TV REVIEW: THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

  The name Henrietta Lacks may not mean an awful lot to some people but in reality it should be one of the most famous names in history. Lacks is responsible for revolutionising modern medicine and contributing to every recent major medical breakthrough from vaccines for polio, HPV and the flu-shot; to IVF and treatments…

BOOK REVIEW: TEA COOPER – THE CURRENCY LASS

  The Currency Lass is a dramatic story about a young woman who runs away to join the circus. The eponymous character is Catherine Cottingham, an independent young woman who is orphaned on the verge of her 21st birthday. Her philanthropist father has passed away and left her riddled with a saddlebag of debt. This…

BOOK REVIEW: MARTIN SIXSMITH – AYESHA’S GIFT

  Ayesha’s Gift is a book that could also be called “Ayesha’s Curse” because it is brimming with sorrow. It’s the fictionalised account of the real-life events that saw Philomena author and former BBC foreign correspondent, Martin Sixsmith assist in investigating the death of a British-Pakistani man. The book is ultimately a rather multi-faceted detective tale where…

FILM REVIEW: A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

  A Street Cat Named Bob is the heart-warming and feel-good true story about a young and homeless recovering drug addict living in London with his cat. James Bowen (played here by the occasionally whiny Luke Treadaway) is down on his luck, busking in Covent Garden and living in public housing until a chance meeting…

BOOK REVIEW: NADIA MARKS – AMONG THE LEMON TREES

  Love is a wonderful thing. We all want to experience it. Many musicians, artists and writers have used it as inspiration, but it was perhaps Darren Hanlon who put it best when he sang, “Love is just a lazy generalisation that we use for a hundred different feelings and as many situations.” Journalist and author,…

DVD REVIEW: ROSEHAVEN SERIES ONE

  Rosehaven is a comedy show that finds the funny in lots of things. It’s a fish-out-of-water comedy, a buddy comedy and a sitcom set in rural Australia. This eight-part series debuted on the ABC in 2016 and it was a hit with audiences. This is because it’s a funny show about two rather unlikely…

BLU-RAY REVIEW: VINYL SEASON ONE

  A story clouded by lost brain cells, self-aggrandisement and bullshit. This is what the TV series, Vinyl sells you. It’s a heady dramatic turn through the sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and hedonism that was the music industry in New York in 1973. This ten part TV series is a slow-burning, nuanced one that feels…

BOOK REVIEW: JENN J MCLEOD – THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEASON

  The Other Side of the Season is a mysterious, Australian novel set near Byron Bay. It’s the fourth book by Australian author, Jenn J McLeod and it’s basically like an onion. As you read the prose it’s like another layer is slowly stripped away to reveal something more and slightly different. The Other Side…

BOOK REVIEW: JOSEPHINE MOON – THE BEEKEEPER’S SECRET

  The Beekeeper’s Secret marks a slight departure in style for Australian author, Josephine Moon. In her third novel the writer has once again put together a vibrant and easy-to-read story about love, loss, family and friendship but this time around also manages to thread in some extra twists of suspense and mystery to the…

BOOK REVIEW: DANI ATKINS – OUR SONG

  Dani Atkins may not be the world’s most famous author but her third novel, Our Song, looks poised to change that. This emotional, family drama is a slow-burning and nuanced tale that looks at fate, friendship, love and other dilemmas. It’s a poignant tale that will give you cause to sit back and reflect…

FILM REVIEW: BLINKY BILL: THE MOVIE

  Blinky Bill may be a small koala but he has a big imagination. In the eponymous new film, this koala also embarks on a grand adventure through the Australian outback with a host of different animal friends. In all, this is a pleasant kid’s film that should appeal to some old and new fans…

BOOK REVIEW: SARAH WINMAN – A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS

  Sarah Winman’s A Year of Marvellous Ways has a lot in common with Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. Both novels are beautifully written and blend fantasy with a kind of understated realism. And in Winman’s case, there may be some nice writing to be savoured but it is also a frustrating read overall. Marvellous…