Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (eArc Review)

UK Publishing: April 6, 2017
Publisher
: Random House
Page Count
: 416

**I was provided with an eArc by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

When I first saw Goodbye Days, I didn’t even know what it was about. However, what I did know was that I needed to read it ASAP! I really enjoyed Zentner’s first book, The Serpent King, so I was over the moon when I got approved for the arc now (even though I pre-ordered it before anyway) and it was even more fun to read because I had Cátia and Cristina along on the ride!

Going into a book written by Jeff Zentner, you have to be prepared for sadness. I knew this, I hardened my heart, but I still cried multiple times. While the Serpent King was more of a punch in the gut, this was like a constant cloud of somberness following you around. There’s such an important message here – don’t text while driving! It’s what starts this mess and then unabashedly portrays the devastating aftermath. It sugarcoats nothing and goes deep into the self-blame, the anxiety, the loneliness and sometimes downright panic of the situation.

“For the most part, you don’t hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

I thought that most of the story was handled in a very realistic way and that it flowed beautifully. No matter how emotional or intense the book gets, it never overwhelms you. The sadness comes in waves and little punches instead, always revealing something new to you about the people Carver cared so much about and he loved those boys so very much. I enjoyed that this was a book about friendship and family, especially the parents or guardians had important roles to play and we all know how rare that is in YA these days. There might be a sort of romantic sub-plot, but it didn’t take up too much of the time and I liked how that was left in the end.

The only reason this book isn’t a complete 5-star-read for me, is that I struggled a bit with the criminal investigation. While I understand the components of guilt and blame, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the legal charges. I think it was explained pretty well, but I just don’t believe that those claims were substantial, which is also why I wasn’t entire happy with the resolution of that part. It’s really only a minor thing though, something that adds to the drama I guess.

Finally, there’s a cameo of someone from The Serpent King and it’s bit of a spoiler if you realise that person is the cameo. So, I would recommend you read the other book first, but it’s completely up to you.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Another crazy emotional ride with Zentner.

Have you read Goodbye Days? Do you want to?

Paper Towns Movie Review

Originally I planned to do one of my typical Book vs. Movie posts for Paper Towns, but it’s been so long that I’ve read the book that I couldn’t remember the details even if I wanted to. Instead you’re getting a simple movie review (with Spoiler-free and a Spoiler section)!

So, I got to watch the UK Preview Screening which did not just include the movie, but also footage from the Q&A that was done with John Green, Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigngne in June. They talked about their similarities with the characters, what the audience should take away from the movie and whether they ever did something as crazy as the road trip in the movie. It wasn’t very long, but it was the perfect way to start the movie.

Now, I don’t know how many of you read the book or watched the movie or just generally know the story, but this is like a little plot summary:

Ever since Margo Roth Spiegelman moved in next to Quentin, who everyone just calls Q, he’s been in love with her. But their lives developed differently and while Q made safe choices and led a fairly sheltered life, Margo threw herself into every possible adventure, becoming a myth herself in the progress.
We are in their Senior Year at High School and Q’s optimism for ever being part of Margo’s life again is low, until one night, when she enters through his bedroom window and makes him her revenge-plot-accomplice. The next day, Q has the feeling that everything has changed, but has to find out that Margo is gone. Now he has to decide whether he’ll continue his uneventful life or if he’ll go searching for her, following the little clues she’s left behind.

First, I want to say that Paper Towns is one of my favourite books of John Green. I know that a lot of people prefer Looking for Alaska, but in my opinion the books are very similar and I read Paper Towns first, so I have a feeling that that impacted my opinion. However, when I heard that the same people who adapted The Fault in Our Stars would do this movie, I was massively excited, because they did a great job with TFIOS. I wasn’t entirely sure about the casting, but ended up really liking everyone they picked! Cara is like a real-life Margo to me, Nat is perfect as Q and I never thought I cared that much about how the others looked but they were also a perfect fit! Especially Justice Smith and Austin Abrams had mad chemistry with their female counterparts as well as a strong bromance with Nat Wolff!

Another thing I absolutely loved was the Soundtrack! Again, the music (just like in TFIOS) was brilliant and I cannot stop listening to it. Whoever chooses the artists and songs, I applaud you!

Now, on to the not so great part. While I did really enjoy myself during the entire movie, it did not have the exact same vibe and emotional impact as the book. I get that they had to make changes and, as I mentioned above, I cannot remember it in that much detail anyway, so I don’t care about that. I liked the ending even though it’s supposedly different from the book, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I was really bothered by how quickly Q and the others figures out Margo’s clues. I do understand that the film might’ve been way too long if they showed the real struggle, but it seemed so easy. They found a clue and within a couple of minutes they knew what to do. From what I could remember those clues were so vague sometimes, Q racked his brain for days sometimes.

This is only a minor issue though and other than that I laughed a lot (who wouldn’t when Black Santas are involved) and generally enjoyed watching the friendship of everyone on screen evolve and grow. The road trip could’ve gone on forever if it were up to me!

SPOILER AHEAD!!!!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE

I don’t really want to talk so much about the plot in the Spoiler-section as I want to talk about some cameos!
So, it was announced that John Green would have a cameo in the movie, but I didn’t see him. The thing is, you wouldn’t either. He doesn’t actually physically appear in the movie, he just voices the father of Becca’s father. That was not the cameo that nearly stopped my heart though. I read on Twitter that Ansel Elgort stopped by on set and now it all makes sense, but I did not even think about him being in the movie. I seriously started grinning from one ear to the other, I was so happy to see him.

SPOILER OFF 

All in all, I laughed, I almost cried and I really enjoyed the movie even though it has some flaws. People need to stop comparing it to TFIOS because of course those movies aren’t going to have the same emotional impact. One of them is about teenagers with a terminal illness, whereas the other movie is about not putting people on pedestals, taking risks and finding out who you are. What are your thoughts?

Ant-Man Movie Review

I don’t know about you, but I was not majorly excited about the release of Ant-Man. It had absolutely nothing to do with the cast or the story itself, I just couldn’t really be enthusiastic about yet another superhero movie, although I mostly end up loving them anyway. However, I went into the movie with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised! Spoilers ahead!

The premise is fairly easy: Back in the days Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas) developed a way to shrink human lifeforms to the size of ants. While it was an effective method to fight enemies, it also brought certain dangers along with it and he decided to keep this technology as far away from SHIELD and all the Starks out there as possible. His former protégé, Dr. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), found out about it anyway and is on the verge of replicating something even more dangerous. Even though Dr. Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) had a fallout years ago they team up with former burglar Scott (Paul Rudd) in order to prevent Dr. Cross from formerly launching the upgraded version of Ant-Man called Yellowjacket.

First off, I’m afraid I am still not as excited about the whole movie as other people are, but I can’t say that I didn’t like it either. It was really funny and fun to watch, but in my opinion it just didn’t beat any of the recent Marvel gems. There is no silly romance in the foreground taking up all the spotlight, even though they also couldn’t leave a love story out of it entirely. Even so, Ant-Man is a lot more about family and second chances than anything else and that is something I like very much!

Here are some additional thoughts I had:

  • Paul Rudd is just so lovable. There is seriously nothing he can do that would make him any less adorable, even when he looks kick-ass breaking into a house like a ninja!
  • At the beginning of the movie they showed Michael Douglas at a younger age, and just like in Terminator Genisys with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it looked great and not CGI at all. As always I am amazed at what technology and a good make-up artist can do!
  • Is Judy Greer like the new go-to person when they need someone to play the mom? It’s not that I don’t like her, but after recently seeing her in Jurassic World and playing a mother there as well, I’m just hoping for her that she won’t get stuck with roles like that.
  • I loved, loved, loved the scene with Falcon! I laughed so much, especially when at the end he said something like “We will never tell the Captain about this!”. Crossovers are always amazing and having scenes like that one in the movie, instantly made me like Ant-Man even more.
  • Speaking of cameos: right at the start of the movie get a short appearance of an aged Peggy Carter (as portrayed by Hayley Atwell) and Howard Stark (unfortunately not played by an aged Dominic Cooper, but by the still pretty amazing John Slattery who already portrayed Howard in Iron Man 2).
  • The after-credit scene gave us a first glimpse at the Wasp and I’m looking forward to see Evangeline Lilly in the costume!
  • Last but not least, I think Corey Stoll was great as the villain in my opinion. I usually really like him in everything he does and I had a hard time having to dislike him as Dr. Cross. Still, I enjoy seeing him in whatever he does.

So, what was your opinion of the movie? While it didn’t blow me away, I definitely had fun and it made for good afternoon entertainment.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the shows that I most anticipated this fall. I know that a lot of people had their problems with the first season, but if you stuck with it until the end, I am sure you are now as excited as I am. There were quite a lot of shockers, turn of events and cliffhangers at the end of Season 1 and I can’t tell you how happy I am about the show finally continuing. This review contains Spoilers for the first episode of Season 2 called “Shadows“!

Overall I can say that I loved the episode, but here are some more specific thoughts:

  • I think I’ve read somewhere that Agent Carter would make an appearance, but I couldn’t really imagine how that was going to work out. I think they incorporated her cameo really well and we now finally know why all the 084‘s are called that way.
  • Ward … I was so shocked last season! I never ever in a million years expected him to be part of Hydra and I still don’t know if we can ever trust him again. Although I am not even part of the team, I just felt so betrayed and hurt by his actions. They were like his family! However, seeing him on lock-down and the (emotional) pain he was in, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him. And I would really like to know what he knows about Sky’s father!
  • Speaking of Sky! She really became all tough and I like that.
  • So, Coulson is now the Director of (what’s left of) SHIELD. His priorities seem to have changed a lot, or is that just my feeling? I just can’t imagine him putting his team at a risk like the one he did during this episode before he became director.
  • There were a lot of new characters introduced, of whom only very few seemed to have survived the first episode. I find Hunter (Nick Blood) to be quite intriguing and I am happy to hear that he will be part of the principle cast this season.
  • It’s no secret that I adore Iain De Caestecker, but he just broke my heart during “Shadows”. I was hoping so bad that Fitz would be alright after Season 1, but he’s not and I have to admit that I cried. His acting was just beyond amazing! FitzSimmons were always my favourite part of the show and I cannot believe that Simmons left him! I am so angry at her! She was the one person he was supposed to always be able to rely on … How could she do that to him?

This season is going to be brilliant from the looks of its first episode. Not many shows manage to jump right back in and capture me like that. What’s your opinion of so far?