Hello and Goodbye

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Not quite sure why that was the first thing that popped into my head to write in this post, but it did. This is going to be one really quick post just to say that, yes, I am still alive and, yes, I realise I have been posting a lot less than I used to.

I'd love to have a brilliant explanation for why that is, but I don't. I'm just exhausted right now. I have very limited energy and getting ready for my new job as a manager has actually been stressing me out quite a bit. I really want to get a good amount of content scheduled before I start posting again, so that I can try and actually keep up with everything blog wise. I say that all the time though and it never seems to happen, so we shall see how well that goes.

I have some time off now before I officially start the new job, so that's when I hope to get some scheduling done. I'm going to be taking a week or two off from blogging at least. Then I hope I will be able to come back feeling refreshed, with more energy and actually get on top of things blog wise. Probably not, but a girl can dream.

My Weekly Recap: 14/03/2015

I'm sad to say that my good mood from last week didn't last very long. I found myself getting very behind on the blog again. My scheduled posts slowly became live, with no more being written to replace them. I'm blaming the month of March, my insomnia caused by the medication I'm on, and my stress about my new job for why I am behind.

I've also been spending a lot of time with my family, and it's more important than the blog and so that's taken a back seat. March is a tough month and always will be, which never helps to improve my mood. This March saw the second anniversary of my aunts death come around, so I spent the day with my cousins, my parents and my nan so that we could be together, remember her but also go do something and not think about it too much. The next day also happens to be my nan's birthday, so I spent another day with my family. We make an effort to make sure she does something, because she no longer ever wants to celebrate it. It's been a stressful upsetting month in ways, but in others it's been lovely and nice to spend time with my amazing and wonderful family.

I really only managed to accomplish writing one movie review this week and that was for Fifty Shades. That review went well.... Not the best idea to try and write a coherent blog post in the early hours of the morning, when you have insomnia caused by the medication your on - medication to alleviate stress, but makes you not able to sleep, which ruins your mood and makes you more stressed? Where is the logic to this? - and are so sleep deprived that you are barely feeling alive, But I have 0 care at the mo.

I'm linking up with Tynga's Stacking the Shelves and the Caffeinated Book Reviewers The Sunday Post.

Films for Thoughts on Thursday: Fifty Shades of Grey Review & Discussion

This is a weekly meme that I am hosting here at Reviews from a Bookworm. To take part all you have to do is share a movie review once a week, link back to Reviews from a Bookworm and add your link to the linky tool.

This weeks movie review will be for:

Fifty Shades of Grey

That's right people, I have actually watched the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Now this is a big deal. I consider this a big deal because I have read the books and I absolutely hated them. They were so poorly written that they were actually painful to get through. Not to mention that it started as Twilight fanfiction means it has far too many similarities to it, and it also has one of the most useless and unlikeable lead characters of all time. When I heard the movie was coming out I had absolutely 0 interest in seeing it. None at all. There was no way I was going to pay to sit in a cinema and watch that movie. So what changed? Well there were two things... 1. Christina's review where she basically laughed the whole way through, whilst still admitting it was enjoyable to watch. She got me so intrigued and made me actually consider seeing it. & 2. I didn't have to go to the cinema to see it.

So.... How was it?
It's actually surprising me that I can write the following sentence.

Jimmy Fallon Shocked animated GIF
Shocking, I know!

Now I am going to warn you that this is probably going to be a long post. That's because it's not only a review, but also a discussion. I have a few issues that I have with things that are being said about this movie and I really want to address them. But I also want your opinions on them. So get ready, one long ass review/discussion is about to go down right now. 

Colin Farrell I Dont Care animated GIF
Would I recommend it?!? 
I'm going to do something I don't usually do with my reviews, I'm going to start straight away with whether or not I would recommend this movie or not. The honest answer is that it is going to entirely depend on you as an individual. If you have zero interest in seeing this film then I'd suggest skipping it. If you're kind of curious like I was then I'd probably say give it a try, but wait for the DVD or when you can stream from the comfort of your own home. And if you're one of those people who were desperate to see it, then I'm certain you already have and can tell me what you thought in the comments below. Movies are just like books in the way that they split opinions, some will loath it, some will love it and many people will fall somewhere between the two. I'm a faller, it wasn't amazing but I've seen way worse movies in my life.

It's rather shocking to me that I didn't absolutely hate this movie, I was so convinced that I was going to hate it. But then I didn't! It's not a cinematic masterpiece and it's not something I'd probably rush to watch again, but I was suitably entertained. I actually laughed at this movie and only cringed a couple of times. I feel like my ridiculously low expectations might have had something to do with this. It's hard for a movie to ever be as bad as I was imagining this movie would be. I think going in with the lowest of expectations is probably the best way to go into this movie because then it's only up from there.

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"Anal fisting... cross that out!"
Dakota Johnson was most definitely my favourite thing in this movie and probably the reason why I didn't end up hating this. She is HILARIOUS! Seriously, she brings all the much needed humour to this movie that I needed. I hated Ana in the books, she was just so incredibly useless and wound me up so much. Dakota makes her a likeable character. It probably helps that she doesn't say Oh my god! every five seconds or talk constantly about her 'inner goddess' like she does in the book. I laughed so much at her character in this movie, something that I was not expecting at all. My favourite scene would probably have to be during her 'business meeting' with Christian, where they are discussing the terms of the contract. It's not every day that an actress will have me in fits of giggles whilst she discusses fisting.

Ana shows a lot of growth over the course of this movie. She's a huge pushover in the beginning and continues that way for most of the movie. And people seem to have a weird habit of stealing her food. I literally have no idea how she handles that. There's literally a scene where she makes a sandwich, after asking her friend if she wanted one and her saying no, for her friend to then come and take the sandwich. And she says NOTHING! What's wrong with her? I would have a total Joey moment and have to be like 'Bitch, seriously put down my sandwich or I will hurt you!'.

It's only fair to give my take on Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, and I admit that I fall into the category of people that don't really get it. I didn't find the character at all attractive or sexy in the book and I still don't when it comes to the movie. It doesn't help that Jamie Dornan is very wooden in this movie, and not the kind of wooden that Christian Grey spends most of the book being. I was also put off by his weird accent, which I'm still not sure what it was supposed to be. He's an Irish actor so I think it just sounds weird because he hasn't managed to perfect an American accent yet. It just sounds like he's in pain every time he talks. 

I felt that the movie plays out a lot more light and fluffy in comparison to the book. Well, as light and fluffy as a movie with a red room of pain can possibly get. It's main problem is that there really isn't much of a plot, it's just all about Christian and Ana trying to make the relationship work. But that is rather dull and boring and doesn't really work to keep you interested. This is why I recommended watching it from the comfort of your own home if you do want to watch it. It means during the slower, duller parts that you can keep yourself amused with something else. If I'd paid to see this in the cinema then I would probably have been a lot more annoyed with this film, constantly checking the time to see how much more of it I had to endure.

When you're reading the book and watching the movie it is very clear that this started as Twilight fanfiction. You can easily see which Fifty Shades character is based on which Twilight character. From Anastasia's insistence of 'it's just Ana', to her ridiculous clumsiness that see's her literally fall into Christians office. Then we have Christian, the broody guy who is always insisting that Ana should stay away from him because he's no good for her! But that one thing that this has in common with the Twilight films that is actually a good thing is the fact it has a really good soundtrack. It's probably my second favourite thing about this movie, after Dakota Johnson's hilarious turn as Ana.

The sex scenes? I've seen worse on GoT
I can't review Fifty Shades without talking about the sex, this is something that has to happen. I have to admit to feeling really bad for any fans of the book going in to see this movie, they must have been quite disappointed. You probably see more graphic sex scenes in a fifty minute episode of Game of Thrones than you do in this 2 hour long film. It's very light on the sex, and what sex there is  is very tame compared to what you see in the books. And it's all very tastefully done and pretty tame for a film that's supposed to be exploring a dom/sub relationship.

Not only will you laugh at the intentionally funny lines that come out of Anas mouth, you'll also be laughing at all the total cringe worthy moments and cheesy moments. From scenes where Ana leaves a meeting with Christian and seems to basically orgasm in the rain to the fact that you'll lose count of how many times Ana bites her lip. You might be like me and get rather bored by the 1hr 10min mark, but at least you'll find yourself laughing quite a bit at just how ridiculous the movie is.

But now is the part where I get to the issue that I really feel I need to discuss when it comes to this movie. I am part of a Colleen Hoover group on Facebook - because CH is an auto-buy author for me and I love her - and I'd seen so many people talking about all the crap they were getting for wanting to see this film. Now not just in a 'Oh my god, why would you want to watch that trash?' kind of way, which was kind of how I was judging most people who were willing to pay to go see it in the cinema. Nope, they were getting actual threatening emails and messages from people, they were being told that they were supporting rape and domestic violence by going to see this movie. SERIOUSLY?!? Are you kidding me? I can sum up my feelings for this with one gif:

I think this may actually be one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard people say before, and that's saying a lot. These comments and emails were coming from people who hadn't even seen the movie. Some of them might not have even read the books. And whilst I feel they have the right to say that in terms of the vomit inducing books and the stuff I had to read in those, I really feel they shouldn't be saying that without seeing the movie first. I have seen the film and can tell you that that's one of the most insulting things I have ever heard. Not for this movie, which deserves all the luke warm reviews it's getting, but for people who have actually been victims of rape. The movie portrays a consensual sexual relationship between two people, so how can someone ever actually try to compare that to someone being raped. The two are vastly different things!

To anyone comparing it to rape.
And this is really where I wanted to ask you guys where you stood on this whole thing. Have you seen the movie and did you think it was the same as rape? I'm going to go into a little more detail here because in my first draft I really didn't. Sorry, but it was 2am by the time I finished, I needed sleep and was knackered. Would your judgements on the movie and anyone seeing it be based solely on the books? Or what you've heard/read about them? I am not saying that the relationship that Ana and Christian have in this film is normal or healthy. It isn't/ Christian is not wrong when he says that he's a fucked up individual, he really is. But the relationship in the movie is always consensual. CONSENSUAL! So, please, for the love of all that is holy, do not try comparing it to rape and telling people who want to see it that they support rape. That's a rather twisted thing to say to someone and not true in terms of the film. The way the sub/dom relationship is portrayed in the movie is still not entirely accurate of a BDSM relationship, but it's a hell of a lot closer than the book. I used to work with a guy who would only have those types of relationships, but he would be the sub whilst the women in his life were always the dom. Now he'd talk to a lot of us about it and the things he liked being done to him will never seem normal to me. But they were to him and he enjoyed it. That's his prerogative and it's not up to me to tell someone how they should be conducting their relationship. If you get off on someone spanking you till you bleed then go for it, I'll never understand the appeal myself but such is life. That's not to say that movie Christian Grey isn't still a creepy stalker because he so is. Their relationships is not normal or healthy and I'm still 110% certain Ana is insane for even wanting to be in a relationship with him. But I'm also 110% sure that Christian is not a rapist - well, at least as far as the movies concerned. Book Christian was a total rapist... just to be clear on that point.

4/10 Butterflies

Like I have said already, this wasn't the worst movie that I have ever seen but it most definitely wasn't the best. I'm not even sure it could be described as good. But I was suitably entertained and think they did a great job when you consider the source material. I absolutely loved Johnson as Ana, she brought much needed humour to the story as well as finally given Ana a back bone and the ability to stick up for herself. She was a much stronger character in the film than she ever was in the movie. Sam Taylor-Johnson definitely brings a lot to this film, which is why it disappoints me that she won't be doing the sequel. But, in all honesty, her talent is kind of wasted on this kind of movie. This isn't a movie that I would ever recommend to someone, but if you want to see it then by all means do. I was suitably entertained and it has me thinking that I will now actually see the sequel. Partly out of curiosity to see if they continue making the changes or start to follow the book a lot more. I HOPE NOT! I really wanted to hate this movie as much as I hated the book, but I just couldn't. They made big changes and made sure that consent was something that was emphasised, something that never was in the books. 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard 
Publisher: Orion 
Buy this book: Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) / Book Depository
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Red Queen had been one of my most anticipated reads of 2015, which I think might be the reason why I put off reading it for so long. I was almost certain that this was going to be a book that I would absolutely love, but there was still that tiny part of me that worried that maybe it would end up disappointing me. But then I started to see all of these glowing reviews and I felt much better about starting this book. So it was finally time to pick up this book and see what all the fuss was about. So did Red Queen turn out to be the amazing, mind-blowing read I was hoping for? 

There's absolutely no point beating around the bush, so lets just get straight to it - I was depressingly disappointed by Red Queen. I feel horrible for having to write that but it's true. I was really expecting something incredible from this book and instead I just got a story I've read a million times before, only they did it first and they did it better. It felt like it borrowed from so many other well known YA books that it made the book feel far too predictable and I found myself bored whilst reading it. I wanted to be unable to put this book down, and instead I found myself barely able to keep going.

Mare Barrow is a Red, in a world ruled by Silvers, and she either needs to have a job by eighteen or she must join the army. That right there just makes me think of Red Rising, a book where Reds are the lowest of the low and ruled by higher colours. Then I think of The Winner's Curse where people have to be married by eighteen or so, or they have to join the army. And the comparisons to other novels just kept coming. Now I know this is to be expected, I mean is there really even a 'unique' idea any more? But I feel like books can be similar to other books, whilst still providing that little something extra or new that sets it apart. That never happened for me with Red Queen, I found myself seeing far too similarities to other books and finding nothing special about this one that excited me or made me eager to continue the series.

I'm actually struggling to really explain why I'm so disappointed by this book. It's not only that it reminded me of other books, it's also that it felt rather boring. There was really only one part of this book that actually excited me, and that was the end, but by then it felt like too little too late. I didn't connect to any of the characters. Mare wasn't the strong heroine I was looking for, she was more the girl who gets sidetracked by thinking about guys. Then we have a love triangle between Mare and two princes, neither of which are very interesting and she lacks chemistry with both of them.

If there was one part of the book that did impress me then it was definitely the end. Some parts of it were a little predictable, but I really enjoyed the end. It contained all the action that I had been hoping to see throughout the rest of the book. If the rest of the book had read like the last few chapters then I would definitely have been continuing this series. As it stands, I'm just not invested in the story or the characters, and you can kind of already predict where the story is going.

2/5 Butterflies

There were definitely parts of the book that I enjoyed and the ending was really good and probably will keep a lot of people desperate to read book two. I really liked the different powers that the Silvers had, that did keep me interested in this book. But I felt the characters were lacking, I didn't connect to or care about any of them and that meant that I was never really invested in their story. It's not a terribly awful book by any stretch of the imagination, but I've just read far too many similar stories and they're ones I have enjoyed more. I'd recommend this more to people who haven't read a lot of the genre.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.