Recently watched...

 Logan (2017)
"In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces."
Hands down my favourite X Men film by a long mile. I loved the dark grown up tone of this film and enjoyed seeing an older and more jades Logan coming to terms with his role in life. Charles was adorable and Laura was a badass. 
4/5

The People V. O.J. Simpson (2016)
"Season 1 of this crime drama and anthology focuses on the OJ Simpson murder trial as portrayed in Jeffrey Toobin's book "The Run of His Life: The People v OJ Simpson."
When I was ill a couple of months ago I decided to give this series a go on Netflix and was hooked. The acting in this series was brilliant and as soon as I finished it I went straight to Youtube to watch clips of the real court case. It's impressive how well the actors captured the real people they were playing. 4/5

The Replacement (2017)
"Three-part psychological thriller about a woman who goes on maternity leave only to become increasingly paranoid about the motives of the person covering for her."
This was really meh. The first episode started out well but then it just went downhill and became really predictable and silly. Vicky McClure was as usual brilliant in it though. 2/5

Teenage Cocktail (2016)
"Two young women plan to run away and try webcam modeling to make enough money to survive. At first the money comes rolling in, but the girls quickly learn that the consequences of their actions can blindside them."
This was quite strange and quirky but I really enjoyed it. The film captured the stupidity of youth and being a teenager and lead actress Nichole Bloom was excellent in it. 4/5

Get Out (2017)
"Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined."
I am a fan of Jordan Peele so was looking forward to his directorial debut and this was everything I expected. Effective as an atmospheric and sinister classic inspired horror film with an important underlying social commentary on race in 2017. Daniel Kaluuya was perfectly cast (he was also great in Black Mirror). This is a must see. 4/5

Life (2017) 
"Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined."
Although this didn't really offer anything new to the genre I did really enjoy it. There was plenty of action and suspense and a really good twist at the end. I also really enjoyed the music. Definitely worth a watch if you are looking for something entertaining that doesn't involve any deep concentration! 3.5/5

Book review: What Goes Around by Julie Corbin...


"Two women, two secrets, one murder...

What Goes Around is the story of two women - Ellen and Leila. Ellen is the ex-wife and Leila is the new woman, living in Ellen's house, sleeping with Ellen's husband. Each woman has her own secrets to keep. Leila's brother is back in her life and is determined to rake up their past while Ellen is out for revenge. She wants her home back and she wants Leila to pay for breaking up her marriage. Her plan will make her do things she never thought herself capable of - but it will also put her in danger. Because Ellen has no idea what sort of a woman Leila is and when she finally finds out, it could already be too late...

One of the women will end up dead. But which one?"


The best way I can describe What Goes Around is very readable. It flows well and pulls you into the story of two very different women. The narrative is split between the two as we see two contrasting sides of a marriage break up- the women he left and the women he left her for. I was worried this was going to go down a tired cliched route of two women hating each other and much eye rolling but I'm glad to say it didn't. Of the two women I personally found Leila the most interesting. She was a unique character who came across as quite cold and calculating but under the surface there was a dark past that went some way to explaining her character. Although Ellen could be a little bland at times her OCD and anxiety was explored well- it was clearly researched and was written in a sympathetic and realistic way.

The book threw up a lot of twists. I must admit a lot of them were fairly predictable and a few of them seemed on the unrealistic side but if you like juicy full on drama then you will enjoy the twists and turns of the story. 

Overall this was an enjoyable read about revenge and the reality of it. It perhaps wasn't the most unique story I've read but I enjoyed the writing and found it very easy to get into and towards the end was pretty gripped. I think I'll definitely explore Julie Corbin's previous books at some point. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable, easy-read psychological thriller with intriguing characters then definitely pick up What Goes Around. 


What Goes Around is available now in paperback here.

I gave this book a 3/5 on Goodreads.

[Thanks to Jenni at Hodder for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

10 good things from this week...


In an effort to be more positive, appreciate the little things and celebrate small victories I've decided to do a semi regular (as in when I remember...) series talking about the positive things from my week.

This week mainly involved working early shifts, and also being ill again so it wasn't the best but here are 10 good things...

1. Hanging out with my niece who's on her Easter break
2. Receiving my amazing book prize from a Twitter giveaway. I usually never win stuff so I'm super chuffed.
3.  Googling 'cat burrito' and feeling instantly more cheerful.
4. Getting my exam results back from Uni: 85% which I'm really happy with.
5. The twitter account No Context Louis, for all my fellow Louis Theroux fans out there :)
6. Rahul Kohli on all social media. A.K.A Ravvi from iZombie. This man is just a joy!
7. Cadbury Oreo chocolate eggs. I wish I had more.
8. Charity shop shopping with my 6yo sister. I got books, she got a furby.
9. I bought an amazing Batman dress from EMP.
10. Having a lazy Sunday reading and relaxing.



Also...

Watching Cazz from Nerdburgers thrift haul on Youtube and wanting to go in search of 90s toys.

After the announcement of a general election this list is pretty handy if you want to know where your vote would be most useful in getting the tories out.

Some of my favourite recent blog posts:

1. The Ghost of Me- My Experience of Psychotic Depression
2. Toy hunting in Manchester
3. Thank You, anxiety
4. An outfit inspired by The Manic Street Preachers
5. Loneliness 

So that's my week :)

Huge book haul!


Over the past month I have accumulated quite a pile of books so thought I would do a book haul post as who doesn't like looking at lovely new books?! 

Keeping with my 2017 book resolution of reading more varied genres I've got quite a mix :D

These Dividing Walls was kindly sent to me by Hodder and is the story of a mix of people who live in a building in Paris (this is out May 4th and I will hopefully post a review around that time!)

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night has an amazing cover- I love anything that features neon lights. This is a coming of age story about twins in Quebec who have been forced into the limelight as children and are now grown up. I've heard a lot of good things about this one!

The next three are impulse buys from the Amazon three for £10 section. I got The Women in Black as I've been wanting to read more classic horror (and that cover 😍) also The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea which is a Japanese modern classic (and again the cover sold it to me...) and finally Unbroken which is a true life story about a woman who is dealing with sexual assault throughout her teen years and how she overcame it. 

I don't tend to usually read true stories but wanted to try this as I am studying psychology with the hope of eventually working in mental health and thought this could be interesting.  


Whilst is Tesco (supposedly getting food, but mainly getting books, coffee and blind bags...) I got a copy of Moranifesto. I've read all of Moran's books and loved them. This one is a collection of her columns and extra stuff about all sorts of subjects including films, the UK class system, feminism, politics and popular culture.  

I also got a YA: Beautiful Broken Things, about a toxic female friendship. The cover totally sold it to me! Nina is not ok is an adult contemporary about a young woman who wakes up after a night of heavy drinking knowing that something bad happened, but is not quite sure what. This one is looks at slut shaming and social media so should be interesting. 

I finally decided to pick up Illuminae after being undecided. This has had so much hype and is a YA Sci-Fi about a planet that is being evacuated only for a virus to break out in the evacuations ship and a young girl realising there is more to it than it seems. What interests me with this book is that it is written in mixed media (which I love) and I also enjoy post apocalyptic stuff. 

The Lonely City is a non fiction look at loneliness and different creative people in New Yorks experience with it. Finally Milk & Honey is a book I've been wanting to get for a long time. You are probably familiar with it as Kaur's beautiful and honest poetry is often shared on Instagram. I have a feeling I will love this one, and I haven't read much poetry in a while.

So that's my new books! Have you read any of these? 

Telling your employer you have a mental illness...



If you have a mental illness one of the biggest decisions you have to face is whether to tell people or not. Should you tell your employer? Or is it best to keep it secret? 

Most people with mental health issues will have different answers depending on their own experiences. When I was applying for jobs a few years ago I asked people in a bipolar support group I am part of and most people said that it was best not to say, and a lot of people had their own stories of where they'd told employers and it hadn't gone well. Although it is against the law to discriminate for a disability it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Unfortunately stigma surrounding mental illness is still a huge problem, and due to ignorance- and people just not understanding or educating themselves on what it is people don't always get treated fairly. 

Today I have two stories for you from my own personal experience of telling employers about having bipolar disorder and anxiety. One didn't go well, but one is positive.

The first time I told an employer I had a mental illness was when I worked at Asda. I wasn't going to mention the company but I've decided fuck it, I want to name and shame. I went through a particularly bad depressive episode and was as yet undiagnosed but began the process. Because the depression got so bad I had to take sick leave. My employer required me to go in for regular meetings to keep them updated. They constantly just wanted me to commit to a date in which I would return to work despite me telling them my health was no different and I was in the process of a diagnosis. The meetings were hugely stressful and would involve two managers sat opposite me. They acted as if I was making the whole thing up and they were impatient with it. The final straw was when I started receiving messages from work colleagues asking me what bipolar was and that they heard I'd got it. At that point I was only starting the diagnosis process and stressed to management I wanted this kept private as I didn't want anyone to know. This hadn't happened. When I replied to the messages asking who told them the response was some guy I barely spoke to. The thought of everyone gossiping about me and my mental health was enough for me to take the redundancy that the management were desperate for me to agree to. 

I walked away from that experience feeling disheartened and adamant I wouldn't tell any future employer. 

Fast forward a number of years. I was fully diagnosed and on medication. I began working at a company I currently work for. Last year around October my health took a dip and I experienced another depressive episode. I had to take a month of leave where I adjusted to a medication change. After a lot of anxiety I decided to tell my manager the reason.

And this is where this post gets positive. My manager listened and was very understanding. It turns out he has a friend who is going through a diagnosis for bipolar and knew what the illness was. He was hugely supportive in my return to work and I feel I can talk openly about it if I need to. My colleagues have also been supportive too! This experience has given me the confidence boost to not have to hide my illness anymore, I'm not ashamed and I am happy to talk about it. I wish it was like this for everyone but if you experience something like my first story I'd recommend finding another job. Living with mental illness is hard enough without having to deal with stigma from your place of work. It should be somewhere where you feel comfortable and supported.

So should you tell people you have a mental illness? Well that's up to you but since I've told my employer I feel like a weight has lifted and I don't have to hide who I am anymore. 

Book Review: The White Road by Sarah Lotz...



A cutting-edge thriller about one man's quest to discover horror lurking at the top of the world.

Desperate to attract subscribers to his fledgling website, 'Journey to the Dark Side', ex-adrenalin junkie and slacker Simon Newman hires someone to guide him through the notorious Cwm Pot caves, so that he can film the journey and put it on the internet. With a tragic history, Cwm Pot has been off-limits for decades, and unfortunately for Simon, the guide he's hired is as unpredictable and dangerous as the watery caverns that lurk beneath the earth. After a brutal struggle for survival, Simon barely escapes with his life, but predictably, the gruesome footage he managed to collect down in the earth's bowels goes viral. Ignoring the warning signs of mental trauma, and eager to capitalise on his new internet fame, Simon latches onto another escapade that has that magic click-bait mix of danger and death - a trip to Everest. But up above 8000 feet, in the infamous Death Zone, he'll need more than his dubious morals and wits to guide him, especially when he uncovers the truth behind a decade-old tragedy - a truth that means he might not be coming back alive. A truth that will change him - and anyone who views the footage he captures - forever.


In many ways this book is reminiscent of the very dark but very brilliant horror film The Descent (in fact after finishing The White Road I rewatched it.) The first part of the book sees our protagonist attempting his way through some very dangerous Welsh caves. The book was written with such clarity and was so visceral that it felt like I was there. I could feel Simon's fear and dread. 

As with Sarah Lotz previous two books (The Three and Day Four- of which I loved) fear is a strong theme throughout this novel. PTSD also features heavily as all the central characters are dealing with some sort of loss or past incident that still haunts them. Two of Sarah's biggest skills are suspense and ambiguity which are very much present here- I was questioning every twist and turn of this book. I really didn't know where it would end up as I know from her previous books Lotz will literally go in any direction and make it mind-blowingly good. 

Simon was not the most likeable person but I still rooted for him. He pushed himself to his limits first in the caves and then on his Everest trek. This was probably my favourite part of the book. We got to follow him and his trekking companions as they gradually acclimatised themselves to the altitudes in order to reach the summit. More than once I found myself focusing on my breathing as they struggled in their environment. It looked at why people would take such a life threatening risk- just reading about it was scary enough! 

This was a story of survival and a look at how people handle grief. Although I wouldn't say this was a horror per se there were definitely classic horror elements to it (the tell tale heart springs to mind.) I'm trying to type this review without giving any spoilers and too much of the plot away as I think it really is best going into this book not knowing too much about it. One thing I will say is if you want a thrilling and suspenseful read about someone pushing themselves to their literal limit and haunted by their past- a book that will take you on a journey you won't forget then pick up a copy of The White Road. You won't be disappointed. 

I gave this book 4/5 on Goodreads.

The White Road is out May 4th and is available to pre-order in hardback here.

[HUGE thanks to Louise, Vero and Jenni at Hodder for providing me with a review copy.]

Recommended: Book adaptions...


iZombie
iZombie was originally a comic book series that ran for 3 years in 2010 by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred (I reviewed it here.) The comic followed Gwen, a women who had been turned into a zombie but found as long as she regularly ate brains she could function as normal. The only downside was that she would get the memories of the brain she ate. Oh and also she was friends with a ghost (from the 60s) and a nerd who turned into a were-terrier on full moons! 

iZombie got loosely adapted into a TV show (which is just about to debut it's third season) based on a Gwen like character called Liv who uses her new "power" of seeing dead people's memories to help solve murders in the morgue where she works. Like in the comics there is a lot of humour and buffy-isms. The show is so much fun and I highly recommend binge watching the first two series on Netflix now! Also if you've read the comics there are a lot of fun Easter eggs throughout- and Mike Allred has drawn the opening credits and cut screens.

Ghost World
There's no way I could do a post like this without mentioning Ghost World- both my favourite graphic novel and film. The 90s comic by the legendary Daniel Clowes follows two friends Enid and Rebecca as they leave school and try and navigate into adult life as they find themselves slowly drifting apart. The book is a beautiful look at being a teenager, growing up and feeling lost and being an outsider. 

Ghost World got adapted into a film in 2001 and starred Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson perfectly in the lead roles. Clowes co wrote the screenplay and it has a real feel of the original comic. The film differs to the book in that it tells a more cohesive story and a minor character Seymour gets brought to life and explored brilliantly by Steve Buscemi. Literally everything about this film is perfect right down to the fashion, dialogue and music.


The Girl With All the Gifts
Originally a novel by M.R. Carey The Girl With All the Gifts is an intriguing take on the zombie/ post apocalyptic genre by looking at the story from another point of view. I read this a couple of years ago and loved it (review here).

The book was adapted to film last year and I was originally put off by the casting of a young white woman in the role of a main character who in the book was older and black. That aside I was begrudged to admit the film was really enjoyable and although it kind of rushed over some of the interesting questions the book threw up this was a decent film and Glenn Close in paricular was great as Caldwell. 


Apple Tree Yard
Another novel I read a few years ago (review here) the book is a brilliant twisty, well written psychological thriller about an older women who starts a passionate affair with a mysterious stranger. It was adapted to TV for the BBC last year and shown in three episodes. The show perfectly captured the tense story and is a must watch if you like dark, well made dramas.

Gone Girl
This book doesn't really need much introduction- it's become one of the biggest thrillers from recent years, and deservedly so. It was inevitable that it would get adapted to film and David Fincher did a brilliant job of bringing the dark and twisted story to life. Although I still prefer the book, and recommend reading it first (there were some interesting monologues that the film kind of glossed over) this had to be in the list. Mention also to the unnerving score by Trent Reznor.

Notes on a Scandal
Unlike all the other titles mentioned in this list I actually watched the film before reading the book it was based on. Notes On a Scandal is told from the point of view of a lonely teacher played by Judi Dench who becomes friends with a new colleague played by Cate Blanchette. Things soon turn sour when she finds her new friend is having an affair with a student and her own dark personality comes out. The film is brilliant- a really dark and twisted drama about a woman who has become bitter from years of loneliness and Dench is amazing. Unfortunately when I read the book it didn't live up to the dark atmosphere of the film.
Room
If you read my review of Room by Emma Donoghue you'll know I didn't actually enjoy the book (here) but I decided to give the film adaption a watch after it won so many awards- I was curious. The film ended up surprising me by being far more enjoyable that the book and Brie Larson's performance was brilliant as a woman who had been abducted as a teen and locked in a room for years. Definitely worth checking out.