TV Review: Big Little Lies

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Almost immediately after finishing Liane Moriarity’s Big Little Lies,  I started watching its HBO mini series. Unfortunately, I do not have HBO, but I bought the first episode on iTunes and fortunately soon after, a family friend let me use their TV subscription so I could watch the show for free (my iTunes account is VERY thankful). In short, I loved the Big Little Lies miniseries and like many, I wouldn’t mind a second season, as the finale leaves a few unanswered questions. I’ll be getting into more specifics about the show below.

 There are A LOT of differences between the book and the show. For starters, while the book takes place in coastal Australia, the show takes place in Monterey, California. The change in the setting didn’t have that much of an affect on the plot, other than that no one was speaking in Australian accents. We also experience more scenes focused on Bonnie and Renata, where in the books we only get point-of-views from Madeline, Jane, and Celeste. I liked how Ed had a bigger presence in the show, but I didn’t like a lot of the changes the show made about Madeline. Two of her more smaller and non-spoilery changes included that her and Ed’s son didn’t have a role in the show and instead of working in the town’s theater office, Madeline is currently running Monterey’s production of Avenue Q. It was also abundantly clear through each character’s car and house, with the exception of Jane, that nearly everyone was wealthy.

The cast was phenomenal. Each person fit his or her character perfectly, and my favorite had to be Reese Witherspoon as Madeline. She was just as I had imagined Madeline, and it was interesting to see her relationship with Chloe play out. She had the perfect reaction for when Bonnie and Nathan tell her about Chloe’s secret project. While I admit that I was nervous about Shailene Woodley playing Jane, I thought that she fit the role of the quiet, young mother quite well.

One of the hands-down best parts of the show is the music. I currently have the show’s soundtrack on repeat on Spotify, my favorite song by “The Wonder of You” by Villagers (I was 99% sure that it wasn’t Adam Scott actually singing this in the finale, but that 1% of me hoped he was). The songs in each episode perfectly corresponded to the plot, and I liked how the songs in Jane’s running scenes were almost always the songs she was actually listening to.

**spoilers ahead**

As mentioned, there’s room for a second season. The finale of the show leaves some unanswered aspects, especially since the murder investigation remains open. If you pay a bit close attention in the final scene (I didn’t catch it the first time), a detective views the women and kids on the beach through binoculars. We also leave the show with tension between Ed and Madeline, as Ed clearly suspects that Madeline had an affair. We’re also left to question Celeste and Jane’s relationship, as Perry has played a role in both of their lives. As much as I would love a second season, I’m a bit nervous about how much the plot would expand. How much would the characters change?

I realize that I’m a bit late to the Big Little Lies train, but hey, I loved it and I can’t be the only one! Have you watched Big Little Lies? Share in the comments!

ARC Review: Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart

Summary: Imogen is an orphan, a runaway heiress, and a girl who wants to escape life’s expectations. Jule is an athlete, a loyal friend, and a girl with a hidden history of her own. Romance, disappearances, and more takes place in E.Lockhart’s latest thriller, Genuine Fraud.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

I was fortunate enough (and survived the line) to receive an ARC of Genuine Fraud at Book Con 2017. I loved E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars when I read it back in 2015, so it was super exciting to get an early copy of her latest release and meet E.Lockhart herself.Like We Were Liars, Genuine Fraud is a thriller that makes readers question every twist and turn and like WWL, I recommend going into Genuine Fraud without knowing too much.

What makes Genuine Fraud such a unique read, especially in the young-adult lit world, is that it is told from end to beginning. The book begins on Chapter 18 with Jule’s latest whereabouts, and with each chapter, we go back in time and trace Jule’s own origin story and her relationship with Imogen. I really enjoyed going back in time, except for the fact that it was easier to predict certain plot details, especially when it came to the murderous rendezvous the book’s blurb promotes.

One of the best elements of Genuine Fraud is E. Lockhart’s social commentary about male and female roles. From reading books to watching movies, Jule realizes that women weren’t the stars in most action-filled stories, usually being upstaged by the masculine “great white hetero hero”. It’s interesting to see Jule take on this role as a hero, especially as she creates her origin story (a background something to what you expect of superheroes). However, you know from the beginning that Jule isn’t the hero of this story: she’s the antihero, and one who has to watch her every move.

I’ll be leaving this review spoiler-free in hope that you’ll pick Genuine Fraud and due to the fact that it’s best to go into this one blind! As you’ll see up top, I’ve rated the book four out of five stars, but as I think about it more and more, I might have to bump up my rating at some point.

If you’ve read or planning to pick up Genuine Fraud, share your thoughts in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Books to Read without the Synopsis

This week’s Top Five Wednesday is all about books that are best to go in blind, so grab the five reads below, skip the synopsis and let the first page lead the way!

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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia I didn’t know too much about Made You Up going in, other than the fact that I knew that I loved Francesca Zappia’s other book, Eliza and Her Monsters. Just know that Made You Up that is a bit of quirky read that sheds a great light on mental illness (and that there may be some lobsters involved).

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– The synopsis of The Sky is Everywhere gives off these love triangle vibes, but the book itself focuses more on Lenny trying to deal with the grief caused by her sister’s sudden death.

 The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr– The only thing that you need to know about Emily Barr’s The One Memory of Flora Banks is that our main character suffers from memory loss.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart– Much like We Were Liars, I highly suggest diving into E.Lockhart’s latest thriller without knowing too much.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab– Surprised? I think not! All you need to know about my favorite Victoria Schwab book before heading in is that there’s rivalry, superhuman powers, and  a big man with a love for chocolate milk.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

The Versatile Blogger Award

Aren’t we in a bit of an awards season? While I’m not the biggest award show person, being that the only one that I’ve watched fully was the 2016 Tonys mostly (okay, completely) because of Hamilton, I am looking forward to this year’s Emmys mainly because of Master of None and Big Little Lies.

Speaking of awards, today I’ll be doing The Versatile Blogger Award. I was nominated by Ally from Ally Writes Things, and this award was created by Delphine from Delphine the Babbler. The Versatile Blogger Award lets you know a little bit more about your blogger.

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Get yourself a blogger who treats her books like how Rafiki treats newborn Simba.

Rules:

  • Give an air kiss and hug to your nominator and share their links with your followers
  • Nominate 10 bloggers that you admire and don’t forget to link
  • Let your nominees know you nominated them
  • Reveal 7 facts about yourself that hasn’t been acknowledged yet before

7 Things to Know about Haley:

1.I consider myself to be a pretty athletic person, even though I admit that I prefer to curl up in bed with a book over working out. My favorite sports include field hockey, swimming, and hockey, and I love playing softball and tennis with my family.

2.I have two dogs, both rescues, and they are two of my favorite things in the world. I miss them a lot when I’m at school, but I have tons of photos of them in my dorm.

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3.My favorite movie out of The Hunger Games film adaptations is Catching Fire, however, Catching Fire is my “least” favorite book in the series.

4.I have too many cardigans to count, but they are for sure the best things to wear in the fall and winter.

5.I used to be really into knitting when I was in middle school and a bit in high school. I enjoyed making scarfs the most, but my best accomplishment was my making a blanket with a crotched border.

6.Whenever I watch the Parks and Recreation episode, Ann and Chris, I cry at the end, when Ann says goodbye to Leslie (this is also a PSA to watch Parks and Recreation if you haven’t already).

7.My favorite gaming console is the Nintendo Gamecube. My siblings and I spent a lot of time this summer playing Mario Kart and Mario Superstar Baseball.

I’m not going to be nominating ten bloggers, but I will be nominating a few!

Em from Keystroke Blog

Judith from Chain Interaction

Sara from The Book Cycle

 

Books I Brought to College Fall 2017

Is a bedroom a bedroom without a personal library in it? I think not! While I’ve brought plenty of books for my classes this semester (I had to get 11 for one, eeep!!), I had of course bring books from my personal library. Listed below are the 9 books I’m going to try to get to this semester. Hopefully, these won’t be the only books I read, as I have a library card for my college’s town’s library system and I do go home every so often, so I can swap books in and out from my bookshelves. As I write this post, Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer is waiting for me at home and Sarah J. Maas’s Tower of Dawn will be there soon!

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The Girls by Emma Cline– I’ve seen The Girls everywhere since its release in 2016, so when I saw it on sale at the library for 50 cents, I picked it up immediately (it still had the Barnes and Noble bestseller discount sticker on it!).

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell One of my reading goals of 2017 is to reread Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I’ve first read it!

 Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson– Jacqueline Woodson came to my school last year and she signed & personalized my copy of Another Brooklyn. Since it’s written in verse, I hope that it doesn’t take me too long to read.

The Breathless by Tara Goedjen I received an ARC of The Breathless from Underlined at Book Con this year. I’m hoping to get to The Breathless before its release date on October 10th.

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes– My local library had some amazing sales this summer, so I picked One Plus One up with a few others for only 25 cents each!

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck– I received an ARC of A Short History of the Girl Next Door at Book Con this year, and I’m not sure I’ll get to it before its release date on September 26th. However, the book is definitely staying on my TBR list, and I might be read it in October for the Booksplosion book of the month.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler– While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sarah Ockler’s Bittersweet, I’ve seen Fixing Delilah float around the book community for a while and it was only 25 cents at the library.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin– I’m pretty sure that I bought The Walled City before I went to school last year from Barnes and Noble. I really enjoyed Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf duology and everyone is loving Invictus, I’m hoping to read (and enjoy) The Walled City soon.

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel- I met Meg Kassel at Book Con and she signed an ARC of her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows. The book came out of September 5th, and I think that this creepy, fantasy will be great to read around Halloween.

 I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott– I received an ARC of I, Eliza Hamilton from Kensington books, and I plan on this being my next read! If you’re new around here, I am a HUGE Hamilton so I am more than excited to read this ASAP.

Review: The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

I was fortunate enough to meet McCall Hoyle at Book Con 2017, where I received an ARC of her debut novel, The Thing With Feathers.

Summary: Emilie Day is quite comfortable with playing it safe; after all, she’s been homeschooled since she was eight years old, her best friend is her service dog, and she’s pretty okay with  being the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim. Life gets turned upside down when Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, not to mention the fact that within the first week, she gets paired with all star point guard Chatham York on a research project about Emily Dickinson. As Chatham shows interest in Emilie and friendships start to form, Emilie is terrified to tell anyone that she has epilepsy.

My Rating: 3.5/ 5 Stars

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My (a bit spoilery) Thoughts:

The Thing with Feathers sparked my interest because it features a main protagonist who has epilepsy. I’ve never read a book with a character who is epileptic, so it was interesting to see how Emilie’s condition affected her day to day life. We see her taking new medication that helps control her seizures, interact with her service dog, Hitch, who is one my new favorite fictional dogs, and most importantly, live in fear of having a seizure at school. I understand Emilie’s fear of having a seizure in school and in public, and I wish that Hitch had been able to accompany her to school from the start. Granted, we wouldn’t have too much of a story, as Emilie must learn that she can have a life while living with epilepsy. It was fun to see her make new friends, specifically Chatham and Ayla, and see her shine as an English student. While we do get to see her hangout with Ayla and Chatham out of school, I wish we got to see Emilie doing more “normal teenage” or student type things—did she ever actually agree to writing to the lit mag??

I did not understand why it took one hundred plus pages for Emilie to tell one of her friends that she had epilepsy. Why was she so afraid to tell Chatham and Ayla about her condition? It’s not like she’s confessing that she committed a crime! Emilie wants to be able to form relationships without her epilepsy affecting them or making others wary of her. Yet, if one of my friends had a medical condition that could affect their day-to-day activity, I would want to know for their safety!

We had so many “filler” chapters where Emilie could have easily told Chatham about her epilepsy. While it was sweet seeing their relationship build, she spends half of each chapter worrying about how Chatham will react. Chatham’s little sister has Asperger’s syndrome, he wants to be a counselor one day , and he’s always volunteering—if there’s one guy that can understand Emilie, IT’S HIM! The guy recites poetry that she tutored him in for crying out now. Speaking of poetry, while I’m not the biggest Emily Dickinson fan, it was cool to see her work in the novel and how Emilie connects to her. I figured that her work would have something to do with the title.

My favorite aspect of The Thing with Feathers was the focus on Emilie’s family life, including Hitch (HITCH IS FAMILY). Hitch made my heart so happy! While she isn’t exactly family, I also enjoyed Cindy’s role in the novel, showing Emilie that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. It was hard seeing Emilie and her mom be so divided, between the pain that they both feel from Emilie’s father’s death and Emilie’s discomfort with her mom moving on. While it’s a bit more understandable in this case, as Emilie’s mom doesn’t know what it’s actually like to have epilepsy, we have some classic YA “my parent doesn’t get what I’m going through and I’m going to have some animosity about it.” However, throughout the novel, we see Emilie’s mom try to connect to her daughter and I’m glad by the end that both Emilie and her mother are rebuilding their relationship.

Have you read or are planning to read The Thing with Feathers? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Classes Based on Books & Characters

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Happy back-to-school season everyone! I went back to school last week and so far, so good, besides managing to get sick within the first week of being back. Inspired by the beginning of the school year, today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about classes that you would take based on books or based on character’s skills . While we all wish we were taking Potions and Quidditch 101 at Hogwarts, there are so many other classes that’d I’d love to take part in inspired by some of my favorite books.

How to Make a Web Series 101 | Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee 

With the success of Unhappy Families, Tash and Jack are the queens of web series. One of my interests outside of blogging and reading include filming, and I think it would be really fun to be part of a web series. Like Tash and Jack, I’d love to be more behind-the-scenes and actually be creating the show.

Intermediate Level Baking| To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

If there’s just one feeling that the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy gives me (trust me, there are plenty), it’s the inspiration to bake my butt off. Lara Jean would be the perfect baking instructor, and together we could find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, even though Peter, Kitty, and Lara Jean seem to have that covered.

Computer Skills | Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress is my favorite book in The Lunar Chronicles series, and I love how Cress helps the gang kick butt with her tech-savviness. Throw in Thorne as her teaching assistant and you have a fun & informative class all about computers and how to use them to take down an evil queen from the Moon.

Digital Arts Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia 

Eliza and Her Monsters features gorgeous illustrations that correspond to Eliza’s web comic, Monstrous Sea. I’d love to take a class with Eliza teaching me how to use drawing tablets and the editing process behind it (I’m actually hoping to take digital animation next semester).

Violin 101 | This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

If there’s one person in the world that could teach me to play the violin, it’s August Flynn. While I wouldn’t need the soul-seeking help, August would be a great instructor.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.