Sunday, June 30

Book/Play Review: Midsummer Night's Dream

Author: William Shakespeare
Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Genre: Fantasy, Classic, Play, Drama, Comedy, Romance
Pages: 204
First Published: 1596
Where I Got It: On my shelf (from the Big Bad Willie Shakespeare book)

"Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny."

It's been a while since I read some of Billy's works and since it's officially summer this seemed a nice thing to read. ^.^ For this review, I shall divide and conquer:

The Good

  • Billy sure does know how to make romance mix well with comedy. I was chuckling like a loon
  • The characters were interesting
  • Puck was adorable.
  • Puck oddly reminded me of another pesty fairy...*points at Adam Black from the Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning*
  • The end through me for a loop and tied everything up together nicely.
The Bad and the Ugly
  • I thought the play inside the play was annoying. >.>
  • Half the characters were annoying and useless (ie the laborers for the Duke's play)
  • Some of the dialogue was rather cheesy.
  • Not Billy's best work at all.
It was not one of my main man Billy's finest works. It was pretty good and if you call yourself a classic's fan or a Billy fan you really should give this a go. It was rather funny, though rather cheesy in a couple places. Perhaps it would be a LOT better and the play within the play would make more sense and seem less stupid if one would see it performed live. Oh well. Out of five stars I grant this one 3 stars.

Favorite Character(s): Puck and Helena (poor chit....all she wanted was love).
Not-so Favorite Character(s): the laborers (useless folk). 


Tuesday, June 25

Top Ten Tuesday: Books of 2013

~The Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.~

Happy Tuesday everyone. I really didn't have anything I wanted to post today, but then I realized that I haven't done one of these posts in a long, long time. So here I am. Plus, this topic seems a good way to take a brief moment to recall the books I've liked/loved over the year so far. The year is halfway over already! Can you believe that? Well, I've read a total of 21 books. But yes...this week topic is: Best books of the year (so far).

(There is no order to my list)

1. Long Days Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill. 
2. Clisson and Eugenie by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte 

3. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey 
4. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

5. The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
6. Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy

7. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
8. Coyote Summer by JS Kapchinske 

9. Turn Coat by Jim Butler
10. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

What are your top ten highlights of the year?


Saturday, June 22

Book Review: After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami
Title: After Dark
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Contemporary
Pages: 191
First Published: December 2004
Where I Got It: Borrowed from Library

"A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.

After Dark 
moves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency—the interplay between self-expression and empathy, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami’s trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery."

This is the second time I've read this book and the second book I've read by Mr. Murakami.

Ahhhhhhhh, I needed a good dash of Haruki Murakami's writing in my reading. I haven't read anything by him in a long time and this book flashed in my mind. I remember liking it a lot before, I had given it four stars a while back, but now that I've grown and I have a better grasp of his writing style, I adore this even more.  He reminds me a mixture of Poe and of O'Neill and then thrown in the Japanese flavor with it.There is just something so magical about his stories. There is something so heavy and thought provoking. 

Especially this one.

My brain is still trying to connect all the connections together. Everything in his stories somehow, someway connect. Everything has purpose. I really like that. It really makes your mind avoid wanting to skim, because a clue to what the hell is going on is hidden in the text. Fantastic. I know, I know I'm acting biased because I am in utter awe of the author. Loving his writing makes me feel slightly biased. Haha. Oh well.

Poor Mari...all she wanted to do was just read her book and forget the world, but no, no, she is forced (due to her goodness) to interact with the people of the night. She is forced to take a glimpse of a world a million miles away from her. However, thanks to her small adventure she gained insight to herself. It made her stronger, more confidence, a chance at love, and a chance to clear up her misty relationship with her sister.

I love nearly everything about this tale...but the only thing that irked me a little was an uncertain ending. He left it up to the reader to dictate what happens. Yes, he gives some possible foreshadows for you to use to create the ending, but's left up to reader to really decide. I HATE THAT! It normally doesn't bug other people, but for me its annoying. I want to know! I didn't make the story, so I don't want to decide what happens. Sighs. Oh well.

In the end, this is a good book. I would recommend this book and the author (himself) to those that love a little bit of darkness, a little bit of humor, thought-provoking theme, interesting characters, and a story that will make you take a second look at society, reality, and yourself. In the end, though, I still have to give this 4 stars, due to the ending.

Favorite Character(s): Mari (reminds me of me in a way)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Mmmmm the business man (jackass). 


Tuesday, June 18

Movie Review: The Purge

Length: 1 & 25 mins.
Released: June 7th, 2013
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Rating: R
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Where I Got It: watched at movie theater

If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. 

James Sandin - Ethan Hawke
Mary Sandin - Lena Headey
Charlie Sandin - Max Burkholder
Zoey Sandin - Adelaide Kane 
Bloody Stranger - Edwin Hodge


Let me start out saying that I had super low expectations for this movie. The trailer really does no justice to what the movie is about. Yes, it is a thriller and whatnot. However, there is a deeper meaning to this movie. Not only is it a "what would you do?" theme to it, but it plays with the theory that "humans are animals" and if not allowed to go along with the animal in us then crime and poverty are bound to happen. It is an interesting theory and after the movie I looked more into it. Crazy, but interesting to think about.

I went with my friend Sarah, who was DYING to see this. She used the friend-card on me. Sighs. Oh well. I'm glad I went and seen it though!

Like I said, I had super low expectations, but the movie was a million times better then what I expected. Not only was the story intriguing and the theme thought-provoking, but the acting was fabulous. Ethan Hawke, the Dad, was kicked ass and took names. He was awesome and I really should watch more of his films. I also really adored the big baddie. He was so damn creepy! *shudders*

I liked the ending a lot, except for one occurrence. I can't say more then that because it'll give away a huge spoiler. In a way it was kind of funny, but a little awkward for all involved. 

In the end, I did like this movie. It was a change. It was different to all the other thrillers I've seen out there. The acting was good, the thriller-ness was good, the theme was though-provoking, and etc. If you like thrillers and slightly gory movies then I recommend this movie to you. I shall stamp this with 5 stars, in reality it is more like 4.5, but since I don't give decimals I rounded. 

Favorite Character(s): The Homeless guy, James (kickass), and the Stranger (just because the actor really pulled off the creepyness)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Zoey and Charlie (damn kids)


Monday, June 17

The Return of Carole: Music Monday

Happy Monday everyone! Sooooo sorry I have been pretty much absent. Once school was done, I was busy due to work and the catching up with socializing with the world. I had been anti-social during school it was sad. Haha. Now I have rested and am motivated to blog once more.

Well, since it is Monday and I have nothing ready to share yet, I'll share some music to get this Monday started:

First one is a lovely little tribute to Marilyn Monroe. It's fabulously done.

By boyfriend showed me this's "controversial" and people are in an uproar thinking this video is real. Gotta hate so obviously fake its not funny. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, June 12

Book Review: Gaijin Cowgirl

Author: Jame DiBiasio
Title: Gaijin Cowgirl
Genre: Mystery, Action
Pages: 393
First Published: March 8th, 2013
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author to review for my honest opinion.

"Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a client with a rather unusual hobby – painting the private parts of his female liaisons – reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favorite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt.

The Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: Yakuza, bent cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail, snapping at her high heels.
So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. From comfort women and tomb-raiding in Japanese-occupied Burma to the murderous echoes of the Vietnam War, long forgotten crimes come roaring back to life, as Val leaves a trail of destruction and chaos in her wake.
Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. Finding the treasure before everyone else does is her only hope for survival, and perhaps redemption."

Finally finished this. Gotta hate when exam time gets in the way of reading. Oh well. 

At first this was really, really slow moving. I wasn't sure Val's story was going to finally drift into the crazy treasure hunting, mystery, action story the summary talks about. However, once the story did explode it was good! It made the wait worth it. Perhaps the slow being was a way to make it seem more realistic and to establish the characters and the setting.

The story was good and I liked the different blend of characters. However, I loathed Val with every bone in my body. I tried SO hard to like her, I really did...but I couldn't. She was a spoiled brat and selfish. Poor Charlie...he was such a great guy and he wanted to love her and take care of her...but no...>.> I really wished that Suki had been the main character. She was interesting and I wanted to learn more about her. I also had a secret wish that she and Charlie would hook up. 

The ending took me by utter surprise. However...not in a good way. I was not happy with how everything ended. Yes, there was a cliffhanger and I'm mad. Hopefully the author writes a sequel soon. Though I don't like Val, I do want to know what happens to her and how everything will end up.

In the end, this was a fun adventure. The author sure does have a way of writing and he always kept me on you on your toes. Though I disliked Val, I did enjoy her story. I hated the ending, but I wouldn't mind finding out what happens next for her. I would recommend this to those that need a little shake up in their reading and for those that love mysteries/adventure novels. Frankly...this would be a good movie and I would watch it. Out of five stars, I shall give this a solid 3. 

Favorite Character(s): Suki, Charlie, and the Painter (*SPOILER ALERT*I just liked him because he was super complex and he was a great baddie*SPOILER ENDED*)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Val and Papa Benson


Saturday, June 1

Book Review: Coyote Summer

Author: J.S Kapchinske
Title: Coyote Summer
Genre: YA, Drama
Pages: ebook
First Published: March 17th, 2013
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author to review for my honest opinion.

*This review can also be seen over at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell*

"Heath always looked forward to summer visits at Grandpa’s—long days in the wild Rocky Mountains, fishing with Dad on the Piedra River, and nights sleeping on the screened-in porch. Plus this summer, Dad promised to finally tell him the secret about old Mrs. Baylis—a mysterious Native American woman living down the dusty dirt road… But now, after Dad’s accident, it can never happen that way. Heath and his mother go to Grandpa’s, but only to spread Dad’s ashes in the river. 

In the beginning, Heath feels like he's been swallowed by the raging Piedra, held upside down in some dark and unforgiving eddy. But one day, wandering along the riverbank, he meets Annie, a wild-eyed tomboy who shows him a hidden cave with a litter of orphaned coyote pups. Together they discover the cave holds another secret—one that might help them figure out the mystery of old Mrs. Baylis. During that summer in the mountains, Heath comes to realize there is both beauty and ugliness in the world, sometimes all tangled together. By opening himself up to Annie and the coyotes, he rediscovers hope and joy in this big, beautiful, mixed-up world."

This book was written for Middle School level readers and after reading this I really think that kids should read this in their Middle School reading/English classes. For more advanced readers, this will be a quick and simple read. Not only is the story really good, but also, all the life lessons embedded within the text were good too. I liked it.

This story is not only about Heath's moving on from his father's death, but it is a story that tells us that bad things may and will happen, but you have to move on. You need to move on and be happy...but never forget the past. The world can be an ugly place, but with the help of those around you and your own inner strength there is nothing that can defeat you.

I'm not sure what else to say about this, because I don't want to spoil anything. *ponders*

I wished that the author had dived more into the mysterious old Mrs. Baylis and her story. I know they give some sort of "resolution", but I feel like it rushed and something was...missing and things didn't add up right. Along with the mystery of old Mrs. Baylis, there were some other minor strings left hanging in the wind. Yes, they were minor, but I HATE when everything isn't concluded and tied up in the end. This ties in with the ending...the author upset me, because I really wanted an epilogue and 100% resolution to everyone's story. I know...I know...she left to the reader's imagination, but yeah...I like knowing.

In the end, this was a really good read. The lack of resolution and some loose ties annoyed me, but I did enjoy this. If I were to teach a Middle School English/reading class, I would have them read this. Not only is it a good story, but it has great themes and lessons to be learned. I think I would like to check out more of this author's stuff, he certainly has GREAT potential. I would recommend this to those that love YA books or for those looking for a nice feel-good book about life lessons. In the end, I'll give this four stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Annie, Grandpa (you'll see why later on in the text), and of course those adorable pups.
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Gus (bastard)