Book Review: Taking Fire: A First Responder Novel

Book Title:  Taking Fire: A First Responder Novel
Author: Radclyffe

“Everyone knew the consequences of breaking the unwritten rules: never discuss the danger of going outside the wire, never brag about the girl waiting back home, never count the days until the end of tour. If you did, you might mistake that buried IED for a rock, or log on to the Dear John email, or get the last-minute change in your separation orders.”
Taking Fire by Radclyffe

Final Verdict: An okay summer read that started out great and petered off by the end.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

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Book Review: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

Book Title: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
Author: Julie Berry

“He made his way around the table to where his sister sat, raised his arm to thump her back, then choked, clutched his throat, fell forward, and landed on the floor with a thud that reverberated up the legs of the chairs upon which the seven young ladies sat.
‘Dead, I imagine,’ Dour Elinor observed.”
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Final Verdict: A wonderful book with a great mystery and a wonderful story of a sisterhood of choice and strong female characters working together!

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Book Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

Book Title: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer

Amusement touched the corner of his lips. ‘Animals love me.’
‘Oh, I’m sure they do,’ Scarlet said, beaming with fake encouragement. She shut the door before muttering, ‘What farm animals don’t love a wolf?
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

 

Final Verdict: A modern adaptation of Red Riding Hood that will enchant readers of all ages.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Book Review: Into the Land of the Unicorns

Book Title: Into the Land of the Unicorns
Author: Bruce Coville

“There’s lots of kinds of chains. You can’t see most of them, the one’s that bind folks together. But people build them, link by link. Sometimes the links are weak, snap like this one did. That’s another funny thing, now that I think of it. Sometimes when you mend a chain, the place where you fix it is strongest of all.”
Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville

Final Verdict:A great story for kids, with a strong little girl, some amazing creatures, and a great adventure.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Movie Review: Divergent (2014)

Movie Title: Divergent
Director: Neil Burger

Notable Stars: Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Zoe Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Maggie Q

You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you. They call it Divergent. You can’t let them find out about you.” Tori in Divergent Movie

 

Final Verdict: An enjoyable movie with lots of action, but ultimately lacking in strong characters and chemistry.

For the full review of this movie and the movie trailer, click the movie title.

**Additionally, at the bottom of the review, there is a link to a hidden page where the ending of the book and the movie are compared. This is for those of you who have already seen the movie and/or aren’t concerned about spoilers**

Book review: The Only Way

Book Title: The Only Way
Author: Jamie Sullivan

“People were cheering for you back there, every time you landed a punch on that guy. And do you know why? Because he was so much bigger than you. People love an underdog. Especially if that underdog can win.”
The Only Way by Jamie Sullivan

Final Verdict: A fast and good read, with a tough girl dressed as a male who gets the girl at the end, and there is excellent fist fighting!

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Random News: Divergent Movie Hype

Hello Lovely Readers,

As many of you will already know Divergent has come out into the cinemas in the USA (not til 4 April for the UK). Both Frances and I have read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. But we are always worried about movie versions of books we like, and the trailers for this movie have us a little worried. However, we still plan to see the movie soon, and will report back then. Until then, here is some news about how the films has done, some stuff to get you excited, and then for those who have seen the movie or are ok with a bit of spoilers an article about how the movie and the book differed!

So first off, the good news is that the movie appears to be doing well in the box office. It topped the USA box office this weekend, and took 56M (Source). However, other sites have pointed out that while this is good, it did not top Twilight or the first Hunger Games movies (Source). Unlike the other two movies it seems that only 50% of those seeing the movie this first weekend have read the book. This is rather interesting, as I (and it seems those in charge) are not sure what this means, except that it has marketed itself  well. It will be interesting to see if the movie can hold onto the top spot at the box office for a couple more weeks.

Second thing I found was a list of 30 Pieces of Jewelry Inspired by Divergent. There are some really cool wearable pieces. I think if I was more invested in a certain faction I would be tempted by some of these beautiful things, but so far only the Divergent faction/grouping seems to interest me.

Similarly, you can take a test to discover what faction you belong in (click here to find out). As interesting as the quiz was, I think it is a bit poorly put together, as it is rather clear on most of the questions which faction is which answer. And I have no idea if there is a divergent category or not. Still it is a neat way to pass 5 minutes. Clearly I must not have agreed with my sorting!

Lastly, for those of you who have seen the movie, or do not mind some spoilers, there is an interesting article on Yahoo that compares some changes from the book to the movie, read it here. I liked the article as it pointed out some of the things that I had seen and been bothered by in the trailer. If it is to be believed, it means I should be happier overall with the movie compared to some other book to movie adaptations.

So are you guys excited about the Divergent movie? Have any of you seen it yet? Are any of you planning on seeing it?

Until next time,

Random News: Movies Coming Out with Comic Book Women

Hello Lovely Readers,

So today is a bunch of news about women from comics and the movies we can expect them in. While I count myself a huge fan of comic book based movies I admit that I only follow Batwoman in actual comic books, so most of this information is based on what other people have said about the actual text.

The most recent exciting news is the tentative announcement of a solo Black Widow movie joining the Marvel franchise. There has been a lot of chatter about this for a long time, but until now it has seemed to come from the fanbase rather than the powers in charge. Right now it appears like we would get to see Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in her solo movie sometime after Winter Solider (this year) and The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), both of which she is supposed to have decent sized parts in. I am excited because Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow very well, she is tough (with no super powers) but with a dark past, and honestly slightly ambiguous morals! All the things I love in my heroes. There is the added bonus that Joss Wedon may be the one behind the scenes, which based on many of his other strong female characters leaves me with optimism!

Over on the DC Comic side of cinema, there were some pictures from Gal Gadot of her bulking up to play Wonder Woman. While she will not have her own movie yet, she is set to have a part in the unnamed Superman/Batman movie and the following Justice League movie. It is likely after those films the powers in charge will decide if she gets her own movie. However, I am less confident in the portray from DC of essentially the most well known female hero and I am not alone as you can read here. The first concern is that she is only supposed to be a bit part alongside DC’s Big Two. Second, there are legitimate concerns about the director Zak Snyder. Against him is that generally his adaptation of Superman wasn’t that well received, and that is a hard back-story to mess up (admittedly I have not seen it, but I cannot stand Superman). More worrying to all the female fans who want a complex Wonder Woman who could have her own movie, is that Snyder does not have the best history with portraying strong women. While I enjoyed Sucker Punch it was not a strong female movie, instead it was more exploitation. While there is a chance that things could work out, I am not holding my breath, just like I am not holding it for the Superman/Batman movie. Knowing the industry as well, if Wonder Woman is not well received it will likely be at least 10 years before we see another female superhero.

Back over to Marvel, is that soon the Guardians of the Galaxy will be released (August), and the first trailers look rather promising. I find it exciting that we gt at least two interesting female characters. The first played by Zoe Saldana (who I loved in The Losers) is Gamora. She is described as the last of her race, a known solider and assassin with over a dozen counts of murder to her name! Second is played by Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who) who will be playing Nebula, a brutal space pirate and mercenary. Not only are these two ladies attractive, they are scary-fierce! I hope we see a good bit of them!

Last is the new 300 sequel, 300 Arise. I loved the first (especially since I had studied the Pass of Thermopylae in school) and honestly I am rather excited to see more in the same style. Even better is that it looks like we get two more strong ladies. The first is Lena Headey returning as Queen Gorgo. Opposite her is Eva Green as Artemisia, who seems to be the driving force behind threat to Sparta. Rather exciting is that these two are the top listed in IMDB, so hopefully that means we will be seeing a lot of them! If not I just hope this one is a fun to watch as the first!

To sum up my thoughts about Marvel versus DC comics, I found the picture below. While I love Batman and Batwoman, I find DC a bit slow and conservative. As far as movies go Marvel is winning hands down, but maybe DC will finally get their act together!

What do you guys think? Which movies/character are you most excited for?

Until next time,

Book Review: Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History without the Fairy-Tale Endings

Book Title: Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Author: Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Perhaps the best way to make sure that the fairy tale doesn’t become the expectation is to talk about real princesses and to stop turning their lives into fairy tales. Some real princesses were women who found themselves in circumstances they couldn’t control.”
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Final Verdict: A nice introduction to some of the interesting women who have held the title of Princess throughout the ages. A good book to read on holiday.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Book Review: Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)

Book Title: Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)
Author: Veronica Roth

“I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs. I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless. I am Divergent.”
Tris, Divergent by Veronica Roth

Final Verdict: If you like a strong-willed female lead that kicks some ass you’ll enjoy this book.

For the full review, click the name of the book.