Book review: Ash

ASH

 

Ash by Malinda Lo was a cute, quick read and a nice twist on the usual Cinderella story. Aisling has always been fascinated by fairy tales. When here mother dies, her fascination becomes something more when she has a brush with the fairy kingdom. Despite recognizing fairy tales as the cautionary tales and lessons they are, in her grief she cannot help venturing closer and closer to the fairy kingdom and one fairy in particular, Sidhean.

This is a novel about growing up, recovering from grief and depression, and how finding someone to love can help break through long held pain.

Book Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

blackbird

  Blackbird by Anna Carey was a surprising treat. The plot moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged, wondering what is going to happen and if the nameless heroine will discover who she is and what is going on.

To be honest, I almost didn’t read the book. I got an uncorrected proof at Comic Con,and when I opened it and saw it was written in second person, I closed it and put it back in my bag. However, the first few paragraphs were so intriguing that I had to read more. In this case, the second person works brilliantly. It’s not an attempt to put the reader into the action; it’s simply the best way to show the state of mind of this girl who has absolutely no idea who she is. After awhile, the “you” melted away into the character and it wasn’t unnatural to read.

I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy fast moving plots, intrigue, and female characters fighting to survive against impossible odds. Anna Carey has crafted a brilliant novel, and I hope people enjoy this book as much as I did.

Book to Film: One for the Money

One for the Money

One for the Money, written by Janet Evanovich, centers on down-on-her luck Stephanie Plum.  Stephanie is out of work and desperate, so she takes her mother’s advice to see her sleazy cousin Vinny about a filing job.  Instead of filing, she becomes a bounty hunter and her first fugitive is vice cop Joe Morelli, with whom Stephanie has a rather sordid past.

I read the book many years ago, sometime in college, and loved it.  It’s a light read, funny, and full of colorful characters.  Stephanie lives in the Burg, a blue-collared section of Trenton New Jersey.  Evanovich really paints a detailed picture of the Burg, so detailed that this California girl had no trouble picturing it.  I’d highly recommend the book to anyone who likes mystery books you don’t really need to think too hard about.  Suspension of disbelief is hugely critical to reading this series, but the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously helps.

One-for-the-Money-2012-Poster

The movie came out in 2012.  It starred Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum and Jason O’Mara as Morelli.  On Rotten tomatoes, it has a 2% fresh rating, so, obviously, take my opinion with a huge grain of salt.

I liked it.  It actually followed the book really well.  The ending was different, and I liked the book ending better, but it didn’t take anything away.  I don’t have any particular animosity towards Heigl, nor do I love her, but she was charming as Stephanie.  Would I have cast her?  No.  I’d have gone with Marisa Tomei and flipped the bird at the age mismatch, but no one asked me.  I don’t own the movie, but it was on the other day and it hit all the notes about the book I enjoyed.  I thought O’Mara and Heigl had good chemistry, Sherri Sheppard was amusing as Lula, and it was a good way to spend a couple hours.

Book: 4/5 stars

Movie: 3/5 stars

 

Book to Film: Tiger Eyes

This weekend, I watched the movie, then reread the book Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume.

tiger-eyes-judy-blume_612x612

Tiger Eyes was written by Judy Blume in 1981.  I don’t know when I first read it, but I’ll guess I was over ten or so.  I’ve always really liked this book, but unlike, say, Just As Long As We’re Together, which I read about once a week when I hit seventh grade and can probably talk hours about, my feeling for Tiger Eyes aren’t so articulated.

The story centers on Davey Wexler, whose father has just been killed in a convenience story hold up.  Unable to cope with life at home after the tragedy, Davey’s mother packs the family up and moves to New Mexico to live with her sister-in-law Bitsey and her husband, Walter.  There, Davey meets a boy who introduces himself as Wolf.  They form a connection while hiking a nearby canyon.  She later discovers that his father is dying, and he ends up being the person to whom she bares her soul, in letter form.

As a kid, I found the relationship between Davey and Wolf strangely romantic and  touching.  They never kissed, they never really talked (he leaves in the book and she leaves her letters for him to find), but there is a deep understanding between the two of them.

I was disappointed the film made their relationship more explicit.  Wolf stays around longer, there’s kissing and cuddling, and there’s no letters.  I understand that, from a movie standpoint, it was needed, but it took something away for me.

I also didn’t like how either the book or the movie (but especially the movie) treated Davey’s mother’s depression.  In the book, she gets migraines and is given medication that  renders her confined to the room.  Davey tells her to stop taking the medication and Gwen (the mom) never has trouble again.  In the movie, Gwen has a panic attack.  I assumed she was taking some kind of anti-anxiety medication.  It ended being the same deal, only you got to watch Gwen throw the pills away.  I really resent the idea that a) medication for depression/anxiety is a crutch and you just need to “try harder” to recover from it and, b) it’s in any way safe to take yourself off medication that affects your brain without consulting a doctor.  It’s a really outdated idea and it should have been altered for the movie.

I did really like that there was a kind of timeless quality to the setting.  It looks like it’s probably set today, based on costuming and hair, but there’s no cell phones or texting or computers.  It was jarring once during the film, which is why I noticed it, but, overall, it wasn’t needed and not having there let the story stand on its own.

The actors were all really good.  The movie belonged to Willa Holland, who played Davey.  She was strong in every scene and was engaging to watch.

Book: 4/5 stars

Movie: 3/5

Plague Town by Dana Fredsti

plague town

I didn’t think I was going to like this book. The first few chapters hit a lot of my pet peeves: protagonist describing what she’s wearing and her make-up; a lot of lamenting about being too old for college; unnecessarily dickish TA; not being able to recall Spike’s name from Buffy the Vampire slayer while being a blatant rip-off of season 4.

And yet… I was won over. The cliches settled down, the characters became likable, there was a good mix of characters, and the response to the zombies was great. Once I got into it, it went really quickly in the best way. Despite my initial reservations, this book was a fun read and I look forward to the next.

No Redemption

In a word without redemption
I seek to hide my pain
I scream into the silence
I fight, but all in vain

I owned the world once, long ago
A thief came in the night
And in this way, I lost my way
I’m trapped outside the light

(not sure of the date, but I wrote this from the POV of a character in a novel I wrote when I was in my last years of high school and first years of college)

Cry

Hi there
Do you remember me?
I’m the one off in the corner
Who’s dying to be seen
I’ the one shut in the darkness
Who’s dying for the light
I’m the one who needs attention
And strives with all her might

Do you think of me
When you go home at night?
‘Cause I think of you
Yes, my friend, that’s right
‘Cause we met and talked
And things were really great
But now it’s slowing down
And talk’s been stopping of late

Can’t think of what happened
It really boggles my mind
We were all connected
We were four of a ind
But then we grew
Some were pushed to the side
And how we used to talk
Seems only in my mind

Hi there
Do you remember me?
We used to be the best of friends
When friendship was free
We used to talk together
We claimed to share a brain
Please, tell me what happened
Before I go insane

All alone
Not the place I want to be
All alone
Where there once was three and me
On my own
When I need somebody else
Shut off alone
Crying by myself

6-97

(This is actually a song, but I don’t write music or play anything I can sing to (I play the flute) so it’s remained unsung)

Poem of a Pen

My pen is an extension of my hand
this poem is about the meaning of life
I write, when I can, words of beauty
I just wanted to make sure you knew
I want to write words of truth
not everyone might get it
the ink flows steadily
after all, not everyone is as enlightened as I
Sometimes blue
or as smart
Sometimes black
so I thought I’d clarify
And, every once in awhile, purple
hope you got it.

(I’d guess this was written either in high school or college as a reaction to someone explaining to me what their (or a) poem meant)

I Am Woman

I am woman
as I have been for centuries
Sitting quietly, I wait for my turn to speak
only to be laughed at, ridiculed and
dismissed when I do.

I am tired of waiting
I will be heard
And if you laugh too long and too loud
You will miss the truth
In what I am saying.

spring 1999

Untitled

A season of passing
I pretend not to care
And era is ending
and I’m not even there.
It was part of my life
no matter what I deny
a part I have left
but I’m part of a lie.

They hurt me
it hurts me
I hurt me
I’m hurt

I hate them
I hate it
I hate me
I’m hurt

The show is now over
and I’m moving on
now just in my heart
will I hear the song

The bells have stopped ringing
I pretend not to care
a huge chunk of my life
now I’m not even there

They hurt me
it hurt me
I hurt me
I’m hurt

I hate them
I hate it
I hate me
I’m hurt

That life is now over
and a new one’s begun
It’s time for the song
that’s my heart to be sung