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text 2014-08-01 22:57
July Wrap-Up

I read 15 books this month!  Here's the run down:

 

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden: A young adult paranormal with vampires, but very un-Twilight like.  Review. 

 

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson: A historical mystery set in the Marshalsea gaol. Review. 

 

Echoes by Michael Bray:  The Second Book in the Whispers trilogy, horror/ thriller. Review

 

Six Million Accusers: Catching Adolf Eichman by D. Lawrence Young:  A historical documentary novel about the Mosad catching a Nazi war criminal set in post WWII. Review

 

Prisoner of the Queen by Eliza Knight:  Historical fiction set in the Tudor Court about Katherine Gray, sister to Jane Gray. Review.

 

The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty:  A heavy historical thriller set in WWII era Prague. Review. 

 

Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard: A modern re-telling of The Phantom of the Opera set in the ballet world. Review.

 

Changeless by Gail Carriger:   The second book in the Parasol Protectorate series, a fun steampunk, paranormal romance.  Review. 

 

Birds of the Nile by N.E. David: Contemporary, literary fiction the combined the political issues in Egypt and ornithology. Review

 

The Lost Catacomb by Shifra Hochberg:  A historical dual-time story about a lost treasure, family secrets and Vatican conspiracy. Review. 

 

Schasm and Fissure Free by Shari J. Ryan: The first two books in the Schasm series, a new adult, fantasy, psychological thriller series about a young woman who can live in her dreams. Schasm review, Fissure Review. 

 

A Triple Knot by Emma Campion: Historical Fiction about Joan of Kent, who was eventually the wife of Edward the Black Prince.  Review.

 

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell: Contemporary family drama dealing with many different issues.  Review

 

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Young adult gothic thriller, about a young boy and girl who find themselves in an incredible adventure. Review. 

 

Wow, a great reading month!  My favorite read by far was Marina, other top reads were the Schasm series, Casquette Girls and Prisoner of the Queen.  Not so favorite read was The Bone Church.  

 

Did you enjoy any of these books or are you looking forward to reading any of these books?

 

 

 

 

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text 2014-08-01 17:52
Book to Movie Review: The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

 

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The Lucky One is about a man named Logan Thibault (pronounced T-Bow) who served 3 tours in Iraq and during an air raid he found a picture of a girl that became his lucky charm. In order to thank this woman (named Beth) for saving his life he walks across country all the way to find her with his german shepherd, Zeus. Beth and her Nana run a dog kennel, training, and grooming business and when Logan finds her he answers a Wanted Ad to work for the business. He's having a hard time finding the right way to thank her so she doesn't know the real reason he came. Before they know it they begin to fall in love...

 

I have already read this a few years ago and wanted to reread it in July. I fell back in the love with the story (as is always happens when rereading a Nicholas Sparks book) and wanted to rewatch the movie again as well to compare the two. There are definitely a lot of minor changes from book to movie that I felt like discussing. I like both the book and the movie (although of course I like the book better) and understand the changes needed to happen to put the pages on to the big screen - I just felt like discussing it because having just reread the book and almost immediately after rewatch the movie - a lot of the changes stuck out to me. I wanted to first discuss some of the characters and the actors that played them.

 

Characters/Actors

 

Logan Thibault (played by Zac Efron)

 

http://schmoesknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Zac-Efron-in-The-Lucky-One-movie-stills-07.jpg

 

I definitely pictured Logan to be a bit older but I think Efron did a pretty good job at portraying Logan. I will admit he was a bit awkward at times delivering his lines (mostly with Beth) but he was really good with the dog, Zues and especially with Beth's son Ben.

 

Beth Green (played by Taylor Schilling)

 

 

I love this actress - I used to watch a show called Mercy that sadly got cancelled after one season (and left you at a major cliff hanger UGH) and of course nowadays she's most known for playing Piper in Orange is the New Black (which is an awesome show with lots of mature content FYI) so I was happy to see her get a lead role in a Nicholas Sparks adaption. I thought she played Beth really well - she definitely brought her to life! I think my only issue was I just wish that the two main actors looked better together. I think with an older actor playing Logan - I would have believed their chemistry more. The characters in the book are about 29 years old, so I think it would have fit better. I do like both of these actor separately, but they didn't work for me as a couple. Although I don't think they did too bad of a job regardless!

 

Nana (played by Blythe Danner)

 

 

 

She was the perfect Nana! Definitely my favorite character from the movie! She might not have been as quirky as the character in the book, but she had the perfect essence of Nana and a loving and supportive grandmother to Beth. She was funny and just wonderful!

 

Keith Clayton (played by Jay R. Ferguson)

 

 

This actor was definitely a good villiian and I think he portrayed the character well - he was arrogant and a complete jerk like he is in the book. However they didn't really flesh out his character very much, he plays a bigger role in the book. He's definitely even more of a jerk in the book as well and doesn't have as good a relationship with his son. With that said, I think for the movie he worked well

 

Ben (played by Riley Thomas Stewart)

 

 

He was definitely a cute kid and a good Ben! I really liked how in the movie the character actually does play the violin and pretty good whereas in the book he is only thinking about playing it. The way him and Zac (Logan) play together at the church was cute and how Logan gave Ben the confidence to play - that was perfect!

 

*******************************

 

Overall I really liked the actors and thought they did a great job at portraying the characters in the book. Now I wanted to discuss a few changes I noticed from book to movie (that I didn't already discuss with the characters):

 

1. Beth's brother, Drake: The storyline was pretty much the same (how Beth and him were close, what he meant to the family..etc) Except they gave the character more closure in the movie. Which I thought was done really well and added something special with the movie.

(How in the movie, Logan knew Drake as "Aces" and he said he knew what happened with him in the war, how he died by trying to save a fellow marine. This is not mentioned in the book, we don't find out how he died and don't get closure with him in the book except that the family already has some closure with what happened)

(spoiler show)

 

2. Victor (Logan's friend in the war): He played a bigger part in the book but they did a good job of mentioning him and showing a scene with him and Logan during the war  and showing what he meant to Logan and how he was part of the mission to find Beth

(However in the book, Victor explained to Logan that it was his destiny to find this woman and thank her for his life. Logan wasn't convinced and didn't want to come across as a crazy person. But when Victor actually died (in the book) in a boat accident that convinces Logan to fulfill his destiny and his best friends last wish)

(spoiler show)

 

3. The boat: In the movie, there's this boat that Beth takes Logan to and says that it doesn't work and then Logan gets it to work. And that scene happens at the end with the boat

(In the book - there is no boat or romantic scene at the end with them together on the boat but I thought this added a good element to the movie and it was romantic)

(spoiler show)

 

4. The picture of Beth: In the movie it's a picture of her with a lighthouse in the background. But in the book it's a ferris wheel in the background with 3 pine trees. (that's why the cover is the way it is) But I think it makes sense that it's easier for Logan to track down a lighthouse to find Beth rather than a ferris wheel. But I liked that symbol in the book and that scene in the book where she's describing when the picture is taken and how the cover resembles exactly that. I was hoping for a fair/carnival scene in both the book and movie though. Also speaking of the picture, in the book Logan always carries it with him but in the movie he hides it in his house

(but this makes sense since Keith goes into his house to search for something after learning from a friend that Logan was showing the pic around to find Beth and finds the picture to tell Beth instead of whereas in the book he's searching for a camera that is not mentioned in the movie at all)

(spoiler show)

And also about the picture, in the book Logan gives the picture to Ben to keep him safe but in the movie he gives him a dog tag. Which still made sense and went along with the movie perfectly.

 

 

5. The ending: The ending in the book and movie aren't completely different but there is a pretty big change. (In the book:

when Ben is in the river and his dad Keith is having a hard time getting to Ben and becomes injured - Beth breaks bones in her foot trying to run to the treehouse where Ben is, and Logan tries to save Ben (as his destiny, the real reason he came) he gets caught up with Keith because Keith is trying to hold onto him and Zeus the dog actually saves Ben. It isn't mentioned what happens with either Keith or Logan until the epilogue. In the epilogue it's revealed that Beth gives flowers to Keith's and her brothers grave site. And it ends with her coming home to Logan. In the book, Keith wasn't really held so much as a hero as he is in the movie.

(spoiler show)

(In the movie

Keith is holding onto his son and Logan saves Ben and then the tree house collapses on Keith and kills him. Although it doesn't make sense why he couldn't try and swim back or Logan didn't try to save him still when the treehouse collapsed - maybe he was just knocked unconscious?

(spoiler show)

So to me both endings have their flaws. Also the ending is drawn out in the movie but I thought it worked well.

 

****************************************

 

There were definitely some other changes from book to movie but I'm just going to leave it as those 5 that I wanted to specifically discuss. Overall I really liked the cast and the movie  and the changes they made. I thought it was a good adaption but the book definitely delves a bit deeper. The movie captured the overall essence and message of the book! It is not my favorite adaptation by any means, but it was a pretty good one! If you haven't read the book, I think you should definitely read it of course- and also watch the movie :)

 

***************************

 

Have you read the Lucky One? And/or watched the movie? What did you think? What is your favorite Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation? Or favorite adaption of a book?

 

 

 

 

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text 2014-08-01 13:35
July 2014 Reads

 

Here we are again with the monthly roundup of what  read in July. Most of them were ARC's but that should change next month and I can go to reading what I want and feel like, for a while anyways :)

All the release dates and buy links should be in the reviews of the books which I will link as always;) 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe 

 

 

 

4 ½ ★

You can find my full review here

 

The Firefighter's Appeal by Elizabeth Otto

 

 

 

 

4 ½★

You can find my full review here 

 

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

 

 

 

3 ½★

You can find my review here

 

 

 

Isis, Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My! By Janis Hill

 

 

 

1 ½★

You can find my review here

 

 

Fool's Assassin by  Robin Hobb

 

 

 

3 ½ ★

You can find my review here

 

Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

 

 

4 ★

You can find my review here

 

Amity by Micol Ostow

 

 

 

3 ★

You can find my review here 

 

Rising Tide: Dark Innocence by Claudette Melanson

 

 

 

4 ½ ★

You can find my review here

 

Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris 

 

 

 

4 ★

You can find my review here 

 

The Arrow by Monica McCarty 

 

 

 

3★

You can find my review here

 

The Circle by K.M. Montemayor

 

 

 

3 ★

You can find my review here

 

So I Married a Werewolf by Kristin Miller

 

 

 

4★

You can find my review here

 

Zomburbia by Adam J. Gallardo

 

 

 

4★

You can find my review here

 

Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution by Keith R.A. DeCandido

 

 

 

2 ½ ★

You can find my review here

 

Bite Me, I'm Yours by Stacy McKitrick 

 

 

 

3 ½★

You can find my review here

 

Indecent Proposal by Molly O'Keefe

 

 

 

4 ½ ★

You can find my review here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2014-08-01 10:04
Books Read In July
Setting the Truth Free: The Inside Story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign - Julieann Campbell
Belfast Noir - Adrian McKinty,Stuart Neville
Tödliches Bayern: Kriminalfälle aus zwei Jahrhunderten (German Edition) - Robert Hültner
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith
The Cardinal's Blades - Pierre Pevel

This months was...average. With three books that were average, one which was great and one which was boooooooooooring.

 

Next goal: Finishing Sword and Blood (basically Three Musketeer Fanfiction WITH VAMPIRES...cheesy and silly but quite nice)

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review 2014-07-31 23:15
Wonder Woman Unbound / Tim Hanley
Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine - Tim Hanley

This close look at Wonder Woman’s history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman with a golden lasso and bullet-deflecting bracelets. The original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy in the 1940s. At the same time, her creator filled the comics with titillating bondage imagery, and Wonder Woman was tied up as often as she saved the world. In the 1950s, Wonder Woman begrudgingly continued her superheroic mission, wishing she could settle down with her boyfriend instead, all while continually hinting at hidden lesbian leanings. While other female characters stepped forward as women’s lib took off in the late 1960s, Wonder Woman fell backwards, losing her superpowers and flitting from man to man. Ms. magazine and Lynda Carter restored Wonder Woman’s feminist strength in the 1970s, turning her into a powerful symbol as her checkered past was quickly forgotten. Exploring this lost history adds new dimensions to the world’s most beloved female character, and Wonder Woman Unbound delves into her comic book and its spin-offs as well as the myriad motivations of her creators to showcase the peculiar journey that led to Wonder Woman’s iconic status.

 

I have hazy recollections of reading Wonder Woman comics as a kid. I'm now wishing that I had hung on to them! I'm curious as to which of three waves of stories I was mostly reading.

The original author, William Marston, was a very intriguing individual and I would be interested in reading more about him if I can track anything down. He was of the firm opinion that women were the superior gender and that women would soon be running the world. He wrote the Wonder Woman comics to prepare young men to welcome their female overlords submissively when that time arrived. He also lived in a polyamorous household (one legal wife and one common law wife and several children, all in one home) and appears to have a bit of a thing for bondage. Hence Wonder Woman and her lasso, which she seemed to end up tied up with almost as often as she bound bad guys with it.

There seem to have been a lot of forgettable comics starring Wonder Woman. There was a brief revival when she was championed by Ms. Magazine and Gloria Steinem, which was quickly over and the Amazonian heroine returned to obscurity. The TV series, which I remember somewhat better than the comics, also lifted her profile briefly.

But as the author points out, better obscurity than being treated poorly by comic writers who don't know what to do with Wonder Woman. Perhaps there will be a female writer who will take up the cause one day and write an adventure worthy of our Amazon Warrior Princess--plots that don't reduce her to Superman's love interest or portray her as desperate to marry Steve Whats-his-name.

This book is a revised thesis, and although it is very readable for a thesis, you can still see its bone structure peeking through.

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