Saturday, 31 August 2013

JOHNNY ELYSIUM (spoilers at the end)

Neill Blomkamp; you are a master of visual effects. You amazed us all with the ocular splendour that was District 9. We marvelled at how you turned your home city into the backdrop of something that looked both truly remarkable and grounded in a sense of foreboding realism. You gained a position in 'Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World' thanks to your imaginative flair.

Why oh why are you such a lazy story teller? You should be better than this!

Welcome the future, 2154 AD to be exact, where humans live in peace, prosperity and blissful happiness on the rotating Sheriff Badge looking space station/colony called Elysium (for no other reason than you can always rely on Greek mythology to come up with something that sounds cool) This is a place where everyone has a white walled mansion house that they never seem to use because they're too busy 'twisting by the pool' and getting a tan you have to peel off with a blow torch. One of the best things however about this place is that due to a handy, non-defined medi-bay device, which comes included with every house, is that no one ever dies.

Ever. Of anything.

Even terminal illnesses like cancer or getting your face blown off by a hand grenade can all implausibly be cured by this medi-bayNo explanation is given as to how it works or even exists so I can only assume they must have found away of reverse engineering the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and implemented it's design mechanics. The functionality of these things is so preposterous that I'm going refer to them as Medi Grails from the remainder of the review.

The future is truly a wonderful place for all people it would seem but only as long as you can afford it. So what is the cost of such orbital luxury? Well you first have to be mega rich, then you have to sell your soul and then burn down the nearest orphanage, preferably using kiddies teddy bears as fuel for the arson. To put it simply you have to be evil and not have a flicker of humanity in the cold empty shell that has long ceased to be a person 

So the future is kind of like now then, except we don't have to cope with the idea of an immortal Simon Cowell watching us from his man-made, space haven. I think we have the better deal to be honest.

So what of those who make daisy chains rather than choking puppies? Well, they're all on Earth which is still around but it seems everything has been Johannesburged  (because Blomkamp just can't seem to let his home city go, can he?) So what we have is slum cities of desolate architecture and everything washed in a perplexing shade of deep beige. People are pretty much dying of every illness known to man due to poor health care, a complete absence of Medi Grails and means of employment having a certain clause of death if you get a bit tardy with your time keeping, broken arm or not.

Of course the black market tickets to Elysium are in high demand, as are the laser tag ID's which allows the use of the Medi Grails. Without these ID's however, computer says 'no' and leaves the poor felon of identity fraud to die slowly on the floor, like the good peasant they are.

Apparently they're not accepting discount vouchers anymore either. Fascists

That Duck Hunt dog has laughed it me for the last time..
Enter our hero Max Damon; a down on his luck kind of guy who as a child wanted nothing more than to live on Elysium with his childhood sweetheart 'Frey' (Alice Braga) but his dreams of an immortal, TOWIE tanned life are abruptly cut short by the fact that he is skint and pretty much always will be, to which the good nuns who look after him are only too happy to point out and back to down to earth with big ol reality check and locket carrying a sentimental picture of... well the Earth.

Somewhere in the midst of absent exposition, Max looses contact with Frey and proceeds to ignore his holy teachings and begin the Elysium fund again by apparently becoming the future equivalent of Memphis Raines (looowww riiiidderrrr) Convent schooling once again showing it's success rate but to be fair this back story plot point is never brought up again through the entire rest of the film.

In a world of such extreme plutocracy and the laws being enforced by incorruptible and humourless police robots, this goes about as well as can be expected, so he is now a paroled ex con with an asbo on his ankle and works in a factory where they fabricate the same kind of robot cops that put him away in the first place (oh the irony) It seems his main job is to microwave them for no real reason other than to be the cause of an accident which starts the actual plot (if it is explained I sure as hell missed it) so what happens is he gets trapped in one of the huge microwaves and gets zapped with enough radiation to give him the superpowers of Dr Manhattan or it completely destroy his immune system, internal organs and gives him 5 days left to live. Given we're going for gritty, no nonsense realism as is demonstrated by the docu-action filming technique, I'll let you decide which one is correct.

His only way of curing himself is the sacred Medi Grails of Elysium, so the entire film now stems from him not wanting to die and what lengths he will go to stay alive. Which includes getting outfitted with a roll-cage that the film calls an exo-skeleton and a some kind of memory storage that allows him to smuggle data inside his head. With these upgrades complete he goes on one last job to pay for his passage to Elysium for a longer, less irradiated life.

Gandalf the Wired
I have four main problems with this film; one of which is that despite an interesting premise it's execution is so boring and the characters are so stale that I felt no investment in their situation. Despite Damon doing a fair job I just didn't care about his character and due to him being our lead that does present a rather glaring issue. The most interesting characters are the villains, namely the shadowy, yet always dressed in grey/white/silver, Delacourt, the security chief of Elysium; played by Jodie Foster (the only way I found out the character name was on IMDB) and the unrecognisable Sharlto Copley as the psychotic, mercenary hobo assassin; Kruger. They certainly have presence and it's good to see Foster back in a big mainstream film but we learn next to nothing about them and as such their interest is very one dimensional. Also I couldn't quite place what kind of accent Foster was going for, one minute it sounded sinister British, then jolly Polish and then alluring French so as a stab in the dark I'm guessing in the script her character was described as 'European' and Foster took it a bit too literally. Speaking of accents, Copley's South African accent is at times so thick that he becomes unintelligible. One point where he has having a stand off with Max and is shouting at him over the roar of his futuristic VTOL aircraft, I was half expecting Max to say

'Sorry I didn't get that, could you repeat that last part?'

You thought Bane was bad? He's got nothing on Kruger. Also it doesn't help that his accent actually sounds funny at times, well enough to me chuckle or roll my eyes. To be honest that actually went in Elysium's favour because I'm hard pressed to think of a film that is just so soulless and lacking in humour (apart from one very early scene with a parole robot which the charm is never bested or repeated) It makes it so difficult to watch; so plodding, so grim and just not a pleasant viewing experience at all.

The other issue I have is with the goddamn awful camera work. I can't express how much I hate 'shaky cam' but I have to accept that it is here and directors will choose to use it. That's fine but please pick scenes that warrant it. An action scene fair enough but when you're following a character simply walking down a corridor of a hospital and the camera man has forgotten he's filming because he's too busy trying to swot away a wasp, I would say that as a director you have lost focus on what in essence you are trying to do which is 'create a visual medium that is compelling to watch'  It's like listening to a radio play consisting only of keywords, you get the gist of what is happening but it becomes pretty dull fairly quickly. Honestly I think I would enjoy it more with audio description, and a brail script so I can know for certain what Kruger was going on about.

Apart from visual effects, which are impressive Elysium offers nothing new to the genre and anything it does offer you can't see or keep track of anyway. I was really hoping for the theme of the film to be a clash of ideals which would result in a stand off between escaping the reality of life and living a never ending fantasy world that makes you less human with each passing day, the resolution ultimately concluding with the rejection of this artificial immortality in favour of being able to live the life we are granted how ever long or short. But noooo, screw that noise! Instead what we get is a moralistic approach as basic as Robin Hood; the poor are good, the rich are bad, the poor will steal from the rich to help the poor.

Ground breaking stuff here. Leave some of the creativity for the next Adam Sandler film though won't you.

You may notice that there's a certain suffix added to the title of this review and that leads me to the problem number 4. A big pile of rip-off salt to add to the already festering originality wound, namely an old cyberpunk film from the mid 90's.

 I don't want to throw accusations or anything but I bet you would find of copy of this dvd in Blomkamp's entertainment centre. Or at the very least he watched the film during writing of the script.

Think I'm typing out of my arse? Watch both films then complete this list:


A dystopian distant future where everyone but the mega rich are dying - check


Unlikable protagonist who's main goal is purely selfish for 80% of the film - check


Main plot device being information stored inside head of protagonist that could change the known world and he will die unless he gets it out in a arbitrary time limit - check


Character called Spider who tells the protagonist what data is being carried in their head, initially is a dick but ends up helping him out  - check


Bearded , muscle bound, cybernetically enhanced antagonist who talks funny and will not die - check check check check CHECK!!

'It's time, it's time, it's JESUS time'

You know what? I actually prefer Johnny Mnemonic to this film. Main reason is that although it may be silly, it has enough self awareness to realise this and as such is filmed rather tongue in cheek and is full of humorous moments. Plus you can call it many things but boring isn't one of them. It's easier to watch and it's not unjustifiably self indulgent either.

As for Elysium, I'm giving it a 1 out of 5  (worst film I've seen all year for just being too bland, uninteresting at times unwatchable and a little too pleased with itself for my liking)


Self indulgent is not something I have a problem with, if it's done well and if it actually makes sense. Elysium doesn't. There is no battle of wills or the difficult choice between humanity and immortality

In the end Max may sacrifice himself to make everyone equal but the film ends with a fleet Medi Grail carrying ships landing on earth, presumably starting a world wide healing of 6 billion + people. Who will now no longer need to die due to the access of the Medi Grails

That doesn't strike me as a very good thing, it certainly didn't work out too well in 'Torchwood'.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


THE CASUAL VACANCY is a first novel by J.K. Rowling after finishing the world famous series Harry Potter. It's also her first adult novel

The Casual Vacancy came out last year and I was tempted even then to buy and read it. But it was way too expensive and it only came out in hardback. So I waited patiently and recently discovered that the paperback has come out with even prettier cover than the hardback. And Asda (God Bless that supermarket and their amazing idea of 3for £10 on books) offered it within their summer promo offer. Purchased as a part of my August Book Haul I decided to read it. 

I must say I have been very worried. J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter world which came out and took over the world. Seven amazing books adored and loved by kids and adults. Can she do it again? We all know that the answer is NO. The success of Harry Potter cannot be repeated. 

But after this book came out, it got amazing reviews by many book critics writing for various publications:

"I had come under the spell of a great novel.. a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very well." TIME MAGAZINE

"This is a wonderful novel. J. K. Rowling's skills as a storyteller are on a par with R.L. Stevenson, Conan Doyle and P.D. James. Here, they are combined with her ability to create memorable and moving characters to produce a state-of-England novel driven by tenderness and fury." THE OBSERVER

And these are only few. It even got picked as Novel of the year 2012 by So I was expecting great things. I was expecting adventure. Great captivating story I wouldn't be able to put down..

But I wasn't that impressed.. Well, not from the start. It took me a while to get into the book. About 150 pages. The prequel was good. An unexpected dead of Barry Fairbrother from his point of view. Straight to the point. I am always excited when the book start with dramatic prequel. It usually makes me want to read on. But this wasn't the case. I read on. But only got confused. There are too many narrators. And you get mixed up. It takes you a while to figure out who is who. They are over 13 narrators in this book! Confused! I certainly was. 

The main plot is a bit boring too. In the idyllic small town of Pagford, a councillor dies and leaves a 'casual vacancy'- and empty seat on the Parish Council. In the election for his successor that follows, it is clear that behind the pretty surface this is a town at war. They bitching and gossiping about each other. They lie to each other. And pretend how great they are. With a nasty smile on the face. 

As I said boring. I thought that at some parts I am going to fall asleep. But that changed in the last third of the book when it finally got interesting and I started to enjoy the story. Finally something was happening. Thank God! And J.K. Rowling finished with a great unexpected ending which blew my mind and made me sad. 

Although I wasn't keen about the plot and found it boring I have to say: "Hands off to the great study of characters in this book." They were so real. Sometimes I felt I can find everyone of them  in 5 miles radius of people I know. And the Fields reminded me a little bit of Armley (for those not from Leeds - a rough area in Leeds.). I think my favourite character was Sukhvinder. Her story touched me the most. A bullied teenage girl who's parents always find only the bad things about her so she starts to harm herself. And they are all so blind and don't see how much they're hurting her. It's so sad. And then there is Robbie (Krystal's little three-year-old brother..). What a sad ending! But Rowling wrote every single character with such a great realness in them. 

I also enjoyed the fact that at the end all the little stories of each character tied together. 

After finishing this book I have thought long and hard if I liked this book. And I did. After a rocky shaky, a little bit boring, start it became a wonderfully written novel with some amazing insights to the characters with a great sad ending. Not a book I would normally read as there is no love story and I do love my love stories, but a great adult novel which everyone can enjoy

At the end, England is full of little towns like Pagford.

Monday, 26 August 2013


13th September 2013. Newly opened First Direct Arena in Leeds. Me. Andy AKA Dandy. And the Kaiser Chiefs!!!

Yes, after seeing them live this summer on the festival. Falling in love with the lead singer Ricky Wilson. Raving and dancing to their tunes. Purely enjoying myself.. I have booked the tickets to see them live AGAIN. Oh yes!!! I persuaded Andy and together we are now £70 lighter but proud owner of Kaiser Chief's first official gig in the new Leeds Arena ( we have been waiting for ages... no offence O2 Academy but we needed an arena!).

And because I am now obsessed and listening to their best of album SOUVENIR: THE SINGLES 2004 -2012, I have decided to make one of my favourite song the song of the week. And it's because is stuck in my head thanks to incredible milestone we achieved last week. Over 10 000 page views of  Secret Reading Garden. In words of the Kaisers : "OH MY GOD, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!"

Thank you guys for reading our post, it's been an emotional week thanks to you. 

But here it is : 

OH MY GOD by Kaiser Chiefs


I hope to see you at the First Direct Arena at 7.30PM Friday 13th Sept 2013. In the meantime you can have a look at their official website: or follow them on twitter: @KaiserChiefs or @Rickontour (he even has an instagram account). 

Have a lovely week lovelies xXx

Sunday, 25 August 2013

KICK-ASS 2 Donkey 0

Way back when in ye old 2008, a Mark (not trying to be Frank) Millar wrote a story about a teenage boy who desperately wanted to be a superhero. The slight draw back of not having any superpowers, no means to get them and the fighting ability of bar of soap did not deter him in the slightest. So arming himself one night with nothing but a wetsuit, two truncheons and a dream he set off to make his mark and had his Ass both Kicked and handed to him on a platter made of his own bone marrow. Turns out this was actually for the best and that skeleton had outgrown it's usefulness anyway. With some intense physical rehabilitation, some worn out nerve endings and a few plates of metal he goes back on patrol, with the useful side affect of a very high pain threshold. His fighting prowess unchanged but now he has unlocked a similar technique that Rocky Balboa used to defeat Clubber Lang.

He may be a chump, but he ain't breathing heavy.

It was an interesting premise and thanks to some stylised, ultra-violent art by John Romita Jr it did quite well on release. Well enough for the 8 issue comic book to be printed as a complete volume graphic novel soon afterwards, so naturally a film adaptation was next to come, right? Err... not quite; you see before the first issue of the comic was sold this story already had a film deal, thanks to the collaboration of Matthew Vaughn who would direct, write and finance the project and Mrs Jonathan Ross 'Jane Goldman' to help pen the screenplay. This was ambitious to say the least; a £30,00000 film of a little known comic/graphic novel that they were banking on being a smash hit at best and a cult at worst after the comic had only been in circulation for less than 3 years.

It did... surprisingly well; the comic book clearly had it's fans and the premise was enough to get a lot of people interested thanks to pretty extensive ad campaign and word of mouth. When it hit DVD and Blu-Ray though, that's when it really made it's mark. Like me, a lot of people missed it in the cinemas and the first look we had was at home. I liked Kick-Ass, it wasn't a great film but it will be one I remember fondly. The script was tight, the performances were good all around, Nicholas Cage was both hilarious and a 'bad ass' with one of the best filmed action set pieces I have ever seen on film.
Above all it was just a really fun film to watch, so when the sequel emerged it's fair to say I was looking forward to it.

After viewing it I walked out of the cinema with somewhat mixed feelings.

On the one hand I enjoyed the film, it made me laugh and some of the performances were exceptional. On the other hand though the film doesn't flow quite right and the director seems to have been watching too much of Family Guy in order to get some of the big laughs. Gross out humour may work for some people but anything that makes me stop watching the film because my I've covered my eyes in disgust, is always going to be marked down in my opinion.

I also found Kick-Ass 2 quite hard to watch for other reasons too. The fight choreography is wonderful but the cinematography is awful at times. Once again we have followed the same tired Hollywood formula of having fight scenes shot close enough to start a conga line and the cameraman's hands made out of jellied slinkys. Why is this? The first sure as hell didn't do that. Oh yeah I forgot we have a different director now (hello Mr Wadlow, may I call you Jeff?) but even still, didn't it occur to him at all when he was reviewing the takes? Are you telling me that he couldn't see the problem? The problem of not being able to see anything? Am I the only one who finds this ironic?

Kick Ass 2 has another fairly glaring problem. It's a bit hard to explain so let me break it down like this:

You watch Star Wars; you may like it, you may not but the one thing you don't do is think you are watching anything other than Star Wars. It doesn't suddenly change focus, directing style, cinematography and feel like you are watching some intergalactic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I know that's a fairly crazy thing to say but the point I'm trying to make is that Kick Ass 2 doesn't seem like Kick Ass 2 all the time and it should do. It's just not consistent, the tone is all over the place. At one point it felt like I was watching a direct to DVD continuation of the American Pie series and what the blue holy hell were Union J doing in this? I don't think I have ever seen a more shameless display of gratuitous self promotion in a film. They have not even broken into the United States yet they are portrayed as famous as Justin Bieber (only with more swooning and less lubricating their fans with their own saliva)  The whole scene they are in is just flat out insulting and absurd, as is the supposed 'hilarious' nod to Mr Creosote in the school canteen with the aid of a super dooper secret gizzymo direct from DARPA. It makes the idea of a sixteen year old kunoichi killer with a purple Mia Wallace wig and a fabulous cape seem quite plausible.

This should not be what I'm thinking about when after I've seen a Kick-Ass film. I should be thinking of how cool the characters, how brutal the beatings were, how unapologetically smug the violence was and how it always had it's tongue firmly imbedded in it's scabbed over cheek. Kick Ass 2 doesn't bring this home; it's nowhere near as violent, shocking, witty and humorous as the first and at times it resorts to cheap laughs that can fall way off the mark.

Saying that however the film did offer some funny and often touching moments too. Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars & Stripes is simply outstanding in this and the film suffers when he is not on screen. He reigns in his performance so much that he is almost completely unrecognisable. I honestly think it's his best performance since The Truman Show. If he wants to distance himself from the best part he'll probably have for decades then that's his choice. I'll just enjoy the performance he gave and leave it at that.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is as good in the title role as he was in the first but I just didn't believe him as much. I get that he gets better due to training with Hit-Girl but the roid-brushed body shots just seemed like pointless female fan service. Full marks to him for getting into a shape that he could use to audition for a live action Johnny Bravo, I just wish it was in a different film. Like so many things it just seemed to clash with his own character.

Chloe Grace Mortez is on fine form as Hit-Girl, it's just a shame the script can't match her talent. Plus because she's older (and looks it, almost emphatically) the character looses the impact that made Hit-Girl so memorable. Despite that she brings both a likable and moving performance.

Wish I could say the same for Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Mary Whitehouse's favourite villain 'The Mother Tucker ' (give or take a letter). I didn't like him in this, I thought he was ok in the first but in this he is just there for us to laugh at him, and at times it's even hard to do that. His costume is beyond ridiculous, he looks about as intimidating as Boris Johnson dressed as a goldfish. I understand what they were going for and that he's supposed to be a complete loser but this is our MAIN villain. The comic incarnation arguably went too far what with the rape, the child killing and canine decapitation but there's no reason the film villain can't be somewhat evil. Problem is Mintz-Plasse as an actor is about as threatening as his name sounds. I'm probably being unfair though, the way the character is written even Christopher Walken couldn't imbue it with more menace.

Overall I enjoyed but was also disappointed by it and the more I think about it the more I pick at it like an inflamed midge bite. It's really beginning to itch too

It was initially a 3.5 but the score I'm giving it is:

3 out of 5    (worth a look but not as good as the first)

A special mention must go out to Olga Kurkulina as Mother Russia; one of the most impressive and memorable screen henchman(woman) since Jaws. I have no idea where they found this 6'4 female colossus but this is a great example of what you can do with a character if you decide to outreach your casting team.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES directed by Harald Zwart (First reactions)

You all know how much I love this book series written by Cassandra Clare. She is a magician with a pen in my humble opinion! Cassandra created a world of Shadow-hunters, Down-worlders, Demons which is hidden within our modern world. And with this amazing story she took over the world and hearts and souls of us, her lovely readers. I've been a massive fan from the first page I read, and now the time has come to see Clare's wonderful and mysterious world on the big screen. 

I am always wary with film adaptations of books. Especially after a little disappointing adaptation of The Host. But I kept my mind open and hoped for the best.

And my first reaction after seeing it for the first (yes, I am planning on seeing it more than once) is a mixed one. 

On one side I loved it! We fans of the book series must bare in mind the fact, that when they filmed it, they didn't know if they would be approve for the next one. So of course they had to make changes. And I think they did very well. 

Yes, some of very important scenes are missing. Yes, it is targeted mostly for the teenage audience. Yes, the great dialogues we've grown to love are mostly missing from the movie and some of the famous quotes are said by wrong people. And of course they made it a little bit too cheesy, but we need to think about the fact that every reader reads the book differently. Every writer has their own vision of their book and the world created and not everything can be put on a big screen. Not every vision can be  precisely pictured in other people's minds. 

I will be honest. They have changed the story slightly, but kept the core. Clary met Jace and was introduced to The Shadow World. She did learn about her family history. We saw the love triangle started to form. We could even see the big twist - Clary & Jace are siblings. We were with them in the greenhouse and watched to kiss for the first time. We saw them slowly falling in love and then learn the hurtful truth that they share the same parents. 

I have to say I am not a big fan of Lily Collins being chosen to play Clary Fray. I don't think she looks like Clary at all. But she did a great job with what she got. She portrayed all the emotions which Clary gone through wonderfully. 

Robert Sheeran is a wonderful Simon. Couldn't imagine a better actor more suitable to play the role of Simon. He is funny but smart and serious. He is cute with his curly hair and glasses pretending to be the clumsy one.

And not to mention his interaction with Jace AKA Jamie Campbell Bower. I heard and read some articles online about fans of the series not liking Jamie being picked for the role of Jace. Are you freaking blind??? He looks like Jace. He talks and walks like Jace. HE IS JACE ! There is nobody in the world who could take up on this role and portrayed the way Jamie did it. I loved him so much. You could see every single emotion on his face. I bet the people who wrote those articles are now bagging their heads on the table. 

But I must mention Godfrey Gao. I even didn't realise that Magnus Bane is that sexy! Oh my god, he blew my mind! He is absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to see more of him in the next movies. 

Harald Zwart did a great job. The special effects are wonderful and amazing to watch. He matched everything I imagine in my mind - the seraph blades, stele, portal.. City Of Bones, the big library. The institute is absolutely gorgeous and The Silent Brothers are scary and creepy. Just like in my mind. And the cast did their own stunts. I hope they had a good insurance because this movie is packed with action and fights. No wonder Jamie lost so much weight! The story flows easily so it's not hard to follow and you can understand what's going on. Everything is explained. 

The only thing I didn't like, and I am very sorry to say this, is the choice of music. I am sorry but the soundtrack just doesn't match the story or the setting at all. I must hand it off to Twilight music crew who did a fabulous job on their movie soundtrack. I am sorry but when you mention The Shadow World - I don't imagine Demi Lovato or Jessie J... I imagine lots of indie and rock banks to match the dark mood. The movie is missing  a big song to accompany the biggest and important scene - The Greenhouse. Why not let Jamie Campbell Bower to write a song? He is a great musician and you have him on the payroll already!  JUST BIG NO TO THE SOUNDTRACK. It's a disappointment. 

But all in all, I did enjoy this movie. I will go and see it again. I will buy the DVD when it comes out and go and see the rest of them. I think they did a wonderful job with what they had, especially when they didn't know if they will get renewed for the next one. Shame about the soundtrack!

Please tell me what were your first reactions? Did you like it or it wasn't your cup of tea? Leave comments below or tweet me on @ZuzVystrcilova or @SecretReadingG and we can have a chat about. 

Have a great weekend lovelies xXx

Monday, 19 August 2013

LYRICAL CRICKETAL Adele - Set Fire To The Rain



The Lyric Cricket


"Set Fire To The Rain"


I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell you rose to claim it

Ok, nothing wrong with this line. A somewhat elaborate way of saying 'She fell for a guy and he liked her too'
Can't argue with that

It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

And now you've started to lose me. It was dark and you were over? Over what? The dark? That doesn't make any sense, what is over the dark? The sky? Space? Were you in orbit? Did you need saving because you were spinning out of control?

*This is Ground Control to Space Adele, you're too far out of raaaaange...*

Ok, maybe it was regarding something else like... over at his house? I guess that would explain the kiss but why would you need to be saved were you over at his house? Just how dangerous is his crib or how much of a danger to yourself are you?

Are you starting over again? Thinking it over? Over your head whilst loosing arguments cable cars? Somewhere over the freaking rainbow? You tell us nothing and there are numerous possibilities with a word that has over twenty definitions in the dictionary, not to mention allegorical usage. There's only one way to sum up just how far removed from perceptible you are being


You could be over a past lover and that by kissing you he has finally saved you from a self loathing existence where you used to wallow in your own self pity and write dreary songs about a lack of love life and place you've been given in this cruel world. Yeah, that makes sense. Didn't work though, did it?!

My hands, they're strong
But my knees were far too weak,
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

He made your knees weak and that's why you fell for him, that part I get. Why mention your hands? What makes them so strong? Is it your piano playing ability? Could Liberace have made it as an arm-wrestler?


But there's a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you'd say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.


Very self explanatory and I really like this part of the song; the way the beat grows and the urgency of her voice. Good pre-chorus


But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name



Double You Tee Eff?

Ok, I'm going to go through the analytical suppositions of this one at a time.

Symbolism: You set fire to the rain, a fire symbolising your inner strength to overcome the misguided feelings of the rain which symbolise your desire to be with someone who is wrong for you because they are elusive, emotionally withdrawn and if the pre-chorus has anything to go on, possibly a little too good at scrabble for your liking. It pours as you touch his face but you burn it away with your tears because you knows it's the right thing to do even though all you can hear (think about) is his name.

Metaphor:  Setting fire to the rain is impossible (I've tried, zippo, didn't work) so the whole idea is that your doing something impossible. That would be... I can only presume, resisting the overwhelming urges to be with a twat. The force is strong in this twat it would seem.
Maybe the rain is a metaphor for tears and setting fire to them is the only way you can rid yourself of his essence and the very fabric that binds your two worlds together but then we have nothing to base this on other than wild speculation and overreaching definitions of something that was probably only written because the words are 'deep' and it scans well with the melody of the song (more or less)

Literal: You have a secret life as a pyromancer and you hate getting caught out when it's spitting

 When I lay with you
I could stay there
Close my eyes
Feel you here forever
You and me together
Nothing is better

What? Hang on, haven't you just been going on about how this guy is untrustworthy, secretive and above all else a manipulator of your own feelings? Enough for you to want to set fire to the rain and hallucinate it screaming out his name? Yeah, I can't see that relationship going sour anytime soon.
Are you a masochist? Is that what this song's actually about? Rather than an emotional account of a lost lover trying to resolve their feelings fro someone who is completely mismatched for them is now sounding like just a day in the life of Rihanna and Chris Brown, and those two morons deserve each other.

 I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
'Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time

Well is certainly would be the last time if you were hurled onto a funeral pyre.
Even Darth Vader can't walk away from that one


 Sometimes I wake up by the door,
That heart you caught must be waiting for you
Even now when we're already over
I can't help myself from looking for you.

Oh make up your mind woman!

If I can just speak frankly for a minute it's this that really gets me about this song; it doesn't follow it's own advice. It's comes across as either written by two people or that Adele has some undisclosed multiple personality disorder. Maybe I'm just not getting it but I can't see how the two bridge like verses mean anything other than her still longing for him despite everything. This is certainly not an empowering song. The imagery she uses in the chorus is both extreme and absurd and I would understand that if the metaphorical methodology is a means to a better end. But it isn't. After all that fiery nonsense she's still just pining for this geezer.


despondent self pity.

Pop that in your pipe and smote it!

She may not with him anymore but even this isn't made clear unless you count the fact that in one of her other songs she pretty much stalks the guy with a piano in tow.

Oh noooo
Let it burn, oh
Let it burn
Let it burn

Yeah, let it all burn...

"Most critics couldn't make good music if they rubbed their back legs together"
Mel Brooks


Monday is here.. AGAIN.. I hate mondays, because it means another whole week at work, a place I am not fond of. At all. All I kept doing at work today was day-dreaming about my future. A dream of becoming full-time blogger. A dream about travelling around the world. A dream about finally doing something I actually enjoy in my life. (NOTE: I am getting a little bit thoughtful recently - blame the amazing books I am reading which make you think too much.) And somehow I ended at my favourite book at the moment - Eleanor & Park. 

Last night I have joined the Tumblr. Yes, I am slowly invading all the social media possible! And I really like Tumblr. So much good stuff I can on there!! Well so I was trying to get familiar with this amazing social platform, browsing around it and finding blogs to follow when I stumbled across this song. I haven't heard it in a while. But I discovered that I actually like this song. 

So here it's another "vintage" found (not so vintage in true sense ). I have decided to post songs which I like instead of new ones, as Andy has now a regular post about new releases (make sure you will check it out!). 


There is a big possibility that I picked this song because it reminds my favourite book at the moment, Eleanor & Park ( you can find the review here). It's just a lovely song for romantic soul like me. 

Happy listening lovelies xXx

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Rainbow Rowell: ELEANOR & PARK

Do you remember how it feels when you fall in love? No warning. There wasn't even a sign that this person is the one who will soon be your whole world. Do you remember your first love?

If your answer is yes. Consider yourself lucky. Treasure the feeling, because is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Treasure the memories because they will be with you forever and they will guide you through your whole life. They will shape your views for all the loves which will follow.

If the answer is no, then this book will bring your memories back on the surface. Or it will show you how great love can be and what are you actually supposed be looking for.

I must say I have never read anything by RAINBOW ROWELL before. I actually even didn't know that this book existed until two weeks ago. I was stuck at home, sick with a stomach bug, browsing through YouTube Channels of my favourite VLoggers. And one of them recommended this book. Actually, I think it was in a section of beautiful covers, when I discovered it. And since then, it's been playing on my mind. 'I MUST HAVE IT!' Was all I could think.

So I logged into my account, searched for it, found it, clicked on ORDER button, paid for  it and got it shipped to my home. I was really excited. Reading reviews online made want to read it even more. They were all describing this book as one in a kind. Heart-warming love story which will leave you breathless. And after reading I must agree!

First impression: "The book cover is absolutely gorgeous!" It has a simple design. Two heads pictured from the back with headphones on, which are tangled together. It's illustrated. Stunning. Beautiful. The book cover says it all. You just want to have this novel in your personal library.

Inside: "Absolutely incredible story which captures you from the start!" Romantic. Smart. Funny. Charming. Heart-breaking. Achingly good. The loveliest story I've read in recent years, maybe even through my whole life....Sweet story about love which helped me find my lost hopes of true love and finding it. It's the food for my soul.

Eleanor is new in school. She isn't popular. She isn't the most beautiful girl. She is a chubby redhead wearing the craziest creations in the world. But there is more to her than meets the eye. She is smart. Funny. Beautiful inside and out.

Park. Korean kid who sits on the bus with his headphones and reads comic books. He doesn't know what to think about the new girl. She is not like other girls. That intrigues him.

Both misfits and geeks, they bond over love for comic books and music. They become friends. The fall in love. And this is their story.

Eleanor & Park is a story of first love. A Love which is so strong that you want it to last. Both of them are fully aware that first love almost never last. ..But they put a hell of a fight to make sure that theirs is  an exemption.

I have fallen in love with this story. It's written a completely different way like others I've read. We can follow the story from Eleanor's and from Park's point of view. I love that Rainbow Rowell writes like she would be telling you the story. Sometimes she gets lost in a train of thoughts but that's what I adore about it the most. You have the feeling like you are a part of the story. Like you are their friend watching on the sidelines. Or maybe a person reading their journal.  You can watch them slowly discovering what it actually means to be in love. The first steps.... first holding of hands, first kiss, first date, first phone call... And their relationship slowly matures into a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime love.

Not to mention the incredible music selection mentioned in this book : The Smiths, Joy Division, Cure, Beatles... The greatest bands in the world are creating the playlist for the background you simple need to listen to. Bands which always find a place on my iPod. Win-win-win.

You will laugh. You'll make noises like 'ooooh' 'That's so sweet.' People will look at you on the bus. And you will cry. It's heartbreakingly wonderful. And most of all : You will wish that somehow they will find a way to stay together. You will want their story to be different and find a well-deserved happiness. And at end  it will make you want to have more of this tasteful, mouthwatering piece of modern literature.

I think I will borrow words of JOHN GREEN (New York Times Book critic):

" Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book."

Couldn't say it better.

All I can say is:

" I have fallen in love with the characters, their story and the book itself. There isn't one bad thing I could say about this novel. It made me think about my first love and helped to realise that I  haven't actually met my first love yet. Or at least not like the love described in this book. But I will search for it, because it is somewhere, out there in the world, waiting for me. In the meantime, I have a reminder written by Rainbow Rowell - Eleanor & Park - The sweetest, most loveliest, wonderful story I've ever read!"

This is the first time I am going to plead with you to buy a book because trust me this one is a real masterpiece. 

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time.” 

“Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible.” 

“I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."
He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow.
"I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?
He was quiet. He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears.” 

“I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake”

“I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other,’ he said, ‘and then take it back.’
‘I can,’ she said. ‘Life’s a bastard.” 

“..I love your name. I don't want to cheat myself out of a single syllable.” 

“You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I'm yours. The me that's me right now is yours. Always.” 

“There was something about the music on that tape. It felt different. Like, it set her lungs and her stomach on edge. There was something exciting about it, and something nervous. It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the world, wasn't what she'd thought it was. And that was a good thing. That was the greatest thing.” 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Jamie Campbell Bower SINGING!!!

The Mortal Instruments : City Of Bones is hitting the cinemas worldwide on 21st August. The cast has been busy promoting the movie around shopping malls (in UK we call them Shopping Centres) around USA. You can find pics from this tour all around the internet .

The movie already premiered last week in Los Angeles and Toronto, we British fans need to wait for it a little while longer, but in the meantime Jamie Campbell Bower (for the fans of the series : Jace ) treated his fans to unexpected surprise!

Last week he posted links to YouTube and his live sessions on ONTSOFA channel and Gibson Guitar Channel. God Bless Twitter! I have decided to share these two videos with you. 

I will be honest, I think Jamie is not only a very talented actor, but even greater musician. He has the tendency to touch the deepest places of my melancholic soul. His voice is haunting and mesmerising! There is something which is making you want to listen to it even more. And he plays guitar ! And a piano!  A man who can play these two instruments is the sexiest man alive for me!

I have listened to couple of his previous live performances with his band The Darling Buds.  And he was fantastic. And of course, we all heard him singing the famous debut sonata "JOANNA"  in Sweeney Todd. 

This time Jamie sings all by himself. Acoustic guitar is his only companion. And I must say I loved it. Some people might disagree with me (probably Andy will have couple of words to say - you see it's really hard to please him. ) but I genuinely really liked both of the songs and would love to hear more. I hope that Jamie will give in to the pressure of fans and record more songs .

We all know that music is a big part of his life.

But no more talking, here it is:



So what do you think about Jamie's latest adventure? Have you been swooning all around your laptops, netbooks, iPads and other electronic devices? Or is this only another actor turned singer for you? I sure would love to hear your opinion .

Happy Listening Lovelies xXx

Friday, 16 August 2013

Before i go to sleep Review

Before I Go To Sleep
By S J Watson

So after waiting for a half-finished book review, I'm sure you were disappointed. So to make it up to you all, i have already zoomed through this one and written a full review for this fantastic book! Where i said that reading White Teeth felt arduous, this was certainly not the case with Before I Go To Sleep!

I was recommended this book by my best friend. The synopsis was interesting and i was looking forward to starting it (hoping it wasn't going to be a let down). 

The book grabbed me from the beginning, starting 'Today' in the thick of the action, then going back to the start of Christine's memory. It was a well written, well thought-through follow-the-bread-crumbs story.

I loved how that, despite this being a journal based novel, it read as a story. The transition from the repetitious start of the entry, moving on to reveal further details, reflections and memories was seamless. No chapter lost my attention and i felt genuinely involved. There were points where i felt the repetition, but a story-changing event was un-earthed, taking the story even further and deeper. My mind was constantly racing, trying to put the pieces in the puzzle. I found myself as involved in finding out Christine's past as she was herself! I got excited and my emotions reflected hers as her memories emerged and dealt with her day-to-day revelations. I too felt i needed to reveal her attacker! 

I imagine writing a novel on the diary of an amnesiac was no easy challenge. Repetition has to be a consistent feature. After all, she has to learn every day what has happened every day. This had the potential to bore the reader, telling them again and again what they already knew. However, the way in which this was approached did the exact opposite. It cemented and re-confirmed Christine's situation, but was not over-done. It really made me feel for her. What she had to go through everyday. 

The story was written very well to disguise the final twist! Through repetition, memories and new experiences, i was almost sure of Ben. Though i had my doubts. I shall try my utmost to not spoil the story for those who are wanting to read the book. And i recommend you do! I was gripped! But i have to say, the final 50-or-so pages, my heart was RACING! I often express my emotions when reading a book, but i do not think i have said "Oh My God!" and "Aghhhhh!" as many times during a chapter as i did here! I laugh at Zuzanna's expressions of surprise sometimes, she becomes dutifully involved! But this time, she was sat there laughing at me!!! The ending was excellent! I also liked that how, despite bringing closure, there was still unanswered questions, and hope.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who would like something to think about. It isn't a deep-thinking book, in fact, it was very easy to read, but still gets and keeps you thinking. It was an exhilarating read! At the end, i was actually a little bit scared to turn the light out as i went to bed!

I usually riddle my reviews with quotes that touched me. I have not in this one. This does not mean that the story didn't touch me though! Quite the opposite! There were a few a few dialogues that i connected with, but they were on the conversation-killer topic; grief. So I'm not putting them in. So there. 
Happy Reading Everyone! Read it!

Dan Brown: INFERNO

Have you been disappointed and left with a broken heart after reading Dan Brown's last book THE LOST SYMBOL? Have you been banging head down on the table, because this book just did not fulfilled the expectations? Have you been thinking about taking the book, wrapping it in a newspaper and chucking down the river Aire (our your local river or lake or sea)? You are not alone... Majority of my friends and acquaintances feel the same. Personally it took over 3 months to read that book. I had to force myself to read a chapter a day (and those 2 mins at time were filled with sadness and anger!)! How could you Dan Brown? How could write such a boring piece of crap!!

So when I heard that a new book is coming out and Robert Langdon is the main character again, 2 things happened: 

1) I discuss it with Andy. It was a dialogue filled with swear words and disgust about The Lost Symbol. 

2) I decided to give Mr Brown another chance and buy the book when it comes out. 

Of course I was filled with excitement and worry at the same time. What if he screws up like the last time and I will end up with a hardback book sitting on my bookshelf, gaining dust particles,  only to be never read again? Of course, charity shops would only prosper from this fatal mistake. The amount of them I visited, and found tens of copies of Lost Symbol on sale!!! Uncountable!! Has he learnt from his mistakes??? Will he be able to bring back the adventures of Robert Langdon (kind of a new version of Indiana Jones!!!) we've grown to love, appreciate and enjoy? To this day I say that DaVinci Code and Angels&Demons are on the list of books for future generations ( sadly, not surprisingly Lost Symbol hasn't made the cut!). 

But I collected the last strength left in me and strolled to Asda to purchase this book. £9 lighter I brought home a big hardback and couldn't wait to bite into it. 

First impressions count! The UK edition is absolutely gorgeous! Big bold letters. Picture of Florence (that's a city in Italy for those who didn't pay any attention in geography classes!) on front and back. But the magic happens when you peel off the paper sleeve and uncover a beautiful picture which is a piece of Botticelli's Map of Hell. When you open the book the latter mentioned Map Of Hell (La Mappa dell'Inferno) greets you and is a great introduction to this 104-chapter-book. 

So we are off to a good start. Now, let's make our way to the most important part and the answer to the big question, the story ! Has Dan Brown managed to get his shit together and write one hell of a story ? Or is it another big disappointment  like the last one?

I am glad to say : "Welcome back Mr Brown! You have done well! Actually you did even better!" I loved this book from the start to the very end!!

There are couple of reasons why I wasn't able to put this book down. Yes, it took me over a week to read this (Mr Brown uses a lot of big words, descriptions and complicated references so I had to concentrate while reading this. I didn't want to miss something what might be important later on as the story progressed!)

The book starts straight in the middle of action when our favourite professor wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of last couple of days. Not only he doesn't remember what has happened to him, but somehow he ended up in Florence. This is what I like. Straight into action means that I will be caught from the start. I love books where author begins in the middle of the story. This way they have my full attention from the start.

But the action doesn't stop there. Our beloved professor is on a run from people who are trying to kill him. But why? And what has happened to him in last couple of days? We embark on a journey through Florence following clues left by a person who wants to release a deadly plague into the world and kill off a great amount of its population. I will not tell you the plot! I have decided that this time you need to read it for yourself. And I don't want to spoil it for you.

But let me just say that this story has so many twists and unexpected turns that you will be jumping up when you find out new one. You will curse. You will swear. And you will be surprised with every turn of a page. Dan Brown keeps you on the edge all the way through. You just cannot put it down. Will Langdon save the world and uncover some hidden mystery as usual? Or is it too late this time?

As always, the book is packed with detailed descriptions of museum, churches, cities.. Mr Brown has done his re-search. The book left me wanting to visit all those cities in the book : Florence, Venice, Istanbul... I want to see the places described in this novel. I want to visit the museums and see the artwork with my own eyes!

But not only that, you will question yourself and the issues raised in this book. I sure was. Actually, I cannot wait for some of my friends to read it so I can discuss is with them. Because partially I agree with some of the opinions touched up on. I sure want to hear your opinions if you already read it. For me this was the first novel, which brought this truthful issues to my attention. I have closed my eyes to issue which doesn't personally concern me but it finally dwell on me that it's time to have a look at this in the bigger picture. So Thank you for that Mr Brown. Thank you for finally opening my eyes to this major world issues around us.

But all in all I have truly enjoy this mind-playing, thrilling, action-packed experience which Dan Brown provided. I must say that he full-filled all my expectations, even went further. Another masterpiece. My heart was racing all the way through. I itched for Robert Langdon and his companion to find what they were looking for. This book is smart, funny, packed with knowledge (learn something new everyday, ey?).

Recently, I've heard they already sign the rights for the film adaption which I am really looking forward to. It will be another Blockbuster.

So my conclusion is : BUY THIS BOOK. Get the UK edition because is so much prettier, stock up on tea or coffee or hot chocolate ( your choice ), buy couple of boxes of cookies, get yourself a good reading lamp and find a quiet place you can concentrate. AND READ IT! I promise you it's one of the best book I have read this year.