Monday, March 31, 2014

Rebel Belle (Early Book Review)

Monday, March 31, 2014 1:21 PM with 16 comments
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Rebel Belle

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Number of Pages: 384
Release Date: April 8, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.


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MY THOUGHTS:

I've never read Hex Hall or the rest of that series. They've always looked pretty cute to me and I know that a lot of my friends love them, but you know how it is--sometimes we just don't get to read all the books we want to. I knew I wanted to read Rebel Belle as soon as I saw this cover, though, and jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy.

I tend to just grab books without reading the cover, especially when there has already been some buzz about them (I'm trying to be better about this as I've picked up WAY too many arcs I'm not really all that interested in just because they had a pretty cover), so I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that this book is set in modern times. I knew it was about a girl who finds out she is a Paladin--which is a special type of warrior whose job is to protect somebody in particular--but I was expecting the Tudor court or something. Who knows. Regardless, our story takes place in today's world in the genteel South, and our Paladin is a girly-girl named Harper Price. Harper is one of those perfect overachievers that so many YA novels seem to follow: she is popular and smart, a cheerleader, junior class president, and set to be Homecoming Queen. In fact, it is at Homecoming that shit starts to hit the fan. She is in the bathroom putting on lipstick when a janitor, fatally injured, "kisses" her. Before she knows it she is life-or-death fight with her science teacher. Not the best way to start an evening.

Harper quickly learns that the janitor was a Paladin and that the kiss was him passing on his powers. She is completely dismayed when she learns that the person whose life she now has to protect at all costs is none other than her sworn enemy, David Stark. David and Harper have been enemies for as long as either can remember. The two are competing for highest rank in their class, and just generally cannot stand to be around each other. In fact, David often uses his position of the paper's editor to call Harper out in print. As the two start to work together to figure out what is going on, though, things between them begin to thaw. Her friends and her perfect boyfriend don't know what to make of their new friendship, and it's not like Harper can tell them the truth.

Rebel Belle is a pretty cute story. I really liked both Harper and David. I'm always a fan of books where the main characters have fun, snarky banner complete with a will-they-or-won't-they vibe. The book reminded me of the Dead is the New Black series by Marlene Perez which was a series I loved for the first 5 books or so. Both are fun, but completely silly. A lot of the scenes also reminded me of the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Especially the mentoring aspect.While I certainly enjoy my share of cute, action stories, this one isn't without some issues.

On thing that really bothered me was that there are a couple of mentions about Harper's older sister, who, like Harper was the "perfect" girl and Homecoming Queen, but who tragically died on her own Homecoming--I believe in a drunk driving accident because Harper talks about how she is drunk--but it's mentioned like an aside that doesn't really matter. I really wish this would have examined with a lot more depth. It's such a tragic thing to get brushed over, making it just a weird detail.

I also didn't really find the "action" scenes that exciting. Because action is such a visual thing, it can be something that is so hard to write, and unfortunately, these scenes never really came together for me. I really enjoyed the dialogue, characters, and their relationships, though.

I'm really curious to see the final formatting of this book as I have no idea how it could possible be almost 400 pages. I've been reading this over the past week or so alongside several other books, so it can be hard for me to gauge how long it took me to read, but I decided to finish the last 20% this morning before getting up, and there is no way that what I read in less than an hour was 80 pages worth of material.

Finally, **SLIGHTLY SPOILER-ISH** the final showdown was nearly as dramatic as I thought it was going to be. At all. The ending was definitely a bit of a let-down.**END**

Overall, Rebel Belle is a cute if insignificant story. It definitely reads like the first book in a series. The ending isn't a cliff hanger, per se, but it's pretty close--with dramatic turns in the last part of the book obviously setting up the next story. If you enjoy kick-butt heroines in somewhat ridiculous circumstances (like Buffy), you'll probably enjoy this. It was a perfectly pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and I really did like both main characters and their relationship to each other.


*I received an advanced reader copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Rewind 3.29.14

Saturday, March 29, 2014 12:50 AM with 23 comments




The Weekly Rewind

The new books on my shelves, the links I loved, and my week in a nutshell.





Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves, and the links I've enjoyed over the past week from other blogs and the interwebs in general.  

My Life and Blog

Life: I'm feeling a lot better this week. I still have a lingering cough and some congestion, but am much better. Thanks for all the well wishes! Tuesday was a horrible day, though. I got maybe 3 hours of sleep and then subbed for a half day and then had to go into the office. Subbing on no sleep is the worst! On Wednesday I went to a huge teacher employment fair which was interesting, but chaotic. I snagged some information from different schools, but didn't get a job or anything. My state is unfortunately not one of the ones who need teachers. I  would love to move down to FL where they actually need teachers, but with my husband's new-ish company, now just isn't the time for a move.  On Friday I subbed for a music teacher. I had to watch the same 40 minutes in the middle of a movie I've never seen 5 times.


My blog:
New books:

April is just going to be insane. I'm excited for so many of the books I have, but I'm also a bit overwhelmed by all the arcs I have to read. April also has two of the books I've been dying for: To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Dorothy Must Die. You better believe I'm making time for those two. I'm really excited for the books I'm sharing with you this week, so without further adieu, I hope you are all having fantastic weekends. 

For Review

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Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
I've been excited for this one since seeing that gorgeous cover. I love books that focus on friendship and a road trip is always fun. This one is on deck.
Great by Sara Benincasa
I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit weary about this retelling of The Great Gatsby, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm loving the cover girl's makeup and the color scheme. 
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
5 years after dying, a 16 year-old boy's head gets attached to somebody else's body. It sounds pretty awesome. 
The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors
Two teenage heirs of feuding families fall in love. It sounds like Romeo and Juliet mixed with the Hatfields and McCoys. I seriously hate that cover, but it sounds interesting.
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
A recovering addict searching for answers about her best friend's murder. 
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
I'm going to be honest and say that I have no idea what this fantasy novel is actually about. Something about sisters keeping souls quiet? 
A group of students decide to take down the reality show being filmed at their high school. 
Always Emily by Michaela MacColl
The Bronte sisters solve a mystery.

What I snagged from the library

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A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
I had an arc of this historical fiction story following a girl during the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak, but it was only formatted for Adobe Digital and I hate reading on my computer. 
The Pretenders by Lisi Harrison
Five journals are stolen from a locked cabinet. I've never read anything by this popular author, so I'm excited to give her a try.
The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
A mystery following two disappearances years apart is being billed for fans of Gillian Flynn. I love a good dark mystery every once in awhile, but I'm afraid arcs are going to dominate my life this month. We'll see. 

Link Love

Blog Love: 

  • This joint review from Jen and April, the lovely ladies from Starry-Eyed Revue, of Open Road Summer made me wish I would have tried to snag this one after all. I can add this to the growing list of April (the month) books I just HAVE to have.

The Interwebs:


  • So this is a blog post, but from a non book blog. It is from The Nerdy Feminist and discusses She's Someone Vs. Narcissistic Fatherhood which is an extremely thoughtful post about how saying: you should treat that woman better because what if she was your daughter, wife, mother, etc is wrong because it makes the woman all about that man. It's awesome.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Discussion Post: My Love of the Epistolary Novel

Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:02 AM with 21 comments



Discussion Post: Loving Epistolary Novels

e·pis·to·lar·y: 

1. relating to, denoting, conducted by, or contained in letters. 

2. (of novel or other work) constructed in the form of a series of letters. 

 

In honor of Love Letters to the Dead, a book I just finished a couple of days ago (the review can be found here), I've decided to try to explore my love of the epistolary novel and showcase a few of my favorites.

 

I've always been a fan of stories told through epistolary methods. Of which I mean not just letters, but also by email, diaries, texts, etc. There a few reasons for this. 

 

The first is that one of the things I both love and miss most about teenage me was the way I was always writing. I wrote journals, poems, stories, and-yes-letters. Most of these letters were really just another way of journaling my feelings about a person by addressing my writing to them--almost always the boy I was crushing on or just broke up with. I'm going to explain how this was almost always the same person. For some reason the following scenrio was 95% of my relationships in high school:

 

Boy: I like you.

Me: That's cool. I'm going to make this relationship as confusing and as difficult as possible so that you will prove your worth by battling through all my crap to find the real me.

Boy: What? I'm a teenage boy and that just isn't going to happen.

Me: Wait! Where are you going? *Sobs, writes poetry/stories/journals, discusses boy ad naseum with friends.* 

 

Rinse/Repeat 

 

 

Ahem. There were a few reasons for this, I think. The first is that I was just a late bloomer and not ready for a real relationship. The second is that I started reading Harlequin romance novels, Danielle Steel, VC Andrews, Sweet Valley High, etc in, like, the fourth grade. Relationships were supposed to have angst and passion. They weren't supposed to be about watching some dude play Playstation. Finally, I needed something to write about. Looking back at my teen self, I'm pretty sure I put myself through this just so I would have something to write about. Whatever. It was what it was was, and I wouldn't change a minute of it. So these novels written in diary, letter, emails, what-have-you let me reminisce about that time in my life when I was constantly just writing, writing, writing. 


The other reason I think I love the epistolary form so much is that it seems like we are getting a truer, deeper look into a character. Third person can only go so far. Even first person can feel distant as somebody is telling a story. When I tell stories, I omit, I change, I exaggerate, etc. BUT when somebody sits down to write they are opening up in a way more personal manner. Books written through journals and letters are showing the real person.

 

Some of my favorite epistolary novels:

 

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The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCaferty

Very few books can compete with my love of Jessica Darling and the books that follow her. Told in journal form, this series follows several years of Jess's life from her formidable high school years through college and beyond. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor. If you have, I have two words for you: Marcus Flutie. 

Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot

This is part of a loosely connected series of three books labeled the "Boy" series. The other two books are Boy Meets Girl and Every Boy's Got One. All three are just these sugar-y sweet (in the best possible way) books told mostly through email. 

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Follows a boy named Charlie who chronicles his freshman year of high school through letters to an unnamed person. This book is tough to read at times, but just so, so good. 

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Oh, Bridget Jones, the English singleton just trying to lose 15 pounds and stop smoking cigarettes. By far my favorite retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is basically the queen of the epistolary novel. This adorable 10 book series follows a teen girl who finds out she is the princess of a small country. 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

This book wreaked me. It follows a girl named Laurel who writes dead celebrities like Kurt Cobain and Heath Ledger while working through the grief caused by her beloved sister's recent death. 


Like always, I'd love to hear from you. Do you like the epistolary format or does it drive you crazy? Any recommendations?





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (45) The Bodies We Wear

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:01 AM with 10 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.



20342549 The Bodies We Wear

Author: Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Knopf for Young Readers
Release Date: September 23, 2014

Link to Goodreads:

A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes according to plan. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye’s life suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires or will revenge consume her?
   
Why I'm Excited:

It's hard not to get excited for a heroine who is compared to Lisbeth Salander, and the whole training-at-night thing kind of reminds me of Hit Girl. Plus, I also love a good revenge story. This book sounds really intriguing (although who isn't weary when the read the words "mysterious young man"?). I'm definitely keeping my eye for this one.
 
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, March 24, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead (Early Book Review)

Monday, March 24, 2014 12:23 PM with 21 comments
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Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Number of Pages: 323
Release Date: April 1, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

****************************************************************
 
MY THOUGHTS:
 
It's been quite awhile since a book has made me cry legitimate tears. True, I mostly stay away from "issue" books or books that I know going in are going to be sad, but I couldn't resist picking this one up. For one thing that cover is just amazing. The font, the sky, the way she is sitting on the letters. Everything about it is perfect. More than that though, I'm a huge fan of epistolary books. I don't know what it is, but if I find out a book is written through letters, emails, or diary entries, I'm all over it. Like the title states, this book is told through letters to the dead--dead celebrities to be exact, and it is heartbreaking and melancholy and beautiful. It isn't the perfect book, but it is one that really touched me.
 
Laurel's life is consumed by heartbreak. Her beloved older sister, May, recently died and her family is falling apart. She is starting school at the high school across town so that she doesn't have to face the sympathy of everyone around her and so she doesn't have to face May's (figurative) ghost in the hallways of May's old school. She is splitting her time between her father's house and her aunt Amy's house--to go to the new school she is using her aunt's address. After May's death, her mother ran away to California. Laurel is completely alone. She feels like her mother has abondanded her (the weekly phone calls just don't cut it), her father is a shell of the man he once was, and her aunt, while well-meaning-is almost a non-entity even though she lives with her every other week. When her new English teacher assigns the class their first assignment--to write a letter to somebody--Laurel chooses the late Kurt Cobain. Deciding that the letter is too personal, she doesn't hand it in, but instead finds herself writing all sorts of different celebrities from Amy Winehouse to Amelia Erheart to Heath Ledger. It is through these letters that we watch a year of Laurel's life as she makes new friends, admits what really happened the night of her sister's death, and begins to let go.
 
At her new school, Laurel befriends two girls, Natalie and Hannah. She quickly realizes that the two girls are more than friends. Natalie is in love with Hannah and wants for their relationship to be real. Hannah isn't ready for that. I really felt for both of these girls, as well. Hannah is an orphan who lives with her grandparents who have no idea what is going on in her life, and her scarily strict older brother. While she cares for Natalie, she just isn't ready to admit to herself that their relationship could be real. Instead, she messes around with a string of older guys while Natalie looks on. My heart broke for her...and for Natalie who has to watch as the girl she loves throw herself at these loser guys.
 
Also part of their group, although not as quite in the forefront, are a senior couple, Tristan and Kristen. Kristen introduces Laurel to Janis Joplin and the couple gently take Laurel under their wing. Despite the fact that the two hang out in the alley behind school where kids go to smoke pot, Kristen is a wonderful student who is hoping to get into Columbia in the fall. Tristan is an underachiever. I loved this couple.
 
Finally, there is also a love interest named Sky, who is cute and caring and a bit mysterious.
 
Besides the characters, whom I loved, my favorite part of this book was who the letters were written to. As a 90s girl, I have a soft spot for Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix. Honestly, I love pretty much everyone she writes, but those two are especially important to me. I was in high school when Kurt Cobain died and remember feeling heartbroken. I loved Nirvana and was such a fan of Kurt and Courtney (what? She was awesome back in the 90s, too. I remember seeing Hole live--amazing). As she is writing her letters, she will talk about their lives She talks about the cult River's family was in during his younger years before Hollywood, for example. She writes to Kurt about his daughter. It's very cool.
 
The one thing I will say, is that Love Letters to the Dead is heavily reminiscent of Perks of Being a Wallflower. You have the letters, of course, but, more than that, you have the melancholy, almost hard-to-read tone; the growing friendship with the cool, outcast kids; the mysterious death of a loved one; the secret homosexual relationship. While I really did enjoy LLttD, it did sometimes seem a little too much like Perks.
 
Overall, this book was wonderful. It is sad and beutiful and true. I loved Laurel and Natalie and Hannah and wanted to wrap my arms around all three girls. You might want to keep a box of Kleenex handy before you pick this up, but it's worth it.
 
Highly Recommend.
 
*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*
 
 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekly Rewind 3.22.14

Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:08 AM with 18 comments




Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves, the links I loved, and my week in a nutshell.






Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves, and the links I've enjoyed over the past week from other blogs and the interwebs in general. 


My Life and Blog

Life: This week was pretty uneventful. I've been sick all week, so have mostly just been on my couch watching bad TV. I can't explain why, but I just cannot read when I'm sick. It's silly because I'm not doing anything, but I just can't do it. I had a couple of sub jobs scheduled, but had to cancel both. 

The girl I was supposed to start training accepted a different job which is kind of good for me as it means I'll hopefully be able to hold on to my job for a couple extra weeks. I'll be fine while school is in session as I could pick up sub jobs every day if I need, but I'm worried about the summer months. We'll see. I'm sure everything will work out. 

So how's Spring going for you all so far? It's snowing as I type this, so that's awesome. When will it be warm??? I need to move south, I think.

On the blog front:
  • Monday: Sick
  • Tuesday: I've all but stopped doing TTT posts, but I can't resist the semi-annual Books Topping My TBR Lists.
  • Wednesday: I'm waiting on The Doubt Factory which looks intriguing and has a very Andy Warhol-ish cover. 
  • Thursday: Sick and especially lazy. I watched a lot of hours of ID TV. Like, an embarrassing amount.
  • Friday: A film review for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon.

New books:

I have some pretty awesome titles to share with you this week. So without further adieu, I hope you are all having awesome weekends. 


Review Books


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Sekret by Lindsay Smith
I'm so intrigued by the concept of this novel that follows a girl with special powers in Soviet Russia who is captured by the KGB, but the execution isn't quite as good as it could be. I read about 40% of so before getting bored and picking something else up instead. I need to finish it this week. It might pick up in the second half. Has anybody read this one?
The Last Forever by Deb Caletti
After her mom dies, a girl and her father take a road trip to the coastal town where her grandmother lives and falls in love. I've never actually read a Deb Caletti book despite owning, like, 4.
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
In the future a girl escapes a space ship in favor of a floating continent in the Pacific Ocean. This star-ratings from my GR friends have been pretty dismal which makes me wary about picking up this 500 + page novel.
Cold Calls by Charles Benoit
Per GR: In the vein of the teen suspense classics I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Face on the Milk Carton, Cold Calls is a chilling thriller, an unsettling mystery, and a provocative exploration of bullying, culpability, and the cost of keeping secrets.
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A novel about a book store owner whose wife has died and a bookseller. It's getting great reviews so far. 

What I snagged from the library

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Split Second by Kasie West
Finally! I cannot wait to dive into this Pivot Point sequel.
The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
Based on the fairytale Tam Lin (which I have to admit I'm not familiar with) and set in Mississippi and something about voodoo. Sounds pretty interesting.
Insanity by Susan Vaught
Three interconnected stories about an insane asylum. Any American Horror Story fans? Is there anything spookier than an asylum?
Link Love

From Blogs:

From around the interwebs:
Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Don Jon (Film Friday Review)

Friday, March 21, 2014 12:02 AM with 8 comments

http://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/don_jon.jpg

Don Jon

Director:
Writer: 
Starring: ,
Rated: R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, language and some drug use.

Synopsis from IMDb: 

Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull "10s" every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don't compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women.

******************************************************************
MY THOUGHTS:

I'm not going to pretend to be the biggest JGL fan of all time. I love the guy, but I didn't watch 3rd Rock From the Sun or pay attention to any of the work he did as a child, and while 10 Things About You remains one of my favorite movies ever, I was all about Heath Ledger in that film (although JGL was pretty darn cute). When I really started taking notice of his work was roughly ten years ago when he starred in the independent gem Brick which is a fascinating teen noir. It's seriously awesome...I'll have to put that on my list to review. Since that film, I've loved pretty much everything he has been in: 50/50, 500 Days of Summer, Looper, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, etc. He's easily become one of my favorite actors and I'll watch pretty much anything he's in. So when I heard he was writing, directing, and starring in a film, I was so excited. 

Don Jon follows a dude named Jon who is the epitome of the term guido. He works as a bartender, is obsessed with his body, and tries to bag a different girl every night. Even though he has no problems getting girls to come home with him from the bar, he still prefers satisfying himself through watching porn than having sex with real girls. Jon is basically a girl's worst nightmare, but JGL truly brings so much charisma to the role, I didn't find him nearly as disgusting as I would have should almost any other actor played the part. He goes to church every Sunday (and every Sunday he confesses about how many girls he slept with and how many times he watched porn that week), he loves his mom, and isn't really that bad of a guy--even if his priorities are all sorts of screwed up. 

 

Things begin to change for Jon when he meets his match in Barbara (Johansson), the beautiful blonde who knows exactly what she wants in a man and isn't afraid to use her looks to manipulate. Barbara refuses to sleep with Jon like his normal one-night stands, and after a month of dating, she has him wrapped around her little finger. He's become a one woman man, and is even taking night classes in order to get a better job...but even Barbara cannot compete with his porn. 


It is during one of his night classes that he meets Ester (Moore), an older woman who begins to open his eyes to the way relationships should actually work. Ester is dealing with her own problems and meets Jon when he has to pass her in a doorway while she is having a breakdown.

I really enjoyed Don Jon. I knew going in that this movie was about a guy with a porn addiction, but I loved how much heart JGL gave to the character. While I didn't always agree with his actions, I cared about Jon and wanted him to find his way. The acting is truly phenomenal from our lead characters to the secondary characters like Tony Danza who plays the role of Jon's father with perfection.  


I'm not going to go to in-depth about this, but I really liked the way this film sneakily examines the subjection of women. As a director, JGL isn't preaching from his soapbox, but it's obvious that the man isn't happy with the way women and their bodies are used to sell things. It's just cheap exploitation. I could right a term paper on this, so I'll just stop right there.

Overall, I was impressed by JGL's writing/directing debut. For such a risque subject, the film really shines with heart and humor. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Definitely recommend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (45) The Doubt Factory

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:05 AM with 9 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.



13599878 The Doubt Factory

Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Link to Goodreads:

An eye-opening, page-turning, contemporary thriller from a Printz Award-winning author.

In this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.

Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that's what a mysterious young man who's stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses--and his radical band of teen activists--is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?
   
Why I'm Excited:

This sounds different from what I usually read, but pretty intriguing. The idea of looking at how public information is distorted is just so interesting to me. I also like the idea of a girl having to examine who her father really is. Overall, I think this sounds pretty amazing, and I also adore that cover. It looks very Andy Warhol-ish. 
 
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014



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 books topping my Spring TBR list

I haven't done a TTT for weeks, but I just cannot resist the semi-annual TBR lists. Looking at all the pretty covers of books that are almost out is one of my favorite things in the world. I tried to keep this to 10--ok, I didn't try too hard, but I did try to keep it reasonable.

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For months I've been dying to get my hands on this book about a girl whose private letters to ex-boyfriends get mailed to them. I was so that girl who wrote letters to boys in high school. Letters that they were never, ever supposed to see, of course.
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
From the author who wrote My Life Next Door. A swoon-y summertime romance. I could try to think of a third reason, but I think those two are enough.
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
A dark reimagining of Oz with Dorothy as the villain. Sold! I kept hoping this would show up on EW, but alas, it never did. Not too much longer now.
#scandal by Sarah Ockler
A girl agrees to go to the prom with her BFF's boyfriend when her friend gets too sick to go. Scandal erupts when the two kiss and pictures get splashed all over social media. Growing up in the 90s, I'm so, so glad that I never had to deal with social media as a teen. The issue fascinates me.
The Geography of Me and You by Jennifer E. Smith
A meet cute between two teens in NYC during a city-wide blackout leads to a long distance relationship. It sounds adorable.
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
This book about Hitler's niece sounds so intriguing.
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Witches, that cover, and so and and so forth.
Don't You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
In a town where there is no sickness, every fourth year teens get infected with deadly urges. A girl's sister, named Piper, is in jail for leading several classmates into their watery graves. A retelling of the Pied Piper is genius. And who can read that title without immediately breaking into song (as you walk on by, will you call my name)?
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
A young set designer befriends a silver screen legend. I can't wait for this one.
Two NJ teens hit the road. I wish there were more friend books. Also, that cover is so gorgeous.
We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
I'll read whatever E.Lockhart writes. It's really just that simple.
Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
I haven't read any reviews for this novel that follows a teen girl who may be a serial killer, but I've seen a few dismal star-ratings. I won't be swayed from this one, though, and am hoping to be the black sheep.
Chapel Wars by Lindsay Levitt
A girl who has inherited her grandfather's Vegas wedding chapel finds herself falling for the son of the rival chapel across the street. Looks pretty cute.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
I'm going to go ahead and admit that I only want to read this for that cover. I want that red hair.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
A ballerina's friend returns after being abducted for four years. I love anything revolving around ballet, and this one sounds intriguing to boot.
The One & Only by Emily Giffin
I haven't enjoyed Ms. Giffin's last 3 books nearly as much as I enjoyed her first 3, but I'm hoping this one is awesome. We'll see. I do wonder why she never gets interesting covers.

That's it for me. There are several books coming out in April alone that I'm excited for that couldn't make the list. Spring is going to be a great season for books. What books are topping your Spring TBR list? Link me up!