My Thoughts on Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I haven’t posted in a while because of school work, but I’ve been reading as much as I could in my free time and I finally got around to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I heard about the book a while ago – mostly good things – but I’m always hesitant to read an author I’m not familiar with. What finally made me buy it was that I saw a collector’s edition sitting all alone on a shelf at Barnes and Noble, so naturally, I picked it up, not wanting to miss a chance at owning a book with such beautiful cover art. That being said, I regret nothing!

Told in alternating points of view, Eleanor & Park is a story about two 16 year olds who meet on the school bus on the first day of school. The story is set in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 80’s and is filled with great musical references.This book is one of the most interesting stories I’ve read in a very long time. It’s cute and funny with such great characters, I couldn’t put it down. I really like the structure of the book; it is written from both Eleanor and Park’s perspective, which isn’t something that’s easy to do without disturbing the flow of a story, but Rowell makes it seem as natural as breathing.

Eleanor is such well developed character. She isn’t shallow or unrelatable. Although her home life is complete crap and her only real solace is Park, she is still just a typical teenage girl. She has all the gushy feelings girls have when they get their first crush, and all of the fears. One thing that sticks out about her is how she seems to fixate on Park so completely. At one point she says he is so cute she wants to eat his face, which I thought was hilarious because it’s definitely something I would’ve said when I was 16.Overall, Eleanor is just trying to survive her awful stepfather, and the horrors of being the new girl in a town where everyone already knows their place.

Park is my favorite character because for one his name is Park. His family is the opposite of Eleanor’s, which makes for a great contrast in the way the two characters interact with each other. Park is a hopeless romantic due to being brought up by parents who are completely in love with each other. He even says that the one thing that made him feel better when he woke up scared at night was knowing how much his parents loved each other. I think that is such a beautiful thing for someone to say, especially a 16 year old boy because let’s be real, how many teenage boys do you know who would actually admit that? I know zero, but I digress. My favorite thing about Park is probably how much he cares about Eleanor. He wants to be her protector and even though she is cynical and sarcastic she melts right into him because she knows he is truly genuine.

I dont want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the book, but I give it 5 stars and I hope to God that there will be a sequel. I also wouldn’t be opposed to a movie. I would definitely recommend reading this book, it was worth every second.

For more information on Eleanor & Park or Rainbow Rowell, visit her website.

Happy reading! 🙂

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Books vs. Movies

So I’ve been thinking lately about all the books I’ve read and a lot of them have been adapted into films. In most cases I try to read the books first but sometimes I get stubborn and I’m not inclined to read until I’ve seen and enjoyed the film.

There are so many different connotations, good and bad, surrounding books being turned into movies. I even came across a quote on Pinterest that read, “Don’t judge a book by its movie.” While it may seem a bit extreme, I think that a movie adaption of a very well received book is the type of thing that can make or break a franchise. There is always a lot of pressure to make the film as amazing as possible when the book has cultivated such a huge fan base. Sometimes Hollywood gets it very right, but sadly there have been times when they didn’t do as well as everyone had hoped.

Some movie adaptions I think have done particularly well are Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Hunger Games franchise – these movies always have me on the edge of my seat, Harry Potter of course, The Great Gatsby (the 1974 version), Something Borrowed (in my opinion  the movie was much better than the book), and of course The Fault in our Stars. I have left out Twilight for one reason; while I enjoyed the books very much during the height of their popularity, and I religiously dragged my family to the midnight movie premiers, I have grown to question a lot of the reasons I liked the books. Yes, I’m definitely a sucker for romance and Edward seemed like the perfect man at the time, but now that I am older and a bit more experienced in the romance department, I realize just how strange the relationships between the characters are. I recognize that Twilight was a huge phenomenon and may still have a large fan base so I will not discount its success. I will simply say that it is no longer high up on my list of amazing adaptions.

It is so hard to pick a favorite among so many fantastic stories, but I think the one that resonates with me the most is The Fault in our Stars. I’ve ranted about how much I love this book before so I won’t go too far into it, but in my opinion at least, this movie stayed so true to the book and the chemistry between the actors was so real and beautiful. I don’t think I could have cried any harder in the theater if I’d tried. I just really enjoyed this story the most. Call me sappy!

Anyway, I’d love to hear everyone else’s favorites, so if you read my little blog please feel free to comment. Let’s get a discussion going! 🙂

My thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James

So in50ShadesofGreyCoverArt honor of the movie adaption of Fifty Shades being released next weekend, I’ve decided to give my thoughts on the steamy bestseller.

I’m assuming most of the world has read this book by now, but I’ll give a brief summary anyway. Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel about a shy, “plain Jane” college student named Anastasia Steele, and a young, handsome, rich CEO named Christian Grey. Ana meets Christian when she goes to interview him and he is immediately interested in her. Christian is into the wild life of BDSM (Bondage/Dominance + Sadism/Masochism), and wants Ana to be his submissive  but she’s scared because she’s a virgin and doesn’t know anything about anything. Long story short, they fall in love but Christian’s emotional unavailability due to his “rough start in life” gets in between them.

Now, I have mixed feelings about this book and so does just about everyone I’ve ever discussed it with. On the one hand, I can definitely see why it made the bestseller list. Sex sells, obviously, and there are a lot of women who like to read or live vicariously through sexy novels, myself included. Who doesn’t love a good sex scene? But I think what was most appealing about Fifty Shades was the BDSM element. For a very long time, BDSM was considered an extremely taboo topic and people within that lifestyle were seen as freaks. With the popularity of this book, the BDSM lifestyle has become less taboo and more people have been interested in experimenting with certain aspects of it, which I think is a very good thing. It’s healthy for people to explore their sexuality.

On the other hand, I honestly had a hard time getting through it. I’m not a fan of the writing structure and style, and Christian and Ana have sex like, every other page which I thought was excessive. I believe the story relied too much on the act itself and not enough on the actual love and romantic feelings growing between the two characters. Even though the sex was frequent, it was fun to read about – and because of the ending, I did end up buying book  2…and book 3. I also feel like the characters were extremely one-dimensional. Both Christian and Ana and even Kate (Ana’s roommate), were very cliche. I feel as though, they could have been developed more. I’ve heard that Fifty Shades started out as a Twilight fan fiction, so I suppose I’m not too surprised by the character development.

I’ll admit my opinion of the book sounds mostly negative, but despite all the things I didn’t like, I would still recommend this book to anyone who gets a kick out of erotica. This is a great guilty pleasure read with a huge fan base. There are even Fifty Shades sex toys for those of you who feel a little brave after reading it. In addition to my opinion of the book, I have an even stronger opinion about the casting choice for the movie version, and I look forward to seeing the movie so I can see how the acting is, but that’s a post for another blog, haha!

Check out Fifty Shades of Grey at E.L. James’s website and grab your significant other for a screening of the movie, out February 14, 2015. I’m sure it’ll make for a steamy Valentine’s Day date night!

“Mr. Grey will see you now.” Happy reading! 😉

My New Obsession with Divergent *Minor Spoilers*

DivergentOkay, so there might be a few spoilers in this post so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie proceed with caution! Today I’m going to talk about how I have deprived myself of the genius that is Veronica Roth and the amazing world she has created with the Divergent series.

I will admit that I purposely avoided starting this series because I am extremely picky when it comes to books about dystopian societies. I still haven’t even touched The Hunger Games because I made the mistake of seeing the movies first and now I’m afraid of reading all the things that were left out of the films. I also decided to watch Divergent before reading it and fortunately, I loved the movie so much that I just had to go out and but the book. Watching the movie, I could tell there was such a huge chunk of the story that I wasn’t getting, and unlike THG, it made me want to read the books. While I understood the overall ideal of the story, I decided to further enlighten myself. And boy, am I glad I did!

I absolutely love this book and I’m dying to read Insurgent before the movie comes out in March because I will most certainly be at the midnight screening. After seeing Divergent, I came across a lot of spoilers on the internet regarding parts of Divergent that were left out of the movie, such as Peter stabbing Edward with the butter knife, and Uriah’s character as a whole. I suppose I could go on all day about the things that were left out or changed for the movie, but that’s not the point of this post. My point is that I absolutely love the way the story unfolds and how complex the main characters are. Tris is truly one of the best heroines I’ve ever read about. She’s smart and strong-willed and incredibly brave. I don’t think I’ve ever looked up to a fictional character until now, and Shailene Woodley’s portrayal of Tris is wonderful in my opinion. I also love Four, he is a true leader and the perfect mix of strong and vulnerable and Theo James also gave an incredible performance. I even kind of like Eric, although that may only be because of Jai Courtney’s amazingly venomous performance in the movie. I also really love the Dauntless faction. In the back of the my book is all of the Faction Manifestos and the Dauntless manifesto is by far my favorite. If I had to choose a faction to spend the rest of my life in, I would definitely choose Dauntless because like them, I “believe in ordinary acts of bravery,” and jumping out trains and off of roofs sounds like a kick-ass way to spend my time!

I’ll cut my obsessive rant off here, and sign off by saying if you haven’t read or seen Divergent, I suggest you do ASAP because you will be blown away by Veronica Roth’s awesome imagery and brilliance. For more info on Divergent, visit Veronica Roth’s website and visit the official movie site here.

My thoughts on “Paper Towns” by John Green

Paper TPaperTowns2009_6Aowns is another fabulous novel by John Green and I absolutely loved it. The story is about a high school senior named Quentin and the girl hes been head over heels for since they were kids, His neighbor Margo. Margo takes Quentin on an adventure unlike any he’s ever experienced, then send him on his own adventure. With the help of his best friends, Quentin unravels the mystery that has always been Margo. I honestly was not expecting to love this book as much I did, even though it’s clear that by now I think John Green is a genius. It was funny and thought provoking and I loved the mystery aspect of it. I would certainly recommend this book to all who have not yet read it. The best part is that Paper Towns is in the process of becoming a movie starring Nat Wolff (Issac from The Fault in our Stars movie), and Model/Actress Cara Delevingne. The movie is set to be released June 5 of this summer and I am more than excited!

For more info on Paper Towns visit John Green’s website and for more info on the movie click here.

Hope you enjoy both!