Friday, 29 April 2016

Wrapping Up April 2016 with Picnic Reads

Hi Bookish People,

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am wrapping up April! It was a pretty good reading month so let's go!

This Month I Have Bought:
Nothing! So proud haha (; I think I'm the only book blogger to ever say that!

The Books I have received: 

(Thankyou to Allen & Unwin, Bloomsbury and Harper Collins for these gorgeous books)
9781471405730.jpg9781408858745.jpg9781408870082.jpg

The Books I have Read this Month:
The Young Elites by Marie LuYellow by Megan JacobsonThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonThe Family with Two Front Doors by Anna CiddorDeath or Ice Cream by Gareth P. JonesNimona by Noelle StevensonTurning Pointes by Emma Freedman Moth Girls by Anne CassidyWhen Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
The Young Elites- ★★★ 
Yellow-★★★★★ (Review to Come)

The Outsiders- ★★★★ 

The Family with Two Front Doors- ★★★ Review Here!

Death or Icecream- ★★★★ Review Here!

Nimona- ★★★★ Review Here!

Turning Pointes- ★★★ (Review to come)

Moth Girls- ★★★ (Review to Come)

Wanderland- Beta Reading for a friend

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- ★★★★ (MY FIRST EVER RE-READ THANKYOU MANDA!!!)

Book of the Month:
YellowCover


Currently Read:
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)


What's happened this month?

+ I got to interview the wonderful Will Kostakis and we chatted about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2! Which was amazing and is here: Go straight there to that post!

+I also chatted with one of my close bookish friends Manda! We talked about re-reading and she talked me in to finally re-reading some books! Go straight to that post!

+ I met some amazing people this month!

+I got a mail subscription on my blog! If you want to get emails whenever I post sign up here: Click to subscribe! I am so excited for this added feature (:

Stationary Accumulated:
None! Talk about restraint!

What's on this week (in terms of posts):
Hmmmmm keeping it a surprise (AKA, I have no idea)

Julia x



Monday, 25 April 2016

Dot-pointing my opinions on Nimona (A Non-Spoiler Review)

Hi Bookish People!

Welcome to the Picnic! I am dot-pointing my opinions on Nimona today. Also can I point out this was my FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL EVER so yeah, excitemnet and yeah it didn't disappoint! In we go with my NON-SPOILERY opinions.


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Graphic Novel YA Fantasy

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.


But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Thankyou SO much to Harper Collins for sending me an ARC for review!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY HARPER COLLINS AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOT EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!

****4 out of 5 Stars****

Plot:

  • I really really liked how right and wrong was kind of played with in this book and sometimes how the hero, could be actually be the bad guy and visa versa!
  • Ok let me talk about the illustrations! They were gorgeous, one of a kind, so unique and very very very well done. Nimona was such a gorgeously written and drawn character and the pages were beautifully filled with these glossy images!
  • The ending and some of the middle sections got a bit confusing, especially some of the dialogue. I got a bit confused about who Nimona actually was and I don't want to spoil anything so that's really all I'm going to say.
Characters:
  • Nimona was a great protagonists. She was funny, sarcastic and gutsy. She want all out and was in many ways more willing to be a villain than the main villain of the story which I enjoyed.
  • Lord Blackhart was so very interesting. I really enjoyed how he was a science nerd and how he was not really and killing type of villain. He showed us a whole new world of villainy. 
  • I liked Goldstein and how the Institution impacted the plot and also the friendship/nemesis/past between Goldstein and Blackhart.

+Really liked how Nimona changed her hair colour. 

+Nimona's little traits were so cute (E.g. she cries in zombie movies) 

+PLUS their is a quirky scientist invloves who is kind of a tea addict even in crisis!



Rating: ★★★

Hope you enjoyed!

Julia x



Friday, 22 April 2016

5 REASONS WHY I LOVED AKRANAE (YES, I KNOW ONLY FIVE REASONS?!)

Hi Bookish People!

Welcome to the Picnic! Instead of writing a review I've decided to tell you 5 Reasons Why I Loved Akranae by Lynette Noni! If you must know I gave this a 4.5 out of 5) ALL of these are non-spoilery things and really demonstrate how creative Lynette is! Into it we go!
Akarnae
(Image Curtsey of Pantera Press)

*5 REASONS YOU SHOULD PICK UP AKARNAE BY LYNETTE NONI*
In no particular order.....

1. Awesome psycho Teachers! These teachers are absolutely SO inventive. From sport teachers who hit kids with electric iron rods to make them go faster to teachers who walk on shadows, the teachers in this book are amazing and super enjoyable to read about. Lynette has created some really unique powers in this book and it was SUPER fun to learn about!
2. Bubble doors exist in Medora! OH MY GOODNESS TALK ABOUT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY! I love how in Medora you can purchase a bubble door. Method of how to use and purchase: Purchase a vial, choose where you want it to go to, smash it on the ground, jump through the bubble door that came out of smashed vial and you're at your destination (THX SIRI!) I'm in love with these multi-coloured vials and am so desperate to go to Dubble Bubble (the store) and purchase some fluoro vials ASAP!
3. Some animals can talk! I really enjoyed one (who was used to talk to the kids in a class) and we hear about how the animal sat down and talked to the students about his life!

4. You learn about the depths of friendship! I think it is adorable how much Jordan and Bear care for Alex and they are the best bestest friends I think a girl could ever have. Jordan is so kind and caring and yet a friendly cocky at the same time. Bear is genuinely comforting and well the best to go for if you are in need of well a BEAR HUG!


5. The Humour in this is so smooth and not cheesy or corny. I really enjoyed the easy-going humour involved in this book. You can tell that each joke wasn't forced or wasn't thought out too hard! I dislike it when humuor in jokes is so forced and you can tell that the author had to think through one joke twenty times, I would much prefer it if the author just goes with are casual, and short but funny jokes! This also makes the book more quirky, and adds a unique touch from the author! Each author's humours different and I really liked Lynette's!

Hope you enjoyed!
Julia x

Monday, 18 April 2016

Picnic Reads Talks: Re-Reading with Amanda Diaz

Hi Bookish People!

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am bringing you guys ANOTHER Picnic Reads Talks a) I love writing them/ discussing with others and b) you guys like them! So here I am back with my wonderful friend, Amanda Diaz, discussing Re-Reading! Hope you enjoy!

Julia
 Hi Amanda! Welcome to Picnic Reads! We are so happy to have you here to discuss Re-Reading! Would you like to quickly tell everyone about yourself?

Amanda Diaz
 Hi Julia, thanks for having me! A little bit about me: I'm a major book lover. I worked as a YA publicist at HarperCollins for almost three years before moving to Canberra at the end of 2015. Um, what else? I love red pandas and am guilty of live-tweeting The Bachelor.

Julia
 What's not to like? So to start off, are you a re-reader?

Amanda Diaz
 Yep, a massive re-reader - and I always have been. For me, reading is a form of entertainment that lets you escape from everyday life - and I love re-visiting my favourite fictional worlds and characters. What about you?

Julia
 This might surprise you, but I have actually never re-read a book! It might be because my to-be-read pile is through the roof! Although, I am planning on re-reading some books now! I really want to start re-reading books so looks like I'm discussing with a professional re-reader guys!

Amanda Diaz
 Haha yes, be afraid, be very afraid.

Julia
 *Shivers with fear* Is Re-Reading a Good Experience or does it lessen your experience of a loved book?

Amanda Diaz
 That's a very good question. Most of the time, re-reading a book you love is like catching up with an old friend and remembering how much you enjoy their company. But there are occasions when I find that a book isn't as enjoyable or as meaningful as I remembered. It's not the book that's changed, it's me - sometimes as I've gotten older I've gone back to books I loved in high school and found the story or characters immature or overdramatic. I don't let it ruin the book for me though - I just fondly remember how much that story meant to me at a certain point in my life.

Julia
 That is really interesting! I always thought that if I re-read a book, I would ware it to pieces and not enjoy it anymore. Of course another factor was that I knew what happens at then end. So what was the point in re-reading a book you knew the end to when you can read a new exciting book! As someone who hasn't YET re-read a book but plans to soon, I am really intrigued. For example, I have just finished Frankie by the lovely Shivaun and loved it. I got so caught up in the emotions that I wanted to re-read the story and be able to give a honest review of it and make sure I didn't miss anything!

Amanda Diaz
 Awesome, you should re-read it! I love going back to a book and discovering details I hadn't picked up the first time.

Julia
 As a publicist for Harper Collins, what did you think about reviewers re-reading books you have sent them? Good/Bad? As a reviewer, I think that by re-reading a book you can gain more information and fall in love/dislike the story more than before or you can change opinion. All of this effects our overall review of course. Or do you prefer to have the raw emotions of the first read? I loved reading Frankie, but I want to re-read it again to make sure I caught everything. If I were reading a book from your company, would you prefer a raw first read review?



Amanda Diaz
Honestly, I reckon it's totally up to the reviewer and how they prefer to approach writing about a book. There's value in both an initial impression and a more thorough examination. Bloggers often feel such pressure to keep up with their TBRs that I'd be inclined to say you should only re-read for your own enjoyment. If you enjoyed a review copy so much you want to read it again, then that's awesome!

Julia
 What a great response! It's good to know that publishers are looking out for reviewers! I have soooo many books on my TBR from Publishers it's never ending! Kind of on the same path but more of a one way or the other kind of question! -Do you re-read books that you like or ones that you want to learn/get more from?

Amanda Diaz
 Actually, I do a bit of both! I recently re-read Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic - which is a fantastic book about creativity. I liked it the first time I read it last year but wasn't really in a place in my life where I was ready to put the book's ideas into practice. (It's all about following your curiosity and trying/making new things without pressuring yourself to be perfect). Fast forward a few months later, I'm living in a new city and working in a different industry and I felt ready to try being more creative - so I re-read the book and because I was more open to what it was about, I feel like I got loads more out of it than I did the first time.

Julia
 That's amazing! ALL OF YOU NON-RE-READERS OUT THERE LISTEN TO THIS (includes me) Now, one of the most important questions. Is reading the book first, always the best experience  or can you get a better experience re-reading? I've seen plenty of 2 star reviews become 4 star reviews after a re-read so I believe they totally can be better the second time round! Although I have never experimented as of yet Frankie will be it hopefully! How do you feel about this?

Amanda Diaz
 Sometimes re-reading can be a more rewarding experience - for sure. My theory is that this is less to do with the book itself and more to do with your experience as a reader. If you're not in a good frame of mind (either personally or because you've been in a reading slump - or maybe even because you go in determined not to like a book for some reason), you're less likely to appreciate what a story has to offer. If you decide to revisit it later down the track, you might be able to experience it differently.

Julia
 I couldn't agree more! Now this might be a bit of a stretch to the topic but opinions on DNFing books?

Amanda Diaz
 On the one hand, life's too short to spend time finishing a book you don't enjoy - on the other hand, there's a certain pleasure to be had in hate-reading.

Julia
 Do you think that you should DNF a book if you feel a slump coming on? Do you believe that books cause slumps?

 Amanda Diaz
 You can always put a book aside and come back to it later when you're more in the mood. Usually it's not the book's fault. It's kind of a case of 'it's not you, it's me.' But that's totally ok. Not all books are for everyone - perhaps that's why so many exist - so everyone out there has a shot at finding something they'll like. (And want to re-read.)

Julia
 I agree. I've seen suggestions that to get over a slump you just have to read all day, even when you want to tune in to netflix but I have to disagree. I think you have to be in the state of mind that you want to read. If I want to watch netflix but I force myself to read, then I am not going to be happy with the book, because I want to do something else. It's all about your state of mind!

Amanda Diaz:
Too right! And funnily enough, I find re-reading my favourite books is a great way to get out of a reading slump. After I finished working as a publicist, I didn't want to go near any YA for a couple of months - so I started re-reading my old favourites like Harry Potter, The Infernal Devices and Throne of Glass and doing this helped to remind me why I love Young Adult fiction in the first place.

Julia
 That is so gorgeous! So glad you are back to loving YA! In your opinion, how can we get ourselves into a positive mindset when beginning a book? Do you have any quick tips? Especially for books that may have it's fair share of negative reviews? Nobody should judge a book by other people's opinions and because they are not yours! You can think differently, but of course sometimes other people's opinions effect your view on the story, for bad or for good!

Amanda Diaz:
Absolutely, it's very hard to start a book without any preconceived notions or expectations. There's no rule that says you have to go into a book with a positive mindset, but I suppose one way you could look at it (and this is the publicist in me talking) is being mindful that every book is a huge team effort. The author has put months/years of labour into it and many people from the publishing house have also devoted time and creativity towards creating the finished product. Allowing yourself to give a book a chance is kind of a nice acknowledgement of that work.

Amanda Diaz:
 And of course, if you don't like it, it's not the end of the world. Find something else and try that instead.

Julia:
Exactly. Whenever I begin a book I just think about how much work has actually gone into the production! I feel bad when I have to write negative reviews, because I know how much it will hurt the author. As much as I love the author, I have to be honest! How can we get in a positive mind for reading a book and get the best experience possible from it?

 I definitely think that taking your time is a big factor in the making of enjoying your story! Also not ever forcing yourself to read when you don't want to!

Amanda Diaz:
 I see a lot of bloggers putting heaps of pressure on reading and surely that takes some of the enjoyment out of it! Don't overthink it, make it a treat. Curl up in your favourite reading spot, put on your favourite music, grab an assortment of snacks - whatever floats your boat.

Julia
 Yes! I think you just need to relax and don't stress about reading! Remember it's your passion and just because now you review books, doesn't mean you should change your whole way of reading! We are just about to finish up, would you like to wrap up your thoughts on re-reading and then I will do mine, Amanda?

Amanda Diaz:
 Sure thing. My thoughts are simple: like any reading, re-reading should mainly be for your own enjoyment

Julia
 My thoughts are similar: If you are a non-re-reader join me and start now! Also never make your passion a burden, enjoy reading! Never force yourself to read when you don't feel like it. Eventually you will want to read, so read then and you will get the best experience out of your book!

Amanda Diaz:
 Amen, sister

Julia:
 Thankyou so much to Amanda for coming here today to talk about re-reading! You are so lovely and it was great having you! Hopefully you can come back soon and talk about something else because you were amazing!

 Amanda Diaz:

 Aw shucks, thanks for having me - it was a delight 😎

Thanks again for coming Amanda! I now have a re-reading sister! Amanda was so lovely to have- and I hope to have her back on soon!

Julia x

Friday, 15 April 2016

MINI REVIEWS OF THE FAMILY WITH TWO FRONT DOORS & DEATH OR ICECREAM

Hi Bookish People,



Welcome to the Picnic! Today I have two mini reviews of two great books from Allen and Unwin! The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor and Death or Icecream by Garth P. Jones. Both are non-spoiler so you can read them even if you haven't read the books!



The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor
Published by Allen & Unwin Australia
Historical YA
GOODREADS ME!
★★★
This review was also posted on Goodreads!
Thankyou SO much to Allen and Unwin for sending me an ARC for review!


Meet the Rabinovitches: mischievous Yakov, bubbly Nomi, rebellious Miriam, solemn Shlomo, and seven more! Papa is a rabbi and their days are full of intriguing rituals and adventures. But the biggest adventure of all is when big sister Adina is told she is to be married at the age of fifteen - to someone she has never met.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY ALLEN AND UNWIN AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOT EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!


Ok so this book was good. It is about a massive Jewish family and virtually how they react when the oldest girl Adina get's married. The plot was very good. I felt that the writing was paced well and the plot was simplistic. I can see why the book appeals to a younger audience. The 1920's vibes were excellent and the author did some excellent research into this aspect of the book. The food references were great and I especially liked the scene where Nomi (our 10yr narrater) learns to make Challah (a braided bread) I was very grateful for the glossary at the back of the books, but often got confused with some of the equipment used during cooking scenes. It was great to hear about the traditions and how the family went around marrying Adina. 

So the characters were great. I felt at the start slightly overwhelmed with the quantity of kids in the family and it felt as though the author was kind of stuffing them in my face all at once. I would've preferred the author introduce a few at a time or focus on a select group of children. I enjoyed the girls and how respectful they were. Especially learning about how women can't sing with the men and how they must stay in their rooms when other men come around. I also enjoyed Shlomo, one of the boys, who aspired to be like his Father (a Rabbi) and new almost everything in the Bible!

BITS AND BOBS:
+As I said I loved the Challah scenes as well as Honey Cakes. Food references were great!
+I now know a lot more about Jewish History!


Rating: ★★★
_________________________________________________________





Death or Ice Cream

Death or Icecream by Gareth P. Jones
Published by Allen & Unwin Australia
Fantasy YA


GOODREADS ME!

★★★★
This review was also posted on Goodreads!
Thankyou SO much to Allen and Unwin for sending me an ARC for review!



Larkin Mills: The Birthplace of Death!

Larkin Mills is no ordinary town. It's a place of contradictions and enigma, of secrets and mysteries. A place with an exquisite ice cream parlour, and an awful lot of death. 

An extraordinary mystery in Larkin Mills is beginning to take shape. First we meet the apparently healthy Albert Dance, although he's always been called a sickly child, and he's been booked into Larkin Mills' Hospital for Specially Ill Children. Then there's his neighbour Ivor, who observes strange goings-on, and begins his own investigations into why his uncle disappeared all those years ago. Next we meet Young Olive, who is given a battered accordion by her father, and unwittingly strikes a dreadful deal with an instrument repair man.

Make sure you keep an eye on Mr Morricone, the town ice-cream seller, who has queues snaking around the block for his legendary ice cream flavours Summer Fruits Suicide and The Christmas Massacre. And Mr Milkwell, the undertaker, who has some very dodgy secrets locked up in his hearse. Because if you can piece together what all these strange folks have to do with one another . . . well, you'll have begun to unlock the dark secrets that keep the little world of Larkin Mills spinning . . .

Thankyou SO much to Allen and Unwin for sending me an ARC for review!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY ALLEN AND UNWIN AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOT EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!


This book was so good! I didn't expect this book to be as great as it was. This book is 13 stories about people who live in a mysterious town called Larkin Mills. Strange things happen around Larkin Mills and the characters in this book are some who have been effected by these strange living conditions and some who are trying to find out whats happening around there! The plots of each short story was so intriguing and suspicious. The stories were full of suspense and the author has a great creative imagination. The setting of the story was well done, I knew exactly where and why Larkin Mills was creepy. I also really enjoyed how each story connected, whether it was the characters from the last story got involved with the new character or if a book someone wrote in the last story was read in the next story everything connected.

The characters (protagonists of each story) we're all excellent detectives. Some of my favourite characters would have to be the villainous characters and Mr Morricone (who runs an incredible ice creamery which you should check out next time your in Larkin Mills.) I really enjoyed the creepy characters as well, some of which sold anecdotes or questions (really congrats to the author for such a great imaginative piece)

BITS AND BOBS;

+The icecream sounded delicious (and the names of the flavours were awesome)
+The writing style was great!
+Recommend it for middle grade-YA readers
+I really liked how the ending came full circle (although it was a bit confusing)


Rating: ★★★★

Hope you enjoyed!

Julia x

Monday, 11 April 2016

Picnic Reads Talks: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with Will Kostakis

Hi Bookish People!

Welcome to the Picnic! Today is another Picnic Reads Talks post, except this post is a discussion with a guest and about a movie! Today I have the wonderful Will Kostakis with me and we are discussing, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2! Please note, there may be spoilers below, so if you haven't watched the movie but you want to, watch it, and then come back and discuss in the comments! Here we go!

Julia:
Hi Will! Welcome to Picnic Reads! I am so excited to have you here to discuss My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with you! Would you like to quickly introduce yourself?

Will Kostakis:
 I'm Will Kostakis, Greek-Australian author of The First Third and the recently released The Sidekicks :)

Julia
 Thanks! So what did you think of the overall plot of the movie? Do you think it flowed well?
Were the events realistic or exaggerated to Greek Families?
Was it funny?

Will
 I went in wanting to really like it, so I have to flag I was really let down -- the film didn't have a focus. I liked the idea of the parents having to remarry, but then there were so many additional characters and plot threads that nothing really flowed, and it felt more like a collection of skits than a film.

 There were times when I saw myself reflected in it, but I think by increasing the screen time of popular side characters in the first film, the story suffered and the jokes became one-note.

Julia
 Agreed! I feel like they tried to pack too much into this film! I was so excited, because I loved the first film, but this sequel tried to do too much. I thought that the central focus would be the parents re-marrying but it was then followed by Paris going to college and Toula & Ian trying to freshen their relationship and it was all too much! It's great to hear that you saw yourself reflected in it! Did any particular characters grab your interest and you can relate to?

Will
See, I loved little parts. Obviously the gay son trying to come out to his older Greek family was especially resonant, but it lasted two seconds, and because of it, the dialogue was basically. "Oh, your partner is your PARTNER? Okay. Moving on."
Nothing had any room to breathe. There was a whole season of TV show plot lines crammed into 2hrs, and the result was a film that feels like it's about too much AND too little.

 Because nothing gets the attention it requires.

Julia
 Yeah. I found that too. They packed so many little aspects in that the small aspects were rushed! You shouldn't have to rush through something as coming out to your parents and family. I also found that this movie wasn't as funny as the first one! All of the "Greek" jokes were used in the first movie and they nailed it there but in this movie it was almost as though they couldn't think of anymore!

Will 
 Mmm I found the first Windex repetition funnier in this film than any in the last, then it got tired and lazy (it fixed his hip? Way to avoid a proper engagement with the reality of ageing parents). I LOVED the sequence of the bridal party driving the wedding planner crazy, I wanted more of that. The same way Star Wars 7 took A New Hope and remixed it with an empowered Leia, I would've loved to have seen that sort of remixing happen with Toula's parents at the fore.

Julia:
 Yes! It felt like two seconds before the wedding planner gave up on them! I will admit to loving how Gus can't work the computer! I enjoyed it towards the start and then it kind of dragged on! What about the food references? From baklava to spanakopita this movie has it all!

Will 
 Yeah that was a full scene, I loved it

Will
 Haha honestly I just ignored the food references. Everyone else laughed when she mentioned spanakopita. I guess that's the point. Why should a film like this try when people are just going to laugh and clap at, "Pa, I made spanakopita!"

Julia:
 Very true. Some people just laugh at anything nowadays! It’s said that this movie is more like a documentary to Greek Families, being Greek-Australian would you agree?

Will
 Not really. I saw a few touchstones like "oh I went to Greek church!" But no one in this film behaves like a human, so the realism wasn't there for me.
I think it's possible to reflect on the lunacy of Greek families, to poke fun, but still keep two feet firmly in reality.

 And the dialogue was just bad. "I need to fix my family, Ian!" "But when will you fix us?" WHAT EVEN???

Julia
 YES I KNOW. SO CLICHE!!!!!!! I have nothing wrong with a little exaggeration in a film but this film may've gone too far on this occasion. What did you think about the 'We need to find you a suitable GREEK husband' topic that came up with Paris?

Julia
Honestly it didn't add anything to it. I liked Gus's reasoning for introducing it (implying Toula married someone who was a bit garbage so Paris should aim for a Greek), but the resulting plot was just weird? It didn't focus on her enough to feel it. It either needed to be her story or her mother's or her grandparents'. Trying to do all three, it fell apart.

Will
 I don't have a problem with going back to the Big, Fat Greek well, I just think they tried to tell 30 stories instead of a more manageable 3.

Julia:
 Yes! I I liked the bit where Paris goes to Prom and finds out that the boy she is going with is Greek as well! How did you feel about the scene with the college choosing?

Will
Oh I didn't like the bit when she found out he was Greek and was suddenly super happy. It felt like a mother's fantasy rather than a daughter's reality.

 The college choice was obvious, but that final scene was beautiful. It was one of the few scenes of the film that really worked.


Julia
 Yes! I know. When the boy said he was Greek she was kind of like 'YAY! Gus will be happy with me! I have a Greek Boyfriend." The ending was perfection! I really liked her dorm mates reaction! Another scene that was kind of skipped over was when Paris chooses to go to the college in her hometown (for her parents) and then when she sits down with her Yia-Ya and tells her, Yia Ya says "Is that what you really want' and then all of a sudden she knows she wants to go to college in New York!!

Will
Mmm I could tell she was only doing it to please her parents, the real problem was Gus's tub incident suddenly make her like her family. Like... I can see how hearing people badmouth them can make you appreciate them more, but she does such a sudden 180
Every character beat isn't earned, which makes the plot fall flat.

 Julia
 YES! Ok so it looks like we have pretty much the same opinions! Would you like to quickly wrap up your thoughts before we go and give the movie a rating our of 5?

Will 
 It was an unnecessary film that won me over with its trailer, then it looked to surprise me in its opening moments, and the points it was raising about ageing parents, but ultimately it disappointed me. It didn't need to be bigger or fatter, it just needed a solid story and solid jokes. 2/5

Julia:
I would have to say along the same lines! I was happy with the first story and just though it was kind of a "bonus" to have a second movie. I felt like all of the good jokes & "Bigger & Fatter" parts were used up in the trailer and it conveyed something the movie was not; which was centred on Gus & his marriage! 2.5/5

Julia
 Thankyou so much Will for coming here today and talking to me about this movie! You are an awesome author and can't wait to see you back here again!

Will 
 Thanks for having me :)

Hope you guys enjoyed that! Special thanks to Will for coming a discussing with me you are awesome!

Make sure to tell us in the comments whether you liked the movie and whether you agreed with our opinions!

Julia x

Friday, 8 April 2016

Upsetting Non-Spoiler Review of Rebel of Sands


Hi Bookish People, 

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am reviewing Rebel of Sands, a much hyped book that I didn't enjoy at all. Hope you guys enjoy the review!

Rebel of Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Published by Allen & Unwin Australia
Fantasy YA

 "Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."

Dustwalk is Amani's home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need. Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.



Thankyou SO much to Allen and Unwin for sending me an ARC for review!


PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY ALLEN AND UNWIN AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOT EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!



****2 out of 5 Stars****


opinions stated are my own and are not intended to offend anyone.

So I warily started this book! Why? Because it had SO much hype! The first scene is this book was really promising! I loved having Amani (our main character) dressing up as a boy to go to a shooting competition, in the gunpit with all of the older men. I really enjoyed that part and thought 'YES finally a good Western novel' but unfortunately the story didn't get much better from there. The middle of the story dragged on and on and on and was just really hard to read. I will admit to being happy with the ending but the majority of the story was just a wild goose chase for me. One aspect of the story that I was excited about was the ghouls! I was let down on this occasion as well. The ghouls/Buragi wasn't really explained very well and was just overall super confusing!

Amani was an ok main character. Nothing really stood out to me about her apart from her bravery. Her courage/bravery was written really well and Hamilton did a good job of this aspect. Apart from this Amani wasn't very emotionally stable (which put her in a few hard situations and led to silly choices.) 

Jin was a good character. Hamilton wrote him very well. I enjoyed how he called Amani 'Blue Eyed Bandit' and he was a very 'Western' character which I enjoyed. Apart from having some breath issues (why do authors always write about how people's breath smell?!) he was a great character/love interest and I actually would love the sequel to be written from his perspective.


BITS AND BOBS:
+The writing was good. The story flowed easily!
+I would've liked a map in the book! I knew that it was based in the outback, but since the book was fantasy, where is Dustwalk in correlation with everywhere else?
+The cover was amazing! I liked the embossed gold!
+I found that the story was more plot based and I prefer character based (another reason why it wasn't really my type of read)


Hope you enjoyed! 

Julia x