Tuesday, June 18, 2013

weekly reads: the diviners by libbra bray

I don't usually read fantasy or young adult paranormal fiction. I am a pretty strict contemporary gal, but summer is here and what better time to branch out and read books you normally wouldn't go for? I borrowed The Diviners from my aunt because I have enjoyed Libba Bray's other works and decided I needed another summer distraction in the form of this 600-page tomb.

The basics: the story is set in the late teens/early twenties of the 20th century and primarily focus on Evie, our speakesie-attending, magical-gift having, flapper girl. Evie is sent to live with her uncle in Manhattan and looks for adventure in all of the right (but also probably wrong?) places. When murders start popping up around the city and her uncle is enlisted to help, Evie believes that she can help too. Any modern girl couldn't resist a murder.

At times, I was overwhelmed while reading, because we started off with about six different characters and characters without names and merely called "the stranger" and "the man in the top hat" and I was all kinds of confused. The Diviners is the first book in a series, so I understand that there was a lot of exposition to be hashed out, but all of the information made the first two hundred pages seem a little slow.

As the plot started to pick up and simultaneously thicken, things got a little less confusing (yay for names!) and much more interesting.

I was surprised by the amount of biblical and religious references surrounding the murder cases. I think it added a more interesting layer to the murders and the fantasy, because it was a continuous build up and something that I'm pretty sure the series will build around.

I was also surprised by how much I liked Evie, even though in most cases, she was downright unlikable. She was selfish, intrusive, and inconsiderate, but as her story unwound, her actions seemed almost justifiable with her emotions and the attention she was trying to find.

The plot was intense and the book did pick up, when the character's paths started to intertwine, but I do wish that the book hadn't been so slow in the beginning. I will most likely read the second book in this series, primarily because I devoted so much time to finishing the first one, but it isn't something that I would reread.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

movie muse: tonight you're mine (or You Instead)

I've decided to watch every movie under the "Independent Comedies with a Strong Female Lead" section on Netflix. (I think.) What started out as a dare declaration while I was lamenting my lack of "culture" and "coolness" for my upcoming dive into college has maybe turned into a tangible thing. Really, it depends on how much time I have/if someone will PLEASE HIRE ME (Hot Dog on a Stick, I'm looking at you)/my desperation level. However, it's the first week of summer and I've got one movie completely finished, which is kind of a feat for me.

I have a really, really hard time finishing films. It's just...if it doesn't grab me, it doesn't grab me? Books I will continuously give second and third and forty-fifth chances to, but movies kind of have one or two and if it doesn't work, back to browsing. Sorry, movies.

Tonight You're Mine (2011) has a kind-of interesting premise; basically two kind of prattish musicians are handcuffed together after a fight and the resulting relationship that grows after.

The dialogue is certainly witty in some parts and the cinematography is perfect. The movie was filmed over five days at an actual music festival and it shows; the mud, the tents, the outfits, the screaming - it makes a very loud, but very lovely backdrop for this love story. 

I enjoyed it, simply because it made me really want to spend tons on Coachella tickets and also because it was cute enough to draw you into another world. It didn't make any intense political statements or have really intense layers of meaning. It was a movie about two people who become attracted to one another and bond a ~connection after being forced together. 

Me gusta. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

French Milk is Superior to Other Milk

Most of the books I am devouring this summer are thrift store purchases, meaning things that have looked mildly interesting on the shelves at Savers and have since laid around in stacks, waiting to be read. Well, summer is upon us and I have no job prospects yet (fingers crossed for my two interviews on Thursday) and the books are slowly being read and digested. 

French Milk by Lucy Knisley is actually more of a comic than a book or like, a hybrid between the two, and even though I am not usually one for comics or graphic novels (my friends are slowly trying to convert me), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Basically, it's a drawn comic journal that spans over a month, the bulk of the diary concerning the artist's month-long vacation in Paris with her mother.

The drawing, first and foremost, is cute and detailed and appealing and that's pretty much all I can say on that topic because I have no art skills at all. 

I am interested in all things French and French Milk was a nice little two hour dive into French culture, providing lots of dreamy drawings of food (especially foie gras) and funny little tidbits about the apartment they were staying in. 

Even though nothing particularly exciting happens on this holiday (museums, shopping, cemeteries,  lots and lots of food), it's perfect because of that. The realistic traveling expectations are met - kicking children in airports and slightly disappointing experiences in museums. Knisley's way of capturing the overwhelming fear of adulthood and Life After Graduation and how those feelings are crippling, even when she's in the middle of PARIS is kind of sad and heartbreaking, but in a good way, because it's a reminder that people can be in one of the best cities freaking ever, but that doesn't mean that their life and all of their other worries stop. 

My only real complaint (it isn't even really a complaint it's just something I noticed in a kind of neutral  kind of man-I-want-more way) is that because this is more journal than story, sometimes character's names were thrown in and we didn't really know about them. They're real people and when writing about friends, background stories aren't always included, I totally get that, but it could be a little disconcerting when a gift was picked up for [name] and I had no idea who that was. It didn't take away from the understanding at all, because the basic people were mentioned and kind of introduced, but sometimes I would've enjoyed learning more about these super rad, gift worthy friends. 

French Milk is super enjoyable and kind of quirky and makes me wish that plane tickets could be only 10 dollars, so I could take a Parisian escape. It's a nice dive into vacationing and unmet expectations and also French milk, which is apparently superior in it's full-fat content, sweeter, amazing goodness. Seriously, I enjoyed the book, but after I was done reading it, I wanted to go milk a cow and enjoy some whole milk, French or otherwise. 

This is the first book read from my various acquired stacks and it hopefully set a nice tone for the rest of my summer reads. The comic nature made it a super fast read and I'm a little sad that it only lasted for about two hours, but that's more a qualm with my reading skills rather than the book itself. Onto the next one!