Twisted Tales: So This Is Love – Elizabeth Lim [Books]

so this is love

Yep, it’s another Twisted Tales book, so far one of my favourite ever series. I really hope these books keep coming, because I will definitely keep reading. And the next cover has just been revealed – Unbirthday, an Alice in Wonderland tale. So far my favourite is Reflection, but I think this takes the second top spot. Which I’m pretty sure is what I said about Straight on ‘Till Morning too, but Elizabeth Lim is such a fantastic writer, it’s hard not to fall in love with her books.

The thing is, Lim is excellent at writing couples. It’s easy to feel like characters are in love in one of her books, even while other forces keep them apart.

In So This is Love, Cinderella is not able to try on the glass slipper, and the duke rides away from her home without even knowing she’s there. Unable to remain with her step-mother, Cinderella flees, and ends up working in – of all places – the castle.

But meeting the prince isn’t as easy as it seems, and Cinderella soon decides to try and make a life for herself with her new job and new friends. But she’s still determined to help her fairy godmother, and in doing so she unravels a conspiracy that threatens everything.

When this series works well, it’s clear the author knows these characters inside and out. After all, they’re taking the core elements of whatever character it is, and putting them in a new situation. And these are characters many people love, which means the expectations are high. Lim did brilliantly with Mulan in Reflection, and So This Is Love is another example of how well she knows and how much she loves Disney.

Cinderella feels very much like the character we know from the original story, but like in many of these tales she has that little bit more agency. As optimistic as she tries to remain, she knows deep down she is unhappy, though she never lets this leave a mark, continuing to do her job as best she can, even when it seems like everything is against her.

As for the scenes which do take place between Cinderella and the prince, Lim really keeps the reader on edge. For every warm, happy feeling a scene gives, the rug is soon yanked out as the reader realises it cannot all go as hoped. And the characters are fantastic – completely and utterly engaging, meaning it is easier to connect to the characters and feel what we’re supposed to.

I could really go on and on and on about what a good writer Elizabeth Lim is, but seriously, if you haven’t already, do check out Reflection and/or So This Is Love, and while you’re at, pick up Spin the Dawn too because they are all awesome.

So This Is Love is another fantastic addition to the Twisted Tales series, by a brilliant writer, once more keeping the core of the characters while putting them in a new and interesting situation. Definitely one for Disney fans to check out!

 

DisneyWar – James B. Stewart

disneywarAh Disney. A world of magic and wonder and pure happiness. For most people, anyway. This book, as implied by the title, isn’t about the joy of Disney, but instead the business side, boardroom dealings and back stabbings. I love Disney. A lot. To the point I had a run of Disney themed blog posts back in November, when I was off in Disneyland Paris for my 30th birthday. I was hoping for a glimpse into the inner workings of Disney itself, and yes, I was attracted by that title. But this is less a Disney cultural history that I was hoping for, and more a biography of former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner.

I listened to the audiobook for this, using my first ever Audible credit, and it took me months to actually work through it. Partly because I got distracted by the fantastic Into the Drowning Deep,and partly because I found a lot of aspects of this to be incredibly boring.

The narration was good. Patrick Laylor does manage to bring a lot of this to life, and with his inclusion I forgot sometimes I wasn’t listening to the actual author. The best moments were made even better by his narration, especially the opening, talking about the author working for a day at a Disney park. It was actually my favourite part of the book. There’s also a bit about the history of Disney, how Walt and his brother Roy formed the company, and the treatment of Roy Disney Jr when he started.

I actually kind of wished the book itself had been more focused on Roy. Instead, much of the book is about Eisner, his personal history, how he drove the company forward, his lack of give when it came to anyone. It does do a good, balanced job of presenting Eisner, but sometimes it feels a lot like the author is trying really hard to add an extra ‘good layer’ to him.

Eisner feels ruthless and sometimes, downright cruel. Over-ambitious, and focused so much on the bottom line, the actual core of Disney is missed. Prior to this, my main knowledge of Disney history came from the fantastic Waking Sleeping Beauty, which takes a look at Disney leading up to the renaissance at the end of the 80s and start of the 90s. So DisneyWar added a lot to my knowledge in some aspects, but mainly made me feel like for a long time, Disney was run by a bunch of bickering children.

The news broke recently current though exiting executive chairman Bob iger – who from DisneyWar was another person treated poorly by Eisner – and chief executive Bob Chapek, among others, are either forgoing their salaries or taking pay cuts due to the current crisis. And yes, these people get paid an incredibly, ridiculously high amount, the likes of which I will probably never see, but after listening to this audiobook, I couldn’t help but wonder, would Eisner have done the same, in this situation?

I feel like he would have, but he would have been pressed into doing so, likely wouldn’t have forgone his whole salary, and would have moaned to anyone listening about it.

Maybe it’s harsh, to judge someone I really don’t know, but Eisner tried so hard to be Walt Disney, while seeming to miss the magic of Disney itself. And the book delves pretty deep into his life, even explaining how he judged others for basically not having grown up in money (like he had) and not being educated to his highly educated standard.

He just sounded like an all round not nice guy.

Perhaps that had some impact on my ‘enjoyment’ of the book. In some ways it was good to get a look into the dirty side of Disney, and to see more of the business in that way, but for the most part I found the thing incredibly dull, with names shooting by so fast it was hard to keep track of who was who.

I think this is one more for people interested in business, in boardrooms and the like, than people interested in Disney.

And on that, if anyone does have some more Disney-focused recommendations for me, I would absolutely love to hear them.

February 2020 Reading Wrap Up [Books]

February 2020 Reading Wrap UpAs with my January Wrap Up, I’m a little behind with this. Since the start of the year, I feel like I’ve been playing a little catch-up with reviews. But I’ve had a bit more time this week, so I’m able to get this up now, and hopefully start really catching up with reviews for books I’ve read in March so far.

Happy Writing – Jenny Alexander

happy writingA book about working through the various blocks that might be stopping you from writing, I found this book to be a little simplistic for me. It might, however, be excellent for those starting to write, or who haven’t put time into studying the craft previously.

My Review

The Cult Called Freedom House – Stephanie Evelyn

cult called freedom houseI’d heard great things about this book, so when it appeared as an ebook on Amazon for free, I grabbed it. It was, however, a bit of a disappointment for me. It was too fast-paced, rushing from one scene to the next, and the actual appeal of the cult wasn’t clear to me. See, I can see how some people could enjoy this first installment in the Sophia Rey series, and it hasn’t put me off checking out the next one.

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Bottled – Stephanie Ellis

bottledBottled is a really interesting take on the haunted house subgenre, and follows the main character as he tries to spend a single night in his deceased grandfather’s home, the setting for his childhood abuse. Definitely one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume Two – Alan Moore, Kevil O’Neill

league vol 2The second volume for Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen takes on War of the Worlds, with a familiar cast of characters back to lead the charge. I enjoyed this one, except for the novel inserted at the back, and if you’ve read and enjoyed the first volume, I can’t think of a reason not to continue with it.

My Review

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

we hunt the flameIf you haven’t yet checked out this YA Fantasy, the debut novel from Hafsah Faizal, you really should change that. It’s a fantastic book with utterly engaging characters and a setting most readers won’t be used to. I cannot wait for the second installment in the series.

My Review

Straight on Till Morning – Liz Braswell

straight on till morningThe latest in the Twisted Tales series, Straight on Till Morning follows Wendy at age 16, when she gets fed up of waiting for Peter and arranges her own passage to Neverland. This has quickly become my second favourite of the series (Reflection, the Mulan story, still tops the list for me) and it’s a fantastic tale, sprinkling in some good messages about stories, growing up, and women looking for their place in a male-dominated world. Definitely recommend this one.

My Review

I only managed to read six books this month, but any I started during February were all written by women, which I’m quite happy with. This post will be coming out after the reviews for We Hunt the Flame and Straight on Till Morning have been posted, but I’m writing it on 15/03/20, and so far in March I’ve already finished four books. Though I expect a lot of people might have higher read counts for this month and next!

How did your February go for reading? How does March compare so far? And how are you doing with those pesky Goodreads goals?

Straight on Till Morning – Liz Braswell [Books]

straight on till morningAnyone who has been following this blog for a while knows of my love for the Twisted Tales series, by Disney. There are currently three authors involved – Liz Braswell, Elizabeth Lim, and Jen Calonita. These books involve taking the stories we know and love, and adding a single twist that can affect everything. So far, there have been books based on Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Mulan (my favourite), Snow White, Frozen, and now Peter Pan.

While Reflection remains my favourite of the series, Straight on Till Morning has without a doubt nabbed the second place spot. In this version, Wendy doesn’t go to Neverland with Peter Pan. Instead, she is left behind to grow up, taking care of the house and her brothers, forced to watch them attend school while she can do nothing but learn to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Everyone around her dismisses her stories of Peter Pan as rubbish childish fantasies, and if it wasn’t for the strange shadow she keeps in the old nursery, Wendy might believe them.

Desperate not to be sent to Ireland by her parents, Wendy makes a deal with Captain Hook: she will give him Peter’s shadow, in exchange for passage to Neverland.

This is a book about stories and their power, about facing the responsibilities of growing up and realising it doesn’t always mean putting everything childish away, but accepting there are bigger things in the world to take note of than just what’s happening in your own house.

The focus once Wendy gets to Neverland is not on Peter, but on Wendy and Tinkerbell, and the friendship between the pair. They don’t start on good terms, but soon grow fond of one another, working together to find Peter and save Neverland. One aspect done well is how Wendy is aged up. While Peter remains his boyish self, never growing up after all, Wendy is sixteen in this story, facing more of the pressures of adulthood, and able to view Neverland and its dangers with more mature eyes.

The setting might be familiar, but with Hook planning something big, it’s hard not to feel the tension as Wendy goes from place to place, trying to rally the people of Neverland. As the story progresses, Wendy’s understanding deepens, and she begins to question whether never growing up is a good idea after all.

I really enjoyed this book, and I loved the focus on Wendy and Tinkerbell over Peter and the Lost Boys. There’s a strong message here, reinforced when Tinkerbell gets a little jealous of Wendy, as she is prone to doing. But the pair work really well together, and it was great seeing them get this chance to shine.

Braswell is fantastic at deepening these characters we already love, and presenting them in different situations that allow their strengths to really come to light. She’s done it with many of the previous Twisted Tales books, and this is no exception.

One thing about this series: if you’re looking to dip your toe in, you don’t have to read them in order. I’ve read every one so far, and some I’ve loved more than others, but responses on all of them are varied, which is great. Each book offers something different. And with each book the authors produce, they seem to get that much better. Braswell was the first involved in Twisted Tales, and she continues to produce fantastic stories. I would definitely recommend picking up Straight on Till Morning, whether you’ve read the rest of the Twisted Tales series or not.

Blogmas #11: Christmas Songs

blogmas 11

I love Christmas songs, I love listening to old favourites as well as hearing new ones, and listening to new takes on old classics. As soon as it’s socially acceptable, I put on Christmas music and listen to some great songs when I can – when writing and in the shower, mostly. Below are some of my current favourites for this year, and I’ve tried to mix it up as much as I could, rather than just include the standard set of Christmas songs we all know and love.

Fair warning: quite a lot of these are Disney, because Disney Christmas music is awesome.

Christmas is Here – Disneyland Paris Christmas Parade

 

I love this song so much. It’s catchy, and joyful, and just conveys exactly what Christmas should be about. I’m so glad we got to experience it this year, even if we watched the parade while queuing for Stitch, but it’s the last year they’re using it, apparently. Still, it’ll likely be one I listen to every year from now on.

Twelve Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser

I absolutely love this version of Twelve Days, which I actually only heard for the fast time last year. It’s now an absolute must at Christmas – fun and original, and the kind of song you can entertain family members with when they hear it for the first time.

I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake

 

I couldn’t do a list of Christmas songs and not include this. Did anyone else listen to this as a kid and, like, NOT pick up on the actual meaning? It’s my dad’s favourite Christmas song, so whenever it came on – on the radio, originally, then on TV when we got music channels – it gets turned way up, and anyone currently in the household sings along. I love this song – it’s one of those that sounds really happy and cheerful, until you actually, properly listen to it.

It Feels Like Christmas – Muppets Christmas Carol

 

To pick just one song from the whole film was a struggle – if you haven’t already, I definitely suggest listening to the complete soundtrack over the festive period. Muppets Christmas Carol is not only the best version of Christmas Carol, but the best Christmas film, period. It’s fantastic and heart-warming and with some amazing songs. Can’t go wrong with this one at all, and it’s a real shame I don’t have time now for a Christmas Films blog because this would have definitely been on there.

As Long As There’s Christmas – Beauty & The Beast: Enchanted Christmas

 

I really need to watch this filma gain. And I warned you there’d be a lot of Disney. This song is from the sequel to Beauty and the Beast, a film I really should watch again. Like Christmas is Here, it’s just a joyful song, and it’s less about all the extra stuff around Christmas, and more about making do with what you have around you, because it’s not the tree that makes Christmas, is it? It’s the people you spend it with, the memories you make, the magic feel in the air. The sneaking around behind a cursed beast’s back and – oh, wait, that’s kind of specific, isn’t it?

 

This will actually be my last Blogmas post, as I am going to Margate tomorrow to spend Christmas with my brother. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas themed blog posts, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the songs I’ve picked, and if you have any particular Christmas song favourites, especially if they’re not the usual ones we often hear!

To all my followers –

Merry Christmas!

Whatever you do over the next week, I hope you have an absolutely lovely time, doing what you enjoy best, whatever that may be, and spending it with the people you want to spend it with. Have a good one!

Twisted Tales: Let It Go – Jen Calonita

twisted 4The Twisted Tales series are stories about films and characters we know and love from Disney films, but putting one twist into the story that either changes everything, gives something additional in the middle, or extends the story beyond the familiar endings. I wrote about the series as a whole here, and purposefully held onto reading Let It Go so I could read it while on my Disney trip last week. I started it on the coach on the way to the airport, didn’t actually finish it until this week. Turned out, I was way too tired while travelling to read, and by the time we got back to the hotel in the evening, I was too exhausted to spend more than a small amount of time reading about this alternative version of Anna and Elsa’s story.

Anyway, this was an ideal book to take away, and the bits I did read, I enjoyed, though not as much as the others in the series. But a big charm of this series is that everyone has a different favourite. It’s handled by three different authors, with three different writing styles, and it ensures every book feels unique.

With Let It Go, (which, as far as I can tell, is Conceal, Don’t Feel in the US) I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed some of the others. I like when the story is turned completely on its head, presenting new scenes and putting the characters in different, new settings. To me, this one felt like too close to the source material, scenes rehashed from the film and put into the written word. But this aspect of it is something other readers might thoroughly enjoy.

When we join Anna and Elsa in Let It Go, it’s to find that neither know of the other. Elsa lives as princess with her parents, while Anna lives in a small village overlooking the city. Both feel something is missing in their lives, but neither quite knows what it is. As the story unfolds, we discover that when they were taken to the trolls, after Elsa hit Anna with her magic, Elsa interrupted the spell, causing a curse that means they cannot be near each other. To protect them, the trolls cast a spell to ensure they forgot one another, and the kingdom forgot there was another princess.

The twist is good, and in some places executed really well, bringing forward the sense of sisterly love that made the film feel so fresh in the first place. The main thing I disliked, as stated above, was the way scenes from the film felt repeated. Dialogue is lifted almost word for word, song lyrics feel forced in, and scenes take place exactly as they do in the film, just in a different way.

Much of the novel feels forced towards the same point as the film, leaving the twists to be clearly visible and marked, and meaning the last part just felt like rehash. It feels like more could have been done with it, really.

Saying that, however, Calonita does have a fantastic way with words. The descriptions – of the city, the village, the icy mountains and the valley where the trolls live – are brilliant, and she has a clear, deep understanding of the characters. Despite the situation they’re in, they feel like the characters we know from the films, and they react how you’d expect them to react. The love elements are handled really well, emphasising the sisterly love but also allowing more time for relationships to develop, to show why Hans is actually present, and why Kristoff is willing to run off with Anna, in search of someone he’s never met. The threads of the story are woven well, and although this wasn’t my favourite of the series, I did enjoy it, and if you’re a fan of Frozen, it’s definitely worth  checking out.

(As a side note, the two women I work with who also read this series absolutely loved the book, much more than I did! Like I said, it’s one thing I really love about the series as a whole – the varied reactions to each book.)

Twisted Tales Books

Twisted TalesWelcome to day three of my Disney blog themed posts, during which I will be in both Disneyland AND Walt Disney Studios. Exciting times. I am also now officially thirty, which is odd cause in my head I’m still somewhere in my early 20s. Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite book series, and don’t forget you can enter my Twitter giveaway to win any Disney themed book of your choice – details at the end!

Twisted Tales

Twisted Tales are a series of books, written by three different authors. Each book tackles twisted 1a Disney film, inserting a twist into the story we know and love – A Whole New World asks ‘What if Aladdin never found the lamp?’ Reflection – ‘What if Mulan had to travel to the underworld?’ Mirror, Mirror – ‘What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?’ etc. There are currently seven books in the series, with two more coming out soon.

This is probably my current favourite book series, and it’s introduced me to three fantastic authors. Each book is skillfully twisted 2written and thought out, with the characters we love, yet giving them just enough changes to make the story feel fresh and exciting. And so far, the choices for stories has been really good, with a focus mainly on the princesses, but exploring a couple of others as well.

The only released one I haven’t yet read (at the time of writing) is Conceal, Don’t Feel/Let It Go (it seems to have a different title everywhere I look), which is focused on Frozen. I’ve been saving it for my Disney trip, so perhaps by the time you read this, I might have read it. Either way, look out for my review!

twisted 3The three authors are Liz Braswell, Elizabeth Lim, and Jen Calonita. Each have their own distinctive writing style, yet still feel like they match the stories really well. And it’s clear from the writing and characters how much love they have for these tales – Elizabeth Lim recently released Spin the Dawn (my review is here), a Mulan retelling, which is definitely worth checking out. Not to mention Reflection is currently my favourite of this series.

But this is the kind of series where everyone has their own favourite,. There are three of us in work who get every book, as soon as it comes out, and we each prefer different ones. Overall, the series has proved imaginative, with interesting storiestwisted 7 about the characters and adding further depths to these worlds.

In some, the book is set in the middle of the film, either changing the outcome of the rest of the story – as in A Whole New World – or giving more weight to middle-scenes, the book taking place in a contained moment which feels like it could fit easily into the classic animated film, such as Reflection. In others, the twist comes right at the very end of the film, giving us a chance to see what happens to the heroes if they don’t actually win, as in Part of Your World, which explores what happens to the kingdoms under and above the sea, if Ursula actually won.

twisted 5If you are a Disney fan, I cannot recommend this series highly enough. With talented authors telling fantastic stories, this series really does add a lot to classic animated films, and I can’t wait to see what comes out next, after Elizabeth Lim tackle’s Cinderella and Liz Braswell takes on Peter Pan.

 

The Series, In Order

A Whole New World – Liz Braswell – What if Aladdin never found the lamp?

Once Upon a Dream – Liz Braswell – What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?

As Old as Time – Liz Braswell – What if Belle’s mother cursed the beast?

Reflection – Elizabeth Lim – What if Mulan had to travel to the underworld?

Part of Your World – Liz Braswell – What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?

Mirror, Mirror – Jen Calonita – What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?

Conceal, Don’t Feel/Let It Go – Jen Calonita – What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?

Upcoming

So This Is Love? – Elizabeth Lim – What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper?

Straight on Till Morning – Liz Braswell – What if Wendy first travelled to Neverland with Captain Hook?

twisted 6twisted 4

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

I am currently hosting a Disney book themed giveaway on Twitter. Just follow that link, make sure you’re following me on there, and retweet. You could, if you so wanted, pick any of the fantastic Twisted Tales books, or Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn. Good luck!

A Trip to Disney, 1994

Welcome to day two of my Disney themed blog posts, posted November 12th, 2019 – my 30th birthday! It’s also the first day we get to spend in the parks, so if you’re following me on Twitter, be prepared for lots of excitement and probably a fair few pictures. I’m actually writing this on Saturday, and I’m already a bundle of nervous, excited energy. So much to do, so much to see, I cannot wait!

Don’t forget to check the end of this post for details of my Twitter giveaway. Also, the absolute best moment of this story comes at the very end.

That said, this isn’t the first birthday I’ve spent at Disney. This is a story I’ve shared before on Twitter, but doing it as a post allows for…well, a bit more, doesn’t it? So if you excuse me, I want to share something that happened to us 25 years ago this month, something terrifying (to us), amazing, and which ended with the best holiday of my life.

And my fifth birthday.

(Please excuse the lack of pictures – this is going to be a text heavy post, apologies in advance for that. This is a mix of my memories and things I’ve learnt since, mainly from my dad.)

(And a trigger warning – there’s a car accident in this story, no deaths, but it was…pretty bad.)

Way back in 1994, my mother entered a radio competition, which resulted in her winning a trip for two, to Florida. For the week before my birthday. With a 4 year old girl and 9 and 10 year old boys, it wasn’t like they could really go without us. So my dad did everything he could, borrowing money wherever possible, so all five of us could go, and so we had an extra week there, to make my birthday absolutely bloody magical.

I can still remember leaving school the day we were to travel to London, staying overnight before the flight the next day. The jealously of my classmates, the sheer excitement I felt, piling into the car, my neighbour running out calling not-my-name. “Helena! Helena! ” She had a present for me, she said, and handed me a small box.

A collection of puppy-in-my-pockets.

If there was anything I loved as much as Disney, it was dogs, and I was building a collection of the small toys. I kept them close in the car, playing with tissue to make flowers, something we’d just learnt in school – or maybe my brother had taught me.

Either way, I loved making them, and did so as we came over the bridge between England and Wales.

I was in the middle of one, in Swindon, when something…happened.

The car rolled.

And I mean, went full on upside down, over and over. Thankfully, we landed on the hard shoulder. Not thankfully, we were upside-down. My brother unclipped his belt and dropped to the ceiling. Dad got out. Couldn’t get to Mum, but managed to get me and my older brother out of the car.

It was only years later I’d find out people stopped, but not the driver. As far as my dad could tell after, someone undercut us, caught the side of the car, and sent us spiralling out of control.

With the people who stopped, one woman said to my dad, “I wanted to help, but I froze. I thought you’d all be dead.”

As we stood on the side of the motorway, a police car came rushing down. Remember, this is before mobile phones – someone must have called from a roadside phone, and the police were quick. They went past – Dad says he saw the officer look over, gesture to the driver. The police car backed up down the hard shoulder. When they reached us, he checked Dad over. Paramedics arrived and got Mum out, and as they realised we were all walking, the officer looked up, gestured, and a helicopter – about to land – flew off.

They asked if we wanted to carry on or go home. Paramedic insisted that, nope, we were going to the hospital before any other decisions were made.

Asked Dad if he was okay. “I’m fine,” he said, then blinked, and his eyes stung. He looked down, and glass fell out of his eyes. How the hell his eyes weren’t badly injured, we have no freaking idea.

We were taken in an ambulance, to Swindon Hospital. Mum taken away, Dad checked out, my brothers left in charge of me. I think we went to the play area, but all I remember thinking was that I’d never see my mother again.

As it turned out, she was actually okay. A deep cut above her eyebrow – we think Dad fell into her, knocking her into the window – but stitches on that and all was fine.

We survived, we walked out…because we were all wearing our seatbelts. And people wonder why I’m so insistent if I get in a car with anyone and they don’t put them on.

We had to go the garage – Manathome – to get our stuff when we were out of the hospital. Had to go in a taxi. And I….refused. Screamed, cried, did not want to get in another car. Reasons for that should be obvious. Dad threw me in, and off we went.

Walked into the garage, and the mechanics asked – “You’re not here about the Ford, are you?”

Readers, please note, I could not tell you any car we have had in recent years. I know my dad’s current car, but most, I can’t identify them for shit. I’m useless with Ubers – have to check the licence plate. But that car? I can remember it, remember loving it, remember it being a happy place, and remember being devastated we would never ride in it again. But damn if it didn’t protect us.

Why did they say that about the Ford, you may ask. (I’m making an assumption here)

Because they could barely believe anyone had walked out of that car alive, let alone WALKED OUT, with nothing worse than bruises, scratches and cuts, no broken bones or worse injuries.

Mechanic – “Today was not your day to go, was it?”

Hell no it wasn’t!

We got our stuff. I don’t know when it was – if it was in the ambulance or in the recovery vehicle that took us to our digs – but at some point, me and my brothers were asked, “Do you want to go to Florida, or go home?”

We nodded. Dad says we looked sorta terrified, shocked, but it was one thing we could agree on without needing to talk.

We were freaking going.

So we got to the digs – the very lovely pub which welcomed us, set us up in our rooms, and let us have free roam of the pub in the morning, leaving out cereal and other breakfast things for us.

On the plane, I cried when Dad showed me why there was a sign saying, “Do not flush toilet.” When we landed, I howled.

“What’s wrong now?” The question, I imagine, many exasperated parents put to their kids.

You said we were going to Diiiisneeeey!

I can’t imagine how frustrated they felt at that. Probably had to explain the whole concept of airports to me and how we couldn’t just land in the park.

We were in Florida.

Throughout the holiday, my parents received looks from different people – people who’d glance at my bruised mother, then look at my father, with his cut, bruised knuckles. A pair of old ladies approached my mother at one point.

“If you and your children need somewhere to go-”

“Oh, no, we were in a car accident.”

“Of course, dear, but we can help you if you need it…”

Dad always said he wasn’t even angry at them – at least they said something, rather than just giving him dirty looks like everyone else.

I was poorly – not enough to disrupt the trip, but I barely ate, had to use the toilet by the time we got to the front of every queue, could barely walk. I was four (then five) and had to be put in a pushchair. When they went to the doctor’s to have Mum’s stitches checked, the doctor looked me over. Gave them a prescription. They collected it, gave me a couple of drops, and…

I fell asleep in the middle of the shop, Great Western Boot Company.

I missed TWENTY-FOUR HOURS of that holiday.

BUT I had an amazing birthday, and the whole thing…a lot of that trip remains firmly fixed in my memories.

And after sleeping away a whole day, when we went to Universal, as we went past the Jaws ride, I spotted a hot dog vender.

“Dad, can I have a hot dog?”

He almost cried – it was the first time I’d asked for any food the whole trip.

At Universal, they had a Jurassic Park exhibit. We walked in, I spotted Triceratops, my absolute favourite thanks to Land Before Time, and bawled my eyes out.

“What’s wrong now?”

They killed all the diiiinoooosaurs!

However, Dad’s favourite memory, the one he says made the whole awful ordeal worth it, was when we first arrived and went to the Magic Kingdom.

Me, little four year old me, running up to Chip and Dale, hugging them, and turning to my brothers.

“See!” Triumphant, overjoyed. “I told you they were real!”

Giveaway

I am currently hosting a Disney book themed giveaway on Twitter. Just follow that link, make sure you’re following me on there, and retweet. Good luck!

Underrated Disney

Underrated.png

When this post comes out, I’ll be on my way to Disneyland Paris to celebrate my birthday. So I’m scheduling a few Disney themed posts for your reading pleasure while I’m away.

There are so many Disney films out there, and typically, the majority usually get a lot of love. But to me, there are just a few which always seem to be overlooked. I could be wrong, and in Disney fan circles these could be worshipped as the treasures they are, but these are ones I personally don’t see mentioned a lot. Or which are perhaps fan favourites, but overlooked by Disney themselves.

Like all my lists and posts, these are just my opinions – I am more than happy if someone wants to ‘correct’ me and point out if a film isn’t overlooked, and feel free to tell me your own underrated favourites.

black cauldronThe Black Cauldron

I really enjoyed this film. It’s far from being one of Disney’s best, and came at a time when the studio was struggling. It was seen as a bit bleak and dark for a children’s animated feature, and if memory serves, they went way over budget on it. But it’s still black cauldron2enjoyable, with more of a Celtic fantasy feel than Disney’s over films. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Sword in the Stone, too. If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out, and here’s hoping we eventually do get a live action remake of this one – it’d be great to see it a little bit redeemed. And if anyone is sort of familiar with Celtic mythology, I think they’d get a definite kick out of this one.

 

brother bearBrother Bear

I only watched this one relatively recently, but I fell in love with it so much I watched the sequel straight away. The second film was supposed to lead into a TV series, and it’s such a shame we didn’t get that. Brother Bear is an adorable story, the characters are insanely loveable, and the focus on love, redemption, forgiveness and family make it so poignant. The soundtrack, too, is an absolute blast, bringing back Phil Collins – this and Tarzan are two of my favorite Disney soundtracks, and what’s not to love about the bears themselves? Safe to say, I  laughed and cried at this.

Also, I have to admit, as the youngest of three – and the only girl – I can totally relate to Koda, especially when he’s excited and chattering away and won’t shut up because, yep, I was that kid. I bugged my brothers no end, and could talk the ears off anyone, who I was comfortable with, anyway.

Bugs-life6A Bug’s Life

This is a classic and I won’t have anyone tell me different. A Bug’s Life is a fantastic story, and when it came out, I remember being absolutely blown away by the world created – the animation had only really been seen in Toy Story. A Bug’s Life was Pixar’s second bugs lifefeature film, coming out three years after Toy Story. And I loved it just as much. We now have four Toy Story films, a sequel to Incredibles, and a whole franchise from bloody Cars – where’s Bug’s Life 2, people? Considering how much I actually hate bugs and cringe away when they come near me, it’s a surprise this and James and the Giant Peach were two of my childhood favourites, and I still remember my friend, cousin and I arguing over which VHS cover each of us would get, after my aunt got one of each and we had to pick.

moana

Moana

I love Frozen, but Moana is better. I will fight anyone who says otherwise, and I don’t think I really need to say more about this one, except I seriously hope we get a sequel to this eventually. Amazing music, brilliant cast, visually stunning and overall a fantastic film.

oliver and coOliver & Co

When I was a kid, if there was a dog in a film I wanted to watch it. This was no exception, I adored this film, and watched it constantly. I also very much liked the musical Oliver, so this was a perfect combination for me. What happened to Disney taking classics and oliver and co2doing them with animals? (More on that below) Oliver & Co is cute and fun, and the ending is….freaking dark. Talking of which, when did Disney stop doing the dark endings??? I miss them – villains just seem to…slink away now, or are dragged away. Frozen should have ended with Hans dying, really. But yeah – Oliver & Co, like Brother Bear, has a fun soundtrack, adorable characters, and is overall really fun.

 

lion king 2 upendiLion King 2 – Simba’s Pride

Yeah, I freaking love this film. Again, classics, retold with animals. Lion King is Hamlet, Lion King 2 is Romeo & Juliet. Lion King 1 1/2 also deserves a mention, for being a recreation of a Hamlet spin-off play. But 2 has a special place in my heart because damn, I freaking love it. He Lives In You is such a legendary song they worked it into the musical (and the live action version), Upendi is pure bliss, My Lullaby is an amazing follow up to Be Prepared, Not One of Us is creepy and dark and heart-breaking and We Are One  brings a tear to my eye every time. Once upon a time, Disney sequels had a particular formula – either show what happened during the character-growing-up-montage, or character from original has a kid and their main want is the opposite to their parent’s – of course, parent completely doesn’t understand this and forgets what they were like at the same age. Ariel’s daughter wants to go into the sea, and Kiara really doesn’t want to be royalty. But they come to understand each other and everyone, of course, ends up happy. This film is a gem, and I can honestly watch it over and over again. And He Lives In You doesn’t make me cry like Endless Night from the musical does.

Honourable Mentions: Dinosaur, Enchanted, Lilo & Stitch, Little Mermaid 2, Fox & the Hound and probably many more I have forgotten.

Don’t forget, friends –

Giveaway

I am currently hosting a Disney book themed giveaway on Twitter. Just follow that link, make sure you’re following me on there, and retweet. Good luck!

Giveaway Time!

Disney Book GiveawayI promised before I would do a book giveaway if I hit 100 followers before my birthday, and somehow it actually happened! With over a week to spare, too.

So firstly, huge thank you to everyone who follows this blog. It really does mean a lot to me, and I just hope you get some enjoyment out of reading my various ramblings.

This giveaway is Disney themed because it’s where I’m going to celebrate my 30th birthday. I’m flying to France on 11/11, back on 14/11, so the giveaway ends 17/11 and that’s when winners will be drawn.

To enter, just make sure you’re following me on Twitter (@elleturpitt) and retweet (don’t QT) my pinned tweet. The giveaway is for a Disney or fairy tale retelling book of your choice, up to £15. It includes Star Wars and Marvel, and graphic novels as well as long as they’re below the price limit.

It is international as long as Book Depository ships to you.