Saturday, August 31, 2013

Taking a Little Break

Hey everybody!  I just wanted to make a quick post to let you all know that I'm going to be going on a hiatus.  I'm not sure how long I'll be gone because I'm not sure what the next few months will entail.  I just started my graduate program and I'm just not going to have the time to keep up with Movies In My Head. That's not to say that I won't be making a post from time to time or reviewing a book once in awhile.  I just won't be requesting review books or accepting review requests for the time being and I won't be posting with regularity.  I really appreciate each and every one of you and I hope you'll stick around while I figure things out.  I'll still be reading of course and poking around the blogosphere so you won't miss me too much I hope! Love you all!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (23)

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews


For Review:

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy Children of the Jacaranda Tree The Longings of Wayward Girls Bellman and Black Projection

Won:

Belle Epoque
Thanks Random buzzers!!

Bought:

F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers The Small Hand Timeless (Timeless, #1) The Book of Lost Things Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3) Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved, #1) A Little Princess Room

As always let me know what you got this week!  Happy Reading!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader


Escape from EdenAuthor: Elisa Nader
Genre:  Contemporary, Thriller, Dystopian
Pages: 271
Published: August 18th, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape. 
But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s fa├žade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?"~Goodreads

I've always been fascinated with cults.  It's that morbid curiosity thing and I just can't help it.  So when I heard about this Jonestown-esque story I just had to read it.  This book promises suspense, action and shocking secrets and boy does it deliver.   

LIKES:
  • Real Life Dystopia: The setting in this book is masterfully put together.  Nader has created a horrible paradise that feels so real I'm not entirely convinced it isn't.  Of course the thing is, it is real.  No, Edenton isn't a real place, but there have been and probably still are compounds like it out there.  For a good example (and I would imagine probably the inspiration for this book) check out Jonestown.  Probably the most terrifying thing about this story is that it can and does happen in real life.  This isn't some post-apocalyptic dystopian that takes place in the distant future.  It takes place right now and not in some alternate reality.
  • Somebody paid attention in Psychology class: One of the most impressive things about this book is the author's understanding of her characters' psychology.  As with victims of systematic abuse, the people of Edenton are controlled by their fear of The Reverend.  This fear develops into guilt and they believe they deserve all that he does to them.  Those of us not in this situation may not understand why they would not rebel under such cruelty, but the author handles this very nicely.  The reader is able to sympathize with The Flock even while hating what their community stands for.  
  • Subtle but intense romance:  I was really happy with the way that the romance was handled in this story.  I think it would have been a mistake to make it the most important plot point.  It definitely takes a back seat to the action and suspense.  However, the romance that is there is very intense and much different than in most YA novels.  Gabriel and Mia both have so many varied issues that it would be impossible for them to have a normal romance.  But the chemistry is great and fit in perfectly with the story.


DISLIKES:
  • Emotion could have been better at times: There were some moments in the book where I felt like the emotion could have been higher.  In particular, there is a scene near the beginning involving cookies.  I'll leave it at that so I don't ruin it for you, but you'll know when you get there.  I'm reading this scene going "HOLY CRAP WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!" and the main character just sort of acknowledges it and moves onto the next day.  It's possible that this was done on purpose to show how numb she has become to cruelty, but good lord.  EMOTE!
  • Gabriel's parents - WTF?:  Gabriel's parents (and really many of the parents here) should be ashamed of themselves.  I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything but in one of the last scenes they sit there as terrible things are about to happen to their child.  Now, of course at this point they are probably completely controlled by fear so you could give them that, but from what I can gather they've been pretty awful parents since the beginning.  So when they are seemingly absolved later on I had a little trouble buying it.  I can't imagine being able to forgive people who put me through something like that.  Maybe I'm just not Edenton material.
Overall this book was great.  It caught my attention from page one and kept me riveted throughout.  I really came to care about the characters and by the end of the book I felt like I needed a good cry and possibly a Xanax.  The storyline would have been interesting all on it's own but Nader added her own twists and turns and really amped up the suspense.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

  



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mini-Review: Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Paper Covers RockAuthor: Jenny Hubbard
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 192
Published: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte
Rating: 3/5 Stars
"At the beginning of his junior year at a boys' boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. When questioned, Alex and his friend Glenn, who was also at the river, begin weaving their web of lies. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick. Caught in the web with Alex and Glenn is their English teacher, Miss Dovecott, fresh out of Princeton, who suspects there's more to what happened at the river when she perceives guilt in Alex's writing for class. She also sees poetic talent in Alex, which she encourages. As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. When Glenn becomes convinced that Miss Dovecott is out to get them, Alex must choose between them."~Goodreads

I love a good boarding school story.  All of that teen angst and no parents in sight.  It's a great recipe for drama and intrigue.  For some reason stories about all boys schools seem to hold a special place in my heart.  It's probably because I grew up loving A Separate Peace and The Dead Poets Society, "Oh captain, my captain" and all that.  These stories really seem to tug at my heart strings.  That's probably why I went into this story expecting so much.  It doesn't hurt that Paper Covers Rock was a finalist for the William C. Morris Debut Award.  So with my expectations towering, I dove right in (pun intended).  Unfortunately, this particular boarding school story was a little stale for me.

Let's start off on a positive note.  The style of the book was really intriguing.  It is told in journal form through entries, essays, poems and letters.  I always have loved this type of writing style.  It allows you to get inside the protagonists head in a way that simple narrative cannot.  It also usually helps to make the pacing of the story work.  However, with this particular book, the pacing was sometimes off and even at only 192 pages this book took awhile for me to get through.  That being said, the journal style was effective in helping me to understand and connect with the main character, Alex.  Even though I felt I knew Alex, it was hard at times for me to sympathize with him.  He allows others to control so much of what he does and how he thinks and allows himself to be bullied by his (to me totally dull, nothing to write home about) best friend, Glenn.  Together the boys get one student expelled and attempt to have a teacher dismissed all to save their own butts.  I'm not sure why I should feel much sympathy for such a door mat.

My other big problem with this book is that the story line is so similar to A Separate Peace.  There are plenty of differences of course but the characters seem like less likable knock-offs of Phineas and Gene and the main conflict (a student being injured/killed) after jumping into a river was just too on the nose for me.  Really, I probably would have had a much different view of the book if this weren't the case since I spent most of the time comparing the two stories in my mind.  Of course the plot lines were different in many ways and I am not at all insinuating that anything underhanded is going on here, but I just felt like I had read this story before and liked it better the first time.

When all is said and done I can't really say  that I disliked Paper Covers Rock.  It was a solid story told in an interesting way, but it fell short.  I would have like to have seen a more original story-line and more likable characters.  The charm of Dead Poets Society and the bite of A Separate Peace were missing for me.  In the end, it's a story that is interesting but not enduring.  I think this book would be a good introduction if you haven't read a lot of books involving boarding schools.  It may really intrigue some of you, I think for me it was just a little late to the party.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton



Hi guys and welcome to my tour stop on the Some Quiet Place blog tour hosted by Mod Podge Blog Tours.  My stop is a character profile of Maggie Stone.  Huge thanks to author Kelsey Sutton for providing the material.  Check out the other stops on the tour and make sure to enter to win a finished hard copy down below.

Character Profile:  Maggie


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Name: Maggie Stone

Physical Traits: “Maggie,” I say, stopping. I instantly take note of the veins beneath her translucent skin, the trembling, the smudges under her eyes. Her ink-black wig shines weakly in the sun. “Maggie, you shouldn’t be here.”

Quote from SQP: Maggie swallows. “I was thinking … you know I joke about death”—the word makes her cringe—“and I brush it off. Hell, I dress like it.” She sniffs, attempts to harden, but it doesn’t work. Not now. Shuddering, she meets my gaze squarely. She’s decided something. “We’re all pretending, all the time. But now it’s different. I feel different. I think I need to face the fact that I’m going to die, and I need to hear someone say it.” 




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Kelsey Sutton
SOME QUIET PLACE, July 2013