the-bad-beginning-review-feature

“The Bad Beginning” – Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Review

It happened! Netflix picked up a beloved book series of mine! I was beyond excited when I first heard the news that the series was going to happen.

I’ve had a lot of images in my head about what the setting would look like, what the characters would look like, while I was reading the books. A lot of those were supported by Brad Silberling’s movie adaptation.

The settings in the movie were similar to the movie adaptation. It was exactly how I pictured them while reading the books, dark, gloomy with an ominous tone.

I loved that the Baudelaire cast was younger than those from the movie adaptation, (especially Sunny because I would love to see her grow) and the cast is more diverse. Most of the actors also did a good job in delivering the persona of their character, especially Joan Cusack (who plays Justice Strauss) and Neil Patrick Harriss (who plays Count Olaf). If someone were to watch this series without having read the books, you could clearly tell that each of them have their own little specialty.

When I first found out that Harriss would be playing Count Olaf, I was so happy. I know a lot of people saw a lot of comedy from him in the trailers and were worried that it might take away from his villainous characteristic. I’ve seen a lot of Harriss’ work, so I was expecting Olaf to be kind of a comic relief.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll | Review

Through the Woods
Emily Carroll

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…


Through the Woods is a graphic novel filled with horror stories linking to the woods. Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman. CAUTION: DO NOT READ AT NIGHT.

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Demon Road | Review

Demon Road by Derek Landy
Published: August 2015 by HarperCollins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Paperback
Series: Demon Road


Derek Landy | Goodreads

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Full of Landy’s trademark wit, action and razor sharp dialogue, DEMON ROAD kicks off with a shocking opener and never lets up the pace in an epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in…Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…

 

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How They Met, and Other Stories | Review

6830088How They Met, and Other Stories
by David Levithan

Genre: Young Adult, Short Stories, GLBTQ, Contemporary

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a confection from David Levithan that is sure to have fans of Boy Meets Boy eager to devour it. Here are 18 stories, all about love, all kinds of love. From the aching for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of that emotion that at some point has turned every one of us inside out and upside down.

What is love? With this original story collection, David Levithan proves that love is a many splendored thing, a varied, complicated, addictive, wonderful thing.

My thoughts:

“Music, like love,
cannot be defined, except
in the broadest of senses”

How They Met, And Other Stories is all about different love stories. It varies from stories about two boys who meet at a coffee shop, a girl and a boy who meet on a plane, a girl who fell in love with another at sight, and many more. It’s the perfect novel filled with short stories about hope, heartbreak, identity and love.

A short and easy read. What I loved about this book was the many different stories it explored in less than 250 pages. It highlights the point that love is love and that’s what so special about Levithan’s writing. He emphasises that point.

My favourite stories were definitely ‘Starbucks Boy’ and ‘What a Song Can Do’ and ‘How They Met’. I rate those stories 5/5 stars. It seemed like each story was the first chapter of different books and stories, I felt like I wanted to keep reading and find out what is going to happen with these characters. I wanted to know more about all of them.

“To love – to fall – is not a question.
To touch – to kiss – to speak – those are questions”

Even though every story seems like the first chapter of a novel, it’s not all about first dates and first loves. Some are about break-ups, prom nights and goodbyes. I enjoy Levithan’s books because they always have a dash of reality in them. It makes me believe that these are real stories. Some characters are so relatable and the friendship and family dynamics are well written.

All of his stories are about courage, hope and grief, as much as it is love. It opens the readers eyes to make them realise that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but even though that is the case, that doesn’t mean that everything’ll break down.

There are a lot of quotes in this novel that I loved and noted down. The one that stood out to me was:

“But the moral of the story is that it worked. They knew, and they were right”

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Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Goodreads | David Levithan

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith | Review

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith

Publication – January 2012 by Poppy/Little Brown
Genre – Contemporary
Source/Format – Paperback; owned

Goodreads | Book Depository

Four minutes changes everything. Hadley Sullivan 17 misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father’s second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Hadley meets the perfect boy. Oliver is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?
My thoughts

“Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?”

First, what drew me to this book was the cover. The covers of Jennifer E. Smith’s books are so eye-catching and unique. I also love books with long titles. When a book has a long title, odds are I will pick it up. This novel is a big rollercoaster. It made me feel happy then sad, sometimes frustrated. It made me laugh and confused. I love that the story made me feel all those things in its 24 hour time.

“People who meet in airports are seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else.”

The story takes place in 24 hours which makes it quick and easy to read. I went into this book thinking it would be a fluffy and somewhat cheesy story about love at first sight, due to the title. However it has a balanced content of romance and family. It started off as cute and heart-warming. Oliver and Hadley met and they click together. Hadley was a bit helpless and irrational at the beginning of the novel, which makes sense she is upset about going to her father’s wedding. I thought the amount of character development that she does through in the amount of 24 hours was amazing. Though I did feel like Oliver was a bit of a closed book. There is a hint of destiny and fate and it makes you question whether these things do exist, that life is leading you to the person you’re meant to be with, for some reason I didn’t find that aspect of the story cheesy. It felt realistic.

“There’s always a gap between the burn and the sting of it, the pain and the realization.”

A darker aspect of the novel was Hadley’s situation with her father, to forgive him or not for what he’s done. It was hard for me, as a reader, to see what option Hadley should have taken because her dad wasn’t characterised enough, I didn’t know much about him and what was going on in his mind and his emotions. I feel as though Hadley’s decision was too quick, either that or she did a lot of thinking in those 24 hours to go from hating the thought of going to the wedding to being comfortable in the wedding and around her father’s new friends and family. I could feel the pain and heartbreak that she went through about her family, when she was talking to Oliver, when she was in her own head and during the flashbacks. Oliver did play a part in her development as a character. He made her realise that he was “still her father, the rest was just geography”. The story was leaning more against family, acceptance and forgiveness than romance. Oliver was just that cherry on top that made me feel happy while reading it.

“Love isn’t supposed to make sense. It’s completely illogical.”

This book is the perfect contemporary romance story. It is cheesy at times – their jokes on the plane, Hadley’s shyness towards a British boy, their seat numbers on the plane, their mini conversations every now and then and how they both found each other after they drifted off at the airport. I love how I got to watch them fall in love. Reading this story made me wonder about ‘the statistical probability of love at first sight’ and how fate and destiny can actually exist in this life. I enjoyed reading this story, it was hard to put down. Plus it was exciting to see the title being said by one of the characters.

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan | Review

23384157Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” 16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

My thoughts

A perfect winter/Christmas read! First off, the cover. I think it’s perfect. This cover screams out what the book is about, you see the skyline of New York, the snow and the title. It’s a good book to read while snuggled up in a blanket during the winter.

The book is written in a dual perspective – Dash and Lily’s – and they alternate between each chapter. This allows us to get both perspectives on the story and we can see half of it from the other’s point of view. I personally love dual perspective books for this reason. It is very fast paced. I read this book quickly, it’s hard to put down. At the end of every chapter, it makes you wonder what dare one of the characters is going to give the other.

It’s filled with adventure and has a bit of mystery to it. The idea of these people trusting strangers who write on a notebook, doing their dares and going to the places they ask is a bit odd. However it does restore my faith in humanity that not every stranger is a sociopath. It’s a funny read that contains a number of different funny quotes. Here are my favourites:

“My name is a connector of words” -Dash

“I want that. The getting younger with each step, because of anticipation, in hope and belief” -Lily

“Wiis. (Wiis? Wii? What is the plural?)” -Dash

The dares were really interesting and creative. They put each other out of their comfort zone and made each other discover new things and go out into the world There’s not much to say about this book because it’s very short.

I highly recommend it for the winter season.

A heart warming novel with funny quotes and entertaining secondary characters. Cohn and Levithan did an excellent job with this quirky story.

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Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel | Review

Like water for chocolate 
by Laura Esquivel

 The Novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita who longs her entire life to marry her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother’s upholding of the family tradition of the youngest daughter not marrying but taking care of her mother until the day she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks.
My thoughts: To be honest, this isn’t a book that I would pick up. This is the text that I had to read for English this term and I ended up enjoying it. The novel was very fast paced, which made it hard for me to put down. I definitely loved how the novel was structured. There are twelve chapters, all corresponding to twelve months, staring from January and ending in December. Though the story itself is spread out through decades.  This is the first book I’ve read that uses magic realism Magic realism is a narrative technique that blurs reality and fantasy. It is always serious, this allows Esquivel to convey the reality of the repression of women. The reader is transported into a cultural context, it allows them to see everything through the character’s eyes. I’d recommend knowing what magic realism is before starting this novel, otherwise it can be very confusing. Tita has a sixth sense about food. The kitchen is her own safe haven; cooking is how she shows emotion. It’s showed by using foreshadowing early on in the novel when she was being born on the kitchen table. This novel lets the reader explore different cultures and traditions. It’s very difficult to put this book down. Each chapter leaves you on the edge of your seat, What will happen next?  What I didn’t like about this novel was the character ‘Perdo’. Tita reciprocated his love for her yet the best plan he could think of was to marry Tita’s sister, Rosaura, to be close to her. I did enjoy the recipes in each chapter. Reading about how Tita prepared the meals really showed readers more about her character. It’s a very fast paced read, recommended for food lovers. There’s romance, death, forbidden love and cultural family traditions. 

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