Friday, July 3, 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

Release Date: June 12, 2015 
Director: Colin Trevorrow 
Cast: 
Chris Pratt as Owen 
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire 
Ty Simpkins as Gray
Nick Robinson as Zach 

Review

Honestly, I wasn't going to watch this movie in theaters. While I loved Jurassic Park and liked the next two sequels well enough, I wasn't as interested in seeing Jurassic World in theaters. Seeing it on DVD would have sufficed because Hollywood, in my opinion, is just making sequels left and right because they've got no new ideas BUT my younger brother wanted to see this movie and my parents didn't want him to go alone. So, I bought the popcorn (we all know that movie theater popcorn is the best EVER) and the drinks and sat down to be sorely disappointed. And now I'm here today to tell you guys that I actually enjoyed the movie!

I read in some review of the movie that this movie was the closet to an actual sequel Jurassic Park has actually had and after seeing Jurassic Park yesterday, I have to agree. The one thing that review (I'll see if I can find it) and I agreed on completely was that the best part of this entire movie was the actual park itself. In JP, John Hammond's dream was to see the park and in JW, that dream was achieved. The amazing arial views, the attractions, and the CGI were absolutely amazing in showing how Hammond's dream would look in reality. Frankly, I LOVED the world and yes, I realize that it's not realistic in any way, I couldn't help but want to go to Jurassic World. Obviously without the killer dinosaur on the loose but still.

But I found some things to be problematic. First of all, JW wasn't a science fiction movie at all. While it dabbled in science and paleontology, it only touched the surface and I honestly wanted more science. But I could have put that aside--the Indominus rex is a newly minted dinosaur--to enjoy this movie but as a die hard fan of Jurassic Park, I couldn't help but want more science.

Second, the idea that to keep people coming back to Jurassic World the people would need to unveil new attraction to the park and in this case, a new dinosaur, was ridiculous. This is a park with dinosaurs. You think people won't keep coming back? I think the money hungry, corporate sponsorship chasers of this movie made me apathetic to what happens to the people.

And I should talk about the people because in all honestly, I kinda liked them. Ty Simpkins as Gray and Nick Robinson as Zach were excellent at portraying their characters: Simpkins as the younger sibling that loves the dinosaurs and wants to explore everything and Robinson as the older, "I'm too cool to be here so I'm just going to stare at all the teenage girls here because I'm a teenage boy and that's what we do." Simpkins was my favorite character along with Chris Pratt's Owen while Robinson's character annoyed me to no end. He went somewhere people would do just about anything to go to and he almost wasted it.

As I said, Chris Pratt's Owen, the charismatic, ex-military hero of the movie (the Dr. Alan Grant of this movie) with a side of comic relief was one of my favorites overall. He was adorable and it seemed to be the only one who had a brain--he wasn't too keen about the fact that the scientist at JW went and created a whole new dinosaur--made this movie a lot more fun. Bryce Dallas Howard's character Claire (Gray and Zach's aunt who they come to see in this movie) is the woman running JW and I kinda liked her character. She was a little too cold, snippy, and blind for my liking. It's not that I have anything against strong female characters but I kinda wished she'd evacuated the people of the island before the new dinosaur could hurt any more people. It's not like the park was going to be re-opened after the Indominus rex got out. However, I should mention that I LOVE Jake Johnson's Lowery; he's kind of the tech geek making sure the park is safe and he was absolutely adorable.

Overall, I liked Jurassic World as an entertaining movie with amazing visuals, some compelling characters but not much else. While it can't live up to its predecessor Jurassic Park, I think that if you're out looking for something fun to watch, Jurassic World is a great choice. Like I said, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie but of course there were a few problems. Of course I'm probably being super tough on this movie and there are plenty of people who love it (just look at how week it's doing at the box-office) but it was more of a mediocre movie for me. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mini-Review: Just Like Heaven and The Husband Hunt

           Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #1
Release Date: May 31, 2011 
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
Source: Library  
Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) not in love with her older brother's best friend
D) all of the above

Marcus Holroyd is:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) all of the above

Together they:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love

It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is ...
D) all of the above
Okay, if there is one type of romance I LOVE it's when someone falls of their sibling's friend. Like, they've known each other since they were kids and there was no love between them until they meet when they're older and fall in love and it is the BEST THING EVER. So obviously I really enjoyed this novel! ALSO: in this novel Marcus ends up getting sick because of something Honoria did by accident and she has to nurse him back to health and  I really like it when that happens in romance novels.

But anyways! I loved Honoria. She's smart and kind and weird and also really sad. After her bother left, she and her family had to deal with the same and the lack of a male figure in a family. While I'm all about women empowerment, back in those times, it would be hard for women to do without at least a man around. This has also hurt Honoria's abilities to land herself a husband--that and for some reason, any man she gets involved with suddenly backs away--and that's where this novel begins. From the start, we know that Honoria's in love with Marcus and it's obvious that Marcus likes her too so its only a wonder as to why he won't act on it.

As I said above, I love that this novel has a plot line where Marcus gets sick and Honoria has--well, she wants to--take care of him and make him better. This is the part of the novel that made me so happy. They both start to realize they have feelings for each other and when everything seems perfect, a new revelation surfaces (but the readers know this revelation already; much of this story is told through dual point of view) that forces Honoria to rethink everything that happened between them. Frankly, I loved Marcus as much as I loved Honoria. He's loyal to boot to Daniel and has always looked after Daniel's family. They're both such wonderful characters that I honestly want to reread this book already.

This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues.

There's something about this cover that I love. It might be the simplicity or the colors or something else entirely but I love it.

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           The Husband Hunt by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #3
Release Date: February 28, 2012 
Publisher: Avon 
Source: Library 
Let the hunt begin…

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was—even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly…charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it’s Robert who comes to the rescue…only to announce his affections are not of the romantic variety!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents’ union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he’ll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can give in to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks threatening to destroy them both.
I was so hoping to like this book! It sounded so good from the description--being in love with a man who doesn't love you and when you try to find someone else, low and behold your unrequited love...loves you back! Honestly, this book had all of the most amazing aspects I love about a good romance but sadly, The Husband Hunt was a huge disappointment.

Instead of being charming, Lisa Madison was a spoiled, ridiculous, and annoying character who I didn't care for at all. As you can tell from the summary, she intends to make Robert Langley her husband but when it continues to rebuff her as he has for years, Lisa decides to find someone else for her. So then begins the husband hunt that the title refers to. And just when I think she's going to be smart and strong, Lisa gets herself into the worst situation possible because she was too stubborn to listen to her sisters; she's always right after all. Now, this situation could have gone terribly, terribly wrong but instead, Robert Langley comes to the rescue. Here Lisa forgets that she's going to move on from him and decides to spend the rest of the novel (about 80%) trying to seduce Robert. Basically, this entire novel was annoying. I read it within hours because I always hoped that something good would come from it.

However, I do plan on reading the first two books of this series because I feel as though Lisa's sisters will be a lot more level headed, stronger, and well, less annoying then her. Lynsay Sands writing was fun and light and I think if the characters were lovable, I would love her books. But the writing wasn't enough to say this book for me though.
Y'all I can't recommend this book to anyone. Nope, can't do it. I didn't have fun reading this one so I don't want anyone else to have to go through with the annoyingness that is Lisa.
If there's anything about romance covers is that they're basically all the same. So there's not much I can say about the cover. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 
Hey y'all! I hope everyone is having a good day! In an attempt to become a little bit more organized and see what my reading habits look like, I'm going to be doing the "It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" recap posts hosted by Book Journey every Monday! 



I read these three before last week but I thought I'd feature them just the same! I have yet to review any of these novels but I'm excited to put my thoughts down.
This past week--and maybe this entire summer-has been a reread season! My younger brother isn't the biggest reader but he LOVE The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Chima Williams. He'd reread this series numerous times and when he began another read this past week, I decided to join in! I've read the first three books on my blog (click the images to read my reviews!)

 
I have slowly been making progress with Froi of the Exiles! I'm absolutely in love with this series and I'm so mad at myself for reading it so late in the Game. I'm finishing my reread of the Seven Realms tonight (I'm writing this post up on Sunday night) and even know I know the ending, I don't think I'm ready for it! I'm going to have my review up some time next week to finish off this series! 
 
These two are for my new Among the Shelves feature! 

Finishing off this series hopefully! And I'm too much of a mood-reader to make plans farther out than this! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Among the Shelves: Introduction

Original image belongs to Disney of course! License here
To say that I am super excited for this new feature would be an understatement! In an attempt to control my TBR, find new books to read and utilize my personal and public library more, and just become even more well rounded reader, I've come up with a way for me to do so! 

Ever week, I've decided that I'm going to pick a book that I haven't read from my personal library, read it and review it for you guys! I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I'm really, really excited to see what I come up with. However, there are going to be some...criteria from which I get my books:

1) All books chosen have to be RANDOMLY chosen. None of these books can be ones I've read before. Basically I'm going to scour the shelves to find a book that looks interesting, read the synopsis and if my mood strikes it, I'll pick it up! 

2) I know pretty much all of the books I own (at least I think I do...this could very well not be the case because I have the world's worst memory) so I'm going to make this as random as possible! 

3) Choose two books per week in case 1) I finish the book and 2) I'm not liking that books 

4) Go with my gut on any books I choose. I want this to be as fun as possible.  

I'm really, really excited about this new feature and I can't wait to see what books I find. I think that with so many new books coming out everyday, we lose track of some of the older books that have been around for a lot longer. 

How this is going to work: 

Every Sunday I'm going to pick two books from either my personal library or public library. I'm very fortunate that my public library have e-books to check out so I don't actually have to go to the library which helps tremendously. 

I'm going to start doing "Hey, it's Monday! What are you reading?" posts again and both books will be featured on that post. 

Friday and/or Saturday will be when my reviews will be posted for the books! Other reviews, discussions, features and memes will be posted Monday-Thursday! 

So for this week, I've got these two books: 

I have no idea if I'm going to like either but I've had them on my shelves FOR EVER! If I end up reading both, I'll have the reviews next week! 

So, what do you all think? Does this sound like a good feature? I'm really excited to show case some older books on this blog and I hope you're excited to be a part of this ride!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

DNF Mini-Reviews: Kissing Ted Callahan and Wrong About The Guy

*I received a finished copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor my review.*

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Poppy 
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
 Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

I've only read one book by Amy Spalding (read my review Ink is Thicker Than Water) and I really enjoyed it. When it came to Kissing Ted Callahan, on the other hand, I have no idea what went wrong. I don't even know how far I got in the book before I gave up on it. I think the discretion made it sound too good to be true. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Easy A together in one book? Could it get any better than that? Yes, actually it could. I guess what I really did not enjoy was the fact that both Riley and Reid sounded very childish. I understand that they are sixteen so they aren't that old but really, I think this book wasn't geared for me. I didn't get too far into the book to actually talk about the plot in more detail so I'll just leave this here. 

Foe 
Now, I'm not enemies with this book. I didn't hate it or love it. So don't take the foe rating as I hated it. I know this worked for some people but it just wasn't for me. I think it was a little bit too middle grade for me (but the characters weren't). 
I think this cover is too simple and generic and I don't really like it. It looks so childish. 

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*I received a unsolicited finished copy from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor my review*
Release Date: April 21,  2015
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Source: Publisher 
Ellie Withers is definitely not spoiled… so she wishes that George Nussbaum would stop implying that she is. It’s not her fault that her stepfather became a TV star and now they live in a big house and people fawn over her wherever she goes. She doesn’t even like being fawned over. Fortunately, her two closest friends understand her a lot better than George: Heather Smith loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and handsome Aaron Marquand has a father who’s just as famous.

With Aaron back in town and very much in her life, Ellie feels like things are just fine…or would be if her mother hadn’t hired George to tutor her. George has a habit of making Ellie feel a little less sure of herself, a little less on top of the world, a little less right about everything. Why does he always make her feel like she could be a better person than she is?

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all…and whether it’s possible—or even likely—that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expected.
Where do I even begin with this book? I don't remember what page I stopped at but there were a few things that really bothered me. For one, the first line of the description says "Ellie Withers is definitely not spoiled..." but this has to be the biggest lie about this book. Since she's studying for the SATs, I'm assuming she's a junior (if I remember correctly, she was going to being junior year) but I'm not too sure. Anyways, Ellie is most definitely spoiled. Even if she wasn't born with a lot of money, once she does have the money, and when she's the only child, she makes sure that everything is about her. It was so frustrating reading this book and trying to care about her and want to keep reading on. 

Also, this is a re-telling of Emma by Jane Austen. Emma might not be my most favorite Austen book but I still enjoy reading it. Emma is far more endearing than Ellie could ever be. I can't say much about what kind of re-telling it was as I didn't finish the book to find out but I wasn't a big fan of the other characters. Overall, I didn't enjoy this book to continue so I had to leave it be. 
Foe 
Like I said with the review above, Foe is the lowest rating I could give it. I didn't hate this book and we're not really foes. I just DNF'd the book because I couldn't stand the main character. I know this probably works for some people but alas, for me it wasn't. 
Oh man this cover is bad. It's so generic and boring and what does this have anything to do with anything?