My Quarterly 2-Cents: Novel, Film and Music Reviews of April-May

I’m Hey fellow bloggers,

The past few months have brought a whole barrage of literature to my door…here’s my quick 2-cents on it all:

April

April Books

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

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  This novel was well written with an interesting plot but not so interesting pace. It’s about a girl who’s dad abandoned her and her mom when she was a baby. He then claims the girl must live with him on his secluded island when the mom dies in a car crash. When a gang deal get’s her dad killed however, Seqouia aka Jess is left all alone on the island…to survive in the wild…handicapped and inexperienced with the outdoors. You can imagine that this starts excitingly and then quickly gets boring because there’s never a change of setting when someone’s trapped on an island. The author does a good job of counteracting that effect by switching the plot up with flashbacks every other chapter…and  liked that. I also liked the added personality of the dog which gave a sense of humour and helped the protagonist overcome her issue with hunting while being a vegetarian. What I didn’t like was the poor grammar I often noticed as well as the abrupt nook ending that didn’t even explore the protagonist’s life when she got back home. Who did she end up living with after both parents died? What did her life coach say once he found out she’d been hauling logs and building shelters all summer with a nearly broken leg? The author was elaborated too long on the boring parts of the book and thenbv rushed the important parts…a critical mistake that rendered this more of a 2.5 / 5 read.

 

Now these next 2 I read via audiobook and I’ve realized I’m starting to get pretty invested in that industry. So before I continue I wanted to know which audiobook apps you guys recommend I begin with:

 

 

Eve by Anna Carey: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟                           

eve.pngIf you’re a girl, you’ll love this book. If you’re a guy, you’ll love this book(if not at the start then you will after the first 3  chapters…I promise.) If you’re a teen you’ll love this book. If        you’re an adult you’ll love this book. Seriously this one takes the cake with a suspenseful, dystopian thriller about a post-plague population where all is not as it seems. The dying population separates what few baby girls they have from the few boys until all the kids graduate high school and join the real world in the “City of Glass.” However as this glorious graduation approaches, high school Valedictorian and our protagonist, Eve, rebels and learns that the city she’s studied so hard to join and help establish might not truly care about her at all.

I’ll admit, at first I only liked this book because it was cathartic to imagine Eve rebelling after I’ve abided by high school dress codes and “running in the halls” rules for so long. But as if that wasn’t already enough, author Anna Carey really incorporated some intense survival scenes that not only thrill readers but challenge the notion of what it means to be human. At what point does self-preservation overpower the need for loyalty to others? When is it acceptable to betray a friendship built over years for a new friendship? If you truly love someone, is it wise or foolish to build your loyalty on words unspoken between said person? This book really digs deep into emotional struggles of the human psyche that not many literary pieces do…and that’s what differentiates this from all the other YA dystopian fiction out there. If you’re not sensitive to the topic of human trafficking or mild swearing, this is definitely worth a read.

Aristotle & Dante Discover all the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

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Although it’s a good book, I don’t have that much to say about it because I don’t really think it was aimed at my demographic. It’s a heartwarming, coming-of-age story about two teens struggling to come out or admit their feelings for each other due to their strict Mexican heritage and afraid families. It’s written in a cute “diary” style and it’s likely cathartic for the average 12-17 year old teen but its incomplete in the way that it ended. First of all, (SPOILER) it sounded like Ari’s parents sort of forced him to come out before Ari was even sure he was gay…all because the author was rushing to finish the story. Also spoilers here: I felt the author could have delved more into what life was like for two boys after they became a couple. What was it like coming out to a predominantly Mexican school or facing the homophobic bullies that beat up Dante as a couple? What difference did they find after being apart for a year? Did Ari ever meet his brother and how did someone who went to jail for a homophobic hate crime react once he found out  his brother was gay? The abrupt ending never allowed us to find out.

April Music

Khalid’s Free Spirit Album: 3.5/5🌟🌟🌟 ….p.s for all those who didn’t know( like me) his name is pronounced “Cal-lead”

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Love this guy’s voice. His old stuff was good and catchy but nowhere near as heartfelt as this one. Now in the lyrics, you can really tell he’s letting his inhibitions and feelings out onto the track and I can so feel his pain in the raw notes of his voice. They could have been a BIT more complex of lyrics but when you’re a radio head artist like him, I understand that the catchiness of the lyrics take precedence over their thoughtfulness. It’s not an album I’d listen to on repeat while driving or anything. But I’m sure he’ll get tons of sold out concert arenas when he starts the Canada part of his tour this summer since everyone I’ve talked to (in various age groups and provinces) totally relates to him so much now. My favourite song from the new album is Bad Luck…what’s yours?

 

Billie Eilish: ??? stars/5

Can someone please explain the whole Billie Eilish thing to me? Like…I remember listening to Ocean eyes in 2017 thinking: “what a beautiful, calming, lullaby”…now I’m watching her music videos two years later and there’s blood gushing from her eyes, spiders crawling around…death symbolism EVERYWHERE. With all due respect her music is catchy and I heard she wrote  tons of the songs on her album at age 15(which is insane talent: congratulations, Billie.) But why the morbidity all the time? Is this the modern day version of the gothic/emo phase that teenagers used to go through? What is the appeal of black blooded Billie that I’m missing here…

 

May 

May films:

Spectrum and Middle Ground segments on the Jubilee Youtube channel. (no rating)

 

I’m not even going to give these videos a rating or explain to you what they’re all about…that’s what I love about this channel. It doesn’t tell you how to feel, it just gives you multiple perspectives of underrepresented individuals in political or social issues so that YOU can think for YOURSELF. So here’s some of their content to get you as addicted as I am.

P.S: I’m still very much loving the World’s Strictest Parents Youtube Documentaries that I reviewed in the last quarterly 2-cents. Still would recommend if you’re bored and running out of Netflix shows to watch..or if you’re a parent struggling with rebellious tens right now.

May novels

Renegades by Marissa Meyer: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟 (Chapter 1-10)

I started this novel upon seeing author Clara Bennet’s “Best Books of 2018” post.…and I would tell you that it’s worth a read but I’m only 100 pages in. So here’s the quick spiel: Lots of intriguing action, suspense and the building of several romance plots that I’m sure will get super steamy. I can already tell there will be tons of symbolism since there are so many foreshadowing scenes and I’m excited. But I’m also worried about the author’s pace because it seems the author jumps between the two superhero headquarters every few chapters so we can get an unbiased view as readers. But I find all this does is make me lose interest in one team and only ever want to focus on one POV, only for the story to immediately switch to some other POV that I forgot existed. I guess I’ve become resistant to change but in the same breath, I like the change this bring books to our modern day world of overhyped, reused super heroes. The heroes in this book are brand new, well thought out and refreshing…and make me feel like I want to read the last 400 pages of this book.

May Music:

Hey Child  by X ambassadors 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Naturally, reading a book title Renegades CONSTANTLY reminded me of that song by the X ambassadors who I occasionally like to check up on. So I did this month and they had released this lit single that reminds me of wild summer nights and it’s cool if you’re looking for a pumped-up workout jam. Not sure I like it enough to get their upcoming album but at least it’s catchy enough to become one of those radio head songs you bop to everyday.

June

I’m skipping June reviews. Exam season is coming up for myself and many student bloggers in this community so I assume that soon no one will even have time to read anything other than textbooks! I definitely won’t but to make up for it, I’ll do a Best Books of Summer Review somewhere at the end…say in August. So keep an eye out for that!

5 thoughts on “My Quarterly 2-Cents: Novel, Film and Music Reviews of April-May

    1. Who? The Sequoia girl? Yes, that sounds just like your insta: queenquoiaz. But the funny thing is she avoids this beautiful name for most of the book, opting instead to be called Jess; could you believe it?

      Liked by 1 person

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