12 July 2018

Midnight Sun - Movie Review

Okay guys! So this is my first movie review that I've done in a while, but I'm really excited to be writing it! I've recently watched a ton of movies and I plan on doing reviews for a lot of them so pleasseeeee be patient with me as I work through writing and posting each one of these reviews. : )

Director: Scott Speer 

  • Katherine "Katie" Price: Bella Thorne
  • Charlie Reed: Patrick Schwarzenegger
  • Jack Price: Rob Riggle 
  • Morgan: Quinn Shephard 
  • Dr. Paula Fleming: Suleka Mathew 
  • Garver: Nicholas Coombe 
  • Mark Reed: Ken Tremblett 
  • Barb Reed: Jennifer Griffin 
  • Zoe Carmichael: Tiera Skovbye
  • Owen: Austin Obiajunwa
  • Wes: Alex Pangburn 
  • Blake Jones: Paul McGillion 
Genre: Teen Romance

Rating: PG-13

Brief Plot Analysis: Katie Price has lived her entire life within the confines of her home due to her diagnosis of XP. XP, scientifically known as xeroderma pigmentosum, essentially makes Katie allergic to the sun. Exposure to the sun is known to trigger the disease and ultimately kill the affected
individual. Although she has spent most of her life within the confines of her home, Katie spends time with her best friend Morgan and often goes out at night. It is when she is out one night that she meets her long time crush Charlie Reed. Through their meeting Katie experiences true love, excitement, and adventure; however, she still must face the inevitable affects of her disease. While the plot was an introduction to a new health related disease, I found the plot similar to those of The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk to Remember. Two teenagers fall in love, one gets sick, and they learn the meaning of love and life. It's fascinating that I'm still drawn to movies that kind of repeat the same plot line; however, if you're looking for something new and different I wouldn't recommend going for this movie. There has also been some question of whether XP was accurately depicted in the film, but I have not done more research into the complaints. 

Film Features: There isn't much to say about the film features. I did enjoy the manner in which the film was produced. It seems to have been shot at a marina or somewhere in a bay area. It gave a more relaxed feel to the movie and also gave off some serious Nicholas Sparks vibes. 

Characters: So, because the plot was extremely generic the characters also came off incredibly generic. Katie is a strong young woman who is facing issues related XP, but still manages to remain positive. It was great to see such a strong female lead; however, I eventually did get tired of the beautiful, innocent girl next door vibe that Bella Thorne gave to Katie. In the same respect, she did a great job, but I would have liked to see a little more emotion. Charlie's character was extremely boring. They could have picked any popular trope boy and he would have been perfect for Charlie's character. He just didn't stand out to me. I was hoping that Patrick Schwarzenegger would have given the character a little life, but unfortunately he fell flat. Outside of the two main characters, there really isn't much to address in terms of characters. I did feel connected to Katie at some points; however, for most of the movie they were predictable and boring.

Overall Thoughts: For the most part, I simply thought that this movie was okay. I was expecting something a little different, but by the time the movie was 30 minutes into the plot I figured out exactly what was going to happen to Katie and Charlie. Believe it or not this movie made me cry, but I still could not justify the fact that it felt as though I was watching scenes from The Fault in Our Stars and A Walk to Remember. The only difference between the movies was the location. It's still teenage angst and a heart-breaking ending with a lot of unnecessary filler in between. If that is your type of movie then I would say go for it, but unfortunately I think I've already have had my fill of those types of movies so I can't say that I would recommend it.

11 July 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday, #32 Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A# of Pages: 304
Publication: September 18, 2018

​Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding. But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

Okay first let me start by saying that there are two amazing things going on with this book. First it's by Ibi Zoboi who I fell in love with last year. Her novel American Street was phenomenal. Check out my review here. Second, it's a book that is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. From my understanding you don't have to have read Pride and Prejudice to understand the novel, but I cannot wait to be able to draw those parallels. I think this may actually be one that I end up pre-ordering. Knowing Zoboi, this book will be filled with all sorts of social commentary.

What are you look forward to this Wednesday?

10 July 2018

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far...)

Happy Tuesday Everyone! That means that today is a day for Top 10 Tuesday hosted by Jana at the Artsy Reader Girl. Today we're supposed to discuss our favorite books of 2018 (so far....), but ya'll I've had a pretty good reading year so far so it's been rather hard trying to choose a favorite 10. I've decided to exclude any books that I have re-read this year. Let's go ahead and get started! 

Children of Blood and Bone. I'm actually cheating with this one. I haven't finished this book as I'm writing this post, but my goodness it's so freaking good I don't know or understand how it couldn't be a favorite. If you haven't picked up this book, pick it up. The hype behind it is well worth it. Ready Player One. I listened to this on audiobook. It wasn't just another science fiction book that I listened to; it was an experience. I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed it and I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to watch the movie. We're Going to Need More Wine. This is another book that I listened to on audio and learned a lot about Gabrielle Union. I wasn't her biggest fan prior to reading this book, but I have a new appreciation for her and everything that she has been through. It's hilarious listening to it on audio especially since she reads it.

Paper Girls Vol. 1. I shouldn't be surprised that this is a favorite considering I'm a huge fan of Brian K. Vaughn. His work is amazing and of course this comic is just as amazing as his other stuff.  Ghost. I believe that I read this one for my children's literature class and it was phenomenal. If you've never encountered the writing of Jason Reynolds I would recommend picking up one of his works. The best thing about him is that he writes across children and young adult so you have a variety to choose from. Heavy Vinyl. This comic actually has two different names. The trade paperback is called Heavy Vinyl while the single issues have been called Hi-Fi Fight Club. Either way it's brilliant with kick-ass female leads and a great array of diversity. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait until they come out with the next volume.

Underground Railroad. This book left me speechless. Just read it. Nana Vol. 9. Holy crap this was a thick volume of Nana, but I can understand why. So much happens and we learn so much about our two lead characters. It was heartbreaking and fun at the same time which I didn't even think was possible. If you're looking for a neat shojo manga to pick up and enjoy I would recommend starting this series. Just be warned that the writer never finished it so it stops at vol. 21. Before the Devil Breaks You. This was such a beautiful installment to the series. Libba Bray could not have released this at a better time (it was released around election time). It covered so many different topics and the author's note at the end was so powerful. If you're looking for a paranormal/historical fiction series I would recommend The Diviners. Also, try listening to them on audiobook. The narrator was amazing. 

Dear Martin. Nic Stone was able to write one of the most powerful books of 2018 in about 210 pages. I don't know how she did it, but this is a book to read. I know that a lot of people want to compare this book to The Hate U Give and to be honest it's hard not to, but this book has a message of its own and it's heartbreaking, yet beautiful and is definitely a message that needs to be shared. 

09 July 2018

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 248
Publication: March 15, 2016
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

Trigger Warnings: Please keep in mind that this book deals with difficult topics
including rape and abortion.

Exit, Pursued By a Bear is such a powerful book for a number of reasons. It takes the experience of a young woman who has been raped and chronicles her journey into recovery and facing the judgments and opinions of others. There were several things that I really enjoyed about this novel and then there were other factors that made the book particularly unrealistic.

First off, I would like to point out that the title is based off the third act in Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale which the book is loosely based off of. The play itself has parts that focus on the strong relationship between Queen Hermione and her lady in waiting Paulina. E.K. Johnston used that relationship as the basis between the friendship of Hermione and Polly. I know that when I first saw the title I was confused and struggled with understanding how it related to the content of the book. The plot solely revolves on Hermione’s life as a cheerleader at the small school of Palermo Heights. While attending cheer camp during the summer, Hermione is drugged during a party and is raped. The rest of the plot follows her journey in coping with the fact that she has been raped and how she will decide to lead the rest of life. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the way that this book handled rape. It is something that people have refused to discuss in the past or have inevitably made the individual who has been raped into a cautionary tale. The support that Hermione receives in this book is AMAZING. The police officers, the counselors, friends, and family members treat her with respect and give her the time she needs to mentally and emotionally deal with being raped. I would like to point out that while this would be perfect and something that we would like in an ideal world, it is not reality. I do not give this opinion lightly. I, myself, am a survivor of sexual assault. My assailants were individuals that I knew, people that I trusted. I would have loved to received the same support as Hermione; however, in the world that we live in I was often accused of being at fault for what happened to me. I think that E.K. Johnston did a brilliant job at illustrating how rape/sexual assault victims should be treated. We’re not damaged goods. We need support and for people to understand that there is nothing that a woman or man can possibly do to make rape or sexual assault their fault. Unfortunately everything in this book was beyond perfect. A lot of times things worked out too perfectly.

What I did love and ultimately enjoy about this book was the relationship between Hermione and Polly. Johnston did a beautiful job in portraying such a strong female bond. Polly supported Hermione is every way. She was present after the rape took place, she went to Hermione’s doctors appointments, she helped her talk to police and counselors, and quite often stood by her side when other people tried to make Hermione a cautionary tale. This is the one aspect of this book that I found to be believable and true to real life. I have had friends who had guided me through that entire process and as a woman it always feels great to have another woman who will stand by your side and be understanding. Hermione’s and Polly’s relationship is one of the best representations of friendship that I have seen in young adult books.

Overall, I thought that the book was okay. I found the world that E.K. Johnston created to be a tad bit unrealistic, but definitely something that we should strive towards as a society. Her writing was simplistic and easy to follow. Based off this book, I would probably read some more of her works. If you’re looking for accurate representation of the after effects of sexual assault I would not recommend this book; however, if you want an idea of how society should handle rape and sexual assault then I would recommend picking up this book.

08 July 2018

Sunday Post, #17

Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer

This week as been absolutely crazy ya'll! It's summer at the library and I'm in the process of moving to a townhouse with my boyfriend. It's been crazy trying to get our current apartment ready for the move. Between work and attempting to get things ready I've been super tired, but I'm also really excited. I'll be getting new bookshelves and we'll have enough space for an office where I can film my booktube videos and also have a place to work on my school assignments. I can't wait to get settled in so everything can finally go back to normal. : ) I got a lot of reading done this week, but I don't think I really finished anything haha. Hopefully that'll change soon. 

Yes this was the lone book that I completed this week because I'm participating in Tometopple Round 6; therefore, I've been reading three books that are each over 500 pages. I know it's crazy that I did that to myself, but hopefully next week I'll have more books listed as complete. 

So these are the three books that I'm currently reading and working on. They are all over 500 pages and I'm trying to finish all three by the time Tometopple ends on the 12th. I'm currently 70% through The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, 35% through A Court of Mist and Fury, and about 40% through Children of Blood and Bone so I definitely have a lot of reading to do within the next five days. 

  • Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear 
  • Top 10 Tuesday 
  • Waiting on Wednesday 
  • Midnight Sun Movie Review 
  • Friday #56 
  • Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire Book Review 

07 July 2018

George by Alex Gino

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 195
Publication: August 25, 2015
Source: Library Audiobook
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I read this book for my children’s literature class and thought that it was a unique and interesting book that really captures the feelings and emotions of a transgender child. If I’m correct this is the first time that I’ve actually read a book that featured a transgender main character. I know, shame on me; however, this really prompted me to expand my horizons when it comes to representations. This book was captivating and one of the best things about this book was that it utilized the correct pronouns for the main character. Although George is biologically a boy, Alex Gino focuses on using she/her/hers as the pronouns to represent how the main character identifies in terms of gender. One of the most difficult aspects about reading this book was listening to how defeated George became when she realized that even her mother did not understand what it meant to be transgender instead of gay. From hiding magazines in her book bag to dreaming of playing Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, George grabs the attention of the readers and really gives them a first hand experience of what it means and feels like to be born into the wrong body.

While I did enjoy the concept of this book, there were two aspects that ultimately brought the book down to four stars instead of five. The writing was simplistic and the plot was not as complex as I felt it needed to be with such an intense topic. Although I know the book is written for a middle grade audience, I think that Alex Gino could have delved a little deeper into the core of George’s problems. Everything felt a little to service level for my taste. In addition to the writing, I did have a problem with the way that Gino assumes that all middle grade readers would know and understand the importance of using the correct pronouns for individuals who identify as transgender. Of course as an adult and someone who is an advocate for the LGBTQIA community, I knew automatically what was intended when Gino utilized she/her instead of he/him. However, I know that this could lead to some confusions for middle grade readers. I think that there should have been some explanation prior to the use of the correct pronouns that way children can be prepared and taught what is appropriate. It’s hard to assume that people know what is correct and incorrect.

Other than those two features, I thought that the book was definitely an important read. I recently fought to have it featured as one of the books for the children’s Battle of the Books at my library; however, I was out voted. If there is one book that features a transgender character in middle grade literature that should be read, I would definitely recommend this one. I heard Alex Gino speak at YallFest a little over a year and a half ago and it was phenomenal. If you’re interested in introducing middle grade readers to a transgender character I would recommend this book; however, I would also have some discussions prior to the book about what it means to be transgender and what it means to use the correct pronouns.

06 July 2018

Friday #56, #50 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!!

Series: Legacy of Orisha, #1
# of Pages: 525
Publication: March 6th, 2018
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise. Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

I'm currently reading this book for Tometopple and I am completely loving it!! It's fast paced, engaging, and just an important read overall. If you haven't heard of this book I would definitely recommend picking it up soon.

"A troop of royal guards charges through. Mangoes and Orishan peaches fly through the air. Second by second, more guards flood the market, searching for something. Someone. I stare at the commotion in bewilderment before realizing I have to move. There are five hundred silver pieces in my pack. For once, I have more than my life to lose."

What are you reading this Friday/weekend?