The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

I picked this little book up from my local RSPCA charity shop before Christmas and began reading in January. Yes January and I have only just finished. The front cover is exciting, it makes you wonder what the book is about and the blurb has you gripped.

There are two main characters, Yasmin and her ten-year-old daughter Ruby who go on an adventure to find Matt. Ruby is deaf and the book is well written to support this. I like that British sign-language has been used and it is clear research has gone into the book.

You get the impression that The Quality of Silence would be a page turner as it’s been described as a ‘relentlessly tense thriller’. Haha okay, it definitely isn’t. I liked the book that much, I spilt my drink over it twice. Here’s where my review goes right down hill…

What a yawnfest. I am so disappointed with this book. It’s utter shite. Sorry Rosamund Lupton but I have had to force my way through the whole book which has taken a whopping four months to read. I gave up with Gone Girl after 125 pages because that was naff but I needed to know what had happened to Matt (the dad) on his trip to Alaska.

We spend at least 280-300 pages getting to Matt’s location and the book is 377 pages long. The car journey’s felt like they would never end. I don’t need descriptions of every minor detail, I was bored stiff. Nothing happens at all, Yasmin bumps into a few people at an airport and that’s it.

Oh here’s the twist for you. Matt has been missing and presumed dead by local residents as the village he was staying in caught fire and killed 24 people. Only 23 live there and there was an extra body so everyone thought it was Matt. Here’s where it gets interesting. Not. Yasmin and Ruby finally find Matt in a aputiak that he built – wow I wasted so much time reading this to find out he was alive and living in ice. That made my day.

I do have to commend Rosamand for her research into the terms, the Alaskian culture and the detail of the places but crikey, nothing else was thought about. This would be a 1/10 rating for me and I don’t recommend. However, if you have previously read it please let me know what you think?!

Accepting the Unexpected by Mollie Jo Joseph

As the title says, you really don’t know what will happen in this book. I hadn’t heard of Mollie Jo Joseph before but I came across her Instagram post looking for reviewers so I introduced myself to this author. Mollie was kind enough to send me the PDF version of Accepting the Unexpected for free in exchange for an honest review.

Leila is really interesting character and we’re taken on such an emotional rollercoaster with her. The story has been developed really well because it doesn’t have loop holes. Some stories you read you are looking for where they got that information from or is that made up?!

Leila decides to pack her bags and leave Cornwall for the ‘Big Apple’ but is this the right decision? What made me like this book is how Mollie Jo has really researched about the areas discussed within the book, I was able to imagine the main park and New York and I’ve never been there before.

I would say this is a personal development story. When Leila moves to NYC, we as the reader encourage her to tackle the bumps in the road and she eventually finds herself and what she wants. By the way, I love that there’s a dog in this story and he’s a main part!!

It was nice to see what goes on behind the scenes of Sleek magazine, the photoshoots, the description of the characters and how difficult it is in that sort of business. I always envisioned one day of working for a magazine so this is an eye opener.

If you’re after a little raunchiness then this book is certainly for you. There are a few interesting boy characters within this story and I don’t want to give it away by saying who’s the bag egg. I finished the book within a few days because I needed to know what was going to happen. It is a short read but one I highly recommend.

Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams

Letters to Eloise is a heart-wrenching story that is extremely well written and had an unexpected ending. The style of the book was unusual as I’ve never read a book that’s written as a diary/letter entry before. I thought it was a nice touch to be honest and makes you as a reader connect with the book more.

I don’t know where to start with how much I enjoyed this book because I think it has such high potential with character development. Flora is a great character and you seem to be willing to learn more and more about her with every page turn.

The back story between River and Flora made me envy their relationship in a way but they are also extremely normal. We all have our fallings out with one another but River didn’t give up, he believed in what they both had. Tate however really grated on me. He was written exactly how he needed to be so you grow mixed emotions towards him. For me, he was as horrible and I disliked his character more than I do cheese and onion crisps.

It was important to have various main characters in this book especially because Emily writes about real situations during pregnancy. Everyone needs a friend like Brooke and what happens between them might be expected to happen between two friends in the real world.

There were some parts which I thought could have maybe been shortened but it didn’t make me dislike the book in any way. I think I struggled the most with trying to understand Flora and Tate’s relationship and what Tate was trying to get out of it – especially with the skiing part.

I have always said in my book reviews that I hate giving spoilers away so I tend not to speak about the book too much but this is a must read. I was finishing the book on the train and as soon as I read what I did I put my hand over my mouth. Please make sure you read this all the way through as you will not be disappointed.

*Emily Williams gave me this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Peter Pan – Derby Theatre

Peter Pan is one of my favourite Disney films so when I saw the opportunity to go and see it at my local theatre I jumped at it. I hadn’t been to Derby Theatre before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this performance but let’s fill you in on how it went.

We all know how the original story goes whether that’s Disney’s animated version or everyone’s favourite with Jeremy Sumpter. Peter Pan pretty much sums up how growing from a teenager into an 18-year-old is scary, we’ve all been there.

Peter Pan's composer Ivan Scott plays the little old man in 'The Gingerbread Man'

With this Christmas production adapted by Mike Kenny and directed by Sarah Brigham, we are told the story through the Losties who then become the Darlings. I liked this, they made use of one another and it was different to the films. It was a great way to learn about the actors because it almost felt real, it felt like they completely changed into the Darlings. That may sound strange but you need to see it to understand.

I was extremely impressed with the energy and the vocals from Peter Pan played by Jack Brett. He filled the stage with enthusiasm and his voice was fun to listen to. Also, I think there are only a certain amount of people that could pull off those trousers! For me, I could really tell he loved performing and that’s what you want to see when you watch a theatre production.

The set design was simple yet so effective (Neil Irish). The colours for some of the staging were brilliant, my eyes were drawn to absolutely everything. The laughs from the audience when the crocodile appeared had me in stitches, no-one was expecting that one.

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I really enjoyed this production because of the cast. The fact that they can all act, sing and play instruments made this one of my favourite performances I’ve ever seen. Everyone loved what they were doing and if something had gone wrong, we would not have known.

Wendy was played by Sally Ann Staunton and Neal Craig played a fabulous Captain Hook! Overall this production has a very talented cast and they deserve a lot of credit for their performance. I would like to comment on how every character was portrayed in a fantastic way but this post would get a little long.

All of you were brilliant and you have until 6th January 2018 to go and see this. It is a must! I look forward to seeing what Derby Theatre have on throughout the year.

Scrooge the Musical – The Curve

I have always wanted to see Scrooge live at the theatre because it is one of my favourite films and such a fantastic story. When I saw The Curve were having this production as their Christmas musical I instantly booked.

Scrooge is definitely a family treat for all. It was great to be at a musical with such a vast range of ages watching. Most know that Scrooge is about an old stubborn man who absolutely despises Christmas and everyone in the community that wishes to celebrate it. Until one night, Scrooge is visited by his former partner Jacob Marley (played by Karen Mann – fantastic actress) who informs him that he’ll receive three further visits from ghosts.

As soon as the curtain lifted I felt like I had been taken back to the Charles Dickens era and I was bobbing from left to right to the music. I must say the costumes were brilliant, it felt like I was watching the film.

As you’re first introduced to all of the characters you are not quite sure where to look because the stage is so full. I was looking everywhere, I wanted to take it all in and I was facinated by the designs. Trying to take in all of the different people, the costumes and the best scenery I have ever come across within a theatre production. The colours were bright, the detail on the props were outstanding and I was so happy to be there.

Vocally the performance was perfect. For me, I thought Jasper Britton (Ebenezer Scrooge) portrayed his character exceptionally well. Jasper didn’t make me compare his version of Scrooge to any of the previous films which I think is an added bonus. It was also nice to see Eastenders’ Danny-Boy Hatchard back in action and playing such a fun character. His vocals were also top-notch along with that very good cockney accent!

There were a number of hiccups during the show but the cast dealt with it so well. At first I thought the show was going to be cancelled due to a technical issue which was shortly resolved. However, the actors didn’t let what was happening distract them, they continued with their lines and even made jokes when things went wrong – it had a great reaction from the audience! By the way, Jasper Britton and Anton Stephans are a brilliant comedy act – they are perfect on stage together and bring so much presence.

This musical is one everyone will love. I will just say that the bit with the chains and the dead people did terrify me a little bit but it was worth it! Everything just flowed, I loved the choreography by Stephen Mear it was fun and exciting. The orchestra, the designs and much more. There are too many people to mention about their involvement but I would like to say you all made the show so thank you.

Everyone on that stage deserves a huge round of applause!

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The Text by Claire Douglas Review

I have never really thought about reading a short story before but I was intrigued by this one. The Text is has been described as a thriller and yes I would agree with that but I would also say it was a disappointing read for me.

I liked the beginning of the book, I found the introduction of the characters really good. The domestic violence side of things was great for the author to explore because it happens so often and people may feel they can speak up after reading this. However as we found out more about the characters and what was happening, it just faded out.

I was finally getting into the book because I wanted to know who had sent the text, who had sent the letter and what had happened to Andrew. It was building up so well until the twist was announced. Boo. Boring. Annoying. For some reason the book just suddenly ended – why?!

In my personal opinion this could have easily been a longer book with more of a thought process to extend the story. It was such a shame it ended in a short time because at the start I couldn’t stop reading it.

Unfortunately I would give this a two star rating.

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My Fair Lady Musical

This musical has always been on my ‘to see’ list as well as my dad’s. We love the film, we have the songs on in the evening sometimes and end up thinking we’re cockney’s! Once I saw this was on in Nottingham I booked it straight away.

I have never been to the Nottingham Theatre Royal before so I was quite excited to explore a new venue. Once we were seated we were instantly taken aback by the greens and golds and the architecture was breathtaking. The atmosphere was great and the production hadn’t even started yet. By this point I was ready for it to start.

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The beginning was a slow start for me. I think it’s important to set the scene but I felt it went on a little too long and I wasn’t sure when it was going to begin. Whilst everyone was on stage I couldn’t help but notice the costume detail. I was really impressed with how accurate the period clothing was – some of it even looked handmade. Now I’m not saying productions don’t get it right but it seemed like the whole musical had a huge budget (like films) and they spent it well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Nottingham Operatic Society but I was blown away. Vocals, the orchestra, the set and the cast were incredible. It is the smallest production company performance I have ever seen but it is by far one of the best I have seen. I was sat there wishing I was allowed to go on stage and perform with them, it looked like a lot of fun.

Mr Higgins for me stood out the most. The character was portrayed so well and he was very believable – what a fantastic actor and singer. You could really relate back to the original actor Rex Harrison and envision him on stage from this actors performance. To be honest it’s hard to single out the cast members because every single person put their all into their performance.

The southern accents were great. I couldn’t stop giggling at Eliza Doolittle’s little noises and her wining, it was brilliant. At certain points you sympathise with Eliza and other times you’re laughing at how she pronounces ‘how do you dooo’.

If this production comes to Nottingham again please go and see it because you will not be disappointed.