In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.
The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.
When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.
My Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.56 stars
Release Date: 6 February 2018
I received an e-ARC of this novel from Edelwiess, this in no way affects my opinions about The Atomic City Girls. I enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this book but my rating mostly reflects some disappointment with the characters and how each story line wasn’t quite fleshed out the way I wanted them to be. I disliked a few elements of this novel, but I’ll preface the rest of the review by saying that I liked the overall story and message that Beard conveyed.
I saw this movie pop up on Netflix last month and it caught my eye because I’ve seen Adam Devine in a number of comedy shows/films. I didn’t expect much because he’s not in the most critically acclaimed comedies, but I had hoped it would be a cute rom-com. I was correct in that aspect because I think the overall message was nice and that the way Noah reached his realization was easy to digest. That said, a lot of this film felt cliché and predictable such as the ending where Noah realizes he shouldn’t have tried to change the past. I feel sort of like I’ve seen this story done about 5 times already, and I wasn’t surprised by anything which is definitely a drawback. I did like that this is simply a feel-good movie where everything is resolved and I felt happy for the characters at the end.
My Grade: B-
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
I have been waiting to watch this movie for quite some time and I recently realized that I had access to it through HBO, which was very exciting. This movie was a bit of a gamble for me because I had heard that a lot of Potter fans were disappointed with the plot and characters, etc. I actually really enjoyed it all, even though I’m not a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne in general. My favorite character was Kowalski, the Muggle (no I’m not going to use that no-maj crap), because he was hilarious the whole time and I loved his willingness to participate in a magical world that he was thrust into. I look forward to seeing him in the next movie because, yes I have seen the new trailer that dropped recently (it’s actually the reason I remembered to watch this film lol). My last thought after the film ended was “how did this film come out over a year ago and I never heard how it ended?” I was literally completely shocked by Grindelwald’s appearance because I had not been spoiled which was amazing to me! I knew it was happening at some point I just didn’t know when or how, so that was a fun surprise. The overall plot wasn’t super exciting to me because the villain wasn’t technically introduced until the end and I think that lessened the drama of it all. I am quite pleased with how this movie panned out though, I was prepared to totally hate it because Harry, Ron, and Hermione weren’t in it, but you know what it’s alright in my book. Can’t wait to go back to Hogwarts in the sequel this year (not a spoiler it’s in the trailer that they go there!)
Ps: I need me some more niffler screen time in movie 2 he was so goshdarn cute!
My Grade: B+
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Atypical Season 1 (Netflix Original Series—2017)
I had this show in my list since the first season came out last August, but I just never got around to watching it. I’m a little weird about starting new shows because I never know if it will be something I’ll enjoy, but I need to stop doing that about Netflix shows. There has only been one that I didn’t like and I have watched quite a few so I think the ratio is on Netflix’s side there.
Atypical is about an 18-year-old boy who is on the autism spectrum. Sam is high-functioning, but he struggles with daily social interaction and he likes to research before he makes any decisions. All he wants is to have a girlfriend and go through all the usual milestones that come with a relationship. Paige comes along and she seems like the best fit for Sam, she’s kind and caring and she makes sure she is aware of how Sam reacts in every situation. But Sam realizes that he doesn’t love her back. I won’t spoil all the other stuff that happens because each character in Sam’s family has a complicated story-line of their own. I highly recommend that you watch Atypical if you haven’t already! And the second season is already slated to come in August.
Game of Thrones Season 1
I’ve learned over the past month that I’m very bad at articulating my thoughts on this show because I have a bad memory when it comes to what happened in each episode. I have to think really hard about what happened and all the characters’ names because there’s so freaking many characters. My overall opinion is that I’m enjoying the show and I’ve aleady started season 2 so I should maybe have more thoughts on this next month…
Sex and the City Season 1
I turned this show on as a way to pass the time this month when I was cleaning my room or otherwise chilling out in the evenings. It’s a fun show to throw on because the episodes don’t necessarily require full attention, the plot differs from episode to episode and the time line sometimes jumps between episodes too. I like that there’s some plot continuation with Carrie and Mr. Big because that ties them all together but all the other girls are always dating someone else each time and that adds to the humor of their struggle to find the right guy as 30-somethings in New York City. I’m having a good time with it, not taking this show super seriously, it’s the new Gilmore Girls (time filler show) really because I needed to branch out and not re-watch that one again for a bit haha!
The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard [eARC from Edewiess]
I’ll have a full review up next week for this one, but my general opinion was that this book was good. Just an average book becuase the characters weren’t extremely likable or relatable for me. I find that historical fiction can be difficult to review because there are so many things I never knew about in the book and I’m interested in learning but I also care about the likability and development of the characters which fell flat for me here. It felt like there were too many characters for any one to have been fully developed. Even though June was technically the main character, I felt like we barely get to know who she is on her own because she always depends on someone else to define her identity, which is fine in it’s own way because this is set in the 1940s during WWII and a time when women were very much defined by their husbands and homelife. I guess I expected that the women in this novel would show more independence and strength of character, but that didn’t really happen until the last couple of chapters.
My Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.56 stars
Perfume by Patrick Suskind
This was assigned for class this month and I actually read the whole thing!! Hooray throw me a party! This novel is sick and twisted in many ways and I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because it’s overall a disgusting story about a disgusting sociopathic man. For some odd reason I enjoyed reading this in the sense that it was easy to read quickly and I didn’t feel like the story dragged on like a lot of school assigned readings do. I wanted desperately for Grenouille’s story to end, and it was somewhat easy to power through until I got there. Again, it’s disturbing and I’m not going to do a full review, I just wanted to document that I did in fact finish two whole books this month!
Guess what guys! I’ve figured out that studying for an exam prior to the night before the test is actually a really good idea! But seriously, I’ve always been horrible about studying and tended to be of the mindset that “if I don’t already know it, then I can’t learn it in one night.” That mantra stemmed mainly from me only ever studying the night before an exam, and yes, that is stressful, so no, I don’t recommend doing it. It’s so hard to figure out the best way to manage time in college because a lot of the time it means sacrificing the work from one class to study/write a paper for another, unless I sacrifice any and all me-time. I like my me-time. So I have always taken the path of postponing the reading for one class because one assignment requires more attention than the others. Fake it till you make it right? I would disagree with myself here academically because this is not an easy thing to do, it’s not fun to walk into a discussion having not read the material at all, but I make do. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, and that’s okay, because there’s time to catch up and ways to make things easier for myself later on. Don’t ask me why I’m posting all this nonsense because I really haven’t perfected the art of anti-procrastination, but I think I’m getting there… most likely at 2 am when I finally turn off YouTube and go to sleep.
In other news…
I’ve been posting a lot less frequently lately and that bums me out because I love this little (well actually huge but, ya know) blogging community that I’m a part of and the opportunities and fun things that come along with it. The fact of the matter is that I’m a junior in college taking 3 English courses per semester, and that’s a lot of freakin work. I have contemplated making posts on some of the books I read for class, but I’ll be honest, I can’t always keep up with all the reading I have to do and most professors have us skip around in anthologies and such. I have so many ideas for posts, but then blogging ends up taking a 5th-row-back seat to all of my school work and the much-needed mindless downtime, and I struggle to finish books for fun during the months that I’m at school. That said, I did just finish a book (took me a month and a half and I’ve been working on another book for over 2 months *facepalm*) so that review will be up very soon. I also really want to make some more lifestyle related content, maybe some beauty related stuff and such, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet… Soon.
But this is only my second post this month. This time last year I was posting much more frequently, even twice a week sometimes, because I had made an effort to schedule in Top 5 Wednesday posts and was consistently finishing ARCs. I just don’t have that kind of time anymore and I don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. I know this probably makes no difference to anyone else, but it’s easy to compare myself now to my past self and be like “why did I have so much time on my hands to blog back then when I can barely scrape together a post now?” The answer is simple: English classes take up wayyyy more time than my low-level film classes did last spring. I’m not dissing film as a major at all because it is very time-consuming too, I was just in an entry-level class that didn’t take up as much time as reading novels and essays and short stories for English courses does. I really love being an English major because I can embrace my love of reading and learn so much more about writing and analyzing writing which I hope to use in a career in publishing when I graduate. The lack of blog posts makes me a little sad because I used to spend so much time on here writing and reading other people’s book reviews! It’s such a fun place to hang out on this corner of the internet, and I’ll be back with more frequent posts in May, but for now it seems like 2 or 3 posts a month is my limit.
So… February was interesting. Normally, my first post of the month would be about all the stories (books, movies, tv shows, etc.) but I actually didn’t finish a single book or show (re-watching Gilmore Girls doesn’t count), nor did I watch a single movie. I know! It’s sad. I’m fully aware. But I can vouch for the fact that I was very busy.
My month began fairly slow because the semester was still getting started, then it snowballed into having tons of reading for class and a few papers due throughout the month! There was just so much going on. I watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones for the first two weekends, but I didn’t finish season one yet so there’s nothing to chat about haha.
And forget about reading for fun! HA. I have only read up to 25% on my e-ARC The Atomic City Girls, and I haven’t touched my hardcover book since the 18th, so yeah. No fun reading for me last month.
The second to last week was dedicated to lots and lots of dance because the company I dance with at school hosted a show on the 24th. We rehearsed a ton leading up to it and I was in four pieces, so I was pretty exhausted by the end of it.
The next week was filled with writing two papers and a group presentation (one professor changed our paper deadline from Thursday to Friday at midnight so I was very grateful for that). THEN I got the freaking FLU on the last day of the month. The flu is no fun, and I still had a paper to write while sick but I spent a lot of that time letting Gilmore Girls play while I rested and then switched to re-watching a few episodes of The Office one night.
I’ve just recently finished re-watching all of Gilmore Girls and the Netflix revival since I watched them all for the first time in 2016. I actually might have some new thoughts on the revival so I’m thinking of doing a follow up post on that, but I need to read through what I initially thought to see how much has changed!
Thankfully, my college is on spring break now, so I have a week to get sleep, catch up on reading, and watch some more Game of Thrones.
That’s pretty much it on February for me! How was your month?
Edit: I’m wrong! I finished Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh halfway through the month, but I only read part of it this month and then reviewed it right after so I forgot!! My review of that one is up here though 🙂
I received access to an electronic ARC of Reign of the Fallen through Edelweiss. The cover and synopsis intrigued me and I think this is one of the best and well developed new fantasy worlds I have read in a while! I loved reading Odessa’s story and I have so many thoughts about this book so read on if you want to hear them! I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Reign of the Fallen if you haven’t already (I mean look at the cover alone, it’s beautiful), it’s in stores now!
Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?