Monday, January 24, 2011

Capsule Book/Movie Reviews (a new series?)

I thought I'd do a mini mini series on books or movies I see, and do a basic overall review of them. I figured it would be a good way for someone looking for book recommendations to discover something new! I will do my best to keep the reviews short and spoiler free.

This first post will be longer than usual as I have to catch up... I think I'll post every few weeks and only do 1 or 2 of each (books and movies) so that you don't get so overwhelmed.

For the books, I read a lot of fantasy/paranormal type stuff so if you're not much into that... you probably won't be interested in my selections.

Recent Movies:
- TRON: Legacy: Not really recent but still something I've seen in the past month. If you haven't seen the original, don't bother going to see this one... you won't know what's going on. Overall, a good movie... no one can deny that it is visually stunning. Like Avatar, sit back and enjoy the pretties... don't expect a crazy deep storyline (even though it could be). They left it open for another movie so we'll see what happens.

- True Grit: I have a bit of a thing for westerns so I was really interested in this remake. It definitely did NOT disappoint! I thought Hailee Steinfeld did an amazing job as Mattie (I am impressed with her acting) and Jeff Bridges was just fantastic. It was weird seeing him in this so soon after Tron... they are two very different roles. I wouldn't recommend this for those not into westerns -- it's a bit on the slow side and you'll be bored if you aren't a fan. (if you want to try a good action western, check out 3:10 to Yuma)

- Despicable Me: This is out on DVD now but I'll include it anyway. This one fell under the radar but if you're a fan of Ice Age, Under the Hedge, that sort of kid/fun type movie, watch this one. Good storyline, cute characters and a nice moral tale at the end.

- The Black Swan: I saved this one for last because wow. Just wow. I don't even know what to say on this one. I saw it yesterday and my mind is still trying to figure out exactly what went on. This movie is VERY intense, definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you like a happy go lucky movie, this is not for you. I think my only criticism is that there was a bit of unnecessary sex in it. I think the director was going for shock value, and the scene itself would have still gotten its point across without staying on the topic for so long. Some of it was admittedly uncomfortable. Also, if you have problems with watching bodily gore, don't bother with this one. Quite disturbing but still an excellent movie.

Book Reviews:
- The Morganville Vampires Series (first book is "Glass Houses"): I don't even remember how I found this series, I think it was on some weird goth book review site? I'm up to Book 9 (haven't read it yet) and it's pretty good. I wouldn't call it an amazing, ground breaking series, but it's got something interesting that makes you want to keep reading. The basic premise of the story is vampires. I don't want to say much else because, well, spoilers. This 17 year old girl is in college early and starts living with two guys and a girl, obviously they become best friends. It goes from there. I wouldn't read this if you're wanting something deep, I just like them for quick reads... I'll usually spend an evening reading one. A downfall is that the writing is a bit juvenile and can get repetitive.

- "Devil's Kiss" by Sarwat Chadda: This is one that I did not finish. I couldn't get more than 35 pages in because the grammar was absolutely terrible. I am assuming the writer is foreign and the book was translated to English... moral of the story, it wasn't translated well. At all. I had no idea what the author was even saying. It was something to do with the Templars. That's all I understood.

- "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick: This is a paranormal romance about a girl who falls in love with a mysterious guy. Sound familiar? Yep, it is very Twilight-esque. I personally think this is more interesting, just because I can't stand Stephenie Meyer's writing style. The author takes a while to get a plot going but I was satisfied with it by the end of the book. The second book (Crescendo) just came out and I am in line for that at the library. We'll see how this series goes.

- The Immortals series by Alyson Noel (first book is "Evermore"): This is a series that I would urge you to stay far, far away from. This is a book that copies Twilight, only in a bad, bad way. The writing is juvenile, repetitive and the story has moved nowhere after five books. A couple of things have happened, but I am seriously only still reading because I have to finish the series. I know that the ending will suck. Long story short, the main character falls in love with an immortal. They drink weird red stuff. Her boyfriend used to be a slut and pissed off a guy who was in love with someone he slept with. Same guy comes back for revenge. Five books later and that's basically what's happened. Terrible. As an interesting side note, all of the positive reviews on Amazon are by professional reviews and share similar verbage... paid reviews, perhaps? Any from users are very negative.

- The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr (first book is same title, "Wicked Lovely"): I really have enjoyed this one so far. This one is more faeries and magical people instead of vampires and werewolves. I've read the first 3 books, I'm in line for the 4th. The 1st follows a set of characters, the 2nd shifts to a different set (some are the same) and the 3rd goes back to the first set. Some people didn't like the shifting and didn't like the focus of the 2nd one, but I quite enjoyed it. The 3rd one lacked a little for me, honestly. I heard the 4th shifts to a new set so we will see how that goes. Again, a bit juvenile but I am reading young adult books here. These aren't deep reads.

- "The Iron King" and "The Iron Daughter" (2 books) by Julie Kagawa: I picked this up at random I think and absolutely loved it. It's again a faerie/magical creature story. I don't want to give spoilers but this one is definitely worth a look. I bought The Iron Daughter (2nd book) when it came out and haven't had a chance to read the entire thing (I stopped to read something else) but what I started reading was really good.

- The Nightworld series by L.J. Smith: Nothing new by any means, but this series was out long before Twilight and any of its clones. This is probably my favorite paranormal action/romance series that I've read. It's well-paced, well-written and has the elements of romance without being sappy or boring. There is a soul mate concept that is quite fascinating. The books are divided into 3 collections, with 3 stories contained in each one. Each story has a different main character (though some side characters overlap, and some side characters become main characters), but everyone comes together at the end. Very cool. Definitely recommended. Has vampires but also werewolves.

- The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (first book is same title, "Vampire Academy"): Wasn't a fan of this series. I barely got through the first book and found myself falling asleep while trying to read it. Too typical in terms of teen drama and just generally boring. I didn't have an urge to keep reading any of them. I know this one is relatively popular but I'd pick Twilight over this.

- "Nevermore" by Kelly Creagh: I saw this in the book store and picked it up from the library... this was another no-go for me. Over 500 pages long and within the first 250, NOTHING happened. I stopped reading it. Typical teen drama/romance with sad, lonely girl and hot, brooding guy. Boring. I don't mind a story like that but something has to be interesting about it, you know?

- "Dead Beautiful" by Yvonne Woon: This has been a favorite of mine in terms of recent reads. I REALLY enjoyed this book, I hope she either continues the series or writes a new one. This was about a girl whose parents die mysteriously, and she is sent to live with her grandfather that she barely knows. It goes from there. It starts out as a typical angsty teen novel but then blossoms into a really fascinating read on life after death and and some of Descartes' famous philosophy. It kept me interested. I read over 400 pages in 48 hours, if that tells you anything! The ending was a bit weak but that is why I am wondering if she will continue the series. VERY much recommended if you're into paranormal romance!

So what do you think of these types of posts? As I said, there would be much less book reviews as I would be caught up... I was thinking 2 of each type every couple of weeks? Let me know!


  1. I'd love to see more of these type of posts. I've recently read the Parasol Protectorate, which is a steampunk paranormal romance. Very amusing read.

  2. I just watched despicable me with the kids. I had no interest in watching it when it came out in theatres but the kids talked me into watching it with them and I was really pleasantly surprised how good it actually was!

    I like these kinds of posts. I think it's interesting to see what else interests my favorite bloggers :)

  3. I am *always* looking for new book series to pick up from the library and you've given me some great recs, thanks!!

  4. I've heard such crazy things about Black Swan that I feel almost hesitant to go see it, ha. I've heard good things, I've heard "Uh, what?" things, I've heard bad things =/