Posted in blog post, books, booktube, related to a vlog post

Tome Topple Wrap Up

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At the time of writing this, Tome Topple has been over for two days, and quite frankly, I’m exhausted!

I didn’t think I could be so tired out from reading books, but it turns out, tomes take a lot of energy to read, which is probably why I usually avoid them like the plague.

But, what did I end up reading in the end?

Well, I managed to read:

  • American Gods
  • 68% of Strange The Dreamer
  • 80 pages of The Beast Player
  • 75 pages of The Last Magician
  • 65 pages of Blame

Which, quite frankly, was more than I was expecting to. In my TBR video, I said that I wished to read at least 2/3 books in the two weeks. Looking back, I realised that that was being a bit too overambitious for my first Tome Topple, maybe after becoming a seasoned Tome Toppler, but for a complete newbie? Not a chance.

So, even though I didn’t reach my target, I’m still very happy with my numbers. I got American Gods off my TBR, which was the book I was most intimidated by on my bookshelf. I started a couple of other books, which I decided were either not for me, or just not right for me at the time, and then I got most of the way through Strange The Dreamer.

But what did I think of the books I read/nearly finished?

I’ll start with American Gods, as I finished that one.

I have to admit, I was quite nervous about this book at first. The reviews are Goodreads prove that it is very much a ‘marmite’ book – you either love it, or you absolutely hate it. There is no in-between. I’ve had tutors who’ve hated it and DNF’d it, I’ve got friends who pushed me into reading it because they loved it so much. I was so nervous that I was going to hate this book, that I was going to find it confusing, that it was going to be too big for me to cope with, that I just was not going to like it for the many reasons others haven’t.

I needn’t have worried.

Saying that I loved this book would be an understatement. I adored it, I devoured it, I savoured every word. It was a fantastic read, another book that proves the genius that is Neil Gaiman. I’m so glad that I picked it up, despite not actually putting it on my TBR for this readathon.

I fell in love with Shadow from the first page, was intrigued by Wednesday, and totally enthralled by the cast of incredible characters. I couldn’t put the book down, I was obsessed and into it within seconds.

The amount of thought and planning that went into this book I cannot praise enough. Neil Gaiman has said that he spent years writing this book, and it shows. No stone is left unturned, no major culture ignored, no plot point left unresolved.

It was a fascinating read, one I cannot stop thinking about. The Gods featured were from every culture I could think of, the various creatures involved were intriguing and weaved into the story perfectly. The plot twist nearly gave me whiplash, I did not see it coming at all!

All in all, I gave American Gods a solid 5 stars. I cannot recommend it enough, it was truly a fantastic read.

Strange The Dreamer

While I have not finished this book, what I can say about it, is that the writing is beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I read such a beautifully written book, with such fantastic description and gorgeous world building.

I loved Lazlo from the get-go, he reminds me a lot of myself. I’ve forever got my nose stuck in a book, and I’m always known for dreaming of impossible scenarios. If only my impossible dreams came true like they do for Lazlo!

Seeing as I haven’t finished this book yet, I can’t give it a star rating, or a full review, but I’m hoping to finish the book by the end of the month so I can give a full review then.

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All in all, I had a great time during Tome Topple, I’d definitely do it again! Thanks to all the hosts for running such a wonderful readathon!

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Posted in blog post, books, checklist

Summer TBR

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I don’t usually set myself a TBR for an entire season, but I’ve been inspired, thanks to a rather massive rest-of-year-TBR, and several booktubers making videos, so without further ado, let’s get into my first ever Summer TBR!

Disclaimer: All of these are sci-fi and fantasy, I’m not a contemporary kind of girl or a reader of ‘summery books,’ so this is basically just a list of ‘lighter’ books in my possession which count as Summer reads for me.

  1.  This book has been on my shelf for so long I actually had forgotten it was even there. It was only when I saw a trailer for the movie adaption, that I suddenly remembered that I owned this book. It’s described as X-Men meets The Hunger Games, and as a massive X-Men fan, I cannot put this off for any longer!
  2.  Masque is Beauty And The Beast meets a murder mystery and has been sitting on my Kindle for at least a year, gathering digital dust. Now, I want to change that. I’ve got so many retellings to read, but this one is being prioritised because there’s something in the synopsis that just says ‘Summer’ to me. Maybe it’s the ballroom setting, maybe it’s because I associate Beauty And The Beast with Summer, despite the castle’s snowy setting. Either way, this is very high up my list of Summer reads.
  3.  I will eventually shut up about wanting to read The Beast’s Heart, but today is not that day. I’ve waited years to read this book, and now that I finally own it, I’m not going to put it off for much longer. I physically can’t. I love Beauty And The Beast, and this is the classic story, told from the Beast’s point of view, how can I possibly put off reading this for much longer?
  4.  Keeping with the fairy tale theme, I also want to give Language Of Thorns a go. I loved the Six Of Crows duology, recently finished Crooked Kingdom in fact. I loved both, and while I’m not entirely endeared towards the Grisha trilogy, I still want more from this world. What better way than to read the fairy tales the characters grew up with? Also, this is a really nice, short book under 300 pages long, which will make for a nice break from the tomes I’ve been reading recently for Tome Topple.
  5.  I’ll also eventually shut up about Skulduggery Pleasant and wanting to continue the series, but really, I won’t until I get round to finishing it. Or at least catching up with the new releases and spin-offs. I last picked up a Skulduggery book in October, and it left things on a frankly huge cliffhanger and started introducing a new story for Valkyrie. I need to continue, to find out how she saves Skulduggery, and her journey into becoming a necromancer.
  6.  Supervillains, antiheroes, and murder. Yes, perfect Summer read, right? Probably not for most, but for me, it sounds perfect. I’ve owned Vicious for too long without reading it, and with Vengeful coming out, and the Illumicrate Magic And Mayhem box on pre-order, I am not waiting another year to get to this series. It’s getting it read this Summer, I swear it!
  7.  Luckily for me, I’ve already read the first book in this series, The Lightning Thief, but the rest of the series hasn’t been picked up yet. I would have picked up Sea Of Monsters at the beginning of the month, but then I decided to take part in Tome Topple, so Percy had to be put on hold for a little while. After this week though, I’m free to continue his journey, so I’m getting back into this series. Originally, I was going to only read one book a month, but I’m starting to think that I would rather binge reading the entire thing, so, for now, I’m putting the last four books in the series in my Summer TBR. I’ll see how I go.
  8.  I miss Westworld. It’s been two weeks or something since that explosive finale aired, and quite frankly, I miss the Western setting, the gunslinging, and just about everything to do with it. So what better way to ease that empty hole, than to read a book with a Western setting, featuring a gunslinging, badass girl?
  9.  If you couldn’t tell by Vicious above, I’m a big fan of Victoria’s writing. I’m also a big fan of ghost stories and middle-grade novels. So quite frankly, this is the perfect book for me. I’m horrendously excited for it, so I’m ignoring the snowy setting entirely and reading it the day it comes out, probably still in the middle of this Summer heatwave. Ah well, who cares about setting when there’s a good story to read?

And that is currently my Summer TBR, I’ll probably not stick to this entirely, maybe add a few books on, take a few off depending on my mood. But currently, this is what I want to read throughout the rest of July, August, and September.

What have you guys got on your Summer TBR’s? Tell me down below in the comments!

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Posted in blog post, Marvel, TV

TV Shows I Can’t Wait To Binge Watch

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It’s Summertime, the sun is shining, there’s a heatwave on, school is soon going to be out for those still in education, it’s time to go out and have fun!

Or, if you’re a vampire like me, then it’s time to sit indoors and read all the books and watch all the TV possible.

I’m not an outdoors person in any form, I go outside exclusively for meetings, cinema trips, and shopping. Sometimes, about twice a year, a family event. Other than that, I’m inside, and that’s where I’m happiest.

And, I’ve already spoken about what I’m going to read in this second half of the year.

So, what am I going to be watching?

  1. The Runaways. I know, a Marvel TV series I haven’t watched yet? Shocking! But, now I have the entire series entirely ready for me to watch in the evening, I think I made the right decision on that one!
  2. American Gods. As of the day I’m writing this, I just started reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and while I’m only 75 pages in so far, I’m really enjoying myself. I got the DVD for my birthday, so why not watch the show after I finished the book? Sounds like a plan to me!
  3. The Alienist. Luke Evans and Daniel Bruhl, murder and Victorian mystery, what else do I really need to say? I’m in! I saw the advert while I was on holiday in May, and I’m so excited to start this series, it sounds like a great watch, and the reviews are positive on the whole, who am I to ignore it?
  4. Kick-Ass. Somehow, I’ve only managed to ever watch the same part of the sequel, and read the first comic book. I’ve never seen the sequel the whole way through, let alone watch the first one. This film is exactly the kind of thing I like – gore, violence, Aaron Taylor Johnson, superheroes, how have I slept on this for so long? God knows, but that’s soon going to change, I can feel it.
  5. Now You See Me. Now, this is something I have watched. I love the Now You See Me films, and I’m currently in a big heist-movie mood, after binging the Ocean’s films, in celebration of Ocean’s 8’s release. I may as well continue that trend with Now You See Me, and wait (im)patiently for the third installment to start filming.

And that is my current top picks for summer watching. Of course, I’ll also be rounding off watching the latest seasons of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Lucifer, and Poldark, but the rest of the time, I’m now free to get my teeth stuck into something new. Personally, I can’t wait,  I’ve got so many evenings free now, I may as well use them to get my To Be Watched list down a bit!

What are you guys watching in Summer? Have any good recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments down below!

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Posted in blog post, books, booktube, Doctor Who, tag, youtube

Top 5 Wednesday – Books I Want To Get To By The End Of The Year

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So it’s the middle of the year, and this month’s theme across this blog and my booktube channel have been a reflection on this year’s reading. I’ve talked about my progress with my bookish new year’s resolutions, and done the mid-year book freak out tag:

I briefly mentioned a few books I want to get to by the end of the year, but I thought I’d mention a few more this week.

At the beginning of the year, I made a Goodreads list dedicated to the books I wanted to read in 2018. I’ve moved it around a lot, taken things off, put others on, but on the whole, I’ve stuck to it.

Yet, I haven’t actually gotten to several books I thought I’d have read by now. I’m frankly disappointed in myself, and I’m hoping that this blog post actually shames me into reading them, instead of buggering around with books that aren’t even on my list.

  1. Skulduggery Pleasant Dark Days/Mortal Coil – Derek Landy. 7261549 I genuinely thought I’d have had these two (counted as one) read by now. The previous book, The Faceless Ones, left things on such a cliffhanger, I’m frankly shocked at myself for not picking up Dark Days at the very least by now. Admittedly, it was on this month’s TBR, but family issues made reading a book about necromancy feel a little inappropriate, so I put it off for another day. Next month is a little busy with Tome Topple,  but I’m hoping to get to these during August. September at the latest… I swear.
  2. Masque – W. R. Gingell.                                        29481285 I’m a big fan of Beauty And The Beast, and a huge fan of fairytale retellings, and this has been on my TBR since 2017. Yet I still haven’t picked it up. I’m blaming it on the fact that it’s on my kindle, and has been pushed down the list thanks to recent reads/purchases, so I keep on forgetting that it’s there. But the premise and the reviews say that this book is a must-read for BATB fans, I have to get onto it.
  3. The Jungle Books – Rudyard Kipling.                              41684 I’ve never really cared for The Jungle Book, but then I watched the Disney remake while I was on holiday in May, and then saw the trailer for Andy Serkis’ motion-captured film. I was instantly fascinated by it, watching interviews and such to see where Andy got the dark twist on the story. Turns out that it comes directly from the books, which are dark, brutal and not as Disney-friendly as the classic film. So, I decided to see for myself just how dark the original story was, and bought the book. Yet, I haven’t actually gotten round to reading it this year. In my defense, I am actually planning on reading this closer to the time the film comes out in October/November time, so I’m not exactly behind on reading it… yet.
  4. Gunslinger Girl – Lyndsay Ely.                              I’m a massive Westworld fan, have loved it since the pilot, have come up with theories and everything for the show, so what better book to read, than a western featuring a badass woman, to get over the hole the show has left in my heart? Of course, the show only just finished this week, so the withdrawal hasn’t quite kicked in yet,  but I know it will. I’m going to miss the Wild West, the guns, the shooting, I’m going to need a book to get me past that.
  5. Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales – Justin Richards.25361904 Yes, I’m a Whovian. A massively enthusiastic Whovian, who cries through regenerations and gets horrendously excited for a new season. And this season is no different. Possibly, I’m even more excited than usual. Because The Doctor is now played by Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor, and to say that I’m excited is the understatement of the century. I nearly cried the day she was announced, I sobbed through 12’s regeneration into her, and couldn’t stop crying for the rest of the day. This is huge for me, to see a woman, like me, taking control of the TARDIS, I’m still in disbelief that it’s going to happen. And sadly, there are currently no books featuring her Doctor for me to read. So what’s the next best thing? Time Lord Fairy Tales. A book dedicated to the fairy tales of Gallifrey, a cover featuring a TARDIS and a Cyberman. Sign me right up for some Time Lord reading, to call in a new Doctor!

And that is just my top 5, outside of the books I mentioned in the video above! There’s many more, including the rest of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, the Percy Jackon series by Rick Riordan, Vicious and Vengeful by V. E. Schwab, and so many more I can’t count!

To say the least, the rest of my year is going to be busy!

What are your top 5 books to finish by the end of the year? Tell me down in the comments!

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Posted in blog post, books, review

Did To Kill A Kingdom Restore My Faith In YA Romance?

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I was never a fan of The Little Mermaid. Really, I wasn’t a fan of any ‘classic’ Disney movie, apart from Treasure Island and Toy Story.

But, when I read the blurb for Alexandra Christo’s To Kill A Kingdom, I knew I had to have the book, and I had to read it ASAP.

That ASAP turned into a three-month wait, but I’ve now managed to read it, and my God, it was worth the wait.

To Kill A Kingdom follows the story of Princess Lira, a siren, heir to the Sea Queen’s throne, known to human’s as The Princes’ Bane. Every year, on her birthday, she hunts down and rips the heart of a young prince, delighting in the kill, proving herself to be the vicious killer her mother wants her to be.

But, when she angers her mother, The Sea Queen turns her into a human and sets her the task of killing Prince Elian, a prince turned pirate. A pirate who specifically hunts down and kills sirens, on a never-ending mission to rid the world of sirens, specifically, Lira, the Princes’ Bane.

I have to admit, when I first read the blurb, I was totally sold on the concept, but when I later looked it up on Goodreads and found out that the book was a romance, I turned skeptical.

I’ve never been keen on romance novels, or YA with romance in. There’s very few I can stand, as I always find that the love story takes over the actual plot of the book. It’s a massive pet peeve of mine and has had me DNF’ing more than one book in the past because of it.

But, I have been trying to work on this, seeking out books with romances in that I actually like. So far, it’s been mostly a losing battle. 90% of the books I’ve tried have wound me up to the point of giving up, and I was nearly ready to give up entirely on my quest to like YA romances.

Then along came To Kill A Kingdom. 

Elian and Lira’s romance was subtle and built up over the course of the book. It was believable, it didn’t derail the storyline. They didn’t spend chapter upon chapter mooning over each other.

Instead, they sassed each other, they battled side by side, and overall, they were a believable couple. A proper hate/suspicion to love relationship, which played second fiddle to the storyline described on the back of the book.

In a lot of ways, Lira and Elian reminded me of Kell and Lila from A Darker Shade Of Magic series by V. E. Schwab, which is one of my favourite series’ of all time. They were a battle couple, who never forgot their mission, or who they were inside.

Yes, they were on opposite sides, but they grew to be on the same one. They argued, they snarked, and they certainly didn’t trust each other for the majority of the story. But I loved it!

And that’s without talking about the characters, who were all excellent additions to the cast. I loved Elian’s pirate crew, the evil Sea Queen, the mythology surrounding this world. It was beautifully crafted and perfectly put together.

My only problem was that I wished we had more detail of the sirens in Lira’s life. We saw many people from Elian’s life, but very few from Lira. I would have liked to have seen more people from her kingdom and her family.

Other than that, I loved this book. It restored my faith in YA romances, and in YA in general. It was brilliant and so worth the hype it gets.

4/5 stars, without question!

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Posted in about me, blog post, books, changes, checklist, Marvel, tag, words

Mid-Year Look Back On My Bookish New Years Resolutions

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At the beginning of the year, the Top 5 Wednesday group challenged us all to make 5 bookish new years resolutions. As a semi-new reader, trying to improve my reading, I decided to join in and set myself 5 bookish new years resolutions.

I also decided to set myself the target of reading at least 38 books this year, here is my progress on that:

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But, how am I doing with my bookish new year’s resolutions? Well, for some, I’m doing quite well, in others, I’m failing miserably.

Let’s go through each one individually:

  • Read bigger books.

Well, that’s going reasonably well. I’ve dedicated myself to reading larger books (aka anything over 400 pages) this year, and I’ve managed to get through quite a few. These include:

33152795 464 pages

23299512 464 pages

32075662 510 pages

26114463 429 pages

23437156 462 pages

And that’s without going into the books I started and DNF’d for whatever reason (it wasn’t length, I didn’t wimp out, I swear), and the rest I have planned for the rest of the year!

I’d count that as a firm success, wouldn’t you?

Though… I do have to put my hands up and say that there are a few I’m avoiding because of their length, as I mentioned in this blog post.

  • Read more trilogies in one go.

Er… I sort of have accomplished this, I guess? I sort of expanded this to include series’ after it was pointed out to me that I rarely finish a series over 3 books long. And it’s gone… reasonably well.

I did finish the entire Melrose series in one sitting earlier this year.

I blasted through the Monsters Of Verity duology in a week.

Crooked Kingdom is being read this month, which rounds off the Six Of Crows duology.

As for longer series, trilogies, and anything else I’ve finished? It’s a bit of a different story.

Take His Dark Materials, for example. I was happily going through that, steaming right through, but the last book lost its way for me, and I DNF’d it. I had full intentions of finishing the series, read each book one after the other, but The Amber Spyglass just lost me around 40% of the way through and I couldn’t continue.

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The Lunar Chronicles, I’m on the fence about after reading Cinder. It was interesting, but there was something missing for me, I guess you could say. I have bought Scarlett, though, and I’m willing to give it another chance. Just not right now, as I’m on a book buying ban.

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And the series’ I’m halfway through and really love?

Discworld and Skulduggery Pleasant are series’ I’m stretching out, so they’re not over too soon, so I’m forcing myself to only read two books of each a year.

So far, Going Postal has been ticked off the Discworld list, and I’m looking at Wyrd Sisters as my second of the year.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a different story. I shamefully haven’t picked any up yet, even after The Faceless One‘s cliffhanger. Even got the massive box set in the new covers for my birthday and I still haven’t picked it up yet.

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I will, I’m determined. I will read two more Skulduggery Pleasant. I may have reached my ‘three books read’ limit of attention span, but I’m going to beat it into submission.

  • Read more books outside of my comfort zone.

This one I can safely say I have achieved.

I read the Melrose series, which is very much set in the real world. I wasn’t entirely keen on the entire series, as it was a bit too dark for me, and it messed with my head.

As promised, I also got into Sci-Fi, and I love it! I’ve read books such as

Failure To Communicate

 

I started Illuminae, sadly had to stop because my dyslexic brain could not take the weird layout, but really loved the storyline.

And, as previously mentioned, I’ve also started The Lunar Chronicles and I’ve also read Invictus! It’s been a great introduction to Sci-Fi and I’ve got a lot more on my shelves to read, I’m a complete convert!

As for comic books? I haven’t done too badly on that either!

I’ve branched out into Spiderman, Deadpool, Black Panther and Illuminati in the Marvel universe of comics. I’ve also recently bought Gwenpool, Miss Marvel, House Of M and a tonne more, I’m ridiculously excited to get into them!

Outside of the Marvel universe, I’ve also started the Kick-ass series, the Monstress series, and the Sandman series, so I’d say I’ve branched out pretty well in terms of comics! There’s a lot more I want to look into, but right now, I’m happy with my current choices.

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  • Read more diverse books.

This one I’m certain I’ve covered well this year.

This year, I’ve read non-binary characters (Our Dark Duet), autistic characters (Failure To Communicate), POC characters (Black Panther), LGBT+ characters (Six Of Crows). And not just in these books, in many others, too.

I’ve done my best to seek out diverse books, with characters that aren’t just cis, white and straight. Finding disabled characters has been harder, so much harder, than I imagined it would be if I’m honest. So, like I said in the original post, please do give me some recommendations, I would be incredibly grateful for them.

Either way, I’ve really enjoyed expanding my reading in this way, it’s giving me so many more perspectives on life and on others. I’ve been stuck in such a Western-cultured world, I love seeing things from others perspectives. It’s been fascinating and informative, I just wish that there were more for me to read.

  • Review more.

… This one, I’ve totally, completely and utterly failed at. I’ve made three reviews this year. ThreeThat’s it. Three. And I promised to write reviews for at least 50% of the books I read this year. It’s gone entirely out of the window.

This needs to change, and soon. It doesn’t matter if it’s in blog or booktube form, I just need to make more. I can’t just ignore reviewing the books I read, in favour of the TV show/film/theatre show I’ve recently seen.

need to review more. I leave mini-reviews on Goodreads, but I need to go more in depth, to actually use this blog and my youtube channel for what they were made for – book reviews.

I realise now that trying to review 50% of the books I read is a stretch. So I’m going to say that for the rest of the year, I’m going to try and review at least one book a month. It’s a lot more obtainable as a goal. One book a month, I can manage that… right?

And that was my bookish new year’s resolution check in! How are yours going? Doing better than me? Tell me down below in the comments!

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Posted in blog post, brilliance, dinosaurs, fan, film, Jurassic Park, review

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Spoiler Free Review

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Jurassic Park has been a landmark film franchise for the last 28 years, ever since the first one burst onto our screens in 1990. It pushed the boundaries of CGI and animatronics, scared the living daylights out of small children, and delighted adults for three films.

Then, Jurassic World came along three years ago, and some fans were left disappointed. Others, like myself, were wowed by the new material.

But, does it’s sequel, Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom, do any better? Or does it suffer from second-film-fatigue?

In short, Fallen Kingdom leaves the first Jurassic World in the dust.

This time, the dinosaurs are off the island, saved from their second extinction, only to be sold off to the highest bidder. Owen (Christ Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) set out to stop it, with the help of two new interns and a little girl – the granddaughter of Hammond’s business partner, who holds the key to a new storyline for the franchise.

They’re off-island, back in the ‘real world’, and the danger is only just getting started.

Filled with edge-of-your-seat-tension, terrifying dinosaurs (including a new breed Dr Wu has come up with), and a surprising amount of humour, Jurassic World is a thrill ride I cannot forget.

I’d even go as far to say that this is the best film in the franchise after the original one, it’s that good.

Yes, the storyline is a little far-fetched in places. Yes, the plot is skin-thin. Yes, it’s more of people getting eaten, apart from our heroes.

But, it’s fun. This film encapsulates everything that is fun about Jurassic Park as a franchise. It’s all about the scary dinosaurs, eating people and scaring the living daylights out of you. That’s what Jurassic World has always been about.

For some, the formula may be getting tiring, but, for a lot of the audience, including myself, this was incredible amounts of fun.

I loved every second, my mum, a dedicated fan of the franchise ever since it came out, was in awe, my best friend, a huge dinosaur fan, was unbelievably into it.

And I truly believe that sceptics of the first Jurassic World should give this one a chance. This one has learnt what the essense of this series is, and has filled itself with references to the original films. Any die-hard fan will spot the references to beloved scenes from the original three, and will love to see the return of Malcolm, even though his part is small.

All in all, I loved Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. It’s classic Jurassic Park, with added references, a bit more humour, and slightly more layered plot. The dinsoaurs are fantastic, the humans being eaten scenes are fantastic, and the tension had my heart pounding with exhilaration.

I cannot recommend Fallen Kingdom enough, to die-hards, sceptics, and general fans of dinosaurs alike. The franchise feels invigorated, and is now about to go down a new path, and an incredibly interesting one at that.

I, for one, cannot wait for the sequel. I just hope I don’t have to wait another 3 years for it!