WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!

Oh wow, 2018 has been relentless!! but I’m back and ready to annoy you all with my chit chat!!

so! where have I been you might ask??!!!! (I ask myself the same question, especially when I need to write an essay and my brain has wandered off) Assignments have been the main thing eating up my time since January, in fact, this year of studying has been very challenging for me, and at times I felt like giving in…BUT I pursued and PASSED MY THIRD YEAR!! I’m very excited to start my fourth year as I shall be studying the classical world of Ancient Greece and Rome! (anyone else studying with the Open University feel free to message me so we can cry about our life choices together!!).

It hasn’t been all bad though!! I’ve had some amazing life experiences. I went to America last October and had the trip of a lifetime. I stayed in California and met up with some friends who I have known for well over 5 years, went to Disneyland, MET MICKEY MOUSE!! and spent far too much money in Target!! I then travelled up to Seattle and stayed with another one of my close friends who I had never met before and we celebrated Halloween together (and eat so many cupcakes oh god!)

There is another thing in my life that I have been so excited to write about and share with you guys!!!!! I’M IN LOVE!! WITH THIS HUMAN:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 22.59.21 copy

We aim to spend the rest of our lives having as many pets as possible, getting a mudlarking licence, eating all the Halloumi this world has to offer and genuinely just living in our happy li’l gay bubble!! I LOVE YOU HOBBIT (I’m assuming she’s gonna read this because I’m obviously her favourite writer!!) (I’m joking omg I’m not that narcissistic!)

So now that I have returned what should you all expect? more book reviews of course!!! I have some really cool books to show you guys and will be posting a review weekly!!

I am so sorry for my long absence, I’ve missed you guys so much!! I can’t wait to get back into my book world and create some more MAGIC!! (get it….cause my blog name is chloeemagic?? I’ll stop trying to be funny I promise!!)

Follow me on social media so we can catch up!!

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THE BOOK THIEF WAS ROBBED!!

Anyone one remembers my first blog post where I promised to do a 30 questions book challenge? yeah, I almost forgot too!! BUT I’m here to address something that has plagued my existence for quite some time!!

SO

number 14 on this book challenge is: Book turned into a movie and completely desecrated….

THE BOOK THIEF

This book is humanity itself. I know it’s technically YA fiction (although to me it’s historical fiction because its message is universal).

Each character is beautifully woven into the tapestry of the pages. And Death’s hard to hear, ‘fly on the wall’ narration of the book thief’s life as she (Liesel Meminger) arrives on Himmel street.

This book has hard, biting imagery of the terrifying and constricting life, not only during WWII but in Nazi Germany.

I love this book so much because of its concept. The book itself is Liesel Meminger’s life through Death’s eyes. In the book, we see the inhuman chaos created by Hiter, the poignant moments of a girl’s life as she turns to thievery as a way of gaining power with words within a world where there is no certainty, and the friendships she makes that change her life forever.

And so when I heard one of my favourite books was going to become a film I was BUZZING LIKE A BEE! ok I was imagining the crisp and cold images that came alive in my imagination as I read the book. I thought how amazing it would be to actually see these beautiful characters come to life and to show the heartache and the happiness as death tells the tale of the book thief.

I WAS SO WRONG.

Death narrates the beginning, maybe a li’l section in the middle, and then he pops up at the end when he comes to collect everyone’s souls. WHERE WAS HE? I know a book can’t be translated 100% into a film and there are changes that need to be made to make it viewable….but??? Death as the narrator is the main concept of the book!

And the characters I had fallen in love with were just stilted characters in a period drama. Liesel never called herself a thief, in fact through the whole film she protested she was just ‘borrowing’ EXCUSE ME… is it called ‘the book borrower’ …nope, thought not!

And oh dear Lord have mercy, RUDY STEINER, my dear little saumensch, you deserved so much better.

And even Max, they down played the terrors he faced… he had nightmares and lived in the basement for over two years because he was hiding from the Nazis!

I feel like the film was made for a certain audience and therefore the creators were dancing around the sensitive and tough subjects. Which is wrong, this story’s combination of humanity and history is what should’ve been portrayed on the screen. The community spirit as a neighbourhood hid in an air raid shelter together, the rationing and the simple pleasures of childhood documented in Liesel and Rudy’s friendship.

This post is becoming far too long and I’m trying not sound too ranty…but this film lets me down so much!!

Don’t get me wrong, the sets and costumes were all amazing, but the plot had no correlation to the book whatsoever (in my opinion).

So yes, that’s question 14 answered, please don’t take offense to me not liking the film!! the beauty of this world is that we’re all different!

Also… if you’ve never read the book, you should totally go buy it now, because it’s one of the best books I’ve EVER read!!

Make sure to follow me on twitter! we can talk about books together!! yahh!

Book Review: I’m the king of the castle

I’m the king of the castle by Susan Hill

“I didn’t want you to come here”

This book was suggested to me by an English teacher I met at Waterloo station a few months ago (I like talking to strangers now idk) and she warned me that it was a pretty messed up book…SHE WAS RIGHT!
This book has taken my belief that all kids are Satan soldiers and ramped it up by about 1000.
Set in a decrepit Manor House called ‘Warings’ it starts with Edmund Hooper, A very posh and entitled child who is annoyed because his dad has hired a woman to become a housekeeper in their newly inherited mouldy Victorian manor (great!), and she is bringing her son, Charles Kingshaw to live at Warings with them. And from this moment it’s just hell, literally anxiety triggering bullying from both Hooper and Kingshaw. They’re both just bloody awful.
This book does have an important message though. Each person living in Warings does not project love and has never really experienced love, which is where all the chaos comes from. But still…this book is mental (I mean it has come from the mind that created ‘the woman in black’ so…).
Susan Hill’s writing is genius. Every sentence is devoid of love or affection and each character danced around the subject of love, or declines any chance at being kind to one another, even Hooper’s dad and Kingshaw’s mum!!

The never ending rivalry between both boys is a twisted view at childhood bullying and it honestly gave me anxiety a few times! The mind games Hooper plays are just psychotic. And Kingshaw is hopelessly lost amongst trying to seem tough and indifferent to each jab from Hooper.
Despite Kingshaw being the victim in this book I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Hooper. Both boys were starved of affection and attention which birthed evil child demons within both of them, and we all know evil child demons, whether metaphorical or physical, are the worst kind.

Also, another thing that worries me is that this book is on school curriculums?! The English teacher who recommended it to me was saying how worried she was that children were reading this at school! (I mean I had to read lord of the flies and holes so I guess it’s not too messed up, but still! What’s wrong in reading children Shakespeare…or Dickens)
I guess I don’t need to say why I think y’all should read this book cause you might have already read it, in which case, I’m sorry I had to make you re-live the trauma!! But it’s a worth a read to remind you how love is important…and if you can, teach kids not to be evil to others and they won’t have fatal accidents or grow up to be weirdos!

Also, Susan Hill’s writing is totally worth a read!!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter! I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on the books I review!
Where to buy this book: 

Amazon

Audible

Waterstones

Foyles

Wordery

 

Book Review: The Circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers

I’m gonna be honest…I read this book SO QUICKLY in anticipation for the movie…and I’m still VERY confused and slightly let down by the story!!

OK so the story is based around the main character: Mae Holland who is a new employee at the technology power house ‘THE CIRCLE’, and goes from ‘guppy’ to member of the top forty most popular/influential people within the company.

At first, the circle sounds like the ULITMATE business to work for! Mae is given access to the best technology (new phones, laptops, tablets) free healthcare, all that good stuff! But as time goes by, the reader discovers that The circle isn’t all as it seems. Over enthusiastic co workers and prying eyes create a dystopian atmosphere around Mae as she happily walks into the trap that is created within the maze of this ‘all inclusive’ big brother style business.

I was so into this story in the first half of the book, it was creepily similar to the world we live in today (technology taking over our lives, everyone knowing everything about us because of social media and basically our online identities taking over and becoming intertwined). And Mae’s complete compliance with it all made me want to climb into the book and give her a good shake to make her see the complete creepiness of it all!!

But descending into the second half the plot became far too chaotic!! And not in a good way (in my opinion!).

I don’t feel like it was rushed, but the way it was written I just feel like the author had no idea how to end it with the intended impact, considering the strong plot and relatable sub plots, the second half was a complete shift in tone, which is a shame, cause I was so hyped in anticipation for the film!

BUT I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading ‘the circle’ especially if you’re a fan of the dystopian genre.

And my only negative comment about the film is that John Boyega wasn’t given more screen time!!

So if I had to score this book out of ten, I would probably give it a six. It’s the first book I’ve read from Dave Eggers, so perhaps it’s just writings style, I’m definitely not put off and I will read more from him. But this book, unfortunately, did not live up to my expectations.

Where to buy this book:

Amazon

Audible

Waterstones

Foyles

Wordery

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (24 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 024114650X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241146507
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm

Book Review: Past Mortems

Past Mortems: Life and death behind mortuary doors by Carla Valentine

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve always had a burning anxiety about what happens to your mortal shell after you’ve left it behind and are out there spooking the living daylights out of people (we all have our own afterlife beliefs, I know!).

Whether it’s a morbid human curiosity or a genuine worry, my ignorance was quenched with this book!! Carla Valentine’s book is a telling of her career as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist or mortician (either sound pretty professional and interesting!).

The book speaks of technical terms and procedures that are respectfully carried out on the deceased which is something I have never known, and I find strange since death is the only thing we all have in common. This is what I loved most about this book, and Carla’s explaining of her job and all the other things that go into respectfully handling the dead is such a reassuring read, from a scientific or just a human perspective, there is no awkwardness or jumping around subjects, each process is respectfully explained, leaving no (kidney) stone unturned!! *ba dum tss* (sorry, I just really love puns).

A book that is not only scientific but much more humorous than my stupid pun! Past Mortems has a harmonious balance between darkness and light, Carla Valentine approaches the subject of death with a professional brain and a human heart. Some chapters are deeply moving and show the true strength of an APT (Anatomical Pathology Technician, there are loads of abbreviations involved behind mortuary doors!).

Why I think you should read this book:

  • INFORMATION! I have a whole new appreciation for a job that I knew very little about! death is such a difficult subject to breach, that in my 23 years of existence I’ve never known what goes into the care and studies of a human after they die. Of course, if you have a queasy disposition when it comes to blood, human organs and scientific jargon, then this might not be the book for you, but I’d still promote it, as APT’s and every other job revolved around death should be applauded and we should know about the brave and hard work they do.
  • Carla Valentine! I have followed her on Twitter and Instagram for a while, and her ability to approach such subjects as death or medical conditions is a true talent! you can hear the passion for her job in every sentence.
  • IT’S SUPER BLOODY INTERESTING!

For more information check out Carla Valentine’s official website: The Chick and the Dead

 

Where to buy this book:

Amazon

Audible

Waterstones

Foyles

Wordery

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (6 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751565326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751565324
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm

Book Review: The Die-Fi Experiment

The Die-Fi Experiment by M.R. Tapia

“I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives, a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra culpa!” – Albert Einstein

A honeymoon gone wrong? A sick and twisted game show? DEATH? Social media ruining EVERYTHING?! oh…and GORE!! ….these are a few of my favourite things!!

In all seriousness though, my intro to this book review is a basic description of what The Die-Fi Experiment is all about! This book has to have been the goriest thing I’ve ever read! I’ve seen my fair share of horror films, the Saw franchise, ‘Would you Rather’ and ‘Hostel’ but this book throws every gory film I’ve ever seen out of the water!

I applaud M.R. Tapia to be able to create such gory descriptions that literally made me turn away from the page and wince, trying not to imagine myself experience such pain!! but not only did Tapia nail the gore and horror but the underlying message beneath the blood and guts.

The Die-Fi Experiment is a game show streamed through the internet and watched by thousands. The protagonists’ pain being spurred on by the faceless watchers behind a screen. This book is an extreme way of showing how social media and the internet, in general, can become dangerous when put into the wrong hands…or if humans become too revolved around social media.

Tapia’s use of ironic hashtags is something I absolutely loved throughout this book!! something horrifying would be going on, and to sum it up for the internet there’d be a hashtag at the end, for example:

#catsgotmytongue

(obvs you’ll have to read the book for the irony to make any sense! so go read it!!!)

Overall despite feeling very sick at some parts in this book due to the extreme gore, I found it very entertaining! it made you understand the characters as the story progressed and the ending just made you wish they’d never went on their honeymoon!!

Also at the end of The Die-Fi Experiment, there is an excerpt from Tapia’s upcoming and debut novel which comes out on the 2nd November of this year!!! it’s called ‘Sugar Skull’ and the excerpt has me excited for its release!

Purchase the Die- Fi Experiment on Amazon

 

Book Review: Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

Crime/Thriller novel based around the main character Karen Pirie, Out of Bounds follows two cases, one she has been given as head of the historical cases in Police Scotland, And the other caught her attention after the straightforward conclusion didn’t quite add up to Karen. So she defies her superiors in search for the truth.

McDermid’s fluid writing skill turns the reader into a detective, tying pieces of evidence together and collecting suspects as you read along. From the beginning obscure chapters, you get the foundation to a strong and an insatiable need to keep reading.

I made the mistake of reading this book first. Once finished I went online to see what other books by Val McDermid had written…and it wasn’t until then that I realised this book is number four of a series! I was DEVASTATED! I went into full book nerd mode and ordered the first three parts!
Once the panic had subsided I became excited because this means I get to read three more books based around Karen Pirie, who I became very attached to when reading ‘Out of Bounds’.

 

 

Why I think you should read this book:

  1. Amazing mystery element. Every chapter gives tiny pieces of clues away, which of course makes you want to keep reading until you’ve found out the TRUTH (imagine I said that in a dramatic movie star voice).
  2. This book contains TWO murder mysteries. It’s utterly addictive to read.
  3.  Loveable characters. Val McDermid has done an amazing job a making her characters human, as if they could be pulled out of the pages and dropped into real life.
  4.  There seems to have been a lot of research put into the wrong of this book! You’ll see when you read it, the legal terms and ‘police-y’ words and phrases all sounds legit, which makes this book even more believable and makes you trust the writer.
  5. IT IS PART OF A SERIES!! Don’t be silly like me and read it first! There’s an order to reading a book series! (Imagine reading ‘the deathly hallows’ before reading ‘the philosopher’s stone’) although it is a good stand alone book, but Karen Pirie deserves to be appreciated!

 

 

Where to buy this book:

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (26 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751561436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751561432

Spectacles! – A book and show review

Spectacles! live and Spectacles! the book – a double review!!

Last week I FINALLY got to see Sue Perkins’ Spectacles show and it was everything I could’ve imagined and more!

Before I get into the review i’d like to do a quick shout out to Sue because  I was meant to see her show Last year in Brighton but couldn’t make it due to a family illness. But Sue sent me a signed copy of her book instead and it really made my year! so THANK YOU SUE YOU’RE AN ANGEL!!

befunky-collage

NOW, lets talk about the show!! I went to see it in the gorgeous Lighthouse in Poole, Dorset. The amazing venue created such a personal and chilled out air to the show, as I was expecting from Sue!

The show itself isn’t a reading of the book, nor is it a standup comedy show. To put it plainly it’s Sue talking to the audience. BUT IT WORKS. She is hilarious, and the accompaniment of a slideshow of images from her life (also some pics of Mel that i’m not quite sure she allowed Sue to use!!)

Of course there’s the talk about bake off and the amazing truth about Mary Berry (7 shots of tequila? what a legend!)

To anyone who is going to see the show/wants to see it, You won’t be disappointed! the lightly scripted feel brings out the best in Sue as she ponders over her childhood, and how she grew up with a sentimental mum who collected every little part of her childhood, to a dad who stripped everything back to data.

The two things that made the show for me was:

1. When she brought her dog out onto the stage!! the cute doggo was wearing a nappy which added to the hilarity and just made me want to hop off the balcony and give the pup a hug (the nappy wasn’t a costume…it was a necessity)

2. The second half of the show was mainly filled up with questions from the audience. Now, Sue is very brave for doing this! out of being offered M&Ms and being told that she did a show with Tim Minchin (statements and gifts are apparently what Dorset had to offer for Sue that night). But someone asked her whether she had any phobias. Sue replied with a tale about a kind of handmade plane she was on once (it sounded terrifying) but in classic Sue style, she brushed it off as something she overcame with the marvellous invention of ‘Diazepam’ stating that all she felt was: ‘Jelly, mess and fun times’.

The show ended with a good old sing song of ‘Bad moon rising’ by the Creedence Clear Water Revival, which was a song released the week she was born, and a continuation to the ’70’s nostalgic feel to the show.

SO Spectacles! was a fantastic show and hopefully Sue will do another tour of the hilarious and good-time spectacle!! (pun intended)

even if you have missed out on the Spectacles! live show you can still get the authentic feel of its premise in Sue’s memoir!

The book is very much like the show in respects to how it feels. It’s like having a chat with a friend, hearing funny anecdotes about moments in their life and having a bit of heartache when they reveal something sad and life altering.

Sue’s memoir is more than just the low down on what happened behind the scenes of the GBBO. It’s the tale of a British icon, and the tale of the birth a comedy duo that will go down in history as being a class act of unforgiving women.

Yes, Mel and Sue’s origin story is just as you would imagine it. So I recommend this to book to anyone! (i’ve talked my mum into buying a copy this weekend!)

Where to buy this book:

Amazon

Audible

Waterstones

Foyles

Wordery

Book Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405918551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405918558

‘A book that you’ve read more than 3 times’ – Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

I have read this book a total of five times…I just love it.

 

Tom Rob Smith is an absolute genius, and the Child 44 book series, to me, is the best thriller series out there.

 

Why do I love it so much?
From the characters, to the beginning that only makes sense until you’ve read every page, it’s faultless in my eyes.
I’m a big fan of thriller books and I honestly thought I was going to hate this book. It’s set in the Stalin era of the soviet union which I thought was going to wind me up and make me sad, and it did, but in a way that added a frosty cut to each mystery, and a perfect sense of urgency to the story (I honestly nearly had a panic attack whilst reading some of the chapters, it’s that tense!)

 

It’s also based on a true story: the killings of  Andrei Chikatilo. This fragment of truth adds a page turning fixation within the plot.

 

And finally the main reason I love this book, the characters!

 

The main character, Leo, an MGB officer, and at first, a very cold character. But this book is a very bumpy ride for him (bless him). I have a real soft spot for Leo, mainly because he’s so relatable! (Weird, right? Being able to relate to an MGB officer) but as you get further into the book you see his utter need for redemption, to be loved and to solve this case, despite having the odds stacked against him.

 

And then there is Raisa!! The most amazing, strong female character. As Leo’s wife, the book conveys a series of emotions she feels towards him (anger, fear, hopelessness) but towards the end there is LOVE, ahhh,  I love a good love story that bites back. She’s not just there for the love story, no no no!! She’s just as strong at fighting the odds, her formidable and clever thinking creates an amazing element to this book!!

 

And of course it is the first book to a nail biting and thrilling series!
Child 44
The Secret Speech
Agent 6

 

I would really love for everyone to give this book a chance! Tom Rob Smith has a writing talent that many could only dream for.
Also, don’t forget that Child 44 has been made into a pretty awesome film featuring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace!!

 

Where to buy this book:

 

Book details:

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Reissue edition (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857204084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857204080

‘STRUNGBALLS?!’ – A strange and mind-altering review

To put it simply, this novella is probably the weirdest thing I have ever read! (And I read some weird stuff)
But the weirdness and unfamiliar-ness of this novella is what makes it so great.

 

The story is revolved around Sydney, a boy living within another dimension…or a dystopian planet…but all he knows is the corridors within his city, and the regimented robotic lifestyles he and his parents live.

 

This civilisation has its own way of protection, and this is where Sydney’s adventure begins. In a plain white room, getting a small cube of flesh removed, he doesn’t know why, it is just what is done in this city.
After his disturbing operation, His proud parents then present him with his first strungball! Which is placed within the empty space where his flesh used to be.

 

Through the first half of this novella Sydney seems to be happy, and proud that he has become a part of this tradition…but then through a bizarre turn of events, he thinks for the fist time:

 

‘Why?’ 

 

And this tiny little question brings on chaos! It brings down the regimented and controlled lifestyle lived through this city.

 

And Sydney takes the idea of ‘finding yourself’ to a whole other level.

 

Within 66 pages, Mike Russel managed to take my brain and turn it into scrambled egg!!

 

I really enjoyed it though, it was a complete detachment to real life, I imagine it’s the kind of story David Lynch would turn into an amazing and mind bending film!

 

You should definitely read this novella if you’re into the weird and stomach flipping strangeness of a different world.
The absence of sense and understanding, just reading and enjoying a truly weird story!

 

If it’s not your kind of reading preference I would still recommend this novella, as for me, it is something I wouldn’t have thought to read. But I honestly really enjoyed it!

 

Check out more weirdness from strangebooks!! the awesome home of Mike Russel, the brains behind these amazing stories!

 

Where to buy this book: 

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 66 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (31 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1534957138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1534957138