Five Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books You Have To Read Before They Hit The Cinema!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

As you all know; I bloody love books. My favourite genre has to be Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and I thought I'd share with you some Sci-Fi/Fantasy books that you have to read before they hit the cinema! Prepare yourself, there are some corkers!

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

This awesome and intelligent sci-fi novel focuses on the journal entries of a Biologist sent with three other women, an Anthropologist, a Surveyor and a Psychologist, into the mysterious Area X. They are the twelfth expedition to enter Area X; all of the other expeditions have ended in utter chaos; mass murder, suicide, a hail of gunfire and a cancer endemic.

The film stars Natalie Portman as the Biologist, with Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Issacs and Jennifer Jason Leigh in supporting roles, and BOI am I excited for this one! For you film buffs out there (myself included), Annihilation will is written and directed by Alex Garland, writer and director of Ex Machina, so just by that, I think we can work out how insanely awesome this film is going to be.

Also, I'm all about seeing ladies in science on screen! And having read the book, the review you can read here if you wish, I'm super excited to see this be turned into a film. The only thing I'm worried about is that it won't live up to the weirdness of the book. There was some part of the book that even I found hard to visualise, so it'll be interesting to see how they do it.

The film comes out on the 28th of February 2018, who's excited to see it? 

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

This book was first published in 1962 and tells the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who, along with Mrs Who, Mrs Whatsit and Mrs Whitch, and a few other friends, try to rescue Meg's father who has been taken by forces of evil and is entrapped in another dimension.

ALL.OF.THE.SCIENCE! The fact that this book was written in 1962 makes me super excited about the film. I would love to read the book first and see how Disney and the wonderful Ava DuVernay have translated this awesome book from the 60's into a present-day tale.

The film which will be released on March 9th in 2018 is being directed by the fab Ava DuVernay and stars Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kailing, Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine and will be introducing Storm Reid as Meg Murry!

I am super excited for this film, not only for the premise, but the insane cast and crew involved!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One centres around a teenage boy called Wade Watts and the quest to find a dead trillionaires hidden easter egg in the mass online world known as the OASIS. Whoever finds this easter egg will inherit the OASIS and all of the money that comes with it. But the dead inventor of the OASIS, James Halliday, hasn't made this an easy game...

The film, coming out March 30th 2018, is directed by the one and only Steven Speilberg and, if you haven't already seen the trailer, contains ALL the best pop culture references! It stars Tye Sheridan,  Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg.

I am currently reading Ready Player One and I am very much in love so far! I can't wait to watch the film in early 2018!

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Now, hopefully, you guys will know what film this is... It's Blade Runner! I know Blade Runner came out in the cinema a long time ago (1982) but the saga also continues with Blade Runner 2049, and even though the latest film has already had its run at the cinema and will be probably coming out on DVD soon, I just couldn't leave this book out!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in a post-apocalyptic San Fransisco where life has been devastated globally by nuclear war and many animals are facing extinction; having one is seen as a sign of great wealth. The book follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter, or 'Blade Runner' who tracks down and 'retires' six Nexus 6 androids.

The first film is directed by Rodley Scott and stars Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer.

The second film, Blade Runner: 2049, is directed by the amazing Denis Villeneuve and stars Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto and once again, Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Rick Deckard. If you haven't seen Blade Runner: 2049, PLEASE DO! The visuals are astounding and I love every frame of this movie!

If you've seen the film/s you're sure to love the book!

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

I love Neil Gaiman, I've read quite a few of his works, most recently American Gods, the review you can read here. I have to say I haven't read any of Terry Pratchett's work, but have a few of his Discworld books and am very much looking forward to getting to them!

Good Omens tells the story of the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale preventing the coming of the antichrist and with it the final battle between heaven and hell; a comedy would you believe. Good Omens is being turned into a six-part miniseries by the BBC for Amazon Prime due to be released in 2019; so we've got quite a while to wait! It stars David Tennant as Crowley and Michael Sheen as Aziraphale, with Jack Whitehall and Miranda Richardson in supporting roles.

I haven't read the book yet but am accustomed to Gaiman's writing, so I am very looking forward to reading this, especially if it's a comedy, which is a genre I don't think I have ever read before!

So, there we have it! Five sci-fi/fantasy books to read before they hit the cinema! I hope you have enjoyed these recommendations! I know I'll be going to watch all of them when they come out. 

I've also filmed an accompanying video to go alongside these recommendations over on my Youtube channel! You can visit my channel here :)

What book adaptation are you most looking forward to?

Love, K :)

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer | Book Review

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Rating: 5/5

'Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition'

Oh, where to start?!

I really enjoyed this book. Having been thoroughly interested in science for a long time, I really enjoyed the point of view that the narrator takes within this book.
I am a massive fan of sci-fi literature and films; I basically grew up on The Matrix and the Lord Of The Rings tribology (extended edition, of course), and as I have gotten older, I have been really interested in different kinds of sci-fi. In my teens, it was all about dystopia, which has seemed to have died down a bit now. Although you could class this as a dystopia, I would class it more as 'weird science'? If that is even a thing?

The book leaves many questions unanswered, and as it is a trilogy, I'm looking forward to (hopefully) having these answered in the incoming books. The narrator is only referred to as the biologist, we do not know her name or any other the other scientists on the expedition with her into Area X. I read this book in just under 24 hours, so it's safe to say that I am hooked. I had to cover the bottoms of the page to stop myself from reading ahead with anticipation and excitement from what I might read next.

As said before, this book leaves many questions unanswered, and doesn't really explain what is happening most of the time. As this is written as a journal log of the narrator, the biologist, she even admits not telling the reader everything and holds back information from us; so we are clear to suggested that this is a very bias account of what happened to her and her experiences within Area X, and there are obviously still many secrets that Area X holds and the reader is yet to find out about. All I'm hoping for is that all of our questions will be answered in the subsequent books.

Another thing I really enjoyed reading, is that this book could also be classed as a horror. The 'monster/s' within this book changes as the biologist progresses, and, without being too spoiler heavy, the 'monster' is described in very scientific terms with clear and rational thinking by the narrator, which is similar to how I think, so I found that quite interesting to read.

Overall, I really, really, really enjoyed this book. It's intelligent, thought provoking and gripping; everything I love in a great book. It's also being made into a film which is being released late February 2018! 

If you've read the book, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Love,  K :)

Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons | Book Review

Monday, 11 December 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

"It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen"

I made a point to read more graphic novels/comics this year as I have only ever read a few, and they're something I have wanted to read for a long time, but I have never found the right one. Now having read a few and looking for some new suggestions, my friends recommend Watchmen. Having read V for Vendetta, which is also written by Moore, I was intrigued by reading Watchmen as I knew it was quite popular and had been made into a film, although not well received, but is also being made into a TV series by HBO which now I've read Watchmen, I am really excited about!

Quickly, overall, I enjoyed the book! It has hard-hitting, controversial themes, of which I would expect nothing less from Moore. Rorschach was probably my favourite character; he spoke almost in notes of much like the diary he keeps, which is something that I thought was interesting. I also had to take in mind that this book was written in the 80's, well before I was born. So although I didn't think it was amazing, it probably would have been for folks reading it 30+ years ago.

As stated before, I haven't really read many graphic novels, so from reading traditional books, I've always found it difficult just reading the dialogue. I feel like I'm missing some hidden meaning from the artwork or character intentions as there's no 'they felt sad' or 'this made them angry' kind of text, but I'm sure I'll get used to it the more graphic novels and comics I read.

So overall, I guess I was expecting a bit more than what I read, especially with all of the hype surrounding the book. And like I said previously, this was probably an incredible graphic novel for its time, especially with the historical context of the 80's and the state the world was in back then. It was alright, but I'm looking forward to reading more graphic novels in the future!

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Love, K :)

Finding Peace In The Mornings

Monday, 4 December 2017

I have always had a love/hate relationship with mornings. I love lying in bed, all snuggled and cosy, wrapped in blankets and I hate actually getting out of bed. I love waking up and seeing beautiful, dreamy sunrises and hate that I tell myself I'm not a morning person.

Slowly, mornings have been teaching me to be present in the day. For someone who absolutley hates getting out of bed, seeing beautiful sunrises like this almost give me a sense of purpose in the morning; a reason to get up for the day.

Blurry eyed and still not fully awake, I peek out of my blinds and see this dreamy sunrise. I quickly grab my camera and my 55 - 200mm lens, throw my dressing gown on and my wellies and head out into my garden to capture the glowing rising sun. 

 Theres something that has always drawn me to sunrises and sunsets. Perhaps it's because they symbolise a new begining; a fresh start to a new day. Everyone always likes the idea of starting over again, especially if they feel like they haven't really succeeded the day before. I know its something I constantly feel; the want to start over again. But staring at this sunrise this morning, it made me feel excited to begin a new day, and this is something I rarely feel.

It felt good. 

The dusky pink hues have always drawn a sense of wonder and amazement from me. There is something about seeing the world in a early and new light that I have always found magical. Hearing birds cheep and the slight wind rustle the few leaves that Winter has spared gave me give me a feeling of calm and contentment. Time to start a new day.

I hope you have enjoyed these sunrises as much as I had. 

Love, K :)

Red & Blue Neon Photography

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Recently, I bought some new coloured gels for my flashguns, and I wanted to try them out. I've always loved photography and consider it more than a hobby than anything else. But I've recently been trying to 'up my game' and try out different things, such as my 'Witchy Happenings' series that I've posted on here. 

This move to use colour in my photography mainly came from watching Blade Runner: 2049 and the beautiful use of colour in the film and in the posters, and also the promotional character posters from Stranger Things season 2. I personally love the contrasting colours of the pink/red and blue.

I'm thinking about doing more projects with off-camera flash and gels such as these, and would love to photograph other people than myself! I'd also love to try different colour combinations such as orange and blue. In film terms, this is often called an 'orange and teal push' and is seen quite a lot in recent films, most notably, Mad Max: Fury Road.

I really enjoyed taking these images and thought that they turned out really well, even if they were just test images! I can't wait to share more photography projects with you all! I have quite a few planned, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled :)

Love,  K :)

Slow & Happy Mornings | A Playlist

Friday, 24 November 2017

As any other person would, I do love a good playlist, but I'm always shuffling from one playlist to the other, as they never feel what I want them to make me feel. Until now that is...

I love cinematic music and OST's (Original Sound Tracks, basically, film scores) so I've picked some of my favourites and some that feel like a good morning; the kind that makes you feel good about the day ahead and even better, excited for it.

Think 'happy-go-lucky', sweet English-ness, pancakes with maple syrup, flowers in the early sun and slow mornings. Birds singing sweetly, candyfloss skies and the soft golden light floating through your blinds. That's what this playlist is.

I'll add new songs as and when I find any worthy to be on the playlist, so keep your eyes peeled for any new additions to the mix!

The sun is gently rising above the horizon; the sky is candyfloss pink and the birds have come to sweetly sing you good-morning. It is a good morning. Relax and take your time with this beautifully selected range of cinematic sounds that make you feel rested yet ready. You've got this. Good morning... 

Here's a little infographic of the playlist for you guys to share! It hasn't got all of the songs on, unfortunately, but it does give you a taste of whats on the playlist!

I hope you guys enjoy the playlist!

Love,  K :)

Let's Talk About Image Editing & Retouching...

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Let's talk about image editing and retouching...

Firstly, one of my many jobs as a creative freelancer is image editing. I mainly work with wedding photos and travel images but have recently noticed the want to change my own personal photos that I take.

I have always been against image re-touching in magazines and mainstream media as it is shared and seen more often than any of my own images or any other images that I edit, so why do I feel the need to alter my images in any way?

Here I will show you a few examples of before and after images that I have edited.

The image above is a completely unedited photo that I took in my room with natural lighting. As you can see, I have many spots, I have a curve in the back of my neck (because I have awful posture) and if you saw a full-length image, you would see that I'm not the slimmest person you've ever met.

Now, the above image is classed as 'image editing' because no re-touching has been done. And if you were wondering, yes there is a difference between image editing and image retouching. Image editing consists of changing the colour, temperature, highlights, shadows etc, etc; no actual body/face alterations in any way. As you can see, I've brought the exposure up, applied a preset (which is a bit like a filter on Instagram), rotated the image a little to make it straighter and have highlighted the edges of the image for a brighter and cleaner background.

Now, this image is a whole new kettle of fish. THIS is image retouching. As you can see, no spots, I've made myself seem slimmer by 'tucking in' my chin and I've even gone to the lengths of taking the small bump out of my nose (which I'm sure I got from somersaulting off my bike down a hill once...). I've even taken out that bump out from the back of my neck.

The two images are very different, but only one is really what I look like. I haven't published the above images anywhere other than this blog post, and I don't think I ever would publish the last image anywhere, not even on Instagram. It's such an altered image, and if anyone I knew saw that, they would know that something was fishy and I would never want to promote such extensive retouching as I know how much it affects users on social media.

The next series of images take the question of image retouching to a similar level, although not as extensive. 

The above image is the raw image taken in my room (with the blinds closed) and is offset with two flash guns with a red and blue coloured gel.

This image is when I have taken the photo into Lightroom and applied the preset, brought out the reds and blues and did some minor adjustments to the exposure and colour. Again, no re-touching in this photo, just basic image editing.

 In the above photo, you can see that miraculously my spots have once again disappeared and my skin seems a lot smoother and even. The only difference between this photo and the end image of the last series of photos is that I have made no physical alterations to my face; I haven't made it seem slimmer, or widened my eyes or anything like that.

In terms of retouching, are any of these 'end result' images acceptable? Should we allow people to retouch their images, especially if it is seen in widespread media? It's an interesting topic and one that I have been thinking about quite a lot recently. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this issue! Leave a comment below and let me know!

American Gods - Neil Gaiman | Book Review

Friday, 27 October 2017

Rating: 4/5

'Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break'

Firstly, the only reason I haven't given this book a 5/5 rating is that it just took me so long to actually finish the darn thing, of which all of the blame I put on myself.

So, American Gods... where to start.

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you'll know that I absolutely love sci-fi/fantasy anything, so when I saw American Gods on my local bookshop's shelf, I knew it had to be read. I've read a few of Neil Gaiman's books before, but they were all in the children's' or young-adults section of the bookshop, so when I stumbled across American Gods in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, I was intrigued.

American Gods tells the tale of a man named Shadow Moon who has just been released from prison when his wife dies in a car accident (this is honestly no spoiler, it happens a few pages in). His journey in this seemingly new world that he hasn't been a part of for three years sees him meet the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who hires him as an 'errand boy'. From then on we encounter all sorts of gods and deities from all different cultures. I think that's one of the things that I really enjoyed most out of this book; the vast cultural scape that Gaiman covers in regards to Gods.

Another thing that I also really enjoyed was seemingly unnecessary storylines turning into something completely far from what I expected (in the best way possible!). There were a few characters storylines that I thought were going nowhere or felt like they weren't really needed. This was, of course, a huge mistake and I have no idea why I even doubted Gaiman's writing for even a second.; one characters motives/arc I didn't even see coming! It wasn't until Shadow pieced everything together that I even had an inkling as to what was going on.

But one of the things that I took most away from reading American gods was that of the struggle between the old gods and the new ('new' being 'technology' and 'media', etc), which I thought was a very true reflection of what is happening in our world today. We almost worship the screen in our hands and can't bear to be parted with it. Although this book was first published in 2001, it tells a story that is very relevant to how we all live today.

Overall, this was a brilliant book and it certainly took me on an adventure throughout North American and time itself.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 18 as it has some strong sexual scenes, and swearing is on almost every page.

This book would be great for anyone who has enjoyed Gaiman's previous works, and anyone who enjoys a thought-provoking book.

I hope you have enjoyed the review! Let me know what you thought of American Gods in the comments below!

Love, K :)

Witchy Happenings

Friday, 13 October 2017

For so long I have always wanted to do a Witch/Halloween inspired photoshoot/series of images. So the other day I decided to go out with my sister and take some test images to see if we could achieve what we wanted, and I am so pleased with the results!

I had seen a few pins on Pinterest that really sparked my imagination for inspiration for the series, some of which included levitation. This was something I had always wanted to try, and I saw this as my opportunity to really stretch my technical editing side. I can't wait to make more images that have the same sort of spooky, modern day witch vibe. I might base the photo series on the 'Seven Wonders' posed in the American Horror Story series 'Coven'. Seven magical abilities a young witch has to undergo to unveil if she is the Supreme. 

Those seven 'wonders' are, Telekinesis; the ability to manipulate objects with the power of the mind, Concilium; the ability to impose one's will onto another, allowing it to control many parts of the mind (such as actions, thoughts, memories, etc), more commonly known as Coercion and Mind Control, Pyrokinesis; the ability to create, control and manipulate fire with the power of the mind, Divination; the ability to obtain direct knowledge about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the user's physical senses. This can be activated by just being around a person, focusing on specific tasks, searching for information, and touching objects, Transmutation; the ability to move instantaneously from one location to another without physically occupying the space in between, also known as Teleportation, Vitalum Vitalis; the ability to balance the scales between one life force and another. Witches can transfer their own life force to nearly dead people in order to heal them and can even resurrect the dead. Commonly seen side-effects are fainting and dizziness due to the strain. Can also be used to drain life force as well, and finally, Descensum; the ability to descend into the netherworlds of the afterlife. Witches are able to project themselves directly into hell, which takes the form of their worst fears.

So that's a lot to work with! I really hope to make something out of this as I am really interested where this could take me creatively! Hopefully, you'll see some awesome images very soon, just in time for Halloween!

If anyone would like a tutorial about how I made these images, just let me know and I'll put together another blog post with loads of details.

Love, K :)

It's Time To Talk - 'Letters To...' Series

Sunday, 23 July 2017

   Once again, it's time to talk...

   I've been somewhat open on here about my mental health of late, but there is still so much to talk about. I honestly really like sharing my thoughts and feeling on a platform where I don't actually have to interact with anyone face to face, as it makes me feel really uncomfortable doing so. Which is why I have decided to start making a 'Letters To...' series. 

If you are unfamiliar with various 'Letters To...' series, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Emily Diana Ruth have both done 'Letters To...' series, Carrie's being 'Letters To Autumn' and Emily's being 'Letters To July'.

I don't intend my 'letter's to be held to one particular month or season. I intend them to be for me, wherever, whenever. They are going to be a place and a time where I can say what I'm feeling and to acknowledge what's happening around me, and hopefully, in turn, will help clear my head and help me make sense of a few things, and hopefully, you guys will enjoy them too.

It'll be a mix of whats happening in my everyday life and possibly a few things that have been on my mind for a while, mixed in with some lovely footage for your eyes to have a gander over! I'm not going to limit myself to a particular number of videos for this series every month so they will be released in 'parts'.

I hope you guys enjoy the series! The first part will be up soon!

Love,  K :)

20 Years Of Magic - Harry Potter's 20th Anniversary

Monday, 26 June 2017

I can't believe it's been 20 years...

Harry Potter has been in my life for as long as I can remember. On the 26th of June 1997, Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone was published in the UK. I would have been 8 months old and little did I or anyone else realise what an impact it would have on my life. The first Harry Potter film I went to see at the cinema was The Prisoner of Azkaban, and it remains to this day my favourite book and film.

I really can't put into words how much the books, films and characters of this fantastic series mean to me. Every time I open the books, it feels like I'm returning home; every page reunites me with old friends and every adventure I get to relive.

Harry Potter has touched so many lives throughout the publications of the books and the releases of the films, and now we have The Cursed child and the Fantastic Beasts films, it truly does show that the magic will always live on.

Bravery, kindness, understanding, hope and most importantly, love. These are all things that the book series have taught me, and it all started with The Philosophers Stone. Harry Potter will always be with me. I will read it to my children, my friend's children and they will read it to their own children. The magic will always live on, within us and within the wonder of the books and films.

Thank-you for 20 years of magic.

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Love, K :)

Wizarding World Book Club!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Have you heard the news?! Pottermore are launching a Wizarding World Book Club, and I can't be more excited about it! I can't wait to delve into the books again, and this would be a brilliant starting point if you're someone who hasn't read the books before!

The Wizarding World Book Club aims to bring the wonderful community of Harry Potter and Wizarding World lovers back to the books and to celebrate them, as it's the 20th anniversary of The Philosophers Stone on the 26th on June! During the book club, everyone will have the chance to participate in discussing different themes every week, starting, of course, with The Philosophers Stone! You can participate on the Pottermore site or on the Book Clubs official Twitter! Every week, we will all be exploring a new theme of the wizarding world, diving deep into every little detail of each book.

It's going to be so much fun! 

I've also decided that as well as reading along with the community, I'll also be baking and making a Harry Potter inspired recipe each week so I've got something lovely to snack on whilst reading the books; which of course I will post on my blog, twitter and I'll also be making a video on my channel as well!

So get ready for an awesome few months of magic, wizards, cauldron cakes and pumpkin pasties!

The official start date for the book club is on the 26th of June, so get ready!

Love, K :)

The Snow Spider - Jenny Nimmo | Book Review

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

"On Gwyn's 9th birthday, his grandmother tells him he may be a magician, like his Welsh ancestors. She gives him five gifts to help him--a brooch, a piece of dried seaweed, a tin whistle, a scarf, and a broken toy horse. One blustery day, unsure what to do with his newfound magic, Gwyn throws the brooch to the wind and receives a silvery snow spider in return. Will he be able to use this special spider to bring his missing sister, Bethan, home?"

This was such a charming read and would be perfect for young children! I came across this book whilst browsing in my local Waterstones, as I was looking for a small-ish book to read, and The Snow Spider caught my eye!

This book was first published in 1986, and the cover of this edition is really beautiful. The Snow Spider tells the story of a young boy named Gwyn who learns from his grandmother that he is a magician. We follow his story from learning how to summon his magic and finding out what happened to his missing sister Bethan all those years ago.

Upon reading, you would have never guessed that this was written over 30 years ago! The themes and language are all very much as relevant as a book written today. The subjects tackled within this book I think are vital, especially as this targets such a young audience. The themes mainly circle around loss, coming to peace with that loss and being able to let go, which I found was quite cathartic whilst reading. 

It is implied early on in the book that the loss of Gwyn's sister, Bethan, has had a tremendous effect on his family home. No one speaks about it, Gwyn's father doesn't show him any affection and Gwyn's mother can't bring herself to accept that their daughter is gone. Throughout the book, we see these characters grow and (without giving too much away, I wouldn't want to spoil anything!) finally come to terms that their daughter has left them.

This is also implied in another way. Gwyn's grandmother, affectionally known as Nain, gives him three gifts for his birthday that he will have to give away to learn if he wants to uncover if he is a magician or not. Gwyn finds himself becoming quite attached to the objects but understands that he has to give them up if he wants what his heart desires. 

Overall, this is a very charming tale of courage and bravery. I found myself relating to Nain more than I would have imagined (the description of her front room is practically my bedroom!). In this edition of the book, there is bonus material for children to sink their teeth into if they want to know more about the Welsh legends that are included in the book.

Let me know what you thought of this book in the comments!

Love, K :)

Mental Health

Saturday, 22 April 2017

It's time to talk. I've struggled with my mental health for a few years now, and I've always been so scared to talk about it to anyone. There are somethings that I'm not ready to talk about yet, but I'm feeling like my issues with mental health are starting to be something in which I can share with people and hopefully, it will help them as well as me.

A few weeks ago I took time out from social media, mainly my Youtube channel. I felt like it was all just getting a bit too much. I have these episodes where I'll be mentally okay for a few months, and then it will hit me all at once, and that's what happened a few weeks ago. I spent a full two days in bed, not motivated to do anything (even though I had film planning, editing and writing to do), I binged on junk food and slept for probably a good 16 hours on both days.

This has happened a few time in the past 4 years, and I always thought that was me just being lazy. I've always been labelled the 'lazy one' in the family, and my parents have always told me that I am, while also telling me to stop being so.

Please understand that I am not labelling myself as depressed. I know people who have depression and I wouldn't want to seem like I am somehow intruding onto the very serious mental illness, as I know that self-diagnosed mental illnesses have been at a bout of controversy at the moment and I wouldn't want to make people's actual issues with depression seem trivial or less important. I haven't been to the Doctor or GP to tell them how I feel, and that is a personal choice. In fact, I haven't really told anyone how I feel, and again, that is the choice that I am making. I feel better when I talk about my own mental health on platforms such as this, as (if you haven't guessed already) I don't really feel comfortable talking about it to those closest to me.

But let me be clear; being able to talk about mental health on any spectrum is a good step forward, and everyone should encourage it. If you are struggling with your mental health and want someone to talk to, go to a trusted friend or family member; they will be more understanding than you think, or perhaps a GP or therapist! There is no shame in telling people how you feel. With that being said, if you don't wnt to tell people how you feel, that's okay too, but if you are really struggling then please, find some courage and bravery (because I know you are both very courageous and very brave!) within yourself to accept that you might need a little help.

Stay brave x

K :)

Trollhunters - Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus | Book Review

Friday, 21 April 2017

Rating - 4/5

"Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino-one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed."

I have been a fan of Guillermo del Toro ever since I watched Pan's Labyrinth in my Spanish class in year 9. And when I heard that he had written a book, I knew I just had to read it! It was everything I expected it to be from GdT, as his filmmaker style was eloquently transferred into his writing style, with clear connections and themes from his work in film.

I really enjoyed this book, although it did take me a while to get through; but that was down to personal reasons rather than the excitement of the book itself. I loved how this book started, taking a POV from the main characters father back when he was a little boy. It must have been an exciting read for younger readers, as I'm 20 and I was very hooked from the beginning. 

I really enjoyed the characters in Trollhunters, my favourite being Claire Fontaine (such a badass!). We are introduced to a wide variety of characters, and as the main two settings for this book is a High School in San Bernardino and in troll-infested sewers, we get a good selection of teens, teachers, and trolls that our main character, Jim Sturges, interacts with. 

Tollhunters also has within its pages some beautiful illustrations drawn by Sean Murray. I love a book with pictures as I feel like it kind of lets you into the mind of how the author/s would have wanted you to imagine their world that they have created. The illustrations truly are beautiful, but some of them are a bit gruesome! They come in super handy when faced with trying to think of how the trolls in the book look; they give you a helping hand.

Trollhunters is filled with young teenage love, wit, adventure and guts (quite literally). It was crammed with rich imagery and some of the most despicable trolls I have come across in fiction. There are moments of sadness, fear, loss and despair, but there are also moments of hope, love, bravery and friendship, which is what makes this story so great. It creates a family of misfits who battle trolls in the depths of night, and no one would ever have it any other way.

Overall, I really enjoyed Trollhunters and I think will be a great read for children from 10+, but it does have some strong language flittering every here and there, especially towards the end, so be warned, young readers! I hope this is part of a series as I would love to see Jim and his troll hunter friends progress through school. The ending of this story (without being too spoiler-y), does end on a bit of a cliffhang or at least is paving the way for another book to be written. I would definitely LOVE to read more from this world and possibly go to different countries!

Let me know if you have read Trollhunters and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Love, K :)

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