Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Beast Within

the beast within

I grew up loving Beauty and the Beast. I have read many different versions of the tale. I have read modern adaptations and I have read different cultural adaptations. I will be talking about the book in length, so there will be spoilers.

Having Read Fairest of All, and having enjoyed it a lot, I had high hopes for The Beast Within. I was disappointed. At times it felt like I was reading bad fanfiction(and I like fanfiction, there is a lot of good fanfiction out there). Page 22 is a good example of what I am talking about.

There was a character by the name of Tulip Morningstar, that made my eyes roll. Tulip Morningstar? That was the best name the author could come up with? She was supposed to be the name for one of the love interests that the Beast meets before he meets Belle. Really? It sounded so stupid, I couldn’t take it seriously.

Circe being the witch/enchantress, a pig farmer’s daughter, and having three sisters (making me think of Macbeth) was another Wtf moment.

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50 Signs That Show You Can Read (or Watch) 50 Shades of Grey, Without Falling under its Spell

The Movie is coming out this weekend and all I can do is shudder. Many people around the world have read this abuse book disguised as erotica and have fallen under its spell. Sadly many of those same people will go out and watch the movie too (granted the script will probably be better than the book because they have someone who can write.) This makes me depressed.

There are those of us of course who recognize all these problems and still come out alive, but perhaps a little bit scarred as a result. You have my sympathies, but at least we are informed.

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50 Classic Stories to Read (Instead of 50 Shades of Grey)

These books are stimulating and there is usually more than just romance in the story. There is this crazy thing called plot and it just happens to be well written too! In fact you might learn something. Some have happy endings, while others are tragic. Either way, you don’t need badly written erotica to learn more about yourself.

A List of Classic Stories that I would read over 50 Shades of Grey any day:

  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Persuasion
  3. Northanger Abbey
  4. Emma
  5. Mansfield Park
  6. Sense and Sensibility
  7. Wuthering Heights
  8. Jane Eyre
  9. Romeo and Juliet
  10. Much Ado About Nothing
  11. The Great Gatsby
  12. Les Miserables
  13. Gone with the Wind
  14. Anna Karina
  15. Their Eyes were Watching God
  16. Madam Bovary
  17. Casablanca (it was a play before a movie)
  18. Dangerous Liaisons
  19. Oliver Twist
  20. Fathers and Sons
  21. The Color Purple
  22. Vanity Fair
  23. I, Robot
  24. Growing up Rich
  25. Foundations Trilogy
  26. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  27. The Hobbit
  28. Of Mice and Men
  29. Tender is the Night
  30. Slaughterhouse-Five
  31. The Man in the Iron Mask
  32. Atlas Shrugged
  33. Heart of Darkness
  34. The Sun Also Rises
  35. Moby Dick
  36. The Count of Monte Cristo
  37. Cat’s Cradle
  38. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  39. The Rum Diary
  40. The Pillars of the Earth
  41. Ender’s Game
  42. Persepolis
  43. Maus
  44. I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing
  45. The Three Musketeers
  46. A Lesson Before Dying
  47. The Scarlet Letter
  48. Little Women
  49. Dracula
  50. The Bell Jar

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Lists about 50 Shades of Grey

It is February and for some many are dreading Valentine’s Day. For me, I am dreading the release (and the madness to follow) of 50 Shades of Grey.

On the way home from classes, my boyfriend and I were talking about the upcoming movie and how we hope it will flop (sadly the reality is, many people will go to see it because it is popular). Somehow we began coming up with ideas of what would be more stimulating than reading the series or watching it. Soon it grew and now we have so many lists ideas that it I will probably be posting different lists regarding this throughout the month.

The List will be updated through the month:

 

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley

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I remember when I first heard the news. My mother while on her off time at work had gone on to a few park websites and learned that the Jaws ride had shut down.

Someone who worked there leaked to the world that it was because they were working on the new Harry Potter section. A couple months later. Official news is released and sketches are shown.

I was so excited.

You can imagine how I was when I saw this on TV for the first time.

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Yeah I was excited.

What am I talking about…I still am excited.

Unfortunately I will not be going to Diagon Alley this year.

alex-crying

It is going to be hard to not look at a bunch of people recording their experiences on youtube.

I have already kind of ruined it for myself by watching the Preview webcast that occurred over the past 3 days.

Besides seeing Tom Felton…

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Isn’t he cute 😀

My Favorite part about all of the previews was seeing how big Diagon Alley was, especially in comparison to Hogsmeade.

I remember when I first went there how small it was, even after a huge downpour of rain and the park was practically empty.

My least favorite part was that we didn’t get to see Knockturn Alley. I really wanted to see it (and more of Tom Felton).

Did you watch the previews? What are you looking forward to?

If you didn’t watch the previews, check out Universal Studios youtube page. You may have to hunt for it, but its worth it.

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Book Review: Lint (Acme Novelty Library #20)

lint comic book

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Tiitle: Lint (Acme Novelty Library #20)

Author: Chris Ware

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; Ltd Col edition

Genre: Graphic Novels/Comic Books

Hardcover: 72 pages

I came across this book while working in the library and was fascinated by it.

I decided to check it out and I have read it over 4 times since I have checked it out. I still don’t know what to think about it entirely.

When I finished this book I was really down and depressed. If you are going to be reading this I suggest that you read this when you are at a very high point, because if you read this while depressed it will just make you feel worse.

One of the things that encouraged me to start reading/looking over this book was the fact that it focused on a boy going through his whole life in 72 pages. From him being a baby seeing the world through very simplistic eyes, to the end of his life and the images becoming a little more surreal.

Jordan Wellington Lint grew up with a father that was abusive to his mother. He was a bully, a man that lusted after other women, he is a jerk, is an adulterer, he is nasty to his family and friends, and we learn even a more terrible truth near the end of the story. I honestly couldn’t stand him and he reminds me of some of the guys I met in high school. Especially the bullies.

I love how we see his memory and his perception only. We don’t see a lot of early childhood memories before his mothers death. Nor do we see his relationship with his children before he cheats on his first wife. At on point I still can’t figure out if he committed statutory rape on a young teen girl or if it was just a dream he was having.

Although I feel bad for his really early childhood, I could only pity him. I can’t sympathize with the main character because he is annoying, selfish,etc. I felt bad for him, but only because he messed up his life so much because of his actions. He would have to remind me of the our stereotypical image of the male. He has so many opportunities and he wastes them. I was honestly annoyed by this man and hoping he would turn himself around anytime now.

There were two things that surprised me:

  1. Reference to 9/11 I was not expecting that.
  2. The twist at the ending. We learn about his relationship with one of his sons.

I would have to rate this book 4 stars. 4 stars

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Book Review: The Romance of Tristan

romance of trsitna

 

Title: The Romance of Tristan

Author: Beroul

Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 1978)

Genre: Fiction (Literature)

Paperback:176 Pages

I had to read this book for my Medieval Literature class (which on a random note I saw my medieval literature professor at my church the other day- weird) . It is a love story that was very popular throughout all of Europe and had been translated into numerous languages.

I am not a fan of medieval literature, but I honestly suggest you read this.

It is hilarious.

The writing, at least in this edition, is very easy to read and follow.

It is also ridiculous. There is a magical dwarf, the king is an idiot, the girl is witty, and there is a dog that appears that you never see or hear from again.

When I read it, this is the conclusion I came to

I found it comical and it reminded me of humerous version of Romeo and Juliet. Even though both stories invoke a sense of sadness, I had a difficult time taking this story or the characters seriously. With the asininity of the characters, particularly Tristan and Yseult, this story is a little erratic.

I guess the main reason why I have problems with Tristan and Yseult is because after 3 years, the time the potion is supposed to wear off, they still act in the same manner towards each other as to when the potion was in full effect. It  is true that when the potion begins to wear off they both began to have a sense of regret. At the same time though they still view each other with love, “Let us both pray that the King of Heaven will have mercy on us, Tristan, my love.” I thought the love potion had worn off by this point. They keep telling everyone that it isnot their fault, but the love potions fault. And yet no sooner does Yseult vindicate herself, Tristan runs back to meet her in secret to talk with her, and be with her. The reason for this is because he has missed her greatly. They can’t blame the love potion at this point for it has worn off. I find it fascinating that even the author to an extent is trying to lay all the blame on the love potion near the end of the book. In the end Tristan and Yseult both die from despair and grief because of the other. Where they were buried two trees grew from their graves, one from Tristan and one from Yseult and intertwined. The author claims that “some say” it was the love potion that caused this to happen. That makes no sense since the love potion should have worn off by now, in fact it already had worn off. It seems to me that the love potion was merely an excuse, a scapegoat they could use.

In my opinion the love potion only emphasized what was already there, for they still loved and wanted each other after the love potion worn off. To me this makes both of them responsible for their actions. They know right from wrong. If they knew it wasn’t wrong, they would not have had to hide their love from the king, constantly lie or use equivocation. They wouldn’t have to go into hiding, and it certainly wouldn’t account for Yseult having her serving maid take her place the night she was supposed to consummate the marriage with King Mark. Even though I hold both of them equally responsible for their actions and only see the love potion as an excuse, if I had to give my sympathies to one of them it would have to be Yseult.

The reason why I would give my sympathies to her and not Tristan is because she is a woman, married to a king, far away from her family and friends, and she has nowhere to go. In that time period being a woman was already a disadvantage, for they don’t had limited rights. She is married to a king, which that itself holds a great deal of responsibility. Her nearest family and friends are far away in a different country and can’t get to her quickly if she gets in trouble. Finally it is not probable that she would be able to leave on her own, for she does not have the means to leave the country. While Tristan is far better off than Yseult. He is not married, he could be with whoever he wants and not be criticized. Even if he was married, he would have an easier time having an affair in comparison. If he needed to, he could leave the country and he has the means to do that. Between the two, the consequences are far worse for her than him.

For me this I think the love potion was merely an excuse that was used so that way Tristan and Yseult could have an affair without people really shaming them. Even though they story was comical and the characters were foolish, I still enjoyed it.

I would give this book 5 stars as a humorous book and 1 star as a piece of great literature. Overall I would give this book… 1.5 stars

1.5 star

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

 My Spoiler Policy

the fault in our stars

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Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing [2014]

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Paperback:  204 pages

I wanted to read this book before I saw the movie in theatres. I was really excited to see copies left at Barnes and Nobles. I decided to get the The Fault in Our Stars Exclusive Collectors Edition.

I have heard about this book from friends, tumblr, etc. and once I saw it was going to be made into a movie. I knew I had to read it.

When I bought this book, I expected to cry, I expected to throw it against the wall in rage over the death of a character. I expected a feels fest. I expected it to be better than it was.

How I expected to react.

I was disappointed.

He is not a bad writer. It was good, I just thought the book itself was okay.

To help express how I felt through the whole book (up until the very end). Even at the end of the book. Even at the end of the book I just felt sad.

waiting

How I felt the whole time reading it, till the end.

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Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to happen.

Warning- I was not a fan of the characters of the book, so if you love this book, just leave now.  Seriously, you won’t like this review.

I was annoyed with both characters, I had a hard time sympathizing with the characters. I did sympathize and empathize with them and their situation (cancer), I just had a hard time doing it. Only when they began showing real human emotion, stopped using esoteric word (which I do understand, I just find it annoying when people are trying to come off as smart and intelligent- all look at me), and stopped their highbrow personalities. An example I can think of right away is the while cigarette thing. While a great message, also really stupid in general.

I can tell John Green’s voice is in his characters (having watched and enjoyed his youtube videos) and I really wish that didn’t happen. I wish he could have stepped outside of himself and write the characters in their voices.

The “Okay? Okay.” phrase left me underwhelmed (“Real or not Real?” from The Hunger Games had more passion behind it). I was sad when Augustus died. I felt bad for Hazel. I felt bad in general. I felt really bad for all the parents involved.

Hazel granted had more personality than Bella Swan from Twilight, but to be honest it’s not that hard. It honestly feels like this character is a character in which the reader can drop themselves in and “play the role” of the main character, fall in love with the cute guy, etc. Hazel falls in love just as fast with Augustus as Bella does with Edward!

And no one has given her grief?

I wanted her to go off on little adventures, I wanted her to try to live life to the fullest, I wanted her to write books, I wanted her to come up with the ending to that book she loved.  I wanted her to go on a journey of self-discovery. Instead she meets a guy and falls in love, and the only reason why her dreams can come true it because of a guy.

With Hazel having read a book where a girl dies and it is portrayed halfway I was hoping that her story would have ended like that ( I really thought it would, perfect symmetry), which tells us that she has died. But to change it up maybe Augustus appears and ends the story for Hazel. He could mention how he was working on writing the ending to story she loved so much so that it would have a good ending for her. We learn about her family, the funeral, and what she taught him (which to be honest all they seem to do is play video games, make-out, and flirt) I wanted him to tell me their last words were, “Okay? Okay.”

If not any of that, I wanted the book to end with the phrase, “Okay? Okay.”

There wasn’t that much depth in the book. Yes, it is about cancer, a very deep subject, but it didn’t feel deeply written nor portrayed. I was going into this book really excited and wanting to like it only to be disappointed.  It was a story about cancer and love, and it lacked depth in both development. I only recall one time (when Hazel passed out) where I felt the tension and fear that she meant when she said she was a “grenade.”

It was an easy read and it did flow really well. After reading this though I am really not sure whether or not I want to see the movie. I am even more hesitant to read more John Green books after reading this one.

There were a lot of great lines, quotes, etc. that I can take from this book, but I didn’t feel he characters give those lines emotion. It felt stale.

Lexa on Goodreads in reference to this book said it very well,

Phase 1: Annoyed.
Phase 2: Slightly less annoyed.
Phase 3: Not bad/meh.
Phase 4: Kinda good actually.
Phase 5: You just had to ruin it all with that metaphor, didn’t you?”

I have to give this book 2.5 stars2.5 star

What did you think of the book? Which John Green book should I read next? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review: I Wrote This For You

i wrote this for you

 

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Title: I Wrote This For You

Author: pleasefindthis (if you want to know the author click here to find out the authors name, look in bio section)

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing [2014]

Genre: Poetry

Paperback:  204 pages

I was browsing through the poetry section with my boyfriend. Even though I have written poetry and have read some, it is really hard for me to find poetry that I like. It is hard to find poetry that doesn’t read as though it is written by an academic trying to sound lofty and brilliant; seeking to be patted on the back by his colleagues.

This book however caught my eye.

I started browsing through this book and I loved it. I was amazed by the simplicity and the expression.

To me this was poetry, not that esoteric drivel that I tend to hear sometimes in the classroom and at poetry slams. I have heard time and time again (with being an English major) that more people need poetry, that poetry isn’t as popular as literature, etc. Well if you don’t make it appealing to a wide audience, if you don’t consider your audience (instead of expecting the audience to read and know every single academic, lofty reference you make in this poem) than people won’t read it. It is that simple.

I have put little tabs on my favorite poems and my boyfriend is still in shock. He knows my stance on a lot of poetry. I loved this because of the simplicity.

I can’t tell you my amazement when I found the website. And to have learned that there is another sequel to the first one.

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This was a great book of poems. I really enjoy it.

I give this book 5 stars. 5 stars

Here is one of my favorites..

The Point of Contact

And then my soul saw you and it kind of went
“Oh there you are. I’ve been looking for you.”

~Pg. 7 I Wrote This For You

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on this book? Which poem was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review- The Thin Man


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Title: The Thin Man

Author: Dashiell Hammett

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Vintage (that name makes me smile)

I was very excited to read the book since I have seen the collection of the Thin Man series multiple times. I knew there would be differences, but I didn’t realize how different the book would be. Although Nick and Nora are d the funny people you see in the movie, it almost seems they are a little more raw and condescending at times. The story itself is darker. The characters are developed more and the ending is different from the movie as well.

The story is about a detective, Nick, who wants to settle down with his wife, Nora, and just take care of her fortune that she has inherited. Due to his connection to a family in trouble he is caught up working on a case involving a missing man and multiple murders. All the while he is drinking his liquor and and hosting parties.

For those who have seen the movie, reading the book is a different experience and it explains some of the smaller characters in greater depth which add to the story. I truly enjoyed learning more about the smaller characters, and somewhat disturbed at times.

Even though I really enjoyed the book, this was one of those few times for me where I enjoyed the movie over the book. It really helped that I was able to imagine William Powell portray Nick and Myrna Loy portray Nora helped, I prefer the comedic side of the movie to the semi depressing condescending atmosphere the book seemed to give off.

Would I read this book again? Possibly. Will it be for quite some time? Yes, I need some time away from this book. Even though this book was good, it felt heavy and was a let down to what I was expecting.

My current rating for this book is 3 stars. 3 star

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