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The Festival Shoes
The Festival Shoes
Tolulope Okudolo | 2017 | Children
6
6.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
Layout (0 more)
A literal fairy story
This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Festival Shoes by Tolulope Okudolo is a fairy story (literally) for young children. Although referred to as “pixies,” the illustrations provided by Eric Scott Fisher look like typical western imagery associated with the magical, winged creatures. The main character, Drumlo, is an ebullient pixie who is about to embark on his first trip to Earth in order to deliver a very important gift. With so much relying on his success, it would be absolutely awful if something went wrong.

Weaverton, the name of the land of fairies, is an invisible world that lies above the Earth. Whenever a child has a good thought or does something virtuous, a colourful string, unseen by the human eye, snakes its way up to the hidden land. Collected by pixies, these threads are woven into magnificent presents, which are delivered to the children as rewards on the day of the Great Festival. In order to prove himself as capable, Drumlo has been charged with safely transporting a pair of shoes to a truly deserving girl. With an effulgent thread as a guide, Drumlo sets off on his exciting mission.

The author is the founder of the publishing company Magnifying Children’s Horizons, which aspires to inspire children physically, mentally and spiritually about the natural world. Tolulope Okudolo’s author biography implies she is a Christian and likes to bring this aspect of her life into her writing. Although, as far as we know, fairies and pixies only exist in folklore, Tolulope retains the idea of the existence of God by referring to an unseen High King who lives above Weaverton. In this respect, the Great Festival and gift giving become similar to our Christmas tradition.

The Festival Shoes, however, is not intended to be a Christian book. Its purpose is to enhance children’s creativity and character by showing them the impact of their good and bad behaviour by emphasising the idea of receiving rewards. Whilst Drumlo is on his journey to Earth, he passes through the land where all bad thoughts and actions go. Compared with everywhere else, this place looks dull and gloomy, which goes to show what happens when nature is neglected and not cared for.

Another important message The Festival Shoes shows children is to have faith in themselves to do something for the first time. Drumlo had never been given such responsibility before, but he believed he could do it. Even though something goes wrong, his faith sees him through. He does not give up, everything works out in the end.

Reading the book as an adult, The Festival Shoes is not all that interesting. The ending comes about too quickly and, although the author is trying to emphasise that Drumlo’s faith saves the day, he does not physically do anything to fix what goes wrong – slightly misleading, perhaps?

The coloured illustrations that appear on every other page are pretty but do not help to tell the story. It is not a picture book for very young children; it is the next stage up. With discussion questions at the end of the book, The Festival Shoes is for parents and children to read together and think about their own impact on the world and nature.

Unfortunately, the book does not look professionally produced. The choice of typeface is uninspiring and the illustrations do not always slot into place well, leaving awkward layouts. As an eBook, this does not matter too much, but if it were to be printed, sales are unlikely to rocket.
  
The Festival Shoes
The Festival Shoes
Tolulope Okudolo | 2017 | Children
6
6.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
<i>This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Festival Shoes</i> by Tolulope Okudolo is a fairy story (literally) for young children. Although referred to as “pixies,” the illustrations provided by Eric Scott Fisher look like typical western imagery associated with the magical, winged creatures. The main character, Drumlo, is an ebullient pixie who is about to embark on his first trip to Earth in order to deliver a very important gift. With so much relying on his success, it would be absolutely awful if something went wrong.

Weaverton, the name of the land of fairies, is an invisible world that lies above the Earth. Whenever a child has a good thought or does something virtuous, a colourful string, unseen by the human eye, snakes its way up to the hidden land. Collected by pixies, these threads are woven into magnificent presents, which are delivered to the children as rewards on the day of the Great Festival. In order to prove himself as capable, Drumlo has been charged with safely transporting a pair of shoes to a truly deserving girl. With an effulgent thread as a guide, Drumlo sets off on his exciting mission.

The author is the founder of the publishing company Magnifying Children’s Horizons, which aspires to inspire children physically, mentally and spiritually about the natural world. Tolulope Okudolo’s author biography implies she is a Christian and likes to bring this aspect of her life into her writing. Although, as far as we know, fairies and pixies only exist in folklore, Tolulope retains the idea of the existence of God by referring to an unseen High King who lives above Weaverton. In this respect, the Great Festival and gift giving become similar to our Christmas tradition.

<i>The Festival Shoes</i>, however, is not intended to be a Christian book. Its purpose is to enhance children’s creativity and character by showing them the impact of their good and bad behaviour by emphasising the idea of receiving rewards. Whilst Drumlo is on his journey to Earth, he passes through the land where all bad thoughts and actions go. Compared with everywhere else, this place looks dull and gloomy, which goes to show what happens when nature is neglected and not cared for.

Another important message <i>The Festival Shoes</i> shows children is to have faith in themselves to do something for the first time. Drumlo had never been given such responsibility before, but he believed he could do it. Even though something goes wrong, his faith sees him through. He does not give up, everything works out in the end.

Reading the book as an adult, <i>The Festival Shoes</i> is not all that interesting. The ending comes about too quickly and, although the author is trying to emphasise that Drumlo’s faith saves the day, he does not physically do anything to fix what goes wrong – slightly misleading, perhaps?

The coloured illustrations that appear on every other page are pretty but do not help to tell the story. It is not a picture book for very young children; it is the next stage up. With discussion questions at the end of the book, <i>The Festival Shoes</i> is for parents and children to read together and think about their own impact on the world and nature.

Unfortunately, the book does not look professionally produced. The choice of typeface is uninspiring and the illustrations do not always slot into place well, leaving awkward layouts. As an eBook, this does not matter too much, but if it were to be printed, sales are unlikely to rocket.
  
The House at the Edge of the Night
The House at the Edge of the Night
Catherine Banner | 2017 | Fiction & Poetry, History & Politics, Romance
8
8.5 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
<i>I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.</i>

Castellamare, a small island off the south coast of Italy, is the perfect setting for a captivating epic tale that traces a family from the beginning of the 1900s until the more recent year of 2009. Centred at the island’s only bar ‘The House at the Edge of the Night’, the island inhabitants suffer through two world wars, fascism, tourism and recession, however, the bar determinedly stays standing. But what happens in the rest of the world is largely ignored by the island dwellers that prefer to come to the bar to learn about friendships, betrayals and love affairs.

<i>The House at the Edge of the Night </i>begins on the mainland where the Dr Esposito removes the foundling Amadeo from care. Following in his foster father’s footsteps, Amadea Esposito trains to be a doctor and eventually lands himself a position on Castellamare. Having never had a doctor on the island before, Amadeo is welcomed by almost everyone, however, an illicit affair puts an end to his career. Fortunately, The House at the End of the Night provides Amadeo with an income and a home for his new wife, Pina, and his four children.

The story takes the reader through the Second World War, something that is interesting to read from the Italian’s point of view. Rejecting fascism, the Islanders are enraged when their boys are called up to join the war, especially as many, including Amadeo’s three boys, never return. With only a daughter, Maria-Grazia, remaining, the Esposito’s keep the bar going for lack of anything better to do.

But war brings good things as well as bad. Washed up on sure, the British soldier Robert brings good luck to the superstitious villagers, eventually marrying the lovely Maria-Grazia. The story continues through the childhood of their unruly boys, coming to an end as their granddaughter reaches adulthood.

A doctor and a barman, Amadeo also had a love for stories. Listening to his patients and patrons fantastical tales, Amadeo keeps note of them all in his personal notebook. Split into five parts, the book contains a story at the beginning of each section that, although mythical, set the scene for the subsequent narrative.

Alienated from the rest of the world, the Islanders are stuck in their ways, attributing any luck – good and bad – to their patron saint, Sant’Agata. Whenever life gets tough, the people on Castellamare turn to prayer, which although is part of their Catholic faith, often comes across as superstitious and irrational. They refuse to believe any logical explanation, preferring to regard their island as a magical, preternatural site.

There is no specific storyline with the usual climax and conclusion; instead, it works as a biography of a fictional family. It is interesting to regard the impact of the rapidly developing world on the island, from the introduction of a building society and the eventual launch of the Europe – something that the Islanders are naturally against. The inhabitants of Castellamare come across as naïve, but their backgrounds and beliefs are far more interesting than the average person.

<i>The House at the Edge of the Night</i> is a story of stories. It provides more than to be expected from a novel. Catherine Banner writes of beautiful settings, compelling characters and fascinating events that both amuse and entertain in a moving way.

With Victoria Hislop’s novels such as <i>The Island</i> being all the rage amongst many female readers, Catherine Banner’s <i>The House at the Edge of the Night </i>is destined for success. It is a great book to read on holiday or at home, and perfect for book clubs. This book is the ideal escape from the stresses of everyday life.
  
<I>I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.</I>

It is well known that throughout history, facts have been omitted from history books. Written accounts of events ostensibly make important figures and countries appear to be in the right, whereas reality reveals otherwise. One such exclusion is the fate of the Native Americans inhabiting the southern states at the beginning of the 1900s. Children are brought up to believe the stories that “Red Indians” are bad and the cowboys are good, but this was unlikely the case. David Grann has researched into a particular period of Native American history that most people may never have heard of.<I> Killers of the Flower Moon</I> reveals the horrors innocent people faced at the hands of perfidious criminals.

The majority of the book is written as a third person narrative, recounting the lives of some of the members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. White people, believing themselves to be superior, had forced the natives off their homelands and onto rocky, unwanted ground. What they did not anticipate, however, was the abundance of oil residing beneath the surface. The Osage went from being oppressed to being the wealthiest people in the state. Full of avarice, the whites were not going to let them get away with this fortune for long.

David Grann takes a particular interest in Mollie Burkhart, an Osage member with a white husband. Mollie had three sisters, but within a few short years they were all dead, and so was her mother. Believing they had been murdered, Mollie fears for her life. Other Osage members were also being killed, as well as those who tried to investigate the spreading slaughter. However, the case remained stubbornly unsolved.

Nevertheless, there was still hope for Mollie after the arrival of Tom White, an agent of the soon to be known as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Determined to get to the bottom of the so-called Reign of Terror, Tom and his team carefully analyse the behaviours and motives of the disingenuous citizens, narrowing down the suspects until eventually finding their duplicitous killer.

Learning about this unknown period of history is eye opening and offers a completely new view on the relations between whites and Native Americans. It was a time of prejudice and racism, not unlike the attitude towards black people emphasised with the civil rights movement in the mid-1900s. Greed was a significant motivator, particularly where making money was involved. But, David Grann does not stop here.

The final section of <i>Killers of the Flower Moon</i> is written from the author’s perspective. As a staff writer at <i>The New Yorker</i>, the evidence of the Osage murders case intrigued David Grann, but he was concerned about some unresolved holes in the story. Determined to uncover the truth, Grann conducted his own research to discover the culprits behind the undocumented murders unrelated to Mollie Burkhart’s family. What he stumbles on highlights the severity of the dark fate the Osage Indians were threatened with.

Despite being written as a narrative, it is obvious that <i>Killers of the Flower Moon</i> is a work of non-fiction. It lacks emotion and character insight, however, since it is not meant to be a fabricated story, these elements are not required. Instead, it shocks and disturbs the reader with its unbelievable truths.

An extensive biography proves the authenticity of David Grann’s revelation. With the reinforcement of FBI files, jury testimonials, statements, court transcripts, letters, telegrams, diaries and confessions, Grann produces a strong historical record of events that should not be glossed over. Without authors and books such as <i>Killers of the Flower Moon</i>, people will blindly go around believing falsehoods. The truth needs to be discovered, and readers can start by reading this book.
  
Steve Jobs (2015)
Steve Jobs (2015)
2015 | Drama
Steve Jobs is written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, stars Micheal Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

Now that those formalities are out of the way I will just come out and say it. Steve Jobs is the best dramatic bio-pic I have seen. In fact, it is the best movie I have seen this year. Acted fantastically to the point of realism, the film takes the typical three act story arc and shows us the life of Steve Jobs at three periods of his life right before a product launch where we see Jobs as both innovator and villain alike. Each period consist of the 30-45 minutes of visually stimulating and aggressive cinematography leading up to each product launch and how the major people in Job’s life come in and out of those moments. These moments reveal that seemingly simple interactions with Jobs lead to a constant chess match of words and minds to maintain the reality distortion field of a seemingly great man but seemingly not a very good person. Clearly the film takes some Hollywood liberties, but with the screenplay based off the authorized biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson, the film Steve Jobs is probably the most realistic portrayal we may see of the man himself.

That portrayal is delivered splendidly by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender’s performance though each phase of the film is scary. That is to say he plays the egotistical narcissist to perfection. We get real moments of a cold and calculating manipulative intelligent person with quiet moments of compassion here or there. During arguments, Fassbender knows how to delivers bombs out of moments where you would not expect them and at points those arguments feel like high speed action scenes in an otherwise action less film. It is quite remarkable to witness.

Seth Rogen (uncredited) delivers the best dramatic performance of his career as Steve Wozniak. Michael Stuhlbarg likewise delivers a solid performance that stands in this film. While Jeff Daniels, coming off a great performance in the recently successful film The Martian, delivers an outstanding nuanced performance here across from Fassbender. When the two of them are on screen together it is as if they are speaking high prose to each other, albeit at times screaming. I would not be surprised if Daniels is nomination on his work for this film.

Finally we come to Kate Winslet who plays marketing executive Joanna Hoffman. To me she delivered the most fantastic performance in this film. Perhaps because she was the likable better half to Fassbender but more importantly we see this woman who is the only one to stand up to and in a sense understand Steve Jobs’s reality distortion field and work in and out of it as she desperately tries to hold everything together. We she her grow as someone who clearly loves and admires this man however recognizes his faults and is willing to call him out on them. Winslet reminds us yet again why she is one of the best actress in Hollywood and I predict she will be taking home a little gold statue to go with her performance in this film.

If you are still on the fence about watching this film, let me push you off it. Watch it. That may not mean in theaters, which is perhaps my only small complaint about this film. This is the type of film that would be great if it was released same day on digital distribution so you could watch it a few times from home over a few days while you think about it. But at some point you owe it to yourself to be amazed by the fantastic performances and cinematography of this film. While it may not be something you have to see on the big screen, it is absolutely worth the full price of admission. Do not miss it.
  
The House at the Edge of the Night
The House at the Edge of the Night
Catherine Banner | 2017 | Fiction & Poetry, History & Politics, Romance
9
8.5 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
For Victoria Hislop fans
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Castellamare, a small island off the south coast of Italy, is the perfect setting for a captivating epic tale that traces a family from the beginning of the 1900s until the more recent year of 2009. Centred at the island’s only bar ‘The House at the Edge of the Night’, the island inhabitants suffer through two world wars, fascism, tourism and recession, however, the bar determinedly stays standing. But what happens in the rest of the world is largely ignored by the island dwellers that prefer to come to the bar to learn about friendships, betrayals and love affairs.

The House at the Edge of the Night begins on the mainland where the Dr Esposito removes the foundling Amadeo from care. Following in his foster father’s footsteps, Amadea Esposito trains to be a doctor and eventually lands himself a position on Castellamare. Having never had a doctor on the island before, Amadeo is welcomed by almost everyone, however, an illicit affair puts an end to his career. Fortunately, The House at the End of the Night provides Amadeo with an income and a home for his new wife, Pina, and his four children.

The story takes the reader through the Second World War, something that is interesting to read from the Italian’s point of view. Rejecting fascism, the Islanders are enraged when their boys are called up to join the war, especially as many, including Amadeo’s three boys, never return. With only a daughter, Maria-Grazia, remaining, the Esposito’s keep the bar going for lack of anything better to do.

But war brings good things as well as bad. Washed up on sure, the British soldier Robert brings good luck to the superstitious villagers, eventually marrying the lovely Maria-Grazia. The story continues through the childhood of their unruly boys, coming to an end as their granddaughter reaches adulthood.

A doctor and a barman, Amadeo also had a love for stories. Listening to his patients and patrons fantastical tales, Amadeo keeps note of them all in his personal notebook. Split into five parts, the book contains a story at the beginning of each section that, although mythical, set the scene for the subsequent narrative.

Alienated from the rest of the world, the Islanders are stuck in their ways, attributing any luck – good and bad – to their patron saint, Sant’Agata. Whenever life gets tough, the people on Castellamare turn to prayer, which although is part of their Catholic faith, often comes across as superstitious and irrational. They refuse to believe any logical explanation, preferring to regard their island as a magical, preternatural site.

There is no specific storyline with the usual climax and conclusion; instead, it works as a biography of a fictional family. It is interesting to regard the impact of the rapidly developing world on the island, from the introduction of a building society and the eventual launch of the Europe – something that the Islanders are naturally against. The inhabitants of Castellamare come across as naïve, but their backgrounds and beliefs are far more interesting than the average person.

The House at the Edge of the Night is a story of stories. It provides more than to be expected from a novel. Catherine Banner writes of beautiful settings, compelling characters and fascinating events that both amuse and entertain in a moving way.

With Victoria Hislop’s novels such as The Island being all the rage amongst many female readers, Catherine Banner’s The House at the Edge of the Night is destined for success. It is a great book to read on holiday or at home, and perfect for book clubs. This book is the ideal escape from the stresses of everyday life.
  
The Durrells of Corfu
The Durrells of Corfu
Michael Haag | 2017 | Biography
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Truth Without Disenchantment
I think the first thing to note is that there is probably no point in reading this book if you haven't at the very least watched one of the T.V. series. Indeed a lot of it will probably go right over your head if you are not well-versed in Durrell's tales of his childhood in Corfu.

I am, and have been since I first picked My Family And Other Animals when I was eleven - which is longer ago now than I would really like to think about! Age aside, my point is this: I have read and loved these books many times, and for several decades. Durrell was my first 'grown up' read as a child and the Corfu trilogy has long been ranked in my 'comfort reads' - those books you turn to again and again when you just want something familiar and easy. It was with some concern, then, that I picked up the ARC of Haag's book when it landed in our staff room. I didn't want my illusions destroyed, and whilst it goes largely without saying that there was going to be some massaging of the truth in Durrell's autobiographical stories I wasn't sure that I was ready for The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But.

Haag, it turns out, is also a little bit in love with the Durrells. As such I can think of few better people to write the bald truth about this family without destroying the charm and good humour of Gerald Durrell's books for those of us who want to hold on to the myth. This delicate unravelling begins on the very first page as Haag presents the reader with the brutal and tragic truth behind the Corfu sojourn - the sudden death of Durrell Snr at the age of just forty-four. In My Family Gerald Durrell manages to skim over this uncomfortable truth with such success that he imparts the information that his mother is a widow without ever giving the reader space to think or question more deeply into the effect on the family beyond their enforced to move back to cold, rainy England - a place from which they then escaped to Corfu, so legend has it, for no more pressing reason than to avoid colds.

And so Haag's biography continues, with a gentle but unrelenting quality, to pull scales from eyes. Using tracts from Durrell's books he often does little more than a simple but effective compare and contrast with reality: introducing characters who were completely written out of the Durrell legend, yet were significant members of the Durrell collective; opening up the more Bohemian aspects of their life, and the way they were perceived by other immigrant British at the time.

Haag also exposes the more complex relationships within the family. Lawrence, who is presented through young Gerry's eyes as probably his greatest critic it transpires is his greatest champion: directing and ensuring Gerry's education whilst keeping him free of the structure and strictures of school; the somewhat sadder story of belligerent and boisterous Leslie - so much larger-than-life in the Corfu books, who later seems to become estranged from the family; and perhaps most surprising of all - Margo, who had a life that rivals either of her famous brothers for interest and adventure, at least in her younger years.
All of these uncomfortable exposes Haag achieves, and I feel far better informed about the family now, than I ever have yet never once have I felt that I will not be able to return and pick up Gerry Durrell's books and read them with the same joy and pleasure that I have done for the last four decades.
  
TM
The Motion of Puppets
4
4.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
In Keith Donohue's modern retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, The Motion of Puppets, we're introduced to a range of characters from a besotted husband and his missing wife, to an emotionally unstable puppet girl as the husband embarks on a journey to save his wife from eternity as a doll. For fans of mythology, this sounds like a great read and it is, without a doubt, beautifully written; however, when it comes to execution, the story fell flat.

Theo and Kay Harper are newlyweds with a ten year age difference between them. A teacher at a local college, Theo takes an summer vacation away from New York with his wife, Kay, as she performs with a cirque in Quebec City. While she works, he translates a book from French to English, and everything appears to be fine. That is, until Kay suddenly disappears one night after going out with her fellow actors for dinner and drinks. Woven with necromancy, animated puppets, and many references to the madness of Alice in Wonderland, Donohue's story could be considered riveting, and perhaps I would gladly label it so if I had not been so profoundly bored while reading it.

The book's plot is, in and of itself, highly intriguing. As a fan of horror and having proclaimed a love for anything necromantic in nature, the idea of people becoming puppets, or even dying and being reanimated in any fashion really, is something apt to catch my attention, and for that reason and my love of ancient mythology, I requested an advanced reader's copy of The Motion of Puppets. My frustration with it came mostly in the fact that I felt like the book progressed too slowly and there seemed to be a lot of extra "fluff" added in. For instance, the snippets regarding Theo's translation of Eadweard Muybridge's biography really felt a bit unnecessary. There was no real correlation between Muybridge and the book itself, save to provide Theo with something on which to focus. That, also, didn't feel necessary, as Theo seems to be a rather detached character, despite his very clear obsession with his wife. Even Kay's point of view seems to be a bit overly deluded, considering her time as a puppet is significantly shorter than that of the other puppets around her and yet she seems almost as aloof as they are by the conclusion of the book.

In addition to moving at a bit of a slow pace, The Motion of Puppets also seems to rely a bit more on Alice in Wonderland-like elements than it does mythos or current happenings. Everything seems weird and ridiculous, and little, if anything, makes any sense. If you try to make sense of it, chances are you'll find yourself lost, which I found myself giving up on halfway through the book. Magic is clearly alluded to as being the cause for the current state of the majority of the cast's existence; however, it is hardly mentioned and never really explained. Clearly there's enough oddness going on that the nearly-faceless bad guys worry about being found out, but even that isn't enough of a reason to delve into the why or how: it simply is.

There is no doubt in my mind that Keith Donohue is an excellent writer; he has a beautiful command of language that quite literally takes my breath away. Though The Motion of Puppets failed to satisfy me as a reader, I will likely read more of his work when I have the time. As for the genre of this book, horror probably isn't the right one. It'd be better suited in fantasy. There's nothing scary here.

Thank you to Macmillan-Picador, NetGalley, and the author for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  
12 Years a Slave (2013)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
2013 | Biography, Drama, History
Story: Watching how Solomon struggles to just survive let alone becoming free again. We see how different men who have slaves treat them, some well some badly. The story shows the tragic truth about how slaves were treated and even though this story get a happy ending of freedom, most never got that chance, with this still happening in the modern world it should make everyone be thankful for the fact they are free now. The story is an inspiration story of survival and not giving up hope. (10/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Solomon kidnapped and sold into slavery, not resting on the fact he will never escape he tries over the 12 years to find a way to get his own freedom before finally finding someone to trust enough. Chiwetel is brilliant in the role and fully deserved his BAFTA for best actor. (10/10)

 solomon

Michael Fassbender: Edwin Epps the drunken plantation owner who abuses his slaves for his own pleasure, enforced strict rules and taking all the hope out of his slaves. Great performance from Fassbender playing a character that is driven to be hated. (9/10)

 fassbender


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Lupita Nyong’o: Patsey one of the slaves on Epps’s plantation who is his favourite as she is the best picker and also he favourite for his sexual pleasures. Great performance, showing that the hope had been taken from some of the slaves. (10/10)

 lupita

Brad Pitt: Bass a free roaming labourer who doesn’t turn up to late in the film, becomes the last chance for Solomon. Only a small role but does a good job.(8/10)

 pitt

Paul Dano: Tibeats, Ford’s evil slaver runner who pushes all of them to limits they shouldn’t have to go, he thinks he is better than all of the slaves, but Solomon teaches him a thing or too. Good performance from Dano showing he can fit into any role with ease. (8/10)

 dano

Paul Giamatti: Freeman the slave sales man who put them all up for show so that the highest bidder will purchase them. Only a small role but affectively showing how the slavery sales were made to be glamorous for what they are doing. (7/10)

 paul


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Benedict Cumberbatch: Ford a good man who looks after his slaves, Ford purchases Solomon and is willing to listen to Solomon’s ideas to improve his work. Forced to sell on Solomon, but always looked after them all fair. Good supporting performance and his character reflexes how evil Epps is.(8/10)

 benedict

Sarah Paulson: Mistress Epps the wife of Edwin, who has a dislike for Patsey but an almost sympatric side to the rest of the slaves. Good performance and the one scene with Patsey is really stand out. (9/10)

 mistress epps

Director Review: Steve McQueen – Brilliant direction to tell such an amazing story of one man’s journey. (10/10)

 

Biography: Amazing look at how Solomon survived his ordeal. (10/10)

Drama: Stunning look at something that could have been all guns, blood and gore, but focuses on the emotions involved with the people. (10/10)

History: Good look at how people were treated during the slave times. (10/10)

Settings: Beautiful settings used to create the story. (10/10)

Suggestion: This really should be watched by all, but I do feel the more casual film fan may find it hard to watch. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Chiwetel Performance.

Worst Part: Some of the punishment scenes are hard to watch.

Favourite Quote: Solomon ‘I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!’

Believability: Based on Solomon’s true story. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


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Oscar Chances: Won 3 Oscars.

Box Office: $178,413,838

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

Tagline: The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup.

 

Overall: Stunning Story

https://moviesreview101.com/2014/05/12/12-years-a-slave-2013/
  
Benevolent
Benevolent
Erin A. Jensen | 2018 | Science Fiction/Fantasy
10
10.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
I first heard of Benevolent by Erin A. Jensen through the blogging community. It sounded very interesting especially the more I heard about it. When an opportunity to review Benevolent came about, I jumped at the chance. Although Benevolent does mention the television show Supernatural throughout the book, you don't have to be a fan of Supernatural or know anything about the show to enjoy this novel. I will admit that I've only seen a few episodes of Supernatural back when it first began, but my limited knowledge of Supernatural did not take away my enjoyment of Benevolent. I'm really glad I got the chance to read Benevolent because it truly is a gem of a book!

The plot of Benevolent was a truly interesting one that really tugged at my heartstrings throughout. Benevolent begins with a teenage girl, Abigail (or Abbie as she's sometimes called) losing her best and only friend to cancer. She is comforted by an angel who appears in the form of Castiel from the television show Supernatural (her and her best friend's favorite). The reader is then taken through a journey throughout Abbie's life including all the ups and downs. Her angel, Castiel, plays a big role in her life's journey, and Abbie's left wondering if Castiel is real or if he's just a figment of her imagination. Benevolent is more than just that though. It's a gripping and emotional love story, but not in the romantic sense.

I could not put Benevolent down! In fact, I pretty much read this book in one sitting. It's a fairly short story, but the pacing was absolutely perfect throughout. I love how each chapter title was a song title. In fact, it makes for a great playlist whilst reading the chapter that features it or before and/or after that chapter. I was pulled into Abigail's world as soon as I started reading the first page. I loved how every loose end is tied up before Benevolent ends, and every question I had was answered. The world building is fantastic, and I can't fault anything about it. Erin A. Jensen is such a talented writer based on Benevolent!

I absolutely enjoyed every character in Benevolent. Abigail felt like an old friend. In fact, I felt like I was reading a true life biography about Abigail instead of just a work of fiction. Everything about Abigail's character was just laid bare for everyone to read about, and I think that's what made me love her so much. She had been through a lot, and I could relate to her on so many levels. The character of Castiel was written perfectly too. Like I said, I had only watched a few episodes of Supernatural before they introduced the character of Castiel, so I can't comment on how much Benevolent's character of Castiel was like the one on Supernatural. However, it is mentioned in the beginning of Benevolent that Abigail's angel took on the form of Castiel and his name and mannerisms to make Abbie feel more comfortable. It is said that he isn't the actual Castiel from Supernatural. We also get to know Danny, Abbie's childhood best friend, through Abbie's memories. Danny seemed like such an awesome person, and even I was saddened by his death.

Trigger warnings for Benevolent include death, cancer, attempted suicide, overdosing, drug use, alcohol, and some profanity but nothing too bad.

Overall, Benevolent is one of those books that will stick with you long after you've stopped reading. It's a book that tugs on your heart strings and won't let go until the very end. Benevolent has such a fantastic plot with such a relatable main character that it just makes for an awesome read. What makes Benevolent even more awesome (which is saying something since Benevolent is highly awesome already) is that 100 percent of the profits from its sales will be donated to Random Acts charity. I would wholeheartedly recommend Benevolent by Erin A. Jensen to everyone aged 15+ no matter what genre of book they like. I feel like this book will touch everyone who gives it a read.
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(A special thank you to Erin A. Jensen for providing me with a paperback of Benevolent in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)