The Guest List by Lucy Foley: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Non-Spoiler Review

Lucy Foley’s next murder mystery is finally here! Well, I say finally, but I’ve only had to wait since November after I read, and fell in love with, The Hunting Party (2019). As one of my most highly anticipated 2020 releases I couldn’t wait to see if the success of Foley’s twisty Scottish highland tale of a New Years Eve reunion gone wrong would be continued in The Guest List (2020) as a similarly ill-fated wedding party become isolated by a summer storm. This is a non-spoiler review, and I will do my best to ensure nothing can be spoilt.

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SIX (UK Tour):⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review

If you’ve been in any contact with the British musical theatre industry in the past three years, you’ve likely heard of Six. Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ reimagining of the six wives of Henry VIII has been taking the world, including Broadway and Australia, by storm since its debut as a student production at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. Six sees all six queens of England reunite to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak and they take back the microphone with full force.

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February TBR Including Blackathon 2020

It’s finally February! I really thought January was never going to end, but here we are. In January I threw myself into reading, experimenting with just how much I could read and how much my mood affects my reading before really sinking my teeth into my two 2020 resolutions; first, to be on top of anticipated 2020 releases and second, to read far more diversely. Luckily, February has turned into the perfect opportunity to make a good start on both of those resolutions. Continue reading to see my Blackathon 2020 TBR, listed at the top, followed by 2020 releases and finally the other books I’m planning to get to.

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Non-Spoiler Review

I have been dying to read this book. Plain and simple. Now that I have read it, thank goodness, I’m so excited to finally talk about it! I was first introduced to Ruth Ware through BooksandLala as she gave The Death of Mrs Westaway a positive review and put The Turn of the Key on her Best Books of 2019 list which was mirrored by many other Booktubers as well. I’m currently making my way through the audiobook for The Death of Mrs Westaway but I couldn’t wait to read The Turn of the Key so I treated myself with a Christmas voucher. My primary reason for pushing to read this one first is that I adore Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and many of the following reworkings I’ve read. If something is anyway linked to The Turn of the Screw I’m going to read it. Between the consistently positive reviews and connections to a favourite classic, I was impatient to dive in.

This review will contain no spoilers so I’m going to apologise now that some aspects may seem vague. I can’t go into too many details so I’ll do my best with what I know can’t spoil this awesome book for anyone! I’m planning to do a big blog discussion series covering The Turn of the Screw and my favourite reworkings so I’ll be uploading a spoiler-filled discussion as part of that which will cover the same aspects mentioned here in more depth.

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The King and I:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

The King and I is only the fifth musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and many people have experienced it through the 1956 film which led to many Broadway and West End revivals. Perhaps the most successful of these revivals opened in 2015 on Broadway directed by Bartlett Sher and starred Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe, featuring Ruthie Ann Miles. After winning three Tony Awards this production was taken on a US National tour and transferred to the London Palladium all culminating in this current UK tour. Prior to the 2015 revival, my experience with The King and I had come through both a 1999 animated film which used the songs and names of the musical production and 1956 straight to film adaptation. However, after watching clips from the Tony Awards I became far more interested in the new adaptation of such a famous musical beloved by my mum and grandmother. As I wasn’t aware of the plans to embark on a UK tour, I did also take my mum to see the live cinema screening of this production from the London Palladium, so I have seen this production in full before with Kelly O’Hara. Due to this, and the classic nature of the show, this review will predominately focus on the new cast members whilst also addressing some areas of the plot. So, I was lucky enough to be invited to see the current UK tour on its press night at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Whilst I was invited to press night, and given my tickets in exchange for a review, all views are my own.

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15 Highly Anticipated 2020 Book Releases

I’m just going to come right out and say that I’m expecting my 2020 reading year to be absolutely insane. After completing my Masters in September 2019 I got a Christmas job at Waterstones which made me aware of the upcoming releases and popular titles. Luckily I picked up some later 2019 releases, such as Bridget Collins’ The Binding, but I’ve also got a list of previous releases which I’m hoping are going to become new favourites judging from the BookTube reviews including such casual reads as V. E. Schwab’s Vicious and Villians, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series as I caught the hardback of Starsight. To add even more to that rapidly growing list, this post details fifteen books to be released in 2020 which I simply cannot wait for. This list does focus more on early year releases, however, due to the timely nature of the publishing industry which also explains the lack of information for the later releases. As I mentioned above this list is mainly inspired by my efforts last year to be far more conscious of recent releases and those heavily marketed in stores like Waterstones and Foyles. For example, I read quite a few authors below for the first time in 2019, loved that book and so want to continue to support them and their publishers.

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Les Misérables UK Tour: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

After ten years Les Misérables, the longest running musical in history, is touring the UK and has returned to Cardiff. Victor Hugo’s seminal 1861 novel spans one of the most turbulent periods of French history including both the living conditions of the 19th century poor and the 1832 June Rebellion. However, the musical adaptation itself created a turbulent history as it opened to less than stellar reviews at the Barbican Theatre in 1985 but the public imagination was so captured that not even Cameron Mackintosh could get through to the box office on the phone the day following opening night. The original 1985 staging, primarily set around the revolving stage, remained consistently running until earlier in 2019 when it was announced that, incorporated in the show’s extended break from its London home to allow for renovations, Mackintosh’s 2009 25th anniversary re-staging, originally devised for touring and international productions, will be the permanent London staging from December 2019.

Les Misérables is often cited as the first show and/or soundtrack theatre lovers become aware of and fall in love with. This was certainly the case for me. Whilst I had seen the family VHS tapes of both Cats and Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, when my mum brought home a DVD of the 10th anniversary production of Les Misérables, only for Ruthie Henshall not aware of anything else, it was love at first watch and listen for me and from then I was hooked on a whole industry. Years later in 2016 I was lucky enough to see the original staging in London and later I was even luckier to see the all-star staged concert, featuring John Owen-Jones and others, at the Guilgeud Theatre. Now I was so excited to finally see the new staging for the first time and in the Wales Millennium Centre stop of its UK Tour after only recently having a cast change.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: 9 to 5 The Musical

This is a show I have heard so much about. I’ve heard how successful the West End run, and each subsequent casting has been but it’s just never found its way to the top of my booking list. So when it was announced that the production would be touring the UK throughout 2019 and 2020 I was so excited by the opportunity to finally see this show and learn exactly what the story is. I was lucky enough to be invited to the press night at the Wales Millenium Centre in exchange for an honest review.

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On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review

This is the first time in a while that I’ve gone into a show knowing quite literally nothing about either the songs or the subject matter before hand. I had heard about this show across Twitter throughout its tour and successful runs and I knew that my mum was aware of Gloria Estefan and the major points of her story but other than that it wasn’t one I had been able to look into. However, this made me all the more excited by the opportunity to see the show on its press night at the Wales Millennium Centre to finally learn more about both Gloria Estefan and the show itself. Due to me going into the show blind This review will consider both the cast and technical aspects of this individual production and the general narrative.

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