Friday, March 31, 2017

Book vs Adaptation: Atonement

I've been watching a lot of TV shows and movies of books that I've read recently, and I thought it might be fun to compare how the same story plays out in different forms. My first post is on Ian McEwan's Atonement, since I just finished watching the movie tonight and it's fresh in my brain :) I'm going to do my best to compare the two without any major spoilers!

Image result for atonement film Image result for atonement book cover

I listened to the audiobook of Atonement a couple of months ago, so one of the most interesting changes I noticed was that I had already fixed the narrator's voice as Briony's voice in my head; it was really strange hearing a different voice in the film! I don't think I would have had as strong a voice in my head if I'd read a hardcover of the book instead of listening to it.

One of the biggest things I was curious about was how an unreliable narrator and nonlinear story were going to be incorporated into a film. The writing style and the unreliable narrator were my favorite things about the book, and I had no idea how you could do that in a movie. I thought the filmmakers did an excellent job of using the typewriter keys in the soundtrack to transition between scenes and give you cues for the nonlinear story. I thought the way the film nested the stories within stories was really clever too. The film stays very true to the three parts and narrative layers of the book, and it wasn't nearly as confusing as I was expecting it to be. 

Briony is the main character of this story, even if it seems to be more about Cecilia and Robby. She grows up tremendously throughout the book, and everyone who played her in the film was so perfect for the part. Especially Briony at the end of the film, that vulnerability and guilt...pitch perfect! The ending of the book, which infuriated many readers, was portrayed with much more gentleness and compassion. There's still the question of whether Briony's biggest decision is right or not; the film by no means excuses or justifies her actions.

Overall, I think this adaptation did an amazing job of staying true to the book and the writing style. It's so hard to capture the nuances and layers of writing in a visual form, but this film really captured that! I felt like I was literally watching the book in my mind's eye because I could remember every scene so vividly. There weren't any gaping holes or major changes from the book that I caught, but maybe there were some minor changes, who knows? I'd definitely recommend this movie (and book)!

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Monday, March 27, 2017

TTT: Top Ten books I devoured the quickest

I don't usually read books in one sitting. I like to digest books slowly, and my attention span for books is pretty small;  I can't sit and read for more than an hour at a time. Sometimes I'll love a book so much that I read it for an hour, take a break, and keep coming back for more! Other times I'm stuck at the airport with nothing to do, so I end up reading for a lot longer than I usually do. And sometimes I just think "One more chapter..." and end up staying up hours past my bedtime. Here are the books that grabbed my attention so well that I devoured them really quickly.


One of my favorite books ever, this book grabbed my attention from the first paragraph and did not let go until I was up waaay too late turning the last few pages.

Sleeping Giants was a quick read because it's entirely dialogue/journal entries, but it's also an intense, fast-paced, and intelligent sci-fi novel that keeps you hooked.

In case it wasn't clear from my love of Locke Lamora, I have a soft spot for heist stories. This one was a lot of fun and I read it on every bus ride, lunch break, and free moment I could.

I read this book as a study break during one of my finals weeks. My study breaks always ended up being way longer than I expected because I just couldn't put this book down!

Who knows what happens in the world of catty teenage girls? This book had such a sinister mystery and such unbelievable suspects that I was racing to find out the answer to the mystery.

This book is sort of a mystery, sort of a coming-of-age story, and sort of contemporary fiction? It's a quick, entertaining, and insightful read.

This book was hilarious, but I kept turning the pages to see what twists and new connections were in store.

I'm an engineer and science geek, so the Martian was really hard for me to put down. I really enjoyed this book!

This book was a lot of fun, and a really quick, fast-paced read.

The only book I've actually read in one sitting! By the end of it I had gone through so much emotional whiplash I was completely catatonic and sitting on the couch until my roommates all got home and wondered what on earth was wrong with me haha

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Monday, March 13, 2017

TTT: Top Ten Spring TBR

Haven't done one of these in a while! Here are the books on my spring TBR that I'm looking forward to!


A nonfiction book and an Obama recommendation that I've been meaning to read for a while, looking forward to reading it soon!
I enjoyed Truthwitch and I'm looking forward to the sequel, hopefully I can get my hands on a copy this spring!

I adored book 1 and I got this one at the library so I'll be reading it very soon! I'm so excited to see how this crew works together to get out of this next mess :)


I've been seeing this novella around everywhere and it's been getting such great reviews, I'm really excited to read it soon.

The only way to cure a VE Schwab-induced book hangover is to read more VE Schwab, right? ;)

Pyrre was one of my favorite characters in the Unhewn Throne books, and I got approved for the eARC on Netgalley, so I'm excited to read about Pyrre's adventures

Sleeping Giants was one of my favorite sci-fi books of 2015, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this series plays out. Another eARC to read :)

Kameron Hurley is awesome and I can't wait to see what craziness she's thought up in this sci-fi standalone
 Strange the Dreamer'

A new Laini Taylor book? YES PLEASE.

This keeps getting recommended to me, it's about time I actually read it this Spring!
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bullet Reviews: Dangerous Women, Arcanum Unbounded, Stories of Your Life

I'm catching up, now I'm only a month and a half behind on reviews instead of 4 months XD
I've been on and off the blog a lot because I've been flying out every weekend for grad school interviews, but now I'm done! Hopefully this means I will get a regular schedule going again and I will finally stop being months behind on reviews.

This week's bullet reviews are all anthologies. I usually review each story in an anthology separately, but Dangerous Women was just too big for that and I loved basically all the stories in Arcanum and Stories, so I don't have too much to say about each short story/novella. I will talk about my favorites in each anthology though!

17279560Dangerous Women edited by GRRM and Gardner Dozois

Genre: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, contemporary, historical fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I like how this anthology covers literally every genre, every story is something completely new!
  • Lots of badass women of many kinds, from vengeful ghosts to vampire slayers to protective mothers
  • Favorite stories: Shadows For Silence in the Forest of Hell (obviously, I loved it because it's a Sanderson story; many strong women and terribly frightening creatures/awesome wordbuilding), Hell Hath No Fury (a ghost story featuring POC, yessss), Lies My Mother Told Me (zombie apocalypse, sort of...),, Second Arabesque, Very Slowly (a really poignant story about finding beauty in a post-apocalyptic world), Pronouncing Doom (when women leaders have to make really tough choices...), Name the Beast (mother-daughter bonding in a sci-fi world)

What I didn't like:
  • There were some stories I didn't like because they just weren't my thing, I didn't connect with the characters or I didn't find the plot very engaging (Some Desperado, Neighbors, Virgins)
  • There were a couple of stories that used the femme fatale trope for their dangerous women, and instead of subverting this trope they kind of just made use of stereotypes/focused on men who ogle and objectify women and I found this problematic (The Hands That Are Not There, Wrestling Jesus)
Recommended for... 
People who are looking for a really varied anthology and enjoy stories featuring powerful women. The Rogues anthology was a better anthology as I whole, I felt, but this one had some gems!

28595941Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I LOVED EVERY STORY. No surprises there, I love basically everything Sanderson writes
  • I love how varied the stories are! There were fun ones (Allomancer Jak), some that were more sinister, some that had flavors of different cultures in our world (Sixth of the Dusk) 
  • The maps and notes on each system and the hints about Silverlight were really cool. It's nice to see how the cosmere is coming together
What I didn't like:
  • um...honestly can't think of anything haha
Recommended for: people who are old cosmere fans and new cosmere fans! There are spoiler warnings for different books so you might not be able to read all of the stories if you aren't caught up, but there are plenty of standalone stories to enjoy


Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Genre: Science fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I might write a full review for this one again later, because I LOVED it. Every story was full of such poetry. Every word was chosen for a reason and the prose was very sparse but beautiful
  • Every story was a sort of love letter to mathematics, linguistics, and human nature. All the stories played with human emotions and our relationships with one another while also bringing in natural laws, mathematical formulae, and the supernatural.
  • My favorite stories were Stories of Your Life, Division by Zero, and Hell is the Absence of God
What I didn't like:
  • There were one or two stories that I wasn't completely amazed by (Seventy Two Letters and Tower of Babylon), but I still enjoyed them. Honestly that's not much of a complaint, I loved the entire anthology.
Recommended for... anyone who enjoys science fiction and thoughtful, profound stories about what makes us human
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ARC Review: Roanoke Girls

30689335Title: The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
Genre: Mystery, psychological thriller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. 

This was a really hard book to read at times because abuse is such a hard thing to read about, but I did enjoy it overall! I didn't know much about Roanoke Girls going into the book, but I had been reading a lot of mysteries lately and I was in the mood for another one. This one isn't quite a mystery in the traditional sense; yes, there's a missing woman and no one knows what's happened to her, but it's more about the strange events that have haunted all the Roanoke Girls over multiple generations.

I liked how this book was very character-driven. It is narrated by a bunch of dysfunctional women, but it doesn't play too much into the "hysterical woman" stereotype that a lot of psychological thrillers use. Instead, we see all the women as complicated people who deal with a disturbing family secret in different ways. Mental health and mental illness are at the forefront of this book, and I think the author did a great job of showing how toxic environments exacerbate mental illness without defining characters as "crazy". All the women in the book are given a voice to tell their own side of the story, which I thought was very important.

My favorite part about this book is how things aren't tied up neatly at the end. There is a solid ending, don't get me wrong, but considering how dark the family secret is, I'm glad that Lane is still working towards finding her happiness at the end of the novel. Things don't just fall in her lap, she has to face her own demons and work at forming healthy relationships.

This book was a really quick and interesting read. I wouldn't call it fun, because there is some pretty icky/disturbing stuff, but I did enjoy reading about Lane's journey.

A free eARC was provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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