Movie Monday: Crazy Rich Asians – romantic comedy that made me realize how mediocre my life actually is #MovieMonday #MovieReview #CrazyRichAsians #Diversity

Movie Monday is a feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

This week I wantched a movie that was based on a bestselling novel.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians is a bestselling novel, first in the series, that got it’s movie in 2018.
I have never read the books, even though I want to for years now. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, and judging by the movie, I can imagine they are a lot of fun.

Going into this movie adaptation I didn’t have big expectations. Sure, I’ve heard great things about it, and if I’m not mistaken, it even won a Golden Globe in some category, but still, that feeling you get when you just know that something will blow you away was missing.

However, for the whole 2 hours the movie was on, I was invested, entertained and had lots of fun.
This is a movie I will highly recommend to all my friends.

I kind of look on this movie as a window to the world I will not have a chance to experience in this life (here’s to the next one!).
It just made me realize how mediocre my life actually is, and in whole honesty, it made me daydream how it would be awesome if I was also born in one of those very, very rich families…
Don’t we all dream about it at least once?

Oh, did I mention how hot the main actor was? Because he was really hot!

Crazy Rich Asians was high quality movie that I can imagine myself re-watching over and over again, so I really don’t understand why it never played in cinemas in my country.

However, now when it is available for streaming and on blu-ray, I highly recommend it to everyone who’s looking for something to watch with friends (or alone, but I think with crew it’d be more fun).

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Book Review: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes #BookReview #TheStormRunner #Mythology #MiddleGrade

Title: The Storm Runner
Author: J.C. Cervantes
Series: The Storm Runner (#1)
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents, Dysney Hyperion
Date: September 18th, 2018
Pages: 448
Format: Hardback
Source: from Publisher for a review

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno — for his one good leg. What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy.

A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in — unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?

Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.

Review:

I was never Miss-Know-It-All when it comes to mythology.
I barely know basics about Greek mythology, know even less about Scandinavian one, and when it comes to Maya, before I came across this book, I had no idea it even exists.

Here is what come books for, to make us learn, end even though I can’t say that I am an expert in Maya mythology after finishing The Storm Runner, I can say that I know at least little about it.

The Storm Runner is a middle grade fantasy book that follows a 13 years old boy Zane. Along with Zane, readers can discover gods, creatures and legends that are part of Maya mythology.

This is own voices novel because the author’s origin, and it also represents diversity because our main character is Hispanic, and he is also disabled person (one of his legs is smaller then the other one).

The story is written in first person, from Zane’s POV.

I loved following Zane through the story, he was really interesting and had good sense of humour. I even laughed out loud couple of times, despite this not being a comedy.

Discovering ancient Maya gods and legends was exciting, even though the names (as they are so much different from my native language) often made me confused, and I would forget who was who in a very short time.
However, because the author did a good job in bringing us a story, it was easy to keep up.

The characters of the book were fascinating and I can see them being someone’s favorite characters. I surely liked them, especially Zane.

I can also easily imagine The Storm Runner being turned into movie or tv show.

I’ve read some reviews for this novels that compare it to Percy Jackson saying it is very similar to it. Since I haven’t read that series yet, I can’t tell you if that is the case, but I can tell you that the atmosphere in the book did remind me of the second Percy Jackson movie (and I love those movies, in case you didn’t know (and yes, I know it’s an unpopular opinion)).

I would recommend this book to fans of middle grade and young adult fantasy, but also to everyone who’d like to read a story that talks about Maya mythology.
Since this is a middle grade book, it will be easy to follow to everyone who know nothing about it.

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Allegedly
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: January 24th, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Review:

Only few books can shake me. Allegedly is one of them.

After I finished this compelling novel, I needed some time to process everything that was going on in the book, as well as calm myself so I could understand my feelings.

Reading this, you probably think I’m exaggerating.
If I was you, I’d probably think the same.
But I am telling the truth. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to react to a certain book, and sometimes our reactions can surprise us.

Going into this story, I knew it would be difficult for me. I was even aware how disturbing it was.
You probably hear about Allegedly, as one of novels written in own voices, one that was praised in “reading diversity” movement (if that’s a movement, I’m not 100% sure), the book that is important to read.

First of all, I agree with the statement how it is important for this book to be read, and for author’s voice to be heard.
This is one hugely important, disturbing book that represents not only people of color, but minority that we don’t get to read often about – teenagers in group home.

Honestly, I am afraid how I’m going to sound when I say this, but I will say it anyway: this novel reminded me how happy my life is. When I reflect and compare it to lives like ones I read about in this novel, to teenagers who yes, committed crimes during their lives, but are still alive and have to live with invisible “Scarlet letter” that follows them every where they go, without support of their families, in poverty and with someone else deciding about everything in their life, I understand how privileged I actually am.
And once again, I used the word I am really not a fan of, but there is no other word to say it better.

The story is told in first person, following Mary’s POV.
Beside Mary’s narration (and I have to state that Mary is one of the best narrators I had a pleasure to read about), there are bunch of newspaper articles, police interviews, excerpts from doctor’s papers and other similar stuff.

Reading Allegedly was thought provoking and emotional experience.
It definitely wasn’t easy.
Some scenes were violent and disturbing, some were harder to understand, some were extremely sad, but what hit me the most was how everyone underestimated Mary all the time.

I rooted for her, even though she never stated if she did it, if she killed the baby. She said she did, allegedly.
But yet, you as a reader don’t believe she would do such a thing. She does not seem like that kind of person.

The writing style is amazing, and I simply can not believe this is a debut novel.

One more thing I’d like to emphasize is the role of the State (here I mean criminal justice system and state foster care).
Mary’s (and other girls’) destiny depended so much on those two, that it feels like the State has it’s own personality.

There is one more thing we need to discuss: the last chapter.
I tried and tried to decide whether I like how this story ended.
At fist I was shocked, but resolved that I liked it.
Now, after some thinking, I wish the story ended differently.
Why?
Because, even though I understand why the writer chose to end the story the way she did, I can’t help but feel that some messages delivered through the story were (partly) erased with that conclusion.

Fun fact: When doing my research, I found out that this book was inspired by true event that happened in 2012, when 10 years old girl was charged with manslaughter of a three month old baby.