The Martian: Book Vs. Film

I recently listened to the audiobook of The Martian by Andy Weir and then immediately watched the film version because, why the hell not?!  So, in this post I’ll be talking about the differences between the two and who won this battle!

the martian 1The book of The Martian by Andy Weir is honestly a pretty incredible book. It completely fooled me – I assumed it was a true story and that Andy Weir was retelling the story of what happened to him… apparently this makes me an fool after some googling revealed a bunch of posts along the lines of “some really ignorant people think The Martian is a true story”. Well shit. It was convincing to me. The amount of science discussed in the book is astounding, I can’t even fathom how much research must have gone into this book. The main character Mark Watney is also just an absolute pleasure to read about. He is hilarious and smart as hell. He’s innovative, inventive and the ultimate survivor. At times though, I wanted to see a more human side to him because he pretty much only makes jokes throughout the book or discusses extremely technical astrophysics/botany things that just went over my head (even though they were interesting!). I loved this story a lot more than I thought I would which really surprised me. Rating = 4/5.

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October_2_24_92_99_18.epsNow, the film version of The Martian was a visual masterpiece. The effects were just amazing and you just can’t deny that. Visually, it really helped me understand the baron-ness of Mars. It also simplified some of the really scientific stuff that was too heavy for me. Another thing I really liked about the film was how they gave Mark Watney a more human side. It really showed the toll loneliness has on you. I mean, HELLO, this guy spends like 600 days on Mars… I think you’d definitely lose your sense of humour after a while. The film depicted this well and it made me feel for the character and root for him more. Now, what I didn’t like? Matt Damon. Watching a film with Matt Damon in it makes me sick. Why did I even do this to myself? Maybe he’s a good actor, I don’t really know. All I see is someone who stood by while his friend and colleague sexually assaulted women and did nothing to stop it, while KNOWING what was happening. Now this film came about before everything about Harvey Weinstein came to light but I don’t really care, Matt Damon is trash. He knew about the the complete rot within Hollywood and did nothing. Rating = Film 4/5, Matt Damon 0/5.

So who wins… the book of course!

A x

 

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Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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 The Start of Me and You is a Young Adult book which focuses on grief, friendship, love and starting new.

A year ago, Paige’s boyfriend Aaron died in a tragic swimming accident and her life hasn’t been the same since. Stuck grieving the loss of a relationship that had barely taken off and having to deal with getting “the look” from everyone she knows, Paige decides she’s ready to start living her life again and not be “The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned”.

From the beginning, I was completely captivated by this book. I didn’t really know what to expect because I’d never read an Emery Lord book before. I have to say this book was so lovely and I’m surprised by how much I liked it. The main thing I loved about the book was the friendship. Paige has a group of close friends – Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh. They are all unique and fantastic and just a beautiful group of friends. Seriously, this is how to write friendship. These girls will go to the ends of the Earth to lift each other up. They support and love each other. They care about each other’s well being. I especially want to focus on Tessa because she is Paige’s best friend. Now, we all need a friend in our life like Tessa (I’m lucky enough that I do!). Tessa would definitely be a Gryffindor if she were at Hogwarts because she’s brave and loyal. She is by Paige’s side through everything and it’s just beautiful.

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Now in the book, Paige decides that one way she can start fresh is to date again. Preferably, she wants to date Ryan Chase who she’s had a crush on for years! She also decides that she needs to partake in more activities and groups. To summarise, Ryan has a cousin called Max who’s a bit (a lot) of a nerd and is a member of the QuizBowl team. Paige decides to kill two birds with one stone by joining the QuizBowl team so she can put a big tick next to partaking in activites, and also use Max to get closer to Ryan. I know, I know… Paige is a liiiiittle bit shady but don’t judge her too harshly. She really makes leaps and strides throughout the book. Max is also an ADORABLE character and such a good friend to Paige and just… ugh! I wish I had friends like this in high school.

The book is crammed full of literary references and book chat because Max and Paige both love reading. It’s also full of general knowledge because of the quiz team Max and Paige are on and wow, I did not expect to LEARN things from this book but I did and I loved it. It’s been years since I’ve stayed up until 3am to finish a book and I just feel great (and sleep deprived). There was only one thing that annoyed me in this book and it happened at the end. A female character is revealed to be in a relationship with another female and the way it was done was a bit eh. It was revealed at the VERY end as a very WOW moment and even worse it was done through some post-story emails. I just think the representation could have been better. This character was not hinted to be LGBTQIAP+ throughout ANY of the book and then it’s just thrown in at the end like scraps being thrown to chickens. The character deserved better and the LGBTQIAP+ community deserves better too. There is going to be a sequel to this book (which I’ll definitely read) and I am really hoping we get more diversity in it!

In conclusion, this book was just such a cruisy ride and I loved it. I give it 4.5/5.

A x

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Now, I know every person and their dog has already read and reviewed this book. Published in 2012, I’d have to say Ari and Dante is one of the most groundbreaking YA books focused on LGBTQIAP+ and with good reason. How do I put this eloquently… IT’S F*CKING INCREDIBLE.

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Aristotle and Dante is a coming of age novel about friendship, love and family. It especially explores ideas of masculinity and what it means to be a “boy” and a “man”. The books revolves around Aristole and Dante (duh!) and how these two boys who just so happen to be named after famous philosopher’s become friends.

Aristotle (Ari) is struggling with his identity. He’s knows he’s Mexican, and he knows his brother is in prison. He also knows his family will not talk about his brother and this confuses him. He loved his brother and doesn’t understand. He has a lot of trouble sharing his emotions and is very distant.

Dante on the other hand is very in touch with his emotions and not afraid to show it. He’s also Mexican, but unlike Ari he doesn’t “feel” truly Mexican because his upbringing doesn’t reflect Mexican culture. Dante is basically the embodiment of goodness, he’s a beautiful soul and an adorable pure entity who I will protect with all my heart. He loves poetry and he loves his family and I LOVE HIM.

One thing I really loved about this book was how it portrayed families. Firstly we have Ari’s parents. Ari’s dad is somewhat a closed book, he fought in the Vietnam War and has never been the same since. He doesn’t talk about it and Ari struggles with this. This might be why Ari has so much trouble talking about his emotions It’s beautiful watching their relationship grow and change in the book. I love the way it portrayed PTSD and the effect it can have on not just those with PTSD but also their family and friends. Ari’s mum is the “fascist” as Ari likes to lovingly call her. She’s a teacher, she’s strict and she cares about Ari so much. She’s been through some shit. Her son Bernardo (Ari’s brother) is in prison and everyone is tight lipped about it. Ari can hardly remember his brother but dreams about him regularly. His parents refuse to discuss Bernardo, it hurts them too much. We see the way this effects Ari, he brother was his best friend and I don’t think anyone in the world would just accept their best friend leaving for no reason.
Dante on the other hand has a father who is forthcoming with his emotions, visably showing his love through verbal interactions, hugs and kisses. Dante’s mum is also wonderfully expressive and supportive of her son.

In general, I was so happy to see healthy parent relationships. I’ve read so many books where one or both parents are dead, sick, absent or abusive and I somewhat think this is “trendy” in YA. It was definitely nice to see families portrayed this way. This isn’t me having a go at other books at ALL because I know it’s real life to have fucked up families, but it was so nice to see some functional families for once.

The writing is poetic and elegant without being pseudo intellectual. It just… is. It flows so well. I’ve seen some people say the pacing felt off but for me it was perfect. The story is told through Ari’s perspective and I think this effects the pacing and I understood it. There’s no doubt that Ari is miserable in the book and the pacing reflected his (what I think was) depression. The story was also very dialogue heavy which turns out to be my favourite way to read a book! The interactions between Ari and Dante are just so cute and are #friendshipgoals.

I give Aristotle and Dante 5/5 stars and 100% of my tears and love.

A x

I’m Sorry

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I’m writing this quick post to basically apologise for being so absent over the last month and a half. In the middle of September, my life has taken a dramatic turn and to say my blog has gone on the back burner is an understatement.

But, I’m back now. I can’t let my personal issues and anxieties get in the way of doing what I love. Which has made me realise I need to do more with this blog and talk about my passions, particularly diversity in literature. That’s what I hope to start doing and I really hope you all love it!

So thank you if you’ve stuck around during my absence and I can’t wait to post some new content and be more active on here.

A x

Review: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

 

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Lennon (a.k.a Lennie) the main character of Jandy Nelson’s ‘The Sky Is Everywhere” is many things. She’s a clarinet player, a radical poetry writer and a lover of Wuthering Heights. She’s also grieving the death of her sister Bailey. Although Lennie and Bailey have grown up without a Mother figure in their life, that was ok. Their mum was off on an adventure, and besides, they had their eccentric Gram, their charismatic Uncle Big… and most importantly, they had each other. That is until Bailey suddenly dies while rehearsing for the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. How can you begin to understand the loss of your sister, your best friend, your roommate and confidant?

Lennie is a broken person without her sister. She always thought she was the sidekick to her sisters superhero, and was complacent walking in her shadow. Her and Bailey faced the world together and now she feels like she has nothing. This is reflected in her poetry –

grief is a house where no one can protect you

where the younger sister

will grow older than the older one”

She finds comfort in Bailey’s boyfriend Toby because she feels like he’s the only one who could possibly understand what she’s going through.

This is until the vibrant Joe Fontaine shows up. He’s a multi-talented musician who has joined Lennie’s music group and has a smile that could light up the entirety of New York City. Joe is the rainbow on a rainy day. Now I must say that what Joe and Lennie have is the definition of insta-love, which was kind of confusing but Joe was just so cute, I couldn’t be that mad. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say they fall madly for each other. But Lennie’s emotions are also ridiculously skewed because of what she’s going through. I love Lennie and Joe’s relationship nonetheless. I’d love to hear the beautiful music they would make together.

Now, onto the topic of grief. Damn, I need to stop reading books about grief for a while because I think it’s making me depressed and causing me to have an existential crisis. Now, as a nurse, I deal with grief everyday. I see people take their last breaths, I see families torn apart by death. Hell, sometimes I cry for days on end in secret when my patient’s have died. But mostly, I’m a professional and I can’t let myself dwell on people’s deaths or I’d drive myself mad with the misery. But when I read books like this… it brings it all back and hits me like a truck. Why do you do this to yourself Aurora!?

I really liked this book, though admittedly it wasn’t as good as Jandy Nelson’s other book “I’ll Give You The Sun” which I conveniently never wrote a review for. But for now, it’s time for myself and books about grief to take a break. I give this book 4/5.

A x

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

if there's no tomorrowI’d like to say a big thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The release date for this book was the 21/08/2017.

This just wasn’t very… good. I don’t know… It just felt so “I’m gonna write a YA novel about *spins wheel* GRIEF and teens who *picks note out of hat* DRINK DRIVE while the love interest is *rock, paper, scissors* THE BOY NEXT DOOR”. It just really felt like no effort went into it.

Our main character Lena has to make it clear to you that she’s NOT like other girls because she READS ALL THE TIME. And also she’s SO AVERAGE. Lena’s best friend Sebastian lives next door to her, they’ve been friends since they were 8. Conveniently, he’s also the most attractive and popular guy in school and of course Lena is secretly in love with him but they’re just friends and he’d never be interested in her (because she’s average).

Basically the first half of this book is Lena pining over Sebastian while pretending she doesn’t love him, even though everyone else is like GIIIRL this is more obvious than Trump being a racist misogynistic orange. This is until the big thing happens which I won’t spoil but basically something bad happens which changes Lena’s life and leaves her with a LOT of guilt. The rest of the book is her coming to terms with the guilt, trying to rebuild her friendships and try and find herself again. Basically, this is a less well done version of Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner.

If you’ve read Armentrout’s other book ‘The Problem With Forever’ then don’t bother with this. The writing is exactly the same, the characters are THE SAME… it’s just a slightly different plot. Seriously, Sebastian is literally just Rider. Nothing happens in this book, it isn’t well executed and I don’t know how it got dragged out to 384 pages. I give it 2/5 stars.

A x

Review: Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 

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What can I say about this book that hasn’t been said before. It is mesmerising, beautiful and so unbelievably heartbreaking.

Lazlo Strange, junior librarian and fairytale lover from the city of Zosma dreams of a different place; a different life. He dreams of Weep, the unseen city. A place of greatness, magic, gods and monsters. Lazlo is awkward, quiet, and always has his head in a book (hello self!)… and above all, he’s a dreamer. He is ‘Strange the Dreamer‘. When an opportunity arises to go to the city of Weep, Lazlo jumps at the chance. He comes to find that the stories he’s heard, aren’t all they seem.

Okay everyone, the way Laini Taylor writes is actually magic… I don’t understand how she strings sentences together that are so incredible. It’s a 530 page book, but it just goes so quickly! The characters are all unique and agh, just SOO good. Lazlo is the cutest little cinnamon roll who I want to hug forever and make him a big mug of hot chocolate and just talk to. He’s so imaginative and glorious. Now there are going to be some spoilers from now on, yee have been warned!

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