Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer List Review {My Sister's Keeper + The Devils Knot}

This is the fifth installment of me reviewing a list of books and movies I set out to read, watch, and enjoy throughout the summer. You can check out my other posts in the following links. 
Summer Reading and Movie List
First Installment
Second Installment
Third Installment
Fourth Installment 

The next book I read was My Sister's Keeper. It was extremely enjoyable and quite thought provoking ethically and in general.

A quick synopsis before I begin:

Kate Fitzgerald was diagnosed with APL (a rare form of Luekemia) at the age of two. Her best chance of survival revolves around a bone marrow transplant, which neither her parents or older brother can provide as they are not genetically a match. Although the registry is an option, it's a risky one as generally not an exact match can be found and the process can require a long length of time—time Kate may or may not have.

Eventually her parents choose to have another child, a child that doctors have genetically chosen while it was still an embryo and then implanted via in-vitro. This is how Anna comes about.

At the age of 13, Anna files a law suit against her parents hoping that she can become medically emancipated. She has been through numerous medical treatments to provide things for Kate that her body cannot make correctly. She's donated her cord blood, bone marrow, and granulocytes multiple times among other things. But this time her parents want her to donate her kidney, which seems to be just one step too far.

Although Anna loves her sister, she is (understandably) tired of feeling like someone who is only important when Kate needs something.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the ending was extremely unpredictable on many numerous levels. At certain times during the book Anna seemed like a bratty teenager who merely wanted her way, but her real reasoning for filing the law suit was an extreme twist.

I originally read this book because of how much I loved the movie (I really really love Cameron Diaz to say the least), although I have to say even if you've seen the movie the book is COMPLETELY different. I'm not talking the book said Anna's hair was blonde and they cast a girl with brown hair like omg howcouldthey, I'm talking a 360 degree change on how the book ends. The movie also omits a romance subplot between Anna's lawyer and and Anna's guardian ad litem (who was actually not even in the movie as a character) and it also portrays Jesse (the older brother) as a different character than how he is portrayed in the book.

I did some research on how the book and movie got a drastically different ending and I found out that Jodi Picoult (the author), was none too pleased on this which is quite understandable. Apparently she met with the director where she made her feelings known that the ending was very important to her and an integral part of the movie and the director seemed to understand this. Then once filming began a fan of hers who worked on the set and was familiar with the book called her asking if she knew the ending was being changed. She of course did not and the director completely refused to talk to her or return or answer her phone calls and even went as far as kicking her off set.

After reading that information I must say my faith in Hollywood and book to film adaptions is rather low. I actually enjoyed the book ending a lot better than the movie ending as their conclusion is very predictable while the book's is not in the slightest.

Anyways, the book was fantastic and I highly recommend it. It provides a lot of ethical dilemmas and makes you really think and wonder.


I watched the movie, The Devil's Knot, which was a pretty good film I have to say.

First off, the movie already had a good mark in my book because Reese Witherspoon portrayed one of the main characters. I completely love Reese Witherspoon. Also I've noticed that a lot of horror movies rarely use well known actors, which often times results in shitty acting and conclusively shitty movies. So not only did I have Reese Witherspoon prancing across my TV, but also Colin Firth, whom I've seen a good bit of movies by him as well.

Anyways onto the plot line. Three young boys were found dead and murdered in a sort of swamp area in a small southern town. Eventually the town prosecutes a group of three teenage boys, despite a lack of evidence and contradictory statements.

The small Christian town believes the band of killers were all members of a cult and had killed the boys in a satanic ritual. Despite there being numerous leads that could potentially free the boys, the town's sherriff office does no such effort to look into anything that could prove their innocence.

It was a very fascinating and true story. I found it very amusing over the fact that the town chose not to admit evidence that could free the killers and did everything possible to make sure that they were convicted. The town wanted so badly to put the blame on a group of "satan worshipping heathens" who were merely scapegoats.

I do have to say it was a little irritating how little of an after story was given. The real life events took place in 1993 and the movie was realeased in 2013 so you would expect a lot to happen in the lapsed time of 20 years. But in actuality very little happened.

The three "killers" were eventually freed some time in the 2000s and after that not much of the story has progressed. I guess this isn't really the movies fault, but more like the legal system and the lack of people trying to find the boys' real killers.

It astounds me that this murder still goes unsolved 20 years later. There were a lot of extremely convincing and probable leads shown in the movie that they could have most certainly followed (I'd list them but I don't want to spoil the movie).

It just astounds me that a town that was so persistent to convict the "Satan worshippers" who "killed" the three young boys and yet when the legal system finally acknowledges that the boys clearly didn't do it, the town suddenly loses interest.

Overall, it was a great and thought provoking movie.

Have a fabulous day.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another Life Update (Because That's All I'm Good For)

I remember when I first posted about my Summer Reading and Movie List I promised everyone to my grave that I would still continue my normal blog topics of rants and feminism and the occasional life post, but such a thing did not happen. This blog is mostly all life updates and very little of anything else squeezed between my reading and movie reviews. Life has been putting other rather pressing matters onto my plate (mostly schoolwork) that I still haven't gotten around to juggling correctly.

But some day I will get there and we will all be happy again.

Nevertheless I'm supposed to be writing a paper for pre-calculus. I too was confused as to why I had to write a paper for a math class, but apparently it's a county wide policy that you do mandatory writing assignments in every class despite the subject. Those damn suit and tie guys up there get to me sometimes. But that's another rant that I currently don't have the time to write.

I also had yesterday off of school which proved to be only productive for my sleep schedule and watching TV and playing Clash of Clans but I'm not complaining in the slightest.


Anyways. This is all I've got to entertain everyone with. 

Have a fabulous day.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer List Review {The Blue Mirror + Amber Alert}

This is the fourth installment of me reviewing a list of books and movies I set out to read, watch, and enjoy throughout the summer. You can check out my other posts in the following links. 
Summer Reading and Movie List
First Installment
Second Installment
Third Installment

I want to start this off by saying I'm rather proud I got this far into being on top of things. As a resident procrastinator, I'm surprised I actually have read four of the books and watched four of the movies and gotten the reviews up in the timely manner I wanted them to.

Anyways, onto what you came here for. I read The Blue Mirror by Kathe Koja.

Personally I was not a huge fan. I adored Ms. Koja's writing as the book was like a never ending off beat poem (I'm sure that made sense to everyone lol). On the other hand, I was quite disappointed in the story line, but that might have just been the need of feminism in Maggie's life (the main character), that made me go up the wall throughout the entire story.

Granted Maggie has an alcoholic mother who she takes care of like her own kid, but this girl literally falls head over heals for a kid named Cole who I very early own predicted would ruin her life. Which by the way, I predicted correctly.

I'm not a big fan of love stories to begin with, so maybe I'm not qualified to give an unbiased review here, but I wanted nothing more than to shake Maggie and teach her a thing or two about unhealthy relationships. I could have told you as soon as Cole started forcing Maggie to wear blue lipstick that she should have run all the way to Mexico before it was too late.

Honestly, the book was quite painful to get through because I already saw the ending. Maggie was going to discover the dick that Cole was, but by then it would be far too late. Once Maggie got her act together and realized Cole was as good for her as a cigarette and a case beer, he was already showing up unexpectedly at her apartment and stealing money from her mom's purse. Like come on sister, why did it take this long?

Overall, Ms. Koja is an intriguing writer whose writing style I thoroughly enjoyed. The book itself, not so much.


My next movie was called Amber Alert, which like The Blue Mirror, I didn't much enjoy.

The movie follows a duo of friends who are auditioning for a reality tv show. The movie opens with Samantha and Nate goofing around and I really wanted to love them. They were doing all these fun things around their home town and the directors started out just right. They made them likable and fun.

Then things turned shitty when they got into the car. 

The entire movie is like one of those found footage-low budget-one camera-Blair Witch Project-type movies. The audience believes that what they're seeing is being filmed by Samantha's younger brother whom you only see and hear from maybe twice the entire movie. Personally, these kind of things are waaaaay overdone. It seems all horror movies nowadays follow the concept of "real life" events, when you can obviously tell after a few scenes that the movie was made up.

Anyways, once Sam and Nate get into the car things really go south. They see an amber alert sign and not long after see a car with the same license plate that was on the alert. Sam immediately calls 911 and they begin following it. And then they follow it. And then they follow it some more. And then they continually follow it, which is about 75% of the action within the movie: them following behind a car. 

Also about 2/3 of the movie is spent with Sam and Nate arguing nonstop. I honestly wondered how the directors expected us to believe that Sam and Nate were as good of friends as they were portrayed to be in the beginning because they were both so whiny and different and oh yeah, very irritating. 

First Nate didn't want to follow the car so he complained. Then he wanted food so he complained. Then he didn't know how they were supposed to find the car again after they stopped for food so he complained. Then he had to run a red light to keep up with the car so he complained some more.

Then came Samantha. She got mad a lot. She was mad that Nate didn't want to follow the car. Then she was mad that Nate was hungry. Then she was mad because they lost the car. Then she was mad because Nate said he didn't want to follow the car anymore. She was mad because Nate had no interest whatsoever in catching this kidnapper man, while she wanted nothing more than to save the little kid in the car.


Also it was extremely hard to believe that there was as little of police involvement as there was in the movie. At one point Samantha was giving the 911 operator a direct play by play of where the car was and where it was headed and yet somehow THE POLICE WERE STILL JUST AS CLUELESS.

Yeah, I don't recommend this movie.

Anyways, have a fabulous day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer List Review {Into the Wild + Jobs}

This is the third installment of me reviewing a list of books and movies I set out to read, watch, and enjoy throughout the summer. You can check out my other posts in the following links:
First Installment
Second Installment
Summer Reading List

The third book I read was called Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It follows the true story of a well off twenty something man who donates all his money and essentially drops off the face of the Earth. Through a twist of events and happenings he ends up dead in an abandoned bus a handful of years later. The author (Jon Krakauer) investigates the events that led to Chris McCandless unfortunate death, therefore the premise of the entire story.

This was one of those books that I felt like I had to enjoy. I had heard great reviews from a good bit of my friends, but in my opinion the book didn't really live up to their seemingly wonderful praise.

When Chris McCandless leaves his family and money behind, he goes off into the unknown driving his car and later his own feet to whatever destination he fancies. His ultimate goal is to live off the land of the Alaskan frontier, but this is unfortunately where he meets his death. With that being said, there are a lot of nature scenes within the book and I found them a bit over-descriptive. I swear the author could desscribe a rock for an entire page.

The book had an excellent plot and story line, but I guess I just didn't enjoy Mr. Krakauer's writing style. It was very fascinating to read the events and mistakes that in the end amounted to Chris' death, but the very descriptive manner of the author's writing made the book somewhat painful to make my way through.

Also I've noticed (after combing through several Goodreads reviews) a lot of people disliked this book because of the seemingly sheer stupidity from McCandless himself. He comes off to a lot of readers as a well to do idiot who thought he could do more than he actually ever could. A boy who foolishly turned his back on a life of wealth and thought he was good enough to make it out on his own in the wild. I for one, didn't think McCandless was as much as a blockhead as others thought he was made out to be. I think if he would've kept his life of money and security, people would still call him a rich jerk. Damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of thing.

McCandless was just a man who followed his dreams and nothing should ever be wrong with that.


The next movie I watched was Jobs.

I was really excited for this movie as I basically owe my life to Apple and their invention of the iPhone and who doesn't love Ashton Kutcher?

To start off, the movie gave me a very interesting perspective. I knew very little about Steve Jobs except that he was rich and worked for Apple and died a few years back (I'm so knowledgeable, I know). It was fantastic to see how the coporation giant that Apple is today started out in the garage of Steve Job's house and very surreal to see how it all started with an idea and two men.

On another note the movie portaryed Steve Jobs as an asshole who liked to yell at people when his revolutionary ideas couldn't be done. I was very shocked and immediately after the credits started rolling I Googled "was Steve Jobs really a douche?" 

Turns out there are creative differences between the movie directors and those who were real life friends of Jobs. According to the all knowing Wikipedia, some who knew Jobs refused to give much information to the directors, resulting in a sort of skewed image of Jobs himself. 

Also I was rather disappointed that the movie ends in the year 2001 when Steve Jobs doesn't die until 2011. I was saddened I didn't get to see what Jobs did in his later years or see how he struggled with his illness more. I still don't quite understand why the movie ends 10 years before Jobs dies.

Nevertheless, it was rather amazing to see how the iPhone in my hand came to be.

Have a fabulous day.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Shit Got Real

I just wrapped up my third week of my junior year of high school. Lightly put, it was a big slap in the face. My freshman and sophomore year were difficult at times, but never this hard (especially considering I'm only 15 days in). I come home struggling to carry four textbooks and begin on homework almost immediately and generally do not stop unless I need to eat or shower because I hear doing otherwise is frowned upon in society.

In the past three weeks I've taken a bazillion tests, slaved over far too many papers, and did so many group projects that homeschooling seems like a much saner option. I mean group projects aren't a thing when you're home schooled because there's no one to be your partner, right?

Also, if it wasn't for my summer book/movie review blog posts, it would be a much quieter place around here. I know somewhere long ago I promised that I would be writing regularly in between my reviews, but it's just not happening. If it makes you feel any better, I believe I was nominated for some sort of award like five weeks ago but I don't even remember who nominated me or what the questions were or what I was even supposed to do, so I guess that won't be happening.

Believe me, I've got topics wandering around my head all day long they just never get to see the light of day with the workload I tackle every night. 

Shit got real this year, people. 

Have a fabulous day.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Summer List Review {Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children + Heathers}

This is the second installment of me reviewing a list of books and movies I set out to read, watch, and enjoy throughout the summer. You can check out my first installment here and the list I made here.

The next book I checked off my list was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This was I believe his first book, but the sequel to this novel is already out if I'm not mistaken.

This novel follows a young boy, Jacob Portman, who finds himself on a mysterious Welsh island after the death of his grandfather. His grandfather was a Jew during the Holocaust who was sent to an orphanage on this island during WWII and eventually fought in the war himself.

During his childhood, his grandfather shows Jacob a set of photographs of "peculiar children" who lived in the orphanage alongside him. They all have some sort of supernatural powers (levitation, invisibility, etc.), but as Jacob grows older he seems to think the photographs are just botched and his grandad is crazy/enjoys telling a good story.

His grandfather's dying words to Jacob are instructions which eventually lead him to the island where the orphanage he spent his childhood at is located. 

It's definitely a novel written by someone who has that insane ability that I one day hope to acquire that allows you to seemingly effortlessly create another world. I enjoyed the novel, although at times I didn't really love Rigg's writing. Some things weren't explained well and other things were explained way too much.

Another thing was that literally half the novel was spent on Jacob trying to decipher his grandfather's last words and what they meant and as somewhat intriguing as that sounds, it got old real quick. I was literally screaming I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE INSTRUCTIONS 100% MEAN BUT I BET ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GO TO THE ISLAND FOOL. He eventually goes to the island on recommendation of his therapist, without having much insight on the instructions anyways. Like man, I could have told you that without the need of a therapist.

I also liked the idea of incorporating these eerily weird photographs into the story. As teenagers, I believe we don't get enough "picture books" written on our level. I liked the break between reading to look at the vintage photographs. On some notes though, the pictures weren't really 'incorporated' into the novel as I would have hoped. The author would most times, simply introduce the character and then show a photograph of them right after.

Overall, it was an interesting read and I'll probably check out the sequel for the heck of it as the first wasn't painstakingly hard to read.


The next movie I watched was called Heathers. It was a very funny movie that appealed to my strange teenage sense of humor.


It was like an 80s Mean Girls, but with murder and a much better plot line. As someone who thoroughly enjoys the artistic classic that is Mean Girls, I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this movie. It was very quotable to say the least as well, one of my favorites being, "Did you eat a brain tumor for breakfast?"

I honestly don't want to say too much on this movie as it's one of those things you just have to watch for yourself. Imagine a movie with a lot of croquet, murder, and 80s fashion. Also don't judge the movie by its movie poster (let's remember this was the 80s). I'm not a fan of romance movies in the slightest, but the man characters had a very different kind of relationship. Imagine a power couple who instead of ruling the world, murdered people together. I hope you're catching my drift here.

Just go immediately to your Netflix account and watch this movie so I don't have to find a million other ways to get my point across.

Have a fabulous day.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer List Review {The Storyteller + The Silence of the Lambs}

This is the first installment of me reviewing a list of books and movies I set out to read, watch, and enjoy throughout the summer. You can check out the list I made here.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult was the first book I tackled on my list. I kept seeing a good bit of talk about this book by other bloggers and random articles that I stumbled upon during those weird hours on the internet. This is also the first book I've read from Jodi Picoult who's written her own fair share of books I must say. I had no clue she had written My Sister's Keeper, which is a great movie (I love anything with Cameron Diaz), although I hear the book/movie adaption did not keep true to the book very much (which is why I added the book to my list as well).

Anyways, back to The Storyteller.

It was definitely a great book. It follows a baker who unknowingly befriends a Nazi who not only asks for her forgiveness, but for her to kill him as well. Also might I add, the baker has Jewish ancestry, but does not practice Judaism herself.

When I was in fourth grade I read Hidden Child  by Isaac Millman and I remember I checked it out over and over again throughout the year. As someone who never re-read books it was quite peculiar for me to do such a thing and ever since then I've been entirely intrigued in Holocaust books.

That being said I've read a ton of books written about the Holocaust time and most follow the same storyline (young person in concentration camp, loses family, suffers hardships, etc.) and granted a lot of Holocaust books are memoirs of their time spent and this is truly what happened, but when I read a fiction book about this time period I hold it up to a different standard. I expect there to be twists and turns and connections to the real world today, something that holds it apart from the usual autobiographies written by Holocaust survivors.

Don't get me wrong, I L-O-V-E real life accounts of the Holocaust, but I enjoy turning to the fiction side of things and hearing about events that could almost be too drastic or coincidental to happen to some one's real life. I must have to say the Storyteller was probably one of the best fictional accounts of the Holocaust that I've ever read (alongside The Book Thief). It weaves a survivor's story into today's world and I'd highly recommend it.


The first movie I watched was called The Silence of the Lambs. I'm a big horror movie fan so I might as well give you the forewarning that most of the movies on my list are indeed horror movies.

The movie was mostly a psychological thriller, although I wasn't nearly as scared as I thought I was going to be. This is definitely a movie you can watch at one in the morning and be okay to go to sleep after (at least for me).

The story follows an FBI agent by the name of Clarice who is still in training. She's put on the task of interviewing the serial killer Hannibal Lector (who ate his victims) for another detective, Jack Crawford, who is doing a study on psychological behaviors of serial killers. He's doing this study in hopes of catching other serial killers, specifically one who is currently active by the name of Buffalo Bill, who skins his female victims.

It had quite the excellent storyline, although I had this slight irritation with the main character's voice. Clarice (the main detective) had this sort of weird Northern/ West Virginia accent that irked me throughout the entire movie, although this is probably my own pet peeve that not many of you will share.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that the main character was a female FBI agent (kudos for women in leading roles and more specifically roles that are deemed "manly").

Overall these choices were good picks to start my summer reading/movie watching list.

Have a fabulous day.