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It has been a while since I last posted a piece from my creative writing class. I wrote this piece to help me get into the mode of writing a poem in lyrical form or narrative form. I chose lyrical for this poem. Unfortunately it is not title but maybe something will think one up for me :). So without further ado, here it is.

They look like little rainbows

Darting back and forth

Swimming in circles

Carelessly

Their fluroscent skin

Feels cool against the warm flesh

Like a marble

They kiss the water

Incessantly

Like a lover

Eyes wide with wonder

Observant

They dance in coordination

Like an orchestra

And feast on speckled green

Greedily

Gulp, gulp, gulp

 

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Schizo

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It has been a few weeks but I am coming at you with another book review today. I am going to be reviewing the book Schizo by Nic Sheff.

Miles is a teenage schizophrenic who is on a mission to find his younger brother Teddy who was kidnapped 2 years before hand. From what I understand the author himself has suffered through mental illness as well as drug addiction issues in his teenage years. So this book is loosely based off his own experiences. This made for an interesting read but I have to admit that I hoping for a little more rawness. I’m not saying that what Miles went though wasn’t extremely difficult and traumatizing but it seemed too fluffly. The title of the book as well as the synopsis lead me to believe that this plot was going to be a little more….for lack of a better word, disorganized, considering the main character’s mental illness. This book was a quick read. Finished it in a day actually. I didn’t like Miles and Eliza’s relationship. It was too rushed and seemed kind of fake. The reason why I found this so interesting is because it did give me a peek inside the mind of someone with a mental illness, despite the fact that I considered it fluffy. But I did enjoy it to some extent.

Overall, I give at a 2.5/5

Until next time!

PS: There is a book that I believe is similar to Schizo called Spider by Patrick McGrath. Be on the lookout for that review soon.

Unforgiven

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I have just finished reading Unforgiven by Lauren Kate so this post of course is going to be the review.

Unforgiven is a novel that is a part of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. So before I get to the review I would like to give a little background into the Fallen series. Luce (Lucinda) is attending Sword and Cross reform school where she mets Daniel. For some reason she is very drawn to Daniel but doesn’t understand why. Come to find out Luce is a reincarnation of Daniel’s past love who are destined to never be together. At the end of the series, everything turned out nicely (of course). So Unforgiven is about Cam, a fallen angel, and his true whom he abandoned millennia ago. Now he’s enduring the depths of Hell in order to win her back. I was pretty excited when this book first came out years ago because I enjoyed reading the Fallen series. However, the series was like any other teenage love story and Unforgiven was no different. After a while it was pretty irritating watching Cam’s love, Lillith, throw her rage at him in every chapter. Without spoilers there was some evil forces at work but still. Because this was a book series I read back in middle school, and I’m older now, I didn’t enjoy the read as much as I would have back then. Overall, I give the book a 2-3/5.

Until next time!

A Mercy

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One of the great things about an ending college semester is that I have time for pleasure reading. So I am going to do a review of Toni Morrison’s book A Mercy. 

A Dutch trader takes a little slave girl named Florens as payment for debt that was owed to him. This book is from Florens’ point of view as well as Lina, the older woman who cared for her and Sorrow, the young girl who talks to herself.

Honestly, I did not like it. This book was national best seller but I really couldn’t get into it. I believe the novel has a lot of symbolism and philosophical aspects to it but unfortunately…it just didn’t work for me. This is the very first book I’ve read by Toni Morrison and it was kind of a let down. Not saying that Morrison is a horrible writer I just couldn’t get into this particular read. As you can see this review is a pretty short review.

Overall, I give it a 1/5.

Until next time!

Devil in the Blue Dress film

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Just one more week of classes, then finals, then the semester is over! Today I will be reviewing the film version of Devil in the Blue Dress. If you have not read my review of the book please click here.

So Devil in the Blue Dress is about an African American man who is hired to find a Caucasian woman. This movie stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and Jennifer Beals (in my last post I said Jessica, so my apologies). If you do not know who any of these actors are then you must’ve been hiding under a rock your whole life. The movie itself wasn’t spectacular but Denzel always gives 110% no matter what. It took me off guard when I found out that Cheadle was going to be playing Mouse. Even though he very much so fit the character description I just couldn’t see Cheadle being a trigger-happy killer. But his performance stood out the most. He gave a humorous feel to Mouse’s otherwise serious character. Jennifer Beals is gorgeous, let’s get that out of the way first, but like Cheadle her being cast as Daphne Monet caught me off guard. Especially because in the book Daphne is described as having blond hair and blue eyes, whereas Beals has dark hair and dark eyes. I think it worked out better this way because Beals herself is biracial so most likely she would have darker features. Out of all the characters the three mentioned above were the ones who matched their character descriptions the most. Tom Sizemore plays Albright who is the man that hires Easy (Washington) to find Daphne. I pictured Albright to be tall and skinny and very, for lack of a better word, gangster-like. I didn’t get that vibe from him at all. He played his part well, however.

As I said before the movie wasn’t Oscar-worthy or anything like that but it was still interesting to watch.

Overall, 3/5

Until next time!

Devil in a Blue Dress

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Hello, people!

I cannot believe that this semester is almost over. I have two weeks of classes left (not including finals weeks) and of course they will go by soooooooo sloooooooooooooow. But I am here with another book review from my English class.

Devil in a Blue Dress is about a black man named Easy Rawlins who is hired to find Daphne Monet, a white woman. Easy uses his connections in the black community to find Daphne and ends up traveling down a dark road of murder, blackmail and even pedophilia.

This book is actually the first book where the “detective” is African American which makes sense because the author, Walter Mosley, is African American himself. Like The Big Sleep there were so many characters in this story that I thought wasn’t necessary. It was a complicated plot but once you go though the process from start to finish you understood it more clearly. This book had a big impact on our class discussions because as I said before it had a black “detective” and so of course a lot of our discussion topics were about race. One of the reasons why I liked the book so much was because I could relate to it better than the other detective novels. The language, the mentality, the community reminded me of my family the black community in general. Also like The Big Sleep there was some sexual connotations in the book. However, The Big Sleep was written in the 1930s-1940s so the idea of pornography or any kind of sexual conduct was deemed as immoral. Devil in a Blue Dress was written in 1990 so the sex isn’t that big of a deal. I think the book was well written, even-paced, some characters could’ve been omitted but it was still a great read.

Overall, 4/5

We are currently at the start of the movie which stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and Jessica Beals. So be on the lookout for that review.

Until next time!

The Big Sleep film

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Hello everyone! Today I am finally coming to you with a film review of the the book The Big Sleep.

As I mentioned in my review of the book, the movie stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall. Bogart also plays Sam Spade in the movie version of The Maltese Falcon but I liked him better as Philip Marlowe. The character of Spade is described as being tall and blond with a jutting chin and Bogart doesn’t look like that at all. Which is why I think physically-wise he’s better as Marlowe. The movie wasn’t entirely consistent with the book which I didn’t like because it made the movie that much more confusing. I did like Lauren Becall as Vivian Sternwood and Martha Vickers as her younger sister Carmen. Fun fact: This is the second movie Becall and Bogart have starred in AND they are married. Which I thought was very adorable. The ending was pretty much the same except Marlowe confessed that he knew about what happened to Rusty Regan to the gambler Eddie Mars and Vivian just happened to be in the room. Whereas, in the book, Vivian was the only person he revealed it to.

Overall, i would give this movie a 2/5 but because of the chemistry between Becall and Bogart I’ll give it a 3/5.

Until next time!

The Big Sleep

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Hello, everybody! I am coming at you with another book review from my Detective Fiction English class. Today I will reviewing Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

Philip Marlowe is private detective who is hired by General Sternwood to handle the blackmailing case against his younger daughter. As Marlowe investigates he soon becomes engaged in a bigger and more complex situation.

Much like the Maltese Falcon (review here) this book was very confusing. There were so many stories and people and problems that kept arising in each chapter it was hard to keep track of them all. This is another hard-boiled detective novel and I will say I prefer Sam Spade over Philip Marlowe. Marlowe was very smart-alecky and nonchalant but Spade embraces the personality of a hard-boiled detective better than Marlowe does. A difference between the Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep was the introduction of pornography. Although the act of it is tame compared to the pornography that we think of today, in that time period it was still considered scandalous and raunchy.  Much like the Falcon the two women in the story did their best to seduce Marlowe but unlike Spade, he didn’t exactly fall for it. Much like a lot of novels written in the 1930s the book was pretty sexist but that wasn’t surprising. Despite some major differences between the two books I enjoyed the Maltese Falcon better.

Overall, I give this book a 2/5.

I have not seen the movie but I will pretty soon. I do think it’s pretty ironic that Humphrey Bogart is also playing Marlowe when he played Sam Spade as well. Not to mention Lauren Becall plays opposite of him and she plays Mrs. Hubbard in the 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express (review here). Small world, isn’t it?

Until next time!

Murder on the Orient Express

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Hey guys!

I am coming at you today with a book review as well as not one, not two but three reviews on the three film adaptations of said book! Yeah, I said it. This post, as you can already tell by the title, will be a review of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I love Agatha Christie! She is considered to be the mother of detective fiction (Edgar Allen Poe is considered the father). Let’s get started!

Famous Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot is traveling on the Orient Express for London when the train is stopped due to unforeseen weather conditions. At the same time a passenger is mysteriously murdered. It is up to Poirot to solve the case and present an explanation to the police.

Let me start by saying…you do not see the ending coming. AT. ALL! You think it’s one person, then you think it’s someone else until you find out it was completely different from what you were expecting. At least for me. It is so incredibly complex nobody would readily believe it. In addition, watching Poirot solve this crime is incredible. In a way one could compare him to Sherlock Holmes. I give the book a 5/5.

My favorite adaptation of the novel was the original created in 1974. It had Sean Connery, Lauren Becall and Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s character of Greta Ohlsson was so good she received an Academy Award for best supporting actress. Honestly, I didn’t think her portrayal was all that spectacular but apparently the Academy committee did. Aside from a few name changes here and there and one particular scene, the movie was pretty consistent with the book. Same with character descriptions. I will say Albert Finney’s portrayal of Poirot was not only spot on but he stood out. Poirot is described as being funny-looking and egg shaped with a huge mustache and Finney perfectly fit that description. He also displayed Poirot’s eccentricities with gusto. I give this movie a 4/5.

My second favorite would be the recent adaption from 2017. Kenneth Branagh not only played Poirot but he directed the movie as well. There were different characterizations than the book. Colonel Arbuthnot was a doctor and black (although he was still English), Greta Ohlsson’s character was changed to Pillar Estavados and was Spanish instead of Swedish and Antonio Foscarelli was changed to a Latin man named Marquez. With the times changing, I believe Branagh wanted to include more minorities in the story. In the orginal, the only minority was Foscarelli and he’s Italian. That or he wanted certain actors in his movie despite the fact that they didn’t match the character descriptions. I’m leaning more towards the former. I will say this version of the movie leaned on racial profiling than Christie’s book did. Without spoilers I will there were a few times where the characters were accused of the crime because of their ethnicity. There was one scene with Arbuthnot and his encounter with Poirot that bothered me. You’ll now it when you see it. Also, Branagh’s Poirot looked nothing like Christie’s description, except for the huge mustache. And that bothered me as well. I give this movie a 3/5.

Finally, the least favorite film adaptation goes to TV movie version starring Alfred Molina as Poirot. The main problem was that it tried too hard to be different. Instead of it being set in the 1930s it was set in 2001, the same year it was made. In it, Poirot has a girlfriend, the villain was being threatened with a videotape instead of a letter, 3 out of the 12 original characters were omitted, there were software developers and fitness trainers…it just didn’t work! I get the urge to want to be different and rework the original story into something else but it didn’t pan put well. Molina’s Poirot was different as well. He was dark-haired but his mustache was a pretty normal, reasonable size and Molina is tall, not short. I give it a 2/5.

So there you have it. My take on the book and the three adaptions. There is a PBS series called Poirot that did emerge in the 1980s. I excluded that because I have not seen it. But check that out as well

Until next time!

The Maltese Falcon film

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A few weeks ago, I did a review of the Maltese Falcon (review here) and now I am going to do a movie review. There are a few adaptations of the famed novel so the one I’m going to review is the 1941 version with Humphrey Bogart.

First off, Bogart looks nothing like the character of Spade in the book. Spade is described as being tall and blond whereas Bogart is short and dark-haired. However,whenever I think of a detective (male or female) in film noir, I always picture them to be brunettes anyway. So although I am a stickler about perfect characterizations, I wasn’t too angry about this one. Bogart has a devilish charm about him which I believe was perfect for this role. Bogart did an exceptional job at portraying Spade despite his looks. Which is why I am not surprised that this role is one of his most beloved roles of his career. Honestly, I believe the character of Casper Gutman (played by Sydney Greenstreet) was the closest to the look of his character in the book.

The movie does a great job of sticking to the actually plot of the novel. As I said earlier there are a few other adaptations; Dangerous Female in 1931 and Satan Met a Lady in 1939. However, the 1941 film is the most accurate. On the American Film Institute’s 100 years…100 movies list of best American movies, The Maltese Falcon film was number 23.

Accuracy wise: 5/5

Overall: 3/5

Until next time!