“I Did Love You Once”: Thoughts on Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Don’t Touch is a quiet book in the world of YA. I didn’t hear a lot about it before asking for it for my birthday, but I’m pretty sure my interest in it was piqued largely thanks to Kayla. It focuses on Caddie, whose parents have recently separated and is subsequently dealing with extreme anxiety, which is fed by a rule or mantra she has created for herself: don’t touch. Caddie feels that if she touches someone, or them her, skin to skin, she will be responsible for her parents’ divorce. As someone has never experienced anything like this, it was interesting to get inside her mind see her thought process.

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The book felt very genuine, from Caddie’s anxiety to her friendships and her experience as a new student at a performing arts high school (in Birmingham, Alabama! Bonus points for the Southern setting!). She reconnects with her old friend Mandy, but for me, the highlight was definitely her friendship with Peter, who she adores, but a potential relationship between them is very much complicated by don’t touch. (Bonus points for Peter being such a nice guy! I loved it!)

Part of the plot involves Caddie playing Ophelia in her school’s production in Hamlet, and I promise you I read this book in high school, but all I remember is, “To be or not to be,” and not liking it at all. Talk of the play in the book almost made me want to revisit it and see if I could appreciate it more this time around. But the key word is almost, because in the end I decided I was fine without ever reading it again.

This book felt like a 4.5 star book most of the time; I was really enjoying it but it wasn’t quite 5-star read for me, but the ending almost lowered my rating to a 4. I don’t want to say too much to spoil it, but one aspect doesn’t really wrap up at all, but that felt realistic and appropriate for the story. The other aspect I think wrapped up a little too nicely. I understood that she had struggled a ton already, but it seemed some things happened a little too quickly, but I have no expertise on the matter, so maybe it could be that way. Also, the ending didn’t really drag after the climax, but I feel like there was maybe a little more to it than necessary. I would have preferred something a little more open-ended.

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Overall, I would definitely recommend it for a realistic look at mental illness, interesting friendship dynamics, and a sweet romance.

Content advisory: Some mild to moderate language. Some talk of sex, nothing real descriptive.

Have you read Don’t Touch? What are your thoughts? What was a book that, for you, did a good job of portraying mental illness?

“So I Write it to the Sky”: The Wrath and The Dawn

It’s always a little intimidating going into a book with so much hype. And honestly, The Wrath and the Dawn started off slow for me. You are dumped into a whole new world with no background information or explanation as to what is happening or who any of the characters are. I spent probably the first 25% of the book trying to keep everyone straight and trying to figure out why I should care about any of them. I felt disconnected from all of them, but since I was reading this for book club, there was so much hype, and I wasn’t completely bored or uninterested, I kept reading. Thankfully, it really picked up for me.

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Possibly because of this disconnection at the beginning, I didn’t believe in Shahrzad’s growing attraction towards Khalid at first. She hated him and she never really said anything positive about his looks (not negative either, but she didn’t seem to be drooling over him), so I didn’t understand why her heart would flutter around him early on in the story. Does she feel connected to him because of their marriage? Is there something else about him that evokes this in her, maybe even nervousness or fear? I would have liked to have gotten some more insight into Shahrzad’s thoughts, but we’re provided with very little. This disconnect in the beginning and how it affected my view of the characters is my definitely biggest complaint of the book.

However, as the story developed and I grew to understand the characters more through their words and actions, I did find myself caring more and more. And on the night when Shahrzad learns the truth about why Khalid does what he does, I was definitely a lot more on board with them as a couple and with the story as a whole.

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The ending left me with a lot of questions, but I know most of them are definitely going to be brought up in the next book (since they’re mentioned in the synopsis), but one thing I really want to know is why Khalid sought Shahrzad out that first night, but never did with any of the other women. Because without him having done that, the rest of the story would never have happened. I really hope this comes up again, and wonder if this is somehow connected with her abilities she seems to have. Speaking of which, the element of magic and abilities was brought up later in the book than I personally felt it should have been. I wish we could have learned that about her earlier, as it seems to be an important part of her character.

The writing overall in this book was beautiful. It was written very cinematically; I could picture each scene in my mind with all the rich description given of setting, clothing, food, etc. There were multiple senses being evoked in each scene, yet I never felt it bogged down the pacing of the story, and that is masterful writing in my opinion.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely plan to continue the series!

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What are your thoughts on The Wrath and the Dawn? Was it slow for you at first too or did you fall in love right away? 

To Live in the World of Austen: Thoughts on Mansfield Park and Austenland

When I posted my summer TBR list and included both Masnfield Park and Austenland, I got recommendations to read the two books back to back. I’m so glad I did!

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Mansfield Park is my second to last Austen novel to read, in my quest to read all her finished novels. My only exposure to this story before reading was watching the adaptation with Billie Piper once. Despite the fact that almost literally every character is an annoying idiot, I actually enjoyed this one pretty well. As usual, it suffered from Austen’s tendencies to elaborate on what are ultimately minor plot points and water down the main romance (which is what the book is all about, I mean come on), but I really felt for Fanny and that helped me through this book. In fact, never while reading an Austen novel have I felt so inspired to write a modern adaptation. I think it could be really interesting, except Fanny would not be named Fanny, and Edmund would not be her cousin, obviously. It’s not my favorite of her works, but I definitely enjoyed it in its own right.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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It was a GREAT idea to read Austenland after a Jane Austen book, because there are so many references to all the stories (though I think Sense and Sensibility got the least mentions, and main character Jane kinda hated on Mansfield Park a little). I really enjoyed the quick pacing and just all around fun rompness of the book, but the ending felt a smidge convoluted and definitely rushed. Jane gets chased down in the airport not by one, but TWO men from Austenland, and one of those guys really wouldn’t have done that, I feel. The other, yes definitely, which is why… well, I won’t give anything else away. 🙂 Overall though, this is a fun read for all fans of Austen. I thought about watching the movie after, but after seeing the trailer and how many changes they made to the general plot (they make Jane look even more desperate) I decided against it.

Rating: 4 stars

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Are you a Jane Austen fan as well? Have you read Austenland? What are your thoughts on Mansfield Park?

Have Courage and Be Kind: Thoughts on Cinderella

When the new live-action Cinderella movie released, I thought it looked sweet but I didn’t rush out to the theater to see it. I finally nabbed it from Redbox on my birthday to see just how much it made me feel like a little girl again. Even though I had heard such things from reviews, I was still kind of surprised by the meaningful message of the film, and that it went deeper than magical fluff. Don’t be mistaken, it is still very fairy tale, with love-at-first sight and all that, but the character of Ella developed here is an excellent role model for young girls (and older ones too, really).

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Source

The (maybe just slightly heavy-handed, but still very nice) theme of the movie is summed up in the words of Ella’s mother to her: Have courage and be kind. This is Ella’s motivation as she endures the awful treatment of her stepsisters and stepmother, and while she fights against being a doormat, they certainly take advantage of her kindness. It’s also these very same qualities that she possesses that attract the prince to her when they first meet. And it’s this courageous kindness that gives Cinderella the ability to forgive her stepmother in the end – a strong, important message for us all.

Overall: Cinderalla didn’t become a new favorite for me, but I definitely enjoyed watching it, and it would be a film I would be happy to show any daughters I might have one day.

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Sherlock Holmes-ish & Late Night Chats

AKA, mini-reviews of Jackaby and On the Fence.

Jackaby by William Ritter

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What I expected: a book inspired by Sherlock Holmes. What I didn’t expect: paranormal. Apparently I didn’t read the synopsis very closely. I spent the first bit of this book adjusting to the paranormal creatures that existed in this world, and once I was able to accept that, I was able to enjoy it for the most part. The narrator, Abigail, is discovering everything about this world along with the the reader, and is a good sidekick for Jackaby, like Watson is for Sherlock. Jackaby was eccentric, as expected from the book’s description, and I enjoyed him.

However, I felt there could have been further character development for Abigail, Jackaby, and Charlie, the latter being one of the more prominent secondary characters and potential love interest for Abigail. She is quickly attracted to him, which was fine for me, but I didn’t get enough interaction between the two of them to properly ship them. And Charlie seemed like a nice guy, so I wish I could have gotten to know him better. Hopefully in the next book there will be a little more of him.

The story moves pretty quickly, which I can appreciate, but the pacing and tone almost felt more young YA or maybe even middle grade. I didn’t have a real problem with this. but it was confusing since I never got a good feel for the characters’ ages, but Abigail can’t be younger than 18 (and she feels more like early 20’s), and Jackaby feels he could be any age between 22 and 35ish.

Overall, this was a fun and quick read for me, and I’m definitely interested in reading more. However, I would have liked an additional 50ish pages to flesh everything out a little more, especially the characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Content Advisory: Pretty clean. Some violence, no sexual content, and I don’t recall any language.

On the Fence by Kasie West

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After enjoying The Distance Between Us, I immediately put On the Fence on hold at my library, ready to enjoy more by this author who is quickly becoming a go-to for me. Out of all of West’s books I’ve read so far (which is everything she’s published except The Fill-In Boyfriend), this one is easily my favorite. I enjoyed Charlie’s relationship with her brothers, her late-night chats with Braden, and her time at work. I also really liked that this book takes place in the same town as The Distance Between Us and we get some cameos from those characters!

I think in comparison with the romances in Kasie West’s other books, this was the romance that felt the most natural. I did like Addie and Trevor, though much better in Pivot Point than in Split Second; Lyla’s romance in Split Second came out of left field for me (I don’t even remember her dude’s name); and Cayman and Xander were cute but it did feel unrealistic for me, or at least I should say it felt unrealistic that it would last. Of course, I do have a deep love for the best-friend-turned-romance trope, and if you do too, I think you’ll enjoy this one as well.

I don’t have any real complaints about the story, it just didn’t blow me away to a 5 star level. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, and was surprised in the end by the twist of Charlie learning more about her mom.

Rating: 4 or 4.5 stars (I’m indecisive, I know)

Content advisory: Clean – no violence, only a little kissing, and I don’t recall any language.

Have you read Jackaby or On The Fence? What are your thoughts?

Mini Book Reviews: The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Edition

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Young Adult Sci-Fi/Contemporary

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I read several reviews for this book and knew of all the hype, but I still didn’t fully know what to expect from it. As you can see above, it blends genres, which I love. The book follows two timelines, a previous timeline that reads like a contemporary-turned-thriller, and a later timeline that reads like a sci-fi with just a taste of dystopia (but don’t let that scare your dystopia-weary soul, because I promise it’s not like another rehash of Divergent or anything). The plot was great, the characterization interesting, and I just loved seeing how everything weaved together. And the way time travel was handled in this book was well-done. I will say that while I thought the ending was really great and fitting, it made me raise my eyebrow a little like the Fringe finale, where I was questioning how exactly that could have happened that way, but I do forgive it because I think it was the right ending.

I really enjoyed this one and only had a few minor issues with it. However, for some reason this one doesn’t really stick to as a favorite that will stand the test of time, so it’s not quite a 5 star read, but it was definitely worthwhile.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Young Adult Fantasy

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I really enjoyed The Winner’s Curse, and while I didn’t love this one as much, I still enjoyed it a good bit! I admit, I’m suffering a bit from book amnesia on this one since I have waited a while to review it, but I do remember the twisty mind games that I enjoyed in the first book continuing through this one, though it did play out a bit differently. It’s more of Kestrel trying to tiptoe around the emperor and not reveal her hand to him, rather than her manipulating situations.

My biggest complaint about the book is that I wanted more of the emperor’s son, who I actually really liked and would have liked to have seen more friendship between him and Kestrel. I was also very sad about how things turned out with Jessi and Ronan, but I’m not saying Rutkoski made the wrong choices about them because sadly, I don’t think she did. I just liked them in the first book and hated to see how they acted in the second.

I think I found the romance between Kestrel and Arin a little more interesting this time around, but I’m actually still not a super hard shipper for them. But the ending definitely left me intrigued for the last book and to see how it all plays out.

Rating: 4 stars

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

High Fantasy

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I don’t know what I can say about this book. There is so much heartache, so many surprises, an adorable and perfect dance scene with Vin and Elend, and the ending is just… WOW. I think Brandon Sanderson is a master when it comes to endings (well, writing in general really). I was so floored by how it all played out, how it simultaneously ripped my heart out and crushed me and made me kind of angry to being so perfect and what it needed to be. I mean seriously, how does that happen?! Also, I think every question I had about this world and the characters was answered. So yeah, if you have any interest in these books, read them.

Rating: 5 stars

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Science Fiction

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I enjoy the movie adaptation of this book, but I did not expect for the book to actually line up with so much of the movie! There are a few things I like better about the book, and a few things I like better about the movie, but overall this book is a fun romp through the galaxy that makes you think of improbable possibilities. I will say that the book ends much more abruptly than the movie, without a really nice wrap-up, and is clear you are supposed to continue on with the next book, which I imagine I will do one day!

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Mini Movie Reviews: Inside Out, Ant-Man, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Inside Out

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I have not been happy with Pixar’s sudden shift from creating brand new, original stories to CRANKING OUT ALL THE SEQUELS, though admittedly, I had also not been happy with their last original offering, Brave. My expectations for Inside Out were cautiously optimistic. Thankfully, I really enjoyed it! The main character, Ryleigh, is about 11 or 12 when her family makes a big move from Minnesota to San Francisco, and I was really able to relate to it with the big moves I’ve made in my life. I really enjoyed all the characters and, as a movie about emotions should do, it gave me all the feels. Definitely recommended.

Ant-Man

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With Ant-Man, the latest offering of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (note: do there is a difference between Marvel’s cinematic universe and other Marvel films that are being released like X-Men, the new Fantastic Four, etc.), I was again cautiously optimistic. The marketing department had not done much to convince me this would going to be better than an average superhero movie (because I expect better these days), but I also hoped it was probably going to be pretty good because, well, Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thankfully, it was quite enjoyable, maybe not profound or earth-shattering, but very funny. I think this movie for me is what Guardians of the Galaxy was for a lot of other people, with just a little twist in the typical superhero image and fun. Paul Rudd really sold the show for me. Recommended.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

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I like the first MI movie. I kind of liked the second and third ones for a while… and I still think the third one is a pretty strong movie, but man does Phillip Seymour Hoffman chill freak me out in it… but recently I have grown a little less interested in them. Probably because they’re all overshadowed in my mind by the fourth one, Ghost Protocol. Brad Bird did an amazing job with the direction, I liked the addition of Jeremy Renner to the team… I don’t know, it just hit all the right notes for me. It’s got to be one of my favorite action movies. So my hopes were high for Rogue Nation and THEY WERE MET. This movie was twisty and left me guessing constantly. This is definitely going to be one I will want to watch over and over again like Ghost Protocol. Highly recommended!

Have you seen any of these movies yet? What are your thoughts?

Mini Reviews: The Contemporary Edition

I have been reading a lot more YA contemporary lately, and wanted to share my thoughts on my four most recent contemporary reads.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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I know this will mean nothing to most of you who read through your books much faster than I do, but I read this book in two days. It was just a fun, quick, easy read. It didn’t change my life and I had a couple minor issues with it, but overall I just really enjoyed getting to know Caymen and Xander and watching them interact. It was definitely worth the $1.99 I spent on it!

Rating: 4 stars

Content Advisory: Pretty clean. I don’t recall any language; some kissing.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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Believe it or not, this is probably actually the first really heavy issue book I’ve read, at least in the YA contemporary genre. I was hooked right away with Alexis’ voice as she wrote in a journal provided to her by her therapist, bemoaning the idea of writing out her feelings and comparing it to bleeding out with leeches. But the book definitely gets heavy, with Alexis constantly wishing she could go back and change the night she found out her brother killed himself, trying to deal with her mom and others in her life, and worrying that she is seeing the ghost of her brother. The ending was very emotionally satisfying, and I’m very glad I read this book to gain more insight about the aftermath of a suicide.

Rating: 4 stars (If I gave quarter stars it would be 4.25. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s just not quite to 4.5, but almost!)

Content Advisory: Moderate language; some kissing.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13 B by Teresa Toten

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I impulsively borrowed this from the library because I knew it focused on characters with OCD, and there are secondary characters in my WIP with OCD. This was a very interesting read for me; there were many things I liked but many I wasn’t crazy about as well. First, despite the fact that he struggles with OCD at a level I doubt I will ever understand, Adam is the most realistic character in this book, aside from maybe his stepmother and neighbor. His dad, therapist, Father Rick, Ben, and the other OCD kids felt real sometimes, and Sweetie and Adam’s mom NEVER felt real. (Sweetie is for real the strangest 5 year old ever. I don’t think a single kid on the planet talks like that.) Sometimes the characters and the dialogue took me out of the book (Adam and some of the kids constantly say stuff like, “That’s superior!” and other things I have just never heard anyone ever say).

Yet the book is quirky and full of humor, and I really did feel empathy for Adam. I enjoyed Robyn too and enjoyed their friendship-turned-relationship. And also yet again, this book was often awkward and hard to read, which I think was part of the point, because these characters are struggling with very real issues and disorders and it does hurt, but the added layer of Adam’s mom’s craziness was sometimes too much for me to bear. The ending was very unsatisfying as there is very little finality, but I know that doesn’t bother everyone, and it doesn’t always bother me, but I didn’t feel I got the full arc from Adam that I wanted, though we do see it going in that direction.

Rating: 3 or 3.5 stars (I really can’t decide.)

Content advisory: Moderate language; some kissing.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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I saved my favorite of the bunch for last. I mean, where do I even begin?! I ADORED Max. I loved him so much at first I couldn’t properly ship him and Paige because I didn’t think Paige deserved him. But when she starts to come around and really understand her feelings towards him, I felt for her and definitely got all aboard their ship! The last chapter was such perfection that I can’t even. I LOVED all the nerdy banter and just about everything really. The friendships were so spot-on!

My only complaint about the book really is at Max’s birthday party when they played Spin the Bottle and I was like, really?, but even the characters knew it was juvenile, and it was what gave Paige the push she needed to confront her feelings.

So seriously, READ THIS. I have never loved a YA contemporary to this degree.

[Side note: I’m terrified of Open Road Summer because the characters don’t sound as likable and this book was so perfect for me, but I think I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for future Emery Lord books.]

Rating: 5 stars!!! (I borrowed this from the library and then immediately ordered the hardcover from Amazon because I LOVED IT THAT MUCH.)

Content advisory: Sporadic and mostly mild swearing (though I believe there was one f word).

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

Mini Book Reviews

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

gr-gallagher1Genre: YA contemporary

Rating: 3 stars

Content Rating: Pretty clean. I think there were one or two mild swear words.

Even though I didn’t think All Fall Down was perfect, I was so excited by the prospect of reading more Ally Carter after it that I immediately borrowed the first Gallagher Girl book from the library. It was… fine, but a bit of a let-down after All Fall Down. It was more fluffy and more focused on the romance, and I just wanted to know more about the spy school!

(Minor spoiler in this paragraph) And here’s the thing: the romance was so perfectly sweet. Too perfectly sweet. I knew it was doomed. And I was still sad at the end to be proven right. It just felt worthless to read about this wonderful relationship that has to end because of circumstances. I know it’s realistic, but I’m reading a BOOK. Though I will say, I think the important point of this book is that Cammie makes a decision that will impact her future, and I hope to see this played out more if I read the other books in the series. I just would have liked to have seen her struggle through it more in this book.

My review of All Fall Down

Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

gr-letsallbebraveGenre: Non-fiction/memoir Christian

Rating: 5 stars

Content Guide: Clean.

This was one of those books that I decided to read on a bit of a whim… I had heard good things about it, so when I saw it in a discount Christian bookstore, I wanted to see if it would be a good gift for high school graduates… and then loved it so much more than I anticipated. And the crazy thing is I bought 11 copies of this book for all the 2015 high school graduates I knew (10 girls from my small group I lead at church, and the 11th girl being my husband’s cousin) and I still don’t own my own copy!

So what did I love so much about this book? Imagine sitting down to have coffee with a new friend and them just pouring out their heart to you, sharing with you wisdom and stories of pain and laughs curated throughout the years, and that is exactly what this book is like. It’s inspiring and grounded, not cheesy or cliche. If this even sounds remotely like something you might be interested in, check it out.

Also, bonus points for all the Nashville references and cover!

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

gr-firefightGenre: YA… sci-fi?

Rating: 4 stars

Content Guide: Some mild language and some violence.

So I had pacing issues with this book. Like, the beginning of the book is just action, action, action, which I feel like should be a good thing, but for some reason I was a little bored. Also, I really don’t understand how David made some of the conclusions in this book that he did, but he’s better versed with his world than I am, so I guess that’s fine. Though this book dragged a little in some parts for me, I did enjoy getting to know David better, and the ending definitely made me interested in what happens next.

My review of Steelheart

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

gr-thewellofascensionGenre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 stars

Content Guide: Some mild language and some violence.

I love the characters of the Mistborn world. This time, the focus is largely on Vin, Elend, and I would say Sazed, all of whom I love very much. I was also thrilled to get more of Vin and Elend’s relationship, though sometimes I just wished Sanderson would make it a little more swoony.

I had some mild pacing issues with this book as well, but I was never bored. I do feel like this book might end up feeling like a bridge between books one and two, which is quite something to say about a 700+ page book, but do I think it’s a very worthwhile bridge.

I think my biggest problem with this book is I don’t know when the climax was. I mean, the battle felt a little too… anticlimactic, honestly. They’re dreading it the whole book and then it just happens and people even die and it’s just like… OK, so when am I getting the epic Sanderson climax? Now, the very, very end definitely throws a bit of a curve ball… not one that makes you hang off a cliff or anything, but it definitely makes me interested in book 3. Of course, I would have been anyway, but you know, Brandon Sanderson wants to make sure I’m really REALLY interested in the next one.

And did I mention I love Elend? Because I do.

My review of Mistborn

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? 

Movie Review: Avengers Age of Ultron

I saw this movie on opening night. I enjoyed it. I went home.

I almost forgot about it.

Almost.

avengers_age_of_ultronBut let me back up. I love what Marvel has done with superhero films. I think what made Iron Man so great was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was self-aware. It was what we all wanted deep down and didn’t even realize.

i-am-iron-manCaptain America was very different, more historical and tragic, but it was about the American spirit and hero we all want. It touched something different inside us than Iron Man did.

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And then Thor was different because it took place in Asgard, a whole new world that was fascinating. And he’s a fish out of water when he’s on Earth.

thorAnd all these movies have great lines and great side characters: Pepper Potts, Peggy Carter, Sif and Loki, etc.

Where The Incredible Hulk unfortunately suffered in all this is that it was still just a regular superhero movie, like all the others we had seen before Marvel and Christopher Nolan changed the game. Apparently Edward Norton, who played the Hulk back then, was super involved in the writing of the movie, and he was a big fanboy of the Hulk. This sounds awesome in theory, but I wonder if he was trying so hard to fit the Hulk in this box that he had created that it didn’t give the character the chance to shine.

I’ll admit, I still wasn’t sold on Mark Ruffalo’s version of the character in the first Avengers movie, but I can give Age of Ultron the credit for making me care about him much more this time around. Or maybe what I should say is for making me care about Bruce Banner, the person underneath the Hulk.

bruce-bannerWhile we are talking about character exploration in Age of Ultron, I’m going to say that is the movie’s strength, and that is what has stuck with me since walking out of the theater.

There’s been a lot of talk about Black Widow in this movie, and say what you will about her role, but I think we got to see a whole new side of her and I was really glad to see it. Would it be cool if this was explored more in a movie or TV show? Yes. Will I move on with my life if it’s not? Yes. We see a much more vulnerable side of Natasha, but I don’t think she’s ever portrayed as weak. And while (mild spoiler) the interest between her and Banner did kind of surprise me and I wasn’t entirely sure I was 100% there with it (since we’ve had no build-up to this it felt like it came out of left field), I don’t think this weakened her either. It made her human. Same with their talk about infertility, which he started.

natasha-blackwidowI also appreciated that we finally got more from Hawkeye, after that poor guy got brainwashed in the first Avengers movie. His character has become a more relatable, almost every-man sort from this movie, and I thought that was a nice touch.

hawkeyeThe addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch really didn’t do a whole lot for me, though funnily enough, their best moments were when they were with Hawkeye. Quicksilver and Hawkeye had their running, “What, you didn’t see that coming?” joke, and Hawkeye hyped up Scarlet Witch for the battle against Ultron.

(Highlight for spoilers) Ultimately, the death of Quicksilver did very little for me. It made me sad for his sister, because it obviously put her in a lot of shock and pain, but I wasn’t sad for anyone else or for me. I had barely started kind of liking the guy when he died, though I appreciated the act that led to his death, especially when I was starting to worry that Hawkeye was going to be a goner. There was no real emotional resonance with it. 

There’s also the introduction of Vision, who is sort of interesting? We’ll have to see what happens to him in the future. We really get very little development with him at all.

Now let’s talk about the villain, Ultron. Even though he demonstrates just how much he is capable of, I never really feared that the whole entire world was actually in danger of this guy. I know it sounds ridiculous to say the stakes weren’t high enough when the whole idea was that he wanted to destroy the world but seriously, they weren’t high enough, because I was never worried that he would actually accomplish this, and not just because it’s a movie and I know it’s going to turn out OK in the end. But that could have been part of the problem. In Captain America: The Winter Solider the movie ends with SHIELD in shambles. It’s not a happy ending. While it was still probably surprising for many people watching the movie (unless they watched Agents of SHIELD, which they should have, honestly), destroying SHIELD is a much more viable option for a movie ending than destroying the world. But really, I think it was mostly that Ultron never truly frightened me enough.

But, the way Ultron was created was fascinated and I hope that comes back up because even though there is heated debating about it in the movie, it definitely feels kind of glossed over in  the grand scheme of things.

All in all, this is another solid movie from Marvel, enjoyable, witty lines, and some pretty good character development, but there were some weak spots in the movie that keeps it from being a favorite in the long run.

4stars2If you’ve see Age of Ultron, what are your thoughts?