Movie Review: The Host

What’s Up Movie Goers (or Movie Addicts like myself),

I got to see the The Host last night all by my lonesome since my siblings decided that Olympus Has Fallen would be a better choice (I really wish I went with them to be honest).

They were right.

First off, I didn’t read the book which was great because it won’t constantly be compared to it while I was watching it. That’s an advantage to those who made the movie because it meant it wouldn’t get judged as harshly as non-book to movie adaptations. However, there were comparisons being made to it’s older sister book by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight.

Let’s be honest. Watching grass grow is far more interesting that all of the Twilight movies combined and would probably look better if done by National Geographic. So when I say that The Host was better doesn’t say much about the movie except that it’s better than the worse thing in film in the last decade (there might be others that are worse but I doubt it).

Visually speaking, The Host was stunning. It was very futuristic and my favourite prop would have to be the cars that the Seekers got to drive which were slick and sexy. The acting was phenomenal but this wasn’t surprising since I’m a fan of a lot of the actors/actresses. The concept was promising but I found the execution of the story to be sorely lacking. It was really quick in the story telling yet I was literally counting the minutes until it was over. It was dragging and this may be because it was focusing on all the wrong things but, again, I haven’t read the book. If you’re expecting to see a sci-fi action movie, this isn’t it. If you’re going to see or expect to see a film with a post-invasion storyline that acts as a backdrop for romance and “self discovery”, this isn’t it or, more correctly, it’s done poorly. There were many eye rolling moments through out and there was one part in particular where I felt was unrealistic or didn’t make sense.

So that’s my review. I suggest watching this film at home if you really want to.

There is a picture and a video of the Lotus Evora which is the Seeker car I love so much. Further down is a spoiler of the specific part(s) I had issues with in the film.

A. A. Omer

Seeker Car

Couldn’t find a full body shot but it’s beautiful. It’s the Lotus Evora. There is a video that looks at the car at the bottom here.

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SPOILER

The issue I had was near the end where Wanda is telling them that she’s going have Doc remove her from Melanie’s body. My issue with this was everyone’s issues with this plan of action including Melanie. WHY WOULD YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH THIS? Melanie isn’t in control of her body and never mind the issue of two people sharing a body with two different love interests or that, you know, YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL OF YOUR OWN BODY. They had issues with the plan before Wanda mentioned being sent back home so I’m pretty sure it’s not them being upset she’s leaving earth (or, in reality, wanting to be killed by Doc). This never made sense and the only person who was smart enough not to take issue was Jared.

Winter Reads Wrap Up 2012/2013

What’s Up Gang,

So it’s that time again: the Winter Reads Wrap Up. I’m listing all of the books I had the pleasure of reading during the cold long nights of winter with just the fireplace channel on my television to keep me warm. The winter list is from the months of December, January and February. You can check out the reviews for all of these in the Book Review Archive.

  1. Sussex Drive by Linda Svendsen
  2. Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  4. Cruisin’ by Sarah Mlynowski
  5. Adaptation by Malinda Lo
  6. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Triangles by Ellen Hopkins
  8. The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan
  9. The Selector of Souls by Shauna Singh Baldwin
  10. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  11. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  12. The Thing About The Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
  13. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
  14. Necessary Evil by Adrian Lupsa
  15. Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han
  16. February by Lisa Moore
  17. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  18. Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter
  19. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise by Gene Luen Yang
  20. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  21. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
  22. Crash by Lisa McMann
  23. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
  24. Prefect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
  25. Away by Jane Urquhart
  26. Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan
  27. Prophecy by Ellen Oh
  28. How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
  29. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

A. A. Omer

You Read What? Book Review: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date Published: September 18th 2012

Format: Hard Cover

Source: Own/Bought

Synopsis:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of theShiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 2

Cover: 

The Raven Boys

I love this cover. The texture of the jacket for the hard cover is awesome. The brush stroke effect of the raven is great and the overall pairing of the title, author name and art makes for a memorable cover.

The Writing Score:  4.5 out of 5

Recommendation: A must read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating:  5 out of 5

Review:

There are two reasons why I read this book: 1) one of my friends kept nudging me in it’s direction with nothing but the excited shout of “Gansey!” as though that in of itself was argument enough and 2) it was the March book for the book club I’m a part of. I still would’ve read it despite the book club thing since I bought it months before.

I normally put off “book club” books until a day before (or day of) our meet up. Risky, I know, but then the upside is that I’ll remember things clearly when it was time for discussion. Not for this book. It was the first time where I read a book for the book club two weeks before the meet up. I’m not mentioning this because I want a pat on the back (but virtual pats are welcome nonetheless) but because I was so engrossed in reading this book that I couldn’t let it go even if I wanted to. First off, the synopsis is a bit deceptive.

This isn’t a story about love although it alludes to be.

It’s not a story primarily about Blue or told through just her POV (Point of View) although it appears to be.

All of these things, if met, would make this a conventional young adult book so you could see my excitement when it didn’t adhere to them.

The writing is beautiful with it’s fresh descriptions. The storyline is a great approach to paranormal that would be great for people who don’t normally read the genre. Blue is a strong female character who isn’t defined by her love of a boy but by her own skills that she brings to the table and her her spunk. Ronan is a character that starts out as nothing but a brute but then transforms into a character that readers start to care about as his layers are pulled back. I saw Adam as adorable and kind but his background and his ambition/ideals make him a character worth having in the book. He adds drama but also the harsh realities of “life” that tends to be overlooked by those of a background of luxury. Gansey, oh Gansey. He was a character that I loved so much. In the sea of bad boy young adult character, Gansey brought the “good boy” front and center. I found him to be endearing, funny, and interesting.

This book isn’t perfect. The writing, although beautiful, had times where imagery or descriptions were repeated a few times which I found to be something that young adult (and popular adult fiction) does a lot. I also had an issue with the women in Blue’s household. There were too many of them and some were unnecessary to the story (i.e. Orna). I did like Persephone and Calla a lot though (Calla especially).

The ending was something that was discussed among our book club. Some didn’t like it but I loved it. It was weird way to end which was why I liked I guess. With that said, I think Stiefvater has a lot of story to tell and I’m intrigued by what book 2 an bring.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

[New in Review] One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston

Author: Billie Livingston

Publisher: Random House Canada

Date Published: July 24th, 2012

Format: Trade Paperback

Source: Own copy

Synopsis:

From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it’s breaking your heart.

The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death–a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices.

With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other–and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the “weird, spearmint-fresh feeling” of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility.

 

One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell’s struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 1.5

Cover: 

hustle

To be honest the cover along with the title was what drew me to the book in the first place. Doesn’t it at least make you curious to check the synopsis?

The Writing Score: 3 out of 5

Recommendation: Casual Perusal

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable female protagonist

Rating: 3 out of 5

Review:

I am always a fan of reading stories that feature strong female protagonists. Though I was not fond of Sam or “Sammie” in One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston, I did find her character to be quite refreshing. I loved that Sammie always stuck to what she believed in, never caving into pressure from others no matter what kind of situation she was in. And while she is not without her flaws, she is most certainly a very interesting protagonist. Other than Sammie, I also thought the character of her mother was well written. The struggles she faced were realistic and her actions though not necessarily healthy or right were plausible for someone in her circumstance. I was not a fan of the other characters in the book, although I suspect it may be because the story is told from Sammie’s point of view so we see them through her eyes.

Livingston’s writing is simple yet sophisticated, and she does not shy away from discussing the harsh realities of life. From suicide to alcoholism to what’s it like to have to be on social welfare, she really does not hold back anything. That part of the plot was what I enjoyed the most. In addition learning about the different hustles that have been pulled by Sammie’s parents was quite fascinating. This was mostly because it is completely different from the environment that I was raised in. Still if there is one thing I have in common with Sammie it is that I know what it feels like to believe in someone so much no matter how many times they let you down.

The only issue I really have with this book is the ending. To me it left me feeling unsatisfied as there were many loose ends that were left hanging. However this may be because as indicated in the synopsis, the book covers two months in Sammie’s life. Still this was a book that got me completely immersed in the character’s story and I would not object to reading more about any adventures that Sammie might have in the future. Overall this was an entertaining read that will for sure draw you in.

The opinions expressed in this review are my own; I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review.

– Linh