Tuesday, January 31, 2017

media update: January

This is a scrawny media update because I didn't get much reading done when I was in Hawaii; I was much more interested in exploring and soaking up the gorgeous scenery than burying my face in a book!

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; double asterisks are reserved for the absolute creme de la creme.  As always, your mileage may vary.


1. Pull Me Under* by Kelly Luce:  When she was 12 years old, Chizuru Akitani snapped and killed a classmate who had been bullying her for a long time.  After her release from a juvenile detention facility, she moved to the United States, renamed herself Rio, and created a new life for herself.  But when her estranged father dies, Rio has to return to Japan, where she can no longer escape her past.  Poignant and beautifully written.

2. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen:  This is the final book in the Tearling trilogy, so I can't review it properly lest I spoil its predecessors.

3. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund:  Linda is a teenage girl living in the Minnesota woods with her parents when a family moves in across the lake.  Linda winds up befriending the mother, Patra, who hires her as a babysitter for her little boy Paul, but something's not quite right.  This synopsis kind of makes it sound like a horror story, and it is, but not in the way you might be thinking.

4. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia:  Here's another book about a teenage girl from Minnesota!  This time, it's about Hattie, who longs to leave her small town and become an actress, but when she's stabbed to death, the investigation shows that she was an even better actress than everyone thought.  I was pretty sure I knew "whodunnit" about halfway through, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.

5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst:  A princess hiding magical powers is betrothed to the prince of a neighboring kingdom, but things get complicated when she falls in love with his sister.  For the most part, it's standard YA fantasy fare, but I did appreciate the fact that it had lesbian/bisexual protagonists.


1. Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis:  On her second night of college, the author was raped and the school did nothing about it.  She dropped out and decided to hike the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail in order to find herself.  Comparisons to Cheryl Strayed's similarly themed Wild were inevitable, and Wild is the superior memoir by far, but this was still very good.

Side note:  there were a lot of weird phrases and repetitive scenes in this book, but I had an advance reader's copy (which I found at the library's used book sale), so they might not show up in "official" copies.


Nothing this month, surprisingly.


1. Independence Day: Resurgence:  This movie sucked baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalls.

2. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates:  The titular brothers (Adam Devine and Zac Efron) have a reputation for wrecking family events, so their parents insist they find "nice girls" to bring to their little sister's wedding in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, the women (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) who answer their online ad are wolves in sheep's clothing.  Occasionally quite funny, although one particular scene goes on WAY too long (for those of you who have seen it, it's the one with the massage therapist) and Anna Kendrick's dreadful wig is distracting as hell.

3. Morgan:  The titular character is a human created in a lab who's, shall we say, a bit unstable.  It was okay; the best thing about it was that it helped us kill 2 hours on a plane.

4. Jason Bourne:  More like Jason BORED, because my god this movie sucked.  An action movie should not be dull! 

5. Rogue One*:  In this very dark Star Wars prequel, the Rebel Alliance learns of a flaw in the Death Star and sets out to steal the plans.  Great casting and exciting action sequences made this a very fun afternoon at the movies.