Kinky Boots: 3rd times a charm

Over the last year, I’ve been trying to make the effort to go to the theatre a little more. I now work in London, so it saves having to travel up specifically. It’s true that I’m always looking for discounted tickets (it’s so expensive), but it’s always fun to have something to look forward to.

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There is one show, however, that I’m border-line obsessed with. I have now seen Kinky Boots three times in the last year and I sure as heck don’t apologise for that.

It’s the only show I’ve seen that has a standing ovation every single time. It’s also the only show that leaves me absolutely buzzing.

Why do I love it so much?

The plot is meaningful for the diversity in today’s society. It shows the power of accepting those who differ from your own outlook on life. It’s about overcoming prejudices and what can be achieving if everyone works towards the same goal.

The acting/dancing/singing is incredible. Some of the moves performed on stage, in heels, I’m sure shouldn’t be possible.

But I’ve commented on these things before, in my initial review.

“I’m watching myself and I know what to do.”

There’s something about it that speaks to me on a more personal level. Every time, I have come out full of inspiration and a desire to work harder than ever towards achieving my dreams. While the story is accepting differences, it’s also accepting yourself, and finding your passions and what drives you.

The last time I saw it, it had been a tough week at work. I’d been struggling with a few things. But seeing this, reminding myself that I know what it is that I want, gave me my focus and motivation back. Anything that can have that impact on me is always going to be worth my time, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

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I struggle with self-confidence big time. I’m better this year than previously, but it still is a big thing for me that I want to work on. I find myself relating to Charlie’s character, not being certain where he belongs and only seeing himself as the quiet one in the corner, not someone who can save a factory, just speaks to me.

I may be facing the impossible. I may be chasing after miracles. And there may be the steepest mountain to overcome.

But this is step one.

‘Charlie’s soliloquy’ and ‘Step One’ are my favourite songs. They’re not the most powerful on stage, but their words strike a cord with me. The words of those songs somehow work to remind me that I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m working towards, and actually, yes, this is what I want, no matter what anyone else tells me.

Who would have thought a show about shoes makes me feel empowered about writing? But it does in a way I can’t explain. I’m not certain I’ve ever seen/listened to/read anything that has had such a positive effect on me before.

The show’s run came to an end last week, which I’m sad about. But if you ever need something to give you a lift, I thoroughly recommend checking out the soundtrack.

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Book Review: Dragon Mage by Ava Richardson

Title: Dragon Mage

Author: Ava Richardson

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Date: 2017

Synopsis:To unite a fractured kingdom, a reluctant hero must rise. 

Neill has been charged with the impossible task of bringing the Middle Kingdom together to fight the burgeoning threat posed by the rogue sorcerer Ansall and his dragon Zaxx. Neill longs for his old life as a mere foot soldier for his father responsible only for his family’s well being, and is unsure about whether he is fit to lead an army. Neill’s contemplative nature forces him to consider every aspect of the problems he faces, but often makes it difficult for him to take action—and failure to act could mean the deaths of many. 

Now, echoing Char and their dragon Paxala, his duty beckons him to lead the Dragon Riders—and take his rightful place as king—but with doubt and new enemies creeping in, his resolve will be tested. When the mysterious Dark Prince arrives with an offer, Neill will have to make a decision that could change the course of history. As Ansall grows in strength by harnessing black magic, Neill must choose between his own desires and the welfare of the entire kingdom. Can he rise to the challenge before it’s too late?

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Book Review: The Fork, The Witch and The Worm by Christopher Paolini

Author: Christopher Paolini

Title: The Fork, the Witch and the Worm

Publisher: Penguin Books

Date: 2019

Synopsis: 

A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course.

Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure.

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Negative reviews: honest reviewing

A few weeks ago, an author tweeted, asking for reviewers to tag her in bad reviews so she knew what to name the characters she wanted to kill off.

I surprised myself by how much this annoyed me.

I respect the bloggers who only post positive reviews. I love those blogs – my TBR pile may disagree.

That’s not how I run my blog though, for a number of reasons.

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Book Review: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

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Author: Anthony Horowitz

Title: The Word is Murder

Publisher: Random House, Uk, Cornerstone Century

Date: 2017

Synopsis:  SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?

New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor – enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.

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Television Review: Arrow, Season 6

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Programme: Arrow, Season 6

Company: DC Entertainment

Year: 2017

Synopsis: After last season’s emotional showdown between Oliver Queen and Adrian Chase, the focus shifts into uncovering the fate of each and every member of Team Arrow – with their futures left hanging precariously in the balance. Having finally solidified and strengthened his crime-fighting team, the Green Arrow might be forced to rethink his relationships with his “family” in Season 6.

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5

You might’ve guessed by the reviews over the last few months that I’ve been trying to catch up on Arrow. Having only got Sky in the last year, I can suddenly get on top of shows rather than having to wait for ages.

I’m not certain whether watching them so close together is affecting my opinion, but I didn’t find season 6 as engaging as previous seasons. I started to feel the story lines were getting repetitive – and this was despite season 6 taking a different approach to past seasons. You reach a point of feeling there can only be so many people determined to control Star City and/or have a personal vendetta against Oliver/Arrow.

The characterisations caused me problems. Having just got used to the new characters last season, the team fractures, they all refuse to talk to one another and the ‘newbies’ splinter off to form their own team. It’s all very well and good…only half of these characters we’ve been following for six seasons, the other half we’re only just starting to get to know. Whose side are we going to be on?

It meant that while there was nothing wrong with the scenes following the others, I just wasn’t as invested in them and actually found them a bit boring at times. Oliver, Dig and Felicity have been the characters keeping me engaged in the show: I don’t yet care about the others enough. This time, I grew to love Curtis but Dinah irritated me.

There was also a massive fight between Oliver and John. It was heart-breaking and emotional and all that, but it also felt like we had been here before. After all, John has walked away from the mission more than once, and ultimately come back. Why would this time be any different?

Despite Oliver and Felicity finally getting together properly and Oliver embracing his role as a Dad, the character development felt stunted and the divisions between the characters stopped the plot from developing to its full potential.

But enough talking about new characters…It was great to see some older characters making a return: some for just an episode, some for a few. It gives the show consistency and with the divisions, I loved seeing my old favourites turning up, usually with some insight into what was going on.

For the first season, there were no flashbacks. Which is ironic as this is the first season where the story felt stunted. But I’m glad: I was wondering what they were going to do when time had caught up with the beginning of the first season and it was refreshing they didn’t try anything unbelievable just to carry on with the same format.

While this review might not be the most positive, I did still enjoy the season and will continue to watch. I’ve watched a lot back to back and that possibly hindered how I felt. I hope the next season has a spark back though, rather than it running its course.

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2018: My year in Books

A new year, a new Goodread’s challenge! This year, I’m setting myself a target of 90 books. It feels a lot, but the past two years has seen me ending the year on 92 for both, so it should be do-able. Commuting has an advantage!

Besides, it’s not a challenge unless it’s challenging, right?

I’m hoping to get on top of reviews this year – I’m in a good place for that right now, so need to keep reading. But I’m also hoping to address my extensive TBR pile that aren’t necessarily review books. I’ve left them sitting there for years, prioritising blog books. Time to pay them some attention!

Before I start addressing this year’s challenge, I want look back at last year. Not only focusing on the books that I’ve read, but the ones that have really stood out for me, and the ones you guys have enjoyed hearing about the most.

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