Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Things We Set On Fire (3) & The Color Purple (5 million stars)

TL;DR Don't even read this blog post, just go read The Color Purple.

I feel bad telling you guys about books I didn't like. Like, why am I wasting your time? And what if by reading this you don't read it but it actually would have been a book you really, really liked? I should just not tell you anything too special about it and say it's pretty good and then you can read it or not just like you were already planning on...

I got this for free from Amazon Prime, and at first I really liked it. But then I got distracted by something shiny and completely forgot I was reading it. And how much can you really say you liked a book if you literally forgot you were reading it? So here's why it's three stars. It's not a bad book, so it doesn't get 2 stars or a "I didn't even bother finishing it," it just felt a bit predictable after a certain point and so I didn't really feel the need to finish it.

I also, as previously mentioned, sometimes get really ADD and bored of a book that doesn't have a compelling love story, SO....I went off and re-read a love story I liked (or two) and then finished this book when I remembered it.

Anyway, the books about Vivvie and her estranged daughters. Estranged Daughter #1 (Kate) tries to commit suicide and her eldest daughter, Averlee, finds her unresponsive, slumped over the kitchen table and has to call the ambulance. So grandma gets the girls and Estranged Daughter #2 drives from Portland to Florida in about a day (um?) to help with the girls. And eventually we find out why Kate tried to kill herself and by then I'm bored. (Which is not to say suicide is boring but that this was not a compelling story about a person who is struggling with suicidal ideation)

Also the daughters acted about 3 years younger than their listed ages. I pictured them, based on their actions as the elder, Averlee, being between 7 & 10, but Quincy acted about 4 and at some point was mentioned turning 7. Averlee has to help Quincy buckle her seatbelt and tie her shoes and my 5-year-old cousin can do all of that no problem. Of course, my cousin is a genius and perfect in every way, but I might be biased.

I would love to hear from anyone who liked this book. I honestly didn't understand why the women all hated each other so freaking much. I mean, if Celie and Shug Avery can get along, why can't they?
You know what, actually, go read  The Color Purple if you're into fiction about women. If you have read that, then I guess you can read this book until you find something better. Get it from the library though. Don't pay $8 for it. Unless you're rich. In that case, go for it.

If you don't know about this book, you should. Don't let the first page scare you away. You should AT LEAST go watch the film, which was also amazing except I didn't watch it all in one sitting because it was way too depressing. You get to see Whoopi Goldberg do some outstanding acting, and Oprah wasn't bad either.

Did you know Oprah was in a movie?
 There is also a musical, that is also good. I have definitely belted out "African Homeland" in my car, by myself, so many times.


HERE JUST WATCH IT - Wait, don't there's definitely a HUGE SPOILER unless you don't pay attention to any of the character's names. Out of context maybe its ok. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cress (5)

I'm so sorry. I talked and talked about how excited I was about this book, and then I never mentioned that I actually read it. I did. Within three days of it coming out.

This is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series.

In true Jana fashion, I really don't know what I like so much about these books.

Ok, that's not true...I love YA love stories. Because they have that lovely Disney quality to them, where at the end they get together and everything is all happily ever after.

Grown-up novels always talk about that messy part where you like each other, you finally get together, and then after awhile your fantasy-boy starts to become a real person and you have to deal with each other. And then people break up and hurt each other and yell a lot. I'd rather they try to kill each other with their magic powers OBVIOUSLY.

Also, I am obsessed with Cinderella. I've done the play 3 times now. I've read every book that so much as mentions it might be about Cinderella. It's my thing. If it's yours too, read these books. If you liked Once Upon A Time, read these books. If you like Merlin, probably definitely read these books.

I don't LOVE this show, BUT I like it more than I should.
Also, UPDATE on my whole blogging situation. NO WONDER there was a month long hiatus. I wrote about 4 books per blog post for the last 3 posts!! What was I thinking?

I know what I was thinking. I was thinking I AM THE BOOK MASTER. I READ ALL THE BOOKS. Which is true (I mean, sort of) but here's how I read them: 4 at a time. 1 audiobook in car or while running, 1 on kindle at bedtime, & 1 physical book for when I'm not trying to sleep or at work, & then a play or nonfiction or whatever. (or all of the above) SO I don't finish anything for 3-4 weeks, and then I finished 3-5 books in one week. And then I hammer out a bunch of reviews and set them to go up one week apart. 
ALSO since I still haven't read Henry IV, I don't want to read plays and I need to because I desperately need some new monologues. I have read 14 books this year and there have only been 12 weeks of the year. I shouldn't have run out but I got cocky. 

Let this be a lesson: When feeling like a failure, look not on what you have NOT accomplished, look instead upon what you HAVE accomplished. - Every Successful Person Ever 
You welcome, world. All 25 of you that read my blog.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Books Are Boring OR They Make You Cry OR BOTH (jk not both)

Books are boring. No, seriously, some are. Except for sometimes when they aren't. But they're too depressing to read every day. Anyway, I totally understand how some people become non-readers. It's hard when you're reading a book and you just don't really care anymore. You don't want to be a quitter. You want to finish what you've started. Except you really don't. So know...go find a different book and tell yourself you'll "come back" to that boring book and eventually you'll give it enough distance and read enough better books that it'll be ok you didn't finish that one book.

Remember when I started out this year going "I am going to post a blog post every week! I am the best at blogs and reading!" And then I did in January and almost did in February, and now it's been a month since I've posted anything. Well, I've been reading. And I've been writing. But I've been writing scripts for my budding actors. And reading scripts for monologues for audition season....and not finishing all of them because I hate reading plays. I like watching plays and being in plays, but I suck at reading plays. I always feel this need to sit down and read the whole thing in one setting and seriously, who has the time for that?

So here's my list of boring books that I've started and haven't finished. Go ahead and yell at me if they're your favorite. I had to wander off and re-read Ella Enchanted for like the 19th time to remind myself that I do like some books.

I would like this play a lot more if "my" character (Lady Percy) was in more than three pages. It starts to get really funny and oddly make more sense when you read it while drinking wine. Kind of like how I can speak French again when I drink. Maybe if I drank more wine I would like to read plays more. I'll let you know.
Kind of like Game of Thrones with less sex and strong female characters.
Status: Just need to finish Act V

Ugh. I remembered hating the third book, but then I realized I gave it five stars when I reviewed it, so I decided I might actually have secretly liked it.
I do not care about Robert Langdon anymore. I do not like that he always has a beautiful, smart female "assistant" every case, who he sleeps with and then we never see again. You are forty freaking years old, figure out how to have a relationship with another human being.
This book basically makes me want to re-read Dante's Inferno and/or write my own novel using Inferno as it's basis.
Status: Just over halfway before the library stole it off my kindle. Rude. Just kidding, now I don't have to finish it. Thanks, library!

I feel the same way about Philippa Gregory as I do about Glee. Out of four books/episodes, 1 is fantastic, 2 are meh, and 1 is ugh-freaking-noxious (like obnoxious but with more pain to the reader/viewer). I loved most of her Tudor series (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Virgin Queen, The Constant Princess, in that order. Fab.) But I feel like she drones on and on and this is like the third book she's written about the same series of events so I vaguely know what's going to happen and I liked the first queen better so I really just don't care about this character or what happens to her.
Status: I liked the first half. I'm stuck in the last quarter. I'll probably finish it. Except I started a new nonfiction book that's more interesting so maybe I'll just quit reading fiction.

a book I loved.

OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. I listened to it via Audible which was AMAZING but listening to it made everything ten times worse. This is one of those books that makes you feel good about yourself for having read it, because you clearly understand life and pain and the world better because you read it. Unless you don't like books like that, in which case, um, sorry? 80% of the books I love made me cry. If a book doesn't make me cry, I basically assume that it's a terrible book. Because I'm a monster.

No just kidding. Old Nick is a monster! (In case you care about what this book is about, this is the part where I tell you.) The novel is told from Jack's perspective. Jack has just turned five-years-old. Jack and his mom live in a room together.
(super minor spoiler alert)
No, literally. A ROOM. Room. Because Old Nick kidnapped his mom and has held her there for seven years, or all of Jack's life. Jack's mom hasn't really explained this to him yet, because she's a good mom and is trying to take care of her child. But you, the reader, figure it out pretty quick and are completely horrified. 
I drove to a party while listening to this book. And cried. So it took me a long time to get through it because I could only listen to it when I was driving home and it was ok to arrive sobbing, and the roommates would say "Oh, you're listening to that book again." To which I would nod and go get chocolate. 






(SORRY SHANNON, who alerted me that the GIANT FONT was actually really small in the real post. PROOF READ PEOPLE. And by people, I mean me.)

About halfway through the book they escape. Which is the part I cried the hardest. And then Jack has to learn about the REAL world and he misses his home, which depresses his mother and everything is beautiful and nuts.
The voice actor who played Jack is my new favorite person. So nuanced. So adorable. Just want to hug Jack forever.