Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18 - Books and a movie

The Lovely Bones (2009)
When 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is murdered, she watches from above as her family deals with her tragic death -- and as her killer prepares to strike again. Torn between vengeance and healing, Susie's loved ones are forever changed. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz star in Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's riveting, best-selling novel; Susan Sarandon and Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci co-star.

I read this book a few years ago and liked it quite a lot, except for something at the end.  When I heard they were making it into a movie I couldn't wait to see it.  And yet I've had it sitting here (Netflix) for weeks and I just now forced myself to watch it.  I just have not been in a movie watching mood lately.  And then there were the comments from my Movie Watching CoWorker that I should have learned by now to just disregard, but I don't.

So anyway, yeah, forced myself to watch it this morning and......I really liked it.  I think it gets some things across better than in the book but there were also some parts from the book that were not there.  They do not show her murder, which was a bit controversial while making the movie.  Some people argue that the story is about the brutal murder of this girl.  Others argue that no, it's not about *the murder* but about the changes in the lives around her.  I, for one, am glad they didn't show her being murdered.  As I get older I have almost no tolerance for blood, guts, gore.  In this movie they've managed to build the fear and suspense in the minutes leading up to the murder just by showing us how 'normal' the guy is and by showing us her growing awareness that something's not right, letting us feel her fear as she realizes it.  And the slightly confusing moments after are an equally strong way to get us to feel without grossing us out with the Hollywood norm.  Well done!

I am not a big fan of the crazy nonsensical versions of heaven or the afterworlds that are often shown in movies.  There is a bit of that in this movie but I was ok with it this time because the rest of the movie was really working for me.  And while the thing at the end of the book that I pretty much *hated* is indeed in the movie it's in a somewhat lesser form, and it seems to come across better.

Overall, a very good, very touching movie that I highly recommend.  Oh, and the main girl is awesome!

From an awesome movie to some crappy books.....

The Lost Enchantress, by Patricia Coughlin
Long ago Eve Lockhart discovered that the ancient magic that was her birthright could cost her everything. So she vowed to create a normal life and was convinced she'd succeeded-until a long-lost family talisman resurfaces. A prize beyond price, the hourglass pendant ignites the fevered interest of mysterious forces who'll risk anything to possess it-forces that include one very seductive man...

The priceless pendant isn't the only thing Gabriel Hazard wants from Eve. For nearly two centuries he's searched for the hidden magic that can break a spell and grant him the one thing he craves. But he isn't alone in wanting the pendant-or Eve's magic.

Now Eve has no choice but to break her long-ago vow and claim her power, her dream of everlasting love-and her destiny. 

My Movie Watching CoWorker shoved this book at me and said I just HAD to read it because it was the first one in a long time that she loved and couldn't put down while reading it.  Hmm, cover looks cheesy but ok, why not?  I put off reading one of my own books and started this one instead.

It was horrible.  I couldn't even finish it.  Even before I gave up I had reduced myself to just skimming pages looking for anything important to the story.  Everything was so vague and shallow, like no research was done and the easiest cop-out route was taken for things.  I never felt any connection to anyone in the story.  I kept comparing things to Twilight, which I know is unfair but I couldn't help it.  Oooh, the mysterious hot guy has secrets like....he's immortal.  Oooh, the mysterious hot guy is hundreds of years old even though he's frozen in his young hot guy hotness.  Oooh, the mysterious hot guy finds himself totally and addictively attracted to the girl.  Oooh, though the mysterious hot guy is totally in love with the girl he tries to keep her away by insisting it's dangerous to be connected to him.  Ooooh...... *yawn*

Stupid horrible waste of time.

And speaking of Twilight....

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, by Stephenie Meyer
Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion. 

I *HATED* this book.  When I first heard about it I was excited.  An article I'd read in the newspaper said something about her troubled life with an abusive father, and running away, and meeting Riley, being taken in by him.  I thought we'd get at least some of that story, and then go on to her becoming a vampire, and what she went through in those early days.  Nope.  It jumps right into the story when she's already been a vampire for months and we only get a mere mention of her former life.  Ok, so that was a bummer but even the story we do get sucks to no end.  It's very vague (I'm fond of that description, huh?) and rushed.  It just sorta breezes over things that are going on without putting any real time into anything to let us get attached to anyone or get a feel for what it's like.

I don't know, the way it's written is just useless.  I don't even really know how to describe it.  I think making the point of this book being about preparing for the battle with the Cullens was the wrong approach.  If we'd had more of Bree's human life, had a chance to get to know her and feel her pain then maybe we'd have felt her fear and anger and betrayal as she realized what was going on.  But no, we're just dumped into a very vague run through of something we already know.  It just seemed so wasted.

At least one dollar of what I paid went to the Red Cross..... *sigh*

Daughters of the Witching Hill, by Mary Sharratt
Daughters of theWitching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt. 

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic. 

When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights. 

Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation. 

This book, on the other hand, was fabulous.  Apparently I'd never read the back of the book because I didn't know until I was over halfway through that it was based on real events.  Once I realized that I had to refrain from looking up info online until I was done with the book because I didn't want to ruin the story.  Maybe it was my imagination but it did seem to become a little less fabulous once it got towards the end, where the factual stuff would have been easier to find and the story started to go by that.  

It's the kind of story the is detailed, well researched, allows you into the lives of the people and gives you time to get to know them.  Very good book.  I was 'seeing' a movie version as I read it and can only hope that if it ever is made into a movie it's done in a 'real look' way, not some pretty people cheesy Hollywood version.  (Is Peter Jackson available?  hehe)

And now I'm off to accomplish great things around the house before taking Meena to the vet for her followup.