Geek · review

[Book Review] The Casquette Girls

Alys Arden’s “The Casquette Girls” is a novel that I’ve been wanting to pick up since it was released. I have a slight obsession with New Orleans, mostly thanks to having read a lot of Anne Rice novels during middle school. However time got away from me, as it tends to do, and it wasn’t until this month that I was able to purchase it. The sequel to “The Casquette Girls” is set to be released in May and I must admit, I am anxiously looking forward to it!

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Photo from http://www.thecasquettegirls.com/

Synopsis from Amazon:

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.

Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.

What I like best about this novel is that the author does not specify which hurricane hit New Orleans, just that it was a hurricane. That helps to make the novel relevant to the current day and age instead of dating it. The destruction of New Orleans is not something that I hope happens again but it is interesting to see how the author embraces that and explores how the city starts to rebuild itself, even with vampires running a muck.

Her characters were well written and showed great growth during the course of the novel. There were a few questions I had that I hope to have answered in the sequel, but isn’t that what a good author does – leave you wanting more? The setting was of course magical. The town, although destroyed, was described in a way that I could picture everything in my mind.

All in all, a good read for any age group! I can see this easily being able to be turned into a television series as well.

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Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

When I first saw the trailer for “The Fault in Our Stars”, I had no intention of seeing it. I touted it as just another tragic love story and I’m not really the type to go ga-ga over the latest literary or cinematic craze. But since I had a free movie ticket (you’ll find out why when I finally post my review of “Maleficent”), I agreed to meet a girlfriend of mine at the theater. Her stepdaughter had read the book, seen the movie, and absolutely loved it, so we decided to give it a shot.

We didn’t know what we were in for.

In case you didn’t know, “The Fault in Our Stars” is based on a novel by John Green. I didn’t read the novel. Usually I either read the novel or see the movie, never both. Anyway. Let’s see what IMDB says the film is about:

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

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Be prepared for this film to take a toll on your emotions. I could hear a lady across the theater sobbing, and while no tears trickled down my cheek, my fingers had deep teeth impressions where I had bit down to focus the emotional pain on to something else. But it was a beautiful film. I fell in love with it. The story is absolutely heartbreaking but I hope that all of these pre-teens and teens who are seeing this film take away the same message as I did: to make the most out of the life that we are given and that, even though we may not think so, we are all special and meaningful.

Ansel Elgort (Augustus Waters) was particularly adorable with that little smirk of his and I loved the character’s cocky – yet fully devoted to Hazel- attitude. He seemed exactly the type of guy that I could see myself falling in love with. Hazel didn’t stand a chance. Shailene Woodley (Hazel Grace Lancaster) is a beautiful young woman and she gave so much life to her character that I truly felt that she was experiencing those emotions. The supporting cast members all added a touch of greatness to the film, but it was Ansel and Shailene that made this such a phenomenal film.

All in all, this would be a definite buy for me if I can get a handle on my emotions and allow myself to watch this film again.

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Movie Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

I’m avoiding spoilers of today’s 50th anniversary episode of “Doctor Who” like the plague since I was at a family event and unable to catch it live. That being said, I figured that I would write-up my little review for ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ which I had the opportunity to see Friday evening.

Full disclosure: I have not yet read the books nor do I plan on reading the books anytime soon. For me, it’s either read the book or see the movie. I end up disappointed if I attempt to engage in both mediums.

In short, I thought the film was fantastic – my favorite film of the year thus far, which is saying a lot considering that just a few weeks ago, ‘Thor: The Dark World’ held the spot of my favorite film of 2013.

hunger_games_catching_fire_reddish_posterAlright. The IMDB synopsis says,

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Very vague and spoiler free, right? Well, you guys know how I am about spoilers, so we will just go with that description and keep on trucking.

The costumes were fabulous, even better than the first film, in my opinion. I’m always impressed by the dedication and creativity that the film’s costume designers must have.

The acting: I felt that Finnick Odair (played by Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (played by Jena Malone) completely stole the scenes that they were in. Throughout the entire film, I found myself on the edge of my seat – apprehensive and nervous, a sign that I was truly invested in the film. I think a lot of care was put forth by the casting department to chose actors, and not necessarily well-known actors, that would fit the various roles.

One particular detail of the film stuck with me. I had heard rumors that parts of a scene had been filmed at the gorgeously futuristic Marriott Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia – the very hotel I had stayed in during both of my times at DragonCon. I was stunned when I actually recognized the hotel on-screen.

The only negative that I have about the film was how abruptly it ended. The third installment, ‘Mockingjay’ is going to be released in two parts: the first in late 2014, the second in late 2015. I really hate waiting and I hate cliffhangers. Even more than that, I hate it when they split a film into two parts. While I understand that it helps to develop the plot so that everything isn’t rushed or so that you won’t have to sit in a theater for hours upon hours, to me, it really just seems like an attempt to grab as much money as possible.

All in all though, this film is a definite buy!

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Movie Review: ‘The Hunger Games’

I just got home from watching ‘The Hunger Games’. I have to admit, I really haven’t been following the hype. In fact, I was rather reluctant to see the film that I’ve heard described as the new ‘Twilight’. But since ‘THG’ was filmed in North Carolina and I do love a good dystopian film, I conned a good friend of mine into joining me.

I’m glad that I haven’t read the books yet so I could go into this film without any expectations of what it should or shouldn’t look like.

I thought this was a beautiful film. I love the contrast of colors between District 12 and the Capital. One dreary and subdued, the other bright and vibrant. The scenes that spoke most to me, hands down, were the ones with Rue and the rebellion of District 11 – I’m not going to spoil it for you by going into detail, but I feel that those scenes were really powerful and showed what type of character Katniss was and her influence on the society.

I appreciate that they didn’t dehumanize all of the tributes. I feel like if the violence had been more gratuitous, we would have forgotten that these “warriors” were just kids. You feel bad with them. I feel like all sorts of psychology papers could be written on the ideas that this movie represents. Maybe I’ll write more about that one day.

The set design and costumes were fabulous. I’m considered adding one more costume to my DragonCon rotation, if only I could narrow down which one. I wouldn’t mind doing Katniss’ Reaping Dress or even her outfit during the actual game.

The only thing that I really didn’t like about this movie was that I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry between Katniss and Peeta. Maybe I’m just used to more of the romantic comedy type of sexual tension. But I thought that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson (what a cutie) did a fabulous job of making characters that you really feel for.

Anyway, I’m eagerly awaiting the next movie! It’s late, I’m starting to not make sense, so I’m headed off to bed.

As always, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”