Category Archives: Review

#60Books Review 2/2016: Doctor Who – The Angel’s Kiss by Justin Richards & “Melody Malone”

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A sci-fi novel.

Doctor Who – The Angel’s Kiss was written by Justin Richards, but – to tie in with the show – Melody Malone was named as author.

Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT the same book as the one River Song reads from in the episode The Angels Take Manhattan.

The story follows Melody Malone, private detective. She gets a visit from a film star called Rock Railton, who believes he is to be killed. Melody gets on the case after he mentions “the kiss of an angel,” and puts herself in danger during her investigations.

Even though this is a Doctor Who tie-in story, the Doctor does not feature in this story. This is one of Melody’s cases, told from Melody’s point of view.

It’s a nice enough story, and the audiobook version read by Alex Kingston – who plays River Song aka Melody Malone on the show – is very intriguing. Alex Kingston uses her sultry River Song voice with a bit of an American twang – the story is set in the US after all – and it fits very well with that old-time Hollywood period and charm the story is based in. That being said, this is NOT a story featuring River Song – this story is all about Melody Malone, the female no-nonsense private detective with killer heels and drop-dead gorgeous red lipstick.

It’s a cool detective story as a standalone. It’s got girl power, 1930’s charm, and a supernatural mystery (the only thing that really ties it in to the show). Unfortunately though, the supposedly bad-ass protagonist is limited by 1930’s gender roles and perceptions. It’s a good story, but could have been better.

Rating: ♥♥♥

#60Books Review 1/2016: Doctor Who – Sleepers In The Dust by Darren Jones

Read as part of my 60 Books Challenge: A book based on a TV show.

Doctor Who: Sleepers in the Dust is an audiobook written by Darren Jones, and narrated by Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams).

The story is told from Rory Williams’ point of view. The 11th Doctor and the Ponds land on the planet Nadurniss, which is under quarantine. The planet had been deserted years ago, but a Nadurni-Human expedition recently returned – only to get infected with age-old bacteria that had been waiting in the dust.

With Amy in danger, it’s up to her Boys, Rory and the Doctor, to figure out what is going on.

The story itself works on a fairly basic premise, and as it’s Doctor Who, there’s a lot of timey-wimey stuff going on. What really makes this audiobook worth listening to is Arthur Darvill. While his Scottish impression of Amy needs a bit more work, his impression of Matt Smith’s Doctor is spot-on. Rory is his usual reluctant hero self, bumbling along as the voice of reason.

It’s definitely an enjoyable story for Doctor Who fans, made even better by Arthur Darvill’s narration.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Charming Restoration piece – The Beaux’ Stratagem at National Theatre, London

Simon Godwin’s production of The Beaux’ Stratagem brings new life into the town of Lichfield in the year 1707.

One night, Aimwell (Samuel Barnett) and Archer (Geoffrey Streatfeild), brothers and “gentlemen of broken fortune” appear at the doors of the inn in Lichfield. In the guise of master and servant, they claim that Aimwell is an aristocrat looking for a wife worthy of his status. Their plan to get rich quickly is to find wealthy heiresses, steal the money and get out of town before anyone sees them.

Dorinda (Pippa Bennett-Warner) and Mrs. Sullen (Susannah Fielding) ©Manuel Harlan
Dorinda (Pippa Bennett-Warner) and Mrs. Sullen (Susannah Fielding) ©Manuel Harlan

In Lichfield, they’ve set their sights on charming Dorinda (Pippa Bennett-Warner), who seems to fall for their spiel falls in love with Aimwell. Her unhappy-in-love sister-in-law Mrs. Sullen (Susannah Fielding) is smitten by Archer’s charms.

The beaux: Geoffrey Streatfeild as Archer and Samuel Barnett as Aimwell. ©Manuel Harlan
The beaux: Geoffrey Streatfeild as Archer and Samuel Barnett as Aimwell. ©Manuel Harlan

Fielding gives a frank but heartfelt performance, advocating divorce during a time when this was still a social stigma. Written by George Farquhar in 1707, The Beaux’ Stratagem touches on social aspects that are still relevant today. The play is broken up with songs and dances, ranging from merry to silly, all accompanied by live musicians on stage.

The Beaux’ Stratagem makes for a merry night, and proves to be a charming and funny Restoration romp.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


If We Were Having Coffee… On August 15

Hello my lovelies!

Welcome to this week’s Weekend Coffee Share! How are you? I’m alright, back from my travels, though wishing I was still on the road.

I’ve been feeling the post-travel slump this week and it’s hit me hard. I got back from London on Sunday night.

If we were having coffee today, I’d first of all tell you that I am busy preparing for next week. On Wednesday, Canadian wholesome chef Doris Fin from Feed Your Bliss will visit me, and she’ll put on a vegan & raw food cooking class on Friday that I’m helping to organise.

Several years ago, I got to know Doris as she kindly volunteered to write for my travel magazine Shoestring. So she contributed pieces about eating raw food while on the road, and how to relax muscles while travelling, and we’ve stayed in touch. So next week, we’ll finally meet in person! I just know she’ll cook up a storm, and I’m really curious what she’ll dish up!

The cooking class is on Friday, August 21, from 5pm till late at Naturfreundehaus Solingen-Theegarten. Fee: €40 but this includes all fresh and local ingredients and the meal we’ll prepare and share together.

We’ve got limited space left, so if you want to participate please get in touch with me beforehand.

Continue reading If We Were Having Coffee… On August 15

Drama, Romance and a Comedy Genius: Three Days In The Country at the National Theatre, London

The tag-line for Patrick Marber’s Three Days In The Country looks so simple: Summer Love.  But the play, which is a shorter version of Ivan SergeyevitchTurgenev’s A Month In the Country and currently playing at the National Theatre (Lyttelton Theatre), is so much more than a simple romance.

Set on a Russian country estate, in the mid-nineteenth century, this play explores love and lust in all its forms from unrequited to forbidden, and finds comedy in everyday life.

Continue reading Drama, Romance and a Comedy Genius: Three Days In The Country at the National Theatre, London