Book Review: Peter Green And The Unliving Academy

Written by Angelina Allsop, Peter Green And The Unliving Academy follows a 14-year-old boy who can’t remember how he died. All he has are his pyjamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. The Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement. And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.

As Pete learns to fit in with his new supernatural schoolmates, he starts to discover his own uniquely undead abilities and even begins enjoying his life after death. But he just can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgotten something (or somebody!) important. Somebody he left behind in the land of the living. Somebody he loved very much. Somebody who’s in terrible danger.

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Book Review: The Wife Between Us

“I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.”

Written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Wife Between Us is a 2018 thriller that follows a jealous ex-wife who is obsessed with her replacement, a younger woman set to marry the man she loves. But not all is at it seems in this twisted and manipulating story. Exposing the secret complexities of an enviable marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love, your assumptions will all be proven wrong when Nellie and Vanessa finally come face to face.

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Book Review: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Original Screenplay)

“Do you know why I admire you, Newt? More, perhaps, than any man I know? You don’t seek power or popularity. You simply ask, is the thing right in itself? If it is, then I must do it, no matter the cost.”

Written by J.K. Rowling and a sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Crimes of Grindelwald begins with the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald escaping from MACUSA, and has set about gathering followers to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists the help of his former student, Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead.

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Book Review: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Original Screenplay)

“See, they’re currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet. Humans.”

Written by J.K. Rowling and a spin-off of her Harry Potter franchise, this beautiful hardcover edition captures Rowling’s screenwriting debut. Set in 1926 New York, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them follows ex-Hogwarts student Newt Scamander who travels to the city as part of a global study of fantastic beasts. But when he gets caught up in a conflict of a group of extremist No-Majs and a mystical act of destruction, some of the magical creatures in his case are accidentally released. With the help of a No-Maj named Jacob and two members of MACUSA (the American equivalent to the Ministry of Magic), he must find all of his creatures before they are blamed for the mysterious deaths that are adding up, causing magic and non-magic folk alike to panic.

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Book Review: Mythos – The Greek Myths Retold

“It is enough to say that the Greeks thought it was Chaos who, with a massive heave, or a great shrug, or hiccup, vomit or cough, began the long chain of creation that has ended with pelicans and penicillin and toadstools and toads, sea-lions, lions, human beings and daffodils and murder and art and love and confusion and death and madness and biscuits.”

Written by Stephen Fry, the Greek myths are retold in a brilliantly entertaining way as we learn about the greatest stories that have ever told. Passed down through millennia, the stories are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West, from the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind. Smart, funny, and informative, the stories of the Titans and Gods are ones we all recognise – from Athena’s birth from the crack in Zeus’s great head, Persephone’s trips down into the dark realm of Hades, the terrible and endless fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus, and the evil torments of Pandora’s jar. Their tales of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies are told in a spellbinding way, as Fry explores them in all their rich and deeply human relevance.

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My Reading List 2018

Over the past couple of years, I have documented every film that I have watched and reviewed them all using Letterboxd. As a way to motivate myself to read more, I thought I would do the same for what books I have been reading, using Goodreads as a way to set myself a reading challenge every year.

After reading only 6 books last year, I kept my target low this year and set myself the goal of 10 books. However, I somehow managed to read 20 books this year, mostly due to reading a book a day on my honeymoon.

Here’s how my 2018 challenge went, with a short review and rating for each of the books that I read:

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Book Review: This is Going to Hurt

“It’s sink or swim, and you have to learn how to swim because otherwise a ton of patients sink with you. I actually found it all perversely exhilarating. Sure it was hard work, sure the hours are bordering on inhumane and sure I saw things that have scarred my retinas to this day, but I was a doctor now.”

Published in 2017, This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor is a collection of diary entries by Adam Kay, a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010 who worked for the NHS before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. Selecting a variety of his experiences throughout his training, This Is Going to Hurt gives a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor, from the highest highs to the pain, sacrifice and life-altering situations that come with working on the front line of the NHS in its current crisis.

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Book Review: We Were Liars

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

2014’s We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a modern young adult suspense book which focuses on the themes of family, morals, and self-acceptance. Narrated by Cadence, a brilliant but damaged girl, we are told all about her wealthy family who spend every summer gathered on their private island. With the summer of her fifteenth year approaching, Cadence can’t wait to spend time with her Liars – Johnny, Gat and Mirren. Their lives are seemingly perfect, especially as this is the year that Cadence and Gat begin to realise their true love for one another. But when something bad happens, Cadence suffers from memory loss and painful headaches and is told that she can’t go back to the island. Everybody seems to be keeping the accident a secret from her, and not even her Liars will tell her what happened. Cadence has to figure it out for herself. Two years later, they meet up once again to prompt Cadence to remember the incident.

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Book Review: Lying In Wait

“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.”

The 2016 book by Liz Nugent, Lying in Wait, follows the seemingly happy (if a little reclusive) Lydia Fitzsimons, who lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and respected judge, Alan, and beloved son, Laurence. But, one night, Lydia finds herself in an unfortunate situation with her husband when they meet up with a drug-addicted prostitute. They may have had their own plans that night, but they certainly didn’t plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden. While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son, her husband begins to fall apart. But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks, and his obsession with the dead girl’s family may be the undoing of his own.

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