Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: A Man Called Ove

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I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. It has been literally years since a book has had me laughing out loud like this one has! Even when I was crying, I was still laughing.

The only Fredrik Backman book I’ve read before was Beartown, and I thought going into this one would be a similar experience. Man was I wrong. And I’m so happy about that. Beartown was great, but I am completely enamored with Ove! Grumpy old ass that he is and all.

The characters of this book is what really snares you, and the narrator did a great job of bringing them to life. Pravana was the main source for my lol’s and she’s also my idol. Although she’s a Saint and I fear that if I was in her shoes I’d have lost my shit at Ove and probably messed up the whole plot of the book. She’s brilliant 😀

The story can come across as very light-hearted, but at its core its really pretty deep and sad. Loneliness is a killer… and before judging someone by their surface demeanor, you should really try and look a little deeper… Although that doesn’t make it okay for people to be assholes… I’m looking at you Ove!

P.S. I was pronouncing the name wrong the whole time. According to the narrator, it’s pronounced Oo-vuh… You learn something new every day!

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Movie Review

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

This movie has such a dear place in my heart. I have a vivid memory of watching it the first time and begging my mom to rewind the part where Lumière gives Belle’s dad a fright over and over again and cracking up like a crazy person for at least half an hour!

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Another memory is of my mom blackmailing me that she would get me Beauty and the Beast from the video store if I let her pull my loose tooth. I was too scared to let her do it, but I remember being so desperate to watch it again that I climbed on top of the bathroom sink and watched myself in the mirror as I gradually wiggled my tooth out. Even though it wasn’t quite our terms, my mom got me the movie again.

I was basically your original Beauty and the Beast fangirl. I was determined to change my name to Belle and move to France to find my own castle with an amazing library. Somehow the Beast/prince was more a cherry on the cake than the main attraction… even back then I loved books more than just about anything else…

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A couple of years after the first Harry Potter movie came out, after she had grown into her role and into herself, and even before it became a fact that B&B would be made into a live action, I remember thinking that Emma Watson would be the perfect Belle. Not only did she play my favorite bookworm ever, but she was an activist for women with her very own bookclub. So when I heard that she was actually going to play the part, I wasn’t even surprised… just unimaginably happy that it was actually going to happen!

And then I stalled. When it came out on cinema I kept on meaning to go and see it, but I just couldn’t. My friends kept on coming back and telling me how great it was, but still I was scared.

Scared? you may be asking. Yes. I was scared that I was expecting too much and that it couldn’t possibly hold up to my expectations and fond memories. Irrational maybe, but how often have I been excited for something only to be disappointed? All 8 Harry Potter movies comes to mind just off the top of my head.

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But then eventually my mother cornered me into it and I bit the bullet. I would watch it and try to keep my expectations to a manageable minimum.

I don’t know if I lowered them too much or if I needn’t have bothered! This movie was absolute perfection! Yes, even the parts that they added and changed! Even the singing, which wasn’t as great as the original (although the songs were better in some places), was still enjoyable and also fit with the personalities of the characters and the actors who played them.

The casting was honestly so on point that I can’t decide who was better: Luke Evans as Gaston stomping around all self important and good looking or Ewan McGregor as Lumière singing “Be our Guest” or Emma Watson in the iconic yellow dress! I don’t know how much of the Beast was CGI and how much was Dan Stevens, but I loved him just as much as Ian McKellen as a grumpy old Gogsworth fighting off his wife’s advances! But if I go on and list all the characters I like, I might as well list the whole cast. Ultimately though, I think Josh Gad as LeFou is my favorite thing ever! He really brought so much more to an originally one-dimensional character and I absolutely loved it!

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There was obviously nothing new plot-wise, though some of the characters were fleshed out and given more backstory. I think the directors tried to answer a lot of the plot holes and unanswered questions the original movie raised, which I thought was great and added more to the story. One of my friends mentioned that they thought the scene where Belle asks them why they don’t escape or leave the castle was worthy of a facepalm, because obviously they can’t leave the castle because they’re furniture and knick-knacks, but I disagree. I always wondered the same thing. They weren’t cursed, the castle and the prince was. What if they changed back if they left the castle? Did they even try? And if they were cursed along with the prince, then that enchantress was a bigger villain than everyone thought!

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One thing I think I should mention is one of the biggest reasons I stalled at watching this movie. Emma Watson. Yes yes, I know I said I always thought she would be the perfect Belle, but let me be honest… I never thought that much of her acting skills. She’s a perfect Hermoine as well, but I was always left knowing that she was acting. She never felt natural in any of the roles I saw her in. I’m not going to say she was absolutely natural as Belle, and her singing wasn’t anything compared to the original Belle, but she impressed me. Maybe Belle is her natural!

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The biggest disappointment to me, and no lying it was a big one, was the library scene. They kept it in (obviously they couldn’t leave it out!!!), but it was changed and the original intent was completely lost! They changed a couple of scenes and even juiced up the songs a bit, but this… this was MY scene! My little bookworm heart thought it was the ultimate romantic gesture, and now it’s been reduced to a happy accident. I thought that was the biggest reason she fell for him in the first place! I just can’t deal right now…

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Ok, I’m back and I feel a little better. So in conclusion, coming from an original Beauty and the Beast fangirl… this live action remake was totally worth watching and I’ll recommend it to infinity and back.

P.S. I loved the Beasts’ song when he set Belle free!

Book Review

Book Review: Royal Assassin

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Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 26 May 2017
Date Finished: 31 May 2017
Pages: 688
Genre: Fantasy

I dove into this book immediately after finishing Assassin’s Apprentice, so right now I feel like I’m emerging slowly from a long and arduous (though not unpleasant) journey through the Chalced states. I found myself neglecting everyday chores and even turning off my phone so I wouldn’t be interrupted by friends while reading. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been so immersed in a book that I hadn’t lost interest and checked social media every 30 minutes.

Having done such a banger of a job with her world-building in the previous book, there wasn’t as much time dedicated to that in this book, and we instead dove deeper into the power struggles of the realm. It was painfully obvious who the main shit-stirrer was, and yet the drama was still real and engaging enough to keep my lower lip firmly clamped between my teeth. At times you want to rave at the gullibility and stupidity of some of the characters, because Goddamnit man it’s so obvious!! But then you need to take a step back and remember that you’ve got a unique perspective on things and make allowances for the characters and their inherent feelings.

The most frustrating was that it seemed like Fitz was the only damn person out of everyone who seemed to realize just how dangerous Regal is, and how far he would go to get what he wants! I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s behind the Red Ship raiders.

Most of the time I felt like climbing into the pages of the book and shaking Shrewd because he wasn’t living up to his damn name! Of course I changed my tune after finding out what’s really going on, but still… he should have abdicated and given the crown to Verity when he still had a chance.

I’m not even going to get started on Verity because I really like him but does he have to be such a damn martyr?! Also he really sucked at being a good husband, or even a nice person, to his wife. Still… I’m rooting for him! Anyone but Regal… can’t someone just accidentally stab him or something? I don’t understand how he has such a following! Then again it kinda reminds me of Trump’s presidential campaign…

Once again the characters really pulled this book through and made all the drama and court intrigue worth slogging through. The battles were exiting and as I suspected the mystery of Forging and the Red Raiders are still unresolved… except now I’m worrying that this is never going to be resolved! Which I know is unlikely but honestly at this point I feel like anything is possible.

One thing that bugs me is this stigma against the Wit. I think it would be the coolest thing ever to be able to communicate with animals, and yet everyone of the six duchies thinks it’s this horrible thing. It sounds an awfully lot like jealousy and fear to me, and how are they okay with Skilling but not this? Skilling in my opinion would be so much more dangerous! Also less cool… I REALLY like the idea of being able to bond with a wolf!

Having said that, I’m not fond of the way the Wit was used to “save” Fitz. It holds water in the overall story and fits in with the plot and whatever, but I don’t like it. Just like I didn’t like Rosemary…

**SPOILER ALERT**

 

I like Molly as a person, I really do. I think she’s strong and feisty and good. But I don’t think she’s right for Fitz and definitely won’t fit into his life. I’m glad she stood up for herself and left, because Fitz was not treating her right and in leaving she actually gained so much respect. I also have a suspicion that all her herbs didn’t help and that’s why she really had to leave, but I guess we’ll find out sooner or later if that suspicion is true. If it is it would be kind of ironic…

This line was perfect:

“I wanted us to share all our lives. You wish to keep me in a box, separate from your life. I cannot be someone you come to when you have nothing more important to do.”

Book Review

Book Review: Beartown

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Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 9 May 2017
Date Finished: 18 May 2017
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary

Sometimes I think it would be better to voluntarily stab myself in the heart rather than read a really good book. This is one of those times.

This is my first Frederik Backman, but I’ve heard people rave about his work so much that when this book came up on Netgalley I requested it without even looking at the description. I started reading and wasn’t sure that I would join the ranks of my fellow readers because they structure of the book was different than I usually enjoy, although the writing was good enough to carry me through the initial phase of getting used to it.

Pretty much the whole first half of the book focuses on Beartown and it’s passion — Hockey. I know much more about hockey than I ever wanted to, but vibe of the town was pretty familiar. Late nights at the local sports field, screaming my head off for our local boys to run just a little faster, celebrating success after a great game… I come from a rugby town. I know exactly the kind of expectations can be placed on a team. The adrenaline rush that can carry a whole community along on a wave of euphoria. I could identify with the characters in that way at least.

Backman definitely took his time building the temperature of the story and the characters. There are a lot of players and you get to know them all. Even the nameless ones; Kira’s colleague who is simply referred to as her colleague throughout, the pack of men in the black jackets who are loyal to the bears, the bass player who allows a boy to express tenderness. I loved many of the characters, and I didn’t even hate the ones who were ‘bad’… not really. That’s a whole other moral discussion though.

Once the “main event” happened, all I could think about was last year and the Brock Turner scandal. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the inspiration for Backman to write this novel. It certainly has the same kind of elements.

As a woman who’ve been in certain situations myself, it physically hurt my heart and my psyche to read this book. Not only does it deal with an issue that is so fragile that people come to blows about it, but because it was written well enough for me to immerse myself in the story. I felt like I was right there and experiencing everything, and I felt an overwhelming sense disappointment and heart-soreness at the actions of people. It was made even more poignant because it keeps reminding me of similar stories I’ve heard about and read about, and the fact that it’s not just fiction… people actually do think this way and act this way.

The conclusion of the book is kind of anti-climatic, but honestly I don’t think there’s ever going to be a perfect way to end a story like this. Because at the end of the day, life goes on, but there are no winners and you will never forget.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Life of Pi

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Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 3 May 2017
Date Finished: 15 May 2017
Pages: 460
Genre: Fantasy

Absolutely brilliant! The narrator did an amazing job here, and it just reaffirmed my love for audiobooks! The writing was so descriptive and immersive, and the narrator had the perfect tone and speed at all times! This was one of the times I watched the movie before reading the book, and I always loved the movie, but now I can really understand more about what the directors were trying to convey.

At first, I was a bit confused as the first part of the book deals a lot more with his childhood than the movie showed. It was very interesting though, and it definitely did add an extra layer and texture to Pi and his family.

Pi grew up in a zoo, and so I now know a lot more about zoo’s and the animals that inhabit them than I ever thought I would. It’s actually very fascinating, and if I ever go to a zoo again, I might look at it through a different perspective… though I still don’t like the idea of animals being caged and restricted like that.

I found Pi’s religious views very interesting, and I actually completely agree with him, even though he’s quite a bit more religious than me. Pi decided that he would be a hindu, muslim AND Christian, because he found something of value in each of them. They all proclaim to love God, and that’s the underlying belief throughout. And even though Pi is very devout, never once did it feel like a lecture on religion whenever the subject was broached. I loved that!

Pi was a great main character… Probably one of my favorites. Wise yet naive, brave yet terrified. I felt for him throughout the story, I mourned with him and celebrated his little wins. I know it’s fiction, but can you imagine what something like that must be like? I can’t even imagine where he found the will to go on. I’d actually like to read a true-life account of someone who went through a similar experience just to see if it’s possible to keep your spirits up and in fighting stance.

I think the ultimate question in this book is which story is the real story. Is Richard Parker real or is he a representation Pi’s inner strength that got him through the ordeal. I prefer to believe that Richard Parker was real, because if he wasn’t… if the other story is the real one… it would be infinitely worse.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok so this book made me soooo mad! I actually had to distance myself a bit to get through it, because I was starting to smoke from my ears…

It’s set in a totalitarian distopian world, where woman are basically cattle, but worth less. I think for the time it was written and compared to it still being relevant now is just a sign of how screwed up this world is. I mean we’re making great progress with the Feminist movement, but even there you have people who completely misrepresents, which is not helpful at all because they make it a men vs women issue where it should be men = women… but anyway, I digress.

The story follows Offred, who has been beaten down and her spirit has been pretty much crushed. What hasn’t been broken she tries her best to tamp down, because any show of individualism could get her killed. I couldn’t even begin to try and imagine how I would have acted in her stead, because it is just so horrific… I’m pretty sure I would have been dead because I would kill if anyone touched my child… and I guess it would explain her actions when it comes to Nick and the Commander, although she really didn’t have a choice with the commander… but the recklessness to be with Nick, who can blame her for doing whatever it takes to feel even slightly human again… even though she judges herself harshly for exactly that…

You don’t get all the information at once, and it’s set in present time with occasional flashbacks that offer some backstory of how you ended up in the beginning. I don’t think the delivery really matches with the very end of the book ((view spoiler)
Clare Danes was an awesome narrator, and I’m actually really glad that I listened to this on audio instead of reading it myself, because the writing was made to be read aloud and appreciated for it’s beauty and cadence… I’m not Margaret Atwood so I can’t even really describe it, but it was almost like seeing it and feeling it instead of just hearing…

The ending was ambiguous, but I think it was perfect. Something like this shouldn’t have a clear-cut, quick and easy ending. Because why should there be an ending when it hasn’t yet ended?


ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS?

Book Review

Review: Dark Matter

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WARNING: Gif heavy review follows…

Oh. My. God!!!

Seriously, this book was sooooo good! If I didn’t actually have responsibilities like work and children, I’m pretty sure I would have finished this book in one setting! If was so damn engaging and the action was non-stop! Even the science was fascinating and compelling. It’s dumbed down enough to actually be understandable, so you’re not left feeling spoken down to while still not understanding WTF is going on.

I dropped science in school, but in the last couple of years I’ve become more and more fascinated by it. Probably once I started watching Doctor Who and started realizing how huge the universe is. But now, not only is the universe infinite, but thanks to this book (even though I’ve heard the theory before) it’s even more infinite thanks to the multiverse theory. To think that there are other versions of me living different versions of my life… I mean that’s insane… but it isn’t, which is even more insane!

I honestly don’t know how to review the story without giving away any spoilers, so I’m not even going to try. I also usually have a hard time writing a coherent review when I’ve loved a book this much, as it takes a while to process this amazement and awe I feel for an author who is able to create such a unique world and story. Suffice it to say that this is instantly my favorite book of 2016.

P.S. I came across this gem while googling “mind blown gifs”

View all my reviews