Saturday, February 25, 2012

3 Book Reviews + 1 Movie Review

I'm really rackin' it up on books read so far this amazing kindlefire has certainly helped with that ;-)

The premise of this book greatly intrigued me and so I started it the minute it downloaded to my kindle. Basically, vampirism is a man-made virus that has created a group of people who must each be assigned a Guardian to make sure they cooperate with human customs and aren't carriers of the virus. Only carriers, who are actually quite few in number, can pass vampirism to others which allows the majority of vampires to feed on volunteering humans at will. The main character, Anna, is a very real person with roller coaster emotional episodes. I think a lot of people could empathize with her especially when her first love does something that is absolutely irredeemable. Be aware that this book does contain explicit love scenes and so I would only recommend it for older readers. I did find this novel quite gripping and page-turning in regards to Anna's life and the things she must deal with. Also, the way vampirism is portrayed is fairly interesting. Unfortunately, I did have two big problems. First off, the secret behind the vampire disease was not really expounded upon all that well and when it was introduced as a hit you in the face revelation, Anna had no reaction and I felt like the revelation had already been discussed previously. Secondly, the ending, forgive my bluntness, sucked! There was absolutely zero closure and it was the kind of cliff-hanger you would expect of a 2-part season finale on a TV show NOT for the first novel in a potential series (I actually found myself flipping around to see if I was just having difficulty getting to the next chapter). I couldn't even find evidence that there IS going to be a second book. Oh well, here's to hoping! 3.5/5

Thirst by Claire Farrell (Book #13 of 2012) [NOTE: This book is FREE atm for kindle]
This book was a fairly light affair which was pleasant since it was also about vampires. Ava Delaney is a human who was born with vampiric traits because her pregnant mother was bitten by one. A number of mysterious characters appear, most especially Eddie, and intrigue abounds. Real vampires come into play as well as they show their own special interest in Ava's situation. I still don't know what special role Ava plays in the vampire world or who she really is in regards to her destiny for that matter. It seems like there is a LOT more to tell and I am quite excited for the second book in this series (since this book was subtitled "Ava Delaney #1" I was comforted in the fact that I wouldn't be left hanging in the long run). This book is sweet and clean and you really do care for how Ava must deal with her accidental enslavement of Carl. Oh poor Carl :-( Honestly, I really can't wait to find out how everything fits together what with Eddie's unexplained power, Peter's strange relationship with a mysterious woman, and Carl's lingering affection for Ava...a good read. 4/5

As I did with a previous book I reviewed, I'm going to go ahead and say that if you are not an educator or a future educator, this book will be of no interest to you. I really stress that with this one because it can be quite technical at times in focusing on how our current generation of children experience true learning. Regardless, I 100% recommend this book! It's overarching theme is about how video games are the perfect learning tool with inherent scaffolding built in and so allow a learner to always be in their proximal zone of development while playing. The explanations of various types of video games and how they do so was absolutely fascinating. I was disappointed though in being left with no real ideas for how to practically implement such learning situations. Hopefully I can find some methods oriented books that expand on Gee's ideas.

The last thing I wanted to do this morning was review the movie Contagion. Not because it was so incredible that I couldn't pass up a review, but because it is SO OVERRATED!!! I cannot believe the hype this movie has gotten. [Please check out the 1995 movie OUTBREAK if you want to see a truly good movie about a terrible disease that has the potential to cause mass devastation (Click the link for the trailer!). Plus, with Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, and...Morgan Freeman you just cannot go wrong!] Back to Contagion. Matt Damon was not the great actor in this movie that all the critics said he was, instead he was stiff and unemotional for the most part. Also, there was NO ENDING! Why do so many current highly acclaimed movies leave the viewer in confusion over what actually happened. When I sit down to watch a movie, I want closure and a story with a beginning and end - this had none. They even decided to throw a little bit of "mystery" in right before the credits rolled by showing a flashback that just made me laugh. Actually, I was laughing quite a bit once this movie ended and couldn't help saying out loud, "Wow that was incredibly dumb." See, the catch here is that I LOVE disease movies and find the mystery behind how a disease develops and how it spreads absolutely fascinating, but this movie did not cater to those particular interests. Additionally, it was incredibly inconsistent in how the world started falling apart - there just wasn't any real flow from one moment to another. *Sigh* it really is too bad...

Happy reading!!! :-)

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