Monday, 13 August 2018

First Look: Kiernan Shipka in Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I love Riverdale. I love that the light and witty Archie comics that I read for all of my teenage years have become this dark and surreal show. The characters are recognisable but they are definitely not the same wholesome, one-dimensional characters I used to draw in art class.

One of my favourite characters from the Archie universe is Sabrina the Teenage Witch and now Sabrina is getting her very own show. The Netflix original series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will debut on 26 October 2018 and hails from.Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions

Starring Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina promises to be as dark as Riverdale, if not more so. With themes of witchcraft, horror and the occult, the show will focus on Sabrina’s fight against evil while wrestling to reconcile her dual nature as half-mortal, half-witch.

The script for the series has been penned by Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who executive produces alongside Riverdale collaborators Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger.

Joining Kiernan Shipka will be Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis (The Office), Ross Lynch, Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who), Chance Perdomo, Jaz Sinclair, Richard Coyle, Tati Gabrielle, Adeline Rudolph, Abigail Cowen, Lachlan Watson, Bronson Pinchot and Gavin Leatherwood

Roll on 26 October!

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Book Review: Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles ★★★★☆

Colour Me In - Lydia Ruffles

In my search for a book that would truly move me, I encountered Lydia Ruffles's lucid dream of a novel Colour Me In. Ruffles is a relative newcomer to the New Adult market - her debut novel The Taste of Blue Light was only released in September 2017 - yet she is quickly gaining a reputation for her lyrical writing and focus on issues such as grief, depression and mental health.

Nineteen-year-old Arlo is adrift. He's catching a plane to the other side of the world to get as far away as he can from the most awful event in his life and he is unravelling. Devastated and lost, he is painfully in mind of the last time he fell apart yet is still hoping to outrun the black dog. Amongst the bright lights of an unnamed far eastern city, Arlo meets Mizuki and she seems just as lost as he is. Together they embark on a journey to abandoned places and exotic beaches in the hope that they can find themselves again.

Colour Me In is simply beautiful. Like a spider weaving a web, Ruffles pulls the reader under into Arlo's thoughts, memories and emotions as he reconciles the painful events of his childhood, his friendship with his childhood best friend, his struggle with depression and the events leading up to that flight. As the pages turn and the reader becomes invested in Arlo's story, Ruffles then proceeds break the reader’s heart, as Arlo's heart has been broken.

The writing in Colour Me In is incredible and there were times when I could barely make progress in the book for all the passages I was highlighting, rereading and absorbing. This may just be one of the most highlighted novels I have ever read.

Colour Me In - Lydia Ruffles coverMany authors have written about disassociation and feeling lost across the generations and it is interesting just how universal and timeless this theme is. Lydia Ruffles has written a novel that is very much for the Y Generation but it was reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye, Generation X and the 2003 film Lost in Translation. This is significant. Firstly, I think this book would work perfectly as a film, with its lurid colours and alluring aromas. Secondly, I think that this novel, which Ruffles purposely avoids tying to a time or place, will have an equally universal and enduring appeal.

I give Colour Me In an excellent four out of five stars and would recommend to fans of Catcher In The Rye and Turtles All The Way Down . I will certainly look out for Lydia Ruffles’ work in future.

★★★★☆

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Friday, 6 July 2018

Book Review: The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull by Pamela Butchart and Enid Blyton ★★★★☆

The Secret Seven Mystery of the Skull

Enid Blyton’s beloved series The Secret Seven is back with a brand new adventure, Mystery of the Skull, based on Blyton’s original intrepid sleuth septet and written by Pamela Butchart.

I loved The Secret Seven and The Famous Five as a child and raced through all of the books, some more than once. With the exception of Roald Dahl’s books, no other books had such an enduring impact on my life. To this day, decades after I read them, I can still fondly remember sharing afternoons with the characters playing in copses full of tall grass and wild flowers or exploring old abandoned quarries and discovering hidden tunnels.

I would move on to the The Adventure series by age 10 or so, firmly choosing it as my favourite of all Enid Blyton’s series but it was The Secret Seven that started it all. This summer, 55 years after the final Secret Seven book was written, Hodder Children's Books hope to gain a whole new audience and are releasing the first ever official addition to the world of The Secret Seven.

Mystery of the Skull begins two weeks into the summer holidays when Janet and Peter return home from a fortnight with their gran. Peter discovers a skull in his bedroom and calls an urgent meeting of the Secret Seven. Where did the skull come from? How did it land up in Peter’s bedroom? And most importantly of all, what does this have to do with the new hotel down the road and its secretive proprietors?

With ample servings of sandwiches and cake, several moonlight adventures and significant levels of danger, this new adventure is a welcome return to a world that I never thought I’d visit again.

At first I was concerned that the book would feel dated, being that the originals were set in the 50s and 60s, or that the book would be obviously modernised but I was impressed to note that neither is the case. There is no obvious technology in the book but nothing to suggest that it couldn’t be set in the modern era either, making it accessible to a new generation of readers.

The Secret Seven Mystery of the Skull coverI don’t think this book (and others that I expect to follow in the series) will appeal as a children’s / adult crossover in the same way as the Harry Potter books have but it will appeal to the original fans of The Secret Seven and I think the innocence and simplicity of the story would be perfect for new readers aged 7 to 9.

For transporting me back to the world of my childhood and for a very clever story indeed, I give The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull by Pamela Butchart and Enid Blyton an excellent four out of five stars and would recommend to fans of Enid Blyton and to young readers. I will certainly be looking out for any new additions to the series.

★★★★☆

The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull is published by Hodder Children’s Books and will be released on 12 July 2018. It is available for pre-order using the link below.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed on this site are always my honest and true opinion and are not influenced by the receipt of a review copy.

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Book Review: Ashley Herring Blake's Devastating 'Girl Made of Stars' ★★★★★

Girl Made of Stars Ashley Herring Blake

There is an old idiom: be careful what you wish for, it might just come true. A week ago, I was imploring people on Twitter to suggest a book that would be devastating and consuming. Somehow Ashley Herring Blake’s Girl Made of Stars rose to the top of my to-read pile and it was everything I wished for. The result? I’m crying my eyes out, torn to pieces by a book that is beautifully written and utterly life-changing.

I want to say so much about this book but it all feels awkward. In the opening pages, I felt that Girl Made of Stars was going to be a bit too much high-school-drama, too little ingenuity. I was wrong. In a similar strain, how can I describe this novel in a way that will draw the reader in, convince people that they need to read it? Words fail me but that is probably because I still can’t see properly through the tears.

Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn't know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie. As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie come together in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits into her future.

Girl Made of StarsGirl Made of Stars is a novel about rape and sexual assault. It is about loyalty and belief, about the choices people make when both survivor and perpetrator are known to them. It is a story about numbers, how all of us know someone who has been attacked, how we probably know someone who has attacked someone else and how so many of us are carrying burdens of shame from our childhoods. Perhaps this is why this book has affected me so much, for I too have a story to tell.

This is the thing about Girl Made of Stars, it is a story for the #MeToo era but it doesn’t feel as if someone over there is telling their story. It feel intimate and painful, raw and unflinchingly real. As if this is happening to your best friend or as if your brother has been accused of rape.

Girl Made of Stars is published by HMH Books for Young Readers and I can definitely see this book making its way on to school curricula. It is a powerful book that will open up discussions about consent and sexual assault, as well as healing and the aftermath of abuse. I discovered this book on the Mock Printz book club on Goodreads and could definitely see this book being in line for the Michael L Printz award and other accolades.

For giving me exactly what I wanted in terms of devastation and consumption but also for telling an incredible, life-changing story, I give Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake a superb five out of five stars and would highly recommend to anyone seeking superior literary fiction.

★★★★★

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© 2005 - Mandy Southgate | Addicted to Media

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