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Serving District 13 Realness

I wasn’t going to do another outfit post so close to Tuesday’s Disneybound Update. However, I went to the pictures to see Mockingjay: Part One last night (book to film response post coming soon) and this morning was absolutely dying to try a District 13 inspired outfit.

Now, one of the biggest changes in taking Mockingjay from page to screen was one of the best decisions the film-makers made: bringing back Effie Trinket. Effie brought a little bit of lightness into the film and a little of her Capitol glamour to the grey wardrobes of District 13.
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I have stuck to the concept of grey upon grey upon grey but have silvered some of it up to add a bit of earlier Effie style sparkle- hence the glittery headband/turban. Even in the midst of a rebellion Effie was able to accessorise really well so I’ve added a glittery rosette, a bright bangle and a hummingbird necklace (as near as I could get to a Mockingjay).
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I hope Effie would approve of my styling choices. I’m thinking of trying some other Hunger Games inspired outfits. Maybe Cinna? Who would you like to be inspired by in your outfits?

Disneybounding Update

At the beginning of November I discovered the world of Disneybounding: taking inspiration from Disney characters in the clothes you wear.  When I first told my husband that I wanted to give it a go, I think he was a little worried that I was basically going to be cosplaying all the time.  Now although there is some overlap between cosplaying and Disneybounding they are definitely not the same thing.  Disneybounding as a concept began when Leslie Kay wanted to show homage to her favourite characters when visiting the Disney Parks without breaching the resort rules against adults dressing up as characters.  Disneybounding has since become a popular way for adults to express their love for the films whilst visiting the parks.   Leo Camacho explains the difference between cosplay and Disneybounding really well.

Now it seems unlikely that I’m going to visit any of the Disney Parks anytime soon but it doesn’t mean that I can’t share the Disney love.  One of the great things about Disneybounding is that it is very obscure.  Unless you were in the know you wouldn’t really think “oh, that person is trying to be Mother Gothel from Tangled today.”  I like that it’s sort of like dressing up but you can get away with it in everyday life.  It’s a good way to cheer myself up on the days that I’m struggling with anxiety as it gives me something else to focus on.

Like Leo said in the video above, it’s about taking the inspiration from the films so none of my Disneybounds look absolutely like the animated character but hopefully they give a little hint of them.

Here’s some of my recent bounds:

Dr Facilier from The Princess and the Frog

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Belle from Beauty and The BeastIMG_3126.JPG

Ursula from The Little MermaidIMG_3127.JPG

Prince Eric from The Little MermaidIMG_3128.JPG

I actually think that Prince Eric is my favourite so far.  Really simple and I actually never would have put that belt with that outfit without Disneybounding but I think it goes really well.

Have you tried Disneybounding? Who have you been inspired by? Who would you Disneybound as if you were to give it a go? Let me hear about your Disneybounding experiences.

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Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR List

Each week The Broke and The Bookish hold a link-up/meme entitled Top Ten Tuesday where book bloggers from around the world are able to discuss a range of topics.  This week we are looking at books from our Winter To Be Read list.

Breed- Chase Novak

I read the blurb of Brood on bookbridgr and thought it sounded amazing! I just didn’t realise that it was a sequel. Luckily Breed was available on Kindle for £1.99 so I’ve picked that up too. They look really creepy until it turned up and I saw the reviews of the previous book on the cover.  They look like perfect books for cuddling up in front of the fire with, feeling safe and warm, and scaring yourself silly!!

Gutenberg’s Apprentice-Alix Christie

I’ve had this ARC for a while and with moving house and various other stuff going on I just haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves. I am quite annoyed at myself for not starting it yet but it’s quite a small print large book and I think it needs my full concentration. Over the Summer I got to see a copy of Gutenberg’s Bible in the British Library and it was an amazing artefact to view! I really look forward to reading about the early printing process.

The Tragicomical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch- Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

This book has been around for 20 years but I only heard of it today. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the idea of Punch and Judy. It’s a British seaside tradition and brings families of all ages together but Mr Punch is creepy as hell. And it’s a family show based on the idea of domestic violence and aggression- “Shall I feed the baby to the crocodile, boys and girls?” This book looks like it will focus on the dark element present in Punch and Judy.

Cinder- Marissa Meyer

Cyborgs. Cinderella. How have I not read this yet?

A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens

I can’t believe I’m about to admit this. I’ve watched musical versions live, I’ve watched filmic versions so many times and we even read a play script version at school but… (cringe)… I’ve never actually read A Christmas Carol properly as a book. I think it is time that this is remedied.

Rant or Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

Or whatever Palahniuk I can get my hands on through the library system. I very much enjoyed (if that is the right word) Snuff and am now really excited for reading more of his work.

The Pursuit of Love- Nancy Mitford

I have to admit that it was the cover (and specifically the shade of pink) that brought me towards this book but reading the blurb made me sure that I needed to read it. I’m hoping for a really intelligent funny read.

Heart Shaped Box- Joe Hill

I absolutely adored Horns and I enjoyed the short stories in 20th Century Ghosts that I managed to read before I had to take it back to the library. I do intend to get the book back out again as the three stories I did read were great. (BTW, if you get a chance to read ‘Pop Art’ from this collection really do!!! It is not scary but is the most intense and beautiful short story I have read!) For some reason, I’ve been getting into Horror recently so I quite fancy using my next Audible credit to get Heart Shaped Box.

Thirteen- Tom Hoyle

Again, I added the sequel Spiders to my NetGalley without realising it was the second book. Thankfully (again) it was cheap on Kindle (£1.09 at the moment!) so I can hopefully get started on this one soon!

Fathomless Riches: or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit- Rev. Richard Coles

I have this on order at the library and I can’t wait. It’s the autobiography of Rev. Richard Coles, a married gay C of E vicar who was one half of The Communards (the other half being the amazingly voiced Jimmy Somerville) in the 80s. I think this is going to be a very interesting read.

REVIEW: The Hellbound Heart- Clive Barker

My first exposure to the concept of Hellraiser as a film was watching a character (Lloydy) from a TV show called Preston Front (about the Territorial Army) put a watermelon with cocktail sticks all over it on his head and declare that he was Pinhead. And that was that. I didn’t really thought about Hellraiser again and never had any inclination to watch it until I saw The Cabin in the Woods. The character of Fornicus, Lord of Pain and Bondage, was so well realised that I thought I needed to look at the source material. I couldn’t find the original Hellraiser film available to stream (although I did find many spin-offs) but I did find out that it was based on a novella by Clive Barker. So when I spotted The HellBound Heart on my next trip to the library I knew it would be coming back home with me.
It’s funny. I didn’t use to like horror films and horror stories but recently I have been enjoying both. I was a little bit worried about my first foray into Barker. I know that some of his work (especially The Hellbound Heart and The Books of Blood) are often categorised as splatterpunk and I was a little wary. Would it just be gory and violent for gory violence’s sake? Would it be too much for me? Would it be bad writing covered up by blood and ooze?
Anyway, the cover of the edition of The Hellbound Heart really appealed to me. It was the right mix of gory, medical, disgusting and also really well drawn- it was horrible but it really appealed to me aesthetically. It wasn’t oozing, it wasn’t throbbing, it just was. Gory but somehow understated. This made me feel a little more comfortable about sitting down and allowing myself to enter this new world of literature.
The story doesn’t begin with lots of exposition about Lemarchand’s box, we discover this as we go. We are thrown headfirst into the story, watching helplessly as Frank works feverishly to open the puzzle box and enter the realm of the Cenobites, a group of beings who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of sensuality. I really enjoy a book where I don’t necessarily like the main character, and Frank was an excellent antagonist. Selfish, self-centred, depraved- I hated him from the beginning, meaning that I couldn’t wait to see what the Cenobites had in store for him! I loved the concept that sensuality isn’t always a good thing and that our concept of pleasure doesn’t necessarily overlap with that of beings from other realms. Frank’s assumption that this realm will be simply all about HIS pleasure means that I wanted to see him punished (just as The Cabin in the Woods postulates about horror audiences- we want to see transgressive behaviour that the characters can then be punished for). I think one of the reasons that I had no sympathy for Frank is that he chose this. He had done his research, he had sought this out and, even if he didn’t know the extents to which the Cenobites would push his senses, they actually warned him that there was no going back and even gave him a chance to change his mind.
What I actually found most horrific in this book was not necessarily the Cenobites but the extent to which human behaviour can sink into deepest depravity. The relationship between Julia and Frank was frighteningly realistic for a relationship between a woman and her brother-in-law who is trapped without a body in another realm. The hold he had on her and the extent of her blind obedience was scary but all too often seen in real life. I think what is all too frightening is the representation of the lengths that people will go to in the pursuit of pleasure.
I really enjoyed this book and plan to read more Barker in the future. In fact I’ve just downloaded Weaveworld on my audible account so I will be starting on that soon!

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Forever Your Girl: Lazy Sunday Tribute Post

I often post my music posts on Mondays (Music Monday) but this post is inspired by the lazy Sundays I used to have when I was a child.

My Sunday afternoons in the late 80s/early 90s were spent sat at the dining room table, reading Usborne mystery puzzle books that I’d borrowed from the library whilst listening to Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl album (on tape) over and over and over.  My poor parents!

I had a little pang for those days and decided that today’s post would be a tribute to the Forever Your Girl album.  I would like to present for your listening pleasure, a mixture of original versions and covers of some of the songs from Paula Abdul’s 1988 classic Forever Your Girl.

Paula Abdul- Knocked Out

Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers- Forever Your Girl

Paula Abdul/The Wild Pair- Opposites Attract

Alyssa Edwards vs Coco Montrese lipsyncing Paula Abdul- Cold-Hearted

Paula Abdul- The Way That You Love Me

Postmodern Jukebox (ft Ashley Stroud)- Straight Up

My favourite song from this album is Straight Up so I’ve decided to give you another version of this song. Here’s the original recording by Paula Abdul, synced by Raja and Carmen Carrera.

PLEASE NOTE- Clothes get shed and things get a little rude- NSFW!!!

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Too Much Information- Dave Gorman

Nowadays, the world is full of people trying to tell us things. So much so that we have taught our brains not to pay much attention. After all, click the mouse, tap the screen, flick the channel and it’s on to the next thing. But Dave Gorman thinks it’s time to have a closer look, to find out how much nonsense we tacitly accept.

Suspicious adverts, baffling newspaper headlines, fake twitter, endless cat videos, insane TV shows where the presenters ask the same questions over and over…

Can we even hear ourselves think over the rising din? Or is there just too much information?

This audiobook is narrated by Dave Gorman.

The books of Dave Gorman tend to be a go-to holiday read for me.  They’re light, they’re funny and they’re easy to read.  I’m (unfortunately) not on holiday at the moment but I was searching for an audiobook that I could use to fill in the little entertainment gaps in day to day life, to listen to when I do the dishes or unload the washing machine or wipe down the bathroom surfaces.  You know, a soundtrack for greatly fun activities! What I really wanted was something that I could listen to in little bursts but would keep me entertained whilst doing the boring bits of everyday life.

Dave Gorman is a stand-up comedian who is known in the UK for his PowerPoint based comedy shows.  Yes, he does comedy with the aid of PowerPoint… and it is great! He’s very funny and makes extremely valid points.  One of his strengths is the validity of his observations on everyday life.  He’s also written several books, generally narrative non-fiction detailing his aims to: meet 52 people called Dave Gorman, travel across the world meeting Googlewhacks, play a variety of games with people, travel across America without using any chain supermarkets, petrol stations, restaurants, hotels etc.  I’ve enjoyed them all and especially would recommend America Unchained.

This book does not follow the same narrative pattern as those books, it doesn’t take us on a journey.  Instead, we have a set of reflections about the modern world- from Cillit Bang adverts to the Mail Online’s liking for the use of the word “matching”.  I watch Gorman’s show Modern Life is Goodish on DAVE (non-UK readers, please note- I do not just watch the show reflected onto Gorman himself… here in the UK, for some reason, we have a TV channel called DAVE.  It mainly shows repeats of panel shows but it does have some original programming.  It did used to have a catch-up sister channel called DAVE JA VU- really!!) and thought that this sounded a bit like a book/audiobook version of that.  And, basically, that is what this is.  To the extent that if you have watched the TV show some of the subjects that Dave talks about will be very familiar to you which can be a little annoying when you feel you are being given the same material in a different form.  The other thing is that the show is, in essence, a comedy show.  The loss of the little experiments he does in the show (putting Smarties in the dishwasher tablets, posting out £5 notes in envelopes to see if anyone steals the contents of the post) means that a little of the irreverence and joy that is at the core of Gorman’s comedy is missing.  The book seems to be more of a rant at times.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that.  I like to rant as much as the next person and lots of subjects that Dave tackles are definitely rant-worthy but the comedic element was missing at times, meaning that he comes across as a little less friendly than he does on TV.

Some of the chapters are really short and the choppy nature of the audiobook means it is perfect for when you don’t have a long time put aside for listening.  Short journeys, doing chores- it’s great for this.  The few times I tried listening for longer periods of time I just started getting aggravated.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t annoyed with Gorman- it was this modern world and the modern media.  Due to the strength of Gorman’s arguments and hearing it in his own voice it was easy to get carried away with a feeling of “Yeah! What is it with adverts these days? Bloody advertisers!”  This is great for a short while but after a bit I just ended up in a mood.  I think I do prefer a narrative when listening to audiobooks for longer periods of time.

Due to the nature of this book, the strength of the chapter sort of depends on how much you agree with him.  I too was shocked when I found out about one of the biggest cover-ups in UK advertising (it all centres on Barry Scott!), have now taken to noticing the inane questions asked of quiz show contestants and have been keeping my eyes peeled for wrong information being constantly retweeted on Twitter.  Most importantly, the main thing I took from this book is to repeatedly check that my Spotify account is not posting all of my guilty pleasure music onto Facebook!!

A good listen but definitely for filling time rather than long lazy audiobook days.

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Kingdom Rush: Origins

I’m not a huge gamer. I occasionally like to play a game or two on my phone or iPad but I’m not really primarily that sort of geek girl. I like the Lego games (Batman, Harry Potter) and have a real love of the Plants Vs Zombies games but my true gaming love for the past few years (since 2011) has been Kingdom Rush.
The Kingdom Rush games are produced by a company called Ironhide Games Studio, based in Uruguay. They are tower defence games set in a medieval/fantasy world. A range of fantasy creatures come towards your settlement and you can use a range of archer/Mage/artillery/barracks towers in order to defend yourself and stop them from invading.
The third game in the series, Kingdom Rush:Origins came out yesterday and my husband and I couldn’t wait to buy (£2.99) and download this game onto iOS! We’ve been fighting over whose go on the iPad it is ever since! It’s a game which builds on the successes of the earlier games. It doesn’t deliver astonishingly new concepts but it continues to build on the style and playability of the earlier versions.
Why are we so in love with these games?
First of all… the graphics are clear and well designed. From the beautiful interactive maps on the title page…
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to the actual levels, everything present on the screen has been incredibly well designed and thought through.
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The levels start simple and then build up gradually until you reach the fiendishly difficult end levels. It’s really addictive and the more types of towers you unlock the more possibility for different elements to the gameplay.
There are pop and geek culture references littered freely throughout the levels. In this new game I am only on level 5 and have already spotted references to The Lion King, Castaway, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, George of The Jungle and Game of Thrones.
If you enjoy fantasy fiction or TV I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Kingdom Rush games.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror- Mike Tucker

“Well, I doubt you’ll ever see a bigger insect.”

Gabby Nichols is putting her son to bed when she hears her daughter cry out. ‘Mummy there’s a daddy longlegs in my room!’ Then the screaming starts… Kevin Alperton is on his way to school when he is attacked by a mosquito. A big one. Then things get dangerous.

But it isn’t the dead man cocooned inside a huge mass of web that worries the Doctor. It isn’t the swarming, mutated insects that make him nervous.

With the village cut off from the outside world, and the insects becoming more and more dangerous, the Doctor knows that unless he can decode the strange symbols engraved on an ancient stone circle, and unravel a mystery dating back to the Second World War, no one is safe.

Thanks to NetGalley and BBC Books for the opportunity to read this e-ARC in return for an honest review.

I enjoy reading Doctor Who books. They are a really enjoyable and highly readable series. I think one of the strengths is the reader’s familiarity with the characters. We don’t need to learn too much about them because we know them inside and out.

I suppose this is what makes writing for a new doctor both a blessing and a curse. You probably have a little bit more lee-way with his character as reader expectations won’t be totally set in stone. Conversely though this means that you have less of a background to set your characterisation on. Some of the other 12th Doctor books have compensated for this by having the viewpoint narrated by a third person previously unknown to us character- such as Lights Out and The Blood Cell. Silhouette tackled it by surrounding the Doctor with familiar characters, meaning that he is not only ably assisted in this case by Clara but also by Jenny, Madame Vastra and Strax.

In my opinion, The Crawling Terror does suffer in comparison to the above named books. Some of Tucker’s decisions about the representation of the Doctor seemed a little out of character for me (having now had the luxury of watching the whoLe first season). Would he have such a good understanding of contemporary pop culture? Would he be an avid fan of Call The Midwife?

I loved the concept of giant insects taking over a village and enjoyed having the opportunity to see the Doctor engage with the military- never something he particularly enjoys having to do, but particularly the case for this incarnation. However, as the book became more entrenched in action rather than character development I just began to lose interest. I understand that a Doctor Who book needs to be action filled and exciting but personally prefer the more character-driven titles.

I was glad to see more of Clara in this book compared to The Blood Cell and I liked the references to her relationship with Danny but part of me wanted to see him in this situation too. It would be interesting given his dynamic with the Doctor and again with the Doctor’s dislike of soldiers.

I did really like the link to historical setting. I thought it was a great idea to link this to the war and thought that the mixture of fiction and real historical setting would be a great introduction to the topic of the war for older children. It’s not, however, necessarily a children’s book and I do think it’s a pretty scary read for more easily frightened young Doctor Who fans.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: Lights Out (12th Doctor)- Holly Black

Last year, in honour of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and the soon-to-be re-generation of the Doctor, Puffin commissioned some of the leading authors of children’s fiction to create a series of e-novellas which would be released month on month (one for each Doctor) until November. Now, a year on, we have just had the first season of the 12th iteration of the Doctor, his time played by Peter Capaldi, and Puffin have now released the 12th novella for children featuring this Doctor.

It’s a novella so it’s a relatively short read. Incredibly short actually, it’s only 39 pages long.  Although the book is marketed as a read for older children and teens I would definitely say that is a great read for adult Doctor Who enthusiasts too.  Most Doctor Who books are generally presented from a third person omniscient point of view but the choice of a first person narrator for this book works well.  We’re still getting to grips with who this Doctor is so it makes sense to present not a definitive view of the Doctor but the point of view of a previously unmet character.

I really enjoyed how Holly Black gradually gives us information about the main character and invites us to make certain inferences for ourselves.  I actually thought that the opening of the book would make a really good extract for developing inference and deduction skills with a Year 5/6/7 class.  However, apart from being really skillfully written, this is a really exciting book.  At it’s heart it’s a locked room mystery with hints of the Agatha Christie in it yet it’s set in space on an Intergalactic Coffee Roasting Station peopled with a whole variety of different extra-terrestrial beings.

I really liked the link to the first episode of this new season where the Doctor offers to go and grab some coffee for him and Clara.  It was a comment which seemed rather throwaway (apart from as a knowing reference to “Rose”, the first 9th Doctor episode).  Adding this is cemented the events in the book as canon but also just cemented the idea of the novels and TV series being consistent to each other.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot at it’s only a 39 page story and saying much of it will give away major plot points.  However, it should be said that it’s a hugely character driven story but more in terms of the narrator rather than necessarily the Doctor.  It’s a great read and a fantastic introduction to the Doctor Who novels (or even Doctor Who in general) for younger readers.