Category Archives: Book Reviews

We Need to Talk About Kevin – The Movie

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Back in February, I read “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.  While I struggled with the first part of the book, I did enjoy it.  This epistolary novel tackles the question that parents do not ever want to ask themselves about their own children; Are killers born or made?  Shriver succeeds with this novel by providing many instances throughout where it is left up to the reader to argue whether it was Eva’s fault that Kevin turned out the way he did, or if Kevin, was born evil. Her focus on this theme is demonstrated by the characters themselves; Eva, and her ambivalence toward motherhood, Franklin, the high hope, “my child can do no wrong”, optimist, and Kevin, the antithesis to a loving child.

So when I heard that it was being made into a movie I was really excited.  Now whenever books are made into films, I do try to see the movie first because if I read the book first, I find the movie is ruined for me.  I know how things are going to end, I already have what the characters look like in my mind and things that are omitted from the movie that were in the book irritate me.  But if I watch the movie first then read the books, I can still enjoy both for what they are.  There are scene, lines and characters that weren’t in the movie that are in the book that let me differentiate and enjoy the book.

With all that in the mind, I did read the book first, attended a book reading of Lionel Shriver where she spoke about the book and had her sign my book, so I had high expectations of the movie.  And they didn’t meet them, whatsoever.  I have to say that for the most part, the characters were horribly miscast, especially Franklin, played by John C. Reilly.  With that said, Ezra Miller who played Kevin and  Ashley Gerasimovich who played Celia, were how I imagined them.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was that the movie felt almost like “Art for art sake.”  With the odious music that often drowned out the conversation and the montages of Eva scrubbing the red paint off of her house, the blatant metaphor of “blood on her hands,” I found myself wanting to turn it off.  The movie failed to capture the struggles between the main characters and some of the things that Kevin did in the book.  The movie implied the struggle between Eva and Kevin without showing it, at all.    So if I had to choose, the book all the way!

“Fifty Shades Darker” by E.L. James

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Just when women (and men) thought that they had been left hanging at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James gives what everyone has been asking for, Fifty Shades Darker!  Published in 2011 by Vintage Press, EL James gives her readers what they’ve been asking for the most; more Ana and Christian.  This novel outshines its predecessor in terms of character development, plot twists and most of all, more Shades of Grey.  Read more of my review here.

Grey’s long and complicated history is revealed to both the reader and Ana, leaving all involved grasping for more and more.  Mrs. Robinson makes her debut and Ana’s inner goddess is baying for blood.

“Never Wink at a Worried Woman” by Lynn Johnston

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Graphic novels and comics may not be for everyone, but Lynn Johnston’s “Never Wink at a Worried Woman” is as true to life as you or I.  Witty dialogue, realistic life experiences mixed with the laugh out loud antics of the Patterson Family makes this novel a great read.  Published in August of 2005, “Never Wink at a Worried Woman” is number 24 in a 29 novel “For Better or Worse” series.  For my full review, click here.  For better or worse, never wink at a worried woman!

Another great thing about this novel is that despite being a part of a rather lengthy series, I was still able to read the story without wondering who was this character, and most of the history was discernible that it didn’t leave parts of the story segmented.

Top Five Literary Dads

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There are lots and lots and lots of great fathers in the world, but there are also lots and lots and lots of great dads in the literary world as well. Here are some of my favourites.
1)Eddard Stark The Lord of Winterfell may have lost his head at the end of The Game of Thrones, but his devotion to his children is as strong as the Iron Throne.
2)The Man The father is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road keeps his son safe in the post apocalyptic world while teaching him to keep the fire burning.
3)Atticus Finch Nothing shows true character than a father whom teaches his children right from wrong and stands up for what they believe in like in To Kill A Mockingbird.
4)Arthur Weasley This wizard may wear second-hand clothes, but he teaches his children first rate love and care in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
5)Jack Salmon While I didn’t enjoy the book, Alice Sebold created one of the most empathetic fathers in The Lovely Bones. This father just could not give up on finding his daughter’s murderer.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James

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The buzz in unanimous, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James is sexy, sultry and will make anyone who reads it hot under the collar.  Come find out why Christian Grey and Ana Steele have everyone lusting after them.  Please note that this is an erotic novel and is not appropriate for everyone.  Check out my full review.

“This deliciously salacious novel is an erotic descent into the carnal world of BDSM.   The story is about the virginal and inexperienced Ana Steele, who is drawn into the “palm twitching” hands of Christian Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur with a dark sexual appetite and a darker past.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James

“The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” by J. Randy Taraborrelli

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   “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Without Marilyn Monroe, we wouldn’t have that iconic white dress over the street grate.  Without Marilyn Monroe, we wouldn’t know diamond’s are a girl’s best friend.  And without J. Randy Taraborrelli, we wouldn’t know The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.   Taraborrelli blows the rumours of Monroe out of the water and leaves nothing but the truth.  You will learn about her tumultuous childhood, her family’s history of mental illness, her half-sister, her confrontation with the man she believed to be her father, Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, JFK & RFK and the FBI, but last but not least, her sad spin into barbiturate addiction.  For my full review, click here.

“His first hand accounts from the people who knew her blows the myths, the rumours out of the water and leaves the truth, naked and exposed for all our prying eyes, needing to know more about Marilyn.  The candor leaves your nerves raw, your heart ache and your soul weep.  Taraborrelli lets us all into The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.”

 

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs : A Book Review

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I found this novel on Goodread’s on a friend’s book list and the cover caught my eye.  I’ve heard the old cliche “never judge a book by its cover”, but I did on this book and I am glad I did because Ransom Rigg’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was a frighteningly fantastical debut novel with just enough macabre and the ties that bind us to another human to keep you enveloped to the very end.  For more of my review, click here.  For an excerpt, see below;

“Jacob searching for clues about his grandfather’s tragic and aberrant death on a Welsh Island where is grandfather lived as a boy after escaping Poland during the Second World War.  Going on nothing but  the stories his grandfather told him as a child and “peculiar” photo’s, Jacob sets out on a journey to discover the truth.   Were the stories his grandfather told him about monsters and the children in the photo’s real? Or were they the ramblings of an aging man?”source - ransomriggs.com

“Survival of the Fittest” by Jonathan Kellerman : A Book Review

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If you are looking for a psychological crime thriller, then Jonathan Kellerman’s “Survival of the Fittest” is the book for you.  A book with eugenically driven murders and Darwinism gone awry,  Dr. Delaware and his partner Det. Milo Sturgis battle against diplomacy, bigots and red tape to try and bring the killer to justice.  See an exerpt below and click here for the full review.

 

“Dr. Alex Delaware is hired to help his sister come to find some answers.  The Dr. Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis are called to the crime scene of Irit Carmeli, the daughter of an Israeli diplomat. At first, the diplomat denies any political motive, but as the bodies begin piling up, the victims all have one thing in common.”

“A Thirty-Something Girl” By L.M. Stull : A Book Review

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Check out my latest book review on L.M. Stull’s debut novel “A Thirty-Something Girl.”  Reminiscent of Sex and The City, a 30-chic story of self-discovery and female comradery, this novel is a fresh, fast and easy read.  Here is an excerpt of the full review and select my book review tab for the full review.

 

“Maybe hidden under the dark & heavy layers of despair and doubt lies a shred of Hope.”  L.M. Stull’s debut novel “A Thirty-Something Girl” is a story of self-discovery, life & death and true friendship.  The protagonist Hope, a newly turned 30 year old, has had a string of bad luck that would cripple the best of people.  With the aid and support of her close friends, Hope begins on a journey and stumbles across someone who will end up helping her along the way.  Old wounds will be healed, new ones will be inflicted, but the true gem is the mantra “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going…”

“We Need To Talk About Kevin” – Lionel Shriver: A Book Review

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Check out my latest book review on Lionel Shriver’s epistolary novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”  A haunting read, it forces parents and society to answer questions about children.  It is a sociopsychological suspense that entrenches its reader from conception on.  For the full review here.  Please read an exerpt below;

“Shriver succeeds with this novel by providing many instances throughout where it is left up to the reader to argue whether it was Eva’s fault that Kevin turned out the way he did, or if Kevin, was born evil. Her focus on this theme is demonstrated by the characters themselves; Eva, and her ambivalence toward motherhood, Frankin, the high hope, “my child can do no wrong”, optimist, Kevin, the antithesis to a loving child.   The characters themselves are so well developed that you will feel yourself being pulled into the story…”

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver