Book Recommendations · book review · Uncategorized · wrap up

July 2016 Wrap Up

June, I mean July, wow…get it together Carolyn was a fail reading month in terms of number of books (5). Quantity wise..meh..it could be better but I did enjoy most of the books I read. I know July has also been a whack blogging month with me not posting as consistently as I usually do but I’ll explain more in my July Favorites. Onto the books!

The first book I read was actually a reread:

Legend by Marie Lu

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3/5

 

I loved it the first time around, hated it the second time. What happened? I explain all of my thoughts and feelings in my discussion post here.


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3.5/5

On the other side of the spectrum, I read Sunstone Vol. 1 by Stjepan Sejic (Graphic novel)

 

The red on the cover really, really makes it seem like some really, really intense erotica, with lots of really kinky sex scenes but it’s definitely a lot more lighthearted than it would seem. It is a romantic comedy following two women who are into BDSM (one’s a dominant, the other a submissive) who meet over the internet and they hit it off and start a relationship. Contrary to what popular books might have us believe *stares pointedly at 50 Shades of Grey* it is possible to portray a healthy BDSM relationship in a book. What a concept. And really, it made the desire to be in a BDSM relationship and all its quirks seem utterly understandable from a non BDSM perspective. The interaction between our main characters is sweet and almost cheesy. And I really like that the steamy scenes are very integral to our character’s development which makes it more sensual rather than just being there for the sake of being a hot scene. I adore the art too. It’s very muted in some areas but deep and vibrant in others but all with some kind of red in them.


And then on the other side of the spectrum once again, I read a literary theory book called

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4/5

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose.

 

This book is about exactly what the title says. Prose dissects famous sentences and pieces of dialogue and points of view, as well as explain to us why details and character gestures and paragraph structure is so important. When do I break a paragraph? How much detail is needed? Which POV do I use? It sounds like some grammar lover’s heaven but it actually was really informative and you can tell that Prose has a deep passion for reading and writing (how fitting considering her name). We love our stories but we often underestimate how much word choice actually matters to telling that story. Whether to use a comma or semicolon etc. matters. It just gave me such a deep appreciation for the little things that writers have to think about while writing a book or anything really. I do think that the examples she gives us sometimes feel too long; she’ll give us some text from a classic or modern classic and then analyzes that section but the analysis would be so much shorter than the actual text she gave and I feel like she does contradict herself sometimes. She also does have a habit of sounding subtly pretentious when she writes about what constitutes “good” writing which I didn’t find bothersome at all (maybe because I’m low key pretentious about writing) but it might bother others.


And the last full book I completed was Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, my favorite book of the month. It is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend this series. I did write a full review here.

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4.25/5

 


DNF- Nuts by Alice Clayton

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In my neverending quest for a stellar romance novel, I decided to give Nuts by Alice Clayton after hearing so many good things about it. It’s an interesting concept for a romance novel, I’ll give you that because the love interest is a farmer. Nope, not the usual fantasy like firefighter or pliceman or doctor or mafia boss or motorcycle rider but a farmer? Sure why not. Our main character, Roxie, is a chef in LA and her mother has just got an offer to go on the TV show, The Amazing Race. She pleads with Roxie to return and manage the restaurant while she’s away even though Roxie does not want to go back to her hometown (this reminds me so much of Sweet Home Alabama). But she reluctantly agrees and there, she sparks a relationship with local farmer, Leo. I’m sad to say that this romance novel really did not cut it for me (I DNFed it at 25%ish). First of all, Roxie is your stereotypical “I-don’t-do-relationships” type of person which is getting to be one of THE MOST annoying romance tropes of all time. Oh you’re such a special snowflake, you don’t do relationships, where have I heard that before?? Oh yeah, in every other fucking romance novel. Girl, we know you do do relationships because we all know by the end of the book you’re gonna be that sexy hunk you met on page 10. Second of all, you don’t write believable sexual tension by saying “The tension was so thick..” Just because you write that will not make me believe it so the romance was pretty much subpar.

I’m basically not having any luck with romance this year so I’m bringing out the big guns in August and I’m going to read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. I thought her last book and most people’s favorite CoHo book, Maybe Someday was just ok but I’ve heard people say this one is the best CoHo book and it’s unlike anything she’s ever written. We’ll see about that.


Anyways, as for what I’m currently reading, I’m reading A History of Seven Killings by Marlon James still. I’m really liking it. It’s just dense. I’m also more than halfway through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and haha, oh man, do I have things to say about this script. Be prepared for much ranting in my next post. And finally, I’m just starting to read Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman which I’m liking it so far although I am only on page like 10 so take that with a grain of salt.

How was your July reading? Any new favorites? Disappointments? Have you read any of these books before? If so, let me know your thoughts. =)

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Book to Movie Review · Uncategorized

Book to Movie Review/Discussion: Mockingjay Part 2

Mockingjay Part 2

Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay by: Peter Craig, Danny Strong

Producers: Nina Jacobson, John Kilik

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore

SPOILERS BELOW


I probably won’t be the first to tell you that I thought Mockingjay Part 1 was definitely a step down from the perfection that was Catching Fire. I guess I have to forgive it somewhat, the source material is not a fan favorite including for me–my biggest problem with the book being such a jarring tonal shift from Book 1 and 2 as to almost feel like part of an entirely different series. I went in and watched Mockingjay Part 2 with low expectations considering all the mixed reviews but surprisingly I liked it a lot. In fact, I think I liked it more than the book.

There is way, way too much to discuss in one single post so I’m just going to touch on the points that stood out the most to me.

First of all, let’s talk about Peeta and Katniss. If you’ve read my Winner’s kiss review, you’ll know that I’ve come to loathe the amnesiac plotline for many reasons, emotional cop out, contrived, yada, yada, yada. And I wasn’t a fan of the device for Peeta either. But after looking back on it more than 4 years after reading it, I think it has grown on me. And the Peeta and Katniss dynamic in this movie was mostly well done thanks in part to the improved screenplay and of course, the always top notch performances. One of my favorite scenes was when Haymitch comes up to Katniss and Katniss was already ready to give up on Peeta but Haymitch says that no, it doesn’t matter what you want, it’s for Peeta. It kind of speaks volumes about who Katniss and Peeta are as characters. Katniss is someone who does not show pity and if you are the weak link, then screw you. But Peeta has always been the one to not leave anyone behind and in the book as Haymitch so accurately says, that if it were reversed and Katniss was the one injected with tracker jacker venom that Peeta would never for a moment think about leaving or killing Katniss. I think Josh Hutcherson did a great job showing Peeta’s conviction that these new twisted hallucinations were entirely real but that gradual shift to confusion once he’s learned that the events weren’t real was also really well acted.

Ok but honestly, it just hurts that it’s happening to Peeta, literally the sweetest fictional character in the history of fictional characters..but I guess I can see why Collins did it..I guess

I love the tension between the rebels at the beginning of the movie when Katniss is about to give a speech and chaos just erupts with rebels killing each other and Katniss says, “we are slaves to Snow” and the rebel says “I’m not a slave”and Katniss says “I am”. Chills, man, chills. But Katniss also says to him, “why are you killing rebels, your neighbors, your family” which is so powerful because we think Snow is evil because you

know, he kills people but here the rebels are killing other people too. Snow is operating on his own morality (I will kill children but I don’t do it without purpose) but then so are the rebels because these rebels and even Coin thinks that he/she knows what is best for Panem but when is that boundary crossed.

With everything else going on in this movie, I‘m pleasantly surprised they paid so much attention to how the impact of media propaganda but I’m really glad they did because it’s just so relevant today. It was so chilling when Caesar Flickerman, who once seemingly had only the best words for Katniss, is now speaking for the Capitol, saying things like “Katniss and her foolish rebels” or “the girl who was so violent now meets a violent end”. It’s just so scary because if you think about it, Caesar Flickerman can easily play two sides because you don’t actually find out what he stands for throughout the entire series. But he says things with such conviction and charisma that everything out of his mouth seems believable.

And ahh, the deaths. How do I put my thoughts together on that. It’s such a polarizing topic especially considering who dies (esp. Finnick and Prim). But, oh god, was Finnick’s death so heartwrenching because he was literally the one left behind and the mutts just consume him. Ugh, it hurts but I’m ok with it..

For me personally, I’m of the firm belief that a death in a book should be, for the most part, symbolic. It should mean something. For example, Mufasa’s and Bambi’s mother’s death, the loss of innocence. Boromir’s death, showing the power of the Ring. So even after the movie I still don’t know exactly to what purpose Finnick’s and Prim’s deaths serve. If anything, these deaths were such a bold choice on Collins’ parts precisely because it does not serve a clear purpose. I mean this entire series was catalyzed because Katniss volunteered for Prim and then she ended up..dead. No matter how main of a character or how important you are, war does not discriminate and it just kills whoever is in the way. But, at the same time, it seems like such a complete waste of a character. Like fattening up a pig only to eventually slaughter it. So, in conclusion, I’m still confused. I do really like the scene where Snow is about to be executed but instead Katniss kills Coin and Snow is killed by the people. How fitting.

And finally, the epilogue. I’m not sure why I’m not entirely satisfied with the epilogue. The editing makes it seem like the beginning of a horror movie which I guess is kind of the point because it’s a very haunting scene but still..

Sidenotes:

  • Katniss’s battle armor is always so bada, video game developers take note: the outfit is formfitting BUT FUNCTIONAL IN BATTLE.
  • Speaking of badass, that word is stamped all over Cressida played by Natalie Dormer. She just commands every scene she’s in even if she just said one word.
  • Another badass is Johanna. She is so harsh but so funny.
  • omigosh the mutts looked so scary..but that action scene was so thrilling. A+
  • Gale is actually not that annoying in the movie which is surprising because I wanted to kill him in the book.

So in ranking, I think Mockingjay Part 2 is my third favorite. almost being on part with the Hunger Games for second place. Obviously Mockingjay Part 1 is my least favorite and Catching Fire is my favorite by leagues.

What are your thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2? What’s your ranking of the movies?

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