Monday, 16 January 2017

The Girl on The Train (Book Review)

Today's blog post is a book review - which was originally posted on the magazine PETRIe - which you should check out because it is awesome.

I heard about Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train long before I read it. As with many books released recently, the claims for why it should be next on my reading list were huge, with reviews hailing it as the next Gone Girl. This was essentially the reason I stayed away.

However, the furore over this book just wasn't going away, so I decided to bite the bullet and see what the fuss was all about. And while sceptical to begin with – as I always am with books that everyone seems to be fawning over – from the start I was hooked.

The Girl on the Train follows the protagonist, Rachel, as she makes the train journey twice a day to London and back. From the very early stages the reader gets a sense that not everything is as it seems, emphasised by her habit of enjoying the odd tipple here and there... every day. As the novel continues we see how unhinged Rachel really is and, in turn, the reader must question how far she can be trusted.

As in many thrillers released in recent years, the chapters are narrated by different characters – sometimes offering conflicting information. So who exactly can we trust? As the main character, surely Rachel? Maybe, but then, maybe not.

The Girl on the Train is a fantastic read - gripping and intriguing. Is it similar to Gone Girl? Yes. For me, the key similarity is their unreliable narrators. Use of this literary device has soared in recent years – especially within the thriller genre, but it's hard to work out why.

Google 'unreliable narrator thriller' and a plethora of links will come up leading you to various books that all boast different tag lines in order to make themselves stand out. But the unreliable narrator is no new device. The Great Gatsby, The Yellow Wallpaper and American Psycho are all great examples of its usage. The list of those who don't do it well is longer than Rachel’s twice-daily train journey to London.

So yes, in ways The Girl on the Train is similar to Gone Girl, but who wouldn't want to imitate the success of that book and subsequent film? And, with many others now striving towards the successful destination of The Girl on the Train, it looks like the unreliable narrator is here to stay.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Last Minute Birthday Gifts

January is a tricky month. Everyone's on a diet and we're all gift-ed out after the presents of December. But then, halfway through the month, cold fear pulses through your veins as you remember there's at least 4 people with birthdays coming up in the next two weeks, and although you told yourself you'd buy their presents in December, you forgot. But do not fear, for I am here, with a last minute gift list for those lovely friends you definitely did not forget about!

Wishlist Last Minute Gifts

1 & 2. L'Occitane have some beautiful gifts at the moment (including some gorgeous L’Occitane men's aftershave that smells amazing!) but the Almond collection and Lavendar bath foam are two of my personal favourites, they smell beautiful and are perfect for someone who needs to pamper themselves more!

3. Dry January is in full force this year, so why not remind your new sober friends of things they can do instead of the pub, whilst you gloat with your glass of wine/gin/beer/Bailey's? (I love Bailey's.)

4. I love carbs, I love girls, I love patches. Therefore this is perfect. Need I say anymore?

5. I miss the gorgeous cinnamon Christmas smells of December, so this year I'm determined to fill my house with beautiful candle smells instead, and this one is gorgeous.

And there you have it. A last minute gift list for the lovely ladies in your life. Or lovely men, or lovely anyone in between.

*This is a sponsored post.*

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

My top Christmas films!

It's just under two weeks before Christmas, and the Christmas film viewings are in full swing at my house. I love a good Christmas film, and I've decided to document my very favourite films! I'm pretty sure I've forgotten a few, so let me know what your favourites are in the comments! In a Christmas tag I did 4 years ago, I named the same top 3, so I've not changed that much clearly! I looked through a lot of lists to see what other people thought, and this BBC list seemed to have the most diversity - I've not heard of a few of these!
Now of course, if I had my way, I'd be watching the films on a super posh tv - like this Panasonic tv  - but alas, I don't think Santa will be THAT kind this year. (Although, Father Christmas, if you're listening, I'd also like a puppy.)

What A Wonderful Life
Oh I love this film so much. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming and just beautiful. I know a lot of people are put off by black and white films, but this film is tireless. I know most of you will have seen this film but if you haven't, I urge you too!

There are not many films I can quote almost word for word, but Elf is one of them. It's just so silly and fun, I love watching this. I'm not a fan of Ferrell but he's bloody good in this film! It's because of this film I have an urge to shout 'SANTA!!! I KNOW HIM!!' whenever I see someone dressed up as Father Christmas, and who hasn't wanted to jump onto a massive Christmas tree a la Buddy the elf?

A Muppet Christmas Carol
There are so many variants of this film, and a lot of them are brilliant, but the Muppet Christmas Carol will always be my favourite. I love the Muppets, the tiny Kermits are adorable and Michael Caine is fantastic. This is a Christmas classic, and I've always loved it.

The Holiday
So this isn't, techinically, a Christmas film. However it features Christmas and therefore it is a Christmas film in my head! I love a good rom-com, and this one is one of the best. I love Kate Winslet very much, which is partly way I enjoy this film so much!

Love, Actually
From Hugh Grant's un-rehearsed dancing to Emma Thompson's heart-breaking realisation set to the dulcet tones of Joni Mitchell, this film is just the best. I watch it every year - often more than once, and I never get bored of it. Plus it has the wonderful Alan Rickman, who I haven't got over, not just yet. This film has a million good points, and it's one of those relaxing, fireplace and mulled wine films.

So, what are your favourite Christmas films?

*this is a sponsored post*

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