Every month, I will do my best to read and review one book (non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.) from an up-and-coming author. These authors are often times my friends and fellow bloggers. If you would like for me to feature your book, please see my original post on the matter here: Now Offering: Book Reviews.
Book of July: Poems and Haikus
In the Author’s Note, BGC introduces her work as “personal thoughts, experiences or proses . . . [works that] reflect the human emotions by transforming words into feelings.” Following this train of thought, it is no surprise that BGC’s first poem is titled “A child’s life.” However, do not let the flower imagery at the beginning fool you. This first poem is filled with darkness, despair, and a desperate sense of wonder.
This book contains over 75 poems which topics range from: childhood memories, whimsical fiction, melancholy scenery, evolution, God, language, Christmas and more. The length of each poem differs from one another, while some are three lines and others are the length of an entire page. BGC also ranges from using free verse or rhymed stanzas.
Review & Star Rating
I would give this book of poetry two stars. Overall, it is a compilation of poems that do not necessarily work well together. Often times, my favorites poetry books are those that have a theme. While the poems should be different, a successful poetry book, in my opinion, should circle around a theme or idea. The separate pieces should form a whole. Additionally, there were multiple grammar and formatting issues that proved distracting from the poems.
Regardless of my above issues, BGC does have some good poems woven throughout the book. In particular, I enjoyed “Thoughts” and “United.” In the poem “Thoughts,” BGC illuminates the process through which thoughts transform into works of literature. “White sheets of paper / Filled with ink / Staining the journal / drop after drop.” Now, those are some great lines! I loved the imagery!
Other poems such as “A rat & a cat” and “A fur” were whimsical to the extreme and stuck out apart from the rest of the book in an odd way. All in all, my greatest wish is that the author had separated these many poems into certain themes or even sections within one book so as to highlight the unity of a singular idea.
For anyone who loves poetry, leaning more toward free-verse and train-of-thought, I am sure you could find enjoyment in various of BGC’s poems although you may have to sort through the different themes.
After getting some wonderful and insightful feedback from you amazing bloggers, I have decided to go forward with offering book reviews for up-and-coming authors.
Do You Want a Book Review of Your Debut Novel?
If you are a first-time author or beginning author, I would love to read your published works and give an honest review.
This offer is primarily available for your DEBUT novel, even if it was written a year ago.
Not a new author? Shoot me an email anyway and if my load is light, I’ll still consider reviewing your book!
This offer is only available for published works (sorry, but I’m not currently offering a BETA reader services).
Your book can be self-published or traditionally published.
I am more likely to select a book that is a print version as opposed to PDF or files (sorry, but my eyes can’t read a whole book on a screen guys, it hurts.)
I am interested in all types of genres except for horror, gore, and erotica.
The Way it Works:
If you are hoping that I will review your work, please go through my Contact page and send me:
Your name (author pen-name is also fine)
The title of your book, when it was published, the length of your book in word count, and what format (traditional, self, print, electronic, etc.)
A short blurb about your book
It is the author’s responsibility to send the book to me
The author assumes all shipping costs
I will do my best to review one new book per month. Depending on the volume of requests, you may have to wait a few months.
Please be aware, I will be giving an HONEST REVIEW. This means that I may not love your book. However, I will always do my best to be professional and courteous in my comments!
Whether or not I am interested in reviewing your book, I will respond to your inquiry. Please be patient with me 😀
I reserve the right to refuse any author and/or book based on personal preference. Please do not spam me with requests, it will only ensure that your emails get moved to my spam folder. It may take me a little while to get back to you, but I will get back to you.
If you intend to email me with a book request, feel free to drop me a comment below!
**********This Post DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS*********
The music of The Greatest Showman is half of its beauty! Yes the movie is wonderful, the plot is strong, and the characters are fantastic, but it is the music that people are most drawn to. Now, I cannot discuss every song in minute detail, otherwise you would all probably click away from this screen in seconds. So let’s just talk about three incredible songs (trying to cut it down to three was really difficult!)
This is one perfect example of some foreshadowing. The movie opens with a song that features stomps, claps, intense moments, and high energy. It seems like the perfect opening talking about triumph and delight. However, half way through the song we come across these words:
“It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you want to be . . .”
In the opening, the song cuts short here with just Hugh Jackman (Barnum) softly singing and repeating these lines to himself as the lights dim, the circus disappears and he is left alone in the dark. This moment foreshadows Barnum’s ultimate conundrum: choosing between his family and the circus.
Now the majority of this song is the repetitious phrase “never enough” which makes it seem like this song is talking about how Barnum can never get enough of the spotlight, never get enough of the praise, etc. And while that may be partly true, it’s important to take another look at the lyrics that lead up to that repetitious chorus.
“You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me
Cause darling without . . “
When we remember these lines, the song becomes more about the person that Barnum wants to share his world with (his wife). Ultimately, while he continues to grow in popularity, the further he gets from his wife, the less satisfied he is. Because without his wife, “it’ll never be enough.”
“This is Me” (You know I had to talk about this one)
This song is probably the most straightforward song out of the entire movie. “This is Me” is all about accepting who you are as a person and loving yourself for it! The scene in where they storm through the mob is seriously the definition of good cinema.
Well there you have it, just three songs from a musical in which every song is a hit! What was your favorite song and what do you think of my deductions about the lyrics?
After hearing so much about this movie, I was intrigued. Once my student told me I needed to see it, I decided to just go.
I was not disappointed.
The movie is a historical period drama musical staring Hugh Jackman as the famous P.T. Barnum, the instigator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The story opens on the circus at its height with Barnum as the ring-leader. The music is entertaining, starting with a stomp chorus that gets the blood pumping. Then all of the sudden, the lights, the colors fade leaving Barnum standing alone in the dark singing “It’s everything you ever want, It’s everything you ever need . . .” (Great moment of foreshadowing!)
Cue flashback to a young boy (our young Barnum) who is the son of a poor tailor. As a boy, he accompanies his father on his jobs. On one such job for the Hallet family (rich, white, snobby, first-class, cruel father), young Barnum meets young Charity (the daughter of Mr. Hallet). Naturally the two fall in love. The young actor and actress playing Young Barnum and Young Charity do a wonderful job with the sweet song “A Million Dreams.”
Time flies through the song as children grow into adults and marry (despite her family’s objections) and end up with two children of their own. When Barnum loses his job, he is inspired by a myriad of events to open up his own museum. The Barnum Wax museum, needless to say, it does not go well. However, when he listens to his adorable daughters who convince him that he needs something “alive” in his museum, his luck begins to turn.
Barnum begins collecting people who are “curious and abnormal” including: the African-American brother/sister duo acrobats, the dog-boy, the bearded lady, the tallest man alive, the heaviest man alive, and the smallest man alive.
Barnum is a success! At last, he can afford the large mansion and ballet lessons for his eldest daughter. At last, he is accepted into society. Except… he isn’t.
His “circus” brings joy and entertainment to some, and for others it brings out anger and hate. People protest the show and Barnum is not quite satisfied . . .
But I’ll leave the rest for you to see!
There have been mixed reviews of the musical. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average rating of 55%, and yet, 90% of audiences LOVED IT! That should give a pretty clear message. Perhaps “professional critics” have the right to critique what they see as baseless entertainment; however, this movie was not meant to be “highbrow.” Much like Barnum in the movie who must deal with highbrow critics demeaning his work, this movie is an entertaining delight for people who want to be delighted. The movie celebrates unique individuality and cautions against extreme hubris and insatiable desire for MORE.
Some critics have said that Barnum’s success comes too quickly. I thought that at first too, until I realized that this movie is NOT about his success, it is about his failures as a man, a ring leader, and a father. It is a movie, with a subtle warning, about what happens after success!
The first movie adaptation of the popular Hunger Games series premiered on March 23, 2012. Within three days the movie had hit record-breaking sales of over $155 million in North America alone and only continued to grow in popularity. While I will assume that most of you are already familiar with the book series and the movies, here is a brief set-up or reminder for those unaware.
The nation of Panem is what remains of North America after war, famine, floods, and other catastrophes. Nearly 80 years before our story begins, there was a war between two parties. The winners, known as The Capitol, punish the losers of the rebellion, the twelve districts through the spectacle the “Hunger Games”. Every year, each of the twelve districts must offer up one boy and one girl tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 to enter into a televised arena and fight to the death. When this novel/movie opens up, it is the 74th Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute to save her sister.
Now, let’s dive into our movie analysis!
Awesome New Additions – movies and books are inevitably different from one another, it cannot be helped. Sometimes directors add in scenes that make no sense or divert from the book’s essence. However, when it’s well done, additional scenes can truly help emphasize moments that were unavailable to the reader in the book.
For instance, the novel is narrated by Katniss Everdeen which means we only see the action from her perspective. However, in the movie we are granted additional view points:
Opening Scene between Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane: While the book opens up with Katniss waking up in District 12, the movie begins with a conversation between Seneca and Caesar. The two are on the Capitol’s favorite talk-show and they’re quite obviously excited for the reaping day. This is highly contrasted when Prim’s screams usher in the next scene starkly displaying the difference between those in the Capitol and those in the district.
Insights into the Capitol: Other additional scenes help to display this contrast and really give the viewers more insight into the Capitol than the books can. For instance, we see more of the Capitol citizens’s inhumanity. In one scene, there is a betting board, and in another scene two parents gift their male child a sword with which he chases his sister and then stabs his mother. These scenes focus on how natural these forms of entertainment have become to the Capitol citizens, and because we see these scenes through Haymtich’s eyes, we can see how despicable their ignorance truly is.
Haymitch Abernathy: Speaking of our favorite knife-wielding alcoholic . . . Although we may all come to know and love Haymitch eventually, we are given the opportunity to understand him far earlier within the movies. As soon as we arrive into the Capitol we see Haymitch’s disgust at the Capitol citizens, his pain at having to watch another two tributes die, and his desire to save at least one. Props to the director for giving us more Haymitch!
Conversations between Seneca Crane and President Snow: “Why do we have a winner? . . . Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. . . A spark is fine . . . Contain it.” Now yes, this scene was probably put in to foreshadow the future events, to play more with the image of fire, and give us earlier access to President Snow’s character. However, the themes within this scene are *extremely* important in my discussion of agency and power which I discuss in chapter three of my book.
Insights into the Districts: We have a few different moments in which we see those in District 12 watching Katniss on the screen or District 11 reacting to the screen in rebellion. These scenes greatly enhance our understanding of how Katniss’s actions are affecting others long before she understands it herself.
Annoying Changes: I loved the movie, but I had my own irritations.
No Madge: Seriously, how hard would it have been to add in a five second clip for devoted fans to meet Madge? Just a little cameo for our sakes??? Plus, as much as Greasy Sae liked Katniss, people in the Hob did not give things away for free. It was a fair bartering system and free, string-less gifts did not exist.
Cato and Glimmer are a thing?? : The first time I watched this, I didn’t catch it (I wasn’t as well-versed as I am now). Glimmer is the tribute from District 1 and while she was in the Career pack, Cato did not have a “thing” for her (although the movie portrays them very couple-y). In fact, Cato’s district partner was CLOVE and while Cato shows no romantic interest early on, he begs Clove to stay with him as she dies. Somewhere inside of Cato, he cared for another human being, he cared for Clove, not Glimmer! There was already a ‘love interest’ for Cato, so why change it to Glimmer? This is one of those changes that makes absolutely no positive difference.
“Wolf” Muttations: I use the term wolf because that is what they were supposed to be, however in the movie, these mutts look more like some weird bear-dog hybrid. In the books, Collins clearly depicts these wolf muttations as being clear representatives of the dead tributes (their fur matched their hair color and they wore colors inlaid with this district numbers); however, in the movie that is completely overlooked. The importance of these wolf/tribute muttations is more thoroughly examined in chapter three of my book, which makes me even more sad that they ignored this opportunity in the movie. They already had to use CGI, so why not use it correctly?
Scenes Worth Special Mention
Peeta and Ceaser “shower” scene – their banter was wonderful
Initial Bloodbath at the Cornucopia – they did it so well without having to up the rating on the movie
The house being blown apart just as the father was blown apart – representative of trauma in the home
So what did you think of the movie adaptation? Do you share my opinions? Do you disagree? Let’s chat in the comments below!
If you’ve been near a television lately you might have seen some commercials for a new suspense movie that recently came out called Murder on the Orient Express. In case you haven’t seen it yet, take a quick look at the trailer:
My first assumption from the trailer was that this movie was going to be a type of Clue-remake where we discover that it was the woman with the candle stick in the engine car type of thing. I was only partially correct. The movie does hinge on the question “Who done it?” but that is not the only thing this movie has going for it.
Our main character is Hercule Poirot, pronounces Her-cue (he clarifies this starting that he hasn’t killed any lions like the famous Hercules although some may miss the quick joke). A private detective with a particular eye for balance, Poirot boards the Orient Express hoping to get some rest in between cases. As we Writers already know, this is a movie, and if the protagonist wants something they should not get it, at least not easily. Indeed, an avalanche, a flirtatious woman, a scoundrel, unequal eggs, and a murder later, Poirot is feeling the completely opposite of rest! Although an extremely bright detective, this case alludes him for most of the movie. However, as the puzzle comes together, the answer seems more baffling than the journey. Poirot claims, “There is right. There is wrong. Then there is you.” After all, it’s all about finding the balance between good and evil, between right and wrong.
As this movie is still in theaters I have no desire to spoil it for anyone and so I will keep certain details to myself. Although, for anyone who has watched it I would love to have a conversation concerning the ending in the comment section. (please be aware that the comment section is a spoil alert zone so scroll at your own risk). Oh, did I mention that Daisy Ridley (best know for her portrayal of Rey in Star Wars) is also in this movie? It drove me crazy the entire time because I couldn’t place her face until the credits There are some interesting things going on concerning justice, revenge, race, and morality.
Before I end this review though, I would like to point out something that I did not know going into this movie. It is a remake, but not of Clue. It’s a remake of the 1974 movie which is an adaptation of the 1934 book written by Agatha Christie which is a fictional narrative concerning the true story of The Lindbergh Baby. Do the research at your own risk as it will spoil this movie for you.
Overall, the movie was paced well. The dry, yet quirky humor throughout was a nice break from the continued suspense of the movie. The ending was… different. Good, but different. About in hour in, I did make a prediction that was halfway correct, but only halfway. Be sure to keep your ears open or you’ll miss some important clues!
I would definitely watch this movie again and I suggest that you do too if “who-done-it” is your kind of film! Also, Kenneth Branagh who played Hercule Poirot did an excellent job both in acting and directing!
Warning: There are major spoilers for those who have not watched this movie.
After watching and loving the first Guardians of the Galaxy (rating it 5 out of 5), I decided to watch the second movie which I would have to rate as a 3.5 out of 5. Definitely worth the watch, but did not quite live up to the original (most sequels do not).
Baby Groot was most definitely the highlight of the movie.
A Brief Synopsis
The story line of this movie was ALL about family relationships. We have our main protagonist Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who finally gets to meet his long lost father (aptly named EGO [Kurt Russel]) who is actually a planet (celestial-type of consciousness) which has been able to generate a type of physical appearance. Confused yet?
In all fairness, it does make more sense as we move along. We also have Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who reconnects with her psychopathic, cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). There’s also an interesting father/son relationship happening between Peter Quill and his kidnapper/adoptive father Yondu (Michael Rooker).
Plus, we have some identity crises happening with both Yondu and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). With all these relational dramas, there’s already enough going on, but for some extra fighting scenes, there is also a planet filled with “Sovereigns” (golden, genetically-engineered people who think they are better than everyone else) who are constantly attempting to kill the Guardians because Rocket stole some of their special batteries.
The true climax of this movie hits while on the planet Ego. Gamora and Nebula discover a catacomb underneath the surface brimming with the skeletons of Ego’s children. You see, Ego has been traveling the universe, ahem, procreating with as many females as possible (including Peter’s mom) in order to find a child who would share his powers so that he could use their power in order consume the universe (ALL of the universe), but none of his children had enough power and so he killed them. To make Ego even more evil, he tells Peter that he is the one who put a brain tumor in Peter’s mom which ended up killing her.
As the Guardians attempt to stop Ego from destroying the world and the Sovereign attempt to destroy the Guardians, all Hell breaks loose. Of course, the Guardians succeed; however, not without causalities. In order to save Peter, who successfully kills Ego, Yandu sacrifices his own life. This scene is perhaps the most touching of the entire series; although, it is sometimes hard to reconcile this image of a lovely father with the same man who kidnapped and abused Peter through fear.
Apart from some great moments, the movie was a bit too cheesy (even for its genre). While it was entertaining, and I would watch it if it were on TV, I’m not sure I would buy it.
What did you guys think???
The Mythological Connection
I think the most interesting part of this movie to me was the father/son complications between Ego and Peter (ESPECIALLY because of all the god connotations floating around).
Greek mythology is overflowing with the fear of sons surpassing their fathers. Consider the beginning of Greek mythology in which Gai (mother earth) gives birth to Uranus who then grows and rapes her (yea, sorry, that’s Greek mythology). Gai then gives birth to the Titans. Among these Titans is the most famous one named Kronus (the father of the gods). Kronus or Cronus, wanting to be more powerful than his father, castrates Uranus and throws his genitals into the sea.
Cronus too has children of his own who he fears will surpass him and so, he decides to avoid the problem by consuming them.
However, this proves useless as Zeus eventually defeats his father and rescues his siblings who had been growing inside of Cronus’s body. Later on, the gods too begin to fear that the demi-gods will conquer them. It is a repeating cycle of sons surpassing their fathers in often violent ways.
Perhaps it is because I just recently finished a Mythology course that I could not help but to see this connection in this movie. While Ego considers himself to be a god, his son, the demi-god, Peter ultimately surpasses him by killing him with Groot’s help of course.
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the movie? Did you think it was as good as the first?
This review contains major spoilers for the movie Passengers which came out in 2016.
I highly suggest you watch the commercial first:
The Set-Up & the Turn
The film’s main protagonist are Jim Preston (Christ Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). The film opens with the starship Avalon transporting 5,000 hibernating passengers and 258 crew members across space toward Homestead II. Only 30 years into the 120 year journey, the starship encounters an asteroid field which damages part of its electronic systems, inadvertently causing Jim’s hibernation pod to malfunction. Jim awakes to find that he is entirely alone. Now this is where the film diverts from what the audience expects from the commercial.
In the commercial, we repeatedly see both Jim and Aurora awake, struggling to come to terms with what had happened to them. In fact, the trailer seems almost light-hearted at moments before it turns into fireballs and empty space. The turn in the commercial is echoed in the sharp turns in the movie. We do not even meet Aurora until about 40 minutes into the movie and she is still asleep in her pod. Before we meet her we get to see some really amazing acting on Chris Pratt’s part.
Depression & Suicidal Thoughts
That’s right: depression and suicidal thoughts. Jim Preston is awake for a year and eight week all alone for the first 40 minutes of the movie. He struggles to put himself back to sleep, to wake the crew, or to access the ships controls (all to no avail). His only companion is Arthur, a robotic bartender who has some sage advice at times and then quotes cliches. Jim tries to keep himself occupied but we slowly witness as he descends into depression and madness. During this time, he comes across Aurora still sleeping in her pod (sleeping beauty anyone?). He readers her file, learning that she is writer.
(Of course at this point I automatically fell in love with her character as well from one writer to another. One of her best quotes comes from a recorded video she made before boarding the Avalon in which she states, “I think we tell each other stories to know we’re not alone”)
Jim falls madly in love with Aurora and debates on waking her to end his own suffering.
Having decided that he will not wake up Aurora, Jim considers suicide. The above photo shows Jim considering to open the air lock with no space suit to protect him. His finger on the button, he considers ending it all, driven to insanity by his isolation and depression. Of course, if he had we would have no movie so he doesn’t and chooses to wake Aurora instead.
One of the best things, and most surprisingly things, this movie does is its depiction of morality. Even knowing it is wrong, knowing that he will be killing her, Jim wakes Aurora, desperate for human contact and smitten by her stories. When she awakes, Jim allows Aurora to think that her pod malfunctioned like his. She too struggles to come to terms with her situation, although she is helped along by Jim in adjusting.
Meanwhile, we the audience, are infuriated by Jim’s actions and yet also sympathetic to his suffering. We cannot help but to route for their romantic relationship, while at the same time, knowing that it cannot last and that Jim must pay for his actions. The two continue to grow closer together until Jim decides to propose. However, with such a huge secret between them, we the audience know that something is going to go wrong and it will go wrong soon.
And indeed, once Aurora learns the truth there is an intense scene where she physically beats Jim with her fists, stomps on his face with her foot, and nearly kills him with an axe.
There are some seriously dark moments within this film as Jim, Aurora, and the audience struggle with the moral implications and consequences of Jim’s actions. As Aurora says, “It’s murder!” He stole away her life by forcing her to live it out on the ship with only him. Just as these moral issues are climaxing, the movie takes another turn.
Chief Deck Officer Gus awakes as his pod too malfunctions. However, his pod’s malfunction is more severe as it causes Gus’s organs to fail and he quickly dies. His character was mainly introduced so that Jim and Aurora could later use his ID card which gives them access to previously restricted areas.
Jim and Aurora learn that one meteor was able to pierce the ship and cause malfunctions in the fusion reactor. Forced to work together to save not only themselves but the other 5,000+ people onboard, Jim and Aurora attempt to patch the hull. Due to a fire building up, Jim must go outside the ship in a spacesuit and manually open the doors (to let the fire escape) while Aurora pulls a switch from the inside. Realizing that Jim must stay outside holding the doors, Aurora forgives Jim, asking him to find another way. However, there is no other way.
Aurora pulls the switch and Jim manually holds open the doors (while attempting to cover himself a heat-shield). Although the tactic is successful in saving the ship, the fireball proves too much, throwing Jim out of the hull and into space, snapping his tether. Aurora quickly goes out to save Jim. By the time she has brought him back in and dragged him to the hospital wing, the autodoc (an electronic doctor/machine) tells Aurora that Jim is dead. Unwilling to accept this, Aurora forces the machine to perform multiple procedures that revive Jim. Reunited, Aurora forgives Jim for waking her and the two seem reconciled.
That’s not it.
Jim further investigates the autodoc, realizing that it can be used as a hibernation pod. However, there is only one: meaning that while Aurora can be put back to sleep, Jim will be alone. We are transported 90 years into the future as the crew awakes. They walk onto the main deck to discover their world of steel has been transformed into one of nature. There is a house and Aurora (through voice over) tells of her choice to remain with Jim and to live our their lives together. (He even built her a house!)
So a ton of people were unhappy with this ending. How could she forgive him? Would she really have made that choice? Was there another way? Even the director himself addressed these objections, stating that this was the only realistic ending. After going through so much together, Aurora would never have been able to leave Jim without hating herself later on. What do you think?? Be sure to comment below!!
Some Last Thoughts
There is a lot of interesting things being done in this movie with technology vs. nature (as can be seen in the picture above). The return to nature ultimately proves triumphant for our protagonists. What did you notice about these themes of morality, technology, and nature?
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