Share this page on

orange Status orange (Level 6/10)

laurahartleyy

laurahartleyy

Trusted by 35 members
See member statistics

I'm a blogger from London, studying at Oxford University and interning in Paris! Check out my blog for even more reviews of books, films and lifestyle articles: www.whats--hot.net. :) All my reviews are posted there first :)

Reviews written

since 07/06/2011

246

The Good Wife Season 2 (Dvd) 21/09/2016

The Good Wife Season 2: Slow Start, Exciting End

The Good Wife Season 2 (Dvd) A few days ago I posted my review of The Good Wife Season 1 (click here to read it) and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve already completed Season 2. Yes that was another 23 episodes in two days, but it’s the holidays, don’t judge me! My initial plan to only watch this series whilst at the gym (thus encouraging me to workout) has gone out the window and flown far, far away. Good riddance. For those of you that don’t know anything about The Good Wife, it is a US legal drama centred around junior associate Alicia Florrick. At the beginning of season 1, her husband, the State Attorney, was sentenced to prison and she was forced to find work. She juggles her new career with being a mother and is an all round bad-ass woman. In the second season of The Good Wife, the focus at home is Peter Florrick’s campaign to be re-elected as State Attorney after he is released from prison. At work, much is the same. New cases, new disputes, with the added addition of lots of internal warring between lawyers and partners. In terms of how the series is structured, it is very similar to Season one. Each episode brings with it a new case and a new problem but there are also some exciting story arcs that run from episode one all the way to episode twenty-three. I feel like the focus shifted slightly in this season to focus less on Alicia and more on certain other key supporting characters. In some cases, this worked, in others it really didn’t. We find out a lot more about the mysterious Kalinda ...

The Good Wife - Series 1 (DVD) 12/07/2016

The Good Wife Season 1 is a stunning TV debut

The Good Wife - Series 1 (DVD) The Good Wife follows the story of Alicia Florrick, wife of the Cook County Illinois State Attorney, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth). Following her husband’s notorious political corruption and sex scandal, which lands Peter in prison, Alicia must work hard to rebuild a life for her and her two teenage children. An old friend, Will Gardner, hires her as a junior associate at his firm, Lockhart and Gardner, where Alicia has 6 months to compete with the younger junior associate, Cary Agos (Matt Czhuchry), for a permanent position. Each episode follows the same sort of framework: a new case with some sort of home drama on the side. There are some story arcs which run throughout the entire season but each new episode brings fresh drama with it and you’re never sure what you’re going to get next. The legal cases that Alicia works on are hugely varied, which is partly what makes the show so interesting. From divorce to life insurance to murder, all these cases test the moral compasses of the characters involved and there’s always a twist half-way through to throw everything you thought you knew out the window. The protagonist, Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, is the character who really makes the show great. For anyone thinks that Mrs Florrick is, as the title would suggest, merely a ‘good wife’, you could not be further from the truth. Instead of choosing to play the victim after her husband’s scandal, she throws herself in the deep end, reigniting her legal career. ...

Me Before You (DVD) 13/06/2016

Me Before You Review: Not a Dry Eye in Sight

Me Before You (DVD) Fans of Jojo Moyes’ bestselling novel have been waiting years for the film release of Me Before You but it’s finally here. When people ask me what my favourite book is, Me Before You is always one of the titles mentioned (see review here). I have never read another book that wrenched my heart out the way this story did and I cried for hours after this story finished. It’s the sort of story that leaves you thinking about it for days afterwards and led me to do lots of research about the themes discussed such as paralysis and others I won’t give away. I’d describe it as The Fault in Our Stars for adults, but way, way better. Me Before You begins when Louisa Clarke is made redundant. Money is tight for her family so she immediately takes herself off to the job centre to find something new to do and rather unexpectedly ends up hired by the wealthy Traynor family to care for their quadriplegic son, Will. At first, things are very difficult with him. Will used to be very successful, wealthy banker before he was involved in a motorbike accident two years prior that left him paralysed from the chest down. He is cynical and bitter but gradually Lou’s cheer and persistence wear him down and Will starts to enjoy parts of life again. Both lives are irrevocably changed by their meeting – but how? Just one day after release we can see that the critics have given this film a rating of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes but audiences have ranked it at 85%. This is the sort of film that critics were ...

He Named Me Malala (DVD) 07/03/2016

He Named Me Malala - A Stunning Documentary

He Named Me Malala (DVD) He Named Me Malala is the moving true story of a teenage girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for advocating women’s education. Malala Yousafzai is an exceptional young girl and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, becoming the youngest Nobel Peace laureate ever. She is a human rights activist, fighting for women everywhere to be given access to a good education and continues to speak at major international events relating to these issues. She has met with world leaders from all over the globe and released a book about her story in 2013. The documentary starts off with a bit of backstory to Malala’s name. Weirdly, Malala was actually named after a woman named Malalai of Maiwand who was a warrior from from Afghanistan that died for her cause so it’s almost as if she were destined to do great things from birth. He Named me Malala is very well made mixing interviews with Malala’s family with anecdotes from her life as well as factual information about the attack made on her and all the good things she has done in this world. There are moments of happiness mixed with scenes that depict that harsh reality of her terrible plight. Sometimes Malala is in front of the camera, sometimes she has voiced over scenes and there are these beautiful animated sequences throughout that help to illustrate what they could not get footage of. The accompanying music is also lovely and adds an extra layer of poignancy to this extraordinary tale. It is not until the very end of the ...

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard 06/03/2016

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is not one to miss!

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard Red Queen, one of the most hyped books of 2015, still indeed in 2016, is undoubtedly the newest craze in the world of young adult literature. First published on the 10th February 2015, this book is still making waves on bookstagram and still drawing in new readers and rereaders. I absolutely hate hyped books, afraid to read them in case they fail to live up to expectations, but also afraid to miss out on something great. In the case of Red Queen, I regret to say that I missed out on something great. Victoria Aveyard has created a world in which people are divided by their blood. Reds are seen as commoners and the Silvers rule. The latter are also born with superpowers, thus equality is nonexistent and most believe that it will remain that way forever. The story centres around Mare, a Red girl who is given the chance to work as a servant in the Silver Palace, but what at first seems like a great opportunity, turns into something of a nightMare (sorry, couldn’t resist). It turns out that Mare is no ordinary Red. She has powers too, powers that the Silvers are very afraid of and confused about. Mare’s powers threaten to upset the balance of power in the Kingdom as a mutation in her blood has given her the same, if not more powerful, superpowers than the Silvers. Panicked, the Silvers turn her into a long-lost Silver princess, hiding her true heritage, but keeping her where they can see her. Mare soon discovers the Scarlet Guard, a militant resistance group, and secretly joins ...

These Days Are Ours - Michelle Haimoff 03/03/2016

Tries to fuse Gossip Girl and Girls but ultimately falls short

These Days Are Ours - Michelle Haimoff Review first published on http://whats--hot.net These Days Are Ours is a coming of age drama about Hailey, a recent graduate who is living at home with her parents (in their Fifth Avenue penthouse), trying to find a job and figure her life out. It is set in New York, six months after the 9/11 attacks . Of course her friends all seem to have their lives sorted out with Katie working at Morgan Stanley, Randy and Jess partying all night long – but Hailey is looking for more than that. She’s sure that Michael Brenner is the one for her but it doesn’t seem to be working out, so when Adrian, a recent Brown graduate, comes along, she begins to realise that there is a life outside of the privileged circle she has been sheltered in her entire life. Although These Days Are Ours has a very fun and colourful cover, the story inside is anything but. I thought this would be a fun summer read, but in actual fact I don’t think I smiled at all whilst reading this story. It’s actually more about the disenchantment felt by privileged youngsters in New York, and the lack of motivation after a major terrorist attack. I suppose Haimoff succeeded in capturing those things because I felt ‘disenchanted’ pretty much the whole way through. There isn’t much of a story to this novel; it’s a snapshot of Hailey’s life as she tries to figure out who she really is without her parent’s names and what she wants in life. Whilst her opinions on life and the world develop for the better over the course of the ...

Holybelly, Paris 12/11/2015

Holybelly - The best brunch in Paris

Holybelly, Paris Holybelly is a located in the 10th arrondissement near the Canal St Martin, which is well known for attracting Parisian hipsters. Walking up the road towards Holybelly there are lots of other trendy places on the same road but none of these places have quite the same reputation. I kept walking and eventually I found the pavement blocked by a gaggle of people waiting outside what looked like a small cafe. I’d found Holybelly. It didn’t look like there was any sort of orderly queue so I was a bit confused as to what to do at first. Then, a classic American hipster stepped out and shouted out a few names. These were the lucky few who could enter. At this point I was thinking that I should probably just leave and find somewhere else to eat but seeing as my friends still hadn’t arrived, I put my name down on the waitlist anyway. I was told that the wait would be a little over an hour. Ergh. Would it really be worth it? There was quite a lot of hype even outside Holybelly with lots of English speakers talking about the amazing reviews they’d read online and so on and so forth. Most of the people outside seemed to be foreigners or tourists so I assume real Parisians know when to come to avoid the crowds – or maybe there are always crowds. After waiting for an hour, my name was finally called! We were seated a long table at the back with lots of other people and handed menus. Of course the menus come on clipboards. How else would hipsters do it? There’s a wide range of yummy brunch ...

Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella 05/11/2015

A slightly different Shopaholic story but fun all the same!

Shopaholic to the Rescue - Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic to the Rescue is the latest book in Sophie Kinsella’s best selling Shopaholic series. This time Becky is galavanting around the West Coast of America, trying to find her Dad and her best friend’s husband, who have gone off on a secret mission together. After Becky’s behaviour in LA, Suze is no longer speaking to her and has become best friends with Alicia (a total bitch). Her Dad refuses to tell his family what he’s up to and Suze’s husband, Tarkie, refuses to contact Suze at all. They know that this mission has something to do with setting something from the past right but they have no idea what it could be and are all very worried about the pair. They follow a trail from what they know of Becky’s dad’s past but all leads end up being dead ends. As per usual, Becky has a plan… I’ve only read the first book in the Shopaholic series so I was a little worried about diving in again at book number eleven. Yes, there are a grand total of eleven books in the Shopaholic series so far. The great thing about this series is that you can pick up any book at random and read it as a standalone novel. There were occasional references in Shopaholic to the Rescue to things that had occurred in the previous book but these were minor details, all of which had been seamlessly integrated into this story and properly explained without detracting from the new story in any way. This means that existing and new fans of Rebecca Bloomwood can enjoy this story, which can’t be said for a lot ...

House of Windows - Alexia Casale 29/10/2015

Beautiful writing and a beautiful story

House of Windows - Alexia Casale What attracted me to House of Windows was the fact that it’s a book set at Cambridge university and I’m always curious about the way that Oxbridge is portrayed in literature and on screen. This portrayal can often be skewed or very stereotypical, as in films such as The Riot Club, so I was curious to read Casale’s interpretation, particularly as she actually attended the university herself. This book is about Nick, a fifteen year old boy who is admitted to Cambridge. Nick didn’t fit in at school but he finds socialising at Cambridge even harder given that he’s 15, well below the drinking age, and smarter than his tutorial partners. He joins the rowing team as a cox and things seem to be going well, but of course it wasn’t meant to last… The book I read before this was Luckiest Girl Alive, a book in which there are no likeable characters and no one you can really relate to. I found the complete opposite in House of Windows. This book is all about character; much more so than plot. The protagonist, Nick, is a smart arse. He insists again and again that he’s not a genius, he just works hard and he isn’t satisfied that his work is graded with greek letters instead of percentages. At first you find you find him a little irritating, but then you get to know Nick better, you understand where he’s come from and how he’s got to where he is today and you start to feel for him. His Dad is never around and he finds it difficult to make friends so he works very hard to keep himself ...

Magnitone BareFaced Cleansing Brush 28/10/2015

Are you ready to go BareFaced? Magnitone - a great sonic cleanser

Magnitone BareFaced Cleansing Brush What is Magnitone BareFaced? Magnitone BareFaced is a Vibra-Sonic daily cleansing brush that empties out pores and tones skin. In just one minute a day, your skin is left feeling super clean and firm. What’s in the Box: – Two Mode Vibra-Sonic™ Facial Brush – Wireless USB Travel Charger – Splashproof Travel Pouch – Active Clean Brush Head – 12 Month Warranty – MyMagnitone Membership So how do I use the Magnitone BareFaced? I aim to use Magnitone once a day, usually in the morning to really wake myself up! I’m also usually very late for work so giving my face a once over with the Magnitone BareFaced gives me really clean skin without any faff. It’s incredibly simple to use – first, I wet my face with warm water, then I apply my cleanser all over my face, then you wet the brush and off you go! I use Estee Lauder’s cream cleanser (a non-foaming one) and that seems to go pretty well with this routine. You’re supposed to use this on your cheeks, T-zone and neck area but I tend to skip this last one out and spend the extra time working around any areas of the face I’ve missed. When I go to bed I use St Ives Apricot scrub for a deep cleanse and I find that the this routine works fairly well for keeping my skin soft and blemish free. There is also a toning option and sometimes every couple of days I use this setting instead. The vibrations are much more jagged and you can really feel it working your skin, which is why I don’t believe in using this setting too often. A workout ...

Drown - Esther Dalseno 27/10/2015

A little mermaid retelling - but much darker than you'd imagine

Drown - Esther Dalseno For those of you that don’t know the true story of the little mermaid, that is Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, you will probably be very shocked by Drown. Drown is a Little Mermaid re-telling but not the kind that involves singing crabs and fishy friends. Drown is the dark tale of a little mermaid and the sacrifices she makes for the human prince that she is in love with. This story takes us back to the origins of the mermaids and how they came to be. I always get very excited about fairy-tale retellings and Drown was no different. As soon as I read the synopsis of this story, I was excited for a darker retelling of my favourite Disney movie and Dalseno’s tale does not disappoint. The author has created a unique backstory to this troubling tale. In this world, mermaids have hearts that do not beat and they do not feel emotions. The royal mermaids gorge themselves on lavish food each day, whilst many others in the kingdom struggle to survive. They are the vainest creatures on earth, constantly looking in the mirror and thinking that they are each the most beautiful. That is, apart from the youngest mermaid princess. She’s always known that she’s a little different to her sisters, her face occasionally betraying emotions that mermaids supposedly do not have anymore. When she takes a trip to the surface of the ocean she is enchanted by the human world, but mostly a human prince, and upon her return she makes a deal with the dreaded sea witch and trades her fins for ...

Laundrapp (iPhone Application) 22/10/2015

"The Future of Laundry & Dry Cleaning Starts Here"

Laundrapp (iPhone Application) I’m sure that many of you out there, just like me, hate doing your laundry. I bet you want someone else to do it for you (probably your mum), and now that Laundrapp exists, you don’t have to. Laundrapp is a laundry service that collects and delivers your laundry for you. Here’s a breakdown of how it works: So how does Laundrapp work? First you’ve got to figure out whether you actually live in the right area. Laundrapp currently only operates in London, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Simply enter your postcode on their website to see if you are eligible. If you are lucky enough to live in an area in which they operate, then it’s really very simple. You download the app to your smartphone, pick which items you want to be washed, pick a time for your dirty to laundry to be picked up from your house, and then pick a time for your clean laundry to be delivery back to you. It really is as simple as that. Who is it aimed at? Laundrapp is aimed at those who either can’t be bothered to do their laundry, or those that simply don’t have the time i.e. students, businessmen/women, or people who are just plain lazy. What do they offer? Laundrapp offers numerous different services and packages to suit a range of laundry-needs. For general laundry, you can get a bag (up to 8kg!), washed at 30 degrees, tumble dried and delivered back to you, all for £15. Laundrapp are very specific about the sort of care that they give to different items of clothing and different material so you’ll find ...

Look Who's Back - Timur Vermes 20/10/2015

A book about Hitler? That's funny?

Look Who's Back - Timur Vermes I’d seen a lot of hype about Look Who’s Back on Instagram so when I finally walked past it in Foyles, I had to buy it. Translated from German, Look Who’s Back is the story of a world in which Hitler exists again. Hitler wakes up in 2011, having inexplicably time travelled from the 1940s. He has no recollection of the end of the war and is incredibly confused by modern Berlin. He is recognised instantly by those he crosses but nobody takes him seriously and they think his political rants are all a joke. It’s not long before he’s a YouTube star with his own television programme and a worrying number of fans. Timur Vernes presents readers with a satirical story that tackles the most taboo of subjects: Adolf Hitler. He has created a character who is absolutely ridiculous, downright hilarious at times, that somehow manages to turn himself into a celebrity. Whilst most of the things that Hitler says are outrageous, some of the comments he makes about modern society are shockingly accurate and force you to take a step back and reconsider today’s world. Obviously Hitler doesn’t understand modern technology or society and this lack of comprehension means that he gives us a fresh perspective on items and customs that we are all very familiar with today. The world as a whole is obsessed with the internet, social media and celebrities and these are all important themes in Look Who’s Back. Something to note is that it is incredibly difficult to translate humour. As a languages student ...

Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll 08/10/2015

Not quite Gone Girl, but still very good

Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll Luckiest Girl Alive is the story of quite the opposite – TifAni FaNelli had a rough start in life to say the least. When we are first introduced to her, she is planning her wedding to a rich blue-bood, working at a top women’s magazine in New York and she seems like she’s living the dream life. However, it soon becomes apparent that that is not the case at all. Ani doesn’t come from a wealthy or prestigious family but is born to an incredibly ambitious mother. Ani gains a scholarship to a top private school but things aren’t at all plain sailing. Ani is hiding demons from the past but they’re about to be brought to the surface again in a new documentary about her school. Ani finally has the chance to share her side of the story to a shocking incidence that took place when she was a teenager but it could cause everything that she has built for herself since to crumble down. Ani (pronounced Ah-nee) is quite a character. On the surface it looks like she has it all but her bitchy internal monologue make it apparent that she’s something quite different on the inside. At first you think she’ll a superficial bitch, then you’ll read more about her and realise that she’s actually quite vulnerable, but then you keep reading and you start to get confused as to whether she’s actually still just a superficial bitch. She’s a tough character to figure out and I’m sure everyone who’s read the book will have slightly different opinions on her but I personally thought she was an awful ...

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell 19/09/2015

Good but not great - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell. One of the most hyped books of 2013, and was it worth it? Worth the read? Definitely yes. Worth all the hype? Probably not. Fangirl is the story of Cath who’s moving away from home and going to college with her twin sister Wren. Cath and Wren (Catherine, geddit?) have been inseparable since birth, sharing a room and doing absolutely everything together. Where Wren goes – Cath goes. They’ve always been a package deal, but that’s all about to change. Although they’re off to the same college, Wren decided it was time to spend some time apart and is sharing a room with a complete stranger, forcing Cath to do the same. Cath is a massive nerd. She loves Simon Snow (ahem, Harry Potter), and spent most of her high school years writing fan fiction under the name ‘Magicath’. Being at college doesn’t change that and Cath refuses to let go of her Simon Snow obsession. Wren has always been the sociable twin, with Cath preferring to curl up in her bedroom reading books and writing fanfic but whilst she desperately tries to resist growing up at college, of course, a boy comes along to change that. Fangirl is the story of Cath growing up and settling into her first year of college – navigating new friends, new relationships and a new environment. Cath is probably a pretty accurate description of most people reading Fangirl (or at least what fangirls claim to be like). She’d rather be alone in her room, reading a good book, than making out with guys and getting drunk ...
See more reviews Back to top