2017 · Films · October · Reviews

Film Review: “The Circle”

Directed by James Ponsoldt | 2017 | 2.5 feathers

Summary:

This is the story about a young girl who starts working at a tech company called The Circle. Soon, it turns out that everything’s not as it seems to be…

Review:

I was really excited to watch this movie, because it stars some good actors, the trailer was great, and the story seemed like something I would like. And to some degree it is the type of film I usually like. The Circle raises some interesting issues about the internet and social media and technology and censorship.

What really brought the movie down for me, though, was the ending. It’s as if the film doesn’t have a punchline – it raised all these interesting questions and issues, but then it doesn’t have anything specific to say about them.  That’s why I only gave it a 2.5 feathers. I want stories to know where they want to end, and if they’re going to talk about something specific, I want them to know what they want to say about those questions or issues. This film only does so to a certain extent, and it doesn’t seem to know what the overall message was, which was super annoying. Also, it just ended. As a viewer, you didn’t know that the film had reached its end until the credits suddenly began rolling. So, overall, I was pretty disappointed in The Circle.

2017 · September · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | September 2017

I was going to make a video wrap-up for my YouTube channel this month as well, but I haven’t gotten around to finishing filming it. Here it is in text form instead, just so it won’t be super late ^.^ . I read three books in September.

Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
2 feathers

I actually finished this in August, but I forgot to mention it in my August wrap-up, so here it is instead! I’m sort of glad that I’ve read it, but for the most part I just found it a bit confusing.

Den allvarsamma leken, by Hjalmar Söderberg
3.5 feathers

This has been called “the great Swedish love story”, which I don’t really get, because everyone’s just lying and cheating on each other. However, it was wort the read and it did get better after discussing it in class. I also want to watch the most recent film adaptation now.

The Secrets of Islayne, by Kari Lynn West
3 feathers
My full review can be found here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Overall, I thought the idea with people who can bring back forgotten memories was really cool, but it fell flat. The author shone through slightly too much, and although it is set in Scotland, everything felt very Americanized. So I didn’t end up liking it as much as I hoped I would.

Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia
Five feathers
My full review can be found here.

I loved this book so much ❤ . Eliza was very relatable, and felt realistic. I also loved that it’s centred around fandom and an online community.

That was everything I read during September! I’ll be back soon with a compilation of some films I’ve watched recently, and in the future I might include movies in my monthly wrap-ups as well 🙂 .

2017 · October · Reviews · September

Book Review: “Eliza and her Monsters”, by Francesca Zappia

Published in 2017 by Greenwillow | Five feathers

Summary:

Eliza Mirk is the creator of “Monstrous Sea”, which is an extremely popular webcomic. One day, a new boy transfers into her class, and he turns out to be the most popular fan fiction writer of her webcomic.

Review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Eliza was very relatable and felt realistic – she reminded me of both myself and other people that I know in real life. I also really liked how it was centered around fandom and online community. That detail makes it so much more relatable.

Actually, I can’t think of anything that I disliked about this book. It even deals with anxiety and going to therapy for it, which is another thing I thought was great. So I guess that all I can say is that if you haven’t read this book yet: go get a copy and pick it up immediately! 🙂

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “The Sun is Also a Star”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2016 by Corgi | 2.5 stars

Summary:

This is set over the course of 24 hours, and follows Natasha and Daniel. Natasha’s family are illegal immigrants and are about to be deported to Jamaica that very same evening, so Natasha is trying one last time to convince the authorities to let her family stay. Daniel, on the other hand, is Korean-American and has a Yale interview that he doesn’t really want to go to. Over the course of the day, these two characters’ lives intertwine.

Review:

I started this immediately after finishing Everything, Everything, hoping that I would like it just as much. Everyone had been saying that they liked The Sun is Also a Star even more than Everything, Everything, so I really thought I was going to love this.

That did not end up happening. Daniel was so annoying and borderline creepy – it’s as if he was set on becoming Natasha’s boyfriend already from the start, and then spent the day ogling her body. Not cool. He barely even corrected his family when they assumed that they were a couple. Then he rescheduled his Yale interview for this girl he just met. I get that he didn’t want to go to Yale, but they literally met only a few hours earlier. I’m not sure I would be that into someone I just met, and I don’t find Daniel’s behaviour romantic at all.

I did like the ending, though, and I also liked how we got some insights into other characters’ lives, even if I thought the other characters’ chapters were going to take up a much larger portion of the book than they did. These two were my favourite parts of the book, however, which actually says quite a lot about my experience with it.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Everything, Everything”, by Nicola Yoon

Published in 2015 by Corgi | Four feathers

Summary:

This book is about Madeline, who is allergic to the world and cannot leave the house. She’s fairly content with her lonely life, until she gets to know the new neighbour who moves in next door.

Review:

I liked this book so much! My sister and I buddy-read it while we were on vacation, and it was a perfect beach read. I even liked the romance in it – it felt like the type of book where the romance would be super-insta-lovey, but this time I was actually okay with it.

However, I did predict that everything wasn’t perhaps 100% right with Maddy’s situation. Also, it was a little bit weird that nobody noticed that some weird shit was going on with Maddy’s situation.

Nevertheless, I flew through this and actually really did like it. I’m so excited to watch the movie now! 🙂

2017 · Reviews · September

Book Review: “The Secrets of Islayne”, by Kari Lynne West

Self-published in 2017 | Three feathers

*The author sent me an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Summary from Goodreads:

A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.

For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.

Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.

Review:

First and foremost, the concept behind this book is really cool. I loved the idea of a special group of people being able to revive half-forgotten memories. That’s what made me want to read this in the first place.

There were a few things that bothered me a little bit while reading, though. Firstly, I wasn’t entirely on board with the writing, as the author shone through too much. This was especially true when it came to the characters – it was as if the author has an idea of how she wants teenagers to be like that she applies to the characters and, as a result, they didn’t feel entirely realistic.

Secondly, the novel had a very American viewpoint (well, obviously, since it was written by an American author), but it became very clear as it was applied to a non-American environment. The characters were 16 or 17 and drove cars, when, in reality, you can’t actually get your license until you’re 18 in the majority of Europe. Also, and this might be me focusing a little bit too much on details, but the school system was also talked about in American terms.

Overall, I enjoyed this, apart from some minor inconsistencies, and really liked the concept.


Book links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Goodreads

Author bio:
Kari Lynn West writes contemporary YA fantasy—normally while drinking far too much coffee. She likes to create character-driven stories that are set in the real world with a twist, weaving fantastical elements into everyday life. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.

Author links:
Website: www.karilynnwest.com
Twitter: @karilynnwest
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karilynnwestwrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16870760.Kari_Lynn_West

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Lola and the Boy Next Door”, by Stephanie Perkins

Published in 2014 by Usborne Publishing | Originally published in 2011 | Anna and the French Kiss #2 | 3 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion… she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola’s past be the love of her future?

Review:

This was such a cute love story. It’s one of those books that are perfect to read on the beach, so I’m very glad that I brought it with me on vacation!

I did find it somewhat info-dumpy, though. It was too much tell and too little show in some places. Also, it’s so typical that Cricket – the love interest – was the nice guy, while his twin sister was the mean one. This led to Lola and Calliope essentially fighting over a boy, and their relationship did not evolve from that for the entire duration of the novel. I found that super annoying.

Another aspect that annoyed me a bit with this novel was that Lola and Cricket stopped being friends for a really weird reason – Calliope didn’t invite Lola to their birthday party, and then the Bells moved away soon afterwards. If Lola had just talked to Cricket about it, she would have known that it wasn’t Cricket’s fault, and then things wouldn’t have been so awkward between them. Characters in books should just talk to each other more, and their lives would be so much easier.

However, this was a great beach read, so I ended up finding it okay, but not more than that.

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Flame in the Mist”, by Renée Ahdieh

Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Flame in the Mist #1 | 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Review:

To begin with, I thought that the idea of this book was awesome. I’ve seen some comparisons to Mulan floating around, but this book is nothing like Mulan apart from the fact that the main character dresses up as a boy, and that’s the part I liked the most about Flame in the Mist. Mariko took it into her own hands to find the people who were trying to kill her, which I liked.

However, there were a few things that definitely pulled the rating down. Firstly, the language was slightly annoying at times. Some parts, and even entire chapters, would consist entirely of very short sentences, which grated on my nerves quite a lot. I can see the point in trying to make it seem more like a legend or separate from the main story, but it was almost difficult to read after a while.

Also, the romance came from out of nowhere. I wouldn’t have minded the romance if it had had more build-up, but as it was, it didn’t. It would have been great if we had gotten something more beforehand.

The last thing that disappointed me doesn’t actually have to do with the book per se, but I didn’t realise until perhaps two thirds of the way into the book that it’s the first part of a series. I was convinced that it was a standalone novel. When I realised that it wasn’t and that I wouldn’t find out the end of the story in this particular novel, I was just so disappointed. I’m not interested enough in the story to actually pick up another book in the series, so finding out that Flame in the Mist isn’t a standalone drew the rating down quite a lot. As I said, it doesn’t have to do with the book as such, but still.

This turned into quite a long review ^.^’ . Hope y’all enjoyed it 🙂 .

2017 · August · Reviews

Book Review: “Heartless”, by Marissa Meyer

Published in 2016 by Feiwel and Friends | 3.5 feathers

Summary from Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Review:

I liked Heartless a lot better than I thought I would. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite classics, and I was wondering whether it would actually live up to the whimsy. And though it did lack some of that whimsy, there were other aspects I think it did really well. It was a nice idea with a background story to the Queen of Hearts, and I liked most of the characters (especially Hatta). I also loved that Cath’s biggest hobby was baking, and that her dream was to open a bakery. There were also instances where Cath’s feeling of being trapped was almost tangible, and I felt with her in those moments.

However, the insta-love is real -.-‘ . It felt very weird that Cath ended up turning her back to Mary Ann when they had been best friends for their entire lives, only to become this crazy, blood-thirsty, “off with their heads”–queen because of Jest who she only just met. That’s what made me pull down the rating. I did give it 4 stars on Goodreads, but in reality, it is closer to a 3.5.