The West End Front

Over the past few weeks I’ve been utterly enchanted by Richard E. Grant’s Hotel Secrets on Sky and that’s almost entirely down to Grant himself. He’s bonkers, totally, utterly and wonderfully bonkers and has educated me in the ways of posh hotels around the world…

18 World Premieres at Raindance

This entry is part 2 of 30 in the series Raindance 2011

The 19th Raindance Film Festival was launched today in London and it looks like it will be the strongest year yet. In just 12 days the festival will host 18 World Premieres, 21 European Premieres and 49 UK Premieres…

When God Was A Rabbit

A good book – but not the great one I was expecting

Sarah Winman’s debut novel When God Was a Rabbit has been big news in literary circles. It was one of the Richard & Judy bookclub picks for Summer 2011 which virtually guaranteed it bestseller status and received a number of good reviews. Unlike some book snobs I know, I quite like the Richard & Judy choices so with their endorsement, the reviews I had seen and a positive vibe on Twitter I was really looking forward to When God Was A Rabbit.

To say the book was disappointing is a bit too much of an overstatement. I enjoyed the book, I just didn’t love it and with all the hype I had seen about it I was really expecting to fall head over heels for this great new author.

The heroine of the story and narrator of the book is Elly, and that’s where the problem lies. Winman has created a cast of fascinating characters from the lesbian film star to the abused but defiant child, the victim of kidnap and torture to the elderly teacher. Unfortunately the least interesting character is Elly, and yet it is only her voice and her point of view that we hear in any real detail and that’s where the book really does fall down…..

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Kill and Cure

A run of the mill thriller with too many characters and not enough character development

One of the basic laws of crime thrillers is that they must have a flawed hero – the rule breaking detective, the alcoholic journalist or the idealistic doctor. We’ve all read the novels and recognise the standard characters, some are great, some are woefully cliché ridden. Stephen Davison’s addition to this rolecall is the hero of Kill and Cure…

London Calling

The start of what could be a classic series

London Calling is the first novel in James Craig’s Inspector Carlyle series. So sure is Craig that the book will be a success that he has already announced the next two installments…

End of one era… beginning of another

A very rainy Trafalgar Square last night hosted the world premiere of the last ever Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. Fans were in tears, newspapers covered the event with minute by minute updates and fashion bloggers quickly passed judgement on the frills and frocks on show on the red carpet. Without a doubt last night marked the end of an era.

The Harry Potter franchise has dominated the world of entertainment for a decade and a half and it’s unlikely that anything will have quite the same impact on popular culture for a years to come.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a big fan of both books and movies. I can’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t have a shelf full of books waiting to be read, and I still feel a little tingle of excitement watching The Wizard of Oz – the first VHS we ever owned as a family. The transition from the black and white dreariness of Kansas to the Technicolor brilliance of Oz was a moment of real magic to me. Ever since then I’ve loved being swept away to new worlds courtesy of the movies….

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