The Boy (2016) | Movie Review

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Spoilersss

Greta goes to the UK to escape her abusive boyfriend and get her life straight. She takes a job as a nanny for an old couple, and the son (Brahms) she has to look after turns out to be a doll. Despite the weirdness of this, she still takes the job due to her need for money and sympathy for the couple. Then the creepy stuff starts happening.

The boy had a lot of potential. I mean, the doll does look pretty unsettling and there’s some nice build up in the beginning. But that’s where the positives end – about mid-way through it starts to get really stupid.

Like I said, the start of the film has a nice, slow creepy build up. Greta is afraid of the doll, not just due to its appearance but because weird things/sounds keep happening. The film builds itself up as a ghost/paranormal film throughout most of the movie. And it should have stuck to doing that. (more on this soon!)

Brahms have a list of rules he’s dead set on having Greta follow. At first, she refuses because she’s scared. But then Brahms makes her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (her fav) and she feels he might not be so bad after all. This is where the movie starts to go downhill.

Seeing Greta following the rules and trying to appease Brahms was a bit stupid. Things get worse when her abusive ex-boyfriend shows up (he just walks in uninvited, couldn’t she have just called the police?)

Soon we get to the big twist of the movie: Brahms isn’t a ghost boy, he’s a grown man that lives in the walls. The scene where he first comes bursting through was really cool, I must admit. But the twist itself irritated me. I guess I just wanted a ghost/creepy doll story. Brahms turning out to be a rapist/weird guy just wasn’t what I wanted for this movie.

Still, I’d say the movie’s watchable enough.

2.5/5

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Possession by A.S Byatt | Book Review

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Possession follows a group of literary scholars as they try to unravel the mystery of a relationship between two deceased poets (Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte). The mystery is slowly revealed through a series of letters, journal entries and hints found within their poetry that the main characters have to find/figure out.

Possession is a great book. The amount of detail and effort clearly put into it is very admirable. On top of its complexity it is still an engaging read as well (for the most part).

The novel has a lot of characters but the most important ones are Roland Michell and Maud Bailey. Roland is a college graduate struggling to break into academia. The closest thing he has to a job is running errands for the more successful Professor Blackadder.

Roland has a passion for the poet Randolph Henry Ash – in fact, he thinks Ash is a part of him. When doing some tasks in the London Library, Roland comes across a personal letter of Ash’s in one of the poet’s old books. A letter that clearly hasn’t been or wasn’t meant to be seen by the public. And this is where the search begins.

The letters all lead to Ash’s relationship with the lesser known female poet Christabel LaMotte. This is where Maud Bailey comes in, she’s an academic well-versed in literature and women’s studies. As the two search for more they soon form a complicated relationship.

There are plenty of other characters, and they’re all soon wanting to possess the letters between LaMotte and Ash.

The best part of the book is probably the modern-day characters. Their characterization is rich and they all feel real. We get to know all the characters’ motivations, drive and personal ambitions and I thought this was what made the book so fascinating.

LaMotte and Ash, the subject of the characters’ fascination, are not as interesting. We mostly know them via letter correspondence. Those letters, sad to say, were the dullest part of the book. I honestly felt the need to skip over the chapter that was just letters between them. But I wouldn’t recommend doing so since there’s important information there.

The funny thing is, LaMotte and Ash are only interesting when others are talking about them. The novel also contains journal entries from people who were close to the two, and these were far more interesting than the letters.

And then there’s their poetry. Honestly, it was pretty bad. They are fictional poets so I understand it would be hard for the author to write brilliant poetry if they’re not a poet. But I mean the poetry was still bad and not fun to read. All the poems just seemed like a bunch of lines pushed together rather than a coherent piece.

But besides those negative aspects of the novel, I still feel it’s a good book. Watching the characters try to figure out the mystery of the two poets is the best part and how they all interact with each other is great to read. Possession is a great novel, and I feel anyone who works in academia will love it the most.

4.5/5

My Favorite Dean Koontz Books

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Dean Koontz has always gotten a significant amount of hate. I never really understood why. I first read some of his books when I was younger and I loved them. I still do.

Koontz has come to my mind recently because I was talking to a friend who hates Koontz. He didn’t really give a substantial reason other than “he’s bad” and something about Christian imagery. So, I asked him exactly how many books he’s read and he said “one or two.” I shook my head, and suggested him some of my favorites to, possibly, change his opinion.

Keep my mind, I’m not saying that people who dislike Koontz have never read him. People have different taste, I know. The conversation with the friend, just got me thinking about Koontz and the hate he tends to receive!

Now, as for those favorites I mentioned, I’ll list them now.

The Voice of the Night

This book follows two boys, Colin and Roy, friends with very different personalities. Roy soon shows he has sociopathic tendencies and a fascination with death. Things get worse as Colin gets caught up in Roy’s twisted games. Voice of the Night is an engaging and disturbing read. I was thinking about this book months after reading it. Although the “moral” of the book might come on a little to blatantly, most of the novel is good from start to finish.

Intensity

A young woman named Chyna Shepard finds herself in the path of a murderous psychopath. That’s a pretty simplistic summary, I know. But the book is brilliant. The suspense and characterization are simply amazing. If I had to choose one Koontz book that had “literary” merit, or possible classic potential, then this would be my choice by far.

Life Expectancy

The main character, Jimmy, is predicted to have five terrible events happen in his life. When each happens his life gets closer and closer to a horrific fate. This book isn’t the best but it’s just fast-paced and fun. Not to mention all the twists and turns.  I honestly couldn’t stop reading shortly after I started. In other words, it may not be the best novel but it’s a fun and heart-racing read.

Velocity

A man keeps getting notes claiming that someone will be killed. And the murders begin to happen just as stated. This one has the same appeal of Life Expectancy. It’s fast-paced and has the good ol’ “can’t put down” affect. Like, Life Expectancy, it may not be the best book, but it’s an insanely good read.

The House of Thunder

Susan wakes up in the hospital with little memory of what happened to her. As it comes back to her, she begins to remember her fiancé’s murder. Hallucinations begin to consume her and soon the men responsible for her husband’s death are after her. Nostalgia has a lot to do with my liking of this book – it was the first Koontz book I ever read. Regardless, I still think it’s a good and thrilling novel.

…The above are my main favorites but I would also recommend: Midnight, Twilight Eyes, From the Corner of His Eye, Strange Highways.

 

April 2016 Reading Wrap Up

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April was a good reading month, I managed to read some really good books despite being super busy. I might have even found some new favorites!

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
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The second book in the Monstrumologist series. This wasn’t anywhere near as good as the first book. In fact, I was really disappointed. I guess Yancey was trying to develop the characters more, but to me it just seemed like the characters were whining and sulking around too much. There’s still some cool moments, though. 3/5

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
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A re-read for me. Still my favorite Shakespeare play! So much awesome craziness. 5/5

The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
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Liked some things about it, hated others. I did a review: https://mixedupsaydee.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/the-sound-and-the-fury-by-william-faulkner-book-review/   3/5

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
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A fun read overall.Although I think the “princess who hates being a princess and rejects everything associated with princess-ness” thing is getting a little old! 4/5

Possession by A.S Byatt

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A very masterfully crafted and complex book. I might do a full review later. The only flaw is the poetry (written by the author for her fictional poets) kind of sucked. 4.5/5

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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I can see why everyone loves this play. It’s a very good read, one of the few plays you can read without needing it to be acted out. 5/5