Book Review: Landline, Rainbow Rowell

What would you do if you found a phone that could call your past? Would you use it? Would you change anything?

Georgie McCool (aka owner of the greatest name in the universe) is on the verge of the career breakthrough she’s been waiting for since University. After two decades of slaving away writing other people’s shows, the show she’s been creating with her best friend Seth is one meeting away from finally being picked up by a network. The only problem is, that meeting is occurring two days after Christmas. A Christmas she’s supposed to be spending in Omaha with her husband, Neal, and their two daughters. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Georgie chooses her show because there’ll be other Christmases, but she never expected Neal and the girls to go to Omaha without her. Now stuck by herself in LA with a looming deadline and an empty house, Georgie begins to wonder if she’s made the right decision. When she picks up the old landline phone in her childhood bedroom to call Neal and try to work things out, she never expects to be connected to Neal…in 1998. Suddenly faced with the opportunity to fix her broken marriage before it ever began, Georgie’s whole understanding of life, time, and fate come crashing down around her.

landline_cover

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite authors (Fangirl and Eleanor and Park are two of my most consistently recommended YA novels), and Landline does not disappoint.  I loved Georgie as a protagonist (and not only because we share a name) because she was so flawed in boring, every day ways. She spends too much time at work, and is selfish, and sometimes forgets to do her laundry. There was nothing extraordinary about her (well, apart from her kick-ass Hollywood writing career), she was just a woman in her late thirties who had messed up her priorities and needed to deal with the consequences. Landline was quirky and fun, heartwarming and relatable. You’ll finish the novel wishing Seth and Georgie were your friends, and hoping that one day, you might find a spouse as understanding and forgiving as Neal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also develop a sudden urge to become a comedy writer (which, seeing as I’m basically the least funny person in the world, is definitely not going to happen), and also really, really wish time-travel-through-phone-line was possible.

Although I picked up Landline from the YA shelf at my local Dymocks, I wouldn’t really classify it as such (mainly because it revolves around thirty-somethings rather than teens), but if you’re looking for an enjoyable read (YA or otherwise) without any depressing or heavy content, I can’t recommend Landline enough.

RRP: $22.99
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Rating: 4.5/5 

georgie x

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Is this thing on?

Uh, hi. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? (Almost four months. It’s been almost four months.) 

What have I been doing in those four months? Not much, really. Another semester of uni, deepening my relationship with God, being run off my feet at work, and uh, winning a trip to Paris. It’s been a busy four months, I suppose. I keep intending to post and then suddenly I blink and it’s well, halfway through July. 

I miss writing though. The feeling of vomiting your thoughts into cyberspace in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be read. 

A girl I went to school with died today. We weren’t really friends, but she was part of my rag-tag circle at lunchtime. She was one of the five people in my French class. We weren’t really friends, but her death has hit me in an unexpectedly hard way. It’s been a surreal reminder of how short life is, and how it doesn’t wait for you to stop watching the latest season of your new favourite TV show (In The Flesh, if you were wondering) to get out there and achieve your dreams. It’s not going to wait for me to blink and suddenly find myself in December, or this time next year, or aged thirty. It doesn’t wait. And so I’m going to stop hoping it will, and take this terrible, horrible reminder to start living now, to start chasing your dreams today, because who knows what’s coming tomorrow. Life is heartbreakingly too short to live a subpar existence, to not strive towards happiness with every single step. So that’s what I’m going to start doing. And sometimes those steps will involve my bed, mcnuggets, and binge-watching TV shows, because achieving your dreams and dying of stress doesn’t sound like a very good life either. 

Here it goes? 

frangipani princess xoxo

 

Social Awkwardness, Introversion, And The Dangers Of Tumblr

In the last few years, identifying as a nerd has become the seemingly cool thing to do. Along with a badge of nerdom, there is also a growing number of teen girls (and guys, but primarily girls) labelling themselves as “socially awkward” and “introverted”. On tumblr, especially, it has become the “in” thing to do in many circles, with extroverts being criticised and ridiculed.

As someone with an official diagnosis of social anxiety, and a legitimate placement in the introvert camp (with the family history to prove it), this has been interesting for me to watch. On one hand, I think it’s excellent. Being socially awkward is never a fun thing to deal with, and it makes you feel so very alone. So when you find yourself in an online space with thousands of others just like you, well, it makes you feel good. That’s the whole idea of fandom and online communities; you want to find somewhere you belong, and people who understand what you’re going through. And that’s excellent.

On the other hand, however, it’s also dangerous. Lately I’ve been increasingly noticing that Tumblr romanticises mental illness and introversion. The idea of the damsel in distress is heavily present, with every girl seemingly waiting for the perfect guy to fall into their lives and save them from their awkwardness/sadness/whateverness. It’s what happens in books and movies, right? The broken character gets saved from their demons and they live happily ever after. It’s the most common trope I find in fan fiction. But it’s not reality.

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On Magazines

As most of you would be aware, I have just started studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at the University of Sydney. For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to work in the magazine industry, and the two internships I’m currently undertaking are helping me to slowly make that dream a reality. 

But, to be starting a Media degree in 2013 is a disheartening thing. 

The print industry is dying a slow and painful death, and yet there seem to be more people than ever striving for the few jobs that exist. 

Today it was announced that Madison magazine is closing. The news comes just a month after Grazia shut its doors. In that same time frame, we have also said goodbye to Burke’s Backyard, and UFC. All of these titles were owned by Bauer Media (formerly ACP). There are rumours swirling that OK will also be closing in the next few months. It’s a scary time. 

For most people, this news is not important. After all, the main point of magazine closures is that people are getting their news and information online rather than by picking up an actual glossy. But, for those of us passionate about the media industry, it is a depressing state of affairs. 

I am just an intern. I work two days a week, for free, doing whatever I am needed to do. Sometimes this is research and writing. Mostly this is odd jobs and errands. But I love it. I love every second of it. I would work for free every single day if my parents didn’t believe in the importance of completing a degree.

I intern because I hope to one day be offered a paid role. But, I am nineteen. I have small amounts of work experience, and this here blog, but I am not qualified. I will not have a degree in my hand until the end of 2016. I am one of thousands questing for a dream place on a masthead. And now, with more and more magazines shutting their doors, we also have to compete with all those qualified and with actual experience. For every magazine that shuts its doors, there are qualified editors, features teams, beauty writers, fashion editors, entertainment writers, sub-editors, and even editorial coordinators, now job-searching just like the rest of us. So not only is the job seeking pool suddenly a lot fuller, the job pool is rapidly shrinking. There are more and more of us reaching for fewer and fewer roles. 

I am lucky. I am so very lucky, because I am an intern. I have contacts at a number of magazines. Out of the 100 people in my degree, there are only a minute number of us who could say that. I could possibly be the only one. And so I have an advantage. Doing work experience since I was 15 has helped me shove one toe through the door. But I’m still jumping to try and reach the first rung on the ladder dangling above my head. 

Every time my parents hear the news of another closing title, they look at me and shake their head with a disappointed smile. My extended family ask me why I don’t try and get a job in a guaranteed industry. Why I don’t become a teacher like my parents. 

And my answer to them is because I am passionate about writing. I am passionate about magazines. I am passionate about the media industry as a whole. And I know I am not the only one, and so I feel a responsibility to try and reach out and assist those who are still after physical magazines each month. Comso turned 40 this month (with a brilliant issue). Forty. That’s a lot of history, and it’s not the only one. DOLLY is 43, Cleo is 41, Girlfriend is 25. And we can’t just throw it all away because the internet is now a huge thing. After all, checking Mamamia every day is definitely not the same as picking up a huge new issue of your favourite magazine. We have to adapt, yes, but I believe there will always be a place for magazines in our lives. And I want to be a part of that more than I want anything else (except maybe to marry Nick Jonas, but that’s another issue entirely). 

What do you think? Is there a future in magazines? 

frangipani princess xoxo

New Jonas Brothers

My boys are back! 

After a four year hiatus in which they did things like get married, release solo albums, and date people with interesting names, The Jonas Brothers have made a return to the music scene. 

Their newest single, “Pom Poms” was released in Australia this morning, and it proves just how big the boys are going to be this time around. Gone are their Disneyfied lyrics, the chorus of this single is “I love it when your hands are free, baby put your pom-poms down for me”. It’s a song that both their old fans, and people who never dreamed of liking them, will love. 

The film clip hasn’t been officially released, however it was leaked over the weekend, and is brilliant. It’s rather sexual, but shows the boys have grown up (after all, they’re now 20, 23, and 25). They’re not the little Disney boys with purity rings any more, they’re a serious contender in the music industry (although, it begs to question: to be taken seriously do you have to throw away your morals and have half naked girls in your videos?). 

Check it out below (trust the Jonas Brothers to manage to get a gospel choir into a rather provocative clip): 

The song is super catchy, and I’m convinced that it will be rocking the airwaves before long. And I bet that those listening to it won’t even realise who it is singing (and will surprise themselves by falling in love). 

The boys also announced their North American tour dates on Ryan Seacrest this morning. They’ll be touring the USA over their Summer, so let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed that an Aussie announcement is just around the corner! 

Keep your eyes pealed for a full album, which will be out before long! 

frangipani princess xoxo

Doctor Who Updates

2013 is a big year for Doctor Who, being the 50th Anniversary of it’s creation in 1963. It also brings the second half of season seven, and the first with a new companion in three years. 

The 50th Anniversary special is shaping up to be a massive deal. Expected to air in November, the special will include more than just current Doctor Matt Smith. In fact, late last week it was revealed that all time fan-favourites David Tennant (10th Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose) will make appearances in the episode. 


Despite entering the fandom in the Matt Smith era, David Tennant will always be my Doctor. Sometimes I cry thinking about his regeneration, and no matter how hard Moffat has tried to introduce new love interests, nothing will ever be greater than the love between Rose and Ten. Nothing. To see them back is a dream come true, and the way the fandom rejoiced when it was announced goes to show that sometimes, just sometimes, Moffat is capable of making good decisions when it comes to Doctor Who. 

This morning, The BBC Doctor Who official twitter tweeted that the first read-through for the 50th Special had been completed, and included a photo of David and Matt holding their scripts. Be still my fangirl heart! 

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The second half of Season Seven began on Sunday. We left the first half last year with “The Angels Take Manhattan”, the heartbreaking finale to the Pond companionship. The Christmas Special, “The Snowmen”, saw a return to new companion Clara Oswin Oswald, who we first met in the season seven opener, “The Asylum Of The Daleks”. And now, as we enter episode six of season seven, Clara’s back for good. Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, is an enigma of a character. Like River Song before her, we’re not entirely sure of who she is, or why the Doctor has been drawn to her. After three episodes in three different time periods, with three different personalities, I’m still not sure what I think of her. My heart will always belong to Rose and Donna, so Clara has a lot to prove if she’s going to make my “most loved” list. 

In the new episode, “The Bells Of Saint John”, which is available for Aussie fans who missed it’s television premiere to watch on iview, the Doctor’s quest to find Clara takes him to London in 2013. And there’s something in the wi-fi. I heard amazing things about the episode before I watched it, so went in with high expectations. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t brilliant. The best bit was that it was (almost – the Great Intelligence seems to be a recurring theme) entirely stand-alone, like the good old days, so we can tune in next week expecting new aliens and new adventures to be had. 


For many Doctor Who fans, 2013 is a kind of last chance. For fans of Nine and Ten, Eleven has been dragging, ruining past rules and ignoring continuity. The Pond storyline went on, and on, and on, and please don’t get the fandom started on River Song. But here we are, with a new companion, a permanently changed Doctor, and a chance to start afresh. The 50th Anniversary will allow us to see some old favourites (something not often possible in Doctor Who, especially since Eleven came onto the scene), and all in all, it’s going to be rather epic. 

If you haven’t been watching, a new companion is often a good chance to fall in love with the brilliant show, and there’s no better time than the anniversary year! 

frangipani princess xoxo

Movie Review: Oz The Great And Powerful

Creating a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz was always going to be a difficult task, with Wicked already in the world, but the creators of Oz: The Great And Powerful still tried. And trying is about all I can commend them for.

I am going to put my extreme bias on the table from the beginning: I think Wicked is pretty much the greatest invention ever (second only to the Deep Fryer). So, any prequel to The Wizard Of Oz that attempted to revise the Wicked-Canon was always going to be an issue for me.

Still, I finally got around to seeing Oz: The And Powerful, and went in with an open mind. And honestly, even if I had never heard of Wicked, I still would have found the film bland and slow. I completely lost interest about fifteen minutes in, and there were about two moments through the rest of the film that momentarily grabbed it back.

I adore character study (it’s one of my units at Uni), so that was my first problem with Oz. The characters were so…boring. They were entirely 2D and cliches of themselves. Glinda was too good. Oz tried to hard to be the dodgy conman and ended up completely lost. I don’t understand the purpose of the China Doll. At all. And Theodora (aka “Elphaba” in Wicked) had none of the depth and all of the uncalled for cruelty. It was a swirling mess of confusion and actors who just seemed to have no idea what they were meant to be doing.

To be fair to the actors, I think most of the problem lay in the plot (or lack thereof). What I grasped was that there had been a prophecy that a guy called Oz would arrive in Oz and be a wizard that would save them all. And then our Oz arrived but he doesn’t think he’s the Oz, but pretends to be anyway (promise of mounds of gold, yay!). And there’s some witches who need killing. And it just kind of dragged from there.

Of course, as a prequel, anyone who had seen The Wizard Of Oz knew the limitations that were in place for how the film could end. And often prequels still mange kick ass plots and endings. But, to me, the ending of Oz doesn’t even make total sense for the original story. If you squint it might, but it’s not a brilliant tie-in.

Zach Braff was an (the only) occasional breath of fresh air, but even his character was a tired cliche of sidekickness 99% of the time.

I tried to like Oz: The Great and Poweful, I truly did, but it just fell flat. It would have been easier for all viewers if Oz’s hot air balloon had just been destroyed in the tornado (part of me thinks it was, and the whole film was his kind of post-death world, like Dorothy’s experience in Oz was a dream).

It’s been in cinemas for a while, and if you haven’t already seen it, trust me when I say don’t bother.

Rating: 2/5
Distributor: Disney

frangipani princess xoxo

Jedward Are Coming

My favourite twins in the whole wide world have announced via twitter that they are coming to Australia in the next month. 

So far it is unclear whether the boys have a reason for coming, or are just coming for a visit and to finally see their Aussie fans. 

The former X-Factor UK contestants who also represented Ireland in the 2011 and 2012 Eurovision contest have never really made much of a wave in the music scene here, although their newest single “Luminous” has received a bit of radio play.  

As far as I can tell, the boys are currently without a management/publicity team, and seem to be organising Aussie appearances through their twitter page. Frequent tweets to The Bump Radio Show, The Today Show, and Aussie celebs such as Chris Lilley are indicative of what we can expect from some of their trip. 

It is my official mission in life to meet the hilarious boys while they are here, and who knows, maybe I can bribe the right people into giving me an interview. 

Stay tuned for more news of just when the boys are expected to hit Aussie soil, and what they’re going to get up to. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Loving Books

I’ve been a little homesick lately, with the reality of living away from home for a full month finally hitting me. In times of sadness, when I’m away from family and long-time friends, I turn to the only thing around that feels comfortable…my favourite books. 

As much as I love buying new books, there’s something so special about re-opening an old favourite that bears the marks of love and time. I’m someone who eats while reading, so some of my favourites have food smudges in corners, and also have creases where I have sat them down in a bad position for what I intend to be a moment, but always turns into a long time. 

I’m not someone who believes books are holy objects. They’re not there to sit on a shelf and be admired. They’re to be read, to be loved. I don’t care if your book is signed, or is a super special edition, the author didn’t spend hundreds of hours writing it for the spine to be looked at. It was created so you could enjoy it to the absolute fullest capacity. 

I am a chronic book highlighter, and when I pick up an old favourite, there’s nothing I love more than being able to see the evidence of my past readings. To see what I enjoyed, what I thought clever, what I thought important at a previous point in time. I also love adding to the highlights, marking new thoughts and favourite passages, so that future me has more to reflect on. 

I love my books to the point of breaking. I love them so hard, I want them to end up battered, and coloured, and maybe a little bit dirty. I want to be able to give my copy of Looking For Alaska or the Perks of Being a Wallflower to my kids one day, and say “this was my favourite book when I was a teenager. Love it like I have”. My books get carried in bags, and dropped from beds when I fall asleep reading them. I dog-ear pages when I can’t find book marks, and  I accidentally tear pages in my haste to keep reading. My books are not in pristine condition, and that’s why they hold such a special place in my heart. My books are comfortable. They share my history. They contain my feelings, my tear stains, my past experiences. They’re a little dirty, and snobbier readers would say I don’t take care of them, but they’re so totally mine that I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

frangipani princess xoxo

Tech Review: Sony VAIO Duo Ultrabook Convertible Part Two (Sponsored)

Since having to give back the Sony VAIO Duo 11 Ultrabook Convertible I was given to test out, I have been having withdrawals from all its amazing features.
During my week with the Ultrabook Convertible, I became obsessed with the touch screen technology. The touch was extremely fast and responsive both when in tablet mode, and in laptop mode. There was no annoying cursor searching, just one tap, and you were where you wanted to be.
The Apps available through Windows 8 are perfect for use with the Ultrabook, as you can download ones to play with in tablet mode, some for use in laptop mode, and some for whatever you feel like! The Windows 8 Home Page is brilliantly simple and easy to use, and you can customize it to your liking. The Apps also update while the Ultrabook is in sleep mode, meaning you can spend your time doing what you need to be doing, rather than what the computer wants you to be doing. So useful!
The Sony VAIO Duo 11 Ultrabook Convertible is powered by Intel technology, meaning it is extremely fast and reliable. The Intel processors work so quickly, you’ll soon be struggling to remember what waiting time is. It also comes with anti-theft technology, so you can be sure that all your valuable documents are safe (extra handy for University!).
One of the major things I used the Ultrabook Convertible for in my week was watching movies and TV shows. As I’m currently living in college, TVs are hard to come by, so I’m extra reliant on computers. One of my favourite things about the Ultrabook was its amazing battery life. I could get through three movies without having to plug it in. So handy for when you want to watch movies in bed, and the power cord doesn’t quite reach!
Intel doesn’t just make the Sony Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook Convertible (however, I would heartily recommend it!), there are a whole range of Ultrabooks out there to suit every budget and need. You can check out this price comparison website, or see what JB HIFI has on offer. The Good Guys are also running a promotion for the month of March where if you buy an Ultrabook, you can receive up to $100 in store credit. Awesome!
If you’re in the market for a laptop, or a tablet, I would definitely check out the Intel Ultrabook range. You will definitely be happy with your choice.
This post was sponsored by Intel via Nuffnang, however all opinions expressed are my own. 

frangipani princess xoxo