Friday, January 31, 2014

Carrie (Friday Film Review)

Friday, January 31, 2014 12:20 AM with 4 comments


Film Fridays

Looking for something to watch this weekend? On Film Fridays I take a look at both new and old movies. 


Carrie 


Director: 
Writers: and
Starring:  , ,
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Rated: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.

Synopsis from IMDb:  

A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.




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MY THOUGHTS:

I was a bit skeptical about watching the remake of the movie Carrie with Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. While I like both actresses and think they do great work, Carrie just seemed like one of those films that didn't really need remaking. I checked the movie out from the library and ended up watching it yesterday afternoon because it was due back and I wasn't really doing anything else besides waiting to go work. While an alright film, it was exactly what I was expecting: a perfectly fine, but completely unnecessary remake of a classic horror film.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that my readers are already familiar with the premise of this film through either the actual Stephen King book on which it is based or through a viewing of the original, superior 1976 film. Because of this assumption, this review will really be more of a discussion on the remake itself and will probably end up slightly spoiler-ish. If you are unfamiliar with the story, but want to watch this movie, you should probably stop reading now....Still with me? Great. 



As mentioned, this remake doesn't really add anything to the story. I mean, there was some small additions of cyber-bullying that could have been extremely interesting if they were explored in more depth, but they aren't. The whole "plug it up" bathroom scene is still there in the beginning, but the super mean girl, Chris, videotapes it on her phone and uploads it to Youtube. That's truly about the only significant difference between the original film and the remake. Nice, popular girl, Sue, still decides that her boyfriend, Tommy, should take Carrie to prom to make up for past sins. Gruff gym teacher, Mrs. Desjardin, still wants to help Carrie out during this last year of high school and punishes the mean girls for their behavior, mean girl, Chris, still pours the pig's blood all over Carrie at prom sparking Carrie to snap. 


 

As far as the cast is concerned, they really do help make the movie watchable. Moore is an accomplished actress who plays her roles well. Greer is a fun addition (I love her) as the gym teacher. Nice(r) popular girl, Sue, is played by a very pretty blonde and was believable as a girl struggling with her past behavior. So that leaves Carrie, herself. While I like Moretz, and think she is a great actress coming into her own, she isn't who I would have cast as Carrie. Pretty girls get bullied, of course, but she looked like she was playing awkward more than it seemed like she was actually awkward. 

 

On the left is Sissy Spacek who played the original Carrie. On the right is Ms. Mortez. There is just a natural awkwardness to Ms. Spacek that is clearly lacking in the rising star which makes Carrie who she is. 

In addition, I would have liked to see more bullying (a phrase I never thought I would say--yes, I realize how absolutely horrible that sounds). When Carrie snaps at the prom, bad shit goes down. I'm not saying that seeing more bullying would justify the deaths of teenagers, but the tampon incident and the whole pig blood thing doesn't seem like enough to make somebody snap to the extreme that Carrie snaps. Yes, she has a zealous mother and people don't seem to really talk to her in school, but...I don't know. It just doesn't seem all that extreme. Maybe that's just me.

In the end, the Carrie remake was exactly what I thought it was going to be: an almost exact replica of the original film which, in my book, makes the remake pretty pointless. It's an alright film. It's entertaining enough if you stumble across it on HBO or whatever premium channel ends up snagging it in a month or two, or if you get it from your library, like I did, but don't expect a whole lot. 


Official Trailer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (39) They All Fall Down

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 12:47 AM with 21 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



20527879 They All Fall Down

Author: Roxanne St. Clair
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.
   
Why I'm Excited:

This was all over the interwebs this week, so I'm sure it will be extremely popular today, but I just couldn't help myself. Look at that cover! I seriously love it. Like, adore it in what I wish was a non-creepy way. This sounds so fun. I love YA thrillers/mysteries and this sounds a bit like the book The List's scary cousin from out of town. I cannot freaking wait until I have this in my hands. I hope I don't have to actually wait until October...

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Discussion Post: Why I'm over movie theaters

Monday, January 27, 2014 9:46 AM with 37 comments
http://www.deathbymovies.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/lobby-refreshments.jpg 

I used to love going to the movie theater. There was nothing like sinking into those comfy chairs and watching my favorite stars on the big screen. Lately, though, it seems like every single time I go to see something in the theater (which is probably only about 5 times a year lately) I always seem to sit next to this girl:

http://wishpicker.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/image0074.gif 

Seriously, like every single time. My husband and I finally went to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug about a week ago and there was a teenage girl sitting with her boyfriend 2 rows up that didn't watch even a second of the movie. She alternated between checking her phone and making out with her boyfriend. For almost 3 solid hours. AND she was in one of those chairs that squeaked like you wouldn't believe every time she moved. Which was every 10 seconds. I just...why even go to the theater?! I don't get it. How can you be that inconsiderate? After the movie I wanted to be all:

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130404145402/glee/images/4/41/You%27re-not-just-wrong-you%27re-stupid.gif


If it was just that one incident I would be annoyed, but it's not. When we went to see the Spiderman remake we sat next to a couple that both checked their phones throughout the movie. When we went to see the latest Star Trek a couple brought their 2 and 5 year-olds with them--and didn't take the 2 year-old out when she started fussing. When we went to see Superman a woman sitting directly in my line of vision checked for phone--and I am not exaggerating here--no less than 100 times. At least once a minute she would hit her screen. If you are waiting on something that important, or have that short of an attention span, why are you at the movie? When I go to a movie I turn my phone off completely and put it in my bag. Sometimes I even leave it in the car. There is no reason why I can't take a 2 hour break from my phone, especially if I am with my husband or with one of my girlfriends. I feel that way about restaurants, too. If I am out to dinner with somebody, I keep my phone in my bag. Also, listen, I don't have children, but if I did, I wouldn't take them to a movie that isn't aimed at them. They don't give a shit about Star Trek, of course they are going to get fussy and bored. Do 2 year-olds even care about children's movies that young? If you HAVE to see a movie, like, that night and don't have a sitter, at least take their ass outside the theater if they start to cry. I cannot stand people who don't have even this smallest bit of common courtesy. It makes me feel so stabby.

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I love movies and I love to watch them on the big screen, but lately I feel like it just makes sense to wait until they come out on video. I have a pretty decent sized screen at home and movies come out on video so quickly nowadays that my need to see them on the big screen has diminished. I get Entertainment Weekly and they are often talking about numbers and how people are going to the theater less and less. This is why: Other people suck! Movie theater prices are ridiculous. The movie I want to see will be out on DVD in, like, 2 months and I can wait that long to see it in the comfort of my own home. 

Did you hear that Madonna got kicked out of a theater a couple of months ago for texting? That's what I'm talking about. They need to have somebody in the theater who puts his/her foot down about this type of behavior so that those of us who know how to act in public can actually enjoy what we spent money to see. 

What about you? How often do you go to the movies? Do you have the same complaints as me or do you always have good experiences? I want to hear from you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (39) 1.25.14

Saturday, January 25, 2014 2:10 AM with 26 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.


Good news: I got an email that my certification was approved. I'm still waiting for the paper to come in the mail, but I'm one step closer. Yay! I'm hoping within the next 2 weeks or so I'll actually be subbing in classrooms.

On the blog front this week I posted a Discussion on Rereading (I'm pro rereading), a review of the book Mind Games which I reread (ha) in preparation for Perfect Lies, and a review of Rainbow Rowell's debut novel Attachments which is a fun, but not too cutesy, adult novel that reminded me of some of my favorite old school chick-lit novels. I didn't post a movie on Friday like I planned even though I had a couple of different movies I could have talked about. I was planning on writing it at the office Thursday, but ended up looking at substitute requirements for the different districts in my city and contacting different schools to request applications and to express my interest. I'll definitely post a movie review next Friday.

I have some pretty awesome books to share with you all today, so without further adieu...I hope you are all having fabulous weekends. For my fellow US residents, I hope you are staying warm! It is cold, cold, cold here, which is good for reading in bed, but bad for, you know, every other aspect of my life.

For Review

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Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
This was one of my most anticipated books of 2014 (although I think I left it off my top 10 list-doh), so I read it pretty much as soon as I got it. It's so cute. My favorite book of hers so far. I'll post a review next week. 
Alienated by Melissa Landers
This cover. I love it. I've heard some pretty good things about this so far and am excited to start it. It follows a girl who is chosen to host the first alien in a foreign exchange-type program.
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
This doesn't sound like my normal type of book, but its getting great early buzz that makes me excited to read it. Hailed as Downton Abbey meets The Selection (a show I don't watch and a book I've never read).
I really liked her novel The Boy I Loved Before and think this chick-lit story sounds really cute. 
The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High by Laurie Boyle Crompton
After a girl is voted least likely to be voted prom queen she is roped into a reality TV show.

What I snagged from the library

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Imposter by Susanne Winnacker
I've been wanting to read this for months. I was psyched when my library's system finally got a copy.
Camp Boyfriend by JK Rock
A former geeky girl has transformed herself at her new high school, but she is excited to go back to camp where she has real friends who appreciate her for who she really is. Sounds pretty cute. The font size is, like, 18 in the book though which I hate so I haven't started it yet. 
Premeditated by Josin Mcquein
I've checked out this revenge novel before, but didn't get to it in time. I've been meaning to read this for a while, so I hope I can find the time to get to it. 

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!
Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Attachments (Book Review)

Thursday, January 23, 2014 2:40 AM with 25 comments

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Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Dutton
Release date: April 14, 2011
Number of Pages: 336

Synopsis from Goodreads:

 "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?


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MY THOUGHTS:
  
After I graduated from college I read chick-lit almost exclusively. I was an English major, so by the time I graduated I was completely over Victorian fiction and writing 30 page papers and John Donne poetry. To this day I still hate William Faulkner with a passion usually reserved for pure evil. I was thrilled to find light, fun reads about girls my age written by authors I really connected with like Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Wiener, Meg Cabot, Sarah Mlynowski, etc, etc. While I'll still read books by my favorite chick-lit (I hate that term by the way) authors, like the ones I just listed, I rarely seek out new authors who are writing in this genre. Rainbow Rowell's Attachments reaffirmed my love of these fun books. Attachments was cute and fun and a bit melancholy and I adored it. 

Attachments is the story of Lincoln O'Neill, a man who is stuck in life. After living as a perpetual student for the past decade, racking up degrees he doesn't use, Lincoln has moved back in to his childhood home with his mother, an overbearing, yet loving woman. Lincoln is somewhat ashamed to be living back home, but because he has no real friends and is far from being involved with anyone, he doesn't really see a reason to move out of the house when he mother is so obviously thrilled to have him there even though his much older half sister constantly tells him he needs to move out and live his life.

Lincoln gets a job at a newspaper who has finally given its employees internet assess. The year is 1999, just to be clear. Lincoln's job is to sort through the emails and searches that have been flagged by the company's system due to key words being used (like, you know, porn and foul language). He reads the emails and decides whether or not the person is abusing the system and if they need to be given a warning. Lincoln hates spying on people, but the job is easy (super easy, like, he has to work maybe an hour of an eight hour shift) and he doesn't really have anywhere else to go.

Two women who work for the newspaper, Jennifer and Beth, have emails that are consistently flagged and stored into the system and Lincoln finds himself getting more and more enthralled by their lives as he reads the emails the two send back and forth. He never writes them up and always clears the messages from the catch-all system. He knows he should give them a warning--or at least that he should stop reading their emails--but he just can't bring himself to stop. As he gets to know more and  more about the friends, he finds himself starting to fall for one of them.

Jennifer is a married woman who's husband is desperate to start a family. Unsure of whether or not she wants to ever be a mother, she has been putting off having any discussions or making any decisions. She knows that she loves her husband and doesn't want to lose him, though.

Beth has been in a relationship with a musician for years. She knows that there is a possibility that he will never actually settle down with her, but they have been together for so long that she is comfortable with how things are. She starts to doubt her life a bit more when her younger sister announces her engagement.

This novel is simply wonderful. I loved and cared for all three characters. I loved that we saw Lincoln and his life and got to know the two friends through their email--the same way Lincoln was getting to know them. I loved reading the details of Lincoln's first relationship with a girl he dated in high school and how that relationship is still affecting him. I loved the friendship he strikes up with the older woman at the newspaper who runs the vending machines.

I'm so glad I picked this one up. I really struggled reading Eleanor and Park (I'm sorry I know it is much beloved) and actually ended up not finishing it even though I tried 3 different times to get into it, but I really enjoyed Fangirl and was so happy I gave it a try...which lead me to give this one a try. It held my attention the entire time I was reading it and I loved the style that combines emails and narrative. If you've enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's previous novels, you have to pick this one up. If you haven't, then this debut is the perfect place to start. Highly Recommend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (38) Everything Leads to You

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 1:19 AM with 15 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



18207188 Everything Leads to You

Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: May 15, 2014

Synopsis from

A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
   
Why I'm Excited:

Reading about Hollywood set design sounds awesome and original. I love the connection between a young set designer and a silver screen legend. I also love this simple, soft cover. I've never read anything by Nina LaCour, but I've been meaning to get to The Disenchantments, and you better believe I'll be giving this one a shot. 

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mind Games (Book Review)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:38 AM with 20 comments

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Mind Games

Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Number of Pages: 272

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.


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MY THOUGHTS:

As the release date for this second book in this series, Perfect Lies, looms nearer, I decided that it was time to give Mind Games a second look so it was fresh in my mind. I read the ARC of Mind Games about a year ago and even though I remembered the story better than most books, details were a bit fuzzy. I snagged the finished copy from my library and planned to read this alongside another library book and one of the ARCs I'm behind on, but Mind Games completely sucked me in again and I eschewed everything else in order to speed through this gem for the second time. 

Like a lot of books, this one is pretty polarizing. Looking at my friends' ratings on GR, it is fair to say that most people either love or hate this book. In fact, my original review on GR from a year ago starts off with how I was so glad that I had read an ARC of this book because I probably never would have picked it up based solely on some of my friends' ratings. It just goes to show that we won't always have the same taste in books and that I shouldn't be discouraged when something I'm looking forward to gets dismal ratings.

Mind Games is the story of two sisters, Fia and Annie. After their parents die in a brutal car accident, the two girls are shipped off to live with an aunt who seems burdened by her new responsibility.  Both Annie and the aunt are thrilled when a man from a prestigious private school shows up and offers Annie a place at the school. Only Fia is distraught by this prospect. Not because she is afraid to be separated from her sister, but because she can feel that the man and the school are wrong. When she voices her concerns the man takes interest in her as well and offers her a place alongside her sister. She agrees if only to keep her sister safe. 

We find out almost immediately that the school is incredibly sinister and that Fia was right to be wary. It is a school for girls with special gifts. The school sought out Annie because she is a "seer". Annie, even though she is blind, "saw" her parents accident before it happened. While the school originally wanted Annie, they quickly discover that Fia is the true gem of the family. Fia's gift is that of perfect instincts. On multiple choice tests she knows the right answer every time, even if she didn't study; she can pick the right stock to invest in; and she is awesome at hand-to-hand combat. 

As the years pass, the school and the evil people who are behind it, begin to send Fia on more and more dangerous assignments. Long gone are the classes where she picks the right stock, she is now the school's assassin. She hates what they make her do, but they hold Annie prisoner and threaten Fia with Annie's death if she doesn't do what she is told. All she can think of is escaping their grasp, but she will never leave Annie behind.

While I liked Annie ok, Fia is the star of this show. Broken, angry, fiercely loyal, and totally bad-ass, I found myself drawn to her character way more than Annie's (who admittedly, as a prisoner, doesn't get to do a whole lot). Once I adjusted to the narration, the novel just flew by as it raced to the (cliffhanger) conclusion that left me panting for more. This reread really helped get my excitement for the second book up more. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

There is a hint of a triangle with Fia, but neither relationship is the focus, and it really isn't a true triangle. The first is Adam, the boy she is sent to kill in the opening scene of the book, but who she ultimately saves instead. In Adam, Fia sees the life she could have if she wasn't trapped in this corrupt world. The second is James, the son of Mr. Keane who is the sinister man behind it all. Fia knows that James is dangerous, but she cannot help but be drawn to. He knows all of the brutal things Fia has done and is capable and he doesn't care.

The biggest complaint I've heard about this book is the crazy time line and the writing style, and I have to admit that it does take awhile to get used to (although I had no problems with it during this reread). The story bounces back and forth between Annie and Fia AND it bounces back in forth between the past and the present as well. It can be confusing at first, but I think most people will adjust fairly quickly. As far as the writing style, there is a lot of repetition that may bug some (and did annoy me sometimes), but I found the story so interesting that it really wasn't a problem. 

Overall, I loved Mind Games and cannot wait for the sequel. The writing is fast-paced, the characters are dark, and the school is mysterious and shady. If you haven't read this yet, I'd definitely recommend. The sequel, Perfect Lies, comes out on February 18, 2014.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Discussion Post: Rereading

Monday, January 20, 2014 10:55 AM with 25 comments
Winnie-the-pooh-reading 

When I was younger I reread books all the time. I cannot even tell you how many times I read all the books in The Baby-Sitters Club series or the ones in The Fabulous Five series or the ones in The Secret Circle series or Sweet Valley High or Sweet Valley Twins or this one book whose name I can't remember that was about a girl who falls in love with a senior when she is a freshman and follows her throughout her high school career because as a sophomore who fell for a senior I just connected with that book so much. Even as an adult, especially before I started blogging, I would often pick up a beloved book to reread. I've easily read some of my favorite adult and YA books 3-5 times each. To me, there is just nothing like diving back into a story I love.

When I started blogging that all changed. I don't get physical ARCs--although I also haven't gone after them--but the folks over at Netgalley and Edelweiss are extremely kind to me. I'm white-listed on EW by a few different publishers and it's so hard not download (or request) books when I see their pretty covers--even when I know I should resist. I just literally cannot help myself. It's my one true vice (but it's better than crack, so there's that). Because I have all of these review copies, not to mention the roughly 50 books I have checked out from the library right now...What? It's not a completely insane amount. What's that? It is an insane amount? Don't judge me...I sometimes feel guilty when I hear a beloved favorite calling me from my book shelf.

 


I've decided not to let it get to me anymore, though. I love to reread. I do, and when I force myself to read something else I almost always end up not liking it, or more often than not, not finishing it. My solution has been to reread old favorites alongside an ARC or library book (or both; I tend to read several books at once, but that's a whole different topic). Not all the time. I'm not rereading anything right now, for example, but sometimes I get a craving for a book like a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream, and I'm not going to stop myself from reading what I want any longer.

Furthermore, I find that the best way to get myself out of a major book slump is to read something I already know I will enjoy. I know I'm not alone when I say that after I read a new book that I absolutely adored it can sometimes be hard to get into the next book. Nothing comes close to what I just read--except for an old stand-by. I almost always reread a book when I find myself stuck in a slump. Nothing is worse than not being able to find a book you can connect with. 

The downside of rereading for me is when it is done out of necessity. Mainly when the next book of a series comes out and I realize that my memory of the first (or second or third) book is hazy at best...but that's for another discussion.

What about you? Do like rereading an old favorite again and again, or are you more a one and done type of person? Do you have a crazy library habit like me, or do you just check out 1 or 2 books at a time? I'd love to hear all about your rereading habits.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (38) 1.18.14

Saturday, January 18, 2014 12:18 PM with 16 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.


I wish I had something good to share on the job front, but the wait for my teaching certification continues. Whomp, whomp. I could talk more about this, but I'm not going to.

This week on the blog I posted a review for the book The List which is a wonderful YA book that follows eight different girls through a single week of high school. I also posted a review for the movie You're Next which starts off like every other scary movie, but gets more original and fun in the second half.

This week I have all kinds of books to share with you, so without further adieu...Hope you are all having a splendid weekend!

For Review

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The early reviews I've skimmed have labeled this Beauty and the Beast meets Cupid and Psyche. I've read the first chapter or so and it's interesting so far. 
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
This one has been billed as The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report. I read about 25% of The Uninvited and it wasn't really holding my attention so I put it aside for a bit. I do plan on finishing it...hopefully before publication.
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott
A girl's mother is being kept alive by machines for the baby inside her. I don't know if I can do this one. I didn't read the synopsis. I was just like, oh look a new Elizabeth Scott book. We'll see.
Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison
From what I can gather from the synopsis a girl sleeps with her best friend's boyfriend when drunk at a party. 
Tales From My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses
This book follows five girls in high school through the clothing choices. I'm reading this now and it's pretty fun, although a bit young.
Minders by Michelle Jaffe
A girl is accepted into a program where teens live inside the mind of somebody else for 6 weeks, falls in love with her subject, watches him commit a crime, and then has to decide whether or not to turn him in. 
And We Stay by Jennifer Hubbard
After her boyfriend shoots himself in their school library a girl transfers to a boarding school and deals with the aftermath.

What I snagged from the library

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Nameless by Lili St. Crow
A retelling of Snow White. I've heard good things.
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
A girl who is a nightmare, meaning she feeds off of people's bad dreams, I guess, tries to solve a murder.

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!
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Friday, January 17, 2014

You're Next (Film Friday Review)

Friday, January 17, 2014 9:36 AM with 6 comments
 
Film Fridays
Looking for something to watch this weekend? On Film Fridays I take a look at both new and old movies. This week's film is the scary movie You're Next which just came out on DVD this week. 


You're Next

Director:
Writer:  
Starring:  , ,
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Rated: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity  

Synopsis from IMDb: 

When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.







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MY THOUGHTS:
You're Next started out in pretty typical horror movie fashion. An older man and a younger girl finish having sex and the girl goes to make herself a drink (in an unbuttoned shirt and no pants). The flood lights outside of their completely isolated house come on for no apparent reason. She stares doe-eyed into the darkness for a moment and then continues to drink her screwdriver. Her boyfriend comes out of the shower to see weird writing on the window. Upon closer inspection the words are: You're Next and they are written in her blood. Dun, dun, dun. Immediately I groaned a little inside. How many times have we seen this opening? Too many to count.



You're Next is about a family coming together to celebrate the parent's 35 wedding anniversary. The family obviously has a ton of money. The father used to work for the KGB (according to one of the sons) and the film takes place on their sprawling, isolated Tudor estate. The family is composed of the parents and their four children who have each brought their significant other with them. Relations between the siblings is strained--between two of the sons especially--and the dinner to celebrate the anniversary is tense until the daughter's boyfriend takes an arrow right between the eyes and all hell breaks loose.

I have to admit that for the first third of this film I was completely unimpressed. It was everything I had seen before: a large cast that gets picked off one by one a la every horror film ever, bad men in crazy masks a la The Strangers, and a gutsy heroine to cheer for.  However, the gutsy heroine, Erin, really is pretty unique and as she goes into crazy survival mode I found myself liking the film a bit more. 

 

The movie does have some major problems, mainly in the implausible way the characters act. There are 10 of them, well 9 once arrow boy gets it, but they are constantly splitting up: Hey, I'm just going to go check the basement alone. Don't do that, that's stupid. Your face is stupid, I'll be right back...Listen, I'm not a survival genius or anything, but I think the number one logical rule of a group under attack is to stay together. 
Even with these issues, the last half of the movie is pretty fun--if you can stomach gore. The motive is revealed which I appreciated. I like The Strangers and think for that film the no motive as motive worked pretty well, but it doesn't work every time and I'm glad this film didn't use that as a cop out. Also, Erin, played by Vinson, is believable and easy to root for. She's pretty badass, but in a completely relatable way.

Overall, I think You're Next is pretty fun. It's not the best film out there and while it relies pretty heavily on genre stereotypes, it does manage to stand out from the pack thanks to its heroine. If you like scary films, it's worth checking out.

Official Trailer


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The List (Book Review)

Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:21 AM with 14 comments

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The List

Author: Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Push
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 332

Synopsis from Goodreads:

 An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.




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MY THOUGHTS:

I first read this book last spring with my teen reading group at the library. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself thinking about it recently, so I decided to give it a second look. I love this book. It follows eight girls, two in each grade at a high school, that have been put on "The List". The list is distributed every fall the week before Homecoming and is made up of eight girls--again two from each grade--that have been named either the prettiest or the ugliest girl in their grade. Nobody knows who makes the list every year, but the list is stamped with the official school seal to give gravitas. It's ambitious to follow eight different characters in a relatively slim book, but Siobhan Vivian definitely pulls it off. For the first few chapters I was flipping back to the front of the book to see which girl I was reading about (freshman ugliest, junior prettiest, etc), but after awhile, the girls became distinct. 

What makes a book like this important is the way it shows that ALL girls are judged. ALL girls have problems. The girls who are 'pretty' are dealing with just as much crap as their counterparts. The book touches on serious issues like anorexia, self-worth, sister relationships, jealousy, and guilt--just to name a few. The author does a great job of touching on important issues while keeping the book interesting and enjoyable. She also keeps the girls real without relying on stereotypes or stock characters.  

The freshman girls are Danielle and Abby. Until the list comes out Danielle was happy. She's on the JV swim team, but on the fast track to make varsity and she is with her boyfriend, Andrew, who she met at summer camp that summer where they were both counselors. After being named ugliest freshman and saddled with the name "Dan the Man" Danielle is struggling to show everybody that the list doesn't bother her while worrying that the teasing Andrew is taking about their relationship will make him change his mind about her. 
Abby is thrilled to be named prettiest freshman. She often feels like she is living under her older sister's shadow because Fern is such a good student. She hates that the list seems to be making the divide between her and her sister even wider, though. 

The sophomore girls are Candace and Lauren. Candace, a drop dead gorgeous girl, has been named ugliest sophomore with the explanation that beauty isn't only skin deep. She is the queen bee of her popular group of sophomore girls, but she can see the glee in her friends' eyes that she has been called out. She quickly finds her grasp on her group slipping. Lauren is new to public school. She has always been home schooled, but after moving to a new town with her mother--who had to move into her childhood home and get a job--Lauren is experiencing a real school for the first time. After being named prettiest sophomore she finds herself with friends for the first time. The same group of girls that used to hang out with Candace. 

The junior girls are Sarah and Bridget. Sarah has always been a bit of a loner. She sits on the same isolated bench everyday, smoking cigarettes and thinking her classmates are morons. She has just started to see a new boy, Milo, and she is annoyed that the list has singled her out. Determined not to just slink into the shadows, she decides writes ugliest across her forehead and decides to drop all personal hygiene up to the Homecoming dance. She wears the same clothes every day--and builds up as much of a sweat as possible--she refuses to shower or brush her teeth. She will not be ignored. Bridget has been suffering from anorexia since the beginning of the summer and even though she knows she needs help, she can not help but feel justified when she is named the prettiest junior. She tells herself that she just needs to get herself through Homecoming...and then she will let herself eat again.

The senior girls are Jennifer and Margo. Jennifer has been named the ugliest girl in her class for four years in a row. When she was named ugliest freshman, Jennifer had a embarrassing breakdown in front of the entire school. This year she is determined to embrace her title. Margo is the no-brainer. She is primed to be named Homecoming Queen and is looking forward to getting through senior year and on to the next stage of her life. She used to be best friends with Jennifer and is a bit ashamed by how their friendship dissolved. She is horrified when her two best friends decide to take Jennifer under their wing and start campaigning for her to be named Homecoming Queen. Jennifer is, of course, thrilled by the attention of two of the most popular girls in school and begins to feel hope that she will be named queen at the dance. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Even though following eight different girls is quite a lot, it was never overwhelming and each girl really is unique and districtive. I've read a few complaints about the lack of any true resolution, but I actually liked that. This was a week in the life of eight high school girls, to resolve all of the problems or to show real resolution to some of the issues would have rang so false in this book. If she would have wrapped up all of the storylines with little bows, I wouldn't have enjoyed this book nearly as much as I did. What makes this book so good is that it stays true to what a week in high school is really like. It's a slice of life. Don't get me wrong, there is some resolution. We find out who made the list, for example, and who gets crowned queen, but major problems like eating disorders don't magically go away. 

Even though this story deals with some heavy issues, it is itself relatively light and incredibly easy to read. I cared about all of the girls on the list and think that this is an important book that actual teens would relate to and enjoy. Definitely recommend.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (37) Summer of Yesterday

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:34 AM with 23 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



18629794 Summer of Yesterday

Author: Gaby Triana
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 8, 2014

Synopsis from

Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.

Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.

The year? 1982.

And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.

Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?
   
Why I'm Excited:

Um, Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High?! Sold! Time travel, the 80s, summer camp. What's not to love here? Definitely excited to read this one. It sounds, like, totally fun. 

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (31) 2014 Debuts

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:25 AM with 16 comments


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature hosted byThe Broke and the Bookish. Click the link to go to their site to see the original list for today plus links to a whole slew of other blogs. After you read mine, of course.



Today's Topic Is: The top ten 2014 debuts for which I'm most looking forward

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Alienated  by Melissa Landers
I've been drooling over this vivid cover for months. I'm excited to dive into this one. 
Hexed by Michelle Krys
Witches are fun. It was so nice of Taylor Swift to model for this cover, too (I know that's not TS...or is it?). 
Something Real by Heather Demetrios 
This book that follows a teen that used to be on a Jon and Kate Plus 8 (that's what that show was called, right?) type show looks really fun.
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
The early star rating for this haven't been as high as I'd like to see, but I'm still excited to read this one.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
I'm crazy excited for this book set in Oz where Dorothy is the villain. It looks so fun.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
I'm such a sucker for ballet books.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
This novel about a girl who writes letters to dead celebrities while dealing with the death of her sister looks so poignant. And that cover is amazing.
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
This sounds like if Dexter Morgan were a teenage girl and I love me some Dexter Morgan.
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Seagal 
A girl who runs a break-up business. Sounds adorable. 
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
Another Sliding Doors type story where a girl has to chose between two prom dates and some strange occurrence allows her to live both choices. Sounds pretty cute.  

So those are the debuts for 2014 I'm most looking forward to reading. What books topped your list? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!