Sunday, April 9, 2017

This Is Your Tape

I read and reread Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and I can honestly say it was an eye opener. It makes you reconsider the second look you give that person in passing, and it definitely makes you more aware of how the small things can affect someone so desperately.

They recently made a Netflix series, and I am always skeptical of these. A lot of the time the movie, or tv series, takes away from the novel, so the book nerds are always so disappointed because ALL HOLLYWOOD NEEDED TO DO WAS KEEP IT THE SAME! I was dubious, but I indulged and finished the series. the event you haven't read the book or watched the end of the series.

The one thing I really liked about the series was the casting. I felt they did a perfect job depicting characters; Clay wasn't the overly sporty super good looking junior, Hannah was beautiful but not like the cheerleader types, Bryce was EXACTLY how you pictured. It worked. And I think all the actors did a great job with the characterization as well.
The HUGE difference from the book was the fact that we had insider information on characters we didn't know anything about prior. Justin Foley was a jerk- he spread rumors, he allowed his friend to rape his girlfriend- we as the reading community were like there is no redemption for him. However, in the series we are taken into Justin's home life where he has a neglectful and drug addicted mother who has an abusive boyfriend. So suddenly we are not so quick to judge Justin on his bad decisions and what he did to Hannah; we are left feeling like "Justin needed a hug" (as one of my sophomore girls said). I felt this was conflicting; Hannah Baker made these tapes because these people did different things that expressed the 13 reasons that eventually lead to her suicide. So why should I feel bad for them? They are ultimately horrible people; most of the people on the tape are just doing something to boost their popularity or just to be mean to someone. So why do I feel bad for them? I don't think this was a bad choice; I just felt it was interesting. I am supposed to be on Hannah's side, yet I have a soft spot for the jerks who made her feel small and alone.

After the second episode I knew we were making detours from the book. So, just like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, you enjoy the series for the sake of the series- not because you want it to be identical to the novel you love. There were  a lot of things I was uneasy with, but I did not dislike the series. It was filled with drama, it was terribly sad, at times graphic, but some of it was unexpected. They misnamed characters, changed events, rearranged the tapes, and added more details- but the show was consistently 50 minutes each episode. Ultimately, not that bad of a show. Honestly though, certain things should not have been points of concern: like Jessica and Justin's drama over his drug break down, Clay's sudden need for vengeance when his character never displayed this emotion, Justin's need to "get rid of Clay" to solve their problems, and the fact that all the boys have tattoos in high school. I know it's dumb, but it did bother me.

The end of the show really is a point of confusion. First, Clay completely bypasses the next person on the tapes and goes to the guidance counselor. Tony makes the decision to give Hannah's parents the tapes (who are in the process of suing the school district for their daughter's suicide). And Alex, the one person on the tapes who doesn't seem to have betrayed Hannah so poorly, has shot himself in the head at the end. This leaves us open for a season two...which would be a disaster. There are so many loose ends that weren't tied up; like the law suit, the school principal trying to cover the whole incident up, Hannah's parents having the tapes, and now Alex's impending death. I really think it's a let down if this were the ending, but it would be even worse if they decided to do a season two. It would completely take away from the book; not only that but it just wouldn't be enough material.
 It seems like lately Netflix series have a tendency to start off strong then let us down in the end...and in my opinion...I don't really know what to think about this one.

If you're going to watch you have to go in not expecting the exact information from the novel. It does a nice job of keeping the events the same (at least the really dramatic ones), the characters are very well established; but there are lots of different detours. Again, this is just me and my opinion- definitely check out the series if you loved the book. It kept true to the skeleton story Asher weaved of Hannah's life, although Netflix did need to include more of the drama to give viewers something else to long for.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Will Have My Revenge

It takes two people to keep a secret, and in Frances's case she is one of the only ones left who can reveal the truth. When the luxury yacht, Persephone, overtakes a tragic end, Frances and her friend, Libby, appear to be the only two who escape. Days later, Frances survives and is rescued by Libby's father; she then discovers there were two other people who witnesses the tragedy: Senator Wells and his son, Grey. However, Grey and his father lie about the outcome of the event claiming it was a rouge wave that overtook the ship, but this was not what Frances remembers from that day. Her
parents, Libby's mother, and every person on board that yacht were murdered in front of her.
Knowing the truth, Libby's father offers Frances safety and a chance for new life by taking on Libby's identity. However removed she gets from the tragedy, Frances cannot forget the pain and suffering and continues to plot her revenge against her one time love, Grey, and his father.
As she slips seamlessly into Libby's new life, and her plan becomes more and more real,  Frances comes faced with countless obstacles in achieving her plan. And, when it comes down to it, will she be able to betray Grey? Or has someone else plotted to silence her for good?

Carrie Ryan's Daughter of Deep Silence is a thriller that revolves around the idea of retribution. I am a huge fan of Ryan's work as I read her other series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, twice through. Her writing is great, and she has this way of creating such a connection between the reader and the heroine. Frances finds herself suddenly orphaned with no one and no life to return to after the tragedy. Libby's father takes her in and gives her a life, but you can still sense her anger, her pain, and of course her need for revenge. She has plotted and planned; the lengths she goes to for this plan to succeed is truly remarkable. Every single detail down to the name of the senator's secretary has been thought through and thoroughly placed.
I marked this as a "self-discovery" book because throughout Frances becomes less Libby and truly begins to realize who Frances is and was. It is evident to readers the need for revenge has overtaken Frances and Libby's identities so the line between real and fiction is fading. The journey this novel takes is definitely suspenseful. Honestly, I feel it was a great thriller that truly left readers wondering who are the Wells's covering for, and what happens when they catch on that "Libby" is alive and on their trail. Definitely a great read with a unexpected end.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hello Flowers.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston started, for me anyway, with the pretty covers. I know it's always about the color and the cover design. Upon reading the back cover, I was interested. As I started reading, I became terrified. I think this may have been a contributing factor as to why it took me a while to finish. *By the way, I did finish this and the next book a few months ago, however time has been escaping me lately. Again, my apologies.*

The story starts off with Summer Robinson and her utmost perfect life. She's a pretty teenager with a super caring and loving boyfriend, her family seems all too perfect. One evening, Summer went out to meet her friends at the local club, yes I know clubs are for older people but for some reason they can get in I think it takes place in England...I don't know, but she never makes it. Summer is kidnapped by a man only known as "Clover" who seems to be mistaking her for a girl named Lily.  She was drugged, and upon her coming to, Summer finds herself in the cellar of this man's home where she meets three of her "sisters": Rose, Poppy, and Violet. She was not being mistaken for Lily, this man has renamed her in order to fit into his perfect family.

Summer soon discovers these three women were also abducted, but none had a home, a family, or any kind of life to go back to. Each morning, the four women must dress in almost identical clothes to sit down at breakfast where Clover greets them. Then they have the entire day while the man of the house is at work to read, watch movies, or just sit idling. Clover puts on this persona of a fake family to come home to because he has no one to call his own. The women are given a home and expected to obey. The flowers are a symbol of how everything grows together; and now Summer finds herself expecting to be the perfect "Lily" in order to blend into the family.

Weeks turn to months, but Summer is still optimistic that her family and the love of her life, Louis, will find her somehow. However, the cellar is always locked, and even when opportunity strikes for escape, Summer has seen the result of those who try to cross Clover. Summer must continually keep herself strong in the hopes that one day she will be able to be free; but first she must endure the torture Clover has in store- which in reality is just becoming a family filled with love, affection, and perhaps once he has known his "flower" for a longer time, much needed sexual release. The other women seem delusional, but there is this constant hope within Summer, as well as her family members, to get her back home.

Quite honestly there were a lot of times in this novel I was legitimately scared. The villain, Clover, is a psycho. He slips into everyday life by having a normal job, a normal life, and when he does go shopping for clothes he always seems to have the right answers to draw suspicion away. It was actually terrifying to know how easy it was to kidnap and hold these women, and it was even worse to know the man considered them his "family". It makes you really consider serial killers, serial rapists, and kidnappers.

I believe the story ended a little conveniently, but I don't think the author could ethically ended it differently. You travel with this young naive protagonist through the horror of murder, rape, and kidnapping; your only hope is the light at the end, even if it's death for some. I did give this story 4 stars on Good reads because it was well written and it caused me to have these feelings of fear. In fact there were a few nights when I had legit nightmares of events. There are other novels Preston wrote with a similar premise, but I think I want to skip those. The book is very close to real life and the mind of a psychopath, so I feel one is enough to give me a good view on what we see. Be my guest to keep going. The book was easy to get through...physically anyway. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Love Between Two People Can Make Life Worth Living...

Oh yes...another dystopian society!

Zoe lives in a world with no emotion. Humans have a chip inserted in the back of their necks to prevent any kind of emotional reaction. Once children become adults, there is a permanent chip inserted, so there is never a possibility of recreating the emotional feeling from the past. As a child, the chip may malfunction, or glitch, creating them to feel these emotions. If this happens, citizens are expected to come forward so they can be "fixed". Zoe has been glitching for months; she knows she should turn herself into the officials, but something always seems to stop her. These emotions she's overwhelmed with...they're exciting, new, and maybe they're the cause of these abilities she keeps having.

The day Zoe is called into the office is where she officially meets Adrien, the boy with the turquoise eyes who knows about her glitching and her abilities because he has abilities too. Adrien has premonitions, and he was able to see Zoe's abilities of mentally controlling objects. In a flash, Zoe is transported into the world of the Resistance who want to recreate the world with no chips, no malfunctioning, and no suffocating government control.
As time goes on, Zoe begins to remember the importance of the memories of her past, and her passion for gaining more knowledge grows. She discovers others who have similar abilities, and together they need to find a way to escape the confines of their government before they are found out and eliminated.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu was a great read. It has just enough of the science fiction aspect in it, so it's not too over your head with technology and chips. Yes yes, I have problems when it goes too far into that stuff. Once you lose me, I am out. But Glitch was perfect. It was really neat to watch Zoe grow and discover these emotions for the first time. The ending was a cliff hanger, of course because it is a trilogy, but it is not really what you had anticipated. Of course some things are too convenient, but the concept is new and it works. Definitely worth a look!

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Believe I'm Not in Kansas Anymore...

It's been a while, and that's on me. It takes a while to find the time to read lately, but I did finally finish this one:
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page is set in a small town in Kansas, where we meet Amy Gumm. Amy lives in a trailer with her neglectful and absent mother and is misunderstood. She doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, and all just seems lost. When a tornado hits her trailer, Amy is transported to Oz, where things are not as "peachy" as the tale might make us think.

Dorothy became the leader of Oz, but her all powerful demeanor raised a city of evil. She's selfish in her ways, kills the innocent before they can object, and controls all. The scarecrow has a brain, which he now uses to experiment and kill the traitors of Dorothy's power, the Tin Man has fallen so deeply in love with her highness that he would do anything to protect her, and the Lion seems to have trans mutated into a horrible beast set to eat and kill. The good witch, Glinda, hoards the power and forces the munchkins to work the long and brutal hours to appease the queen, and the Wizard doesn't even seem to be there.

All seems lost, until Amy is rescued by the side of evil; and they are convinced she will be the one to kill Dorothy and bring order back to Oz. Amy is trained, sent undercover, and the entire time her team of "wicked witches" hopes that she can succeed in this mission. If she fails, Oz is going to get a whole lot darker.

So usually when books take me a while to finish it's because I don't have the time, but in this case....I think it's just because I wasn't interested. I mean don't get me wrong, the whole "dark Oz" was very cool. It was neat how everything transformed into death and despair and how Dorothy's ultimate goal was to keep all the magic and just get more powerful, so she is no longer that innocent girl from Kansas. However, it took almost the entire book to lead up to Amy being "ready" to fight Dorothy. We only meet Dorothy when she captures her in the beginning, and then it isn't until the last few chapters we see her again. The focus is strictly on the side of "evil", or good depending on how you see it. And...not to put in a spoiler, but Dorothy doesn't even die. You have to read the next book in the series to find out what happens from I almost felt like...why did it take so long? I get it! The author wants to keep you on edge for the next book, but I felt like there was so much build up and not enough actual action. When there was action and fighting it seemed too short.

The book had a good concept, but I just felt it fell short in a lot of different areas. I have no interest in continuing the story, so I will not be reading the other books in the saga. I just didn't care about the characters or the whole idea of making the greater Oz and saving the city. It was kind of a bust for me. It was easy to read and follow, but it makes you aggravated because the story line just takes too long.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Don't Open...Dead Inside

Of course I am into The Walking Dead t.v series on AMC. I mean at this point you either like the show, or you haven't seen enough of it to form an opinion. Because come on....who really dislikes it?

I always said I wanted to read the comics, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, because a lot of people said they were so good; plus I heard the show goes in a significantly different direction than the books. Luckily, the boy has 1-17, so I borrowed them. I was going through a reading slump, but graphic novels (a.k.a comics) go so quickly.

Quite honestly, I am enjoying the comics. Rick is still a bad ass, events are still accurate to the series timeline, but of course there are different things along the way. I mean the major thing is Daryl is not in the comic. So the entire first issue I am waiting for the redneck with the cross bow, however I keep reminding myself that he and Merle do not exist in the comic book world. They are not the only character that Hollywood embellished. Let's be real, the comics have a lot of detail Hollywood either left out, or just chose to go in another direction with.

The comics are well done; I love the art work, and the story is just so great. I am so glad I picked these up because it does make you fall in love with The Walking Dead and the characters so much more. I know things are missing, but I watch the series for the enjoyment value at this point. I hope to get through the series of comics quickly, which shouldn't be too hard because they go so quickly. And they are thoroughly entertaining. HIGHLY recommend. And if you haven't seen the series...NETFLIX BING THAT! If not for the least do it for Daryl. :p

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Where's the Humor in Death?

It has been a long time...too much work stress, too many papers to grade, just too much. But nevertheless I am back with a book I just finished a few weeks ago.

 Me Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews was one of those books I picked up simply because they came out with the movie and it looked interesting. No, I did not see the movie, and after reading the book I don't know if I will. I feel there didn't need a movie because, honestly, we didn't have to have a visual to understand the concept of this book. Okay, maybe I'll watch it eventually...but you know what I mean.

Greg has made it clear that he is going to lay low, fit in with everyone, and therefore fly under everyone's radar his senior year. He has succeeded at this; in fact most people acknowledge his existence, but he doesn't fit into any one group in particular. He and his best friend, Earl, hang out discussing movies; in fact the two have dabbled in the film making aspect. They aren't great films, but the two of them enjoy the secret of their craft. Senior year was starting as planned, until Greg's mom tells him about his "friend", Rachel. Rachel has cancer, and despite the treatments and the fight, she is sick and in desperate need of a friend. So, naturally, Greg's mother volunteers him for the job. After the first encounter with Rachel, Greg's picture perfect high school plan becomes a thing of the past. The next few months prove to be embarrassing and awkward, but Greg and Earl begin to realize that perhaps that's just a part of life.

I was laughing pretty much the entire time with this one. Andrews has a great way with humor and capturing the true essence of a high school teenage boy. It has a similar concept to John Green's A Fault in Our Stars, but this one seems more real. Greg is inconvenienced by his mother's request to be friends with this girl he had no intention of friending. She's odd, laughs weird, and is not someone he wants to intentionally go out of his way to make feel better. Yet, as time passes he warms to the idea of Rachel and making her feel better.

No, it's not a love story which was SO nice because after reading 15 million reviews on how romantic and loving John Green's book was I was over it. The ending isn't exactly expected, but that was not a bad thing.
The book was a very easy read, hilarious, and just nice. It's nice to have a book about disease that has real emotion so it's easier to relate to the characters and story. Definitely worth the read; it goes really quick and will have it's moments where you laugh out loud- which of course causes people to look at you and wonder in public. Oh well.