Book: Before I Go To Sleep #B4IGTS

Woah. I love a good book, one that has so many twists and turns that you can’t put it down and must read more. I haven’t read a book as quick as Before I Go To Sleep since I read Gone Girl last year, but at least this time I can say I was satisfied with the ending*.

The novel, by author S J Watson, was published way back in 2011 and became a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, amazing going for a first time novelist who wrote the book while he was working as an audiologist for the NHS.

So I’m certainly late to the game when it comes to this book, but the reason it caught my eye is the inevitable movie adaptation set to be released later this year, starring Nicole frozen-faced-don’t-know-how-she’s-really-going-to-play-a-47-year-old-woman Kidman, former Railway Man co-star Colin Firth and the forever villain Mark Strong.

before i go to sleep poster

As the book is written from a first-person perspective, it is likely we will hear a lot of inner monologue as the main character, Christine Lucas, comes to terms with her amnesia. Every day she wakes up with no memories of the day before and very little memory of her former life before her ‘accident’. She is looked after by her husband Ben Lucas, who every day informs her of who he is, what happened to her, and that he loves her.

I like how the book only really exists because Christine began to keep a journal, and we get an insight into a two week period of her life and how it feels for her to remember her life through her own writing that sometimes she doesn’t even believe she wrote.

Straight away you are lured into the mystery surrounding her husband, Ben, who is he really and why doesn’t Christine feel like she can trust him? Dr Nash, the doctor she is meeting in secret, has a shroud of mystery surrounding him and the attention he lavishes on Christine even though she is only his patient.

As Christine slowly uncovers truths about herself it becomes clear that the people she should be able to trust are those that are the most dangerous.

I highly recommend Before You Go To Sleep to anyone who loves a thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. It was only a few pages before the end that I figured out what the dark secret was, after trying so hard to guess from the beginning. Because I have a need to solve it so I can brag to my inner Jessica Fletcher.

Go read it now. Or don’t, whatever.

BeforeIGoToSleep

*NB Gillian Flynn has rewritten the end of the Gone Girl for the David Fincher movie. I guess she read my review.

Jamie Dornan announced as the new Christian Grey

After Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, the producers went into re-casting mode and returned to their short list for that titular role.

And as news breaks today that man at the top of that list was the deliciously handsome Jamie Dornan. He is announced as the new Christian Grey playing opposite Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele.

What does everyone think to Dornan as the new Mr Grey?

Personally I think the re-cast is a good choice, Dornan has proved his acting chops in the recent BBC crime thriller The Fall where he played a freaky serial killer against Gillian Anderson’s sexy detective, and he’s already a familiar face in the US television series Once Upon A Time where he played Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman.

And screw it he used to be a Calvin Klein model and is bloody hot (and Irish).

christian grey

If all goes to plan Fifty Shades of Grey is scheduled for 1 August 2014 as a release date! It will certainly be one hot summer!

Book review: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

I watched the movie Devil Wears Prada before I read the original book by Lauren Weisberger. It’s always a bit of a conundrum with book adaptations, has the movie done the book justice, is the book better than the movie, and so on.

For me it was absolutely impossible not to picture Anne Hathaway as Andy when reading the “hotly anticipated” sequel from Lauren Weisberger, Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns.

For all I care Anne Hathaway is Andy, it even puzzled me for a while when I realised her character didn’t have a short pixie style hair do and she wasn’t crying whilst accepting any awards

Andy // Anne

Andy // Anne

Lauren Weisberger returns to her sassy protagonist Andy Sachs ten years after she walked away from her job on Runway screaming obscenities at her former she-devil boss, it’s the morning of her wedding day and she’s having a crazy nightmare about the Devil aka Miranda Priestley aka Meryl Streep aka Anna Wintour.

Andy is getting married to rich media mogul Max Harrsion and has a mean mother-in-law named Barbara and her BFF is no other than Emily Charlton.  They even run a wedding magazine together called The Plunge (ever watched The Inbetweeners? You know what it ryhmes with then) that they dreamed up and launched with the help of investors, namely Andy’s soon-to-be husband.

It all sounds cute and sweet and her life is all wrapped up in a little bow, with a surprise baby on the way.

And it’s interesting to hear how she became friends with her frenemy Emily as Weisberger gives us a quick recap on how they re-engaged at a cooking masterclass, how she met her new husband Max in the Hamptons whilst throwing a party for investors, and how they used Miranda’s name to secure talent for their new venture The Clunge Plunge, a high-end wedding magazine.

But I couldn’t help feeling that it was all too easy, the book is essentially a movie script, and it tellingly shows which I think damages the quality of the book and it’s characters.

Supposedly the ‘Revenge’ part of the book’s title, is the fact that Andy has launched her own magazine where her staff are happy doing what they do and she enjoys writing for the magazine, and her and Emily get to attend lots of glossy celebrity weddings. I did not get that.

I spent the whole book waiting for Andy to get her ‘revenge’ on Miranda. Miranda wants The Plunge and the girls know this is a major coup, they’ve succeeded and have a lucrative contract offered to them by Miranda’s people but there’s one condition – the whole editorial team have to remain intact for one whole year after Miranda purchases them and this is something Andy cannot fathom.

So is this where Andy gets her revenge on Miranda? No. Miranda has her own revengenda.

Not to ruin the ending completely, but instead of getting her revenge on the people she hates she gets betrayed by the people she loves. But the story is wrapped up with the usual Hollywood movie ending – everything happens for a reason and you’ll get the guy in the end. Yawn.

Worth a read just because it’s the sequel to a massively successful book, but I don’t see why Lauren Weisberger didn’t just go ahead and make the movie instead of printing a book.

Revenge Wears Prada

Dylan O’Brien cast in The Maze Runner, plus Teen Wolf Season Three Promo

It looks like I’ve found another young adult series to get my teeth into after finishing the Michael Grant Gone series.

Any excuse to remind people I have met him and he's a good hugger.

Any excuse to remind people I have met him (yes I am crazy) and he’s a good hugger.

Deadline reports that Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien has been cast as Thomas the lead from the dystopian book The Maze Runner.

I’ve never heard of this series, but the brief premise is Thomas plays the main character who wakes up inside a maze with no memory of his previous life. Soon discovering that there are other boys who have all been dropped into the maze they live in the The Glade an encampment in the centre.

It sounds Hunger Games-esque purely because they have to survive the maze and the weird half creatures that threaten them. But I think I’m already interested to know what happens especially when there are already four books to get my teeth into.

The movie is to begin filming in May, directed by Wes Ball, it co-stars Skins actress Kaya Scodelario who has been quietly making a name for herself in Hollywood after starring in Wuthering Heights, Now is Good with Dakota Fanning and Emmanuel and the Truth about Fishes with Jessica Biel which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Also starring in The Maze Runner is Will Poulter who we’ve seen in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Son of Rambow and television series School of Comedy.

With a crop of British talent and the very funny Dylan O’Brien taking on his first serious lead role, I hope that it will be successful. If the first movie does well I assume that their contracts will include filming the whole trilogy which to any actor is always a good thing to have in the bag.

Now hurry up Teen Wolf, June 3 is a long way away!

You can follow me on Twitter @nlcorner, or find me on Facebook here.

BRAND NEW Trailer: Hunger Games Catching Fire

The very first thing I did this morning was watch the brand new teaser trailer that debuted at the MTV Movie Awards in the US last night.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in a still from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in a still from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games Catching Fire is the next movie in the trilogy (or quadrilogy if the last movie is to be split) and sees our heroine Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return to their district amongst fanfare, but then as they go on a tour of the other districts the beginning of the uprisings is evident.

Something must be done about them and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) insists they be killed off. The trailer is dark a great representation of what the second book in the series is like, the people of the districts are desperate and they use Katniss as a beacon of hope which in turn puts her life and those closest to her in great danger.

Gone Girl Review

I read Gone Girl a few weeks ago, I’d seen people talking about the book alot on Twitter and heard Reese Witherspoon was attached to the movie project so I thought it must be a fantastic read.

Let me tell you the first half of the book is fantastic. It is fast-paced, heart racing, constantly mind boggling and really gripping. Gillian Flynn really knows how to take a reader and place them into the story like they’re a witness to the crime committed.

Some of the logistics in the book are cleverly thought through, and I raced through the first half with lightening speed, second guessing myself and my TV crime knowledge as to who was the culprit in the disappearance of Amy Dunne.

The obvious suspect is the husband, Nick Dunne, all the way through you feel like he hasn’t kidnapped/murdered his wife but the author places so much doubt on his character and the way he acts it’s impossible to believe otherwise. And when his secrets are revealed you wonder how could he not have wanted to get rid of his wife…

As a reader you are left feeling so emotionally involved that when the second half begins, it is genuinely shocking. Thoughts play through your head like could someone ever really do that to a person, or would you really care that much to want to disappear forever.

I don’t want to spoil the main plot, it’s a vital part of what I think had the potential to become a powerful ending to a book. But it seems Gillian Flynn had a change of heart halfway through the second act.

Honestly I’ve never been more peeved off at a book than this, I mean some crime thrillers you can give them the obvious culprit as the ending or that typical dramatic twist to pull a reader into a sequel or something along those lines. Here Flynn just gives up, she completely changes the character of Nick, he had some balls but he learns he was duped and just basically loses them instead of standing up for himself.

The underlying abuse themes are clear in the relationship between Nick and Amy and I think that Flynn really should have addressed them in the way it seemed like she was going to until her editor told her not too and gave it a sucky over the top ridiculously unbelievable ending.

For those who haven’t read Gone Girl, I would highly recommend it purely for the brilliant first act. That alone could sell millions of copies, but prepare yourselves for a stupid made for film ending. It’s no wonder Reese Witherspoon saw potential in producing this book into a movie it would bring in the revenue but for the book lovers out there who appreciate an appropriate and clever, well thought out ending I’d skip the movie version they’ll no doubt make it even more ludicrous.

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Harry Potter: The End

I wasn’t prepared with a handful of tissues when I went to see Harry Potter The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, how stupid really considering when I read the book 4 years ago I could barely see a word on the page through my floods of tears.

The film was nothing less than epic, I know in the past I’ve sat there muttering to myself that this part is wrong and that didn’t happen and how very irritating that is to my friends who would just like to enjoy the movie (ha). But this was very well done, smoothly transitioning from Part 1 to Part 2 with the necessary recap of Voldemort stealing the Elder Wand from the lifeless body of Dumbledore.

That scene does effectively set the tone for the rest of the movie, the dark cinematography for the location shoots and added post-production in the CGI scenes, the characters’ costumes and make up full of literal blood, sweat and tears as they fight their impending doom, the destruction of major sets such as the Great Hall, and the disintegration of Voldemort as the Horcruxes are slowly destroyed.

What you can really see is the emotion within the movie, the main cast including Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are acting but with the understanding that this really is the end. Each of them in interviews and on the red carpet have admitted how sad they are to be leaving the Harry Potter world after 10 long years, growing up on the set and with the whole team behind the movie around them you can tell that they really care about it and that shows on screen.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets photocall in 2002!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 UK Premiere 2011. All grown up and looking gorgeous. (Love the sign in the background)

A part of me feels like my childhood really has ended, the first book I read at 11 and the last book I read aged 18, the last film seen at 23. What a long time for Harry Potter to be around, and now really a part of literary history borne from JK Rowling. I suppose I can always turn back to one of the books to read and reminisce and feel like a child again. But ultimately there will be no waiting for the next film to come out around my birthday, or another Potter vs Voldemort adventure.

I don’t think I could ever do the movie series justice by giving my opinion, it would take FOREVER, so Harry Potter comes to an end literally but hopefully there will always be pottermore…