Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book to TV review: SHADOWHUNTERS !

So I'm still so totally behind on reviews but I finally watched the first two episodes of this last night and OMG I just have to gush. 

Let's start with the most obvious and outstanding fact that this series was made of eye-candy. Jace- smoking hot. Simon- smoking hot (thank you, totally-unnecessary-absolutely-lovely-Simon-changes-shirt-onscreen-scene) Luke - OMG IT'S THE GUY FROM THE OLD SPICE COMMERCIAL. Magnus - smoking  hot. Hodge - WTH AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE OLD AND UGLY WHY ARE YOU YOUNG AND SEXY. Alec- HOTTEST OF THEM ALL. 

Was there anything else? All I can remember was beautiful men making me question my morals. 

Oh yeah (:

So I didn't like how Clary looked flawless. all. the. time. She cries, faints, gets sopping wet, fights, gets thrown through a portal, goes down into the crypts of the Silent City and still her long, clean, perfectly styled gorgeous hair says clean perfectly styled and gorgeous. Makeup - beautiful and flawless all. the. time. I wanted more grit, more realistic. The special effects and lack of worldbuilding made this show wayyy sillier than we wanted it already so the least they could do was get the heroes a little dirty and bloody every once in a while.

Also, what on earth was going on with all the cheesy lines and posing?? In the beginning, Jocelyn has an entire looooong scene in which she picks up a seraph blade and poses dramatically in the darkness. Oh come on. And "This is witchlight. We carry it to remind us that light can be found even in the darkest of places" or something like that. Sorry. Maybe I was quoting Dumbledore. 

I think the character of Dot added a lot to the story, and I'm interested in how Maureen's character arc is going to be played out. When it comes to personalities, I feel like the side characters are going to have a lot of cool developments and that we're going to have fun(: 

The foreshadowing was a little unnoyingly obvious at times (like when Simon was so obviously going to be attacked while alone in the car), but I totally busted out laughing when our two soon-to-be-vampires started singing Forever Young. 

I wished the worldbuilding could have been more fleshed out- everything was so rushed. I felt that they didn't properly explain what Shadowhunters are, the difference between demons and Downworlders, what the hell the circle is. We didn't even have time to really get to know or relate to Simon and Clary. If you haven't read the books I doubt you'll like it for anything more than the good-looking actors. 

As for the things I DID like- I LOVED how the Institute was hi-tech. Like, why shouldn't it be??? Why wouldn't Shadohunters use cameras and store their information in computerized databases?? I felt this was an actual improvement on the book world. Also, I thought Valentine was scary, smart, and menacing. His love for Jocelyn was evident and his shock at learning of Clary's existence came across as genuine. 

The funnies- yeah, I laughed. Simon you are so adorable I couldn't even. And Alec made me feel for him - even him being even more rule-abiding than in the book made him endearing. 

Anything else? Of course. Lots and lots. As with #AllThingsCassandraClare. Truthfully, it made me want to go back and read TMI again, and I haven't had that craving in a long time. So thanks, abcfamily freeform. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Review: The Red Tent

The Red Tent
The Red Tent
Anita Diamant 
Adult historical fiction 

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons.
Told in Dinah's voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.

The concept of this book fascinated me. I am familiar with the stories of Genesis like the story of my life, and have been educated thoroughly in the traditional commentary. Therefore, this book was scary to me - I didn't want it to besmirch the names that are holy to me. However, more than anything I found The Red Tent a beautiful story, and maybe a thought experiment on the people I'm descended from. 

The setting was one of the most incredible I've read - Dinah speaks to all the women of the generations, and tells us her story. She starts with that of her mothers' - with all the facts and all the feelings, and no anachronistic judgements to marr the picture. She describes the house of Jacob in such detail that you feel Cnaan in the late Bronze Age -  feel the heat, see the views, smell the food cooking and the animals. Hear the children, play in the red tent with the women, feel the pain and joy of motherhood along with them. Truly, it was an experience to read.

The climax in this story, the turning point, is also the only incident from which we hear of Dinah in the bible. This is also the place in which our story parts ways with the traditional narrative. It was beautiful, and happy and sad all at once. The dramatic bit itself was rushed - I found it hard to follow what was happening until later. 

The third part of the novel takes place in Egypt. This part was the saddest, but also the slowest and a little... boring. However, I found the existence of this storyline in which Dinah finds herself in Egypt very interesting, because there is a legend saying she did but no explanation was given.

The full circle in which we come to in the end basically made me cry. Like the rest of the book, it was beautiful and tragic. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Release Celebration - Think Twice!

THINK TWICEThink Twice (Don't Even Think About It #2)
Sarah Mlynowski

YA Contemporary

More secrets. More scandals. More ESP. The long-awaited sequel to Don't Even Think About It! We used to be average New York City teenagers. Then, in tenth grade, we got flu shots and developed telepathy. Yes. Telepathy. We could read minds, and it wasn't always pretty. We tried to keep our ESP a secret, but the news spread until everyone knew about our special ability. Our teachers. Our friends. The New York Post. We became C-list celebrities. We even had our own groupies. Now, it's senior year, and with graduation around the corner we have plans--big plans--that involve being telepathic. So when one by one we start to lose our ESP, we have to take action. Fast. With the class brainiac on our side, we should be able to save our telepathy before it's too late. Right? Or will we have to learn how to survive without it once again?

Hey all! You'll remember the post I did about Don't Even Think About It - well guess what? THINK TWICE is here and I'm super excited! 

Take a look at this excerpt !

Totally recommended for fans of Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. You can learn more about it here on Sarah's website. 

Sarah is the author of the Magic in Manhattan and Whatever After series, as well as Gimme a CallTen Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)Milkrun, and more.
Her books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and optioned to Hollywood. Sarah was born in Montreal but now lives and writes in New York City. www.sarahm.com

Absolutely loved the Bras and Broomsticks series back in the day, and the Whatever After series gets snatched off the shelves at the bookstore I work at! 

You can get Think Twice at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Click here for the ebook(: 

Thank you so much to Deb Shapiro & Company for the links and excerpt! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review: The Five Orange Pips + The Man with the Twisted Lip

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Classics, Mystery 

The Five Ornage Pips:                                           A tale of mystery, scandal and murder that may have been committed by the Ku Klux Klan in London. Who else but Sherlock Holmes can solve these series of deaths?
The Man with the Twisted Lip:                     Holmes discovers Dr. Watson in the black shadows of a smoke-filled opium den in the basement of the very house where Holmes is investigating his latest murder case! But of course the good doctor is only there to hunt down the drug-addicted husband of his wife's dear, but distraught, friend. Sound confusing? For all but The Great Detective, it probably is. And we haven't even talked about the murder yet!

You can read my reviews of other Sherlock Holmes stories here. 

I found The Five Orange Pips fairly predictable and classic for Sherlock Holmes stories - weird sign, death threat by terrorist organization, family member of threatened party contacts good old SH. However I think there were two points of interest for this particular story - the first being some beautiful writing. The vocabulary and the flow of the sentences were enchanting in my opinion. The second was the not-neatly-tied-up-ending which I've found is not usual for these stories. I'll say no more there. 

The Man with the Twisted Lip was overall much more to my fancy. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that in BBC's Sherlock (one of my true loves) they do an almost perfectly loyal adaptation of this story's opening scene. So obviously, I was hooked right off the bat. Truthfully, even if I hadn't seen Sherlock's version I think this chapter in The Adventures of SH is great - it starts off with a bang and a funny surprise, and has some great quotes of Watson deciding to throw in in his lot with that of the detectives'. Also, the end was altogether surprising and amusing, and exactly what you'd look for in a short story. Loved it! 

“...I could not wish anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the normal condition of his existence." 
Happy reading!