Tag: review

BOOKSTR’S WEEK IN REVIEW ICYMI

As we near the end of February, New York is finally starting to feel the cold (thanks for holding it off this long, global warming). If you’re reading from somewhere in a bathing suit and sunglasses, just know I hate you. Kidding. Besides, we’ve got some red hot new releases that might just keep us warm through the season, and so I give you Bookstr’s week in review!

P.s. i still love Noah centineo

image via flare

This week, Lametria gave us the scoop on the long-awaited sequel to All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. While the movie received mixed reviews, I think we can all agree that hunky Centineo’s smile on its own deserves a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Take a peek here, but beware of spoilers!

 

three to read

Okay, just this one last post and I promise we’ll quit forcing the whole romance theme on you (momentarily, at least). This is a big deal: Cecilia Ahern is finally back after sixteen years with a sequel to the bestselling novel PS I Love You… not to be confused with the Netflix sequel discussed above. Check it out along with the rest of Nehal’s swoon-worthy recommendations for Valentine’s month here.

retrograde got you down?

 Image Via your tango

 

‘Tis the season to blame all your problems on Mercury being in retrograde. Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of books both lighthearted and motivational to get you through it. Bonus: These five books feature protagonists tackling new beginnings… great for anyone going through major (or minor) life changes. Let’s be honest, Mercury in retrograde always brings about some sort of weird change. If all of these recommendations are too soft for you because you actually thrive under chaos and are a heavy metal reader, you can also scope out these great new thrillers. I like your style.

 

out with the old, in with the new

 

via GIPHY

Apparently there’s a new genre in town… this one’s meant for people between the ripe ages of eighteen and thirty. “New Adult” is basically YA but with slightly older characters, as to appeal more to folks in this transitional period of life. Getting old never has to mean getting boring, guys! See what all the fuss is about here.

Speaking of genres, we lost an icon of western literature this week, True Grit author Charles Portis. He died of natural causes at the age of eighty-six and will be remembered as a true American legend.

There you have it my hungry little bookworms, you’re all caught up for now. Check back next week for the short and sweet version of all things lit. Until then, you can tag along with Bookstr on our socials; FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Wayward Son’: A Hero, After the Fact

A year after Rainbow Rowell released her much beloved novel Carry On, the first book in the Simon Snow series, the second in the series, Wayward Son, has been published. Carry On received stellar reviews from audiences; some even claimed it to be comparable to the Harry Potter series. Last year, fans of the novel were left with a void in their hearts after finishing Carry On, but now that void, which can only be filled by more Simon and Baz interactions, can be filled… but not in the way audiences may expect. Rowell’s Wayward Son tells the story of what happens to the hero after the battle has been fought and the war has been won. What readers will learn is that there are always new battles to fight, and not everything ends in happily ever after.

 

 

*Spoilers Ahead*

 

At the end of Carry On, Simon sacrifices his magic in order to defeat the Insidious Humdrum—who turns out to be sort of a version of himself? I know kind of weird—Baz graduates from Watford at the top of his class, all thanks to Penelope who decided not to return for her last term at Watford; and Agatha runs off to California, attempting to get as far away from magic as she possibly can. Wayward Son fast forwards a year into the future. Simon and Penelope share an apartment in London. Baz and Penelope are both attending university, and Simon is doing relatively nothing. He sits on the couch day after day, needing Penelope to spell his wings and tail if he ever wants to wander the outside world. A complete one-eighty from how we left it, Baz and Simon’s relationship is beginning to suffer. Simon is always cranky, and Baz doesn’t know where they stand as a couple. It’s almost as if stripping the magic from Simon created someone completely different. This is when Penelope has her amazing idea to take a trip to America—something she and Simon had always talked about doing—and what starts out as an innocent idea to help cheer Simon up becomes an even bigger threat to their lives and the magical world.

 

Relationships and identity are major themes throughout this novel. All three main characters struggled with their identities for the duration of Wayward Son—Simon struggled with being stripped of his hero status, Baz contemplated his identity as a vampire, and Penelope attempted to find where she fits in a world outside of Watford. As these three characters struggled with their own identities, their relationships were tested, especially pertaining to Baz and Simon. Baz has felt estranged from Simon ever since they defeated the Humdrum and Simon lost his magic. They don’t do any of the things they did when their relationship first began, they don’t seem as close. Much of this had to do with Simon’s identity crisis. He was always the hero up to this point. Now it seems to him that he’s lost his purpose.

 

 

Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job portraying hero after-the-fact in Wayward Son­. In most action-adventure novels, the story ends with the hero saving the day and living happily ever after. However, the audience seldom sees the hero after his or her job is done. In this novel, we see exactly that, and in Simon’s case, the future is fairly bleak as he struggles to find a new purpose in life and to convince himself that he is deserving of Baz. Similarly, with Penelope, although she has moved on and is attending university, she is struggling to figure out how she fits into the outside world. At Watford, she was the top of her class and able to fix anything with a snap of her fingers (literally and figuratively). However, as she discovers during their road trip across America, the real world doesn’t work like that. There are mages more powerful and experienced, and obstacles not introduced to her at Watford.

 

Although the book did very well in regard to its themes and its portrayal of a different side of the main character, I found that it moved a bit slower than its predecessor, Carry On. The story moves a lot like a road trip across America might move—long stretches of seeing relatively the same thing. The beginning of the book and the beginning of their trip is a lot of Penelope being cranky and hungry, and Baz being confused about where he and Simon stand. It wasn’t until Nebraska that the story really got going.

 

Another aspect of the novel that was lacking was a resolution between Simon and Baz. Now, I realize that not all stories have a happy ending, and certainly not all relationships do either. However, I would have liked to know which direction they were leaning toward: working it out or letting each other go. Adding this to the novel wouldn’t necessarily have made Wayward Son better or worse, but I would’ve enjoyed it. Although there was no definite consensus about Baz and Simon, Baz does bring up an insightful point that stuck—is Simon acting like the Simon he first started dating because he feels like the hero again? Or is this how it’s going to be even when he’s not being the hero?  As Simon, Baz, and Penelope encounter more obstacles and battles on their trip, Simon starts to cheer up and feel like himself again, most likely because he feels like he’s doing something important again and he has things to protect his loved ones from.

 

All in all, Wayward Son is a fantastic sequel to Carry On. It portrays feelings most all adolescents feel after graduating high school or the equivalent: lost and confused (but with more trees, sky, and magic).

 

 

Revisiting ‘New Moon’ Thirteen Years Later (It’s Still Bad)

This past weekend, I turned 21-years-old. To celebrate I forced several my closest friends to crowd into my apartment, watch me play Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Golden Deer gang squad up), and sit through the movies that I have spent the past year carefully selecting just for this occasion. 

The favorite of the night? Twilight: New Moon

And what turns thirteen-years-old on September 6th? Twilight: New Moon.

 

new moon promo poster Image via Apple TV App

 

Time to party, folks. 

 

 

Now, the movie adaptation of New Moon didn’t come out until November of 2009, but I’m not going to reread one of those cinderblock sized Twilight books just for a ‘heeheehaha’ gag article. 

I did my time, and I ain’t going back in. 

Speaking of my time, it was in middle school. Every November, a new Twilight movie would be released. And, baby, ‘obsessed’ wouldn’t even begin to describe my friends and I. 

We had the neon clip-ins from Hot Topic, knee high converse with zippers down the back, and #TeamEdward shirts that were all black with glittery silver font. 

I wasn’t emo. I was scene. So, obviously, Twilight appealed to me. 

 

Twilight stansSome girls I probably would’ve gotten along with/Image via Cinelinx

 

And though it was a phase that took up about four years of my life, it was still a phase. I’ve seen the first film many times since said phase, college kids today enjoy reliving that vampire laden pre-pubescent nostalgia, but my memories of New Moon had all but faded away.

Until this weekend. 

 

 

New Moon opens on Bella Swan’s 18th birthday. We learn through her Sylvia Plath poem of a nightmare that she is now officially one year older than the age Edward Cullen was when he was turned into a vampire, the age he will remain for the rest of his time on earth. 

Technically, Edward is well over one hundred years old, but Bella worries that once her body ages past the point of Edward’s he won’t be attracted to her anymore. So, she has decided to alter her mortal life state for this guy she met in science class last year, and become a vampire. 

 

Edward and Bella Bella and Edward back in the good old days/Image via Twitter

 

Edward’s not into the idea. In fact, (after an incredibly awkward birthday at the Cullen’s) Edward dumps Bella’s dumb ass HARD. 

He claims that his family is moving, because townsfolk are becoming suspicious of the lack of aging going on over in the Cullen house. Which, yeah, they probably would be. 

Bella, however, sees through his very fair reasoning. She knows that Edward is just leaving to protect her from the greatest threat to her life. Him. 

OOOOOOO deep. 

 

 

Anyways, Edward leaves Forks and Bella sits in her room alone for, like, five months. 

 

Bella in bedThe iconic catatonic state scene/Image via Youtube

 

Eventually Bella’s father, Charlie, begs his daughter to end her melodramatic sobfest and go outside. And when she does, she realizes that she can conjure hallucinations of her lost love if she puts herself in dangerous situations.

So she puts herself in more dangerous situations, of course. One of such activities is cliff diving with her new rebound, Jacob. 

However, Alice (Edward’s psychic sister) has a vision of Bella falling into the sea, and assumes the worst. She returns to Forks in order to check on Bella, and while the two are catching up Edward calls the Swan’s landline only for Jacob to pick up the phone. 

Jacob then proceeds to tell Edward that Bella is f–king dead. 

 

 

So Edward decides to go to Rome during what looks like a giant Handmaid’s Tale festival, walk his glittering naked body into the sunlight, revealing his vampire status. This is a crime that in the vampire world is punishable only by death, which is convenient because the vampire police headquarters is stationed right next door. 

How anyone on God’s green earth is #TeamJacob is beyond me. 

 

the festival in romeThe festival that probably isn’t a real festival/Image via Italy Guides

 

Anyways, Bella and Alice fly to Rome via hard-cut, and rent a zippy Italian sports car (when in Rome, amiright ladies?) in order to reach Edward before he can pull a Romeo and off himself in the name of love. Take a shot every time I say ‘rome.’

It’s also worth noting that in the opening sequence of this film Bella wakes up with a copy of Romeo and Juliet in her bed, and the following scene shows Edward reciting a stanza of the famous Shakespeare play from memory. I just don’t want you to think that any of the allusions in New Moon are subtle or nuanced in any way. They aren’t. They beat you over the head with any and all references to outside works in order to prove that, yes, Stephanie Meyer has read a book before. 

 

 

Moving on, Bella is running through this festival trying to save her ex-boyfriend. He’s stripping down, about to walk into the sunlight, and a child is watching him do it for whatever reason, when Bella is able to run in a stop him at the very last moment. 

Then the rest of the film is plot set up for the next book in the series, and it’s all happily ever after or whatever. 

What stuck out to me in these final moments of New Moon, are Edward’s incredibly pale nipples. I get what they were going for, but Jesus Christ. Edward shirtless looks like when they pulled E.T. out of that river, like a dehydrated used napkin. 

 

Edward shirtless The nipples in question/Image via Flickr

 

In retrospect, it was a choice.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Netflix

‘IT Chapter 2’ Faces Scathing Reviews From Critics

On September 4th you’re gonna want to avoid your local sewers, because IT Chapter 2 is coming to theaters across the world! The film is set to be a huge blockbuster after IT raked in a total of $700 million worldwide, with a production budget of $35 million.

 

Pennywise Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in IT/image via Horror Freak News

 

However, now that the reviews are rolling in, the sequel might not live up to the hype. Several film critics have taken to twitter after seeing the film early, and there is a shockingly low amount of praise.

 

 

Woof. That’s a rough one. Other reviews echo similar sentiments, though not as harshly.

 

 

 

There are a couple of more positive reviews, though they are very few and far between.

 

 

 

What do you think? Are you still excited to see IT Chapter 2, or have these reviews dampened the hype? Or do you just want Pennywise to crawl down the hole he came from and never return? Let us know!

 

 

 

Featured image via Youtube

I Read ‘Now That I’m a Ghost I’m Gay.’ You’re Welcome.

Recently (an hour ago) I wrote an article for Bookstr titled 10 of the Most… Interesting Book Covers, and on that list was Josh Lark’s Now That I’m a Ghost I’m Gay.

Now That I'm a Ghost I'm Gay Image via Wired

This, obviously caused a bit of a stir in our office. What’s this about? Is it about ghost sex? How do you have sex with a ghost? What’s it feel like? Did becoming a ghost make him gay?

And with a title like that what was I supposed to do? Not read it?

So I paid the $2.99 fee, I downloaded it to my Kindle, and now I have all the answers (as well as many, many questions).

Now That I’m a Ghost I’m Gay opens on our main character, Alex, who has just died in an incredibly tragic bike accident. He looks down at his own corpse and realizes he only has one regret; he never came out to his hot and sexy roommate Jason.

And… whoosh! First ghost power revealed! At the thought of Jason, Alex finds himself transported to the men’s room of his dormitory where Jason is exiting the shower, and at the sight of his naked body Alex gets a crazy huge ghost boner. 

But when he tries to reach out to Jason, he can’t. His hand travels right through him. 

The reality of this situation dawns on Alex.

He’ll never be able to touch Jason, or anyone, again. The world that he’s lived in, everything that’s ever mattered to him, he can see but he can no longer interact with. Alex tries to scream, and he can’t. He exists only within his own mind. 

Then Jason’s towel slips and Alex gets distracted by his pubes. 

And that’s sort of how it goes. Alex begins to spiral through an existential crisis, grieving the loss of own life, until Jason does something a lil hot and Alex gets insanely horny.

Now That I’m a Ghost I’m Gay is 11 pages long, and this is what the first six pages are like. So let’s skip to the ghost sex. 

Gay for Ghosts Image via Stitcher

After Jason realizes that his dead roommates spirit is in this communal bathroom, he decides to let him bend him over the bathroom sink and ravage his corporeal being with his haunted hands. The former roomies can’t ‘touch’ each other in the traditional sense, though Alex’s touch feels very tingly and exciting on Jason’s skin. Alex knows this because another one of his ghost powers is being able to feel what Jason feels. Which is handy (no pun intended) since Alex is the one doing all the—erm—touching. 

The story ends with Alex writing in the fogged up mirror, his only way to communicate with Jason, and saying how happy he is now that the truth is out. 

All of my problems with Now That I’m a Ghost I’m Gay can be summed up in this one line:

“How do you tell your best friend that you’re dead, that you’re gay, that you want him to be yours? Which one do you even start with?”

Gay BabadookGay Ghost Icon, The Babadook/Image via The Guardian

Alex kills all three birds with one penis by going straight to the bone zone. I understand that the point of novels within this genre are to be short, erotic, and chock-full of supernatural elements, but I think that this is exactly what bothers me about them the most. 

I feel like if I were to die suddenly, I might have a little trouble getting it up for at least a day or two. I’d have too much on my mind to fully enjoy losing my v-card in the middle of a public bathroom. 

But hey, maybe that’s just me. If transcending into the spirit realm is the only way to get your rocks off, more power to you, pal. Whatever floats your ghost ship. 

 

 

 

 

Featured image via Amazon and Mandatory