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The Elizas – Sara Shepard

August 25, 2018
by

Elizas

 

I know Sara Shepard’s work through the popular show and Young Adult book series entitled Pretty Little Liars.

This is an adult book, completely separate from her previous novels, although it still has the air of the series in it.

The plot follows Eliza, a newly published author who is awaiting her book actually coming out. The chapters flip between her own life and that of her book. Eliza wakes up after a night of drinking to find herself hooked up to hospital machines. It is clear that her family is very concerned, but also unbelieving as her symptoms are identical to those of her brain tumor that had been dealt with previously in the year (or at least recently).

The book she has written is eerily similar to the things we know about her thus far, and through her book we learn more and more about Eliza.

It’s a thiller book without the gore, although she is quiet promiscuous at times, it’s a pretty tame book overall.

Personally, I couldn’t stand the main character, she was a good character, I think it’s more of the personality I clashed with. It made an interesting anti hero I thought for she wasn’t the villain in any other way than her own life, amid her drinking choices and continual drinking even knowing she should not. But what’s a character without some real life flaws? It made her seem real, which I loved.

The end is quiet the twist!

While the story and chapters continue, I found myself more drawn to the book version of Eliza, younger and not grown into herself yet. Being tugged in many different directions by her influential family member bulldozing her sister into conforming to her wishes constantly. If anything went awry, she would fly into hysterics until everyone apologized, groveling for forgiveness really.

What I loved about this book, was the overall content. It is not a very publicized illness and more people should be aware of it’s reality.

Alli

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The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin (Kids Book)

August 25, 2018
by

IceDragon

The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

This book features Adara, a young girl who believes in ice dragons to the point of obsession. Her entire life, year by year, circles around the arrival of the ice dragon with the coldest winds of winter.

I’m not sure timeline wise where this fits in, but I speculate it is before the fall of Valyeria or at least around the time of his other book, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, as there is a war in the background featuring dragon riders on both sides. I’m sure if I delved into the fandom of GoT I could tell you, but I’ll leave some mystery for you to figure out on your own.

Adara is a cold girl. Not cruel, but not happy either. She rarely smiled in the summer and preferred to play by herself. Her father is a farmer and her two older siblings live their own lives but Adara seems removed from it all. Her mother died giving birth to her, despite the giant fire roaring in the room and the heavy blankets around her, and it reached Adara and absorbed into her, even her skin was cold.

The story grows darker as the war looms closer until the day it reaches their farm.  Even in the peaceful times, her father always spent more time with her older sister and brother, leaving her to entertain herself. Not in a cruel way, her father loved her dearly, but he felt she could not love anyone because the winter had reached her, changing her before the start. Her brother entertained her stories of the ice dragon every winter, but doubted them in realty. After all, Adara is only four the first time, and 6 or 7 when the war falls into their backyard.

When her father tries to send her with a dragon rider to safety, she runs away, deep into the forest and to the coldest cave she knew. It was many months until winter came and she feared how she would survive.

It gets a bit dark for a time for a kids book, but the ending is happy overall.

A great quick read for any Game of Thrones fan!!!

 

Alli

What We Do in the Shadows – DVD

August 25, 2018
by

shadows

In a parody documentary, “What We Do in the Shadows”, a film crew follows a flat of vampires in New Zealand, in a vein of reality star housemate shows. It IS rated R for sexual content, mature language and (of course) bloody content.

The oldest, most powerful vampire lives in the basement crypt of the house, Petyr. The newest of the vampires, Deacon, turned during WW2 and is also the most immature and messiest of the group, is terrified of Petyr and does his best to avoid him.

Viago, 16th century vampire aristocrat and often found trying to boss the others around. Vladislav, a medieval noble who is cruel, and the bloodthirsty killer among the group.

The movie tells of their day to day, stuck in their own times and cultures of the past, while navigating the trials of modern day. They also have a human slave of sorts, Jackie,  whom is utterly infatuated with becoming a vampire herself. She does the daily chores and of course lures victims inside for the vampires.

The movie shows blood but I wouldn’t say in a gory way like a stereotypical horror movie, but more in a comedic way to deal with an unsavory vampire diet. Deacon has promised to change her and uses that to manipulate her to their bidding.

On one particularly normal evening, Jackie brings over a couple, Nick and Josephine. The night goes awry and Nick is drained by Petyr, and turned into a vampire.

Naturally as a newly turned vampire, Nick is the most impulsive and most culturally adept of them. He brings his friend Stu in and after he introduces the older ones to new technology, they form a pact not to eat him! How sweet, right? Nick has a slight punk attitude and continually stirs up trouble between the vampires and the local werewolf gang. Boisterous as well, Nick tells everyone he meets about his new found powers and accidentally blabs to a vampire hunter, whom breaks into the house!

I won’t give any spoilers away, so we will skip into the next plot point.

We learn of a highly anticipated night, Unholy Masquerade, a giant party for all kinds of undead. Which is the highlight on top of the perfect “reality show” parody.

Check this DVD out for a funny take on a gruesome tale!

It’s one of my favorites!

Alli

Suburbicon, movie

June 2, 2018
by

suburbicon-blog

Rated R for language, violence and brief sexuality

Stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, (among many others) directed and partially written by George Clooney and partially written by the Coen Brothers.

In reality, it is two vastly different stories combined to highlight the horrors not always brought to light, although in this movie the highlights may be too stark against the rest of the movie.

The Coen brothers wrote the script for a long-ago abandoned script and Clooney combined it with a real life situation. When a black family moves into a white neighborhood in the 1950’s, they are met with hostility and abhorrent behavior from the majority community.

Much like the true story, in Suburbia a new family moves in. The quiet, idyllic, perfect gated communities is not as innocent and pure as it first appears, however. A violent break-in tears the suburb apart and shatters the family and town apart.

The townspeople, in news outlet interviews, all express such disappointment with the new Mayers moving into Suburbicon and that being the cause of the break-in.

I found the movie too split in half, the theme seemed too elementary to prove any allegory. The contrast between the town’s unwarranted hatred of the new family and the absurd story of the Lodge’s plight didn’t form a story to me.

I know that Clooney meant the stark clash between the polite, law abiding Mayers struggling to defend themselves and their home from the violent, bigoted rest of the town and the seemingly polite and put-together Gardner Lodge is literally getting away with murder….

All else aside, strictly looking at the story, the plot is sub-par in this delivery as the story-line is given away much too early to have it be any sort of mystery. It seems as if in the rewriting of the original Coen script, Clooney slashed the

So I understand what he meant to do and in theory I even like the idea, but somehow in the production of it the message was lost along the way. The outrageous actions of the townspeople just seemed strange and removed from the terror going on literally next door at the Lodge home is being attacked and a woman killed. I just don’t think the movie made it’s point well. The Mayers characters were too white-washed, not real people that felt alive.

Mainly, it is marked as a dark- comedy but the dramatic moments seemed dwarfed by the inconsistent comedy reality of the story. Is it satire, dark comedy, a dark thriller even? It seemed like the movie itself did not know which direction to pick, and therefore the entire plot fell flat. When bad people do terrible things in a stereotypical nice place, it does not create satire. Seems like the Coen brothers are the only ones who can pull off their unique brand of stories.

 

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

May 7, 2018
by

By George R. R. Martin.

knightsevenkingdoms

First let me say that I love the fact there is an adult book with illustrations!!!! They are both realistic and metaphorical many times, but seeing a dragon in a tree is still cool, even if it is only representing the Targaryen house.

The book itself, I found enjoyable. It was about half the size of the other Game of Thrones books, which I found encouraging before I even read the first page.

The story takes place about a century before we know the realm, before the Mad King and the Lannister house became feared. Long before the Starks and Baratheons became friends, or any of the drama we know has began to shift into place.

The story begins on a sorrowful note, but it sets the high standard our fumbling hero, Dunk, holds himself to. Despite being from Flea Bottom, finds himself an upstanding, if still lowly, hedge knight.

His character is likable, a Westerosi underdog, who somehow kept his morals. Which were taught to him from his old, lovable hedge knight he squired to.

His adventures are entertaining as they are chivalrous, upholding the old ways of a knight, even as it fades away.

I should note that I adore backstories, so I loved this collection of short stories about Dunk and his mysterious squire, Egg.

If you also enjoy backstories, consider trying this short-hand version of Game of Thrones, with a fresh view on the land and history.

 

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

May 5, 2018
by

Woods Book

 

This book was very interesting, although there were lulls and my own thoughts about the tactics of the author, and through-out my readings I frequently paused and researched the story – I had to investigate the strange tale myself!!

The story behind the story seems equally interesting, as bad reviews pull in outside and unconfirmed reports I have yet to see if there is any truth in them.

But to focus on the tale at hand, in 2013 a small town in Maine made national headlines.

The prologue begins 20 years beforehand, when a 20 year old man decided to abandon the atypical American life. (If we lived elsewhere, would that behavior be usual at all?) And a small, remote area of cabins and a camp for the mentally and physically challenged children and adults (I believe? I read it awhile ago at this point) Someone was stealing items of various use, an old watch here and batteries year round.

Not all of the items were missed, and some did not have any financial value but only sentimental importance. Like an old watch no one could possibly miss was really the last watch a father gave his son before dying.

Similar things were taken from the many seasonal cabins around the area, despite the residents varied feelings about the thief. At first they must have been alarmed, was it some psychotic monster breaking into their homes, their safety nets only to leave them afraid and vulnerable? After a time, with no clues for the police to follow and nothing more to do about it than get used to it.

Some offered him money or food, pleading him not to steal but leave a note of what he needs and they would be happy to provide it for him free of charge.

Was he too proud to take the gifts? Did he see them as handouts that he thought he was not so desperate for? Soon the residents became angry that he would rather steal than let them help him.

This story is interesting in the fact of: what would make a 20 year old drive past his house, further and further north until he ran out of road. It is more than an impulse to live 27 years in isolation, surviving harsh Maine winters with stolen items.

His story is not like the martyr stories we may be used to like that of Chris McCandless, the Into the Wild story of the ill-fated Alaskan Wilderness Tale of the ’80’s into the ’90s. Nor did he write any earth-shattering new version of Walden or anything.

He admitted to feeling terrible about his thieving ways, but not enough to stop it would seem. He entertained himself for 27 years by reading stolen book or playing stolen video games, powered by stolen batteries.

Overall, the book is a good read in order to get a feel for the story, but the book does not answer any question it produces. Why did Christopher Knight do all of this?

Despite the author’s harassment of the “hermit” after his capture, during his incarceration and even after, hunting him down at his mother’s house during parole.

The story is top notch, but this book was not what I expected.

Still a crazy read though.

A Girl With No Name

May 4, 2018
by

by Marina Chapman

BK

This is a five star book!!

One of the great stories of our modern era. Not a glittering poetic gem in the night, but well written and undeniably intriguing!

Some of the things I read in this book literally reinvented my perception of the world.

I’ve always been a huge animal lover, but this went beyond what I thought of animals. The personality traits demonstrated by the monkeys in her troop were astounding! Due to the complexities of the emotions and social dynamics involved I believed many personality tics and their faults and graces would apply to humans, but I now understand just how little we know outside of ourselves. These animals go beyond instinct and live in a semi-perfect state balanced between understanding and instinct.

Also, the cruelties suffered because of humanity’s selfish consumption of every resource, especially those we do not control, was terrifying, then and now.

A brief plot overview:

A true story, gathered through years of verbal stories to her daughters, whom then organized into into a book.

In Columbia, her story might be like many others in many ways, but her adventure in survival must be few and far between, a true Mogli story. She was abducted before her fifth birthday from her parents garden before being abandoned somewhere deep in the Colombian jungle.

Can you even imagine? Five years old, abandoned in a strange and dangerous place with the effects of heavy sedative wearing off. No one expected her to survive.

Two days later she came across a troop of Capuchin monkeys.

The friendship consisted of: the monkeys were the first creatures that did not want to eat her or chase her off. She stayed on the outskirts of the group, copying their ways as much as she could.

Making her bed in a hollow tree trunk, she survived on basic instincts, losing her ability to speak, her clothes rotted as she outgrew them, leaving nothing but her long hair to clothe her, as she lost all inhibition with no human contact.

The structure of society, dictated by humanity itself began to fade away as the simian hierarchy becomes more important.

Honestly, everyone should read this book. The story is absolutely mind blowing and will stick with you for years. A tale of true courage and strength from within.

The stories of the monkeys slowly beginning to integrate her into their family is amazing.

One in particular was amazing. I told everyone I saw for a week about it.

It was a fruit: that was toxic when ripen or not ripe enough type situation. Obviously the monkeys could not verbally convey this to the girl, but an older father type monkey saw her eat some and immediately jumped down from his branch and pulled her into a pool of water. She was scared, but the monkey was stronger. Her panic rose as he pushed her face underwater, she was sure she would die here and now.

But he pulled her hair and her face emerged. This happened a few more times, in order to induce vomiting. Which may have saved her life.

 

How absolutely incredible is that??

I won’t give more away, but this book is a top pick for me.

 

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