raise my voice, yelling "QUIET!" Then, I'd go around the class to get them all to individually tell me what they think makes a good mannered person. (You see, I did go to a rough public school and I know that crazy kids pay attention to the teacher who dares raise their voice. The reason kids play up is because they don't think teachers are going to react this way. I know how to be around rough public school kids, therefore, I rule all :-P ;-) ).

3) Someone in your family or a friend has started a blog. They think it is anonymous but you have figured it out. They are saying derogatory things about you. Do you tell them or do you read it for awhile?
How would you handle it?

I'd probably be in shock (as most people would) and wait to see if it was a one-off comment. After a while, if it was just a one time thing, I'd leave it. If it kept happening, I'd confront them face to face.

4) If you had one dollar left in your pocket, what would you spend it on?
Unfortunately nothing because I live in Britain and Britons in retail are terrified of foreign currency! (I know, I used to be one!) So my poor last dollar would be kept in my (falling apart) purse for all of eternity ... or until I had enough money to take a trip to the U.S.A. Then I'd spend it on food - Some sort of American food that I'd like to try. :-)

5) President Obama and the First Lady are coming over for dinner. What do you serve?
I would serve them a nice vegan dish. I can't think of one at the moment because I'm the least hungry you'll ever get. (And I'd try to persuade him to come rule our country too because we don't have a single politician that I have faith in or that I actually support.)

6) You walk in on your lover. They are trying on your clothes. What do you do?
Wow, that's awkward. Um, I probably wouldn't have that big a deal with it because I always wear his clothes and I don't really wear 'girly' stuff ever.

7) Every astronaut must have shots! Choose your vaccination: You only get one and you can't enjoy any of the attributes of the other choices. You choose either: (1) The fountain of eternal youth and sexual vigor but only for 10 years (2) perfect health for a lifetime (3) eternal mind-numbing nirvana and peace of mind (4) unlimited hedonism for one year with no negative consequences.
It's going to have to be perfect health for a lifetime. I have really crappy health as I have bad asthma and awful allergies. If I could put a stop to that, it'd be terrific. Plus, having a great piece of mind continuously wouldn't work in my favour because I'd have nothing to inspire my writing.

Thursday, 16 July 2009


Booking Through Thursday's Question of the week is:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

My books are divided up into two seperate areas - unread and read. I know if I smoosh them all together, I'll never get round to reading my unread. Unfortunately, I went through a stage of binge buying when I was in college and the first two years of university. I bought loads of books I wanted to read then. They represented what stage of my life I was at. This accounts for why my Amazon wishlist is four pages long - it represents the last twelve months of my life and I've banned myself from buying any of them until I get through my TBR list (most of which I have no interest in any more). Confusing but frustrating.  


... I have no words.  

Thursday, 9 July 2009

It's Thursday ...

... And what a tiring day it is so far. (It's only 2pm). I've been up since 5.30am and spent an hour moving all the stuff out of my bedroom so it could be painted and decorated to look all cosy and beautiful. I've been out to town, read my book for review, have had lunch, and I'm now officially knackered. But no room to go to!

I want to take a nap but have no bed ... I want to write my review but all my notes are on my computer which is currently in pieces (I'm using my parents') ... so I have no choice but to waste my time on here, blogging about utter rubbish and doing memes. So come on, people! Update those blogs and keep Lady Lazarus slightly sane today!

Before I go on to the memes, I want to just mention that I didn't watch the Michael Jackson Memorial but I did catch a few clips of it on YouTube. Obviously the Jackson family have been in showbusiness since they could walk and it didn't surprise me to see them displaying their grief for their son/brother so publicly but watching Michael's children grieve for their father in front of millions was truly heartbreaking and ... a little sick.

It's bad enough attending a funeral at that age ... let alone your father's funeral. But in front of millions? Really? I understand that Prince & Paris (ages 12 & 11) could have made the decision to stay away if they wanted to but looking at the little one, Prince II (age 7), made me want to shake the whole Jackson family. The boy didn't look up once and I've never seen a child that young so heartbroken. Don't even get me started on Paris' speech - At a small, intimate family funeral that would have been appropriate, but to see a showbusiness family egging this 11-year-old child on to speak through tears to the world was sick.

I guess it showed us what we wanted to see - that despite all the crap press he got, Michael Jackson was human and he was a father.


1) Do you tend to have a guilty conscious?
All the time! I don't know why :-S

2) Do you still have your wisdom teeth?
I do. In fact, funny thing about my teeth: I have 6 adult teeth at the top front, 6 adult teeth at the bottom front, and all the rest are milk/baby teeth. They never fell out, they were never pulled out, and the roots kind of absorbed back into the gums. I'll never have any more adult teeth, and my baby ones are still sturdy as hell :-D

3) Peanut butter - crunchy or creamy?
It's peanut butter jelly time! ... Sorry, couldn't help myself. Crunchy. Always. :-)

4) Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on?
'Twas my right.

5) What colour is your favourite kitchen utensil?
I just realised I changed all the American spelling to British. Mwahaha! Ummm ... All my utensils are pretty metal looking.

6) Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral?
Humm .... Yeah, I think I've answered that.

7) Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year?Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go?
I don't know anyone ... Ooh, wait, my boyfriend's sister left school. I'm pretty sure I'd skip partying with a bunch of 16-year-olds.

8) White with black stripes or black with white stripes?
Black with white stripes :-)

9) If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you?
Sixth grade? Let's see ... that's about age 12, right? So that would have been Year 7 for us. My Year 7 teachers would have said I'm delightful but quiet and always get top marks ... Yup, that was before my teen years snuck up and I started skipping classes and being all around lazy.

10) Can you draw a perfect circle?
Not even slightly :P

11) What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent?
I've never ever had one. Ever. :-( I feel deprived.

12) What does your sibling do for a living?
They're both students - one's a college student, one's a university student.

13) How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now?
Two light switches (Three if you include the lamp) and too many electrical outlets to count!

14) Do you know sign language?
I'd like to.

15) Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk?
Not if I can help it. I never ever step on three drains though.

16) And the sheets on your bed look like....?
A big pile of dust at the moment because of the decorating going on in my room :P

17) What is something that everyone else has, but you don't?
A TV. :-)


No BTT today because the question's about books you own but haven't read yet which I already posted about here a few weeks ago.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Title: The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Year: 1982

Plot: 'Dear God: I am fourteen years old. I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me ...'

So begins Alice Walker's touching, compelling, prize-winning novel set in the harsh, segregated world of the Deep South between the wars. Celie has been raped by the man she calls father; her two children have been taken away from her; she has been forced into an ugly marraige. She has no one to talk to but God.

Then she meets Shug Avery, singer and magic maker, and Celie discovers not the pain of female rivalry but the love and support of women.

(Taken from back cover of: Alice Walker, 1982. The Color Purple. Great Britain: The Women's Press.)

Review: **Note: May contain mild spoilers** I first came into contact with the story of The Color Purple about ten years ago when I sat down with my parents to watch the screen adaptation. A few years later I studied the book for my A Levels in college. I enjoyed it on both occasions but it wasn't until I picked it up again, a few days ago, that I truly read it.

For the first time, I'm seeing this story in a different light; I'm seeing it the way Walker wanted us to see it. It's a tale about an African American community in the Deep South at the beginning of the 20th century - a tale of women and their struggle to find their place in the patriarchal society they've grown accustomed to, and how a few of those women fight for their own rights in their own home.

Celie has already had two children by her father when we meet her. As a result, she's married off to Mr. _______ , an abusive widower who is madly in love with blues singer, Shug Avery. As the years go on, Celie begins to form an attachment to this singer who she has yet to meet: this woman who has the ability to make all men weak at the knees; this woman who sings the devil's music and has taken control of her own life, no matter what her family say. In some ways, Shug is the anti-Celie. Our heroine is meak and abused in her own home, while Shug represents the modern woman, displaying typically 'male' characteristics. It is Mr. _______ who describes her best:

"He say he love her style. He say, to tell the truth Shug act more manly than most men. I mean, she upright, honest. Speak her mind and the devil take the hindmost, he say. You know Shug will fight, he say."

At a time when Celie represents the 'every' woman - the repressed wife, taking a back seat to her husband's mistress and looking after his children - Shug is representing the new idea of what women are capable of. She is in control of her sexuality, knows how to use it, and is comfortable with love, life, and spirituality.

When they finally meet, she is the one who teaches Celie how to own her femininity. Celie has grown up in a society dominated by men and it is Shug who reawakens her. Their turbulent relationship begins, during which we see Celie grow through her improved use of language, sense of humour, and confidence around those "frogs" that have been so controlling.

Two other notable women characters are Sofia and Nettie. Sofia, Celie's stepdaughter-in-law, is a strong, boisterous woman, often compared to "amazons" - an indication of how warrior like she is. Sofia is perhaps the strongest female in the novel, often playing the 'male' role in her marriage (which her husband doesn't seem to mind that much, much to the disappointment of his father) and even getting into trouble with the law for standing up to the "white folks." What is interesting about her, though, is how quickly Walker teaches us about the horrific consequences of a strong-willed black woman's actions in these times; Sofia apologises to no-one and (in keeping with the reality of the time and place) this causes problems.

Nettie, Celie's beloved sister, hasn't been seen for years since Mr. _______ threw her out. Though she promised to write letters, nothing has been sent and Celie thinks of her every day. Though we don't know too much about the woman Nettie would have grown up to be in the Deep South, Nettie eventually becomes the key to our history lesson from the book. She has been in Africa, the place of her and Celie's ancestors, and through her words we come to see how the segregation between black and white has come about. Slavery is over but prejudice is thriving. Celie's community is poor and has no real knowledge about their background: it is Nettie who is the one to teach them about their fellow 'brothers and sisters' across the world.

I love this book. It makes me want to learn more about African-American history (as a Brit, I barely learnt anything about this in school). The heartbreaking suppression of women in a patriarchal society which, through strength, love, and sisterhood, begins to disappear as they connect with one another and learn more about what it means to be a real woman is an inspiring story, no matter what your background. Walker's use of the old 'Black American English' to write her characters' letters is a wonderful way to convey how each woman grows through the years as the language improves and the confidence exudes from the pages.

Celie is not perfect. Neither is Shug. Nor Sofia. But that is what makes these women real. They are real characters with real flaws and we feel connected to a part of them in spite of their age, race, or background.

At a time such as this (in the twenty-first century) when women seem to do nothing but fight each other for the affection of men, it is refreshing to read about a group of women who'll do anything to stick together and embrace who they are, never to let a man come between the unspoken bonds they hold. Even the men learn something from these relationships, as we see Mr. _______, the previously dominant leader of the family, eventually take a step back to try and learn a little something about himself and not be afraid to challenge gender stereotypes ("When I was growing up, he said, I use to try to sew along with mama cause that's what she was always doing. But everybody laughed at me. But you know, I liked it.")

I'm counting this book as one of my six for the GLBT Challenge. Not only is it written by bisexual author, Alice Walker, but it celebrates women's sexuality through friendship, love, relationships, and sisterhood.

Rating: 5*****

About the author: Alice Walker is an American novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and activist. Her most famous novel, The Color Purple, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983. Alice Walker's creative vision is rooted in the economic hardship, racial terrorism, and folk wisdom of African American life and culture, particularly in the rural South. Her writing explores multidimensional kinships among women, among men and women, among humans and animals, and embraces the redemptive power of social, spiritual and political revolution. (Taken from the author's official website.)  

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Piece of Inspiration ...

Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain,
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise


Thursday, 2 July 2009

June: A Recap

Total Books Read: 4
Books Reviewed: 3

Books by Female Authors: 2
Books by Male Authors: 2

Books Read for Review Site/s: 2
Books Read for Pleasure: 2

Fiction: 2
Non-Fiction: 2



Authors discovered: Gregory Maguire, John Green, P.C. & Kristin Cast, Elizabeth Chadwick.

Challenge Progress -

50 Books Challenge: 24/50
Classics Challenge: 1/6 (No progress in June)

Summary/Opinion: Crap, I'm a little behind to say the least with my reading but hopefully I'll be able to bump up my reading count by next month, especially as I start a new challenge - the GLBT Challenge hosted by Amanda from The Zen Leaf.


Total New Films Seen: 2
Films Reviewed: 0

Films currently in production that I'm most excited about:
Film of the Month: Thirteen (2003).

I'm going to start keeping a record of how many films I watch a month. I watch a lot of films each day - and that's no exaggeration. I'm a self-confessed film buff, am obsessed with the film/studio industry, so what better way to get out what's on my mind about it than on here? Just to clarify, I know I didn't do any Star Trek or Terminator reviews this month so let me just say, I loved Star Trek; Terminator Salvation was a big disappointment.



Favourite Blog/s: The Book Zombie, A Secret Garden & Vampire Wire.
Favourite Site/s: Goodreads (Add me as a friend if you're on there - I'm friendless!), Nerdfighters (It helps if you've seen John and Hank Green's vlogs here) & Lainey Gossip (Shame on me but she's so damn funny!).



Favourite Bands: Phantom Planet (In three months I still haven't moved on from them).
Songs stuck in my head: The Shoot Out (Thirteen Soundtrack), Lemon by Katy Rose & You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC.
Concerts Attended: 0



Random Silliness I discovered in June:


I said a heartfelt goodbye to my Cardiff house at the end of June so that I could move back in with my parents for a short while. It's been 3 days and I miss my friends and boyfriend already. *sigh* But at least I have my books, films, and interweb to keep me happy. :-)

(Bubyeee to the gorgeous cat next door that would wake us up every morning with his very, very loud Meows to be let inside).

Thursday Thunks

A new meme for me to do before I post about my June books. I found this through Kristina at Kristina's Favorites.

Welcome to the July 2nd version of Thursday Thunks!
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!

This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by
Kimber, the number 14 and the color of your mother's hair dye.

1. When you close a door, do you close it quick and just let it slam or do you hold the knob and slowly shut it tight?
Close it slowly. I hate the sound of slammed doors. Even when I'm annoyed, I won't slam them. It reminds me too much of what teenagers do.

2.Train A is moving at 60 miles an hour. Train B is moving at 22 miles an hour. They will pass each other at X time. Now what color shoes are you wearing when train A derails?
Dark Rocket Dogs :-) I can't tell if they're really really dark blue or light black. :-P

3. What if M&M's grew on trees? What color M&M tree would you have?
Well, it would have to be multicoloured - I'd need every colour M&M growing on my tree (though I don't eat them).

4. How many petals on a flower does it take to make it the perfect bloom?
As many as the flower has strength to hold.

5. I took you to spend $421.67 on you, what did we spend that money on?
Lots and lots of books, some music shows, and some theatre.

6. If you were a squash, what type of squash would you be?
A butternut one. Mmmmmm. :-)

7. Have you ever gotten a wrong number call and ended up talking to the person for longer than 5 minutes?
Nope. Not at all.

8. Why haven't you joined Berleen & Kimber at Insanity Cafe yet? Do we stink?
I don't know what that is but I'll certainly be looking for it now!

9. Now for one of Ber's questions back when TT was brand new... Shampoo bottles say lather, rinse, repeat... do you?
Sometimes. It depends how smelly I feel. Most of the time I leave my shampoo 'lathered' on for quite a while - I trick myself into thinking it'll be absorbed better.

10. It's July, the year is half over. Do you see it as "whew that part is over" or best is yet to come?
It's more like, 'Oh my God! Where the hell did the year go? Remember when we were kids? And a week was an infinity?"

11. Why do you do the Thursday Thunks meme?
I've just discovered it, I love memes, and these questions are randomly great.

BTT: Celebrity Memoirs

Today's Booking Through Thursday question is:

Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

I usually stay clear of celebrity memoirs. They all seem to have the same tone a lot of the time - a lot of bad childhoods culminating in huge success covered by fake modesty. But I do make exceptions. If I'm interested in someone enough, I'll be more than happy to pick up a book by them.

I read Sharon Osbourne's Extreme and Jack Osbourne's 21 Years Gone, both of which I really enjoyed. I'm a big fan of the whole Osbourne clan so I really loved how frank they were and got to learn a little something more about what goes on behind the cameras.

One of my favourite books is The Journals of Sylvia Plath. While it's not a memoir, it's close enough. Peter Doherty's Books of Albion were an excellent collection of his journals, put together to show how amazingly poetic his words really are. I also read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank this year. I love the style and personal connection you get while reading a diary/journal and would really love to get my hands on more. Can anyone recommend any great ones? (I have Virginia Woolf's on my wishlist).

Any of David Sedaris' essay collections about his life are a must-read. Maya Angelou's collection of autobiographies are incredible. (Writers count as celebrities in my world. :-P)

I tend to read a lot of fiction that's a thinly disguised version of the author's life: books written by Hunter S. Thompson or The Bell Jar would come under this category.

I have Marlon Brando's Songs my Mother Taught Me which I can't wait to read, and I'd also like to pick up Arthur Miller's memoirs.

As for whose I'd like to read: Kate Winslet; Robert DeNiro; Al Pacino; Meryl Streep; Johnny Depp. Just a handful of my favourite actors. :-)  

R.I.P. Karl Malden

Let me just make a point of saying I don't do R.I.P. posts about every famous person that's passed away. This is my third R.I.P. post in a matter of months but I only blog about those that touch me in some way.

I grew up knowing Karl Malden as the reverend from Disney's Pollyanna. His fiery sermons scared the hell out of me. When I got older I got to know him more from The Streets of San Francisco, as a frequent Marlon Brando costar in films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and One Eyed Jacks, and a star of so many other countless films.

While it's sad that we've lost a legendary actor, we can be glad he made it to a great age - 97.

Please take the time to watch him in this clip from Pollyanna. This priest scared the shit out of me as a child and, as an adult, I can't help but giggle. The churchgoers' reactions are priceless. (And I love the shaking chandelier!)