Monday, 29 June 2015

Movie Madness: Lucy

So it's once again time for another Movie Madness review! This week's review isn't a new/newish release, but I watched it the weekend Alan was away and I really enjoyed it.

This week's film is Lucy. It stars Scarlett Johansson as Lucy, a girl who's struggling to find her way in life. She gets duped into delivering a briefcase full of drugs to a nasty Chinese businessman, who then forces her into becoming a drug smuggler. However, things go even more awry when the bag of drugs in her stomach (yuck) splits open and the drugs start to alter her mind and increase her brain capacity - which is simultaneously awesome and terrifying. She develops new 'superpowers' at an incredible rate; but the problem is, humans aren't designed to cope with their brains running at 100% capacity 24/7.

If I'm completely honest, I spent a lot of time watching this film just wishing I was Scarlett Johansson. How can one woman be so beautiful, so sexy, be a fantastic actress AND kick-ass all at the same time? Seriously, if I could be anyone else in the world, she'd be a pretty hot contender. I love her in the Marvel films and I loved her here too (Lost in Translation is the odd one out here, so we won't mention that film...ever).

Anyway, enough of the girl-crushing. Given that Lucy stars such big names, such as Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, I was looking forward to a sci-fi thriller that also delivered on the science. But to be honest, there wasn't a whole lot of meat behind this film. We do find out what the drug is, and Morgan Freeman does a fantastic job of explaining how the human brain functions in layman's terms (though, I'd listen to anything he said with that voice...mmm...) but there was just something missing. It would've been nice if we'd had a little more of an insight into how the drugs were affecting Lucy (she seems to wake up and instantly know what to do with her new powers...but I guess maybe that's part of how the drugs work?) - the writers give you just enough information to satisfy your curiosity, but not a drop more.

There's a whole lot of action in this film, but as Lucy can control everyone's minds, it makes the fight scenes seem a bit pointless if you know who's always going to win. There's a scene towards the film's climax which I can imagine would be a bit trippy for some people, but I found it fascinating. The journey right back through time to our own origins and then beginning of the world is simply mind-blowing. It really makes it hit home how little time we've been on this planet, and how little time we each have - not to depress you or anything, but it does put things into perspective.

The concept of us eventually learning to use 100% of our brains is simply mind-boggling. I don't know how much of the science we were given in this film is actually true, but if it I'd like my brain to start running at 30-40% please! (But no more - bad things seem to happen after 50%...) I was a bit disappointed with Morgan Freeman's part - again, he seemed to play a role that didn't really need to be in the film at all. I felt like they missed a trick there, and they really could've done a lot more with him.

Overall, I think this is a good film if you enjoy 'light' sci-fi and you're a Scarlett Johansson fan. If you're looking for something easy to watch over the weekend, then I'd definitely recommend this!

Have you seen Lucy? What did you think of it? What do you think would happen if our brains could run at 100% capacity? Do you think it's even possible?

Friday, 26 June 2015

Infinity Blog Award!

Today I'm honoured that the lovely Chrys Fey over at Write with Fey nominated me for the Infinity Blog Award. Thank you so much Chrys!

The rules are:

1) Thank the blog that nominated you.
2) Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
3) Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4) Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

11 facts about me:

1. I'm still scared of the dark.
2. I love baking - if I had the money, I'd quit my job and set up my own bakery tomorrow.
3. I prefer cats to dogs. This is a fairly recent development, but  I love how independent and funny they are. I do still love dogs - unfortunately my fiance is severely allergic to cats, so we're going to be more of a dog household I think.
4. I can't hear very well out of my left ear. So if you think I'm being rude and ignoring you, I'm not, I just can't hear what's going on (which is super fun when you work in a school and your actual job is listening to children all day). I'm finally having surgery in July, so fingers crossed it'll get better!
5. Batman is my favourite superhero. Followed very closely by Thor.
6. I love gardening - but I somehow systematically manage to kill anything I attempt to grow :(
7. I love tea. And cake.
8. I have never broken a bone. And touch wood I never will!
9. I used to be terrified of clowns when I was younger. My sister had a collection of clowns made out of china and I thought they were the creepiest things ever. I used to sleep with the duvet tucked tight around my neck because I was so scared one of them in particular would come alive at night and try to kill me. It didn't stop my sister hiding that particular clown in my bed on more than one occasion and scaring the life out of me. To this day, I don't like clowns and I still have to sleep with the cover around my neck!
10. I still play the sims.
11. I grew up on a dairy farm, and I'll always be a farmer's daughter at heart. Whenever I pass by a herd of cows, I can't help but wonder if they're milkers, in calf, heifers or stirks. One day, I'd love to go back up north and take over the family farm full time.

Chrys' questions for me:

1. What is something you’d do tomorrow if money wasn’t an object?
Travel the world. It's my ultimate life dream to take off and travel all over the world and live for a while in different places (mainly Australia, New Zealand and America) - I absolutely love travelling!

2. What is your biggest, wildest dream?
It's my secret wish that one day, one of my books will be made into a film. I know it sounds crazy and it's not likely to happen, but it's a dream that keeps me going whenever I feel like giving up. Plus, daydreaming about who would play what characters in the film is a fun procrastination technique.

3. What are your goals for your blog for the next year?
I'd love to get into the habit of making a schedule of when I post, and stick to it. I also have a vague idea of a blog event that I'd like to create, but I just need to find the confidence to reach out to other bloggers and ask them to take part! So we'll see if it happens or not!

I had such a lot of fun with this blog post! I love things like this, where I get to share a little bit more of my life with all you lovely bloggers and readers, and I get to snoop around yours in return ;).

My 11 nominations for the Infinity Blog Award are:

Murees Dupe
Misha Gericke
Anne Marie Schlueter
Annalisa Crawford
Suzanne Furness
Danielle Shipley
Nick Wilford
Rachel Schieffelbein
Lexa Cain
Sarah Foster
Julie Tuovi

Questions for my nominees:

1. If you could be any superhero, who would it be and why?
2. If you had to choose between permanently too hot or too cold, which one would you choose?
3. What's your ultimate writing dream?

I didn't realise we could ask more than three questions, but oh well! There's no real theme for my questions - it was just what popped into my head ;).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Feel free to share some of your own facts about you :)!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Does watching films = good writing?

So this question popped into my head after I finished my latest Movie Madness post for Jurassic World:

Does the type of films you like affect the way you write?

If you haven't realised by now, I'm a huge film fan. I love films, TV shows, books (although that should go without saying), the Sims...basically anything with a story, or that you can create a story from. I love finding out people's stories, whether I'm reading about them, watching them or listening to them - I just love any kind of story.

But I realised something over the weekend - I also love blockbuster films. There may not be much of a plot at times, and the characterisation can be a bit dodgy, but anything with an action sequence and a huge battle scene and I'm sold. I used to think I wasn't much of a blockbuster/action girl, but if I'm honest, I quite enjoy turning my brain off and just watching all the pretty men, I mean, lights for a while.

And I think this has a huge effect on my writing. I'm not just talking about my plots, although I am coming to realise that most of books/outlines do like to culminate in a huge good guys vs the villain (Avengers/Tarantino style) battle scene. It's also my writing style - I like writing short, snappy sentences. I like to keep (or try to keep) my scenes fairly fast-paced, just like any action film. I'm not very good at writing 'purple prose', or indeed elaborating any more than I think I need to, when I'm writing a description. That's just my personal taste - I don't like films that seem to have a 'higher meaning', or that are trying to make an elaborate point, and I also don't like books that waffle on about some guy's hair colour for three pages. Perhaps it's just the straight-to-the-point Northerner coming out in me, but personally, I just don't think layers upon layers of description/prose is necessary.

So does my taste in films affect the way I write? I actually think it does - hopefully not in a bad way, but then again, everyone's taste is different :). I like short dialogue, a fast pace and minimal description when reading, and I like my films that way too ;) (with the obvious exception of LOTR and GoT).

How about you? Do you think your taste in films/books affects your writing style? Is it a good or a bad thing? Or do you think I'm completely off the mark ;)?

Monday, 22 June 2015

Movie Madness: Jurassic World

*Just a quick warning: this week's Movie Madness review is a LONG one. I honestly tried to cut it down as much as I could, but I had so much to say, it still ended up being 'monstrous' (geddit?? This is a review about Jurassic World so...oh forget it...) in length. I've tried to break it up with pictures but even so, you may want to grab a cup of tea before you start reading - or y'know, just skip to the end. Your choice.*

Welcome back to another Movie Madness post! This week, I went to see Jurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park - Jurassic World. Located off the coast of Costa Rica, this luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs; including the park's newest attraction, the vicious and highly intelligent Indominus Rex. But when this formidable dinosaur escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes chaos throughout the park. It's up to a former military man and animal expert Owen (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out prehistoric assault.

I went to see this film five days ago and I'm still having trouble forming my thoughts coherently.

First off, move over Chris Hemsworth, I've found a new man crush: Chris Pratt. I loved him in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he's every bit as funny, charming and, let's just say it, manly, in this film too. So even if you don't like dinosaurs that much, Chris Pratt makes some pretty damn good eye candy to make up for it.

Okay, moving on to the actual film...if I'm completely honest, I'm not a huge Jurassic Park fan. Not because the films aren't good, but because I last watched a Jurassic Park film about fifteen years ago and I cannot for the life of me remember anything that happens (except the scene in the kitchen - isn't there a scene in a kitchen?). So when the Engineer wanted to go and see this film, he practically had to drag me to it. A film about dinosaurs? Please, that is so 1990s.

But in reality...this film just blew me away. I know I didn't have the highest expectations for it, but even so - it was funny, it had heart-stopping action, it had characters that were relatable and that were actually developed (and continued to develop as the film went on); but most surprising of all, this film was scary. And I totally wasn't expecting that all.

There are quite a few scenes (obviously) where the new scary dinosaur chased our heroes through a variety of different settings, and each and every time, my pulse started going because I was absolutely terrified that one of them wouldn't make it out. Rationally I know that the writers wouldn't really kill off every major character in a film rated 12A, but they did such a good job of making me believe the utter terror of the situation that I simply couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen, no matter how much I wanted to. Turns out dinosaurs definitely are terrifying creatures after all.

I've already briefly mentioned the characters and although I've racked my brains, I cannot think of a single character that I disliked because they weren't well written. I disliked certain characters because they were the bad guys - and damn good ones at that. I loved the chemistry between Owen and Claire (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) and although it was pretty obvious how their relationship would develop, I still really enjoyed their on/off romance. For those of you who are Netflix geeks like me, you may recognise a certain Vincent D'Onofrio who pops up as the villain in this story. Having already seen him in Marvel's Daredevil, I already knew he could play a chilling villain. Although he's probably not quite as cold in this film (this is a essentially a kid's/teenager's film after all), and his motives are more obvious, he still does a stellar job of playing the bad guy. I was willing him to get his comeuppance - especially after what he does/wants to do to Owen's raptors - and I wasn't disappointed in the end. I didn't even mind the two children that were centre stage in this film (child actors can be pretty hit and miss sometimes - sorry, but it's true), as their acting was actually pretty good and I loved the bond between the two brothers.

Moving onto the other stars of this film: the dinosaurs. Jurassic World simply wouldn't complete without them, would it? Like I said, I can't remember any of the events in the previous films, so the Engineer had to fill me in on a bit of the backstory; but if you're a Jurassic Park fan, there are quite a few familiar faces that pop up. First of all, the Velociraptors; I know dinosaurs are savage and ferocious animals, but I still really wanted to pet one. Especially if Chris Pratt was with me. They're small, fast, kinda cute and have a lot of guts. I can see why people in Jurassic Park were so terrified of them, especially with their hunting and herding skills.

The Indominus Rex was quite simply terrifying. And it was made all the most terrifying by the fact that something like this could be created one day. We already have the science and technology available to clone and genetically modify animals, so the history behind this dinosaur was a bit too close for comfort for me. But what I loved most about this film was the fact that the dinosaurs were treated like animals and had to raised and taken care of properly, just like you would take care of a dog or cat. I never thought about dinosaurs having to have social skills before, but the Indominus Rex is proof that if you keep any animal in captivity and don't raise it properly, it can have terrible consequences for everyone. Also, there's a nice surprise at the end of the film as a very familiar dinosaur (who's probably the scariest dinosaur aside from the Indominus Rex) pops up to save the day...

Hint: it ain't this guy. The dinosaur 'hero' has stumpier arms

I'm going to have to stop writing this now, otherwise I could go on and on and on forever. I genuinely can't think of one bad thing to say about Jurassic World, and that's a first for me when it comes to writing reviews. I went into this film expecting to see lots of dinosaurs and chases through a jungle (which didn't disappoint), but I came away with a head full of characters that I can't get rid of, and a new-found respect for the franchise. It gave a nod to it's predecessors, while ultimately standing on it's own two feet. This film made me laugh, gasp and cry (yes, I actually did cry over the fate of the Apatosaurus and the Raptors) and most of all, it made me think. It wasn't just an all-action, brain fluff film - it made me think about serious social issues surrounding animals, and how the scenarios portrayed in the film could be applied to our everyday lives. I enjoyed this film so much, I'm actually trying to convince the Engineer and go and see it again with me.

So, in conclusion, if you do one thing this week, go and see this film. It's completely worth it.

And here's one last picture to leave you with:

Have you seen Jurassic World? What did you think of it? Do you like the original Jurassic Park films? Would you ever consider writing a book about dinosaurs...?

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Ghost of Death: guest post with Chrys Fey!

Hi! I’m Chrys Fey. To celebrate the release of one of my newest short stories, I am sharing a list of my favorite ghost entertainment. If you like ghosts, you’re in luck!

My Top 10 Ghost Entertainment:
1. The Invisible (movie)
2. Ghost Whisperer (TV show)
3. Medium (TV show)
4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (book)
5. Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts (book)
6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (book)
7. Ghost Hunters (TV show)
8. Rose Red (movie)
9. Ghost (movie)
10. Destination Truth (TV show)

Title: Ghost of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 41 (short story)
Release Date: April 22nd, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:


            With the sound of her mom’s grief wafting up to her, Jolie came to terms with her present state. I’m dead and now my mom knows it. She eyed the door in front of her. She hadn’t yet walked through a door, but if her hand could pass through metal then she knew she could move
through wood.
If I have to be a ghost then I’ll be a damn good one. All across the afterlife I’ll be known as the Ghost of Death! And I’m going to start by walking through this damn door!
            She would’ve taken a deep breath to brace herself if she could have, so she mentally pumped herself up instead. You can do it! Easy-peasy. Nothing to it. And she took a step forward. Solid matter slipped around and through her form. On the other side, a familiar site confronted her: a black and white bed, the bright green shag carpet in the middle of the room, and a white desk.
            Stepping up to her desk, Jolie eyed her ancient desktop computer, the one she used before her dad gifted her with a laptop when she announced she was accepted to the local university. Wanting to send out the first ever tweet from the afterlife, she pushed the button to bring the device to life, but her finger poker straight through it. Resigning to her Twitter-less fate, she moved toward the full-length mirror hanging on the wall. She saw nothing. Not even a shimmer in the air hinted at her presence.
            Being a ghost sucks!

Also Available:


Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:


Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 

Author Links: 
Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads

Thank you all for visiting and hopefully commenting. ;)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Movie Madness: Pitch Perfect 2

Well it's time for another Movie Madness post! Sorry for the long wait between reviews - I genuinely don't know where the time went! Also, as mentioned in a previous post, my laptop did die for a while though it's been holding up pretty well all weekend (fingers crossed it continues).

Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to see Pitch Perfect 2. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's the sequel to the awesome Pitch Perfect (an absolutely hilarious film that you should definitely watch, even if you don't like musicals!). It follows on from the first film where we once again get immersed in the life of college a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, as they fall from grace and try to turn their fortunes around by competing in an international a cappellla competition. But with the group falling apart on all sides, can they make it through to the finals and beat the infamous Das Sound Machine at their own game?

Pitch Perfect 2 basically follows the same formula as the first film: lots of singing, lots of gags and a whole lot of girls having fun. While it is a decent film, I couldn't help but continually compare it to the first, and although it was entertaining, I was left feeling a little dissatisfied.

Although some of the gags were hilarious - Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are comedy gold - after a while I began to feel a bit too inundated with jokes, as though the writers were trying to cram in as much as possible when there really wasn't any need to. While I laughed out loud all the way through PP1, this film had had me smiling and giggling but some of the 'wow' factor simply wasn't there. Some of the loveable characters from the first film (i.e. Jesse) were given barely any screen time in order to make way for new talent, which I found disappointing. If I'm completely honest, I felt at times that the story could've continued just as well without new girl Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), as she really didn't add anything to the plot other than to throw occasional angst into the mix.

In terms of plot, it follows the first film quite closely as the Barden Bellas fall from grace, try to get their act together and then enter a competition to prove their worth - but I guess if you've got a winning formula, why change it, right? There were a couple of interesting developments (the weird house party in place of the poolside riff off, Bumper and Fat Amy's relationship, and Beca having a life outside of the Bellas) but I didn't feel like anything astoundingly new was brought to the table.

Overall, despite not having the 'wow' factor of the first film, I would definitely recommend going and seeing this film if you fancy a night out with the girls (or boys! There were SO MANY boys in the cinema when we went to see this - it was awesome). If you love a cappella and the first film, like me, then this is a must-see - the songs are great, and it's an easy feel-good film that will have you wanting to sing your heart out when you leave. Just don't be too disappointed if it doesn't *quite* live up to your expectations from the first film.

Have you seen Pitch Perfect 2? Did you enjoy it? Do you prefer the first or second film? Would you ever consider joining an a cappella group??

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Synthetica Book Tour Announcement!

So I have some exciting news to share with you all...I'm pleased to announce that in July I'm going on a blog tour for Synthetica!

I'm super excited! This is my first ever blog tour, so I'm just hoping and praying that it all goes okay and that people actually WANT to host me/my book on their blogs. The tour will run from 6th - 17th July, so it'll be a busy two weeks, but I can't wait to throw myself into it.

I know that I'm doing this the wrong way round, and I probably should have done a book tour when I released the book, instead of doing a book blitz, but indie publishing is still a huge learning curve for me and I'm happy with the way everything has turned out :).

If you are interested in taking part in the tour (which, naturally, I know you all are ;)), you can sign up for the blog tour here. The tour will be a mix of guest posts and interviews, and I'll also be providing free copies of the book for you to review - what's not to love?? If you want any more info, feel free to email me at: rachelsramblingsblog[at]

Anyway, that's my exciting news for the day! Hope you're all having a great week (and if not, it's still Friday tomorrow - woohoo!) - looking forward to seeing you all on the tour :)!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Queen of Paint and Wallpaper...apparently

Goodness, it's been a long time since I've managed to sit down and post. It's partially down to the Great Laptop Disaster (which I'll go into more detail in a minute) and partly because of this:

Yup, that's right - we've been decorating! It's taken a long time - we've been working on it the past two weekends, as well as finishing off bits and bobs when we get home from work - but the majority of it is finally done. All that's left to do now is the skirting and the floor, which can wait for a while. If you look closely at the top picture and see the yellow and purple colour scheme going on, you'll understand why I was in such a hurry to get this room painted - it had the exact same colour scheme, and it was hideous. So I finally put my foot down and forced the Engineer to help me decorate (don't feel too bad for him though, he's buggering off to Le Mans for the 24 hour race this weekend so he's got his reward).

The reason I was so driven to get it done is because we've lived in this house for over a year now and because of our weird living situation, it still doesn't feel remotely like home. I knew I had to start and try to make this house our home, or I'd just start to resent living here even more. So not only have we done the living room, but we also put a rockery in the garden last weekend and I've started tidying up and planning more bits and bits for the garden. Plus, we've got the builder provisionally booked for July, which means we'll FINALLY have a set of stairs, and I. Can. Not. Wait. So really, it's all looking positive :).

So that's the real reason why I missed the IWSG post this month - I've just been so busy with house stuff, I haven't stopped. Also, the laptop appears to have given up the ghost (again), which means it's been much more difficult for me to post. We have got the desktop upstairs (which I'm on right now), but because it's so out of the way, I generally keep forgetting it's there so I don't tend to do any writing on it. I'm praying I'll have the laptop sorted out by the weekend - as I mentioned, the Engineer is away so I'm planning on having the full weekend to write and catch up on blog stuff. It's not that I haven't had the ideas, or the motivation - it's just been a lack of time. Which makes me feel bad, especially when I see writers on Twitter getting so much done - apparently (oh, Rachel, when will you ever learn NOT to go on Twitter??). It'll just be a bit of a shame if I'm holed up in the bedroom instead of sitting in our shiny new living room to write ;)!

So that's it really! I'm going to try and make more of an effort to be around more often, despite the GLD, but I've got a lot of stuff going on at home at the moment, as you can see, so I think it's going to be a balancing act for a while. But we'll get there in the end.

Hope you're all having a great week! Tune in tomorrow when I should hopefully (depending on internet/computer access) have an exciting announcement to make :)!!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!