SPOILER FREE MINI REVIEWS: Legendary & Three Dark Crowns

Hey guys, today I’m coming at you with some new book reviews! Today I’m reviewing Legendary by Stephanie Garber and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake!

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Legendary (Caraval, #2)

★★★★☆

tags: Magic, Female MC, YA

TW: Memories of abusive parenting

I really wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this one. I really love Stephanie Garber’s writing but, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the pov change in this one. I loved Caraval (all 3 times I read it) and so I had pretty high hopes for this one. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Donatella since she is so different to her sister, who I definitely relate more to. But, I ended up really enjoying her. This book focuses on a new game of Caraval but, this time it’s not just a game. I really enjoyed all the big reveals and plot twists. I called most of them pretty early on, but it honestly didn’t even matter to me because I enjoying the book so much!

I do recommend reading or re-reading Caraval before you dive into this one because there are so many plot points I would have forgotten if I hadn’t done a re-read! It just made reading book 2 such a better experience, and I will definitely be re-reading books 1 and 2 before I read FInale (book 3) next year! I’ve really enjoyed reading from both Scarlett’s and Donatella’s POVs so I know Finale will definitely be one of my most anticipated reads of 2019!
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Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for supplying the e-arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

★★★★☆

tags: YA, Fantasy, Elementalist Magic, Stick with it

TW: Death, Betrayal, Family Mistreatment

This was honestly so good??? I wasn’t even going to read it, it was barely even on my radar but then some fellow bloggers started raving about it so I decided to give it a shot.

The book ended up being really amazing. I mean, it gave me so many headaches and it was really slow and it felt soo long but, I really enjoyed it! It honestly was starting to take me so long to read that I considered not finishing it. But, I did finish and the pay off was so good! As soon as I finished I immediately put book 2 on hold at the library and I can’ wait to read it!

I really enjoyed the sisters in this one! I didn’t love all of them but, I thought Mirabella was really interesting. They are all being manipulated by their families and lied to by their respective Government systems so I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how the first book pays off and how everything comes to a head plot-wise and sister-wise in book 2!

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HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?

WHAT DO YOU PLAN ON PICKING UP NEXT?

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I SAW ALADDIN THE MUSICAL AND I AM STILL SCREAMING // I review musicals now???

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Hey guys, today I am reviewing a musical??? Because I’m a professional adult now??? I saw this on my birthday at the end of April and I loved it. I turned 18 this year so this was a really cool present, especially because I got to see the show with my mum. 

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MY FIRST IMPRESSION

I loved this show. I found the first half really interesting, mostly because I hadn’t seen the movie in such a long time that I honestly didn’t remember any of the plot points. The first half sets up new story parts than the film – for example, Aladdin’s mother died 2 months before the story is set. I also really enjoyed the little changes in the story like how they changed Aladdin’s friend Abu into his three friends (Omar, Babkak & Kassim). And, I loved all of them and their songs were fantastic!

THE CHARACTERS

Oh my god, who cares about the plot because the characters and sets are what make this show as good as it is. The guy who played the Genie was fantastic and I loved him, he was definitely my favourite character of them all! I also really enjoyed Aladdin, and funnily enough considering the story is named after him, I’ve never actually liked the character of Aladdin before. This version of the character had more depth to him and was more relatable. His song, Proud of Your Boy, in particular, is my favourite because it shows that he’s not this ridiculously cocky character like in the original film.

I will admit that I wasn’t big on Jasmine but, maybe that’s just because she felt like a slightly fierce character. Maybe?? I don’t know, but honestly, I did still really enjoy her and we did also get to know her character more in the show too. If the characters in the new live-action Disney film are anything like the characters in this show then I will definitely not be mad. 
THE MUSIC

I love music from musicals, almost more than normal music??? And the soundtrack for this musical is absolutely fantastic! My favourite is of course, Proud of Your Boy but I have been known to play Prince Ali on repeat in the last week. The music is fantastic so you guys should definitely check it out (it’s on YouTube).

LAST THOUGHTS

I’m so happy I saw this show. If you live in AUS and you have the chance you really should go see it. I’m sorry to all you US people, but the Australian cast actually sounds so much better. whoops. I guess I’m a Musical snob now (lol I have been for years though so it’s okay?)

I just loved this show. They really made an effort to make the show enjoyable for all of watching the show. I mean?? There were Tim Tam jokes? He had VEGEMITE?? He made a joke about Ipswich and I swear to god, the entire crowd collectively snorted.

PROUD OF YOUR BOY IS THE BEST SONG OF EVER. Seriously, this song made m like Aladdin. Also, this has nothing to do with anything but that guy who plays Aladdin in the Brisbane show is hella pretty and god damn his voice is 💯💯💯

I am officially excited for the live action. It makes me think the live action will be something like the musical not even mad. If they include Proud of Your Boy I will cry, damn you, Disney.

 

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR SPOILER-FREE REVIEW // 2 and a half hours of shiny but mediocre???

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

rating: ★★★★☆

time: 2 hrs 29 mins

censorship rating: M

big names: Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Olsen, Josh Brolin, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Sebastian Stan, Robert Downey Jr. , Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, Chadwick Boseman, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, Vin Diesel, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie

Avengers: Infinity War Poster

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS MARVEL MOVIES

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10 years and 18 movies later we finally have him. Thanos is here and he’s ready to make shit hit the fan. Avengers Infinity War is the 19th ever Marvel movie and as you guys probably already know, I am quite the superhero fanatic. I love Thanos as a character so, I was cautious but optimistic and if I’m honest (and without giving anything away) I felt like this movie was slightly ridiculous, but isn’t that what Marvel is all about?

I will say before I properly get into my review if you are planning on seeing this movie you better go pee beforehand. You should bring a bottle of water and be prepared. I’m not a movie snacker but, if you like to snack you should bring some chips because you’ll be sitting in the cinema for a while. I was in the cinema + the long-ass premiere line for roughly 3 and a bit hours so I am so glad I had my water bottle with me.

I would also suggest tissues, just in case, because God knows I let my tears fall.

So, what did I actually think of the movie? 

I don’t know. I think I will have to watch some reviews to really determine my opinion. From a comic nerd pov, I did really love this but, I honestly don’t know how everyone else will feel about it. If you love the MCU you will probably love this movie because ALL MY FAVES ARE IN THIS MOVIE I AM SO HAPPY BUT ALSO SO SCARED OML! But, if you’re just coming because your sibling or friend is dragging you, in all honesty, you may not enjoy it.

This movie is a lot. Like, A LOT. This movie has so many characters in it and at points, I found it quite overwhelming. Without spoiling I felt like some of the characters were acting a tad out of character which was a bit weird. Also, my main problem with this movie was that it felt like I was watching 5 movies all at once. It was like reading a multi-pov book that switched to the next pov in the middle of a scene which really started to bother me by the end because I would completely forget about some character even if they had just been in the middle of an epic battle 10 minutes ago. This movie is a lot, but it’s totally worth it. It was a really fun and wonderfully acted first part of this story and I really can’t wait for Avengers 4.

That being said, I came out of the cinema, 3 hours later and I felt excited but tired. The film looked fantastic (and v shiny) but, I pretty much called it all beforehand, which is one of the only downsides to being a Marvel nerd. This movie was pretty mediocre but, if you are a Marvel fan and you really love these characters I really do think you will like this movie.

THE AFTER CREDITS SCENE: *NON-SPOILER*

Let’s just say that it was pretty lacklustre but I am more than excited for what’s to come.

I kind of feel like MCU movies as a whole are overrated. But, as a comic and general, marvel nerd seeing 10 yrs of films come to life is what really made this movie for me. If nothing else, I think others will enjoy this movie for the laughs and the sheer ridiculous amount of superheroes in this film.

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I’m 19 movies in and not quitting now.

Will I see it again though? Well, let’s put it this way, if I wasn’t already planning on taking my brothers to see it then no, I probably wouldn’t pay to see it again in the cinemas. I did enjoy it but I already got to experience it on the first day in the first session. I got to join the queues of people theorising about it in the line before we went in. I kind of don’t want to tarnish that memory?

IF ANYONE WANTS TO TALK SPOILERS, YOU CAN FIND ME ON TWITTER.
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ACE OF SHADES SPOILER-FREE ARC REVIEW // Shades of mediocre

ACE OF SHADES: AMANDA FOODY

my rating: (2.5 stars) ★★☆☆☆

tags: YA, 2018 release, straight mc, bisexual love interest

goodreads rating: 3.94

publishing date: April 10th, 2018

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)

Thank you to Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA for the e-arc via Netgalley

reviewsynopsis

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets… and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unravelling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

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“The city would find some new con man, some new boy who called himself lord, and the city would play again.”

Disclaimer: I DNF’d Amanda Foody’s debut novel earlier this year and so when I was approved for her second published novel, Ace of Shades I was pretty nervous.

Amanda Foody definitely has a creative mind and a talent for thinking of amazing ideas. I definitely would’ve never thought of the ideas she’s come up with. That being said, amazing as her mind is, her writing and I just don’t get along. I think this as a really cool idea and I’m sure so many other people will love the book, but unfortunately Ace of Shades was just not for me.

“In the City of Sin, secrets are their own sort of currency, and reputation holds more power than fortune.”

I did enjoy the idea of the novel and what Foody was trying to do but I found it to be confusing at times and to be really slow when I felt like it should’ve been faster.

In my experience, reading this book I felt like it was taking forever to get anywhere. It takes place in The City of Sin over a matter of days. The story takes place over a period of 10 days, and in that time it takes until 27% (I read this on my Kindle) of the way through the book to get to day two. I found that by the time I was a few days into the story and almost halfway through the book, everything was happening too slowly when it felt like it should’ve been going on at triple the speed. I had a total disconnect with pretty much every character in the book and just could never make myself care.

My other issue with the book, though small, was the predictability of the plot. I found myself constantly be unsurprised at the direction of the plot and the characters’ actions throughout. There was never a fun surprise in the plot or even just a moment when I went, “Oh, didn’t see that coming!”. I saw everything from a mile away and left the world Foody created, disappointed and tired.

“The worst hurt in the world was the kind you grew to accept.”

I know my review has come off pretty negative so far, but take my word with a grain of salt. Just because this book wasn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it won’t be yours.

I think that the characters are what will appeal to people most about this book. The main character is quite smart and down to Earth. I wasn’t her biggest fan at the start but somehow over the course of the 10 days and 400 and something pages, I grew to understand and enjoy her perspective.

I also appreciated the mc’s love interest. He is bisexual and the author doesn’t say it once and then never bring it up again. Levi is out and proud and it’s lovely to see the love interest be bisexual, and what’s more to not have to go through the whole coming out process. While that is certainly an important story to tell in YA, it was just nice to have it all out of the way, I guess. I’m sorry if that sounds rude, but I don’t know how else to write and I guess my vocabulary has left me for the night.

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If you want to read my thoughts while I was reading the book, click here.

I honestly doubt that I will continue in this series. I just don’t seem to have any luck with Amanda Foody’s books so I really think I should call it.

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NON-SPOILER DUAL REVIEWS: LOVE, SIMON + A WRINKLE IN TIME // Underwhelmed but happy?

LOVE, SIMON

rating: ★★★★☆

time: 1 hr 50 min

censorship rating: M

big names: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale

Love, Simon Poster

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well written, authentic (ownvioices greg berlanti), not a whole lot of flashy important scenes just a lot of conversation, witty, relatable characters

OVERALL

1. Each parent got to have their moment and their speech and I am still crying

2. Image result for love, simon gif

^^ THIS

3. I am the Principal and the principal is me.

4. The movie definitely focuses on Simon but I really loved Leah in the movie too. I wasn’t her biggest fan in the book but in the movie, I found her incredibly relatable. It was little things like her not having the confidence to dance in public that made me really understand her character more than I ever would have from Simon’s pov.

5. I am so happy this movie exists

6. Simon went through every emotion under the sun and Nick Robinson was fantastic.

7. This movie just made me so happy. It’s a really moving rom-com and while I don’t think I’ll pay full price to see it at the cinema again, I will definitely buy it when it comes out on DVD or digital. It’s going to be a great background movie for when I’m doing other stuff.

ANY CHANGES?

Yes, there were changes BUT I stand by them. I pretty much loved all the changes they made for the movie. I won’t go into them because this review is spoiler-free but, I did think that all the changes made sense and suited the story.

EASTER EGGS

No spoilers but there are a bunch of little easter eggs in the film. Just little things like The Upside of Unrequited or More Happy Than Not on Simon’s bookshelves, or Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli’s cameo in the party scene. There are also a few other spoilery things that I noticed while watching that I won’t mention, but I will say that I absolutely loved them! As a fan of the book, they really enhanced the experience for me!

That’s it for my review of Love, Simon but I’d love to chat with you guys about the movie in the comment! Warning: There may be spoilers!

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A WRINKLE IN TIME

rating: ★★★☆☆

time: 1 hr 49 min

censorship rating: PG

big names: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña

A Wrinkle in Time Poster

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Let’s talk about the big discussion point for this movie: the casting list. Ohhhh boyyyy.

Okay, so I will say that I really loved the casting for the main group of kids, I think they each did a fantastic job. I also really loved Chris Pine as the dad, I thought he was spot on casting. BUTTT, I honestly don’t know if having such a star-studded cast is going to pay off in the long haul. To be honest, I love all the actress who played the Mrs but, the actresses’ performances were pretty mediocre. Anyone could have done it on the same level and the performance would’ve been the same.

I don’t know, honestly, it isn’t a big deal and I understand that the cast will bring in lots of viewers, but it just felt unnecessary??? I don’t know, maybe I’m just weird?

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A Wrinkle In Time is one of my favourite books, on the level of The Giver so you could definitely say that I was excited to see this one. Along with Love, Simon this was in my top 3 anticipated movies of 2018. I was pretty excited to go see this and make a day of it at the shops but as you can see by my rating (above), I did enjoy this but I only rated it a 3 stars. I did really enjoy it but I think the hype, amazing trailers and my love for the book got me too excited for the movie. So, I felt let down when it wasn’t 100 or even 90% perfect.

I really loved the kids who played Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace were fantastic and really carried the movie. Who needs Oprah when you can watch Storm Reid (Meg) totally killing it on screen!

My overall feelings are that the film felt slow, which I was okay with because the book is also slow. But, that I don’t think most viewers will enjoy it because half of the movie is build up and then BAM PLOT!

I do think though, that even if the movie isn’t our cup of tea, it is impossible to watch this movie and say it didn’t look visually fantastic!

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THE MAGIC MISFITS SPOILER-FREE REVIEW | a total rip off?

THE MAGIC MISFITS: NEIL PATRICK HARRIS

my rating:★★★☆☆

tags: middle-grade, overhyped, cover envy

goodreads rating: 3.86

publishing date: November 21st, 2017

The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits #1)

Remember, if it’s in red, it’s a link!

reviewsynopsis

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded kids. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

reviewnotes

You can read my notes for the book as I was reading it here.

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I don’t really have a whole range of things to say about this book other than that it wasn’t my cup of tea. I have mostly been reading darker YA this year and this was my first middle-grade of 2018, so the change really took me for a loop. I’ve never read a book by this author and I have barely seen any of his work except his role as Olaf in the Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix series. I had no idea what to expect, especially since this is his middle-grade debut.

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FROM THIS BOOK?

Honestly, when I first saw it I was drawn to the cover, it looks fantastic and the art is amazing! Though, I also couldn’t help but notice that NPH’s face covers this book! He’s got a sticker of his face on the cover, on the back and in the back of the book – like, we get it, a famous guy wrote the book, calm down.

However, on a more positive note: this is very middle-grade. This is very much a children’s book.  There are illustrations consistently throughout the book and they’re all fantastic and were what I enjoyed most about the book.

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<< These illustrations are part of the reason I think children (the target audience) will love this book so much is because every 50 or 60 pages there is an example of a magic trick, explaining to the reader to perform a card trick or something of the like.

The illustrations are simple and look fantastic, they really set the book apart and make the book worth it. They help explain the story without taking over the novel, they add to the story even if there isn’t an illustration on every page.

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THE DIVERSITY

  • A character in a wheelchair
  • Adoption rep 
  • Multiple POC
  • Gay parents 

 

A TOTAL RIP OFF?

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Okay, so here’s the tea. This is basically A Series of Unfortunate Events but, with magic. It’s written in a similar manner, and Lemony Snicket even blurbs it on the back. What  I find so many people enjoy about Snicket’s series is that he broke the fourth wall every now and then to explain what a word meant or to give his two cents about a situation. This also happens in The Magic Misfits, and while I was reading the book all I could think was how similar the books and characters were and oh my god if he explains another word to me I’m going to be pissed.

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Overall, this is a good book and I’m sure it will make for a great middle-grade series but while I was reading it I just felt like I was reading a half-assed Lemony Snicket novel.

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Honestly, I doubt it. I still enjoy reading middle-grade but this book was just not for me. I appreciated it for what it was: a fun mg about magic. But, I don’t feel the need to continue on in the series.

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HAVE YOU READ THE MAGIC MISFITS? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE PARALLELS BETWEEN HARRIS’ & SNICKET’S BOOKS?

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ZENITH SPOILER-FREE ARC REVIEW | not all bad, not all good

ZENITH: SASHA ALSBERG & LINDSAY CUMMINGS

my rating: ★★☆☆☆

tags: science fiction, young adult, debut novel

goodreads rating: 3.19

publishing date: January 16th, 2018

Zenith (The Androma Saga #1)

trigger warnings: rape, non-consensual kiss

reviewsynopsis

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

reviewnotes

If you want to check out any of my notes I wrote while I was reading Zenith you can find them here.

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I’ll be honest, this book has more issues than anything else. That being said, it is Sasha Alsberg’s debut novel and you can’t expect a debut novel to be perfect (though, Lindsay Cummings, her co-author, has written at least 5 other books).

Before I really get into the review, I’ll just get into my overall take away from Zenith is that it felt rushed. I feel like they released their 60 page version of Zenith (it was going to be serialised) and then they got picked up by a publisher and then all of a sudden they have to get a whole book out and it wasn’t ready or they weren’t ready. Either way, the book doesn’t flow or make sense the same way I feel like it would if the authors had been given more time to write then the novel would have come together more easily.

This started as a 60 page ebook and turned into a 530 page book. There will also be a second novel though I don’t know if it’s a duology or if there will be more novels in the series.

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So, unfortunately, I think that I need to preface this review by saying that I am not here to hate on Sasha Alsberg or Lindsay Cummings. I requested this book on NetGalley because I wanted to help to support Sasha, I am pretty excited for all the Booktube books that will hopefully be starting to pop up every now and then. I did not pick up the book to hate on Booktubers, and I will not be hating on the authors, only reviewing the book.

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This book was a lot of things. Like, a lot. 534 pages of a lot.

THE POV PROBLEM

Basically, there were too many povs. I ended up forgetting whole characters because some were quite sparse compared to others. And also, some characters were just so terribly introduced that apparently there’s a character called Brek (Brec? Breck??).

Honestly, who knows.

Who do I remember? Dex, Andi & Valen… that’s basically it. I really couldn’t tell you any of the other names because honestly, a part from the last 20ish pages, the book just wasn’t memorable for me.

THE WRITING PROBLEM

The writing is choppy. No offence to Sasha but, the writing kind of reads the way she speaks. Honestly, the writing (and plot) is a bit everywhere & it doesn’t always make sense, but 60 of the time we get the overall message.

The writing is also quite formal in the dialogue. I mean, these people are a team, they’ve known each other for a while and they’ve gone on multiple missions together, so why do they talk to each other like they’re in a work meeting? But, then again dialogue is usually pretty formal in ya lit… so maybe I’m nitpicking.

THE PACING PROBLEM

This is a heist in space, that is the main plot of the book. And yet, you’re not even halfway through the book and the heist is over. And now, e have 300 pages of just… what? Extra crap?

Why is the story over 300 pages before the book is over? It makes no sense. If you want us to learn more about the characters then you should tell us about the characters, something that really didn’t happen in Zenith.

THE CHARACTER PROBLEM

  • Forgettable
  • Similar backstories – whom le fuck?
  • Characters are poorly and overly described – I don’t remember anything about any of the characters. I honestly (while reading) forgot there was a character called Brek (I think) and until I went to write this review I forgot she was even a character. I was watching a review in the background and I honestly had to pause the video and go re-read my notes because I had no idea who that was.
  • Weird descriptions – “angry as a wet feline” ????

OKAY, BUT WHAT WAS ACTUALLY GOOD, THOUGH?

  • Yay, for good female team development.
  • The authors clearly care about the story and their characters
  • BADASS WOMEN WRITTEN BY BADASS WOMEN
  • Short chapters
  • Lots of action
  • The girls are badass, pretty and they’re not emotionless – not a combination you see all that often
  • If you start reading and you get into it, it’s not hard to read the book in a day

reviewquickoverview

  • This was nothing but rushed.
  • Choppy writing.
  • Words are thrown at you and never explained.
  • Nothing is ever explained.
  • Soo many characters.
  • Good female team dynamic.
  • dumpster fire

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  • debut novel (Alsberg)
  • female empowerment
  • corny, not totally fleshed out
  • didn’t always feel like we were let in on the story (certain terms were thrown around without us being told wtf they meant
  • the audiobook was the only way I was going to get through the book
  • did nothave to be as long as it was
  • slightly redeeming/ intriguing ending but I still don’t know if I will continue, probably not unless curiosity wins out
  • RUSHED

reviewwillicontinue

Honestly? I really don’t know.

Overall, I had a pretty bad time reading experience with this book. Though, I did appreciate the female empowerment aspect.

There will be a second book but I really don’t know if I will continue, I would have to read some reviews and see some awesome improvement in the writing before picking it up.

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HAVE YOU READ ZENITH? DO YOU THINK YOU WILL PICK IT UP?

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WILD BEAUTY SPOILER-FREE REVIEW | The book that gave flowers a glow up

WILD BEAUTY: ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE

my rating: ★★★★☆

tags: lgbt, f/f romance, magical realism, standalone, young adult

goodreads rating: 3.69

publishing date: October 3rd, 2017

Wild Beauty

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Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

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THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW BUT I WILL GIVE A WARNING IF I USE A SLIGHTLY SPOILERY EXAMPLE OR QUOTE.

I did not think I would enjoy this. Like, at all. But, everyone assured me I would and so I put it on hold at the library and then went to pick it up. So, that afternoon I made a cup of tea, cracked open the book and dove in. Anddddd, then I was 30 pages in and forgetting names and getting confused. And then I was 50 pages in and mainly just confused. And then, I was 80 pages in and starting to get used to the writing and the characters.

And then, I was in love. I was really digging this and getting really into the repetitive nature of the novel and the way the author described everything through flowers.

Example of flowery writing: *Kind of spoilery/ no names*

“He kissed her, and she was a world in bloom, her skin becoming starflowers. His tongue between her lips was borraja, that blossom of hers that he’d taken into his mouth.”

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THE GIRLS

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This is a story about a family of women. This is a story about women understanding and appreciating each other. This is a story that focuses on women and for once, puts the men on the backburner.

 

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“Men and boys had no claim on their secrets or their bodies. La Pradera was a world in which women did not listen to men just because they were men.”

This story revolves around women and stays that way, there are only two male characters and neither fills the typical YA male mould that we see so often in most novels from this age group.

Each woman has a different personality, a different way of thinking and each of them plays a different part in the story.

This is a story about women – about the relationship women can build between one another and about how women hold themselves up and achieve greatness when they put their minds together. This story is what we mean when we talk about girl power, this story is what we need more of, not just in YA but in the bookish world, in general.

THE BOY

“Nothing else in the world makes a man like that more afraid than five girls on their periods”

There are only two male characters in this book, both stark contrasts ofeach other. One uses women and one resects them.

This is a non-spoiler review but I will say this, I have to. Fel, one of the only men in this book, is probably one of my favourite male characters (he’s seriously competing with Thomas Cresswell at the moment). He is not your typical YA male, he respects women, expects nothing from them and appreciates them. He is not cocky or sarcastic unlike the vast majority of male YA characters.

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DIVERSITY

This is an #OwnVoices novel about queer women of colour. It is also about a brown-skinned man who had been driven out of existence by the woman he loved.

This is a story that explores the relationship between women and I loved it.

  • Did I love it? Yes, the last 200 or so pages were fantastic!
  • Is it slow? Yes. Don’t expect some crazy action.
  • Is it repetitive? Yes.
  • The writing is amazing.
  • Would I recommend it? Yes, definitely.

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HAVE YOU READ WILD BEAUTY? DID YOU ENJOY THE WRITING?

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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME SPOILER-FREE FILM & BOOK REVIEW | THIS IS THE STORY YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME BY ANDRÉ ACIMAN

my rating: ★★★★☆

tags: LGBT, m/m romance

goodreads avg rating: 4.29

film censorship rating: MA

big names: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg

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“Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine,” which I’d never done in my life before and which, as soon as I said my own name as though it were his, took me to a realm I never shared with anyone in my life before, or since.”

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THE BOOK

★★★★☆

I have been debating writing this review for days now. I saw the film on New Years Eve and then went home and read the book two days later, it was y first read of the year and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Since I’ve only seen 2 people on the blogosphere talk about it I figured why not talk about it?

Call Me By Your Name is a short, emotional and staggering read. It will have you swooning, crying and laughing (through your tears). It’s about two people falling in love, it’s about a peach and it’s about exploring who we are.

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“If I could have him like this in my dreams every night of my life, I’d stake my entire life on dreams and be done with the rest.”

The main thing people talk about when mentioning this book (apart from the peach scene) is the fantastic writing. And, I have to agree, André Aciman knows what he’s doing. The writing style is to die for, there is not a great amount of dialogue, but if I’m honest I quite prefered that to the onslaught we usually receive within YA, which is what I usually read.

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“We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”

I’m sad to admit that I listened to this one on audiobook, well, I’m sad because I didn’t get to experience it slowly and by myself. However, I am also SOSOSO glad that I caved and got the audiobook because Armie Hammer narrates it and I’m shook you guys he’s a pro.

While this book didn’t have a Stalking Jack The Ripper level impression on me, the writing and the characters still had me thinking about this book days after I’d finished it (a feat, let me assure you). I wasn’t overwhelmed by this, though that might be because I read the book in one day, and very much like Oliver, I was just passing through. Whereas, if I had taken more time and really stretched it out, I’m sure I would have grown to care more for the plot and characters.

THE FILM

★★★☆☆

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Yep, so as you can see by my incredibly accurate gif, this book gave me feelings. I don’t remember the last time I really appreciated the ending of a book because usually, that’s the worst part. But this was perfect, it wasn’t rushed, it wasn’t unrealistic. Everything fell into place and it was perfect.

BUT holy god dam I swore I wouldn’t cry and you know what? That didn’t work out, I was bawling and this was the perfect ending and I am so happy they stuck with it for the film.

This was a rollercoaster of a film and I hope you all buy ticket.

(ALSO, I never mentioned this, but both of the main characters, Elio & Oliver are bisexual.)

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“Is it better to speak or die?”

And, so, now we get to the real kicker. The thing that drives most people to watch the film, and remains the most controversial topic surrounding the film: the romance between Elio and Oliver.

Yup controversy galore. Oliver is 24 and Elio is 17. So, is the problem the age gap or the fact that Elio os a minor because the age of consent in Italy is 14, and was 14 in 1983, the year the book is set.However, if the age gap is the issue I can think of a lot of films where the gap was the same, if not bigger but people were fine with it because they were hetero.

  • Pretty Woman, Twilight, Clueless, Dirty Dancing, Romeo & Juliet, Gangster Squad, Beauty & The Beast, Lolita, The Reader, Notes On A Scandal, The Boy Next Door

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BUT ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE:

There is a particular scene towards the very end of the film where Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays Elio’s father has a whole monologue about taking the time to understand who you are and how it’s okay to grieve and feel pain. And, I live for this speech, it was fantastically given and I can’t imagine anyone else saying it to Elio, nor can I imagine anyone else playing Elio’s father. Perfect casting. Fantastic monologue.

“How you live your life is your business. But remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between. But there’s only one, and before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow. I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain.”

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Welp I’ve heard through the grapevine (Google) that Luca Guadagnino is already planning a sequel for around 2020 and I don’t know how I feel about it. I liked how the book and film ended so I doubt I’ll watch a sequel if one is made. I feel like a sequel would ruin the story in some way?? Though, 2020 is a while away so who knows what will happen!

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HAVE YOU SEEN OR READ CALL ME BY YOUR NAME? DO YOU LIKE THE FILM ADAPTATION?

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JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE SPOILER-FREE FILM REVIEW

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2017)

rating: ★★★★☆

time: 119 min

censorship rating: PG

big names: The Rock, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas

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Preface: I have seen the original film (Jumanji -1995) twice in my life. The first time I got about halfway through before I was scared shitless and so I only finished it a year later. And so, because I’m a badass, and for this review, I have braved a childhood (life) fear and watched the original film. You’re welcome, and yes my child mind made shit u and that was definitely not as scary as I thought it was when I was 7.

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HOW DOES THIS FILM COMPARE TO THE 1995 ORIGINAL?

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The writers and directors did so well with this film! It was a great ode to the original movie and I really enjoyed it, there were so many nods to the original and I had a lot of fun spotting them when I went and watched the original a few hours later.

Overall, if you are a big fan of the first film you will really appreciate this continuation. It really shows the power of Jumanji, it’s a film with heart and a lot of laughs.

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GREAT CAST = GREAT FILM?

Going into the film I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I thought that it would be a pretty meh film because usually if you put a whole bunch of “big names” together, the result just isn’t worth the money the company paid to get the cast together.

But, with this film, it just worked. The Rock, Kevin Hart and Jack Black are all naturally funny cast members, Karen Gillan played an insecure, badass teen like a pro and Nick Jonas was spot on in his role.

Also props to whoever is in wardrobe because the outfits were spot on.

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I mean look at these guys and tell me they don’t look like video game characters. 

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WHAT I LOVED

I loved how the characters make fun of video game stereotypes. Why am I wearing this? HOw is a crop top, shorts and a weird harness going to help me in a jungle? The film also plays with high school stereotypes and flips them on their head throughout the film which I really enjoyed, it was about time.

THE CINEMATOGRAPHY WAS AMAZING This film was actually shot like a video game. There were cutaways for flashbacks, there were cut around in the action scenes and I don’t know how to explain it but it just looked and felt like a videogame.

There is no girl hate, they actually talk to eachother!

Jack Black plays the best teenage girl ever!

THE ELEPHANT

Everything is green and I love how this film ties to its predecessor.

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IT MADE ME THINK/ WHAT A GREAT PREMISE!

I said this before but I’ll say it again, this film really doesn’t shy away from the power of Jumanji. In the first film the game brings Jumanji to Alan and Sarah, but in the 2017 adaptation, the game adapts to the modern world by transforming into a video game (which is terrifying) and then sucks the characters into the game where they play as characters – play or die.

So, I loved this film, it made me think. I was literally up all night (into the AM) writing out conspiracy theories and trying to understand the complexities of Jumanji. And, I am getting nowhere (blog post coming soon!), but I’m having the time of my life trying to figure it all out!

 

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I think, what really struck me about this film was Nick Jonas’ character, Alex. He thinks he’s been playing the game for something like 3 months but in reality, he’s been missing for something closer to 20 years. If that doesn’t fuck with you, I don’t know what will. I mean, doesn’t that perfectly display how batshit crazy powerful Jumani is?

Jumanji is literally a world that adapts to our world. I mean, they literally got sucked into the jungle Alan Parrish was in for 26 years in the first film. And I’ve got to say that is definitely the best movie tie-in I’ve ever seen and I will never get over it.

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If they end up making a third film I will definitely see it. It would be really interesting to see how they changed up the game (literally) this time. An arcade perhaps?

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HAVE YOU SEEN JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE?

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