What I Watched: February 2018

February was a great month for movie watching! I had a week off from school and my husband and I got Movie Pass! Movie Pass is a subscription service that allows you to see 1 movie a day all month for $10! This month, we saw 5 movies each which saved us about $80! Pretty great. You should get one.

Any-whoozle!

Here’s all the movies and shows I watched (both on my couch and at the theater) and my thoughts on each one

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Jumangi: Welcome to the Jungle

Way back at the beginning of February, Eric and I saw Jumangi. I like the original and consider it a classic but I knew this one could be a hit or miss. That being said, it was a big hit for me! I laughed through the whole thing. Everyone was at there best in this movie. The Rock plays an awkward teenager in a buff adults body surprisingly well, Kevin Hart is hilarious as a Jock stuck as a lackey, Jack Black is always great but was really in his element as a blonde popular girl stuck in an overweight male body, and Karen Gillan seems to be wonderful in any role. There were also some guest appearances from Nick Jonas (the best Jonas) and Rhys Darby ( of Flight of the Concords and Hunt for the Wilder People fame)! I was actually disappointed there wasn’t more Rhys Darby.

If you were wondering whether to see this one or not I say do it! It acknowledges the original while still being completely its own thing, making it a perfect successor. I will say it is not appropriate for the kiddos as there are many jokes the come with the fact that Jack Black is a woman trapped in a man’s body.

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Black Panther

I mean, there’s already been so much said about this movie, but just to add in my two cents, this movie is fantastic. I think it’s different from the other Marvel movies we’ve seen and introduces us to some great new characters. The cast is perfect, the action is fun and the villain is formidable. I had a few issues with the plot but everything else was so good I was forgiving. Something that made the movie more intense to watch was the fact that I had no idea who was going to live or die! Shuri? Lupita Nyango’s character? Martin Freeman’s character? No one was safe! I definitely recommend this movie whether you are a super hero fan or not!

 

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Black Mirror (Season 4)

This show be bonkers and this is a pretty great season. Here’s a few things about each ep:

  • USS Callister: One of my favorites of the season! Not what I was expecting but it’s fun how it plays off of Star Trek. Very intense! Don’t want to give to much away on this one so just watch it. Also, I love Jesse Plemons, he’s great!
  • Arkangel: This ep is about a mom who put a sort of tracking device called “Arkangel” in her daughters head which allows her to see what her daughter sees and filter out the bad stuff. From the beginning you know things are not going to go well and they do not. Good ep overall
  • Crocodile: I winced through this entire episode. This is the darkest one of the season I think. Not my favorite because I hated the main character so much.
  • Hang the DJ: Another of my favorites! This one isn’t very dark at all. It follows two people who are part of a dating program that puts an expiration date on each relationship, eventually leading you to your true love. Very interesting concept and you really get invested very quickly in the characters!
  • Metalhead: This one has kind of a Resident Evil/Terminator vibe to it. It’s post apocalyptic and follows a woman trying to survive. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but this is a very intense, very good episode! This is the one that will make you look at our world now and be like “…oh crap.”
  • Black Museum: This one involves several short stories rolled into one. A girl (same actress who plays Shuri in Black Panther) walks into a museum in the middle of nowhere and the owner tells her stories about the different attractions in the museum. I really don’t want to spoil anything about this one but it is also quite good.

Overall, I think this season is just as good as the first 3 seasons. As usual I binged it too fast and now I have to wait forever for the next season to come out!

 

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The Post

Every year, I try to see all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars and this year I am getting pretty close! I don’t think The Post is going to win but it was a good flick. I knew very little about what happened in history at this time so I found myself being just as mystified and aghast as the characters who were reading the confidential government papers about Vietnam. I think the director did a good job of making a not super intense story watchable. I mean, if you take a step back, it’s just a lot of guys reading papers for two hours. The actors sold the story and I was invested in their outcomes. Tom Hanks is fantastic as usual and Bob Odenkirk and Jesse Plemons were also great. I was surprised by Meryl Streep’s character. I was expecting the typical Meryle Streep strong female role model but for much of the movie she is kind of a wimp. By the end of the movie she finds her voice but it was interesting to see that journey.

Overall I give it 2 thumbs up. I think it’s an important look at a crazy time in our country’s history and it will bring the story to dummies like me who didn’t even know it happened. Also, surprise appearance by Allison Brie! Fantastic!

 

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Battle of the Sexes

Speaking of strong female characters, Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King in the not-comedy Battle of the Sexes. That’s right folks this is not a comedy. There are light-hearted moments and with Steve Carrel you are always going to have a laugh or two but for the most part it’s a dramatic look at the tennis match that defined the roles of men and woman in the 70’s. While I was watching, I found myself aghast at how the men were acting towards women! I know that some men still think this way and it blows my mind. Its amazing how things have changed (for good or ill) in the past 40 years.

Any-who, this is a good movie! There is some nudity I believe so viewer be aware, but its a very inspiring story that I had no idea even happened.

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Phantom Thread

I continued my journey to the Oscars by  watching Phantom Thread, starring D-Day Lewis. This is supposedly his last film (*sniff, tear, sniff*) so I wanted to make sure I saw it in theaters. As usual, D-Day gives a stellar performance as a neurotic dress maker who falls for a poor, normal girl. He takes her into his house and she sort of becomes his muse/thorn in his side. Vicky Krieps (no, you haven’t seen her in anything else unless you watch French movies), plays the love interest and I found her performance to be very compelling. I think she should have been nominated for supporting actress for sure. Lesley Manville plays D-Day’s sister and is formidable, most definitely earning her supporting actress nom.

Towards the end, the movie changes gears in a way that is not anticipated. It’s not really a twist but it is unexpected. I don’t think this movie deserved best picture but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to any one who like D-Day or period pieces. I would watch it again.

 

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Annihilation

I read the book Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer because I knew that the movie was coming out and I loved it. When I say read it, I mean I listened to the audio book. I knew from the trailer that the movie was going to be pretty different than the book which was a bit of a bummer but I was excited for it anyway

The movie is a science-fiction thriller with more emphasis on the thriller than science part. The movie opens with a super sad Natalie Portman trying to deal with life since her husband’s military unit went MIA. But not for long! Her husband (Oscar Isaac) returns but, oh no, he’s sick! She finds out that he had been in a place called “The Shimmer” (dumb name) and she decides to go there to see if she can figure out what happened to him.

Things do not go well.

The whole movie was very different from the book while, I think, still keeping the essence and tone of the book. My husband and I did leave the theater a little on the depressed side. The movie just has that affect. There are three books but it seems like this is going to be a stand alone film. I’m glad Natalie Portman is still doing things. She was good in this movie, as were Jane the Virgin, Valkyrie and Jennifer Jason Leigh. An almost all female cast that had great on screen chemistry. If you liked the book, or if you like weird sci-fi action flicks, you will probably like this movie

 

 

WHAT A MONTH!

Again, if you see more than 1 movie a month, I highly recommend Movie Pass! I think they’ve even downed the price to $7.95 a month!

What did you think of any of these movies? What are your thoughts on the Oscars (Shape of Water! Who would’ve guessed!?) ? Leave a comment below!

This month (March) my husband and I have several movies on the docket: Game Night, Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim Uprising, Isle of Dogs, I Kill Giants, and Ready Player One!

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2 Cents on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Hey folks

Just saw Kingsman: The Golden Circle with my wonderful husband Eric Mikols and here I am fresh from the cinema to share my 2 cents! First, let me say that despite the complaints I have I liked it for the most part! It wasn’t as good as the first one but it was entertaining and watchable. Spoilers from here on out!

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The Likes

  1. I thought all the action scenes were great! I think the director (Matthew Vaughn) understood that everyone loved that crazy church scene from the first movie and so he made several similar fights in Golden Circle. And it worked on me because I was in it!
  2. The opening fight scene was definitely the best of the movie. Cool moves, good music, shoe knife, etc.
  3. There were several puppies. I love puppies.
  4. I like Eggsy as a charachter. Love his accent, love his clothes, love his moral delemas.
  5. Great cast! Even if you don’t see a ton of the new people, it’s definitely a great line up. Taron Egerton, Channing Tatum, Halle Barry, Pedro Pascal, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges! What could go wrong?!

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The Dislikes

  1. I felt this story line should have been saved for the third movie. By the end of the first movie, we had just settled in to loving all these characters and then in Golden Circle, they literally kill all of them! Except Colin Firth who was already dead! I feel like this story line would have had a bigger emotional hit for the audience if we had been given another movie to get used to the Kingsman agency. It felt like they were trying to get emotions from me that I couldn’t feel yet because they hadn’t been earned. It would be like blowing up MI6 and killing M in the 2nd ever James Bond movie (that didn’t happen right?). When MI6 did get blown up in Skyfall, it was a major moment for the audience because we all felt that significance. We had time to get that sense of security before it was taken away. For that reason, I think they should have held off on destroying Kingsman until later in the series.
  2. Bad use of charachters. I can’t believe they killed Roxy at the beginning of the movie. That seems like a complete waste. Speaking of a complete waste, why would you put Channing Tatum in your movie and then not have him in the movie? He was out of commission for all of it! I mean, I like Pedro Pascal but I think it would’ve been more fun to see Channing Tatum gun-slinging it with Egerton. Jeff Bridges was barely in it, Halle Berry didn’t do much, the Elton John stuff didn’t work, and speaking of….
  3. What the heck was all that Elton John stuff? It was just kind of weird? And unnecessary? He just stood there in crazy costumes and swore a lot. It seemed like a really random thing that added nothing to the film.
  4. The villain, Julianne Moore, was just meh. She’s peppy but she’ll also put you in a meat grinder. Speaking of which, there was TOO MUCH MEAT GRINDER STUFF! I liked her whole 1950’s vibe but she doesn’t leave much of an impression and she dies too easily. Also, her plan is very similar to the villain plan in the first movie so that was kind of boring.
  5. Merlin dying was stupid. They definitely could have found another way.
  6. I get that R rated movies have swearing, but I think this movie over did it. It was almost every other word and , for me, very unnecessary. Also, the close up shot of the woman’s crotch and then the inside look at her vagina was unneeded and gross. Both those things make it so I can’t really recommend this movie to people. If they would just take out the swearing and other stuff and make it PG13 I think I would have it more.

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Random Thoughts

  1. All I could think about when they were putting everyone infected in cages was how bad I feel for the people on the bottom cages! The probably are surrounded by fecal matter and urine from the above cages!
  2. Was the president supposed to be an evil Bush?
  3. I loved how Poppy’s guard’s uniform was a Letterman jacket
  4. Obviously if you hold a glass vial precariously between 2 fingers, it’s going to drop and break.
  5. I loved the country version of “Word Up” at the end!
  6. Are we supposed to believe that every drug user in the world is getting their drugs from Poppy?
  7. If you put a whip in a meat grinder, it will probably shred the rope and break, not drag you into it?

So, in conclusion, if you liked the first movie you probably will enjoy this one too. Just be prepared to not like it as much. And be prepared to turn you face away from the screen several times. I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars.

What did you think of Kingsman: The Golden Circle? Let me know your thoughts below!

Halloween Team 2017: Bonus Blog!

Bonus Blog time!!

Over the long weekend, we watched a few movies that were technically no one’s “pick” but are worth talking about this Halloween Season!

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Salem’s Lot

Yes, the highly acclaimed TNT TV mini series from 2004, Salem’s Lot! This series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name from 1975. I read the book for a book club last Halloween and absolutely loved it! It was the first Stephen King I ever read and I was surprised at how much I loved it because I don’t enjoy horror.

Here’s the plot! Spoiler Alert from this point on (though it is a 42 year old book so….). Ben Mears is a writer who returns to the town of Jerusalem’s Lot (Salem’s Lot) after a long absence. At the same time, a mysterious duo has moved to the town, opened an antique shop and bought the Marsten house, the spooky house on the hill overlooking the town in which a man killed himself. People start disappearing or acting weird all over the town and finally Ben and his old English teacher Matt figure out that…wait for it… it’s Vampires!! They then have to defeat the evil vampires and save the town.

That plot doesn’t sound very scary but trust me, it gets pretty intense! The movie stayed pretty close to the book which I appreciated. Here’s an issue though: while reading the book, I was constantly confused because there are SO MANY CHARACTERS!! Here’s a link to show you all the characters in the book: http://stephenking.com/library/novel/_salem_s_lot_characters.html . Read and be amazed. Another problem is that 3 of the main characters have essentially the same name! There is a Mark, a Matt and a Mike. not to mention Ben tends to be referred to as “Mears” and the spooky house is called the “Marsten” house!! TOO MANY M’S!!

So you’d think that the movie would fix this right? WRONG! And guess what? IT WAS SUPER CONFUSING! Luckily we could see the characters so it was less necessary to know their names, but still! Rob Lowe plays Ben Mears and he was actually pretty great! I have only seen him as his goofy character in Parks and Rec so it was cool to see him in a more serious role. Andre Braugher (now of Brooklyn 99 fame) was excellent as Matt the English Teacher , Donald Sutherland was real spooky as the head vampire assistant and Dan Byrd was a real angsty teenage kid.

I thought it was a solid adaptation of the book so I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend you read the book before you watch the series. The slow realization of vampires taking over the town is just so spooky!

Movie #2!

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The Monster Squad

I’ve heard many things about this movie. How it’s a cult classic, how it’s like The Goonies but better, how it’s a great movie. I am happy (?) to report that none of those things are true. Well, it may be regarded as a cult classic but the other 2 things are definitely not true. We watched this movie on the wonderful steaming service that is Hulu. Eric has almost picked it for his Halloween team pick for the past 3 years so we decided to just go ahead and watch it.

Here’s the plot (?): In the past, Van Helsing tries to defeat Dracula with some sort of amulet and he fails. Now in the present, Dracula wakes up and is bound and determined to take over the world. To do this he calls upon his bff’s: The Werewolf, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein’s Monster. Now don’t be confused, this is NOT the Monster Squad for which the movie is named! The actual Monster Squad is a group of kids who love monsters and somehow get a hold of Van Helsing’s old journal. They then have to get to the magical amulet before the Monsters do.

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Huh! You know, when I write it out, it does sound like there is a plot! It doesn’t feel like it when you are watching it. I didn’t find the movie funny and to me the kids swore way to much. I think it was supposed to be a kids movie but it wasn’t? I don’t think I laughed once. It was really really trying to be The Goonies. It had the leader kid who always makes heroic speeches, the “fat” kid who is always getting made fun of for being fat, the “hot” older sister, the cool kid who doesn’t seem like he should want to be in the group but he does, and of course running around in caves looking for treasure.

This movie is in no way better than or even on the same level as The Goonies and anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. Sorry, I know that is harsh but it’s how I feel! I give this movie 2 out of 5. Those 2 stars are solely because of the adorable little sister who is almost too cute to look at. She broke my stinkin heart. Do yourself a favor and just watch The Goonies instead.

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Stephen King DOES rule!

And there you have it! 2 bonus movies for your Halloween reading/watching enjoyment! Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen either of these movies and what you think! There may be more bonus blogs on the way! Who knows!

Halloween Team 2017: Part II

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The saga continues!

This time we watched Sally’s pick! Sally, for those of you who don’t know (which I’m guessing is a lot of you) is the queen of Horror. That being said, I’ve been bracing myself since last year for her pick because chances are it would scare the pee out of me. But Sally tricked us all and chose the Tim Burton classic: Beetlejuice!

It had been so long since I’d seen this movie! On the team, 3 of us had seen the movie and 2 had not which made it even more enjoyable to watch. Honestly I didn’t remember many of the scenes, especially all the crazy after life related ones, and I couldn’t even remember how it ended. I was glad Sally chose it because I really needed to watch it again.

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For those of you who for some reason have not seen this movie, here’s the plot: A married couple (played by young Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) dies and is trying to navigate the afterlife as ghosts in their own house. While trying to do this, a new family moves in and begins changing everything about the house. Their extremely emo daughter (played by Winona Ryder) can for some reason see the ghost couple and tries to help them scare her family out of the house. After many failed attempts, Beetlejuice (played by Michael Keaton) steps in and things get Ca-raaaaaaazy!

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Here’s what I love about this movie: Its cooky and zany and is never boring. Lots of laughs, lots of twists and turns, and lots of fun. The characters are all memorable and iconic to this day. Danny Elfman’s soundtrack is perfect for the movie and should be easily recognized on your Spotify movie soundtrack playlist. The dinner scene where the ghosts make the guests dance to the “Banana Boat Song” is just so incredibly funny. Burton completely immerses you in this world of ghosts and ghouls and you become attached to the characters in such a way that they feel like old friends whenever you watch it. Beetlejuice is a Halloween classic that deserves all the acclaim it’s received and I think it will continue to be loved for many years to come.

Here’s what I don’t love about it: Its kinda gross. All the afterlife scenes show dead people in many forms and sometimes the ghost couple pulls the skin off their faces or separates their heads from their bodies. The character of Beetljuice is incredibly nasty. He looks like he has green mold on his face and he eats flies. Not to mention he is always trying to feel up women. For most, I think his character is goofy and hilarious but for me it’s almost too gross to watch. And stressful! This movie is somewhat stressful!

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All that being said, this movie gets a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me. Its a movie I would recommend to anyone (who is an adult) if they are looking for a wacky Halloween movie. The combination of Burton and Elfman is dynamite, as usual, and the result is a unique movie watching experience that will leave the viewer saying “what did I just watch” and “when can I watch it again?!” simultaneously. Another great Halloween Team pick!

What are you watching this Halloween season? Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Halloween Team 2017!

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It’s that time of year again! October is called Halloween month in my house and every year we get together with the Halloween Team and watch some “scary” movies! Everyone on the team gets a pick. Sometimes the picks are bad ( ** Cough Cough Murder By Death**) and sometimes they are fantastic ( **Cough Cough What We Do In The Shadows**). I’ll go through every movie we watch here on the blog all through October. Let the movie watching begin!!

Eric’s pick

This year, we started with Eric’s pick. The cult classic(?) Eight Legged Freaks. It should be noted upfront that I am completely biased in my review because I hate spiders with every part of my being. It’s hard for me to even look at a spider, which made watching the movie pretty difficult. I saw part of this movie on TV when I was in middle school and have actively avoided it since then. But team rules are team rules, and Eric picked it so I watched it.

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As you can imagine, I didn’t like it. Mostly because of the spiders. Actually, the whole reason is because of the spiders. If it had been any other creature I would have been able to say “hey, that was a solid B-movie from the early 2000’s that was definitely watchable.” As it stands, I couldn’t watch a lot of it because of , again, SPIDERS. There were a few parts that made me laugh out loud so I will give the movie some credit.

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The plot follows David Arquette’s character as he comes back to town after a long absence. Apparently, everyone knows who he is and he is looking to fight anyone who has a problem with him. We also get such characters as the tough single mom sheriff, the boy obsessed with spiders who everyone should listen to but doesn’t, the “over-it” teenage sister (played by the now super famous Scarlett Johansson), the teenage boyfriend who is, luckily for him, very good at motocross, played by (heartthrob?) Matt Czuchry, and a cast of cooky townspeople.

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In a nutshell, chemicals fall in a pond by a nearby “spider-farm” (I looked it up, they are a real thing), the spiders get in the water, they get huge and start eating people (and pets). The townsfolk, led by David Arquette and Sheriff Mom then have to fight off the spiders and save the town. We get such scenes as: jumping spiders chasing motorcycle riding teens, a giant tarantula trying to pull a “Jurassic Park” by destroying a trailer in which out heroes reside, and a spider hiding in a tent and slowly sneaking up on its prey. The spider noises are cheesy and ridiculous but I will say the early 2000’s CGI wasn’t as hard to watch as I thought it would be.

Like I said before, there were several jokes that made me laugh out loud so someone on the writing team knew what they were doing. David Arquette put every emotion he had into this role and I think it paid off (I mean…not for his career…). If you are looking for a movie that’s a little creepy, a little gross,s little action-y and a little funny, this is your movie. Our team had a good time watching it even if we didn’t love the movie. Gotta give it 2 out of 5 stars though…BECAUSE SPIDERS!!

Stay tuned for more Halloween Team fun! Up next, Sally’s pick!!

Random Thoughts on “The Girl Before” by J.P. Delaney

I have been on a murder mystery kick lately and for some reason have no desire to pick up anything else. I heard about “The Girl Before” by J.P. Delaney from one of my favorite podcasts All the Books. The hosts found it hilarious that the book was about a “sadistic architect” who takes control of a girl living in a house he built. They joked about it so much I decided to give it a read.

Each chapter of the book jumps between the accounts of Emma (the girl before?) and Jane (the girl now). I thought this would get confusing at first but its not too hard to distinguish the two. Both girls are “damaged” in some way when they begin living in the house at One Folgate Streeet and as the book progresses each of their pasts is unraveled. Emma recently experienced a burglary at her home that left her scared and Jane recently lost a child. Unfortunately for Emma, she dies while living at One Folgate Street and Jane kind of makes it her mission to figure out what happened. Both girls also fall into a passionate relationship with the (sadistic?) architect of the house.

Let’s start with some things I like about the book. There were definitely a few surprises and unexpected revelations I had while reading. I won’t spoil the book here but I think Emma’s side of the story was definitely where the most twists occurred. Delany’s writing is easy to read and not annoying. The twists that were there were good.……that was a short paragraph.

Ok, here’s the negatives. I wanted more from the plot. All the reviews talk about constant twists and turns that will throw the reader for a loop but I didn’t see them. For the most part I found the plot to be fairly predictable except for the few surprises mentioned above. I never fully bought in to the conceit of the book. In order to move into One Fulgate Street, Emma and Jane had to fill out an outrageously long application that asked them super personal questions. And then the house itself had over 200 rules including that you aren’t allowed to bring hardly anything with you, no pets, you can’t leave anything on the floor, etc. I just don’t think that anyone would be interested in a house like that in real life. At least not normal, down to earth people like the 2 main characters. If I was filling out the application I’d be like “this is creepy I’m not doing this” and once I heard the rules for the house I’d be like “I can’t even bring my books? Nope goodbye!” So since I didn’t find the plot believable, it was hard to get into the book. It took me forever to read this book because I never wanted to pick it back up. In my opinion, it wasn’t the psychological thriller that was promised.

Another aspect of the book I did not enjoy was the graphic descriptions of sex and rape. There was just so much of it and I wasn’t expecting that. Emma’s story especially is extremely sexual and I just didn’t enjoy reading it. Lastly, I was frustrated by the resolution at the end of the book. I felt there was a lot left unanswered about the architect and his part in the stories of Emma and Jane. The ending just wasn’t satisfying enough for me.

Overall I gave this book 3 out of 5 starts and that is probably too high. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I would probably recommend it to someone looking for a mystery if it weren’t for all the sex. But hey it was on the NYT Best Sellers list for a good while so what do I know. Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts!

Random Thoughts on Into the Water (Spoiler Free!)

Well finally, after the critics have called every murder mystery with a female main character “the next Girl on the Train”, we finally have the literal next Girl on the Train! I’ve been excited for this book since I heard it was coming out a few months ago and I had to put it on hold at the library to make sure I got a copy. Pretty sure everyone has been highly anticipating this book since we finished reading Girl on the Train. I’m glad to say, Hawkin’s second book does not disappoint! I am going to keep this review spoiler free since I know many people haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet.

The book started slow for me. Not only that but I was confused for a good while because of the multitude of characters. Almost every chapter introduces a new character’s point of view. I had to keep flipping back to previous chapters to remember who the characters were or figure out if a character had already been introduced. Some of the early character interactions I forgot about as I got further into the book, but Hawkins does a good job of reminding you what happens in those early pages. I probably had all the characters straight in my head by 50 pages in.

The book is written in 4 parts and for a long while, I didn’t know where the book was going. Hawkins introduces all the characters and we just watch them interact. It seemed like, maybe we are just going to watch the fallout from these deaths that occurred at the Drowning Pool, and that would be the end of it. Once I hit Part 2 though, the story picked up. It became clear that there were secrets being kept by many of the characters that were eventually going to be brought to light. Part 3 is the climax of the book where life and death are up in the air for several characters and Part 4 brings the book to a satisfying conclusion. So if you’re like me and you think the beginning is slow, keep going it gets intense!

Hawkins does an incredible job of slowly building the tension in her books. She gives the reader new information little by little, keeping us hooked until the tension builds to a big event. Lianne Moriarty is another author that I think does this really well. Being a music teacher, I liken this book to a great crescendo by a choir. Everyone has to get louder by the same increments at the same time and you can’t get too loud too fast or it ruins it. This book crescendos perfectly so that the excitement I felt at the end of Part 3 felt earned. I felt like I had been working through all the character’s crap with them and I was invested in their fates. One thing I love about Hawkin’s books is that she does a great job of keeping the “bad guys” hidden without smacking you in the face with red herrings. I honestly had no idea who had done what throughout the book. I had my suspicions, but Hawkins didn’t write anything to “trick” me. I think that is a mark of a great mystery writer.

One aspect of the book that I’ll be interested to see how people react to, is how the act of drowning is romanticized. The character Nel,  who is found drowned at the beginning of the book (not a spoiler, that information is on the book jacket), is obsessed with all the women who have died at the Drowning Pool and she is fascinated with the water itself. In my opinion, Hawkins does a good job of balancing the characters opinions of the water. Some hate it and find it dangerous while others find it comforting. Much of the language used in the book makes it seem like it’s a beautiful thing to succumb to the water and drown. However, I think in general, the act of suicide is portrayed as tragic. After seeing how so many people reacted negatively to “13 Reasons Why,” I wonder if anyone will have issues with Into the Water.

Overall, I thought it was a great read. The excellent world building and character development of Hawkins writing style is on full display and done very well. I’m glad that Hawkins is not experiencing a “sophomore slump” with this novel. In fact, I’d say this book is on par with Girl on the Train, and maybe slightly better.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good murder mystery or just a mystery in general. As with Girl on the Train, be prepared for some course language and just an overall dark tone. I already can’t wait for the next Hawkins book!