Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23 – TV Review

June (Dreama Walker) arrives in New York from small town America somewhere with a great job and apartment lined up. Unfortunately, as she arrives, the company folds and she is left out of work and homeless on the streets – until she moves in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter) , the bitch from the title. Quickly she discovers that Chloe is a self-centred nasty-pasty who will  do whatever she needs to for a good time – usually accompanied by her best mate, James Van Der Beek (playing himself. Well, a version of himself. Brilliantly. I totally love him after this). There there’s the stalker down the hall, the dodgy fiancé, the pervert in the next building – so much fun,

I loved this and was so disappointed to see that it only ran to two seasons. Every time you think it’s done all it can do, they push it just that little bit further – or that huge amount further. I hope the creative team who put this together do a lot more great show and I hear about them. I want more.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – TV Review

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is a high-powered lawyer who is unaware of how unhappy she is until she runs into the guy she dated one summer when she was on camp as a teenager. So, she chucks in her New York job, moves to a small town in California where Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) lives in the hope of winning him back. There, she gets a job with Darryl Whitefeather (Pete Gardner) and Paula Proctor (the amazing Donna Lynne Champlin) and tries to win Josh’s heart.

I avoided this for one main reason. The title. It sounds terrible – and the concept is quite awful – why can’t a woman be successful and why does she have to chase after her ex? Why should she be called crazy? Seriously, what about womanhood? But I kept hearing people talking about how fabulous it was, and these were people I respected, and then I heard Rachel Bloom interviewed and she was great, and I thought fine, I’ll give it a go. And I loved it. Firstly, I did not expect that it would be a musical. This allows Bloom to easily take the mickey out of the concept. Her songs are fabulous and the production is great. What’s more, the title sequence addresses the nature of the ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’ label and how offensive this is.  And what saves it is the character development. And Donna Lynne Champlin and Rachel Bloom together. Amazing.

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The Distant Echo by Val McDermid – Book Review

In early hours of a winter morning in the eighties, Alex Gilbey and his three mates are triggering home from a drunken night when they come across an almost dead young woman. Unable to save her, they instantly become the key suspects for the police (and many others in the community). The case is not solved, and twenty-five years later it is reopened as one of the first cases for the newly established cold case squad. How can you find the evidence and try to find a killer when that much time has passed?

This is not quite as gory as some of the other McDermid books, but has all the intrigue. If you like a good murder mystery with some top crime procedure type stuff, this is for you.

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Atypical – TV Review

Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is an eighteen-year-old  high school boy on the autistic spectrum who sees a counsellor, Julia (Amy Okuda) who encourages him to explore the possibilities of finding love. His mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who has been protective of him for his whole life, and struggles with Sam’s quest to find love. Along his journey, he finds a different relationship with his father (Michael Rappaport). Then there’s his sister, Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) who is struggling with her relationship with Sam. She’s mean to him in the way that only sisters can be to sisters, but she also takes care of him, and needs to figure out who she is away from him.

I really liked this show. I feel like it is a pretty accurate representation of one experience of autism. I like that Sam takes a lot of notes and tries to figure out love – something that we all struggle with. How do you know when you’re in love? I also liked that it was not just about Sam and his journey. We saw other characters and how their lives worked, including how they dealt with having Sam as a key focus in their lives, love it and/or hate it.

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Book Review

Marie-Laurie LeBlanc is taken by her father from their home in Paris to the small town of Saint-Malo, fleeing from the Nazis. He worked at the Museum of Natural History, and when he flees he is given one of four diamonds to protect. Three are copies, and one is the original – the “Sea of Flames”, a gem with a curse. Marie-Laurie is blind, and her loving father makes beautiful little models of the places they live so she can find her way around. Then, there is Werner Pfennig, a German orphan who has a talent for fixing radios and other electronics and is absorbed into the Hitler Youth. And Nazi Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel, desperately searching for the Sea of Flames.

This is not your typical war story. It is beautiful and terrible and absolutely no wonder it has been critically acclaimed. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and topped the Dymocks list of the best 101 books as voted by “Dymocks Booklovers” – which I assume means customers? I loved it, with its very short chapters that dole out the story slowly. It broke my heart many times, but in that way that is a good pain.

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The 5th Wave vs The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – Book Review

So there has been an alien attack which has happened in four waves, devastating the world’s population. There are now few people left, and Cassie is one of them, but the aliens no look like people. She is fighting to stay alive, living on her wits. Should she try to find other survivors? Who can she trust?

As far as dystopian future stories are concerned, this is a good one. I like that it is an alien attack, and that no-one knows who to trust. Some parts seem overly familiar, perhaps because they are extremely similar to other books. But overall, it’s a fast, action-packed read and I enjoyed it.

 

The 5th Wave (2016) Film Review

Usually when a book is interpreted into a film, much has to be left behind or it will end up being a very long film – it usually captures the feel of the original text, but not the full thing. Yet somehow, this is an extremely close rendition of the book, and it is great. The book is written almost as a screenplay in that it is all action, so fast and it works so extremely well. It is very much a film for the youth – I can’t imagine it was very popular with many adults.

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Through the Zombie Glass By Gena Showalter (Book Review)

This is the second book in The White Rabbit Chronicles., which follow Alice Bell as she navigates her way through life in a world with zombies that most people can’t see. But she and a group of friends can not only see them, they can fight them. Not only that, there are a group who train and patrol and kill. But there are bad good guys too – an evil company who is manipulating things, including the zombies, for their own terrible ends. And to make things works, Alice is changing – she sees someone else when she looks in the mirror, and is starting to have a hunger for flesh…

I like these books. They are a really good, fun read, with some spicy moments (as you would expect from a book which is published by Harlequin Books). I mean, the characters all drive me somewhat nuts with their umming and ahing and not telling each other what they mean, or keeping secrets, or going against each other. But it all works out… onto part three!

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