Sunday, June 10, 2018

Real Talk With The B.O.B.

Hello there!

I'm warning you right now, this is not my usual style of post. Things get serious.
Yeah, I know, I never do that.

Okay, so as of right now I don't have any reviews of five star books or any broadway shows, but I promise that's coming soon.
Right now, all of my time has been consumed with my summer assignment homework. This includes analyzing a book chapter by chapter, which I have no problem with, except when it's Neil Shubin.
Neil Shubin is going to get a lot of flaque when I review his book (it's called Your Inner Fish and I suggest that you do not read it).

Anyway, Your Inner Fish is not the subject of today's dissection (heh...biology jokes), but Mr.Ricky Riordan is.


I do but...
This is too painful. Let's just get to the review.

The Dark Prophecy
by Rick Riordan

Year of Publishing: 2017
Publishing House: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Age: Late Elementary and Up
Short/Long Read: You have to push yourself to keep reading this book, so a couple weeks.
Rating Out Of Five: 2/5 Stars

The whole Percy Jackson fandom is coming at me like this because I gave this book two stars:

However, I stand by my opinion. The Hidden Oracle, the book that preceded this book, was significantly better. I even gave it four stars.
The only two things I ask from the writers of the books I read are:
1. A decent book that isn't your stereotypical middle grade "kid finds his/her powers that he/she didn't know he/she had" book.
2. Consistency in the quality of the books you write if you're writing a series.
It's about quality not quantity, and at this point, Mr. Riordan is milking it.

milk•ing it
The act of drawing out a series of something (books, movies, etc.) for the sake of making more money or establishing a larger fan base. But mostly for money.
"Wow, I just saw Solo. Disney's really milking it."

Yep. Disney just got shade in definition form.

Anyway, I can respect Mr.Riordan for trying to make a living for his family. There is no crime in that. But here's the thing:
No one writes to make money.
We write to tell wonderful stories and share our thoughts and create a magic that cannot be replicated in any other form.
We write because we love to write, and people read it because they love to read. And it means something to someone, no matter how small your book franchise is.

And I realize that I'm making a very bold statement for a blog post, but here's the thing. Many books are drawn out for the sake of it, and the quality continually decreases as the series goes on. The only instance I have not seen this happen is Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities series. The series is what? Six books in (seven, eight, and nine are coming out soon--super excited!), and the quality is still as good as the first book, if not, then it's gotten better. I have the utmost respect for that.
Sadly, the quality of this book dropped significantly.
I'd like to give Mr.Riordan the benefit of the doubt and say that I've outgrown his books, but I went back and read Mark of Athena and The Lightning Thief (some of my favorite books of his), and the magic was there for those books and those books were and will always be great.
Here are my main problems with it:
  • Apollo turned into a knock-off Percy in this book. And that's a horribly rude thing of me to say, but it's the truth. It's like in the writing process someone realized Apollo was too much like Percy and decided to change things about Apollo and it ended very badly.
  • I had to force myself to finish this book. Like I had to with Mockingjay. That is not good at all.
  • The character development wasn't very thought out. We get the same patterns of Meg from the first book, and Calypso (the person who should be getting development) was completely ignored.
  • The villains were badly written. In Riordan's other books, his villains have actual motive, and not just the "I want to rule the world for no apparent reason" cliche. I really appreciated that. And I lost that in this book.
Here's why it didn't get one star:
  • Emmie and Josephine (the book world's favorite--and only--married, retired Hunters of Artemis). They make the book.
I am really sad with this milked book. I wish it weren't this way, but I have fallen out of love with the new Riordan books and I will not be reading The Burning Maze, which came out last month.
However, I still love the old books of Mr.Riordan, and I do encourage you to read those.

Have a great week everyone!

Featured Gifs: A Very Potter Musical/A Very Potter Sequel

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Not Today, Norbert, Not Today **sniffles**

It's summer time! That means I actually have time to do things!
I know...

Concerned Reader That Doesn't Exist: "So what were you doing over the year?"

Bout that...
So the last time I checked in on this blog, I was...
**page flipping**
Short films?
Musicals?'s been a while.

Anyway, I've been a little more invested in school lately, specifically my school's theatre program. So I might be reviewing some shows I've seen/discovered since I've become a more involved theatre kid.
And when people tell you that you won't have time to read in school when you get older...
They're right. They're entirely right.

Middle School Me: "I'll make time!"
Me (Now): "No, no you won't. That's actually scientifically impossible."

I barely had time to read my school books.
But it's summer! So here's a book review!

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions
by Daniel Wallace

Year of Publishing: 1998
Publishing House: Pandher Books
Genre: Fiction (Realistic)
Age: Actually Anyone
Short/Long Read: Short read, about a week. You'll want to fully take in every moment of this book, however. It took me a month to read.
Rating Out Of Five: 5/5 Stars

Lately, I've been able to walk into the YA and teen section and summarize every book in there with one sentence. My opinions on books have started to change (more on this later).
But this book is different.
I think I told y'all that Love and First Sight was my favorite book.
Sorry, you've been replaced.
And this book will never be replaced.
Now, I was doing the show adaptation of this book when I read it, so this book holds a special place in my heart. The story of Edward Bloom is one of the most well crafted beautiful stories on the planet. The story grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me in.
Big Fish has one of the weirdest formatting of any book I've ever read. But it's still amazing the way Daniel Wallace did it. You get little tidbits of Edward's life and Will's life (Will is his son) in each chapter, and it feels like an actual person is telling you the story of their father. I thought the story of Edward Bloom was based on an actual person until (sadly) I read in the back of the book that he wasn't. But it all seems so real.
This book has an indescribable magic that makes you feel like a kid again.
I want to read this book to my kids. I have never said that in my entire life because kids wasn't even a thought in my mind until I read this book.
I cried within the first chapter.
Daniel Wallace's language and word choice are completely beautiful, and Edwards struggle for love is down to Earth.
This book will make you cry as you watch Edward's life unravel and come to a close, and as you watch his son desperately grasp onto what is left of his father. This book is incredibly amazing, and I highly recommend it.

I also recommend listening to the soundtrack of the musical based on the book, which also brought me to tears every night I performed it. (Norbert Leo Butz is amazing omg)
And now, that little thing I said I would get back to:
I will be reviewing my five star books because I don't believe I have the same opinion on them any more. If some of their new reviews aren't five stars, they'll be off the list that's to the right.
That's all. :)
Have a great week!
Movie of the Week: Big Fish (Movie)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The One Time I Was Satisfied With A School Book.

So, my opinion of school required books is usually pretty bad. I mean, both of my flop posts were school required books. Last year I did a review of one of our required books, The Outsiders, so I decided to keep it going.
We only had one required book this year, so here it is:

By Elie Wiesel

Year of Publishing: 1958
Publishing House: Hill and Wang
Genre: Nonfiction
Age: Literally Anyone 13 and Up
Short/Long Read: It is a very short book; you could probably read it in a day if you wanted to. However, I suggest reading it over a much longer period of time, at least a week. If you're feeling like it, annotate it. I promise it will help with your understanding of the book (there are a lot of double meanings).
Rating Out Of Five: 5/5 Stars

I'd like to preface this review by informing you (if you didn't already know) is a documentation of Elie Wiesel's experience during the Holocaust. Real events are written about in this book.

The greatest thing about Night is that it really makes you think. My language arts class would end up talking about a specific line and its meaning for a good amount of time (which is a good thing because they were very good conversations). You could read something and think it meant one thing, but unless you thought about it, you wouldn't get the real meaning.
Another thing, Elie Wiesel is able to pack a punch in one line that could make you cry or completely change your perspective on life.
Here's one of the most impactful quotes I remember:

“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked...
For more than half an hour [the child in the noose] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. . . .”

I know that school required books can be a pain for students, especially with annotations and assignments for the book, but Night made the experience enjoyable. I have no critiques or complaints for this book. The next time you're at a book store, I suggest that you grab this book.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

"It Was Just Ok, Dog."

I'm sorry for skipping last week, I was very very swamped.
(Ok, this is probably the tenth time I've used The Princess Bride gifs. I'll stop.)

Anyway, this week's book is a book I've heard a lot about, and it was mostly positive. You could probably go around my school and ask all the girls if they've read this and they'd all be like: "OMG YES! I LOVE THAT BOOK!"
Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. But I paid three dollars for it so I kind of had to read it.
And no. That's not a typo. I got it at Plato's Closet in surprisingly good condition.
So here is that book:

To All The Boys I've Loved Before
By Jenny Han

Lara Jean's life depends on a hat box. It's a hat box filled with letters to all the boys she's loved before, in an attempt to get over those boys. And when that hatbox disappears and all of the letters are sent out, Lara Jean's life falls apart. Peter Kavinsky is more than just an acquaintance, Josh and Lara Jean's friendship is destroyed, and now the whole school's talking about her. And not to mention, Lara Jean's older sister, who held the Song's house together is off at college. Will Lara Jean be able to pull things together, or will the letters ruin the rest of highschool?

Year of Publishing: 2014
Publishing House: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
Age: Teen/Middle School
Short/Long Read: It was a long read for me. It took me a little over two weeks.
Rating Out Of Five: 2.5/5 (Two and a Half Stars)

"It was just ok, dog."
-Randy Jackson (That Judge From American Idol)

I was reading this, and I was expecting it to become my favorite book, and it turned out to be just average. And yes, I did read Love and First Sight (last week's book) directly before this one, so that's probably why I didn't like this book all that much. The major problem I have with this is that it really isn't realistic. The letter situation isn't realistic really, and it is a fiction book, so I'll let that slide. However, it is a realistic fiction book, so you would think that the relationships between the characters and the way Lara Jean reacts and deals with her situation would be realistic, but it's not. 
For example:
When Lara Jean tells Josh that Peter is her boyfriend, she runs up to Peter and straight up kisses him. That is against the rules in school, and you can get in serious trouble for that.

Lara Jean's character in general is just not similar to any high school junior on the planet. I have never met a high school girl who scrapbooks and volunteers at retirement homes and randomly kisses a guy in front of a bunch of people at school. That just doesn't happen.

The last thing that I didn't enjoy about Lara Jean:
She didn't really have any motive. At the beginning of the book, she is concerned about fixing the problem with the letters, but the rest of the book she spends farting around with Peter. I never really know what drives our main character, which should always be present in a book and the reader should always know.

I am definitely going to give Jenny Han's books another chance because I have heard that pretty much all of her books are awesome, so The Summer I Turned Pretty is on my To Read List, but as of right now Jenny Han is a decent author.

That's pretty much it! I do realize a lot of people love this book, so if you have heard from people that they like it, I'm not discouraging you from reading it because everyone has a different taste in books.

Have a great day!