Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

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So ‘The List’ is another one of those books that I’ve picked up in Waterstones but then put back down. It was intriguing and to be honest I’m not sure why I didn’t buy it sooner. I suppose it was a case of liking the idea of it but worrying that I wouldn’t be able to get into the writing style. Either way, I picked it up last week and finally left the store with it. I bought it, I didn’t like carry it out the store or anything…

Anyway, the basic plot is that every September ‘the list’ is poster all over school. Two girls are picked from each year. One is named the prettiest, one the ugliest. The girls who aren’t picked are quickly forgotten. The girls who are become the centre of attention, and each reacts differently to the experience. When they discover they are this year’s victims, Danielle, Abby, Candace, Lauren, Sarah, Bridget, Jennifer and Margo struggle with the judgements of their peers. After all, prettiest or ugliest, once you’re on the list, you’ll never be the same.

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First of all, my absolute favourite thing about this book was that it wasn’t a simple oh the pretty girls have a really easy time and the ugly girls get a really shit time. None of them have a particularly easy time and it was so interesting to read about how each girl reacted. It made for a much more interesting read and made the characters more believable.

Speaking of the characters I don’t think there was a single one I truly disliked. Okay, I thought some of Sarah’s chapters were pretty gross to read about but I still liked her. My favourite has to be Lauren, I thought she was lovely and I loved reading her chapters. I did love Candace as well though but not right from the start. I loved that none of them were perfect, they all fucked up in some way and they were all so different from each other. In some books girls can be written so lazily, so to read about eight girls who were all completely different with their own unique issues was just so uplifting.

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There’s also a mystery element and as I’ve mentioned before I do love a good mystery element to make you want to keep reading. We’re trying to figure out who wrote the list but its good because it’s not the obsession of any the characters, it’s just enough to keep you intrigued. Spoiler alert, you do find out who wrote the list, and I didn’t see it coming. I’m not sure what I thought of all that to be honest.

My only complaint would be that the ending suddenly felt rushed and I didn’t think it was a particularly satisfying conclusion but I can see what Siobhan Vivian was aiming for. To be honest though I could overlook it because I enjoyed the rest of the book so much!

Overall, I 100% recommend this to all of you because I honestly thought it was fantastic. I only bought it about five days ago and I’ve finished it because I just couldn’t put it down. Also, I thought that because there were eight girls it might be difficult to automatically tell them apart but it really wasn’t! It’s so well written, please give it a try! I definitely think I’ll be reading more of Siobhan’s books in the future.

Blair Witch: Review by Holly Bareham

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So I’m quite behind on my horror film reviews lately considering I didn’t review ‘Lights Out’ or ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ but I’ve decided to move onto this one as it’s still out and relevant. If you haven’t seen any advertising for ‘Blair Witch’ then you’ve done quite well as I’ve seen the trailer at cinemas, posters, advertisements on pretty much every social media website available… It’s no secret that I love horror films and I’d enjoyed the original ‘The Blair Witch Project’ so I was looking forward to seeing it.

After discovering a video of what appears to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of his friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling. Lisa, one of his friends, has to make a documentary for a class so they record the experience. Things are okay at first but they soon take a downward spiral as they soon find themselves terrorised by a paranormal entity.

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As I already said, I enjoyed ‘The Blair Witch Project’. I watched it a couple of years ago on Netflix and while it was quite slow I still thought it was decent. I can’t comment on the sequel ‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’ because I’ve never seen it. To be honest, I completely forgot about that sequel and assumed that this was the second film but no, it’s the third.

Basically, I don’t know what the point in this film was. It didn’t add anything to the original film. It didn’t particularly add to the original story. In some ways it barely related to the original. Heather being James’ sister was just used as an excuse for them to end up in the woods. It was a film made with the sole intention of making money from the people who enjoyed the original. Which I could forgive if it had actually been interesting.

You know that feeling you get when you watch a good horror movie? When you’re on the edge of your seat or hiding your face behind your eyes because you’re so scared of what could happen next? There was none of that in this film. I am a massive wimp when it comes to horror films but I didn’t particularly feel anything when watching this. I did have a feeling of unease when Lisa was pulling herself through the tunnel (shown in the trailer so not technically a spoiler) but that’s only because I’m quite claustrophobic so that would be my worst nightmare. Sure, I did jump if there was a jump scare but they didn’t create an atmosphere at all.

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I read on the iMDB trivia page that the original film was about being lost in the woods whereas this film was designed to be about being chased in the woods. I think this is why it lost a lot of its atmosphere. The first film was spread out over a few days and nights giving us time to ease into the scares. This one was chill and then suddenly was supposed to be really scary all at once. It just didn’t work.

This reviews piece of trivia: Director Adam Wingard used air horns to get the right jump scare out of his actors.

Overall, I don’t think I’d recommend this film. It was mildly entertaining but overall didn’t add anything to the original film which is surely the point of a sequel. They could have made a completely different film about a different forest and it wouldn’t have made much difference.

Review: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

In my last review I mentioned that I went to a panel called ‘Thrills and Chills’ at Waterstones where I met four authors. Well, Martyn Bedford was one of them and he was there to promote his book ‘Twenty Questions for Gloria’ which I bought at the event and got signed. After finishing ‘Lying about Last Summer’ I started on this one and now here I am, writing a review about it.

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So the story is about a girl named Gloria who’s tired of her ordinary life when suddenly a new boy arrives at her school. Uman is funny, confident, smart and seems intent on breaking all the rules. Gloria quickly falls under his spell. But Uman is not all he seems to be and by the time she learns the truth about him she is a long way from home.

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Let’s address the fact that I hate romance first, that seems like a decent place to start. It seems pretty obvious from the description what’s going to happen but as far as I remember… To be honest I don’t remember them getting together or anything particularly romantic happening, however I did read it a while ago now so it’s possible I forgot. Either way, it can’t have been too annoying or unrealistic because otherwise I’d have remembered and you’d have to read me complaining about it. So yeah, nothing too bad on the romance front.

As I said in my last review I do like books that have a little bit of a mystery to them and I was intrigued by what Uman was hiding… But I thought it fell a little flat. By that, I mean that while it was still interesting and I didn’t see Uman’s ‘secret’ coming, it wasn’t quite as big of a deal as the blurb would let you believe. There was a reason people were worried that Gloria was with Uman but it was pretty much skimmed over as if it wasn’t that big of a deal. I thought it was all interesting and written well but the description made me think it was going to be a lot bigger.

When I picked this book up I found it difficult to put it back down because it was so interesting and engaging so I finished it really quickly. I love that it was written like a police interview it made it more unique. Gloria and Uman were pretty interesting to read about and I feel like Martyn wrote it realistically – they weren’t happy the entire time they were on the run, they got angry, sad, annoyed. It was so nice that they weren’t portrayed as perfect.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Just don’t be deceived by the blurb!