Wednesday 30 April 2014

Book Review Skeleton Cuboard by Tanya Byron


The Skeleton Cupboard is Professor Tanya Byron's account of her years of training as a clinical psychologist, when trainees find themselves in the toughest placements of their careers. Through the eyes of her naive and inexperienced younger self, Tanya shares remarkable stories inspired by the people she had the privilege to treat. Gripping, poignant and full of daring black humour, this book reveals the frightening and challenging induction faced by all mental health staff and highlights their incredible commitment to their patients. Powerfully moving and beautifully written, The Skeleton Cupboard shares the tales of ordinary people with an amazing resilience to the challenges of life

My Musings

Truthfully I only read the first 2 chapters and the last. I stopped not because it was bad. It is extremely well written in a filmatic way and maybe that was the problem. I am sure this will get many more reviews and discussion due to its topic but I just found it too traumatic. The first chapters covered a knife wielding sociopath? and the second the murder of a young child and child abuse. It was extremely interesting if you want to know about psychiatry and how people are treated. Its scary and horrifying but also uplifting. As Byron says, a third get better, a third stay the same and a third of patients get worse. It lifts the lid on mental illness and unpalatable truths we do not wish to face. There is no care in the community and not a lot of support. People do their best but inevitably mistakes are made. 

When I have a stronger stomach I would like to finish this, not for the tragic stories but for the way the system works and Most Importantly an insight and understanding into a world that is pushed under the covers

If your interested in this subject try

The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz

Sunday 20 April 2014

Happy Easter

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy Easter. May 

it bring you Love, Peace, Joys of Spring and 

The Seasons Blessings. Love from Zoe xx

Friday 18 April 2014

Book Review Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea by April G. Tucholke


Faded Gatsby glamour and thrilling gothic horror meet in this gorgeously told, terrifying and dreamy YA romance.
You stop fearing the devil when you're holding his hand...
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy, seaside town...until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Violet's grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who likes coffee and who kisses you in a cemetery... Violet's already so knee-deep in love, she can't see straight. And that's just how River likes it.

My Musings

I was attracted by the Melissa Marr quote on the front calling it darkly romantic as well as its Gothic cover. It started very promisingly and LOVED Tucholke setting up of the family dynamic between Violet and her Brother Luke who have been left in this huge house reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier after their grandmother dies. 
You could smell the salt in the air and the tension building with the arrival of new boy River renting out the summer house. Here it turns into more Vampire Diaries but still kept me hooked.

The romance between Violet and River doesn't sizzle enough for me but instead became more disturbing and open to some very dark interpretation. If a boy who is partly evil may have taken advantage of Violet by controlling her in a way she hadn't realised how is this romantic?  Violet's character is flawed by making her feisty in someways but weak in others that doesn't' endear you at all. She comes over as spoilt and not very nice. She reminded me a little of Cadence, the unpleasant character from We Were Liars. Although Violet is not quite as bad. River is a very disturbed character and you feel sorry for him and horrified by him rather than attracted to his 'bad boy' persona which I assume was the intention.

A twisted and dark 'romance' perfect for Halloween reading. Tucholke's setting and descriptions are very evocative and I would read another of her books just for this alone but will have to take a breath regarding plot as she certainly is more edgier than I expected!!!! This will will definately appeal to someone who hankers for less fluffier romantic teen fiction!!

If you like this you might like
We Were Liars by E Lockart

Friday 11 April 2014

Film Review Captain America, The Winter Soldier


Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

My Musings

Captain America never held huge appeal for me like X men but  the first had charm and entertainment value and i liked the mix of past and present so though I would go to see the second, Captain America The Winter Soldier. By mistake I had picked the 3D version which I always try and avoid but couldn't be bothered to wait an hour so thought why not? The question for me is WHY are these films bothering with 3D. It didn't do anything to enhance the film and it didn't need it. My first gripe out the way I actually really enjoyed it and it gets better throughout. It still combines old fashioned quality of old superhero films. The film carries on with Captain America still trying to fit into the modern day world and sticking to his values. The film gives back story and more depth. Chris Evans plays Captain America slightly tongue in cheek but also underplays it giving himself more gravitas on screen. He is almost like a symbol. He gets a great supporting cast with Samuel L Jackson and new sidekick Falcon played by Sam Wilson. Robert Redford is a welcome addition and plays against type. Always a pleasure to see and hear. The only weakness is Scarlett Johanssen. Why has she lost her sparkle on screen? The Black Widow is a feisty character she should really get her teeth into but it's like she is phoning in her performance. 

The Action sequences are amazing. I loved all the hand to hand combat. A few say this takes away from the decent storyline but I thought it added to it. Regarding the plot I got a bit lost honestly. The Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan is perfect as the legendary soldier and I loved the dichotomy of his character. Really hoping to see him again! 

Lastly just have to give a shout out for the great Jenny Agutter. She must have LOVED her action scene at the end. Go Jenny!!

Sunday 6 April 2014

Film Review Divergent


In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

My Musings

I loved the Divergent books and honestly was a little dubious when I saw the trailer for the film although I was rather taken with Theo James playing Four. I just was relieved to see a classically good looking guy playing the hero for once!! The reviews that were coming it also did not seem to be blown away. WHY? 
The film is AMAZING!! 
I really loved it. 
First they do stick to the book as close as possible concerning Tris and Four but the secondary characters take more of a back seat and are not so emotionally charged. I also wonder if they subdued some of the story lines to get a younger rating. This is not a criticism as I realize to adapt a book sacrifices do get made. However the most important part of the book remains the same. Tris defecting to Dauntless knowing she is in danger by being a Divergent and her growing into a fighter and a warrior is brilliantly handled. Shailene plays Tris perfectly. She deliberately down plays her character to go under the radar so not as to be noticed by the authorities. Nobody really takes any notice of her except Four, her commander and teacher in Dauntless.
Theo James also captures Four as the cool but compassionate leader in Dauntless. Tris catches his eye and their growing relationship is so heart rending it takes your breath away. Their chemistry crackles and the odd touch and glance speaks volumes.
Funniest moment. Sitting in the full cinema surrounds by mostly girls there was a collective sigh when Mr James took his shirt off. Just saying.....

The action is fast paced and the music that accompanies it cleverly seems to be inspired by a train track really gets your adrenalin pumping. 

At over 2 hours the film whizzes by and I felt totally exhilarated when I left the cinema. Best film I've seen by far this year.
I cannot wait for Insurgent.

If you like this you might like 
Hunger Games
See my review on Hunger Games Catching Fire

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Book Review We Were Liars by E Lockhart


We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken. A story of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth?

My Musings

What to say about this book? My interest was spiked when there was a help line given with the book to discuss the "shocking ending". Great marketing not sure if it deserves it though.
I was also tempted by the premise of a rich and powerful family and the power play between the different generations. How the rich see themselves apart from normal people like royalty and are obsessed with keeping up appearances.  

Three sisters and their families descend, each summer , on to their parents private island who hold the purse strings. There are expectations of the sisters and their families. The book focuses on Cadence the only child of one of the sisters and her relationship with her cousins and their friend (unrelated ) Gat. How they rebel against what is expected of them. How they view their privileged life with increasing scorn.  The writing is in the first person which is ok but did not entirely work for me. Cadence is spoilt, immature and selfish and I didn't find anything likable about her. The only part of the book that I warmed to was the budding relationship between her and Gat which was beautifully described. I also liked the characters of the other 2 cousins. They are the four Liars of the title. 
So it is not the characters I have a problem with but the Plot. 
The book simmers along building up the families various relationship when it takes a sinister turn and Cadence has an accident which she can't remember or any of the events surrounding. 
She is clearly traumatized and so is the family.
I am not going to spoil the ending or the twist as that is the crux of the book but the incident the book revolves about is infuriating as it has so many holes. It is just, to me, unbelievable and seems the writer is competing with others for who can make the darkest ending to a book.
What has Game of Thrones started?
I wasn't' impressed or shocked by the ending. I felt annoyed that I had been manipulated for the sake of it. I certainly didn't want to phone a help line. It felt sensationalist and gratuitous. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, we are just left feeling hopeless. It didn't feel authentic. It was a good story  up to the middle and I did like the characters but felt the writer had wanted to be fashionable so gone for "shock" ending just because it is vogue. I think that is why I feel so irritated by this book as I feel it was a good book gone bad. It was unnecessary.

If you like dark twisted plots try
Kiss Me First by Deborah Moggach
Stella by Helen Eve
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher 
Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April G Tucholke