Watched, Read, loved: March 2017

March2017

Here is my monthly rundown of what I was up to the previous month. Right now it is still pretty much only addressing entertainment, but I hope to add some more life things into it soon too. Please feel free to comment below if you’ve seen any of these, or just to say hi!

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Southpaw (2015) – I love a good sport movie. Even though they are all pretty much the same story, I’m always caught up. It was no less with Southpaw, and even though Jake Gyllenhaal irrationally annoyed the shit out of me, I really enjoyed this one.

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Letters to Juliet (2010) – Amanda Seyfried delivers another charming performance. Objectively I know this isn’t a strong film, but it is so feel good I actually couldn’t care less about ratings. It is foolishly optimistic and cheerful, and a great film to watch if you are feeling down.

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The Wedding Singer (1998) – The 90’s atmosphere, combined with a surprisingly affable Adam Sandler and an adorable Drew Barrymore, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Definitely one of the best Adam Sandler films I’ve ever seen.

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My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) – I HATED the ending and I really disliked the main character. What a stupid movie.

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Enchanted (2007): This spectacular Disney production made me so happy when I watched it again. It is on a grand scale and very elaborate and so lovely to look at.

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Underworld (2003), Evolution (2006), Rise of the Lycans (2009), and Awakening (2012)

After years of ignorance I am finally familiarizing myself with this franchise. I had a great time with all these movies. Seline is such a strong female character and saves herself and her love more than once, and the feminist in me was cheering all the way.

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Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Continuing on this journey to watch more romantic films that are seen as classics, I got to see this. It was… okay. Hugh Grant really was quite the adorable English actor in his prime, and it is easy for him to be quietly charming. Andie McDowell also had no clue how to act. I’m not sure if she’s ever had a clue in that regard, but it really is prominent here.

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The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One  is not by any means the worst Nicholas Sparks film – Best of Me still holds that title – but what is most notable is the awful acting. Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron just don’t gel together. I’m forced to ask whether Zac Efron actually has a brain – there is nothing shining behind those pretty blue eyes. Sure, he’s cute and ripped, but his attempt at a tortured marine invoked less sympathy than concern about synapses firing at an appropriate rate. Schilling, yeah, also pretty bad. They also have zero chemistry and the scenes looked stage and neither actor really wanted their hands on each other. Okay, I’m done. But sheesh.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island is what it was supposed to be: a nice action packed adventure with a handsome cast and a big gorilla. Ticked all the boxes for me, excellent popcorn entertainment.

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Power Rangers (2017)

I had not planned going to cinema for this. I would have preferred John Wick, but I was sorely outvoted by a bunch of 30 year old men who wanted to watch Power Rangers. There is something to be said for nostalgia. I ended up having a decent enough time – I  was unaware up until this point that Power Rangers could be made into something that resembles a non-cheesy film. I’m still shocked.

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The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts: Stars of Fortune, Bay of Sighs and Island of Glass

I read these three books in the span of two weeks and I don’t regret one second of it. It is the most fun I’ve had in ages with Nora Roberts’ fantasy work.

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Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (JK Rowling)

The penultimate book in the best series to have ever been written is overshadowed in intensity only by the last book. Half Blood Prince is consistently one of my favorites. It features the more mature trio, naturally Dumbeldore’s death and the discovery of the reason behind Voldemort’s apparent immortality.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling)

Horace Slughorn returning to the castle to fight, Snape’s secret, Fred dying, Lupin and Tonks, Colin Creevy being tiny in death, Kreacher’s bullfrog voice, Dobby’s death, Hagrid throwing MacNair, Molly vs. Bellatrix– the last hundred pages of this book is nonstop goosebumps. I get tears in my eyes every time. Every. Single. Time. Deathly Hallows binds every single event that occurred in Potter from the very first page of The Philosopher’s Stone to the very last page of Deathly Hallows in a neat bow. This is truly the best thought out work I’ve ever read by an author.

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Angel’s Fall (Nora Roberts)

I really enjoy reading through my Nora collection at least once a year. Right now I’m with Reece and Brody, and I particularly enjoy the book – I like both main characters, the setting, the plot and development of said plot.

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Movies 2016: Worst to Best

The year 2016 will be known for a number of things – an inordinate amount of celebrity deaths and an equally inordinate amount of lackluster movies. Are these two correlated? I’m not convinced its’ not. Anyway, here is my list of movies I watched this year that was released in 2016. It’s not been a good one.

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Number 19: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice 6/10

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Number 18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them 6/10

Number 17: Before You 6/10

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Number 16: The Choice 6.5/10

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Number 15: How to be single 6.5/10

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Number 14: The 5th Wave 7/10

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Number 13: SUICIDE SQUAD 7/10

Number 12: Rogue One: 7/10

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Number 11: The Huntsman: Winter’s War 7/10

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Number 10: Legend of Tarzan 7.5/10

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Number 9: Finding Dory 7.5/10

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Number 8: Captain America: Civil War: 7.5/10

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Number 7: Zootopia 8/10

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Number 6: The Jungle Book 8/10

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Number 5: 10 Cloverfield lane 8/10

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Number 4: Dr. Strange 8/10

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Number 3: Deadpool (8/10)

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Number 2: Bridget Jones’ Baby: 8.5/10

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Number 1: Pride and Prejudice vs. Zombies 8.5/10

Watched, Read, Loved: November 2016 – Most dramatic month ever?

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What a month! It’s been crazy. I wrote this long ass post about all my opinions and then I was like eh, don’t need it, not my country, not my cheescurl. So let’s just go on with the usual here and do the rundown of what I was up to this month as usual, shall we?

I finished exams – YAS. So far I’ve passed everything with one result still pending. I’m darn pleased with myself, to be honest. So close to being done I can smell it. I’ve been rather irritated with some things at work, but my eyes have been opened a bit – I am so fortunate to be employed by a stable company where there is a 30% unemployment rate in South-Africa right now, and I should really be more thankful about that. I also broke plates at a Greek restaurant, and I now fully understand why the Greek people are so joyous – it is therapeutic! I also managed to be caught in rain storms quite a few times, and as I’m writing this I have a disgusting head cold going on – sneezing, coughing, basically being the person I’d generally want to murder.

Watched in cinema:

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Dr. Strange(2016)

I enjoyed this film quite a lot. It really IS Iron Man on drugs and has the exact same story, but I liked it nonetheless. Benedict Cumberbatch truly is the definition of the term strange, and works superbly in this Marvel film. (and he WERKS that cape)

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (2016)

I made no secret in my review that I had zero time for this film. What a precious waste of my time and abuse of the Potter world. Ugh.

 Watched at home:

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Aliens (1986)

So much epic. I am so glad I sat down and watched this, my 2016 blindspot series has been quite the disaster and I’m scrapping it off the menu for 2017 completely. However, I did enjoy a whole bunch of the watched films, and this was one of them. Ripley is so badass man, so badass.

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

As mentioned above, I’ve been kicking and screaming trying to finish my Blindspots while totally not in the mood, but this turned out to be so beautiful and heartbreaking. Totally worth the time and paying attention to the English subtitles.

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Series:

Vampire Diaries Season 5

It’s good, but definitely lacks a bit in terms of my favorite – season 3. However, Elena isn’t the world’s most annoying vampire ever, which can only be an improvement. Review will hopefully be up soon 😀

Books read:

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The Dressmaker– Kate Alcott

Despite this being the title of THREE DIFFERENT NOVELS – which lead to a variety of confusion -I have all the love for this book. It is definitely not the same story as the movie that I want to watch with Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, but I am so happy I took a chance. What a lovely, interesting and thought provoking read this was!

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The Power of Six – Pittacus Lore

The second book in the Lorien Legacies is also turning out to be a fantastic read. It is well written and well thought out, something most of these dystopian/alien/teenage books lack completely.

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I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

I reviewed this over HERE, and it was one of the better books I read this year. Very impressed!

Love by Design: Loving Jack and Best Laid Plans – Nora Roberts

I’ll never really review this – it has little to no story line and is essentially just some smooch smoochy stories. Even in my bedraggled study brain mode this was too dumb for me, and I probably skipped quite a few pages because there are only so many scorching kisses that can be read.

Reread:  Convincing Alex – Nora Roberts

A reread that won’t be seeing another review. I find these books fun and vacant, and having met real Ukranians I can assure you that they are not Mikhael and Alexi Stanislaski, ladies.

Reread:  Luring A Lady–Nora Roberts

Same as above. It was fun while it lasted!

Reread: The Obsession (Nora Roberts) – I have so much love for this book and author (as you all know), and I’m enjoying it the second time around – I borrowed it to a friend shortly after finishing it the first time, and I must say, it is as good as my first impression of it.

What have you been entertaining yourself with? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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Plot: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Rating: 6/10

If I could rate this movie purely on how pretty it all looked I would have rated it at an 8/10  – it looks pretty and the magic is impressive. I have a great love for the magically conjured umbrellas, it looked simply beautiful. Humour is readily available by the movie clown Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), an unfortunate human caught in a magical mess. I enjoyed seeing Colin Farrell in a film again, I feel that he has completely slipped off the radar in later years and hope this beckons a return for him. However, I am not supportive of the move of magic to America – talk about people needing a pat on the head to feel included. I really hated the No-Maj term – just NO – it lacks originality and sounds and looks stupid. Eddie Redmayne generally impresses me when I see him in something, but I was not a major fan of his work as Newt Scamander. He was twitchy and strange and lacked confidence completely. Ezra Miller was CREEPY – that is an achievement of the film as that would probably stay with me forever.

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The biggest flaw was the lack of story – Newt lands in America by BOAT – since when are we not apparating, folks? And somehow is careless enough to set loose some beasts which he tries to capture in. Throw in a female magical president (and a thorough dose of shade to the current American political landscape), Gellert Grindelwald, a badly plotted love story and some new magic terms, and you end up with a queasy mess that isn’t even close to what Potter originally was. As for the two major plot twists? The one is obvious from the very start and the second surprised me – I won’t go into detail for those people who still wish to watch it.

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Sadly, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t that fantastic. I think I love Potter too much and notice anything that doesn’t jibe with the original works. However, it looked pretty and is well acted out, which should not be ignored.

Have you seen this film? What did you think?

Trailers worth Discussion: Round 1

Happy Friday!

So, I’m titling this little series as Trailers worth Discussion. Basically I am going to put up the latest trailers and say what I think of them, my excitement levels and if I think it will be a success or not. Yep, my highly patented opinion. Let me know YOUR opinion on these below!

Trailer 1: Me Before You, starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke

What I think: So I’ve ordered the book – this trailer seems like someone is going to die. I just want to know before I head into the cinema. I can handle a death, I just need to know. Terrible, hey? I am also really interested to see Emilia Clarke as something other than the mother of dragons, because that particular show will not see my patronage anytime soon.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I do think so. Strong romantic dramas tend to do quite well for dates, and really hope both Claflin and Clarke get a chance to break out of the roles they are now very well known for.

Trailer 2: Suicide Squad Trailer #2

What I think: After the colossal (okay, not quite that bad) failure of Batman vs. Superman, DC must really work it to convince me to be interested. This trailer looks interesting, but I’m not all that sure I can invest in going to the movies for this.

Excitement levels: 2/5

Will it be a success? Likely, since the world isn’t tired of superheroes. yet.

Trailer 3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

What I think: I’m reading the entire Harry Potter series again. I wish the magic could live on forever. I am not convinced that it can. It is sad, but I think continuing this series is a terrible idea. What is perfect should remain perfect.

Excitement levels: 1.5/5

Will it be a success? Yes, because the pseudo Potter fans weren’t raised on the books and don’t get the original magic quite that well. But I might still be impressed. I just don’t get why they must take it to America. Stupid.

Trailer 4: Doctor Strange

What I think: It seems like this is a role for which Benedict Cumberbatch was born for.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I don’t know if the movie will work, I have no knowledge of the material. I do think it will be a success, because, Marvel.

Let me know what you think about these upcoming movies!!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Best funny moments

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Hello! I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (yes, again). I can’t really classify this as my favorite Harry Potter book, because they each and every Potter book is a favourite of mine, but I really love this one exceptionally much because it is so funny. Harry and his friends are growing up, and they are dealing with their hormones while still having to think of the murderous Voldemort who wants Harry dead. Here are some of the funny moments in the book that just makes me giggle every time.

Cornelius Fudge telling the British Prime Minister about the existence of the Magical World

“Not to worry”, he said, “it’s odds on you’ll never see me again. I’ll only bother you if there’s something really serious on our end, something that’s likely to affect the Muggles – the non-magical population, I should say. Otherwise it’s live and let live. And I must say, you’re taking it a lot better than your predecessor. He tried to throw me out of the window, thought I was a hoax planned by the opposition”

At this, the Prime Minister had found his voice at last.

“You’re – you’re not a hoax, then?”

It had been his last, desperate hope.

“No”, said Fudge gently. “No, I’m afraid not. Look”

And he had turned the Prime Minister’s teacup into a gerbil.

“Bur”, said the Prime Minister breathlessly, watching his teacup chewin on the corner of his next speech, “but why – has no body told me – ?”

“The Minister for Magic only reveals him or herself to the Muggle Prime Minster of the day”, said Fudge, poking his want back inside his jacket. “We find the best way to maintain secrecy”

“But then”, bleated the Prime Minister, “why hasn’t a former Prime Minister warned me-“?

At this, Fudge had actually laughed

“My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?”

Funny factor: At least a 7/10. Although this is by far not the funniest part of the book, I always have a good chuckle imagining any Prime Minister discovering a secret world just after his elections. I would certainly question my own sanity, I would definitely suspect a hoax, and I would certainly be most loathsome of the thought that there is another PM running a part of my country after all the hard work I’ve put in to win elections!

Dumbledore giving Vernon Dursley some sass

“I don’t mean to be rude – “he began, in a tone threatening rudeness in every syllable.

“-yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often”, Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely. “Best to say nothing at all, my dear man. Ah, and this must be Petunia”

Funny factor: 8/10. The Dursleys have mistreated Harry since day one, and they are always a thorn in his side. I love that every time the Dursleys meat someone of the magical world, something goes askew, whether it is planned or not. Dumbledore sneaking in some well deserved attitude towards them is hilarious and well deserved.

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who?

You SHOULD Be Worrying About

U-NO-POO –

The Constipation Sensation That’s Gripping The Nation!

Funny Factor: 10/10Fred and George are always hilarious, and the bring the funny yet again by dealing with a crisis with humour.

Harry giving Snape some sass

“Do you remember me telling you we are practising non-verbal spells, Potter?”

“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.

“Yes, sir”

“There’s no need to call me “sir”, Professor”

Rating: 9/10 Ah, Harry and Snape. By now we all know that Snape ultimately redeemed his mean behaviour, but these two were always at odds at Hogwarts. This is just one of the occasions where Harry shows once again he is a funny guy and that he can deal with unfair discrimination with humour.

Harry’s “Tattoo”

“You’d think people had better things to gossip about,” said Ginny, as she sat on the common-room floor, leaning against Harry’s legs and reading the Daily Prophet. “Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does ask me if it’s true you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest”

Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them.

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her it’s a Hungarian Horntails” said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. “Much more macho”

“Thanks”, said Harry, grinning. “And what did you tell her Ron’s got?”

“A Pygmy Puff, but I didn’t say where”

Rating: 8.5/10 Apart from the fact that Harry finally woke up and discovered Ginny Weasley is the girl for him, this scene always makes me laugh. It is a happy one, showing Harry and Ginny’s fun side and how cute their relationship is.

Any additions/comments? Let me know!

5 Things Friday: 5 Best book series

Happy Friday!

Harry Potter: JK Rowling

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Reading Harry Potter is not merely a simple pleasure anymore; I need to do it at least twice a year to ensure my eternal happiness. I have to start from the beginning, at The Philosopher’s Stone, and work through to the Deathly Hallows, or it feels like a fake book run.

A study recently found that children who read Harry Potter grew up to be more open-minded and liberal. I can really agree and that might even explain why I am a person who thinks everyone should be left alone to do whatever the hell they want, unless it actively harms other people.

Harry Potter has it all – the books are excellently written, the story unique and touching, the characters ridiculously funny. Rowling created magic with these books, and I am eternally grateful for it.

Bloodlines: Richelle Mead

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For a while there it did feel like VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES EVERYWHERE type of situation in the entertainment industry. The dawn of Twilight heralded the universe desperately seeking fanged romance, and eyes were rolled by people who are desperately against the mainstream.

Every aspiring writer tried to recreate a world similar to Twilight, with enough changes to prevent a law suit. Most books failed and spectacularly so, because you will generally fail if you copy other people’s work.

However, Richelle Mead firstly came along and wrote Vampire Academy. Although not the best series on the planet, it was fresh and interesting and original. Then she wrote Bloodlines and I became successfully addicted.

My attachment to this series stems from my admiration of its lead female lead. Sydney Sage is intelligent, a leader and a problem solver and she will take action if needs be. The love story is developed at a fantastic rate and worked out really well, and the unlikely couple’s journey to finding each other is really nice to read.

Walsh Family Series: Marian Keyes

The series has a book for each Welsh sister: Rachel stars in Rachel’s holiday, Clare’s story is told in Watermelon, Anna’s in Is Anybody Out There? Helen has the lead in The Mystery of Mercy Close and Margaret is the main protagonist in Angels.

The Walsh sisters are incredibly messed up. Their mother, although meaning well, had a recurring tendency to put her feet in her mouth as her daughters grew up, and managed to pass on her bad self-image to all her daughters. As they all stumble in their lives, catastrophes happen, and they all have an incredible journey to get through.

Marian Keyes is an excellent writer, producing hilarious books that are full of detail as well. My favourite of the series is most likely Rachel’s holiday, and as it was the first book of Keyes that I ever read, the one I have read the most.

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins

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After the Vampire craze passed, Suzanne Collins created The Hunger Games, and dystopian fiction became all the rage. The world quickly changed its focus, and soon there were movies on the cards. The movies, including the books, are exceptional. Collins had a chilling idea and wrote to produce a truly scary story, and the world was fascinated by a post-apocalyptic place where people killed each other off in a televised “Games” broadcasted for all to see. While this book series is a great read and very compelling, it is also one of the few trilogies I have stumbled across where the movies are nearly as good as the books.

The Lord of the Rings: JRR Tolkien

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Say what you want about the length of the books or the tedious amount of details, the Lord of The Rings was the Harry Potter of its time. Tolkien is also the creator of magic and it cannot be forgotten that he is the reason those EPIC movies exist. I only read this when I have a month of vacation time or something, you cannot be tired at all and have a drifting mind when attempting this.

Honourable mentions:

Divergent: Veronica Roth

Twilight: Stephanie Meyer

Vampire Academy: Richelle Mead

Those I want to read but haven’t started yet

A Song of Fire and Ice: George R. Martin

Southern Vampires: Charlaine Harris (I am actually starting this soon!)

What is your favourite book series? Tell me!

5 Things Friday: On my mind

This post shows some of the most powerful and heart-breaking photos you will ever see.

I’m considering working through IMDb’s 250 Top movies of all time.

I wish South-Africans can calm down about the load shedding. I agree that it is incredibly annoying and unfair but we’ve been through this people. We’ve survived and will again.

The Russia-Ukraine-USA fight. Seems like a place in need of help has been caught between two big bullies flexing their muscles at each other.

Finished Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts and slowly working through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I must say, it is lovely to read slowly again and revisit all the books I neglected to reread this past year.

Five Quotes for the weekend:

Chuck Palahniuk

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Oscar Wilde

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writing is

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Have a good one!