Read, Watch and Listen – June

It is summer now and time to lay back on those sun loungers and start reading some books. If you need a break from the heat, pop inside and watch an episode of one of the many brilliant TV shows on telly. While travelling to work, turn up a great soundtrack that will chill you out. Here are my recommendations for things to read, watch and listen to this summer.

Read The Strawberry Thief

If you haven’t read one of Joanne Harris’ books yet, check out my review of Blackberry Wine which I read recently. Also – Where have you been?? Now I am half way through the fourth book in her ‘Chocolat’ series which is really satisfying.

‘Chocolat’ came out in 1999 and was the first book I read of hers. This fourth instalment carries on the beautiful adventures of a chocolate shop owner and her family as they negotiate life in a small French town.

When Viane Rocher’s daughter is left a small piece of woodland in the Will of a local gentleman, everything is turned on its head. His bitter daughter is determined to take back the land and make money on property sales.

Without giving anything away, this story sometimes feels magical. The description of food and, in particular, chocolate is used to immerse you in the narrative. Joanne writes brilliant, short chapters which carefully and cleverly absorb you into the situation.

Watch ‘A Small Light’ on Disney Plus

Last year when I visited Amsterdam, I took the chance to go to the Anne Frank Museum which is set in the actual offices where the secret annex was. Anne and her family were Jewish and hid in those small rooms during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Now, Disney and National Geographic bring us a well made drama about the young woman who hid the family and provided them with food. Mieps (played by Bel Powley) was not Jewish and worked as a secretary for Anne Frank’s dad. When they went into hiding she remained a connection between them and the rest of the world.

I feel as though there has been little publicity for this project but it is incredibly well written and acted. I am enjoying the bitter-sweet nature of this eight episode series. It deserves 5 stars from me.

Listen to The Little Mermaid soundtrack

Right now I am listening to ‘Part of Your World’ a lot! Having reviewed The Little Mermaid 2023 last week, you will see how enthusiastic I am about this movie and its soundtrack. Having never seen the original cartoon, Part of Your World has become an ear worm which is played regularly in my household.

There is something about the purity of the voice and the meaningfulness of the lyrics. It celebrates equality by yearning for being a part of the mainstream world. I love it and the talent of Halle Bailey shines through. The orchestra provides a serene backdrop to some beautiful lines.


Please let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments. I can truly recommend all of these and look forward to sharing more reading reviews in July. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article about what to read, watch and listen to in June. Please consider following my blog for future similar content.

The Little Mermaid 2023 Review

This is weird but I decided to watch the new Disney version of ‘The Little Mermaid’ without having seen the original. I mean, I knew the main songs from Disney compilations and specials. But I never got round to watching the whole first movie. Anyway, I was keen to try out the live action version so here is my The Little Mermaid 2023 review.

On a recent visit to Denmark I was shown where the writer of the Little Mermaid actually lived (see photo). I also got to see a remarkable statue of a Merman (below) and one of a Mermaid (but it was raining so I never got a good picture of that one).

The Merman.

The home of storyteller Hans Christian Anderson

My Review

I was interested in the movie as it was directed by Rob Marshall who has a great track record. I enjoyed his recent ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ film and ‘Into The Woods’ a few years before. I’d also seen Jonah Hauer-King in the dramatic series ‘World On Fire’ and ‘Flatshare’ so wanted to see how he portrayed Prince Eric.

Halle Bailey was introduced to the role of Ariel and her singing voice was perfect for this. She sang ‘Part Of That World’ so brilliantly and her acting was believable. She and Jonah worked well together as potential lovers. The original songs were added to with a lovely song for Prince Eric, which he performed flawlessly.

Melissa McCarthy played an evil sea witch known as Ursula. She was a good fit for that role and showcased her comedy skills alongside her singing and threatening side. With side characters such as a seagull, a fish and a lobster, the cast was complete.

The CGI was really magical and the storyline was paced nicely. The only thing that irritated me was a rap that the seagull did which felt out of place.

Final Thoughts

The Little Mermaid 2023 was magical and the soundtrack soothing. I especially enjoyed the performances by Halle, Jonah and Melissa. I would totally recommend checking out this two hours and fifteen minutes live action remake. It is heart-warming, keeps you interested and full of Disney beauty.

For my last movie review, check out my The Mother Film Review. Also, please consider following my blog for future reviews and similar content.

Read, Watch and Listen – 2023

Every month I put together reviews of various books, TV shows and things to listen to. In this regular feature I recommend some great entertainment that you may or may not have heard of. These are my latest suggestions for things to read, watch and listen to in May, including the highly anticipated Queen Charlotte.

Right now, I am bogged down with work deadlines but I have still found time to enjoy my favourite pastimes, guzzling up books and watching or listening to TV shows, podcasts and great music. Hopefully one of them will grab your interest and make you want to check it out.

Read ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’

I am slap bang in the middle of this book and really engaged with the story. When a journalist is invited to meet Evelyn Hugo, a famous Hollywood star, she has no idea what is in store. A well written narrative by Taylor Jenkins Reid takes us on a journey through Evelyn’s dramatic life.

I won’t give anything away but we can assume that Evelyn had seven husbands. Each part of the book focuses on her experiences with each of them. The journalist gets swallowed up in Evelyn’s uncomfortable experiences and the prejudices she faced as she navigated her way through a film career.

I have no idea how it will end but the quality of writing seems good and the story is really interesting.

Watch ‘Queen Charlotte’ on Netflix

Set loosely in the time period where Mad King George ruled over England with his wife, Charlotte, this drama is fruitful. Although it is a spin-off from Bridgerton, it works well as a stand alone.

We see the Queen that we know and love from Bridgerton and her bestie, Lady Danbury, both during the Bridgerton time period and also several years earlier. Forced to marry an English King, Charlotte felt quite remote and judged for her race, but soon tried to take control of the situation.

Without saying too much, there is a lot of rumpy pumpy in this series, much like in Bridgerton season one. It is funny, romantic, harrowing and intriguing. For me, the highlights are hearing Julie Andrews narrate and listening to the orchestral arrangements of modern pop songs.

Listen to ‘Padum Padum’ by Kylie Minogue

I was just about to recommend another podcast when Kylie’s new single popped on my screen. Veiled in red, Kylie has a brilliant new song that has a heart beat backdrop.

Going back to her pop roots and working with writers and producers from her Fever album, she does not disappoint. The music is catchy and as an ear worm it plays over and over in my head. Maybe it will yours too?

My favourite current song.

Final Thoughts

I really like all of the things I have recommended in this post. I have been a Kylie fan since I was 8 and am enjoying reading a Taylor Jenkins Reid book for the first time.

Hopefully you find something you like in my suggestions to read, watch and listen to for May. Recently I also reviewed The Mother on Netflix, starring Jennifer Lopez. Please comment your thoughts on my reviews and consider following my lifestyle blog for similar future posts.