March 2015: Month in Review

March 2015: Month in ReviewThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Narrator: Anne Hathaway
Length: 3 hrs, 52 mins
Series: Oz #1
Published by Audible on March 8, 2012
Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year's most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they get swept away into the magical land of Oz , where they encounter characters and places you may remember from the movie - and several more that never made it to the big screen - on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City.

"It's such a wonderful book and I was so happy to be a part of bringing it to life", Ms. Hathaway said. "There are a lot of great voices in it. The more fun you have with it, the sillier and the more free you get with it, the better it is because it's a story that can handle it. It's amazing to be able to discover something new about something you feel you know so well."

What I’ve Been Up To:

I don’t talk about myself that much on the blog, even though it’s all me talking, so here’s a brief window into my activities this past month!

Blogging:

Big changes this month. I posted about how disconnected and dispassionate I’ve been feeling lately. The short version is that I’m no longer going to be reviewing every book I read in full on the blog. I’ll still be letting you know what I’ve read that I’ll not be reviewing (check out the bottom of this post!), but I’m tired of feeling the pressure to review books where I’m not feeling it. Sometimes I don’t have much to say, and if I’ve not promised a review then why push myself? There might be a few less reviews. I’ll also try to post more discussion posts, but no promises because I’m trying not to pressure myself so much.

Shenanigans:

I had a business trip to Oklahoma last week, and it was totally worth it. I mean, aside from getting paid to go, because I got to see Steena!

Pics cause it totally happened! @reader_fictions came to visit me and endured Funtastic Island with the fam!

A photo posted by Steena Williams (@steenaleen) on

We went to college together in Indiana, but she moved to Oklahoma, and I haven’t seen her since a friend’s wedding in 2011. We did such nerdy things as watching kdrama and speaking in strange voices. It was lovely.

Music:

Here’s the March playlist I made on Spotify, once again much influenced by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) and Meg (Cuddlebuggery). I’ll probably say that every month, but it’s not my fault they have such great taste, is it?

Artists I’m most obsessed with this month:

Broods, most especially “Four Walls”

Lo-Fang

Mikky Ekko

Ryn Weaver

Sleeping at Last, who comes last alphabetically by first in terms of obsession

Movies & TV:

I watched Cinderella with Steena, and it was indeed a feast for the eyeballs. Otherwise, though, I was most definitely whelmed. It’s not got that magic that really makes it last. I could basically feel it draining from my memory even as I watched it. Not bad, but not unique either.

Otherwise, all I’ve been watching is America’s Next Top Model. I started when I got back from Cancun at the start of March and I’d finished the first five cycles by the time March ended. Um, no, I’m not obsessed. YOU’RE OBSESSED. All Gillian’s (Writer of Wrongs) fault.

Reviews Posted:

5 star:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Every Word (Every #2) – Ellie Marney

4.5 star:

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – Rachel Hartman
Lying Out Loud – Kody Keplinger
The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord

4 star:

The Secret Sky – Atia Abawi
Soulless (Parasol Protecorate #1) – Gail Carriger
The Chapel Wars – Lindsey Leavitt
The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) – Jodi Meadows

3.5 star:

Vision in Silver (The Others #3) – Anne Bishop
Whatever Life Throws at You – Julie Cross
Lovely*Complex (Lovely*Complex #1-17) – Aya Nakahara

3 star:

Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4) – Gail Carriger
Lost & Found – Brooke Davis
The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

2.5 star:

Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) – Gail Carriger
The Pretty App (App #2) – Katie Sise

2 star:

Hit (Hit #1) – Delilah S. Dawson
The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) – Rick Yancey

1.5 star:

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1) – Shannon Messenger

1 star:

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) – Gail Carriger

.5 star:

First Impressions – Charlie Lovett

Mini Reviews:

March 2015: Month in ReviewThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Narrator: Anne Hathaway
Length: 3 hrs, 52 mins
Series: Oz #1
Published by Audible on March 8, 2012
Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year's most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they get swept away into the magical land of Oz , where they encounter characters and places you may remember from the movie - and several more that never made it to the big screen - on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City.

"It's such a wonderful book and I was so happy to be a part of bringing it to life", Ms. Hathaway said. "There are a lot of great voices in it. The more fun you have with it, the sillier and the more free you get with it, the better it is because it's a story that can handle it. It's amazing to be able to discover something new about something you feel you know so well."

TBH, I’ve never been a big fan of this story. I never liked the movie and wasn’t interested in reading it. My mind was changed by my love for Anne Hathaway. Celebrity audiobooks are my catnip. Ultimately, I feel like I was right about the story itself not really being my cup of cocoa, but I loved listening to the audiobook.

The story itself just isn’t great fantasy in my opinion. Dorothy is almost entirely useless in the journey. Being nice to others is her only real strength. In fact, she defeats the big bad in a fit of pique, not through any design of her own. The characterization is minimal, and the plot, much like a video game, consists of people telling the company what to do and them doing that. I can see why the world is compelling but that is not enough for me.

I’m also uncomfortable with the way Dorothy’s friends take over lands as they travel. Sure, a benevolent ruler is better than a wicked one, but might the different societies not have preferred to pick a ruler from among their own number. It’s almost like the winkies and munchkins and so forth are deemed incapable of their own government, which smacks of imperialism.

Anne Hathaway’s narration is a pure delight. She does a beautiful job with all the voices and made the story a lot of fun despite all of my concerns. I may just need to revisit The Princess Diaries for more of her narration.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

March 2015: Month in ReviewUnleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
Published by Harlequin HQN on December 31, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
half-star

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman teetering on the verge of thirty must be in want of a husband.

Not true for Manhattanite Elizabeth Scott. Instead of planning a walk down the aisle, she's crossing the pond with the only companion she needs; her darling dog, Bliss. Caring for a pack of show dogs in England seems the perfect distraction from the scandal that ruined her teaching career, and her reputation, in New York. What she doesn't count on is an unstoppable attraction to billionaire dog breeder Donovan Darcy. The London tycoon's a little bit arrogant, a whole lot sexy, and the chemistry between them is disarming. When passion is finally unleashed, might Elizabeth hope to take home more than a blue ribbon?

Not to put to fine a point on it, but I thought this book was utter shite. Much as I cannot resist Austen retellings, they often bite me in the ass (see First Impressions above for another example). Unleashing Mr. Darcy is one of the worst of the bunch. The writing is bad, the plot terrible, and the characters show either a complete failure to understand Austen or a willful desire to use her fame to make people pick up this book. If the latter, to be fair, I wouldn’t ever have read this book otherwise, so goal accomplished, though likely the desired result would be for me to like this book.

The only thing I can offer in favor of Unleashing Mr. Darcy is that it is very frequently unintentionally hilarious. There’s something so bad I was dying with laughter on nigh every page. Mr. Darcy and Miss Scott have all the chemistry of two toys with their faces mashed together by a child going NOW KISS. They tip, with no logic, from hatred to love and back. Where Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Bennet go from hatred to love in beautiful character arcs, Donovan Darcy and Elizabeth Scott lust for one another but don’t actually seem to have anything in common but that lust and their love of dogs.

Did I mention that Elizabeth dreams of getting best in show for her Cavalier King Charles King Charles Spaniel, Bliss? Or that Mr. Darcy is a dog show judge? Did I forget that? MY BAD. Oh, also, Darcy, the wealthy British aristrocrat snob, has a female dog named Figgy. I COULD NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. Let’s also not talk about how Donovan is an Irish name originally, so it’s highly unlikely that an old British family would ever name their heir that.

There’s nothing charming or romantic in Unleashing Mr. Darcy. It’s awkward from beginning to end, that is when it’s not being creepy. On multiple occasions, Darcy and Elizabeth “flirt” during the dog show process for a seemingly endless span of time while everyone else watches. It’s deeply inappropriate. When they finally get in trouble for their relationship, they immediately get out of trouble because Donovan declares it was an emergency and the guy is just like “oh okay.” Spoiler: it was not an emergency. Also, Donovan is downright rapey at times, like when he literally picks her up to claim her as his prize after he wins a polo match. Again, not making this up.

If you’re an Austen fan and shake with righteous indignation when authors get Jane’s characters wrong, do not show up at this dog show.

 

One response to “March 2015: Month in Review”

  1. Brigid says:

    So…cinderella was fun, but unmemorable? DAMN. That’s disappointing. I always love a good costume film full of kissing, dancing, and maybe a little bit of the sparkly for funsies.

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