[Re]read To Kill A Mockingbird from the 21st to the 31st of May

Challenge accepted. I personally have not read this classic so I will this time. Lezzdothis!

Rosh ETC

Despite being one of the world’s best loved novels, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is a book which I have never read. It was never forced down my throat as an student and I (as yet) never picked it up as an adult. But with the release of Go Set A Watchman coming ever closer Penguin Random House are urging new and old fans to [re]visit the favourite with them.

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[BOOK] Sharp Objects.

41LG0hcWrzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Since “Gone Girl” was the first book of Gilian Flynn’s that I read and which I absolutely loved, that was my gauge for Flynn’s work. If I were to compare the two in terms of how gripping and interesting the stories were, I would say I liked “Gone Girl” much more. Both had a disturbing element to the stories and I’m seeing that as a common denominator in her books. I plan to read “Dark Places” sometime soon and judging from the synopsis, yeap, disturbing elements – Flynn’s cup of tea.

Camille is a junior reporter for a newspaper in Chicago. Sent back to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to cover a news of a young girl missing, Camille starts to get haunted by her troubling past the moment she sets foot in Wind Gap. What made her boss, Curry, interested about the news of the young girl missing is he is hoping it could turn into a bigger news. Nine months before, a girl around the same age also went missing but was found dead the next day. As horrible as it may be, Curry is thinking it could be a serial killing. If it’s something big, he wants the scoop.

After reading this book, I once again realized how important it is to have a good, stable role model in the family. Consciously or not, we are very much affected by our relationship with our parents and this reflects in our attitude towards life and other people. Another topic this book touches upon is “Self-Injury Disorder.” Camille had a problem of cutting herself by etching words on her skin using “Sharp Objects.” Voila – the title! It started right after her younger sister, Marian, died. It was her way of coping and it didn’t stop until she was in her 30s when she finally decided to get help and go to a rehab.

It was an interesting story but I was more caught off guard with Gone Girl. With “Sharp Objects,” I sort of already had an inkling on who was the culprit but Gone Girl had a more intense plot twist. Would I recommend it? Sure. This was a good first novel and clearly, she has improved a lot with Gone Girl.

NinthMelody rating: 3.25/5

[TV] Revenge.

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After 4 seasons, the series has finally come to an end.

If you don’t know the premise, it’s about a girl Amanda Clarke who avenges her father who was set up by a group of people he had worked with to take the blame for a terrorist attack that killed a number of people. Knowing that her father was killed in prison, Amanda Clarke decides to take on a new persona – Emily Thorne and devise a plan for revenge against the people his dad considered friends and colleagues. The main people whom Amanda/Emily found to be the masterminds behind his dad’s arrest was the Graysons – Conrad and Victoria Grayson.

It would be difficult to summarize everything that has happened in the series because well, A LOT has happened. The main reason I kept watching this show is because of the twists and turns. One revenge plan turning to another due to unforeseen circumstances is what it’s all about. I loved it! The Emily Thorne/Nolan Ross dynamic duo was just crazy good, it’s unbelievable. Sometimes their plans are a tad unrealistic but I think that’s where the excitement lies.

I will surely miss this show but it’s also a good thing it’s over. One less series for me to follow. Time to move on. I’m sure I will manage. ;p

[BOOK] The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend).

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“The DUFF” as you may see written above and in the cover, means “The Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” You might ask, “Why did you read this?” Well, I saw it on IMDB and found out that it was based on a book. Since the movie isn’t out yet, or at least I think not, I decided to read it in the meantime.

This took me just a few hours to read. It’s short but it finishes off well with closure. To be honest, when I first saw the premise, I thought, “Damn, I’m the DUFF.” haha.. The DUFF is normally the least attractive in a group of friends. One does not necessarily have to be ugly, just the least pretty/handsome in a group. That’s exactly how I felt everytime but I’m over it. haha.. I don’t really care anymore.

This book centers on Bianca, an average-looking high school girl who has two “hot” friends, Casey and Jessica. A certain high school playboy, Wesley Rush, introduces Bianca to the word DUFF which he uses to describe Bianca, being the “designated ugly fat friend” among her circle of friends. This affects her more than she is willing to admit as she realizes the truth in his claim. Bianca also faces problems at home as her mother and father are spending too much time apart. Her mother, as a motivational speaker, has not been home for a couple of months due to her scheduled speaking engagements and this is taking a toll on her relationship with Bianca’s father. With all the emotional problems Bianca is facing, she surprisingly seeks solace in Wesley Rush’s arms despite her hatred of him. She finds her problems momentarily fleeting whenever she spends time with Wesley and this has made her slightly obsessed in seeking his company.

Reading this right after Big Little Lies made “The Duff” a bit too childish. I know it’s not that fair seeing as these two books are in an entirely different genre. The Duff is obviously more for Young Adults. What I didn’t like about this was the typical “the more you hate, the more you love” scenario between Bianca and Wesley. Bianca outspokenly says she hates, abhors, despises the very existence of the manwhore Wesley yet she goes and kisses him anyway. She even starts sleeping with him when they were only supposed to finish their group essay. She does say in the book that it makes her feel like a “slut.” I wouldn’t call her a slut. Maybe more like a hypocrite. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If I hate somebody, I would NOT go kissing him and throwing myself at him then later on, hating myself for it. Make up your mind, woman!

Anyway, as predictable as the story may be, she does eventually fall for him and so does he. He turns over a new leaf and promises to love only her, blah blah. Typical.

I liked the book because it was easy to read and it wasn’t boring but it was just too predictable. I like me some twists in mah books. So yeah, would I recommend it? Sure, why not? But don’t expect too much as there isn’t anything you would find which you haven’t seen before.

NinthMelody rating: 3/5

[BOOK] One Day.

One_day_-_david_nicholls“One Day” by David Nicholls revolves around two protagonists, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. The novel happens in only one specific day of the year – St. Swithins Day (July 15) in the course of 20 years. Although the two characters do not become romantically involved for most of the novel, they do have the strong friendship that cannot be broken by time and will withstand whatever rocky road it may tread. This is a story of friendship, love, fate and everything in between.

At times, it’s sweet, at times, it’s frustrating. You know they want to be together. You want them to be together but due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, they end up farther apart than they were. SPOILER ALERT: They do end up together towards the end. The frustration that the reader feels is just a manifestation of one’s immersion in the world of “One Day.” You feel for the characters. You get giddy and happy when they’re happy but you also get heartbroken when they feel hurt.

What I felt most relatable personally is how the two characters were not very clear on what they wanted to do in life. For awhile, they settled on doing something that they felt could sustain their day to day living. They compromised with what they felt was necessary to live and survive. Towards the middle to the end of the book, both Emma and Dexter eventually follow their passion and find peace in their career life. I long for this kind of independence and stability. I want to find my passion, follow it and live it. I believe that is the only way one can find true peace and happiness in one’s work – to be able to mould it the way you want it to grow.

All in all, “One Day” was quite a fun read. It had funny, frustrating and sad moments but they all blended well to create a realistic story. It made me realize that everything can turn around even in a matter of just one year. A lot can happen in a day but definitely much more can happen in a year. I wonder, 1 year from now, would I still be in the same situation I am in now? One thing is for sure, nothing will happen if I don’t start to make a change.

NinthMelody rating: 3.75/5

[BOOK] Big Little Lies.

This book took me by surprise. I was not expecting to like it but man, this book was entertaining, exciting, dramatic and funny. “Big Little Lies” follows the story of three women who become friends after meeting at a kindergarten school orientation for their children. Jane, a young single mother; Madeline, an assertive woman who has to deal with her ex-husband’s family’s presence in the same kindergarten as her daughter; and Celeste, a mother of twin boys who is living the life thanks to her husband’s successful career – all live different lives but are bound by their loyalty and care for each other.

81+iucjYd9L._SL1500_Liane Moriarty presented the “murder” case in this book in such a way that you would be left guessing as to who did it (typical mystery) but most surprisingly, you also don’t know who was murdered. The book opened with the startling discovery that someone had been murdered during the kindergarten’s Trivia Night. “Who died?” “Who did it?” Those are the questions that would make you want to keep turning the pages to find out what the heck just happened on that trivia night.

As flash backs from months before the tragedy are eventually revealed, the more you grow fond of each of the characters. The further you go along the story, the more empathy you feel with each character that you wish upon a shooting star, please not her, please don’t let her die. As various snippets of the “present” investigation are previewed every so often as the flashbacks are told, they make you wonder whether this character died or this character killed someone. I found it to be such a wonderful experience as I debated against myself as to who was killed and what could have led to this event.

What I liked about the story apart from the way it was outlined is that the characters felt real. I wanted to be their friend and have my own child go to the kindergarten so I could hang out with these women. Much like how it is in real life, these women loved each other yet a part of them envied what the other was and had. It did not take away their fondness for each other but it reflected how this also happens to everyone and anyone in this day and age. No matter how successful you may be, no matter how beautiful you are, there are things you would find you lack in this life and feel that the grass is always greener on the other side. The way we perceive other persons’ lives depend significantly on how they act in the public eye and what they “post” on social media. Just because they are all smiles in their photos, it doesn’t mean that their lives are perfect. No matter how picture perfect it may seem, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. This book showed a perfect example of that.

I have to admit though, at first, I found it hard to read the first few chapters but once I got a clearer picture of the characters, I couldn’t stop reading. I would definitely try reading Moriarty’s other books.

NinthMelody rating: 4/5

[MOVIE] Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Finally got to watch the Avengers at the cinema! YES! I wasn’t able to watch the first installment at the cinema due to schedule problems. I had to wait a few months for the DVD to be released but it was all good. But now I was finally able to see the movie in the movie theater and in 3D, too. Although I would have preferred the regular one now that I think about it. This movie was not made for 3D so the WOW-factor is not that stellar.

I am a huge fan of Chris Evans and I fell even more in love with his leadership skills in this movie. Obviously, that was because of the script but despite that, I just love staring at his face. haha..

Anyway, Age of Ultron is the average “Artificial Intelligence” gone wrong kind of movie. In this case, it’s Ultron – Tony Stark’s creation as inspired by an out-of-this-world entity that they found in Loki’s sceptre, which turns out to be one of the Infinity Gems. Because of Stark’s typical obsession in making the best machine, he eventually creates an artificial intelligence that sets out to destroy the world in order to make the world a better place. Yep, your typical villain.

Avengers: Age of Ultron also introduces us to several new superheroes namely Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are twins from Sokovia who have a gripe with Tony Stark because it was due to his missiles that they lost their family. They initially side with Ultron as they vowed to take down Stark and the Avengers but as they realise the ultimate mission of Ultron is to kill off all humans, they eventually switch sides. Vision is the creation of Ultron who was supposed to be Ultron’s ultimate body but since the Avengers were able to intercept the body, Stark and Banner helped to create a perfect artificial intelligence with the help of the Infinity Gem and Jarvis’ system.

Although the 3 additions eventually helped the original Avengers in fending off the Ultron bots, I feel that Vision could have had more exposure. He’s basically made of the strongest metal on Earth, has the intelligence of the whole internet and the universe, he can fly and oh, he has a cape! (He saw Thor’s cape and thought, hey, that looks cool so he made one for himself.) I’m pretty sure his lack of exposure is because they were saving it for the next movie but heck, he could’ve been used more efficiently and effectively in saving the people and the world.

Anyway, I will definitely watch out for the next Marvel movies and this would mean I should probably also watch the previous Marvel movies that I missed (mostly Thor movies).

NinthMelody rating: 3.75/5