2018 · Films · March · Reviews

Film Review: “Murder on the Orient Express”

Directed by Kenneth Branagh | 2017 | 4.5 feathers

Hello! Today I’m here with a movie review for you guys. I recently watched Murder on the Orient Express, because it was on Apple movies, so that’s the film I’m going to be talking about today.

Summary:

Murder on the Orient Express is based on the bestselling Agatha Christie-novel of the same name. It’s about Hercule Poirot, who finds himself on the Orient Express when there’s an avalanche that completely stops the train, and as if that wasn’t enough, someone is murdered as well.

Review:

Obviously I knew about the book, but I have never read it before. Oddly enough, I had also managed to avoid spoilers, so I had no idea of how it ended. And I was so surprised by the ending, I didn’t think it would end like that. I did, however, react on a few weird coincidences regarding the characters, but I wrote them off as just that: plot holes and strange coincidences, but I didn’t actually think there would be meaning to them.

It is a very well-made movie. You know the feeling when you just know that you’re watching a quality film? That’s the feeling I got from this. The environment and surroundings were beautiful, and the filming itself was great. They made use of unconventional angles; for example, sometimes they would film from directly above, as if the camera was mounted in the ceiling. That was cool, even though it made me a little dizzy ^.^’ . Also, there were a lot of good actors in it.

As you can probably tell, I really liked this film, and would definitely recommend it.

2017 · April · Currently Reading

Currently Reading | April 2018

I am reading so many books at the same time, again -.-‘ . What gets to me the most is that I always start a lot of books, and then I never have time to finish anything because of life. Also, how can it already be a month since I did my last currently reading-post?? Anyway, here I am again, with some thoughts on everything I’m reading at the moment.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman + Gösta Berlings saga, by Selma Lagerlöf

These are the only two on here that are the same as last month. I don’t think that I’ve made any progress on them since then; regardless, I don’t have anything to add. If you want to know more of my thoughts, you can check out last month’s post.

The Trial, by Franz Kafka

I started this for class, but I never finished it, so it’s just been on hold since then. I do like what I’ve read so far though, so I will probably finish it. The Swedish audiobook is just 8,5 hours long as well, so it’s not a huge commitment either. The plot is also really interesting, because it’s about a man who is arrested for no apparent reason, and is then put through an absurd trial which ends in him receiving the death penalty. It’s a very important modernist novel, so it would be nice to be able to say that I’ve read it.

Kvinnor och äppelträd, by Moa Martinson

This is also one of those books I’ve started for class; we were reading it for our lecture on working class literature in Sweden. And it was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. Not that I really expected anything, but so far so good. I will probably finish this on audiobook as well, once I’m done with The Trial.

Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes

Finally, something I’m reading for fun! I haven’t read that much yet, I think I’m only somewhere around page 50, but I’m finding it hard to get into. I wanted something that would grab my attention right away, and so far I don’t think this one has done that.

That was all of this month’s books! I can’t believe that I’m reading five books at once ^.^’

2018 · March · Tags

The Book Buying Tag

I found this on The Book Castles youtube channel (here’s the original video) and thought it sounded fun, so this week you’re getting a tag from me! The name of the tag basically says it all.

1. Where do you buy your books from?

Usually, I get books online, because that’s where it’s easiest to find the books I like reading. Sometimes I get books in store as well, my favourite Swedish one is Science Fiction-bokhandeln.

2. Do you ever preorder books, and if so, do you do this in store or online?

I think that the only time I’ve preordered a book online was when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released, but I don’t usually preorder books in store either. If I do, I get them through Science Fiction-bokhandeln.

3. On average, how many books do you buy each month?

This depends so much! Usually, I end up getting two to four, but it varies depending on whether I need to get anything for class or if there’s a sale on.

4 & 5. Do you use your local library? If so, how many books can you/do you borrow at a time?

All the time! Course literature is super expensive in Sweden and since I study comparative literature, it’s much more sustainable for me to borrow books than buy them.  My local library has a lot of both the coursebooks and fiction I need for class, which is great. I very rarely borrow books for fun though, because they don’t often have the books I want to read for fun. As for how many books I borrow at a time, it is usually around 10-15 for each module.

6. What is your opinion on library books?

I do prefer to own the books myself, but I think libraries are great! You can go there and borrow books for free, and if they don’t have the book, they can usually buy it for you. I know this sounds slightly dramatic, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without libraries.

7. How do you feel about charity shop/second hand books?

Cheap books are always nice, and I think it’s great that you can pass on books that you didn’t like, so that they can find a home with someone else might enjoy them better.

8. Do you keep your read and TBR piles together/on the same bookshelf or not?

Both! I have two shelves reserved for unread books, but if I own other books by the same author or other books in the same series I put the unread books among those instead.

9. Do you plan to read all the books that you own?

Well… that’s the plan, but I don’t know when that will end up happening ^.^’

10. What do you do with books that you own that you feel you will never read/felt you did not enjoy?

I’ve begun getting better at getting rid of books I don’t want to own anymore, but the market for used books in Sweden isn’t great. Course literature is essentially the only type of books that people will buy used unless they find some random paperback in a charity store.

11. Have you ever donated books?

Not yet, but I might in the future.

12. Have you ever been on a book buying ban?

Haha, I’ve tried, but it’s never lasted for very long ^.^’

13. Do you feel that you buy too many books?

I’m of the opinion that you can never own too many books! However, there is always the problem that it’s getting difficult to keep up, especially with uni.

2018 · March · Reviews

Book Review: “Fireworks”, by Katie Cotugno

Published in 2017 by Balzer + Bray | Two feathers

*Warning: This turned into a spoiler-filled rant review*

Summary:

This is about two best friends, Dana and Olivia. Olivia has always been the center of attention, training her whole life to become a singer, with Dana cheering her on from the sidelines. One day Dana tags along as moral support to an audition to be in a girl band, but she ends up auditioning as well, and then both of them are chosen to be in the girl band.

Review:

I picked this up because I was in the mood for a quick, fun contemporary that didn’t require too much thinking, and that is exactly what I got! The chapter length especially was great (you guys know how much I like short chapters ^.^’). Also, I liked how much the book focused on friendship, even though that friendship wasn’t the best. For those reasons, I am very glad that I picked this book up.

However, I do have some issues with it, the main one being the friendship between Dana and Olivia. It came across as toxic and unhealthy; everything revolves around Olivia, and Dana is basically only around to be the sidekick that Olivia needs. It felt like the exact type of friendship that maybe would have worked when they were kids, but to me it was obvious from the get-go that they had probably outgrown each other and all that was needed was a new environment for the friendship to finally crack. What also plays into this is the fact that both of them began acting like shit towards each other the moment they step into the apartment with the rest of the group. That’s why I thought that the ending was realistic to some extent, even though it was sad. They just weren’t good for each other anymore.

The other major thing that bothered me was Olivia’s eating disorder; or rather, that literally everyone knows about it and not one single person does anything about it. Dana’s all like, “I won’t tell your mum as long as I can see you eating”. Then she catches Olivia throwing up, and still doesn’t do anything about it. I mean, they’re supposed to be best friends, and the best thing Dana could have done was to tell someone and help Olivia get professional help, even if that meant Olivia getting mad. It would have helped in the long run. Let’s not demonize getting help, people.

Related to that, why didn’t Dana do anything/care about her mother? I understand that it is difficult to deal with a parent who’s an alcoholic, but Dana didn’t even seem to worry that much about her mum. She barely thought about her when she was in Orlando, and then she just leaves for community college without a second thought. How can her mother be so insignificant??

Also, Dana is supposed to be this tough girl who “gives off a vibe” (p. 166, my cursive) and who isn’t easily intimidated. At least that’s what we’re told. What actually happens is that Dana comes across as insecure; she doesn’t have the best self esteem, and she repeatedly stutters, blushes and doesn’t know what to say. We’re told one thing, and then we’re shown the complete opposite. She gave off the opposite of that “bad-girl vibe” I think she was supposed to give off, which annoyed me to no end.

What also annoyed me is the fact that Dana made the group when she was so crap at singing, really works for her place there, and then just abandons the whole idea to go to community college instead. She discovers a passion for performing, and then vaguely decides to become a doctor which was her actual childhood dream all along. That struck me as weird.

Lastly, the 90s setting was cool, but there weren’t that many actual markers that showed that the book was set during the 90s. Sure, they were going to be in a girl band, they call each other on stationary phones and the general clothing style was 90s-inspired, but I would have loved if the author had gone for it even more. As it was, it might as well have been set in current-day Orlando and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

I’m done now. I thought I liked this book better than I did, but then I began writing this review and realised how many things I didn’t get along with. Kudos to you if you managed to get the whole way down here ^.^ .

2018 · March · Tags

I Love Spring Book Tag

I was tagged by Abigail over on What Makes a Good Book to do the “I Love Spring” book tag. It couldn’t have been more timely, because I was just thinking about what my next post was going to be. So here’s a tag post!

1. How is spring where you live?

Cold and wet, so far! It’s been snowing on and off for the past two weeks, and the snow only disappeared during the last few days. Hopefully the sun will come out soon, so that we can get better spring weather!

2. Most anticipated book this spring

You know, I don’t have that many books I’m looking forward to this spring. Not that I’ve done a lot of research, but there aren’t very many upcoming releases that have peaked my interest. Anyway, I would like to get my hands on a copy of Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which is out on the 29th of May, and Save the Date by Morgan Matson, which is out on the 5th of June (which is technically summer, but still ^.^’)

3. What book cover makes you think of spring?

Ooo, good question. But maybe this edition of Skuggan över stenbänken by Maria Gripe. I don’t know why, though, I think it’s because of the light and the shadow.

4. Where are you going to read this spring?

Probably where I usually read: in bed before going to sleep. But I think that I will make a point of going to the Botanical Gardens in the town where I study and sit there for a while, and I’ll probably go into our garden at home as well.

5. Find a cover with a sun on it!

This was really difficult, but Magnolia by Maria Dahvana Headly has a sunset on the cover. Does that count? ^.^’

6. What are your favourite spring reads?

I don’t think my reading changes that much depending on season, but I guess I tend to pick up more cutesy contemporaries during the spring and summer. A favourite is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson!

7. Find a book with a ton of different colours on it

This was also a tad difficult, but And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is kind of colourful, right?

2018 · Currently Reading · March

Currently Reading | March 2017

It’s been a while since I wrote a currently-reading-post, so I thought it was time to do another one! At the moment, I’m reading three books.

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

I just started this the other day, and it’s my current book for fun. I haven’t gotten very far yet, because I’ve been focusing on reading for class. However, as soon as I started reading it, I knew I would like it. Two chapters in, it is atmospheric and feels like a fairy tale retelling. Super excited about this one so far!

Gösta Berlings saga, by Selma Lagerlöf

This was supposed to be finished for class today, but I only read 100 out of 443 pages ^.^’ . It is a lot better than I thought it would be, though, so I think I will actually finish it. So far, it is kind of slow, but especially talking about it in class today made me want to see how everything wraps up. Hopefully, I will get to the end before the year is over ,^.^, .

La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman

I am listening to this on audiobook, because recently I was in such a mood to pick it up. Google said you could read it without reading the original His Dark Materials trilogy as it functions as a separate thing, but so far I think it helps that I have read Northern Lights previously. Perhaps not in terms of understanding the world, but there are details I think would be slight spoilers, at least for the first book. So be aware of that if you haven’t read His Dark Materials, I am enjoying this so far, so will definitely finish it.

That was all I had to talk about today! I am hoping to get back into doing these kinds of posts, as a mid-month reading update instead of tbrs or “part one wrap-ups”.