The Lion King (2019) ~ Movie Review!

So, I don’t normally do movie reviews. But I’ll make an exception. The Lion King has been my favorite movie for 25 years. Few things in my life have been my favorite thing for as long as this movie has been #1 in my heart. I’m saying this because I want you to know I am 100% completely biased towards the animated Disney movie. I also want you to know what I LOVE the raw story on its own, and that is why I long to see the Broadway production and wanted to watch this new 2019 version.

When I first saw the trailer for the “live action” version of The Lion King I was excited, but also very worried. As time drew on, the feelings went back and forth about whether or not I was happy this movie was going to be made.

Last night, I took the leap and rented it. This review will have spoilers, lots of spoilers.

If you don’t want to read spoilers I’ll go ahead and say I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars. If you haven’t seen The Lion King 2019 version and are interested in it, you probably should go watch it… but don’t expect it to match the animated version.

If you want to see exactly WHY I give this movie 3 stars, keep reading but know there are spoilers.

Setting visuals for the 2019 version of The Lion King are pretty spectacular. From the beginning scenes it’s hard to believe you’re not watching real animals. The opening scene had me believing that I was watching real animals coming together… but then it cut to the scene where we meet Scar and I was completely pushed out of feeling the movie. It was a constant back and forth for me as far as the quality of what I was seeing. It’d be 110% amazing in one scene then automatically cut to a -10% WTF in the next. I was constantly being thrown off by what I was seeing since it was perfect one minute and awful the next. The aerial footage was almost always breathtaking, but getting up close with the characters and their immediate setting had me either loving or hating what I was seeing.

There were a few scenes in particular that threw me off visually… but the absolute worst was when Simba is talking to Mufasa in the storm clouds. The lightning creating flashes of an almost lion face was NOT acceptable! It was a neat idea yes, but I feel that it just didn’t work. There were no features in the flashes of lightning that made it stand out to me as Mufasa, there was no storm cloud rolling in moment, there was no fading out of Mufasa. One of the best scenes in the original movie was slaughtered.

My favorite scenes visually were the opening and when Simba is chasing Rafiki through the trees. There was so much going on in these scenes yet it looked like they got the attention they deserved! I could watch the opening of the movie 100 more times.

Setting Visuals: 3

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Character appearance was also very hit or miss.

Mufasa was my absolute favorite character visually in this movie. He looked like the perfect wise and strong head of the pride and I truly LOVE the way he looked. I was soooo hopeful upon seeing Mufasa that this movie was going to be great. Simba was cute as a cub and stood out well as an adult. Scar though… he looks beat up and angry but his look just felt wrong! There are actually wild lions that have full black manes, and I would have much rather seen Scar depicted as such rather than just a sick old lion. The Lionesses were incredibly disappointing for me to see… I could almost never tell them apart because they all looked EXACTLY the same. Sarabi was not grey and wise, she blended in with the rest, and even Nala looked just like the others after she grew up!

Timon I was good with, but Pumba… Pumba I get was supposed to look like a real warthog, but he looked awful and not friendly in the slightest! I had a hard time enjoying any scene with Pumba because it seemed so weird. The hyenas are also incredibly bad looking, I’m not even sure you could compare them to the original “trio” from the animated film, they had weird faces to help tell them apart but it just didnt have the same effect and was more weird than enjoyable to look at.

The thing is… these animals all look just like animals, they don’t have very good facial expressions so emotion for the characters is mostly just expressed through their ears! It’s like watching a Discovery Channel documentary with some music behind it.

Character Appearance: 3

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Actors for the movie had me more disappointed than pleased. I’m so so so so glad that they got James Earl Jones back for Mufasa! Though his voice was older, it was still an amazing fit for the character and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I also thought the voice of Timon was ok, there were a few times when his voice didn’t seem to fit the visual but for the most part it worked so I’m ok with it. Rafiki’s voice was just ok, he didn’t talk enough to get on my nerves but I’ll get to that later.

I absolutely hated Simba’s voice. As a cub or adult he just never sounded right, like he had the worst attitude or something. My next least favorite voice was Pumba, I like Seth Rogen but he just didn’t seem right for Pumba. I absolutely hated the dialogue of Timon and Pumba in this movie. They weren’t funny, and it seemed like they didn’t play well off eachether at all! Timon was irritating beyond belief most of the time and it really bugged me that he’d like break the 4th wall or make snide comments relating back to the other movie (fart joke). It was soooo disappointing to see what could’ve been the most humorous part of the movie smashed by the actors and terrible script.

Zazu…. don’t even get me started on that bird’s voice, I dreded every scene with him because his voice drove me nuts! I didn’t realize Zazu could get more annoying, but they definitely succeeded in this movie – his voice, lines, and even his look was just all wrong. Zazu was not brought to life well at all. Nala as a cub was ok, but I don’t think Beyonce was the right choice for her as an adult, it just didn’t fit right and ruined Nala for me. Shenzi also didn’t sound right, I really wish they would have brought back Woopi for her voice because it was more irritating than I can explain listening to her new attitude and voice in this movie.

Scar, at least he sounded like a broken down lion? I hated his voice, the way he talked just didnt feel like the actor was ever intending for those lines to actually make it into the movie… it felt like he didnt care or try. Maybe that was the goal, if so good job. I didn’t like it.

Actor Casting: 2

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The songs were probably the worst part of the whole movie. They changed almost every well known song in length, appearance, or sound and I was not impressed. At least most of the lyrics were the same. The opening song for ‘Circle of Life’ was ok, but it didn’t have enough passion… and every song there after followed the same suit. ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ was poor both visually and sound wise, it had no passion and felt forced! It was definitely not the fun song from the animated version. ‘Hakuna Matata’ was also poorly executed but at least the visuals were different in a good way unlike all the others. Then ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ was of course botched in both sound and visuals.

The absolute worst song in the live action movie though was ‘Be Prepared’… it had no life. It was bland, colorless, the lyrics were botched, and the visual scene for it was basically nothing! It absolutely broke the whole image of Scar and the hyenas. I wasn’t expecting them to do the march and salutes but SOMETHING representative of Scar leading the hyenas would have been appreciated.

The moments were the music was purely instrumental was ok. It usually (not always) sounded like you wanted it to, unfortunately these moments were few and short and were immediately overshadowed by another horrible song.

Songs/ Music: 1

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Truness to original story was fairly good. They changed almost all the lines from the animated movie. So if you were hoping to see Scar tell a mouse he’d “never see the light of another day” or see Rafiki chant “asante sana” you’ll be disappointed. At this point in my life I’ve seen the animated movie so many times I can recite it word for word…. so you can trust me that most of the script has changed.

Somehow, even with most of the script changed the underlying story is the same. Everything that I expected to happen plot wise did happen. The only thing that really stood out differently story wise was that the cubs weren’t chased as long by the hyenas, and that a whole pack of hyenas chased them rather than just the three. Also, the animals don’t stack up during ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ but I personally wasn’t expecting it to happen.

The characters from the animated version were all there except for the gopher that tells Mufasa there are hyenas in the Pridelands. Not sure why he was left out, but they unfortunately gave the line to Zazu. Interestingly enough there were actually a lot more animals than in the animated version, at Timon and Pumba’s oasis there were all types of animals they lived with! This was good and bad. Some of the animals were cute, others I felt were unnecessary to the story.

The only real relationship change is that the hyenas didn’t already work with Scar before he sang ‘Be Prepared’ like they appeared to in the animated version. Shenzi (who was horribly wrong anyway) was their leader and she bossed them around all over the place in the worst ways.

Truness: 4

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The overal feeling of the story and the emotions were kind of all over the place.

I cried twice: During the scene where Mufasa is trying to save Simba and then climb up the gorge wall, and when storm cloud Mufasa was talking to Simba. I didn’t cry during the discovery of Mufasa being dead like I do in the animated version and I blame this on the lack of facial expressions for the animals. I also didn’t feel anything when Simba stepped in Mufasa’s paw print.

The feeling of most of the scenes with Mufasa and Simba were pretty close to accurate though. Simba’s “scolding” and other playful moments with Mufasa all felt right to me. It may just be because I was really happy with how Mufasa was potrayed, but nearly all the scenes with him in it felt right. The Timon and Pumba scenes just didnt feel the same. The family-ness of them and Simba, the humor was all lacking for me. I especially hated how they kept saying how pointless doing anything was, I don’t think they had the same awful attitude in the animated version – they lived happy care free lives not miserable don’t-care ones!

Feelings: 3 (I did cry twice)

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Overall, I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars. It has beautiful scenes and the animals looked like animals, really spectacular considering I think it was all CG. The lines and mannerisms of most characters changed, and the feeling wasn’t always there. I was incredibly disappointed by the movie, but I can see how it could be a good movie to those that haven’t seen the animated version two million times.

I do wonder though if the live action was more like the Broadway show than the animated one. Maybe I compared it wrong, but I haven’t seen the Broadway one.

Ttyl,

Squared

Caraval by Stephanie Garber ~ Book Review!!

Caraval is a magical fantasy book and is the first in it’s series. It’s about a girl who has grown up hearing stories about Caraval and has wanted the chance to visit it her whole life. When she and her sister get the chance to play the game the magic begins.

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The world building is truly fantastic. The Caraval area is set up to be a super magical night time place, and while that initially made me think it’d always be dark I found it quite bright and glittery in my mind. It’s super magical and the scenery of Caraval is what kept me reading until the end. I thought it was all very well described, but to say that I felt like I was in each scene would be an understatement. I was completely wrapped up by every scene and couldn’t wait to see what the next area would be and what it would look like, and what types of magical mischief it might bring. The world outside of Caraval was just as well described so that I felt like I was with the characters every moment of the book from start to finish. The settings are definitely my favorite part of the book.

World: 5

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Character building just didn’t seem to be strong in this book. I liked almost none of the characters, none of them changed hardly at all after all the events of the book, and they all just seemed to fall flat. The main character, Scarlett drove me nuts the most. I felt like she was really ruining her time at the game and I was constantly wishing she would just forget about her sister and enjoy what she was given… I get that the point of the story is that “sisterly bond” but I was constantly wishing that she would get over it and just be herself and maybe, just maybe, try to enjoy something for herself! I hated her sister from the moment she was introduced, her sister is the worst type of person. I disliked all the other characters that they  interacted with too though as well. It was clear they were all warped in one way or another and none of them seemed relatable, not a single one of them actually grew as a character. I thought it would end differently, but it turned out that no one changed at all.

Characters: 2

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Relationships in this book are focused mostly on family. Toxic family. I wouldn’t wish the main characters to be anyone in my family because they all seemed very obsessive or toxic. I don’t want to get into it too much, but I wish that the family aspect of the story would have been toned down so much. Even how the family members described each other made it obvious that there was no real care or loving nature to their family dynamic. There was a budding of a confusing almost-romance as well, it never felt quite right to me, but at least it wasn’t instalove, and we don’t really get any resolution to it by the end of the book so I’m assuming there’s more to the romance bit in the next books in the series but in this book it was all disappointing.

Relationships: 1

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Emotions in this story were absolutely non-existent for me. That probably sounds bad because I think this story was supposed to be emotional and intense. There were moments where there was mystery and things happened that for most people would have probably caused some nervous or suspenseful feeling, but I was just annoyed throughout every “intense” moment. I felt nothing for the characters so every time something tragic happened, no emotions. There were a lot of moments that were seemingly emotional that just got glossed over because of the characters in the scene ruining the moments.  I constantly felt like I was coming up on an emotional scene in a movie and someone was sitting next to me saying obnoxiously ‘Oh, this is going to be sad’ ruining the whole feeling. I don’t often hate the “emotional” parts of stories but these were some of the worst for me. No tears, no laughs, no gasps, nothing.

Emotions: 1

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The pacing of this story was pretty good. The whole book takes place in just a week and each day is sooooo full of life and magic that looking back it’s hard to believe that the story happened over just the time frame of a week because so much happened. There aren’t really any major time skips, every moment of the story seems to filled up even what would have been time skips. I also don’t think there were many scenes that weren’t important to the story moving forward. Almost everything that happens is important and there aren’t a lot of lulls in the story to slow anything down. I enjoyed the pacing of the game and the layout of the story helped to pull it all together well. The only down side were the moments of internal monologue, because I don’t think they really brought anything to the meat of the story… it worked to misguide and confuse the reader about what reality might be, but that is about all. Maybe that was the point but it didn’t do much for me to enjoy the story.

Pacing: 4

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Overall, I give Caraval 3 out of 5 stars. I can’t deny that the world created is beautiful and the fact that so much was crammed into a short span of time without it feeling rushed or overbearing is pretty amazing. I think the setting and outline of the story are very well written. Unfortunately, the characters and anything related to them personally inside the story really made it difficult for me to love the book as a whole. I really wanted to enjoy the story, but in the end it just seemed more disappointing than anything.

ttyl,

❤ Squared

 

Scharlette Doesn’t Matter and Goes Time Traveling by Sam Bowring ~ Book Review!!!

“Scharlette Doesn’t Matter and Goes Time Traveling” is what I call a sci-fi time traveling-adventure humor story. I don’t know if it’d be considered a space opera, but it’s possible.

Straight from the beginning the story seems a ridiculous in a good way. With not only the protagonist having a very strange name that I still couldn’t imagine how to pronounce (I typically went with a Shar-leet pronunciation while reading), but a lot of other names and words and phrases being chopped up or changed all together. It was quite fun. Since Scharlette is from the “present” time though we, the reader, get to experience and learn all the new things from the future along with Scharlette.

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The world building in this book is good. It has a lot of different settings from present day earth, to a space ship, to other planets, and other such areas. At all times I could imagine I was there with the characters as they traveled place to place though both time and space. The description of the settings never left me wanting more and I was able to see myself there. The futuristic language is funny and easy to understand, the science behind all the technology is described well – whether it’s realistic or not I can’t say – and seemed believable just for the sake of it being so. A lot of the story takes place on the space ship, Gordon, and even on the ship every little interesting tidbit is allowed to take shape in your mind as you read. It’s an interesting and fun little world for sure.

World Building: 5

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The character building was also good in the book. It’s told from a 3rd person perspective in a good way that allows you to get to know now only Scharlette but also the other characters around her. Tomothy (another mashed up name), Gordon (yes, the spaceship), and the other time agents and aliens all had good realistic character descriptions and back stories. I was honestly surprised to feel that the spaceship’s AI was just as real a character as Scharlette and Tomothy, she didn’t have a human description but still felt like a very tangible character. I actually came to like almost all of the characters in the book, which is pretty rare for me these days!

Characters: 5

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Relationships in the book were good for what it was. There wasn’t a lot of family relationships, though it does play a somewhat significant role in who Scharlette is, so on that aspect it was lacking. There also isn’t a lot of romance, it’s not that it doesn’t exist, it definitely has it’s moments and for that I wouldn’t recommend this book to younger audiences. At the very least there’s romantic things talked about that may be sensitive to immature audiences. Friendship and companionship take a front seat in this story and in such a good way! I really liked how the main characters in the book interacted with one another. The friendship and teamwork was very strong, to the point at times that if it weren’t such a humorous book I might say the moments were heartwarming. Then dear Gordon… the AI in the spaceship even is a friend and comrade to the characters and means a lot to the story on her own. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Gordon is able to show the importance of friendship and companionship all by itself… and I love her for it.

Relationships: 5

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Emotions in the story fell just short of the mark for me. It is a more humorous story than I’m used to reading, but I didn’t have any LOLs. I almost had one at the end… it was a snort which I guess one could argue is an outward emotion, but usually I was just smiling and enjoying the ride through time on this amazing adventure. It was an incredibly enjoyable read for me. It came really close to being emotional though, in a way that I was not wanting but willing to except in a “this is the way it should be” sort of way, but in the end I didn’t cry. I liked the fun, the words, and the crazy adventure going on. Without the tears, or other outward emotions though I’m not sure that it’d be fair to give it full points in this category.

Emotions: 4

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The pace of the story felt good for what it was. The literal time skips in the story weren’t bad or obtrusive to the story at all for me. There was a lot of action in the form of space battles, but not to the point that I’d claim this is a battle story. Even during battle there were a lot of moments not focused on the battle at all. That being said, there is a lot of time hopping (this is a time travel story) back and forth and it’s written so well that I was never lost of confused about what happened. I was afraid that once I heard about what the time travelers could do that I would lose the timeline at some point, but it never happened. I enjoyed all the moments in the story from present time to the future and each bump along the way. Even the moments of the story that I expected to be slow weren’t, not every moment was a space battle or a learning moment but they were all significant.

Pace: 5

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Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This book was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for as a light escape into a ridiculous – but believable – world. It’s not perfect, and I don’t imagine everyone will love it as much as I did. I don’t think I can compare it to anything I’ve read before, but it is definitely something I’d recommend to someone else who’s looking for something light and fun to read. The book doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, and it shouldn’t be judged or criticized too seriously in my opinion.

ttyl,

❤ Squared

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens ~ Book Review!!

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming of age story meets nature documentary meets detective mystery.

This was an interesting story, and while I’ll try not to drop any big spoilers there may be some slight ones. So potential spoiler alert from here on out.

The story revolves around the life of Kya during two different time periods. One where she’s growing up alone from childhood and the other one where she’s been accused of murder. It’s a back in forth style with the majority of the chapters being her as she grows up, and random ones being detective work around her as an adult accused of the murder of the town Jock. I found the story of her growing up in the early 60s and learning how to do things on her own and manage to survive in the marsh a very interesting story, the other side with the murder mystery was a bit boring for me mostly and I found myself waiting for those chapters to be over quicker.

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World building is absolutely beautiful in this book. And is a huge reason that I enjoyed the book. It takes place in the marshes off the coast of Carolina and is a real ode to nature. I’ve read in many reviews that the description of nature was one of the best parts of the book and I agree whole heartedly. The animals, the trees, the marsh, the cabin, and every single other description of the area where Kya grew up puts you right in the place. I’ve never been there, and I’m not even 100% sure that place exists, but I was completely engulfed in the world of the book every time I turned a page. I really loved it.

World Building: 5

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Character building is also well done in this book. Due to the nature of Kya’s life there’s not a lot of side characters or even descriptions necessary to her own description. Still I felt like I could identify with Kya and her interactions. It is very much a coming-of-age story for Kya. The character development is surprisingly good for Kya as well, considering her story you don’t expect things to be the way they are by the end with even a few surprises thrown in about her at the end. It’s fair to say that she’s different than I expected her to be, but also exactly what I wanted her to be in the end. It’s probably due to the writing style, but the other characters in the story seemed to fall way behind Kya as far as their development. The description of some of the other locals she interacts with left me wanting to know more of their story, but I never got it.

Character building: 4

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Relationships take a back burner to the story for most of the book. The book focuses very heavily on Kya’s world and her understanding of things, and almost glosses over the relationship bits for the most part. There is basically no family or friendships to speak of for the bulk of the story, those that do exist aren’t really developed well. That being said, it is still definitely an adult look at romantic relationships with an almost feral raw take on the subject at times so I would not recommend this book for younger people just due to the sexual content.

Relationships: 3

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Emotions are not high during the book. This honestly surprised me, I expected to be presented with a story that not only broke my heart at every turn but one that brought me to tears over and over again. It wasn’t that at all, instead it was a story of a girl who manages to overcome her obstacles even though all odds are against her. Two moments in the story brought tears to my eyes. One because it was just too surprisingly kind of a moment, kindness always gets me and this one was that deep motherly kindness that is unexpected but so so badly needed…. I can’t say anymore without tearing up. The other moment was like a proud tear that I shed at the end in happiness for all that she overcame and managed to do in her life. It’s a beautiful story of life and secrets and nature, but reads more like an interesting documentary than an emotional one.

Emotions: 3

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The pacing is good. I like the back and forth simply because it brought some nice breaking up to the bulk of the story. I could have done with less about the murder bit, but I’m not super fond of the typical mystery or detective story anyway so those parts seemed to drag on even if they were just a chapter or two here and there. The chapters focusing on Kya growing up and learning and coming into her own I found great though. I always sped through them like I couldn’t get enough of the story. The story takes place over the course of almost her whole life, but nothing seems rushed, and even where there are time skips it didn’t seem too noticeable.

Pace: 4

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Overall, I give Where the Crawdad’s Sing 4 out of 5 stars, The world and the nature of the story were beautiful, but the detective and mystery parts just weren’t for me.

ttyl,

❤ Squared

September Reading Goals!

I am making a goal. I already knocked my goal of 50 for the year down to 25 or 30, because frankly I went months without hardly reading. The Beta reads take a lot of time and thought and outside of that I had no motivation to read. I feel that when I put too much stress on myself to read, instead of doing it for pleasure, I lose the want to read much.

So my goal is for September only. I want to read a total of 4 books this month. That’s one book per week, and I’ve already finished one – Where the Crawdads Sing. Book review in process.

The other books I want to read & finish this month are:

  • Scharlette Doesn’t Matter and Goes Time Traveling by Sam Bowring
  • The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Also, I hope to not buy any more books this year… aside from the 2 I get per month for my book subscription. I love Book Case Club, the books are always interesting and not usually something I’ve hard of before. I have some books coming this week from Amazon and Book Outlet and that should be the end of it until next year. I have so many unread books lol.

ttyl,

❤ Squared

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld ~ Book Review!!

Pretties is the second book in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my review of Uglies and then come back here! The story focuses on Tally who is a teen in a dystopian type world masked as a utopia (which really all dystopias are) to the residents.

Pretties picks up almost right where Uglies left off. There isn’t a lot of reintroduction to the world, so the author expects that you’ve read Uglies. I personally appreciate this, I feel it’s a waste of space to completely rehash previous information in successive books in the series. On the bright side, they are in a different part of their world now, so there’s a lot of new world building going on and it’s fun to learn about these new areas.

Character Building is good in this book. There’s a lot of carry over characters from the first book, but the new characters are fleshed out very well and become an important part of the story. Tally has also changed a little from the happenings of the first book and seeing how she’s changed and grown is good and feels authentic to what she’s been through. Seeing her character growth along with the growth of other characters she interacts with is nice so early in the story.

Character building: 4

World Building is really good in Pretties. They are in a new part of town and even outside their city the world is described really well. The buildings & streets of New Pretty town, and the wild areas are really well described and pulled me right in to the scene every time. I always felt like I could “see” where they were and what was going on, and that’s something I appreciate a lot in a story!

World building: 5

Relationships are pretty close to what there was in the first book. The friendships seem real and well fleshed out, even when they aren’t getting along or fighting it feels genuinely how friends would treat each other. The romantic relationships are good, there’s no real explicit happenings going on just some mild kissing. There is a sort of love-triangle that I’m afraid will bloom in the coming books, but we’ll have to see if that happens. For the first time, maybe ever, I prefer the “new” guy over the “original” guy. This story has one of the old fashioned teen love triangle tropes that were popular when this book was written. The kind where girl meets a guy and falls in love, something tears them apart and eventually she falls for another guy that wasn’t there before, then suddenly guy one comes back into the picture and there is a lot of questioning and BOOM love-triangle is born. I like this type of thing if it’s done right, and it seems that Scott Westerfeld will do it right, if my predictions are correct. Unfortunately, the relationships outside Tally’s friends or Love interests are lacking, sometimes feeling forced just to move the story along. There’s no real family aspect, and even the relationships that are good don’t seem to have much loyalty or feeling of becoming a platonic family. This could be due to the society that they are living in, but it causes a lack of attachment to secondary characters.

Relationships: 3

Emotions are a little bland in this book. There’s a lot of exciting moments that could be a lot more exciting in my opinion. There are intense scenes of action where I didn’t want to put the book down, but there were only a couple. As far as the strong emotions go, I teared up once for a sweet gesture, but even the moments that should have been sad or dire didn’t get my tears flowing. I feel that this is because I didn’t have attachment to those secondary characters like I wanted to. On top of that Tally’s reaction is always lacking emotionally to whatever is going on, there’s a lot of “in her head” moments where she’s trying to make sense of something, but it’s rarely an emotionally charged thought process and her feelings just don’t seem to hit the mark of reality.

Emotions: 3

The story’s pace is pretty good. There’s a lot happening in this book, a lot of adventures and new areas to explore and a lot of things to learn. The pacing of the book definitely does a good job of keeping the story moving forward at a good quick pace. There’s never a moment to stall or get bored while reading, because as soon as you start to fall into a valley the story throws another hill at you and the reader is taken on another new experience. It also doesn’t move too fast though, there’s adequate time to get to know the scene taking place before it’s over and the story moves forward.

Pace: 4

Overall I give Pretties 3.5 Stars out of 5. I think that the world and characters in it are amazing, but the emotion and feeling to the story are a little lacking for me. I do thing that it’s worth reading, and would recommend that if you read and enjoyed Uglies, or other YA Dystopians of the era that you read this too.

TTYL,

❤ Squared

Flabbergasted… Bookstagram and Reviews.

First, I’m so sorry I’ve been missing  on the Bookstagram and book review community. I’ve been a little overwhelmed with life, but I am still reading – currently working on a Beta at the moment actually! I also am hoping to get that review for Pretties up soon… Hopefully things will even out soon and I’ll get a chance to actually spend time taking pictures, writing, and reading again. I also have a new book idea that I want to get put down into words!

So… today something that I’ve never heard of before happened. I was contacted by a new PR rep for an author who’s book I gave a “bad” review. asking me to remove all references of said book from my Instagram immediately. On one hand, I was completely pissed that someone would actually ask such a thing. On the other hand, I get it. You want your client’s book to do as well as possible and with my posts being some of the first referencing the book they come to the top of searches. Poor reviews probably don’t do a lot of good things for a book. However, I was completely honest and am never mean or degrading in my reviews. It’s completely possible that all the issues I had with it have been fixed in the 1.5+ years since I read and reviewed the book, but that doesn’t change my initial perception of the story that I read. There are over 100 posts on Instagram now with the hashtag for the book’s title, so obviously some people like it – it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I didn’t know how to react to such an absurd request. ALL books will get good and bad reviews. I am highly skeptical of any book that only received 4 and 5 star reviews on their Amazon and Goodread’s pages. I like a lot of different genre’s, I’ve read books published in many other countries, and books translated from a number of languages to English. Believe it or not,  I have not liked every book that I’ve read. It’s physically impossible and highly improbably to expect everyone to enjoy the same book, movie, game, comic, YouTuber, TV show, sport, color, music, clothing, food… I’ll stop now, you get the picture.

In case you didn’t know, just because I am ASKED to read something doesn’t hold me to any agreement that the book will receive a certain rating. I have turned books down because it didn’t look like something that I’d be interested in, and I have flat out stopped reading requested books (once at only 25%) when it became increasingly difficult for me to trudge through the story any further, because not everyone will like the same book! If you’ve had me review your story, you know that I try to keep in touch while I’m reading and I also send emails prior to anything going live for my review. In the cases where I turn something down, I let them know kindly and give my reasoning. In the cases where I had to stop reading a book, I let them know kindly and give my reasoning as kindly but honestly as possible and I do not review the book. Never once have I been called mean, cruel, or out of line from the one that offered it to me for  my notes about these books that I couldn’t finish. I put so many books down these days (not requests – I always try REALLY hard to finish them) that  the book just getting a review is a reward in itself.

Here’s a little reference to how I go about my star rating system, also on each review for a while the review has been broken down into categories with the cumulative score averaged to get the final star rating:

  • If I give a book a 1 – I didn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
  • If I give a book a 2 – I didn’t enjoy most of it but there was some potential for a great story that felt to me like it missed the mark. Might recommend it but probably not very often.
  • If I give a book a 3 – I liked it, I didn’t find anything wrong with it. Like is good! It probably gets recommended when someone is looking for a book in that genre or. This is an average, middle-of-the-road rating.
  • If I give a book a 4 – I loved it, It was what I was looking for for the most part and is often recommended, especially for specific genres.
  • If I give a book a 5 – That prestigious 5 is only awarded to books that knock me off my horse and make me FEEL something – I probably cried at least twice and it’s now in my top 50 or so favorite books. I recommend it a lot.
  • I do also give half stars, so you can figure that bit out for yourself.

So what happened? I had 2 posts about said book on Instagram – one mentioning the review, and one grouping it with a bunch of other books that I was reading at the time. I removed the book review post, because while it didn’t say anything bad I didn’t want to deal with the drama of this type of person who would actually request that I remove things. Then I removed any hashtags about said book from any other Instagram posts where the book was mentioned but not reviewed, but didn’t remove the posts. My reviews (here, Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub, ect.) will not be going anywhere, and that’s why I removed a few tags from Instagram. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with cranky people that are hard to deal with, especially over something from so long ago.

What is your opinion on this type of behavior? Should I have removed anything? Should I remove everything about that book from my past?

TTYL,

❤ Squared