Friday, September 26, 2014

Colleen Hoover Mess

I read Ugly Love and (tried to read) Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.

I chose the first one after reading the summary and seeing it had a good average rating on Goodreads. But, I was deceived. Ugly Love tells the story of Miles, a pilot who suffers a great loss and decides to never love again, but after six years of doing this, it proves to be more difficult when she meets her new neighbour, and his best friend's sister, Tate.

As if this is Twilight (minus the whole vampire thing), they just can't contain their attraction for each other, but Miles isn't willing to let go of his promise to never be completely happy again, and so it begins Tate's suffering. You see, I don't it's right to portray an abusive relationship as if it is the most romantic thing ever, which is what happens with this "love" story. I mean, I see the point of Miles's journey to love again and accept his mistakes, but after seriously abusing Tate, I don't think it's enough to redeem his character. If this book is in the hands of inexperienced teenagers, then they'll grow up thinking that it is okay to be "a little" mishandled because it is "romantic" and that is just not right. So, I didn't really liked the book but managed to finish it. And after reading an excerpt from Hopeless by the same author I decided to give it another go.

Oh, how mistaken I was. ¡It was even worse than the first one! I don't have a problem with reading about strong themes, like sexual abuse, but it has to be treated with the respect, caution and understanding it deserves, not as a medium to get to a romantic storyline. I read a third of this book and skimmed the whole way to the end... I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. It was so bad.

Anyway, I normally don't like to trash someone else's job, but the whole thing where we romanticize abusive relationships has to stop.

If you have read anything by Colleen Hoover, please let me know. I'd like to know what other people think.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Me Before You

When I first started reading this book by Jojo Moyes, I wasn't expecting much, but in a few pages it made me change my mind, and I got completely into the story.

This is the tale of Lou, whom after losing her job has no other choice but to work for the richest family in her town. She was someone I could relate to, someone who didn't really know what she wanted out of life and just kept going through the motions... until she meets Will Traynor.

Will was a successful businessman, but accidents happen and he was left as a quadraplegic after getting hit by a car. Now he is in the care of his family, and as it happens, in the care of Lou, who is hired to keep him company and make his life easier.

The two are complete opposites. On one hand is Will, who is a driven person but without the capacity to act and do what he wants; on the other is Lou, who has no idea of what to do with her life, even when she is able to move and do as she likes. At the beginning their relationship is quite difficult, but soon they start talking and improving each other's life.

(Coming up next: HUGE SPOILER ALERT)

That is, until Lou discovers the real purpose of why she was hired: to keep a suicide watch on Will, who tried to take his own life before she came to his life. Not only that, but he gave an ultimatum to his mom: in six months time he will go to a clinic and request assisted suicide. Everything is set, and now Lou has a purpose: to change Will's mind.

In the end, they fall in love, but that isn't enough for Will, who wants Lou to have the full life and love experience she deserves, and not what he can give or offer her. Lou is devastated, but after getting to know Will, her whole outlook in life is changed and now she will take every possibility there is.

Anyway, I really liked this book because it tackles a serious issue in an understanding manner. Yes, it has romance on it, but it goes beyond that. And it opens up discussion for other subjects, like who is to say what is right or wrong? Should a person with this kind of trauma decide on wether to keep on living? What can we, as external observers, do to help? It really was a book that gave me a lot to think about.

So, read it! You won't be disappointed. (Plus: I discovered yesterday that it is being made into a movie starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, yay!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tessa and Scott

Lately (as in, since last year), I've been obsessed with a pair of ice dancers. I simply can not stop watching their videos and just generally be in awe of them and what they can portray through dance AND ON ICE! For that reason, I'll leave you with two of my favorite dances from them.

This is probably my favorite. The traditional Carmen but with a modern touch.

This one is from the 2007-08 season, to the music from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

They've made me want to tourist Canada like nothing else, because not only are they great athletes, artists and performers, but they also seem like genuinely nice and kind people. If you want to watch more of them, just go to YouTube!

 (And just because once I start I can't stop watching their videos, here's a plus: Hallelujah)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Isla and The Happily Ever After

The final book from the Anna and The French Kiss has finally arrived!

I have to say I've loved this series for a long time. Back when I read the first one, Anna and the French Kiss, it made me want to go back to the time when I was an exchange student and I was pretty much like Anna during the first days of this adventure. Discovering this whole new world outside of your comfort zone and venturing out to a new world was pretty much how Stephanie Perkins described it in her book. When I found out there was another one from this same series coming out, I was ecstatic. Even more so when I discovered that it wasn't going to be the typical "sequel", but rather like a tie-in. Yes, I got to see more of Anna and Étienne, but I also got to fall in love with Lola and Cricket. And now, us fans, finally get to see how this all ends with Isla and Josh's love story.

So, in this third and final book, we meet (or rather get to see again and know more of) Isla, a senior at an American school in Paris. During the first pages we discover that for quite a while she has had a crush on Josh (whom we also met briefly during Anna), but she hadn't had the opportunity to act on it... until now, during the summer, in New York, where they both live, and with her being super high after a dentist's appointment.

That one summer night was magical for Isla, but she didn't see him again, at all, during their time off from school. Now she is back in Paris, and he seems more interested in her than ever before (I guess first impressions really do are important). They quickly fall in love... but sometimes, that isn't enough.

Sometimes, our own insecurities will destroy the one thing that is best for us, and if we don't have enough trust and confidence in ourselves, how can we believe it when someone else does? How can we believe someone who tell us of all the potential they see in us? This is what happens to Isla, and her journey of self discovery, for me, was quite eye opening.

I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After, but I also loved to rekindle my romance with Anna and Étienne, and Lola and Cricket. And now suddenly, I want to re-read them all over again...which I might do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rebel Belle

¿Southern debutantes mixed with newfound superpowers? Why not! This is what you'll find when you read Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins.

So, Harper Price, town darling, president of everything, captain of all things, queen of life, is ready for her final year of high school and the crowning of her perfectly constructed life at the homecoming dance. But (as there is always a but), the night of said dance completely changes her life.

Due to an emergency change of lipstick color, she has to run to the bathroom minutes before being crowned, getting herself in the middle of a battle between the school janitor and one of her professors (WHAT? How can those two be fighting...and with swords or whatever those pointy things are called?). Just before he dies, the janitor transfers something special to her via a really awkward kiss. Now, Harper has to deal with superpowers while trying to be what she has always wanted to be and protect the life of the guy she hates the most: David Stark.

Turns out, Harper has been turned into a Paladin, an ancient guard in charge of protecting the oracle, whom just happens to be the guy who has made life impossible for her since they were in diapers (passive-agressive flirting anyone?). But she is not alone.

Ever since the Starks arrived in town, Saylor Stark has been the most prominent female figure in  their small town in Georgia and an authority in everything related to the Southern Belles, including the Cotillion where Harper will be "presented" to society (and you say quinceañeras are old fashioned!). Except, there is a reason why this has magically happened... she's a mage! Duh!

Now the three of them, the most awkward of teams, have to unite in order to protect David, who will someday have the power to destroy or save the world as they know it.

Rebel Belle is an easy and compelling read, the kind of book that you can just read in one go and finish it with a good taste in your... eyes? It has best friend drama, boyfriend drama, school drama, can I save the world drama... basically everything you could hope for in a Young Adult book. The characters are well crafted, the humour is humours and everything comes together quite nicely.

Go on... you know you want to read it! Do it!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Love, Rosie

If you've ever felt the need to read the personal emails, chats, letters and any kind of written messages from a friend of yours to every important person in her/his life, this is the book for you.

Love, Rosie (Also known as Where Rainbows End) doesn't have a "normal narrative" in the sense that there is "no narrator", but you get to know these characters in a series of written messages between all of them. This is the story of Rosie, a girl from Ireland that meets, without realizing it, her soulmate since kindergarden. Rosie and Alex become friends for life, without ever going into the romantic side of their relationship. Life happens to both of them, kids, college, marriages, divorces, jobs, more children, more marriages, more divorces and so on, the kind of stuff that could really happen to any one of us. As the tag line says, "they were inseparable, constantly being separated".

It isn't the typical love story, Rosie has to make a lot of sacrifices for the good of her family, and like it happens in life, she can't really be selfish and make choices that will only benefit her, as frustrating as that is, but that are for the good of what she already has.

I chose to read this book after I watched the trailer for the movie, which stars Lily Collins and Sam Claflin (two of my favorites). If you want to get an idea of what the book is about, you can watch the trailer below:

If you want to read romance with more that a little bit of reality mixed in it, go ahead an read Love, Rosie (Oh, and it also has a lot of good quotes about life and love and friendship and family and everything in between).

Monday, July 21, 2014

The magical Robert Galbraith

The last book I read was The Silkworm by the magical Robert Galbraith. Why magical? Because, as all of us "fanatics" now know, Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling's pseudonym, that of our hero and author of the Harry Potter series (raise your hand if you are a Potterhead! Hey-oh! o/).

How could I not read her new masterpiece the second it was published?

Ala "Nancy Drew", each of these novels (The Silkworm being the second one of the Cormoran Strike's series after The Cuckoo's Calling), discover the secrets behind recently committed crimes, and in this case the murder of semi-famous author Owen Quine. Everything under the leadership of private detective Cormoran Strike, and her determined assistant, Robin Ellacott.

On a personal note, what I most like about this novels is that they take me back to London and it's culture. The regular pub visits from the characters remind me of the times I spent in these very English places. But besides that, every book is like a really good season of a crowd favourite primetime crime drama ( let's say Scandal, since right now I am obsessed with it). In 400+ pages you get the drama, the suspense, the action and a teeny tiny bit of romance (cause that's not what this novels are about). And, like in the very best tv seasons, the plot twist at the end can only be figured out if the reader pays really close attention to what the author is trying to say; and like with the best finales, I was left anxious with the need of having the next book in my hands.

Obviously, you can't expect to read something Potter like in these novels, but perhaps you'll see a few winks from J.K. herself (shout out to Emma Watson!). And since she has mentioned that she expects to publish many more of these character's stories, I can sign up to read as many as she can possibly write.

So, four thumbs-up for Robert Galbraith!

Oh, and today marks the 7th anniversary from the release date of the last Potter book, and I think The Harry Potter Alliance made a great job at summarizing THA' FEELS. Read it here.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars movie experience (TFIOS)

I know this will be just one of the MANY many reactions that you guys will probably read after The Fault In Our Stars premieres, but much like Hazel Grace, I just had to "talk" and share my thoughts about one of my favourite novels.

So, today I watched TFIOS at a pre-screening thing, and let me just say that I was not expecting the number of people that showed up. Being a Mexican Nerdfighter since 2007, I've seen the "piece by piece" growth of our little community in my country. And today, I just felt so PROUD to be a Nerdfighter. I didn't want to be such a "fan" but I couldn't help but wear my Project For Awesome t-shirt in case I encountered another fellow Nerdfighter, and I did. And it was awesome. 

The Green brothers have been able to create a community where us nerds can be able to talk about what excites us, what makes our heart rate quicken, what we are just so obsessed about we just can't help but think about all day long, and even in the nights. It is a community where we can just be ourselves, something that, sadly, not many people can do. 

It was today that I got to experience how important this is. I was in a movie theater where the book fans got together with the movie star fans, the nerdfighters, the "I got dragged in here but I still enjoyed myself" boyfriends and many other types of movie goers. And we all had a really nice time living this story, through a movie screen and many loud sobbing girls (and some boys too...yes, I saw you. Call me Amelie, but that's what I like to do). I think being a Nerdfighter means accepting the "nerd" in others, and with this community today it was abundantly clear that it can be done.

OK, I shed a tear, but what I really liked about the portrayal of TFIOS is that the main point of the story was translated to the screen. Yes, this story has sick kids in it, but it isn't a story about cancer, it is, above all, a story about love. 

If you haven't read the book, do it. If you want to watch the movie, do it. You really won't regret it.

Oh! And by the way, hello blog, in which I haven't written a thing since 2011. I think I'll come back to you. We will see.