Book Review: Arrowood By Laura McHugh

Overview 

A gothic mystery, Arrowood tells the story of Arden Arrowood returning to her old town in the South of America and the Arrowood house that had once been grand. Arden’s life has been blighted by what once was, especially the disappearance of her twin sisters many many years ago. Now back in the house they disappeared from and with the help of a private investigator Arden Arrowood begins to put together the pieces of the past that may lead to clues to what really happened to her sister’s all those years ago.

Audience: 

Not quite a paperback thriller and not quite literary, Arrowood sits in the middle. I’d venture the audience for Arrowood are not mystery fans but are more interested in southern gothic dramas.

All in all, if you’re into atmospheric pieces look no further.

The Good 

Arrowood is a gorgeously written story, in the style of southern gothic, descriptions of curtains and forgotten bedrooms leave you with a certain sense of sadness

The premise itself is personally fascinating to me, Arden Arrowood is the girl left behind while her sisters are taken. She’s grown up being surrounded by other people’s tragedies  which has made her a uniquely sad character and the

I appreciate aspects of the supporting cast including the private investigator who comes onto the scene with his own theories about what really happened to the Arrowood twins

At times the set up to the suspense was very intriguing, you won’t be able to guess the ending at least not for the first half

The Bad 

At 280 pages with relatively big writing, I was expecting an easy read going into this but Arrowood seemingly dragged on for a bulk of it’s middle. Elements of the slowness came from back story and side drama that just felt like filler, with such a short book I want to know that I’m getting somewhere.

The disappearance of the Arrowood sisters was set up as the main focus of the first half of the book and then it sort of waned as it continued.

The descriptions started out quite interesting and really got you to experience the heat, the loneliness and the depression of the Arrowood house and the same descriptions repeat throughout the book

For a book set up to be so much about family, we don’t really get to see a lot of them. We more or less hear about them second hand or through Arden just straight up explaining what went on the reader and I’m not sure if I cared for that.

The Conclusion 

Arrowood is a beautiful book but maybe that’s just it, surface level beauty and not much else, maybe I’ll reread in a couple of months to try and get a grasps of elements I may have missed. I felt like this book picked up towards the end and the conclusion was satisfactory but I didn’t feel like I got the emotional pay off from slogging through the middle of it so I’m not sure if it was worth it.

18 Things About The New Netflix Sabrina Reboot

So I may have missed the boat talking about the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot when everyone cared about but my excitement is still there and whether you’re discovering that there is a Sabrina reboot through this post or you’re just bored and hoping to point out something I got wrong

Hi

So after trawling the internet here are 18 things we currently know about the Sabrina reboot

  1. Sabrina will be based on the comic books not the TV series. Fans will be more likely to remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart in the 90s however this version of Sabrina will be based on the darker and twister Sabrina published in 2014 called ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
  2. It will be a Riverdale spinoff: Although we don’t know exactly what that means at this point, we know that Sabrina will exist in the same universe as the Riverdale most likely taking place in Greendale which has been shown/referenced to before
  3. It’s going to be on Netflix instead of the CW. Netflix and CW do have a contract so a smarter person than I could unpack that for you but this potentially means more blood and violence (yay) and less actors cast because of their unbelievably stunning good looks.
  4. The show itself is said to be in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist
  5. It was rumoured that Sabrina was going to show up in the first season of Riverdale walking into Pops, this was back when Chloe Grace Moretz was rumoured to be in the role
  6. A leaked casting list showed Charlie Torr, Ariel Kaplan and  Adelina Hudson in the running
  7. A quote from the show added to the imdb also says “I… wanted you to see where I was born, Harvey. Not in Greendale General, like it says on my birth certificate. Here. In this grove of trees. Almost sixteen years ago… And, uhm, where I’ll be reborn this Saturday night. On my birthday. At the stroke of midnight. In the middle of a – a penumbral lunar eclipse. The kind that only happens once every sixty-six years… That’s why I can’t go to Rosalind’s Halloween party this weekend. Keirnan Shipka (Mad Men) will be playing the title character of Sabrina Spellman, described as a relatively ordinary girl who knows she’s a witch but is sort of not super on board about the whole being evil side of it “
  8. Miranda Otto (Lord Of The Rings) will play Aunt Zelda who is described as pragmatic and she was played by Beth Brodrick in the 90s sitcom version
  9. Lucy Davis (The Office UK) will play Aunt Hilda who is described as ‘forbearing’ and was played by Caroline Rhea in the 90s version
  10. The showrunner will be Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who has previously worked on Riverdale, Supergirl and Glee
  11. It’s rumoured to be getting a Halloween release date
  12. The first episode is called ‘Chapter One: October Country’
  13. The first season will have twenty episodes in total
  14. Chance Perdomo (Midsomer Murders) will be on the roster as Ambrose Spellman, Sabrina’s cousin who is unable to leave the Spellman house due to breaking the rules. From a bit of digging Chance seems like a British actor and this will be his first major role stateside.
  15. Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who) marks the fourth Brit on the cast list, she will be playing Mary Wardell, a favourite teacher of Sabrina’s who becomes possessed by the devil
  16. Texas actress Jaz Sinclair (Easy, Paper Towns) joins the cast as Rosalind Walker, Sabrina’s best friend who is the daughter of an outspoken pastor in the town
  17. Richard Coyle (The Fall) is the fifth Brit and will be playing Father Blackwood, theHigh Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts
  18. Harvey Kinkle has not been cast but his role is very important to the series

Netflix ‘Death Note’ Review

Overview-

A troubled boy named Light Turner stumbles upon an ancient notebook that bestows him with the ability to kill anyone he writes in the book.

★★ ☆☆☆

In a sentence….

Deathnote US appeals to anyone that has never seen the original anime and manages to ignore plot holes it reveals in…

Good points

  • With its use of colour, imagery and the occasional throwback to the original anime, the film itself is well shot and dynamic in it’s framing
  • Lakeith Stanfield is a fantastic co-lead as enigmatic detective L, he has the mannerism and cadence down that felt familiar almost instantly. His energy was a welcome addition.
  • Ryuk was fantastically portrayed by William Defoe, creepy and subtly played in a film that tried heavily to stay in the real world

Bad points

  • The tragic misunderstanding of Light Turner was the downfall of this movie. The dichotomy between  Kira the serial killer and Light the pretty boy/academic student was more of a shock than the pink-eyed Nat Wolf serial killer style that happened in this movie.
  • This was a looong move, even at 1:40, it dragged unbearably for the first half an hour. Things weren’t explained or stated explicitly, the rules of the Death Note felt annoying
  • Fridging of Mrs Turner and sister Turner said a lot about the attitude of this story
  • And/all backstory felt weird and clunky, an add-on that felt rushed after the fact
  • Mia Sutton was a dividing figure, interestingly played with her persona being more on the edge than in the anime, her initial introduction and lack of backstory

Overview-

Sexist and one dimensional, there could have been an interesting interpretation of  Light’s justice in modern-day America but still felt like the fantasy of a certain demographic

Book Review: The Girl Before

Overview: The lives of two deeply complicated women run parrell through their move into a state of the art house in London. Emma and her boyfriend are needing a new start after a break-in changed everything and Jane is still reeling after a personal tragedy. Each woman believes that the stringent rules applied to living at One Folgate Street will fix their lives.

First impressions: This three hundred page domestic thriller follows each woman’s unfolding life in London. The style is short and snappy and makes for an easy read, with some eye-roll moments you need to go into this book looking to be entertained in a trashy sort of way and not delve too far into the characterisation that you’ll be golden

Good points:

  • Really strong start
  • The chapters are really short so it’s an easy read
  • The updated haunted house is a really interesting concept
  • The mirroring storylines between Jane and Emma become more compelling as they start to repeat

Bad points:

  • Jane’s story is told without speech marks, a style choice that I didn’t care for
  • Characterisation becomes more absurd over time
  • There’s a lot of disappointment towards the end

 

The Flash ‘The Wrath of Savitar’

The Flash’s ability to tone-shift between rom-com and dark drama is probably best exemplified in this week’s episode ‘ The Wrath of Savitar’

With Iris’ oncoming death hanging over the heads of all the speedsters, Barry Jessie and  Wally begin training in order to save her.

Not before Iris and Barry announce their engagement to the Star gang. Everyone is super happy for the couple, which are nearly four seasons in the making. Joe’s a little uncomfortable that Barry didn’t ask permission but Barry is a little too preoccupied trying to change the future so the Savitar future he’s seen won’t happen.

And Savitar begins to haunt Wally with visions of his mother, it’s one of the most emotional scenes in a pretty raw episode. In fact, Wally’s whole arc for this episode just feels tragic.

As Wally is vibed into the future he discovers Barry’s secret reason for proposing going off at him in the lab and calling Barry out for his double standards in his own plot.

The whole episode feels very strange, maybe a set-up for something to come in the future as the group feels like it’s breaking into fractions.

Isn’t it pretty obvious that Savitar is future Barry Allen at this point? In some weird suicidal villain origin story. I don’t know if there are comic-book bookies out there but please get in contact I’d like to make a very large bet.

Especially when Savitar is speaking through Julian even at one point he says ‘I am the future Flash’ (foreshadowing or unfortunate wording)

But Savitar convinces Wally to throw the rest of the Philosophers Stone into the speed force and he manages to exchange Wally for himself and thus enacting the ‘fate worse than death’ part of the prophecy.

The emotional end to the episode packs a punch for The Flash and for the whole gang, including a very sweet moment between H.G. and Jessie. And even if Barry doesn’t turn out to be Savitar there’s a pretty prominent shift in his emotions as he becomes so focused on saving Iris he’s beginning to sacrifice his own ethics in place of it.

It’ll be interesting see how the work the next musical episode into this as the crossover next week.

More Gilmore Girls?

After the 2016 Gilmore Girls Revival fans of the show have been having alot of opinions about the show and those final four words. And since then rumors have been flying about whether or not ‘A Year in the Life’ was the last we’d seen from the Gilmore clan.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer hinted talks are underway with the creators,

‘We obviously loved the success of the show, fans loved how well it was done, it delivered what they hoped,’ Sarandos said.

Although there haven’t been any official data released allegedly Gilmore was one of the most successful Netflix shows despite divisive opinions.

Sarandos said.

‘The worst thing is to wait a couple of years for your favourite show to come back and for it to disappoint you but they sure delivered and people were really excited about more and we have been talking to them about the possibility of that.’

 

So what do you think? Should there be more Gilmore Girls or are you happy with what we got?

Riverdale ‘The River’s Edge’ Review

Riverdale- a CW take on the Archie Comics was always going to get us talking but will it continue too keep us watching?

Riverdale, a small Twin-Peaks like town somewhere in America is about to get really weird. At least according too our narrator, the sparingly used Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones.

The story starts with the death of Jason Blossom, a tragedy marring the otherwise innocent image of the town. The opening sequence is beautifully shot and sparks the interest for the rest of the episode.

A pilot is probably the hardest thing too pull off, especially when it comes too adapted material. You’ve got to establish character, introduce new people too the story and set yourself apart.

In this episode Archie is the white wall that all of the action is played off. A boy that wants too pursue music, football and working with his dad and his biggest secret is an elicit affair with a comically sexy music teacher (seriously there should have been a sign over her overly large glasses saying ‘I look hot but we don’t want to announce it’) He’s our Elena, everybody is falling for him, he’s going too be protected with plot armour.

It’s impossible to look at a CW show without comparing it too Vampire Diaries, the networks biggest teen success. The small-town gone weird aesthetic is similar in both the shows as well as the voiceover, I was half expecting Archie too be drinking a bag of blood. But the stakes in Riverdale are decidedly lower, which makes the show a lot more interesting…for the moment.

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We can’t talk about Archie without also talking about Betty and Veronica. In their Riverdale iterations Betty is an overachieving, highly strung but ultimately sweet love sick girl. I think the actress Lili Reinhart was probably the standout for me this episode, playing surface sweet but with a lot of darker more unresolved issues.

Veronica on the other hand is biting wit and a lot of surface attitude, that’s not too say I don’t enjoy her characterisation but I feel like Veronica should be a worthy adversary for Cheryl Blossom but at the moment she’s very pulled back.

Although Veronica is the one actively pursuing the friendship between the two girls and I feel like if this episode achieved anything it was a believable amount of likability between the two of them.

The promotion of it all…

During it’s promotions Riverdale got a lot of flack for the kiss between Betty and Veronica put into all of it’s promos. It due criticism due too it’s queer baiting nature*

Queer Baiting: When a TV show or book series present the possibility of an LGBT  relationship too attract a queer audience without ever having the intention of it playing out on screen

But moments after the kiss Cheryl pops a lampshade on the moment, pointing out that fake straight-girl making out hasn’t been cool since the 90s. So was this moment just for the promos?

The big dance

The last few scenes take place at a dance, one that is almost certainly not the Met Gala, Betty confesses her undying love too Archie only too get straight up rejected in a very long and cutting scene. We also see the talents of Josie and the Pussycats as they play the song that the Blossom twins were conceived too in a really weird moment that literally no one acknowledges.

I hope the show doesn’t rely too heavily on the dance motif, it always feels like a cop out for having them in school but not in lessons.

Archie has a point as  every teen hero did in the mid 00s in a “that was never my dream it was yours” when Luke Perry talks too him about working at his (construction, maybe they never say what they’re building) company. Archie manages too work out a way too do everything that definitely won’t come back to bite him in the arse.

The Bullet

The episode ends with the discovery of Jason Blossoms body with a bullet hole in it. It seems like a lot of people had beef with Jason and the Blossom family so at the moment everyone is a suspect.

Riverdale definitely started off strong with this episode. However think this show is going too be a slow burn for a lot of people and never quite reaching the same heights as Vampire Diaries, but playing up the murder-mystery angle with the romance and teen drama as icing on the cake could set this show apart from the crowd.

 

A Bad Moms Sequel in the works!

Get ready for a very bad Christmas in 2017! STX Entertainment and Kristen Bell confirmed the sequel ‘A Bad Mom’s Christmas’ 

In the original Bad Moms Amy (Mila Kunis) has her seemingly perfect life crumble around her, instead of going out quietly she bands together with Carla (Kathryn Hann) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) too ditch the perfect visage and embrace being Bad Moms.

Although there is no outline of what plot Bad Mom’s Christmas will have, it will no doubt at least touch on the mounting pressure parents are under for the perfect Christmas. With the writing team Jon Lucas and Scott Moore(also the guys behind Hangover) back on board, Bad Mom’s is set to enjoy another round of success next year.

No Elf this year?

What’s Christmas without Christmas movies? It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone and Love Actually are some of the top picks for the perfect Christmas movie. But we would be remiss if we didn’t include the 2003 Will Ferrell classic Elf.

Elf follows Buddy who is raised in the North Pole believing he’s an Elf, even if he is six feet taller than everyone else. After uncovering his true parentage he sets out too New York too find his dad and bring some Christmas cheer.

But it looks like we won’t be getting any of Buddy’s magic this year as Sky confirmed that it hadn’t been given the rights too the movie by the studio. And it looks like none of the other TV channels, Netflix or Amazon Prime has access too it.

Of course you’re always able to buy it on DVD but somehow it just doesn’t feel the same  as watching it on the telly. Guess we’ll have to make do with gif for the time being…

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14 Things you never knew about Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the original vampire show. Joss Whedon with nothing more than a young director and no one had never heard of Sarah Michelle Gellar. It’s been off the air for almost thirteen years but has still has such an effect on pop culture today…

Named one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Buffy was named number three on Entertainment Weekly’s greatest characters of all time and the show was ranked #10 on the magazines Greatest TV shows of all time.

Joss Whedon wrote Buffy as a response to the damsel in distress figures taking over the horror genre

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The part of Buffy was originally offered to Katie Holmes but she turned it down because she wanted to finish high school

It was decided that the bodies of vampires would simply turn into dust after being staked in order to keep the fantasy element too the show. And because logistically this would mean that Buffy would spend a lot of her time sweeping up bodies after fighting the undead. However the dust computer effects did cost $5000 every time a vampire got stabbed.

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Alyson Hannigan was not in the original Buffy pilot instead the role was played by Riff Regan which is still out there somewhere on the internet. Riff Regan retired from acting in 2003 and as of 2005 she was the Director of Operations, Accounting and Human Resources for a non-profit HIV/AIDS organisation in Washington, DC.

Alyson Hannigan would then go onto marry fellow Buffy/Angel Universe actor Alexis Denisof and then the two of them would go into to star in How I Met Your Mother.

There are several How I met your Mother/ Buffy crossovers including Harry Groener who play Clint of HIMYM and Major Wilkins on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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The role of Xander was initially offered to Ryan Reynolds and we can kind of see it. The reluctance to cast Nicholas Brandon for the part might have been because he had very little acting experience and had previously worked as a plumber and a waiter before he was cast.

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Nathan Fillion who would go onto to star in Firefly originally auditioned for Angel in 1996. David Boreanaz however didn’t seek out the audition and was instead referred too by the casting director’s friend who saw him walking his dog one day.

 Buffy’s birthday around January 19 every year (on an episode around that date), . The first time her records appear Buffy was born on October 24, 1980. Buffy is a sophomore. Later she will be born on May 6, 1979 and be a senior.

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Buffy was never nominated for an Emmy in what can only be described as a massive oversight. Joss Whedon went onto win an Emmy for Doctor Horrible

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Bianca Lawson, who might actually be a vampire because she hasn’t aged a day, was originally offered the role of Cordelia but turned it down, the role went to a twenty six year old Charisma Carpenter. At the time she was one of the oldest people to play a teenage until Bianca Lawson was cast as Maya on Pretty Little Liars.

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Charisma Carpenter did originally audition for the role of Buffy and was reluctant to play the role of Cordelia because of the previous roles she’d played.

James Marsters (Spike) originally auditioned for the role of the vampire bad-boy with a Texas- Southern drawl. But this was quickly exchanged for the British London accent. Anthony Head would then go onto be Marsters on-set dialect coach.

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