Wednesday 27 February 2019

Book Review: House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

We going to have an accidental theme.

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’ 

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . .

This book is sadly not really a thriller, it tries to have a twist but especially doesn't work and with the audiobook production I was more annoyed than anything. It mostly dances around the facts of the story, or things that they no reason to dance around other than laziness and to drag this thing out.

The characters are very bland, they work in marketing kinda bland (they might not work in marketing, it just reference to obsession with marketing as a job in film. I don't know what they work as). I think this lacking important thriller elements as well as the characters not having much development. I guess we're meant to feel sorry for them, but I don't know who they're meant to be. 

The audiobook performance was fine, not sure why they decided to spend the money on four narrators for this book. Frankly, it would have worked better with just one, with the dumb twist. It's probably OMG moment when the narrators switch but as soon as the POV was introduce it was clearly not going to be who she thinks it is, otherwise they couldn't market this as Thriller. 

This book does have Thriller elements, like an obvious mystery that you know will be solved as soon as you know what terrible secret the MC has, so it's not thrilling at all. There's also the Husband's mystery drug problem, that he started because of stress, so it is a prescribed drug. I know it's not antidepressants but imagining it was and his wife was just being an arse about him still taking it, it would really fitted with this book. It's never stated so feels very McGuffin. I guess it's a sleeping pill, he's a therapist, so maybe he's meant to have self-prescribed them but that would be a scandal on it's own. 

If this is not a Thriller what genre is it? I guess Drama, or just fiction for what it would be market in bookstore or library. The idea of that's promised on the back is a Thriller, but its more about petty relationships. Most of the relationships were sex scenes: have an affair and it's love because the sex is good. I'm Ace so if this meant to have been some great love story with tragic ending, it's okay if you say so. The one time it goes to back to a thriller, it sways away again. I got really excited that something was going to happen but then it didn't so back to petty nonsense. 

Overall, I gave this book 2/5 stars for Dead Hamsters. If want something that's actually a thriller then go for You Let Me In (I will review this book soon, I read it first and probably should have review it that way.). It's actually a thriller and I didn't question not finishing it. It has a similar feature of someone renting their House to someone while they away.

Saturday 23 February 2019

What do I actually want to with my Life?

Okay, bitches. I'm 25 years old, closing on 26 and I feel very unfilled. There is a novel I've been writing for ten years now and yes she hella abandoned, but sometimes she in my brain still. I have other ideas. I'm not filming, editing or writing.

I'm only listening to audio books while I do random pointless things that I don't enjoy that much, I'm just insanely good at pointless stuff. I don't what I want to do, the one course I tried to apply for gave me error and I should phone someone about that.

I should start doing more.

Anyway, I joined a dating site. Don't be weird and try to find me. I'm going to be weird, but not the creepy level of guy weird. Just a photo of me in a fake British Phone booth level of weird. I probably talk about the awkward experience on twitter if you want immediate updates. They're showing me a lot straight girls, which is an odd choice.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Book Review: Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

Scottish music, it's a thing.

Here's the thing about being Inside. Ain't no one believes that they are.

Ele has never been Outside, but she knows it exists - she just has to prove it.

Her whole world is Inside. Trapped with her books and the Others and Him. 
She has never seen a tree or felt the rain but that's about to change. Ele's getting out. For good.

Another book about someone being raised in isolation, but this time it's for the YA market. I would say it's Young YA, it has very dark topic but the way it's handled is almost middle-grade. I guess if you're not a 12 year watching True Crime Docs but that was me.

Ele has not been properly socialised so she doesn't know the words for basic objects and only has access to four books to frame her world. She speaks in a confusing way and it took me a while to figure out whether the word she kept using was meant to positive or negative. I got used it to eventually but I don't think it helps that I started this book while in a waiting room and didn't read it for hours later. Probably better to read the first fifty pages in one go.

Another language choice that is uncomfortable is the way she describes the character, Willow, whose mixed raced with a dead Jamaican Mother and ginger Scottish father. Yeah, it's does get minus points for stereotypes. Having diverse characters is a plus but the some of the descriptions of Willow by Ele are oddly racist; not in the racist way in that she been locked in a room entire life so doesn't know the connotation of the things she says; more in what the hell does that mean? "His head hair ain't like no truths in no books. It's all together and bouncy." I think Juckes is trying to be poetic, but it's more what? This could just be a me thing.

This book tries to have twists, but if you know true crime then it obvious what they'll be and you won't be shocked.  It's also a very Juvenile Happy Ending way, I mean the characters literally say we don't why, it just is, which is realistic of life, but the way it's said doesn't help. I do say this Young Ya, and to clarify is not a bad thing. A young side to YA is needed, so this book might be good for Young teen wanting to step their toes into something darker but safe in that there will be Happy ending for the characters.

This book is set in Scotland, but where in Scotland? Fantasy Scotland probably. So I was born in Scotland, I was raised in Scotland. I went to school in Scotland. Okay, I'm probably overkilling this. There's just a lot of questionable things in this book that makes me think that Juckes has never been to Scotland or had her book proofread properly. She checked with someone's mum that the dialogue was correct. There's odd things referring to potatoes as Tatties and potatoes: " brown spotted balls called 'potatoes' - once Willow also called them 'Tatties'' and this not something someone would do unless they were questioned. Frankly, it should be the other way if you wanted to point out that Scottish people called them that. You either use that word or you don't. The Scots was, of course, wrote very touristy, but this book is obviously meant for a non-Scottish audience. The thing that made me really go what?, is this scene: When he’s done with the slow song, he starts playing something else. Something fast.  Something that has him dancing from left to right as his arm swoops from side to side and up and down. The music bounces off the walls and has me sitting up, smiling, my feet bouncing along like they’re running on music.‘Come on!’Willow shouts, spinning round in a circle and bouncing from foot to foot. I get up and copy him, though it’s difficult without a violin to play myself. I hop from one foot to the other. Spin round. [dance till collapsing] ‘Phew! Ah, that’s a fun one.’I pull my head to the side so I can see him. He’s smiling wide at the ceiling, pulling in breaths from his inhaler. ‘Irish,’he says, catching my eye. ‘They know how to dance."

So this is the thing called Ceilidh in Scotland, and if you had gone to a Scottish School you would know from the age of 8, we are all taught Scottish Group dancing and this continues until we were finally free of P.E. (in 6th year in my case) but still would make us do them at the Christmas Dance (at least my school did), we were made to do them at Christmas Dances during Primary. The Gay Gordons are drilled into my head. My point is there is a scene where a Scottish person plays a fiddle fast and does a dance that can't wrap my head around at being like anything that exists. Is he meant to be 'Riverdancing' with a violin? Maybe the targeted audience won't be old enough to immediately think of that Irish Scene in Titanic and all those dead Irish people. There are really fast Scottish dances and that type of music would be associated with Scottish dancing, if you were Scottish. There are other questionable things like Ele somehow never seeing trees on her way outside, or not being eaten alive by midges. This isn't really a big deal, just in the back of mind, where the hell in Scotland is this meant to be? I think Highlands but a lot of Scotland has middle of nowheres. Basically, all the questionable Scottish stuff just becomes really distracting and I don't get the choice.

I mean if you're not from Scotland, then I don't know why you would do it. The setting is never really described in detail, there's a lack of houses so I know it must be in the countryside but that's it. It could be anywhere.

Another big problem is the unquestioning nature of the characters, I guess spoils for after the 30% of the book. Ele gets outside and through a series of events ends up staying in this boy's, Willow, house and his dad doesn't question anything. Even with this going on for several days, with this girl who doesn't understand the basic things of the world and it's obvious that this is a case where the police should be called. She is also magically toilet trained and she learns everything really easily.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Dead Trees. This is a book with serious topics that is unrealistic in its execution. This is on the Younger side of YA (which they has been lack of in recent years and they should be more published), with the protagonist being thirteen and the push for a happy ending. Maybe I'm just to jaded to be really touched by this story especially there are several books with similar topics. This is okay but not story that will stick with me.

I received this book for review off NetGalley and the publisher Penguin. It was published on the 3rd January 2019. Do I have to say that this review was honest?

Saturday 16 February 2019

Weeks of writings.

I wrote something fictional. Does that make up for the dead space on the last two Saturday? I've decided against back tracking my post this year (Okay, I'll allow myself a space from Saturday to Saturday to fill that space). I did finally write a book review so that's something. I even felt the completation to write weird fiction. It's was only something about Death being my BFF and only a paragraph with no plot or real character development ideas.

The Oscars are out and Bradley Cooper is not nominated for Best Director so I'm semi-happy. He's apparently disappointed that just showing up does not get you nominated. A Star is Born is nominated for Best Adapted screenplay which is a joke. The dialogue in that film was terrible but maybe that's the directer's fault. The Oscars are the Oscars. Some times good films, some times the best campaign.

I've not been doing much. I'm in a month long readathon, with my own readathon for the end of this month still unplanned. I've caught up on my reading goal this month. The reading is the only thing I've been doing. I've been trying with the reviews. Not editing. No point filming without editing what I've got. I still want to make videos. I do.

My future is mystery. A thing I wanted to apply for this year, is not going to be in Scotland this year so that's great. Tried to apply for another course and there was an error so I think I might have to do the horrifying thing of calling them. Maybe I should actually just write things.

I spent today watching Disney films as form of a Marathon because teenagers are idiots. I choose Black Cauldron because it's a mess but I love parts of it. We're realised it has a forbidden forest, so now Harry Potter is clearly ripped of this and Trolls 2.

I'm going to just post this mess of a post. See you losters.