March was a much better reading month for me. Of course, the beginning started off slow. I was still in a reading slump, but by the end of the month, I kicked the reading slump’s butt! I read 5 books, which is an improvement from the past two months. I’m hoping to read even more in April, so we shall see how it goes. I also watched two movies I haven’t seen before. They are quite old, and I’m sure most people have seen them. As always, I’m behind on pretty much everything. I’m slowly catching up though.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

The Trap – John Smelcer
Genre – Young Adult/Survival
My Rating – ★★★★

Seventeen-year-old Johnny Least-Weasel knows that his grandfather Albert is a stubborn old man and won’t stop checking his own traplines even though other men his age stopped doing so years ago. But Albert Least-Weasel has been running traplines in the Alaskan wilderness alone for the past sixty years. Nothing has ever gone wrong on the trail he knows so well.

When Albert doesn’t come back from checking his traps, with the temperature steadily plummeting, Johnny must decide quickly whether to trust his grandfather or his own instincts.

Review: This was an enjoyable read. I liked the tales at the beginning of each chapter, and I love that they related to the overall story. The main characters were likable, and there was good characterization. The Indian traditions and stories the characters told built the environment and world. The story was a bit slow at times, but it didn’t take away from anything. I thought the ending was really great, though others might not think this. I won’t spoil it but just prepare for some intense moments. Overall, The Trap was entertaining, and I would recommend it.

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
Genre – Young Adult/War
My Rating – ★★

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

Review: I was disappointed with this novel. Of course, I was prepared for Daisy and her cousin’s “bond” so that aspect didn’t bother me. I wanted to see how the author dealt with it, and I feel the relationship was handled well, which I appreciated. However, the writing style bothered me to no end. It’s written how a teenager would speak. It’s a lot easier to listen to than it is to read. There are long sentences with no pauses and lots of ands. I mean lots of ands. Example: First I did this and then I did this and then this and this and this. It was a lot of telling instead of showing, which is fine for the writing style, but it made me feel emotionless towards all of the characters. I didn’t really care what happened to any of them, even though this is a war story with dire consequences and heartache around every corner. I wouldn’t recommend this, but others have liked it.

Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh
Genre – Humor
My Rating – ★★★★★

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Review: This is a fantastic novel! I have officially added this to my favorites list. This book is perfect for getting out of a reading slump. It has such a great sense of humor while still being realistic. All the stories are relatable and down to earth. There were many points where I was laughing out loud and had to tell Chad why I was laughing so hard. I would highly recommend this book, and I feel like everyone should read it.

Endless – Amanda Gray
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★

Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.

When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back.

While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock – and the Order – Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life – and beyond death.

Review: I have a full review of this novel posted here. Overall,  the book was well-written, and it had potential, but sadly, this story wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the romance, and most of the story elements were lost. The story was okay, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Review: I really enjoyed this story. I’m usually skeptical about fairytale retellings, but I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. Cinder was likable, and she had good characterization. She was also pretty tough and was able to take care of herself. Although there were some oversights, and it was quite predictable, Cinder had a certain charm about it. The story was pretty exciting, and I found myself being immersed in the story. I did want more world building, but I love the details that were given. I would recommend this novel.

The Cannonball Run
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★★★

A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country car race.

Review: It has taken me forever to watch this movie. Honestly, I didn’t even know this existed until Chad showed it to me. This is such a great movie. I love all the characters and how random this movie can be. Everything about it was funny and entertaining. It reminded me of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Rat Race, both of which I love. I would highly recommend this movie, but I’m sure everyone else has watched it. I would love recommendations for more movies like this one. I did get my hands on Cannonball Run II from a neighbor, and I plan on watching it soon.

National Lampoon’s Vacation
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★

The Griswold family’s cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.

Review: This was such a strange movie but in a good way. I loved this crazy family vacation. However, I would not want to be a part of it. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It would be one epic vacation. The ending was even better and fit well with the overall tone of the movie. Now I finally get all the references Family Guy makes to this movie.

 

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