The Help

6588662Goodreads Synopsis:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Rating: ★ &#9733 ;★ ★ ★

Literally the synopsis from Goodreads is all you need to make up your mind about this book! I was hooked from the beginning.

I had seen the movie before reading the book. I loved the movie, but was skeptical to picking up the book because I wasn’t sure if they had made the movie funnier or if the lightheartedness of the movie would be the same in the book. I was so wrong to be skeptical! Despite the book depicting a controversial time in American history, Stockett created the same kind-hearted, realistic story for all to enjoy. It’s no wonder that it is a NYTimes Bestseller!

One thing I liked most about the book was that it didn’t solely focus on Skeeter and her journey to expose how black maids were treated by white families. We were also introduced to two of the maids featured in Skeeter’s book – Aibileen and Minny. The weaving of all three stories and point of views was seamless.  I never felt confused or had to back track and I genuinely cared about the characters.

This is also the first historical fiction I have ever read and I can say that I really enjoyed it. I hope to add it to my genres in the future! If you’re looking for a book to read on a long flight, this is definitely the one for you!

I’m not going to review Stardust by Neil Gaiman or Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin, because I honestly did not like either of them enough to put anything into words for a post. However, or my next post I’m diving into Divergent by Veronica Roth! Happy reading bookworms!

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Movie Marathon Review

It was a long week of ugly, cold, rainy weather here in Vacaville, California. Besides binge watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager on Netflix, I also rented 12 movies and was the third wheel for my boyfriend and his cousin to the movies. I thought I would write a review of all the movies from this crazy week/weekend!

Pitch Perfect 2 pitch-perfect-2-pp2_rgb

Ya’ll already know how I feel about this one, given I reviewed it when it came out. I only rented it because my mom hadn’t seen it yet. Good movie to watch just because it was raining; still not better than the first.

 

 

Pixels 

I LOVE ADAM SANDLER MOVIES. Seriously one of my guilty pleasures! This movie was equally corny and nerdy, and it was perfect for a rainy day in. It’s not Oscar-worthy, but the thing with Adam Sandler movies is that they are feel-good movies and this movie is no different. The movie features favorite classic arcade games and actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Josh Gad.

Spy 

I love Melissa McCarthy; I love Jude Law; heck, I even like Jason Statham, even if he is my boyfriend’s boyfriend; but not in this movie. It was slightly funny in the beginning, but we ended up turning the movie off at the part where she was in Italy because we were bored and on our phones. I expected this movie to be funnier and it was kind of a let down. Maybe McCarthy will be better in the new Ghostbusters movie, and Law and Statham can return to their usual movie genres.

Paper Towns 

Now this wasn’t disappointing. It followed the book closely and was quite enjoyable. However, I didn’t like the casting of Cara Delevingne as Margo. I feel as though Delevingne was a random hit into left field that no one was expecting. She just isn’t what I pictured as Margo given that she was described as this beautiful girl that everyone loved but was mysterious. In all honesty, I don’t think Delevingne is that pretty. This may be against popular opinion, but it’s what I believe. I pictured a few people playing the character of Margo including Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Collins, AnnaSophia Robb, or Chloe Grace Moretz.

 Vacation

Surprise! I’m also a National Lampoon fan! And for those of you who haven’t seen it, this movie did not disappoint! It was laugh-out-loud funny. The two kids, James Griswald played by Skyler Gisondo and Kevin Griswald played by Steele Stebbins, reminded me of me and my little sister when we were younger and on road trips. If you’re in the mood for a good comedy, check this one out! You even get to see Chris Hemsworth, and if that doesn’t sell you on it, I don’t know what will!

Jurassic World 

Chris Pratt. That is all. Just kidding. This movie was really good. It was a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire film and I enjoyed it. I applaud Bryce Dallas Howard, who played main character, Claire, for running in heels for the entire movie. It is a little shocking that the entire movie takes place over the course of ONE day at the island Jurassic World is on. The dinosaurs are scary. I also don’t understand how these people ran for the entire movie – I definitely would have died from an asthma attack or the Pterodactyl thing would have eaten me.  Overall, it was definitely a great movie and has made me want to watch the entire franchise from beginning to end.

 Magic Mike XXL

Let’s be honest, I watched the first five minutes and then fast forwarded to all dance/strip scenes, because that was the only part worth watching. Also, I watched those scenes with my giggly mother, so it was aca-awkward. But boy, are those men hot and they know how to strip. Thank you Channing Tatum for making a sequel!

 

 

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

Warning: I have never seen any Star Wars movies prior to me seeing this film. My boyfriend is a Star Wars nerd and growing up with the pop culture we have, it’s easy to know the general idea of the franchise or even know what the iconic things are.

With this is in mind, it was a really good movie in terms of special effects, costumes, sets, acting, etc. But to someone who only knows the pop culture references and iconic props/lines, it was a little predictable. Proceeding with SPOILERS. The main character, Rey, looks like she could be related to either Luke or Leia, and 3/4 the way through the movie Luke’s lightsaber calls to her. Hans Solo also dies at the hands of his son, Kylo Ren, which I TOTALLY PREDICTED, but my boyfriend said I didn’t understand the significance, blah, blah, blah. Like I said, it was a good movie, just predictable.

  Inside Out

The Pixar movie where our feelings have feelings! I originally saw this movie with my gymnastics camp kids over summer, then I just recently re-watched it with my boyfriend’s nephews and niece.

The movie is adorable. It’s funny. From a psychological perspective it’s completely interesting, not that I’m a psych major or anything. But it puts a movie out there that is a great resource for social workers and psychologists to use when dealing with children. I’ve already read plenty of articles confirming that it’s being used in practice. I like that Pixar listens to our burning questions like “What happens with our toys when we leave for school?” or  “What really goes on inside our brains?”

Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation

I’ve seen all of the Mission Impossible movies. They improved with each one over the years, but I really thought that Ghost Protocol was going to be the last one.

Rouge Nation was okay. It started right away with action, but slowly became boring about half way through the movie. Apparently there will be another Mission Impossible, and I must say, Mission Impossible has run it’s course.

 Aloha

Aloha, hello; aloha, goodbye.

I had high hopes for this film due to the star-studded cast, but it was a major flop for me. I’m not sure if it was the DVD I had, but the sound quality was so poor, our TV was turned all the way up, and I still felt like I couldn’t hear what they were saying in the movie.

The movie itself was kind of boring. Right away we’re thrown into the story and I wasn’t quite sure what was going on or why Bradley Cooper’s character was now in Hawaii, since it was stated in the beginning, but very vaguely. I’m not going to lie, but I definitely fell asleep during the movie and only woke up when it was finally time to put in a new movie.

American Sniper

My boyfriend and I have been trying to catch this movie for a while now. When we finally got it recorded at his house, his DVR stopped working, so I finally just rented it. This was definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in a really long time. Clint Eastwood directed a beautiful masterpiece that depicted the life of American hero and legendary sniper, Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper did an amazing job portraying  our fallen hero.

It’s a terrible thing that happened to Chris Kyle in the end, but his legacy will live on through his autobiography (which I hope to read this coming year!) and this movie.  This is the type of movie that makes me proud to be an American. I salute you Chris Kyle and all those who have fallen for this country.

Pan

I’ve heard nothing about this movie anywhere and deserves more credit than what it’s been given. It’s a twist/prequel of our beloved Peter Pan story  and how he and the lost boys arrived at Neverland.

The “evil” character is Captain Blackbeard played by Hugh Jackman (swoon) who kidnaps orphaned boys and brings them back to Neverland to mine for pixie dust to he can live forever. Pan and an unlikely alliance, James Hook, fight their way through Neverland to learn the truth about the island, Peter’s mysterious past, and how to defeat Captain Blackbeard.

The movie’s whimsical vibe created an atmosphere of adventure; kind of like the ones we would day dream about as a child. The movie also reminded me of the movie, Stardust, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, because of it’s whimsical and adventurous nature; which also made me enjoy the movie that much more. I think what really put me over the top, was when the lost boys were singing choruses from Nirvana and The Ramones. It took me a second to think about what they were singing, and I literally looked at my mom and was like “Are they singing the chorus from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana?” She thought I was hearing things, and then the next scene they were singing “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones, and she looked at me and said, “Yeah, they’re singing Nirvana and The Ramones alright…” Overall, I thought this was a really good, whimsical twist on one of my favorite tales.

Well, there is my review of my very long movie marathon. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Look for my post about Never Never part 2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher as well as my yearly wrap up! Happy reading lovlies!

Bridge to Terabithia

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.com

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.

That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Finally taking a break from working on my final project! I read this AWHILE ago, but I kept forgetting to write and post my review of it. So here it finally is!

For starters, I first read this book when I was in elementary school, not for a book report or anything, but instead the school program, Novel Knowledge (Yes, I have always been a nerd). Anyway, I read this book in fourth grade for Novel Knowledge. I decided to read it again for Banned Books Week because it is one of the more banned books in the U.S. According to the American Library Association, it’s ranked at #8 on the list of Top 100 Most Banned Books for 1990-2000, and #28 for 2000-2009.

I hate the idea of banning books. This one had some pretty crazy reasons – offensive language (Jess’ use of the word”lord” outside of prayer); promoting witchcraft, violence, new age religions, secular humanism, and Satanism. I get the idea of banning the book because it has the death of a main character – but come on, kids see worse things in their cartoons. Granted, the topic of death in the book being a death of a child, I do see why it was a topic of censorship. It should really be up to the digression of the parents and maturity of the child, but the idea of banning/challenging books is stupid. Just because it doesn’t fit your own beliefs, doesn’t mean everyone should be censored.

Anywho! This was the first book that ever made me cry. The second being Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park (also next on my reading list!) The book itself is enchanting. The characters are realistic and engaging, not to mention the strong friendship between Jesse and Leslie is immeasurable.

By now it’s 2015, so its plausible that you’ve seen the movie adaption staring Josh Hutcherson (My husband who I’ve loved since I saw him in Kicking and Screaming, I was a little kid then!) and AnnaSophia Robb. For those of you that have seen it, you know what happens. Regardless, the very short book is much better than the movie (even if it does star my husband!).

After re-reading the book – roughly twelve years later – I can say I felt the same emotions that I did when I was nine years old. I also balled like a baby. Life hurts you. Books can hurt you too. This book proves that.

Up next on my reading list is Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. I last read it in fourth grade, so a re-read is much needed! Especially since I found it for free at the local thrift store! Happy reading lovelies!

Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl

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Image courtesy of Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

When I first heard of this book, everyone talked about what a great book it was, but never what it was really about. I figured it was about two friends and their girl friend who was dying of cancer. Even the description provided by the back of the book was bland. Regardless, I still picked up the book in an interest to keep up with the bookworm crowd.

I honestly did not like the book. Not only did I not like it, but I fought very hard to push through and actually finish the book. The opening chapters seemed like a decent start with some opening jokes, but it never improved. I thought main character, Greg Gaines, was actually writing from his perspective as an established adult – he was talking about his several films and their “successes”. In the end we learn he’s writing the book around the age of eighteen or nineteen after he had been suspended from the University of Pittsberg for failing grades. It was a disappointment, much like this book.

The grammar and vulgar language of Earl irritated the heck out of me. The extreme awkwardness of Greg, Earl, and Rachel was weird, they were awkward together and never said much when they were together. They severely lacked personality and never connected with me as a reader.

Greg even writes in the epilogue, “Also, I can probably write whatever on this page, because there’s no way you made it all the way to the end, because this book is a disgrace to the English language. Too all language.” Yes sir, it is. I don’t know what the movie will be about since the book jumped around a lot and most chapters were backstory we really didn’t need. Hopefully the movie writers pull what The D.U.F.F. movie writers did – take the basic idea and create a new story line around the idea leaving out a bulk of the actual book. I’ll wait for it to hit RedBox or something.

If you actually enjoyed the book, great. If you didn’t, I’m right there with you friend. Until next time, I’ll be finishing up Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell before indulging in some ARCs I recently received and can’t wait to start! Until next time, happy reading my lovelies!