Late Summer Reading List

I’ve spent the best part of the last two months trying to get through the first book in the Game of Thrones series – and although I’m enjoying it, there’s a lot to get to grips with. I love the story and many of the characters but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fantasy girl. Thankfully, I’m coming to the end so I’ll be able to pick up something new soon. I have a couple of books waiting in the wings, hence this late Summer Reading List.

I’m only 28% through my Goodreads Reading Challenge and according to the app, will need to read two books a week for the rest of the year to hit my target of 50 books in 2019. Better get my skates on then, I guess.

What I’m Reading Next

The Corset by Laura Purcell

This book has been on my radar for a while. I loved The Silent Companions and found it genuinely eerie – so I have high hopes about the follow up. I’ve already spoken about it so I don’t want to repeat myself but I’m looking forward to dipping back into Purcell’s version of Gothic goodness.

Honestly, this is the kind of book I normally reserve for Autumn reading but fuck it. It’s windy enough out there to appeal to my nesting sensibilities, so bring it on.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

“So, this is me. Lily Allen.

I am a mother, and I was a wife. I’m also a singer and a songwriter. I have loved and been let down. I’ve been stalked and assaulted. I am a success and a failure. I’ve been broken and full of hope. I am all these things and more.

I’m telling my truth because when women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better.

So, this is my story. These are my thoughts exactly.”

I’ve got a soft spot for Lily, who hasn’t always got it right but has always been seemingly honest, which I admire. She also been through an awful lot in her career and personal life, so I suspect this autobiography is going to be pretty eye-opening stuff. I’m holding out for heaps of scandal and a healthy dollop of bitching about other celebrities.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

I follow Laura on social media and find her quite endearing, so when I saw she’d written a novel, even though it’s not my usual kind of book, I wanted to check it out.

When I was grabbing dinner in Sainsbury’s at the weekend, I found it for the bargain price of £2.99. Well I’m a girl of limited means, so what was I going to do?

The premise is this:

“What if you almost missed the love of your life?

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.”

Cute, huh?

No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

Bethany is an internet staple for me, someone I’ve followed and admired for a long time. I’d go so far as to say she is one of the people most responsible for helping me change my way of thinking towards my own body. I’d definitely recommend you check her out on Twitter and beyond.

NBD is her debut fiction novel and I am so excited to meet her fat protagonist, Emily. I suspect this is a book I could really have done with back when I was a teen and I just really hope it gets the attention and acclaim it undoubtedly deserves.

A little outline:

“A warm, funny YA debut about a fat girl embarking on her first romance, female friendship, valuing herself and not settling, by one of the best body positive writers in the UK.”

So that’s me. Getting ready to hunker down with several good books and a duvet.

What are you reading?

Jennifer’s Body (Film) Review

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Last week’s pick wasn’t entirely successful, though the mantra “At least it wasn’t as bad as The Monkey’s Paw reverberated across the pond quite a lot, to put things into perspective.

This week is my choice and I’ve inadvertently brought you to an almost identical story line (oopsy).

How does it compare though and was it better at least? Well… read on my pretties and I’ll happily give you my thoughts.

*Spoilers everywhere, yo!*

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Johnny Simmons

IMDB Synopsis: A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

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Moody

My Review:

Anita “Needy” Lesnicki (Seyfried) is in an institution, where she sits and doesn’t do that much. She might be combing a doll’s hair when we meet her but I might have imagined that part.

She has major issues, and once she’s punched a well-meaning warden/councilor in the mouth and told her to mind her own fucking business, that much is apparent. She hasn’t always been this way she assures us, before filling us in on the tale of how she got there.

It’s a pretty good back story as far as back stories go.

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Hands up if you’re a fitty

We start with Jennifer. Beautiful, popular Jennifer (Fox) who, despite these qualities, still has time to be BFFs with Needy who’s not so much ‘those things’ (yeah right, Seyfried in ‘ugly’ attire). Needy’s a nerd who seems to be nice to everyone with an adoring boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons). But the friends are tight, so tight in fact that they get accused of being lesbians by their classmates, who just don’t get it at all. 

Jennifer isn’t low maintenance though and easily manipulates Needy into doing the things she wants. What she wants that evening is for Needy to go to the local dive bar to see a band she loves called Low Shoulder. She has her eye on the ‘salty’ lead singer and assures Needy there’ll be plenty of salty types around for her too (despite Chip, who Jen is indifferent to).

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“Yeah… nice hair?”

The evening starts uneventfully, though Needy gets a bad vibe from the band, especially Nikolai (Brody) who’s only too happy to accommodate an enthusiastic Jennifer. Needy (who has a sixth sense when it comes to her bestie) overhears them discussing Jennifer’s virginity status and tells her to stay away. Sadly, Jennifer is not swayed.

As the band play, the bar starts to burn (in a freak accident, although given the context of this storyline it might not be so accidental). As people die horribly, Needy and Jennifer manage to get out unscathed, though Jen is understandably shell-shocked.

The band too are remarkably unharmed by the carnage around them and suggest that the girls get into their van to get over their shock. Needy senses danger but somehow lets Jennifer go with them, all on her own.

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Smokin’

After an uneasy evening spent worrying about Jennifer, Needy receives a dramatic visit from her BFF, who looks like something truly awful has happened to her. She’s acting bizarrely and vomits up some disgusting black tar which happens to have undulating spikes running through it.

She asks Needy if she’s scared (funnily enough, that’s a yes) and then disappears, leaving Needy to mop up her alien puke. What are BFFs for, eh?

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Typical Friday night

Next day in school, everyone’s devastated about the fire, which has claimed a lot of student and teacher’s lives.  Needy is petrified something awful has happened to Jennifer (you don’t say) but Jen rocks up looking better than ever and ribs her rather unkindly about her looks.

Jennifer seems fine but she’s also become über bitchy. She’s also acting decidedly out of character, as we find out when she singles out a grieving jock and leads him into the woods behind the school. Let’s just say he doesn’t get what he thinks he’s going to get. Also, the woodland wildlife seem very taken with Jennifer too.

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Sweet girl

Needy is worried about the change in Jennifer which is fucking fabulous one minute and sick as a dog the next. It soon becomes clear that our Jen is gaining vital nutrients from a certain type of food and that food has a human face (male, if we’re being specific). If she doesn’t get her human fix she looks dog rough. Or, as Needy puts it, rough for Jennifer.

On one of her down days, Colin (Kyle Gallner), a class mate, asks Jennifer on a date. She isn’t that kind to him if we’re honest but changes her mind when Needy says she thinks he’s cool. Jennifer also says things to Needy about her boyfriend suddenly looking cuter and I hated her at this point (too much like my own school days).

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Run, Colin, Run!

Needy decides to have sex with Chip, perhaps to keep him safe from Jennifer’s clutches. While they enjoy their first sexual liaison, Jennifer kills the goth kid horribly. He’s so sweet that if any one of them doesn’t deserve to die a violent death it’s this guy. But alas.

While humping Chip, Needy suffers hallucinations about Jennifer and realises that something is very much not right (you don’t say). Later on Jen turns up at Needy’s and they argue before Jennifer tells her exactly what happened to her on the night of the fire.

Basically, Low Shoulder took her to the woods and sacrificed her to the Devil. All she remembers is that she told them she was a virgin (lies) and they killed her in a ritual. Later, she woke up and made her way to Needy’s house.

She also explains that she’d been so hungry that night but couldn’t bring herself to hurt Needy, which is big of her I think. She did however eat an exchange student, who everybody thought was killed in the fire. Oopsy.

Then the girls have a good old snog (this might have been before the heart to heart) and it’s clear that Needy has a bit of a thing about Jennifer because she’s so intoxicating and who can blame her? She still kicks her out on account of all the death and murder though.

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*MWAHHHHHHHHHHHH*

I lost it a little bit here but the gist of things is that Needy looks into Jennifer’s story a little deeper and works out that her best friend is possessed by a demon (I think mine might have been too). Since she was sacrificed in place of a real virgin (as Jennifer says of herself, “I’m not even a back door virgin anymore.”), the demon stuck around inside her (look I don’t make the rules).

I think the band made a pact with the devil as their deal is now that they’re world famous (not hurt by the fact that they’ve allowed the town of Devil’s Kettle, where all this is kicking off, think they rescued a load of people from the burning bar. Their single “Through the trees” has also become the official charity single for the tragedy).

I have to admit I didn’t really pay much attention to the band until later on, because they’re pretty 2D and boring. Anyway, they’re crazy famous now and loving it. They’re also due to come back actually and perform at the school prom (oh what, there’s a prom?).

Needy has banned her boyfriend Chip from going to the prom himself but has also broken up with him as she fears for his safety. She’s also told him her theory about Jennifer’s demonic possession, which he doesn’t believe. It’s pretty sad as they’re an adorable couple and you want them to get out unscathed.

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You’ve got red on you

Prom night comes around (course it does) and Needy heads to the “All you can eat buffet” to stop Jennifer’s rampant hunger, thinking Chip is safe at home. Chip is not safe at home, as he’s decided to go to the dance anyway. BIG MISTAKE CHIP! HUGE!

I might leave the climax here for shits n’ gigs and so you can watch for yourself should you choose to. To the Questions!

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“You dancin’?”

Questions:

Will Needy and Chip survive? What will become of our best friends? Is there a cure for violent demon-ism?

Will those horrible band members get their comeuppance? Why do men never listen when you’re clearly right (Chip)?

Why are no high school movies ever quite as good as Heathers (1988)?

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Hot stuff

My Thoughts:

What attracted me to this is that it’s written by Juno (2007) and Young Adult (2011)’s Diablo Cody who I mostly enjoy. I thought with that kind of pedigree it would at least have thoughtful moments and not be a pile of steaming shit. It isn’t shit actually, I think the performances are pretty good, particularly our leads who seem to relish their parts. A lot of the observations are spot on and a few moments between our frenemies are genuinely witty, particularly when they come head to head in the disgusting abandoned swimming pool (oooooh!).

The thing about Cody is that she has a slightly off way of making young people sound just a touch too precocious (looking at you Juno) but for the most part the dialogue works here. You can tell which ‘hip’ words she really worked hard on to seem current though, which is reminiscent of me speaking to anybody under 25.

As with most movies, I always want more without knowing what that actually is. I liked that it touches upon very normal teenage emotion such as insecurity and that thin line between utter devotion to your best friend and pure hatred. If I close my eyes I can still conjure up that feeling, that there’s just a hair’s breadth between the two.

I like that, underneath her fresh demonic demeanor, Jennifer is just a girl scared of losing, of not being the most desired or loved, and of not having what her best friend has.

The best bit by the way is the very ending, after the credits start to roll, when Needy seeks revenge on Low Shoulder for what they did to Jennifer. It’s beautiful shot and macabre as shit. Lovely.

Both main leads are also smoking hot, which doesn’t hurt.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Interesting in parts.

Did my wife want to tongue kiss this movie, or sacrifice it to the dark arts? Find out here