bookspluslife

May 28, 2015

Book: I’ll Be There by Autumn Doughton

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:30 am

imageA book that will appeal to young girls, I guess, perhaps exclusively.

The story is very simple. The narrator is  Willow, a young woman and the daughter of a naturalist and tree hugging hippie type mom. (Hence her name). By the way, I wonder if the author’s name with Autumn in it is suggestive of this being semi biographical?

Dustin, the boyfriend, breaks up with her and she feels horrible. They drink to help her forget her heartbreak, surprising her younger brother, who has never seen Dawn drink before

Yawn, so far.

Then an odd thing happens as you continue to read, undaunted. It gets interesting.

Willow  meets Alex almost a day after she breaks up and is immediately attracted. As soon as you start thinking that your first impressions of the book were wrong, there comes a lot of moping about Dustin. You are back in the depths of boredom.

If you are not into troubles of teenage girls, this can get boring. The story is all about love troubles in school and how she just wants to die.

 

Overall, the book reads like the diary of a schoolgirl. Frenemies, gym, classes, rivalries, gossip, gentle ostracization – the whole nine yards.

She feels small, smaller, then blunders, and feels small, smaller. She thinks of Alex… dreamy!

Total misunderstandings stop her from becoming close with Alex though both seem to be interested in each other.

Dustin seems to hover over her, but still under Taylor’s thumb. And you think ‘These are the problems in your life, Willow? Oh for the uncomplicated life of a teenage girl!’

Nothing really happens. Much. In the entire book, but let us go on.

Alex comes back into her life with a bang. She loves … ooooh… loves him. Enough, I think you get the gist.

This thing is a Hollywood soppy romantic comedy style stuff, with twists for the sake of a twist and characters running away from each other and changing their minds about running away at the drop of a hat.

It is a sort of a ‘he loves me, he loves me not… he loves me and he loves me not’. Round and round like you are on a merry go round in a carnival.

The bad guys get their just desserts, the good girl feels liberated and finds the one true love that had always, always eluded her.

The end

3/10

– – Krishna

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Movie : Avengers – The Age of Ultron (2015)


imageThe first Avengers that came out in 2012 was very good. As a sequel, this thing is confusing and, frankly, a letdown. They have tried too hard and it kind of leaves you over saturated with the plot, dialogs, and even special effects.

The trailers are phenomenal and Ultron in the trailers comes out awesome. I could not wait to see the movie, especially when rating websites gave it really high rating. Well, I do not seem to see what they see, but I came away very disappointed.

The Ultron story is based on the comic book story that came out as a series long ago, They have made changes in this movie because in the comic book for example, Ultron takes over Iron Man’s suit with him still inside it and the movie is different.

The story is simple. Ultron is an experiment by a Central European scientist (a fictitious country called Sokovia) named Strucker. He also has other mutant creations like the brother and sister duo of Quicksilver (who can move faster than the eye can see) and Scarlet Witch who can manipulate minds, even those of superheroes.

The usual assortment of Avengers goes to stop him and discovers Ultron’s code and Iron Man (Stark) wants to see how to control it and use it for good. But Ultron, being sentient, defeats Stark’s  Artificial Intelligence program JARVIS and takes over Iron Man’s whole lab. And makes copies of itself using machine parts. Very cool visual.

They fight to conquer it but it seems to be out of control, spreading to the Internet and being able to replicate at will all over the place.

Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and others are there, as are the additions Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch for instance. Samuel L Jackson also makes an appearance in his usual role of Nick Fury. But the magic is missing. Read on.

And then it gets weirder. First of all, even this story is weird. The gadgetry goes overboard first. All over the place they have halographic screens that they move across thin air like the previous movies. Second, to show that JARVIS is defeated, they show Ultron as a blue network in air, JARVIS as the orange network and the blue “eats” orange. I know the director has to do something so that the audience knows what is going on, but this comes across as kind of tacky.

The dialogs are insipid. Their fighting, running, and then, incredibly having a quarrel among themselves and figuring out how idyllic life in a small town (Hawkeye’s private life) can be.

The human angle, right? But does not come across as natural. Is it me or does even Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow) comes across as tired or jaded?

Also you know how the Iron Man in the original movie kicked ass and just dominated the superhero club? How he had the best lines to himself? Here he comes and goes, as listlessly as the others have become.

And when Ultron, with all that invincible power decides that he “want to get into a human body” you wonder ‘Why? What is in it for you?’. No proper explanation. How can you conquer him? Give a human body to JARVIS of course!

Oh brother! All in all a confusing jumble and you come out of it with your head spinning, slightly bored at times, and with a great feeling of let down.

The visuals are good, as always. The humour is there in places, and they all try to wisecrack in the midst of disaster, but the spark that we found in the first movie seems to be surely missing in this one.

I will say a  4/10

– – Krishna

May 2, 2015

Book: Three Willows by Ann Brashares

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:31 pm

imageBest to dive straight into the story. This is a classic chick-lit, meant for young women readers. It is in the tradition of, and continuation of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by the same author. The subtitle is ‘The sisterhood grows’.

Jo, Ama and Polly are friends. Jo the neat and Polly the sloppy are totally opposite in nature. They meet when they wait in the school for their late parents, decide to leave school by the back door on a dare and go home by themselves.  Ama’s family is from Ghana. Ama’s elder sister, Esi, is brilliant and gets into Princeton. Jo’s elder brother Finn dies of heart trouble when he is only in the eighth grade and Jo in the fifth.

Figures right? Some racial tolerance, some emotional bonding…

Now Ama is going on a summer scholarship to a camp she is not interested in, Jo goes to the beachhouse with mom and … oh it is like watching Expo Centre of Disney! Jo gets a job. Jo’s dad and mom are separating. Just reads like a journal of three girls, with not much happening in their lives that may be of interest to an outsider. If you ask me ‘You know that it is a continuation of the Sisterhood book. If you were uninterested in that subject matter, why did you bother to read this book and now complain?’, well, I have no good answer to give you!

Jo is making out with Zach, a cute boy, Polly wants to be a model but does not have the body for it, and Ama is stuck in a hiking and rappelling class that she is unsuited for.

Jo feels that Polly is not ‘up to snuff’ to move with her new friends and tries to avoid both meeting. When they do, Polly is deeply hurt to overhear Jo wishing she was not there and leaves in tears.

Meanwhile Zach has gone back to her regular girlfriend, hurting Jo in the process. Ama gets lost in the camp and ends up at the ranger’s station. She then decides to abort the camp experience and head home. Changes her mind and rappels successfully and gets Noah as a boyfriend too.

Jo is caught kissing Zach by Elfie, the girlfriend and is in serious trouble.

Polly tries out for modelling school and gets invited to one interview thereafter. Turns out it is a doctor wanting to fix her teeth. She understands she is no model.

A story of growing up with the travelling pants people appearing in cameos and treated with God like reverence.

Ama learns to conquer her fear and enjoy outdoors and adventure in addition to the books. Jo learns who her true friends are and comes to terms with her parent’s separation. Polly learns to like who she really is (and discovers she is rich, which is totally irrelevant to the story) and they all grow up. This book has no real twists or plots and so I can write about it without worrying about spoilers.

You know… just fluff (especially girl stuff, chick-lit) – 4/10

– – Krishna

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