The Lobster

The Lobster

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

Review:

Now the fact that you will turn into an animal if you fail to fall in love with someone during your stay here is not something that should upset you or get you down. Just think, as an animal you’ll have a second chance to find a companion. But, even then, you must be careful; you need to choose a companion that is a similar type of animal to you. A wolf and a penguin could never live together, nor could a camel and a hippopotamus. That would be absurd.

The Lobster is unlike any movie I have ever watched. With shocking opening and closing scenes, everything in between is disturbing and thought-provoking. The plot, characters, sound and visual presentations all contribute to present one of the most touching and bizarre movies probably ever made. There is a lot to take in, but it all comes together in a weird harmony.

Large audiences will most likely not take to this movie. It is often slow paced, filled with awkward silences and the authors deliver the lines in an almost robotic manner. That all suits the world being presented here, though. A world where people are reduced in such a manner that they are coupled according to their main characteristics – be it beautiful hair, proneness to nose-bleeding or short-sightedness.

Colin Farrell was superb in this role. As a man who was left by his wife, he often comes across as uncaring and even apathetic and his attempts to find a partner are quite awkward, although that is the norm in the place. Everyone is just so desperate, alienated and reduced to a shell of a person.
David struggles to keep himself and his freedom of choice of a partner or lack thereof, while surviving his oppressive surroundings, and watching him evolve is very moving.

However, don’t think this is a one-man movie. Each character is unique and they all add to the story in one way or the other.
I sort of wished I could have seen the female perspective on the hotel, but it would then be a completely different movie, so that’s fine.

The film is drowsed in noir humour. Because the setting is so bleak, I found it heart breaking, even in the supposedly funny moments. However, it is so rich in so many ways, from the concept to the mixture of cultural references to all the small hints at how our own society and each individual deals with being single. There is either a pressure to be coupled and being recognized as such by society, or a commitment to staying single, and it seems that, as in the movie, a middle term is practically impossible.

This is a film that needs to be appreciated throughout and there is plenty to digest and discuss afterwards.
However, do be prepared to be taken off balance and to cope with the slow pace.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Review:

I know I am a tad late, but I finally got to watching The Great Gatsby.

Not having read the book, I am not sure what I was expecting, but this sure wasn’t it.

The narration of the movie between now and then and the transition to written form is such a brilliant touch, as is the contrast between present day and the narrative time.

The imagery was stunning. At times, I felt I was looking at something coming out of a modern fairytale.

I suppose that was the purpose of the movie. It was the Roaring Twenties. Anything was allowed.

I have to admit I was not quite sure why this new guy who no one really knows much and who has no money gets shown around to people’s darkest secrets. I felt that needed more build-up. On the other hand, the movie’s pace was insane and I guess that would have spoiled it.

One of the things I did not expect from this movie was that it had such a romantic component. The characters’ development, particularly Gatsby and later Carraway, was excellent.

I think I postponed watching this movie for so long because I thought I would be bored. I couldn’t be more wrong. I definitely recommend it.

Alien Child

Title: Alien Child

Author: Pamela Sargent

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 246 pages | locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.75/5

Premise:

Nita has grown up as the only member of her human species in the Institute, aided by her guardian from a different species and even a different world. As she grows up, Nita has all sorts of questions, but is denied access to the answers because her guardian says it is not yet time for them.
As Nita grows and learns of her past, she slowly realizes her future may very well imply the future of the entire mankind.

Review:

The beginning of this book is praise from a bunch of folks. I actually bothered to read it all, not only because I was curious about what they thought of this novel but also because it had praise from other books by her. She was defined as writing unique sci-fi, no one has ever done anything like her, she is a master at characterization and so on and so forth. Talk about setting high expectations. I hope I have learned my lesson.

So here I am, beginning the book per se, and immediately I have an issue. The first line is Nita’s earliest memory was of the day she had nearly drowned in the pool. She was toddling down the wide, lighted hall of her home, but her short legs could not keep pace with her guardian’s long strides. So what do I think? This kid is small, a toddler. And yet, when her guardian engages her later on, she has the speech of a much older child. And this is the issue I have with most books who have children as a main character – few succeed in making them sound as children.

Her guardian has trouble with English and, even though we later learn she has an AI at her service, it just did not justify why Nita seemed so developed from the beginning.

Several things felt like they were thrown out there for the reader to take for granted. Like Nita saying she always knew her guardians came from a spaceship. How did she always know? Did Llita tell her that story? Did the AI?

Not everything was bad. Some descriptions were very beautiful and the idea of Llipel and Llare’s people was intriguing and mysterious.

I did try to go along with the story but I kept thinking “wait, why didn’t she do this? Why didn’t she go there?” or just felt that some things were entirely too convenient. I just didn’t buy it and kept trudging on. I figured hey, it’s only 246 pages, how long can it take? Well, if felt like ages.

Even the ending was anti-climatic. The dialogues were stretched on for miles and miles and the entire idea was so repetitive. I almost yelled OK, I get it, mankind is bad, they are afraid to become like that, I get it already, can we move on??

I just could not take the novel seriously. I believe that had I read it at a younger age I would not have had nearly as many issues as I had. As it is, I cannot recommend it and definitely feel the praise was overdone.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 11 to Mar 22, 2015
GR Review

Allegiant

Allegiant – Part 1

Rating: 3.8/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago to finally discover the shocking truth of what lies behind it.

Review:

This was actually pretty good, considering the major disappointment I got in the previous movie.

It didn’t start very well, in my opinion. The main characters were posey, their dialogues dull and after a while the running starts and, again, the good guys never get shot while running on open field, and yet the bad guys drop like flies. Then someone dies in a really obvious way and I was like… Eurgh.

But then we see the world outside the wall and the CGI there was pretty cool, even though something felt off. Throughout the movie some parts where blotchy, but the art concepts were tremendously well conceived. There was a lot of cool tech in this one!

As usual I think some fighting scenes were overdone and the sound effects were just ridiculous – especially the knife ones – but I guess it was to be expected.

There was a fairly good pace to the movie and it did not focus sickly on lovey-dovey Tris and Four. She actually did not seem that annoying and attention-seeking to me in this one!

I cannot say the story or even the plot twists were mind blowing but, for once, I let the FX dazzle me.

I wish the story had been better developed because it felt disjointed quite often, but I was actually too entertained to mind that.

Overall a time well spent, quite entertaining.

The V Girl

Title: The V Girl

Author: Mya Robarts

Genres: Dystopia | Post-apocalyptic | Romance

Length: 363 pages | 6051 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

In a dystopian future, North America is at war. The worst things are legal, including rape. Knowing her future, 18 year old Lila desperately wants to lose her virginity by having consensual sex. In a surprising turn of events, Lila is faced with protecting her family, while her dilemma gnaws at her. When mysterious Aleksey shows up, her inner conflicts only increase.

Review:

I chose this book because the few reviews I read were very encouraging.
Sadly, I felt less satisfied by the experience as it turned out to be more an erotic romance than a dystopia and I was not much of a fan of that.

I believe I have said before that I read books so I can get immersed in a new world. So it was interesting to me how the government justified actions such as rape, for instance, as well as the visitants occupation, not to mention the characters. The chapters were interspersed with quotes from leaders and other important people of the new system and those I found interesting because they sort of brought logic to the madness.

But I did not really get the rest of the world. How Starville did not have running water or electricity but they could make pills and gels to numb feeling in sensitive parts during rape. Why it seemed, at times, that not being a virgin could save Lila from being recruited while at others it struck me as a matter of entirely her preference, as she wanted her first time to be consensual. Then there’s talk about genetically engineered monsters but I never got to hear about any other than her dog.
It particularly annoyed me that I never new what Aleksey was on, as it was clearly said he was taking something. I was also unhappy that some things were mentioned and then later there was no resolution to it, like the story of a Prince living in the mountains (was it linked to Aleksey at all?), why people called him Prince even if it was the meaning of his name, or Clavel’s story I think that was her name? Hard to know cause I could not search on my Kindle, there was an error.

Having an 11-year-old act so much more older to bring out the main character’s innocence even more was not, in my opinion, the best way to do it. It sounds like Lila never had a sexual thought before the age of 18 when action occurs and I just not see how that could be possible.
On the other hand, Azzrael is more knowledgeable of the world in general than our main character. She is more organised, quicker thinking and just more mature at times. She gets things done.

So we have this 11 year old kid giving advice on her 18 year old big sister on how to flirt. Apparently saying hi and smiling is enough and it is a thrilling experience for Lila, despite Azzy’s smug face.
This episode right here sums up their relationship pretty well for me. 11 yo kid has all the answers, 18 yo struggles with emotions.

There’s a lot of repetition. Sometimes entire paragraphs are repeated, so the ARC could use some revising. The sensual scenes were repetitive as well. Lila’s infatuation with Aleksey and vice versa tries to sound natural but fails at it. The fact that she refers to their relationship as insta-love isn’t even cute. While it was interesting to see Aleksey’s layers exposed, the fact is that guy was always in control and as much as others may enjoy the macho attitude whenever he said something along the lines of ‘only I can give you true pleasure’ I cringed at the arrogance and never really got past that. I also wonder what would happen if he lost control. And I could not really see a future for the two. The entire story was a game of cat and mouse and now that Aleksey got his prey I am not sure exactly what ‘feelings’ could arise between the two other than lust and a sense of possessiveness.

I guess the book was too YA for me to enjoy. There’s the usual nasty upper class girl who all men crave giving the protagonist a hard time, who does her best to ‘come of age’ and overcome her fears and, of course, the dreaded love triangle. On the other hand, there were positive things as well, such as Duque’s character development. Rey’s however could have used some more. He was referred to as the Priest but I don’t remember him having any religious stance at all.

It’s not that the story does not have depth or the world was not developed. It’s just that it kept going back to sex and romance and, well, I wanted more.
Still, it addresses and explores important matters within sex and its boundaries, mainly of consent. The questions at the end were a nice touch and made me have an entirely new, more mature perspective of the book.

I am rounding the rating up because I know I am not the target audience and I am sure they will love it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Feb 06 to Feb 11, 2016
GR Review

True Calling

Title: True Calling

Author: Siobhan Davis

Genres: Dystopia | Fantasy | Romance | Science Fiction

Format: Mobi

Length: 400 pages

Source: Author/Promotion

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Ariana and her family have moved to Novo. Technology is high and she does not think much of it until an event named The Calling comes to be. Her dreams about someone she doesn’t remember only make her struggle more. Can Ariana find the truth? And will she be able to deal with it?

Review:

I have to admit I was pretty confused in the beginning and, quite frankly, often times throughout True Calling. I never really felt captivated by the story, always kept wondering why over and over at whatever was thrown at me, never being able to take it at face value because it just didn’t feel like I was being given proper explanation.

First of all, I felt there wasn’t much of world development. It was never clear what exactly was happening on Novo and on Earth. I mean, it’s a dystopia, the government’s big bad plans need to be well covered up for the story to work, but it needs to make some sort of sense, right?

These people on Novo were subjected to invasive procedures without even thinking twice. Like having selective memories deleted (supposedly so people from Novo would not miss the ones left behind – what????), which I simply cannot fathom how it could possibly be done regardless of how much technology has evolved; having an item implanted at the top of their spinal cord which tracks them everywhere they go and transmits all sorts of information and who else knows what; they go through a battery of scans at an insane frequency and if they get are deemed sick well then God knows what might happen. They get shot with stuff, often by robot medics, and never seem to wonder what’s going in their bodies. They simply embrace everything because, well, new planet and all.

The planet itself didn’t make sense to me at all. This Novo is described as having been ‘chosen’ to house the best human beings because it was so similar to Earth (quite near to it too, like 12k miles I think I read). However, its natural features were transformed by humans to the point of mimicking certain specific locations, all from USA, even though whatever bad things happened happened to Earth as a planet.
I just cannot contemplate how it is possible to change the surface of a planet and to be frank, to this point I am not even entirely sure whether the entire planet was fabricated or not.

We meet Ariana, our main character, who is a cadet at some academy. However, we don’t really know what her days are like, what exactly she does there, only that she is subject to a battery of scans and tests.
I found it so hard to relate to her, because one minute she says she never got used to this and that and the next she totally is. One minute she is rebellious and the next complying. And she of course has a perfect bff who is the pentacle of positivity so naturally diminishes herself in front of Eve because she is just so negative compared to her.
On the other hand, she says stuff like she is so very adept at kissing and whatnot, since she had no recollection of ever doing it before…

Queue love interest which starts with hate/loathing feelings and that’s it, it only goes downhill for me. If you have been following my blog for a while you will know I am not a fan of romance. I can tolerate it if it is part of something bigger, but in this case it just became annoying following Ariana around with her fluttering heart and tingling body sensations.

At some point it all became a bit reminiscent of Hunger Games (Effie immediately sprung to mind), as well asother books of the genre which I never bothered to read for these same reasons, I am sure. The dressing up of the couples and everything being televised is an example – but overall I did find the concept somewhat interesting as dystopian. I just could not stand how it was handled by the main character.

Oh and she is a self-proclaimed prude. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that, I even praise it and wish I would see it more but the way she speaks about herself is so diminishing while at the same time holding everyone in such high regard that I just could not grow to like her. At first, at least.
Just an example: She says stuff like He’s so freaking hot I still can’t believe I managed to hook him..

One thing that really annoyed me was when the moment finally comes to try and figure out what the heck is going on, what does she do? Prude Ariana jumps on Cal and loses her virginity just like that. Hurry, hurry, the lights and cameras will be back on soon *sigh*

At some point I stopped trying to make sense of what was going on, particularly when they seemed to talk openly about all forbidden subjects even though they knew they were being fully monitored. I know Agent Dale planted a device that put surveillance on a loop but I always thought that was temporary – I mean, they couldn’t fool them with that forever, right? Also, the scenarios changed, they weren’t always at Ariana’s place.

The fact of the matter is I wanted to know more about this dystopian world, not how insecure Ariana is about boys and whatever else. Even as she grew as a character, I simply had no respect for her because she was just an annoying teenager to me.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing is quite good and why I give the book 2 stars instead of 1. The narrative flows well and I am sure that fans of teenage lovestruck heroines who have to struggle with love triangles and family issues will enjoy this very much.
I however had to make an effort to stick with the book while it was all about Ariana and Cal mostly because of all the gushing, and trying to discern whether it was safe for them to be saying certain stuff at certain places, it was just exhausting.

When The Calling began, I felt trapped between Ariana gushing at how all her new clothes hugged her curves perfectly (even though her entire casual wardrobe consisted of pants and she said she never wore them back on Earth, as she preferred skirts and shorts but could not get them on Novo) and gawking at how hot Cal was and how she longed for his touch.

Although things got a bit more interesting towards the end I just could not enjoy the book or the characters. I am partly curious to know what comes next, especially if the romance is toned down, but not enough to spend money. Character and world building and development are far too important for me.

Read this if you are looking for a teen romance sprinkled with a bit of dystopian sci-fi.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book is also available for free at Amazon – click here and if you get to read it please let me know what you thought, I would love to share notes on any book I have read.

Read from Nov 25 to Dec 03, 2015
GR Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Review:

I’d say I was pretty disappointed with the ending to the Hunger Games movie trilogy.

Not that I remember much of past movies, but I did feel the perspective or atmosphere of the setting changed quite a bit. There’s a lot of planning and plotting and then running and chasing and then all of the sudden characters who played fairly active roles in previous movies die and I didn’t really feel much emotion, at least not from the characters from whom it should have come.

At other times, the movie dragged on unnecessarily and some dialogues were cringe-worthy.

I felt that the resolution to the conflict which has been lasting for so long was rushed and some things certainly did not make sense.
So let me get this straight – Katniss chooses Peeta over Gale because Gale could not protect Primrose? Seriously? Also, Peeta gets magically cure and can suddenly control all his urges and they live happily ever after?

Alas, it makes for a good action movie, with lots of running around and fighting and a heroine who still somewhat manages to stay likeable, even despite the loathing love triangle but who, to be frank, I did not recognize much anymore. Here is a girl who one minute wants to do the right thing and the next she isn’t looking at means to achieve her end.

I don’t know. I was puzzled. It’s an entertaining movie but it didn’t give me the closure I expected and the ending was completely ridiculous.

The Boy A Thousand Years Wide

Title: The Boy A Thousand Years Wide

Author: David Spon-Smith

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Fantasy | Paranormal | Post-apocalyptic | Romance

Length: 422 pages | 4191 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1/5

Premise:

Baxter lives in the Burroughs, where every so often someone is taken to present as a sacrifice to the Reapers, in order to keep the City safe. His mother was taken from him and so was his brother and now it’s his turn.
A stranger arrives, saying he will help him. Can Baxter trust him? Or his twin that lives inside him?

Review:

When I first came across this book and saw the title I knew I had to have it.

Let me just say right now judging a book by its title is just as bad as doing it by its cover.

I don’t believe I have ever read a book with such bad prose in my entire life. These characters speak and act like they’re from the ghetto, particularly our main one, who is the novel’s narrator. There is a lot of I says and ain’t, for example.

But it wasn’t just the characters, mind you. The entire narrative was cringe-worthy. You might think well, that’s stylized writing, the character sounds that way so it is accurate that his thoughts would too. But no, that’s not it at all. His thoughts are written in a similarly terrible way, from utter lack of punctuation to words being glued together to all those pet peeves anyone who loves grammar will have. Let me give you a few examples:

(…) close to the fire, were its warmest.
I pass it too him.
We we’re all like that once
You have to hold your line, fight you’re instinct to swing
We cut across the landscape like an arrow threw the air
She clear’s her throat

And then we have this rough kid from the hood thinking all sorts of pretty metaphors, such as:
Waves of snow capped mountains roll up and down like crumpled paper. A dusty twilight haze drips down from the clouds above. The moon blossoms in the sky.
The mountains twinkle back at me, sunlight sparkles off the snow like the world’s been blanketed in glitter.

What??
*sigh*

Moving on. From the beginning, I felt some transitions were not very clear – as in, one minute the character is standing in one place doing something and then he is elsewhere. Example, not even one of the best but still:
I don’t know about you but I could sure do with a little shut eye.”
Morning comes. Birdsong cuts through thehush(…)
So the main character gets told the other one wants to sleep and that’s it, they slept and now it’s morning. Again, not the best example but the only one I could find at the moment. But oh then there’s this one where several people are standing near each other (though never clear how near, but close enough to have a conversation), a kiss occurrs, and no one comments on it? There’s no thoughts whatsoever? No one reacts in any way. So weird.

And then the story. First of all, we keep hearing about this Mary character during the entire time and how Baxter must find and protect her because he promised his brother. So I was like. Ok. Was she his brother’s girlfriend? Cause the main character’s kinda acting like she’s his. And if so… Why?? There was not a single reason why I felt those two might be connected let alone in love with each other.
And then the story is that Baxter must find his beloved while at the same time try and be claimed by his angel father. Who apparently can only claim him when he is close to death or something. I don’t know. Never made sense to me. The angels themselves seemed useless most of the narrative, other than being able to teleport. One of the characters has already been claimed but does nothing extraordinary. What a waste.

So we basically get moved around from place to place with descriptions of Baxter’s ‘twin’ rearranging his internal organs and muscles and telling him what to do and, of course, Baxter not doing it and going against anything anyone who has more than proven to be his friend tells him to do.
This main character… I simply could not connect to Baxter. I can respect the fact that he had no proper education – heck no other character apparently did – and a very rough childhood with everyone he cared for being taken away but the fact that that he was a raging teenager, who just could seem to control his temper or be polite to those who helped him throughout the entire book was really annoying. He was no longer naive, just plain dumb and irritating. Like when you tell a kid to do something and he says no just because, you know? At some point I was just so tired whenever I’d read his lines because he was just to rude, unappreciative and irritating! And then after a while he goes and that’s when it hit me, numerous times. And I am like. Really? That’s when it hits you? Again?

I kept wondering when things would get different because there I was travelling through snowy landscapes with the bunch of them, hearing Baxter ponder how the howling wind and the crows or whatever were an omen that bad things awaited them so they should definitely turn back and even though occasionally it got a bit creepy, most of the time I was like… When is this going to get interesting??

There just wasn’t much character building. On the other hand, there is a lot of throwing up and spitting on the floor whenever something is mentioned that a character doesn’t care for. There’s violence, lots of blood-shedding, demons and just plenty of dark stuff in the middle of a lot of snow.

There’s also no real world building, other than lots of snow and dreary landscapes, bad guys and that’s about it.
Do I know why it’s always winter? No. Do I find out how the world got to its current state? No, other than a few ominous remarks about greed. How did angels and demons even come to have such an active presence on Earth? No idea.

The whole book was a draft of those characters’ potential. Yeah, they could fight, but none of those sequences seemed that special, probably because I felt I kept reading the same thing over and over and also because I simply could not care about the characters.
Now had they been claimed and something interesting had actually come with that… I am sure that would have created some nifty fireworks.
In the end, I spent the entire book knowing the important revelations ahead of time, so I was even more bored. The mysterious stranger Axel. Dun dun dun. Who must he be? Could it be… Baxter’s brother Alex? I mean come on… Axel… Alex. It’s that obvious. I’m not shitting you. And his twin. We keep being told Baxter’s father is with him, guiding him. Who else could it be? Eurgh. Oh and the fabled Michael son, who could he be??
I think the only thing that surprised me was a certain character’s betrayal.

Grammar and punctuation aside, the whole thing just didn’t feel very cohesive. There was the issue with transitions, the story was predictable to the point I kept seeing stuff that I felt was obvious but it wasn’t to the characters and the potential behind the concept was not nearly well explored. And yeah, the writing. That alone deserves a couple of stars knocked out.

I kept hoping the ending would redeem the book. No such luck.
Characters who were thought dead return (can’t tell you how much I hate that, it is so overdone!), bad guys are defeated (much too easily, might I add – come on, a wolfhound kills a hellhound? A perfectly normal blade to the stomach kills a demon?) and the much yearned for father goes off to another quest. Só what happens to the Michael son everyone struggled so much to find and get claimed? Does he go with his father? Does he make plans to become a great warrior and do his part in whatever war is coming? No. He heads off to live in a prairie with his girlfriend and friends. Because friendship and love. Ah!!

So what did I take away from this book? Snow, violence and an annoying main character. And an enormous headache from trying to decipher the writing. Can’t say it was a positive balance. It was not my intention to write such a scathing review but this book felt like a waste of time and I cannot honestly think of anyone who might thoroughly enjoy it, which is a first for me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2015
GR Review

The Intern

The Intern

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

Review:

This was a surprisingly positive experience.

First of all, I think that pretty much any other actor in the role of Ben Whittaker would not have been able to shine the way that Robert DeNiro did. I felt like he was almost a presence, not really an active character, and yet he always managed to stand out, even when he didn’t say anything. DeNiro turned Whittaker into the perfect listener and a compassionate human being, the effortless gentleman that just does not exist anymore.

It was truly a pleasure to watch him, as well as Anne Hathaway. I was afraid that this would turn out to be yet another romantic comedy with no content whatsoever and it wasn’t, at all.
Hathaway plays the role of the successful young woman who rose to the top on her own. She owns a company and is struggling to deal with the rapid growth. Someone who is obviously in a position of power decides to start a senior internship program and that’s where DeNiro’s character steps in.

At first, Jules (Hathaway) pays him no attention and even tries to get rid of him. But then, quiet Ben turns out to be just the thing she needed. I think she never really finds out how protective he was of her and that made the story even more special. He was just there. It made me appreciate the people in my life who are just there and I never stop to appreciate it.

It is a fairly light movie but with content and even a bit thought-provoking. You don’t see much of that these days, so I definitely recommend that you go watch this.

Remake

Title: Remake

Author: Ilima Todd

Genres: Adventure | Dystopia | Fantasy | Romance | Science Fiction

Length: 304 pages | 2858 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2.25/5

Premise:

In this world people are made in batches. Our main character is Nine, the ninth female born into her batch of 10 females and 10 males. Soon she will be Remade and get to choose what gender she wants to become, which facial and body features she wants to have and also choose her Trade.
This is true freedom… Right? Soon, Nine will know that not everything is what it seems and that there are dark truths behind all this Freedom.

Review:

The concept behind Remake is very interesting. Males and females having their hormones suppressed until the age of 17. It made me wonder if this is how they would turn out. I am still not quite sure because they sounded like perfectly normal teenagers, except they all looked androgynous.

However, I just could not connect to this main character. Like I said, she struck me as a normal teenager with normal reactions, thoughts and doubts, except they were taken to a whole new level because she and the others actually got to choose who they want to be remade into, from every detail down to the gender.
There was a lot of pondering on why to choose either gender. She asks herself several times what it means to be a male or a female. It got a tad repetitive at some point, as did her insecurities. It’s refreshing to have a main character that is not all hands on approach but only up to a point. Then it just sounds whiny. And boy was she whiny.

Also, she never questioned anything. Example: they have history lessons about how Earth’s overpopulation led to people being made in small batchets. Was our main character never curious about how they were created before? No. I guess she just assumed they were always made, even though she has no idea how. Then there’s this virus that killed lots of people because there was overpopulation? How can no one question that?

Nine’s whole existence revolved around her red hair and freckles, who no one in her batch had, and her best friend, who stood up for her on every single occasion. So here we have a main character who wants to be just like her brave friend. Not find who she is, no, she wants to be exactly like her friend. I could have lived with that if there had been proper explanations and character development.

Things got a bit interesting after the shuttle crash. New characters and a new way of living comes into the picture.
But once it turned all teenage loveish I went back to losing interest for the most part. Nine – and yep, she kept that ridiculous name the entire book, even when said love interest suggests a much better one for her – slowly grows into her own. There’s a lot of playful banter and yet more indecision. Then all of the sudden promises of eternal love and everything it entails. *barf* (sorry, let me wipe that for ya…)
Sorry. I am just not a fan of hateful relationships turning into love just because, or love triangles for that matter. Both of those need to be really well done to catch my interest. Neither did in this book.

And then it got even worse. There were things that just didn’t make sense. These people put trackers on everyone. When Kai’s mother gives them directions to the underwater rebel camp, telling them they can take out her tracker out, I was like… Wow. Leading the enemy to the rebel camp. Brilliant idea. That’s not stupid at all. *le sigh*

From then on, I cannot say I enjoyed the book much. I had figured out most of the revelations well before they were told, except for one which did surprise me.
In the end, I finished not even knowing how such a world was possible. I have read a lot of dystopias and can’t say I ever finished feeling this way. It’s just so odd.

Alas, it was a quick read and I think some teens will enjoy it. I did feel engaged by some of the descriptions and the writing was very easy to follow. There are several intriguing concepts, such as being able to change everything in your body, if you would feel happy then, at what lengths you’d go to fit in, the importance of family, amongst others. Being a christian, I enjoyed those and others.

I definitely enjoyed the first bit of the book more because it introduced me to a new reality. Too bad I felt it was not properly backed up and there was just too much teenage stuff for me to enjoy. I did not find the main character interesting in the least and the romance completely overwhelmed what could have been a great dystopia.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 18 to Oct 20, 2015
GR Review

Conguise Chronicles: The Rise Of the River-Man (Mutter’s Story)

Title: Conguise Chronicles: The Rise Of the River-Man (Mutter’s Story)

Author: L.S. O’Dea

Genres: Fantasy | Horror | Science Fiction

Format: Mobi

Length: 108 pages | 1426 locations

Source: Author

Rating: 4.25/5

 

Premise:

Mutter is a guard who has not known a kind person all his life. Now that he has lost a fight, his Almighty master left him in the shelter. A stranger, who might be his only hope, asks him to do something horrible, in order to see if Mutter will obey him in the future.
It can’t possibly be any worse than where he is now… Right?

Review:

While waiting for the third instalment of the Lake of Sins trilogy, the author was kind enough to hand me this little pearl.

For those who have not read the main books this may be a bit confusing, although Miss O’Dea includes an introduction to the main world concepts in the beginning of the story and a glossary at the end.

For those who have read the Lake of Sins books, this is the true story behind the myth of the River Man.

I have to say that, considering how short the tale was, it was quite well crafted. I was engaged from the get-go, just like with the other books. Without getting into details that would spoil this for you, there is a bit of a romance going on. The author obviously went through great lengths not to make this insta-love and I would say she succeeded for the most part, which I gotta tell ya, not easy with little over 100 pages.

I guess it was mostly the beauty and the beast vibe that didn’t cut it for me. I would have liked to see more of a reaction from Sweet when she first met Mutter. The guy did sound quite scary, after all. Also, names have always been a thing with me and these books. Sweet? Meh. I think the guy could have come up with something better than a pet name. His escape felt a little bit rushed to me as well.

Anyway, those couple of things did not hinder my enjoyment by much at all and I breezed through the story. Amazingly, there was a lot going on. There’s a scary laboratory with a creepy professor and assistant and it does get very frightening at some points. The character development of Mutter was also pretty good! I definitely got carried away and read it all in one go. And the ending gave me a sort of odd feeling of contentment. It puzzled me that I would feel that way…

This can be read as a stand-alone but I think you would enjoy it more if you read the other books of the series.
I highly recommend all Lake of Sins books.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read on Oct 18, 2015
GR Review