Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Film Review: What We Did On Our Holiday - Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin

26th September 2014 (UK)
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Screenplay: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
**** - 4 Stars

What We Did On Our Holiday directed and written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin is a beautiful story set from a kids point of view. When a family (with recently separated parents) go to stay in Scotland for the weekend with their granddad (dying of cancer) for his birthday, he passes away suddenly.
Thinking that if they tell the adults, they'll just fight, the three children decide to give their grand father a traditional Viking funeral by setting his body on fire and letting it drift out to sea on a raft.
The family struggles more and more as media and press from all over the world, as well as the police, catch hold of the story. The family become ridiculed for the 'barbaric death' of their grand father.
This film is nothing like I thought it was going to be. In fact, it is the complete opposite. It's not exactly a 'happy-go-lucky' kind of film and their is no real 'happy ending' in the traditional sense. The story is, however, original and a very interesting, more light-hearted perspective on death which I really enjoyed. There are quite a few moments that'll make you laugh, but equally, quite a few moments that'll bring a tear to your eye.
I thoroughly recommend this film for acting, writing and incredible story telling. Four out of five stars.
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Book Review: Fallen - Lauren Kate

First published in Great Britain by Doubleday,
an imprint of Random House Children's Book.
Doubleday edition published 2009
*** - 3 Stars
 Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar...
The moment Luce looks at Daniel,
she knows she has never felt like this before.
Except she can't shake the feeling that
she has... and with him - a boy she doesn't
remember ever setting eyes on.
Will her attempt to find out why
enlighten her - or destroy her.

Fallen by Lauren Kate is a great casual read.
 I feel like I've been reading so many heavy books recently I needed something to read that wasn't going to require me thinking too hard about what I was reading. This was just the thing.
Although this is an easy read, that does not mean its a bad book. Its reasonably well written with likeable characters and it wasn't too much about teen angst.
I liked the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series but I gave it three stars because some parts where so generic it made me want to stop reading which brought it down from four stars.
Let me know what you though of the book.

Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Film Review: The Imitation Game - Morten Tyldum

28th November 2014 (USA)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Screenplay: Graham Moore
***** - 5 Stars
The Imitation Game directed by Morten Tyldum and screenplay by Graham Moore is a fascinating film about Alan Turing, a mathematician hired to break the Nazi cores including the hardest of all; Enigma.
This, whilst being an amazing film to watch for learning about this incredible man who, in reality saved all our lives, was also hard to watch for many reasons.
Of course, this film is set during the second world war which is still part of our very recent history, but also the treatment of Alan Turing during that time by MI6 was awful to be informed of. However, it needed to be shared. We need to know, be aware and be thankful to the wonderful man who saved our lives and this film helps us to do that. 
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Film Review: Into The Woods - Rob Marshall

8th December 2014 (New York)
Director: Rob Marshall
Screenplay:  James Lapine
**** - 4 Stars
Into The Woods directed by Rob Marshall and screenplay by James Lapine, is a movie adaptation of a play by the same name.
Although I cannot compare this to the musical; as I understand it, it comes across in more or less the same way (theatre and film versions).
I do have to warn you now before you go and see this film, you are in for a long haul; the film being three hours long. This was of no concern to me however, as I love musicals and was happy to watch it but by having friends and family members who do not like lengthy films of content singing, I do feel the need to mention both of these things.
Into The Woods is a movie musical following many fairy-tale characters. The first half of the film sees the stories we know - with a twist!! - of the characters getting their happy endings. The second half of the film focuses on what happens after 'happily ever after'.
I have to say, when I was watching this film, it wasn't immediately obvious that it was made by Disney (in the best way possible). This film is a little darker than your average Disney film and it reminded me more of the Brothers Grimm versions (mainly due to cinematography).
There have been a few Disney films which have been like this recently which has been refreshing. Unlike Maleficent, the stories haven't been dramatically altered from the ones we know and love.
I really enjoyed this film.
Let me know what you thought.
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review: The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

A Bantam Book
First published 1400
First Bantam Edition - May 1964
*** - 3 Stars
 Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer's THE CANTERBURY TALES is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held special appeal for each generation of readers. The TALES gather twenty-nine of literatures most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society. From the exhalted Knight to the humble Plowman.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a selection of stories that show the in's and out's of medieval society.
I gave this book three stars because, unless you have some relatively good knowledge of European history - especially Roman history - you are going to struggle with this book. It is no easy read and you have to be rather committed to get through it. The other thing is, how it's written. One of the things that puts people off reading Classics is the language and sentence structure. Considering we speak no where near as formally and proper as they did say.... back in Austen's time, the way the books are written can make them appear intimidating.
However, this is a whole new level of intimidating. This book was written in medieval times so the language is so unlike modern English, it is laughable. Thank goodness for the modern English translation! (Although, this is still considerably difficult to follow.)
A good book; I enjoyed learning about medieval society. Their views on women's and men's roles within society were very interesting. It brought Emma Watson's feminism speech to the forefront of my mind!
If you've read this, let me know what you thought.

Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Film Review: Easy Virtue - Stephan Elliott

7th November 2008 (UK)
Director: Stephan Elliott
Screenplay: Sheridan Jobbins, Stephan Elliott
*** - 3 Stars
Easy Virtue directed by Stephan Elliott is a comedy set in the 1930's. When the son of a rich family elopes with an American race-car driver, the family do everything in their power to drive her away.
Its hard to know what to make of this film. It was funny in places and well acted but it was a bit... messy in terms of how it was put together. I wasn't quite sure what to think. I found all the characters ghastly and that ruined it for me a little.
Three stars for bewilderment and indecision.
Let me know your thoughts if you watched it.
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Empty Pockets: New and Selected Short Stories* | Dale Herd

Empty Pockets: New and Selected Short Stories*
Coffee House Press
Release Date: 10th February 2015
Pre-Order now
**** - 4 stars
This is such a great book. It's full of well written short stories that make you think about life and the world and view it in a different way. Empty Pockets is a great coffee table book; something you can just have on your coffee table and people can flick through and read any stories they want. The stories are fantastic. There's something about each and every story that has you hooked every time.
Dale Herd puts the world into words in a most brilliant way and I loved reading all of them. The stories in the book spanning 30-40 years and having such diversity and show the world at the time each story was written. It's magical how Herd manages to do that so easily!! I think the most brilliant thing about this book is that all these are short stories. 
If you're someone who can never find the time to read a full book, this is perfect. It gives you the chance to read without committing to a three hundred and something page book. It also means you can just flick through the book and pick and choose which stories to read.
 I highly recommend this book!! 4/5 stars for Dale Herd!!
 Pre-order now on Amazon!!
 It's released 10th February 2015!!
Let me know what you think down below!
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Book Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Published by the Penguin Group
First published 1865
 Published in Penguin Classics 1998
Published as a Pocket Penguin Classic 2006
**** - 4 Stars
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is such a lovely little book. Although it is only a short story, it is highly enjoyable and the shortness only adds to the appeal of the book. I recommend this if you have been reading a lot of books or heavy books in the past few weeks - as you might well have been, considering Christmas has just passed! It is a light, refreshing book in between all those big reads you might have had so far this year. I read this book in between reading a lot of heavy books back in November (as many of these reviews have been written ahead of time for you), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I felt like I needed a bit of a break from some of the heavier stuff I have been reading recently but did not want to stop reading completely and lose my momentum. So, I decided this would be the perfect thing to slot in.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a beautifully written story and creates a beautiful little world inside your head full of many peculiar and wonderful things. The writing is wonderful and the characters and story are all wonderfully weird and light-hearted enough to make this an enjoyable read whilst still having enough weight to make them memorable and iconic characters.
The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is probably because I am far too familiar with the story and I have never read the book before! Growing up, there have been many film adaptations of this book that I have been sat before and I think those films have somewhat ruined the reading experience for me as I knew the story inside out.
I do adore this book, however, and I heartily encourage you to read it.

*      *      *
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Harry Potter Tag | LaraluBooks

Favourite Book
My favourite book would have to be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

 Favourite movie
My favourite movie is actually the second one which I know a lot of people don't like but I love it so...

 Least favourite book
Least favourite book would probably have to be the first one. I just feel like it is just setting the story up and the other books are just jam packed full of stuff.

 Parts of the books/movies that made you cry
Umm... obviously when everyone dies in the films. And yes I mean EVERYONE (even Cedric). And pretty much the same for the books only Dumbledore's death didn't make me cry in the book. The funeral did.
Oh! And also at the end of the first two (and I think eighth) films when they play that iconic music. Real tear jerker!!

 If you could hook up with any HP character who would it be?
Ohhh... I dunno. Sometimes I think Harry but I'm not entirely sure... Gun to my head, I'd say Harry.

 Favourite character
Umm... I think I'd have to say Ron. He's just amazingly funny and Rupert Grint did a great job playing him in the films.

 What would your Patronus be?
I'm not sure. You're not really supposed to know are you? It just is what it is. I think if I could choose though, I'd like to think it'd be something like a bunny rabbit.
Rabbit: self-sacrifice, humility, family. Rabbit people tend to be soft-spoken and non self-assertive. The symbol of the rabbit is strongly tied to the cycle of life, fertility, death and resurrection. The rabbit is also a symbol of luck, health and clear- sightedness.

 If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or the Elder Wand which one would you choose?
Well... I don't think I would want the resurrection stone. That would cause more harm than good. I wouldn't want the Elder wand because I'm not really interested in being powerful. I suppose it would have to be the cloak. Although, I'm not sure I would use that very much either.

 What House would you be in?
This is a hard one. I know I wouldn't like Slytherin and I don't think I'd want to be in Ravenclaw. I'm torn between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.

 IF you could meet any member of the cast who would it be?
Oh my gosh... this s SUCH a hard question to answer. I think it would have to be Helena Bonham Carter because I love Bellatrix and I'd love to talk to her about her portrayal of the character. 

 Have you played any of the video games?
Yes, I have Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Nintendo DS.

 IF you were on the Quiddich team which position would you play?
I like to think I'd be good as a seeker but I would have a go at being a chaser too.

 Were you happy with the ending?
Hahaha.. no not entirely but there was never any way that everyone was going to be completely happy with how it ended so I don't mind the ending.

 How much does Harry Potter mean to you?
Harry Potter was my childhood. I literally grew up reading the books and watching the films so there is a great deal of sentimentality for me that goes with Harry Potter. I adore it. 
So, there we have it. I know you were probably expecting another book/film review but I feel like I do them a little too often sometimes and you never really get to learn anything about me. So, I thought I would do the Harry Potter tag this week and you can learn a little more about me and my interests.
Please feel free to do the tag yourself down below and I will look through them and we can all be a little geeky for a bit. ☺
I hope you had a lovely week and carry on having a lovely week and I'll see you same time next week for a book review.
Lots of love, Lara xx

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Book Review: Photography of Natural Things | Freeman Patterson

*** - 3 stars
I do like The Photography of natural things by Freeman Patterson, however, there should be a disclaimer that this is more of an academic book focusing more of the logistics of photography instead of being a book on natural photography.
There are different 'areas' that Patterson focuses on and some examples of his work and then talking about the photograph on display. However, most people buy photography books/books on photography for the photographs and to explore other photographers' work whether out of curiosity or to find inspiration for their own work.
A lot of people have said that this book is a rip of but I disagree. It completely depends on what you are buying a photography book for. It does say on the back of the book that it 'teaches readers how to photograph a full spectrum of natural subjects' and so, I feel it should be expected that there be more writing than pictures in this book.
If you've read this book please let me know in the comments what you thought of it and whether you agree.
Lots of love, Lara xx