I will be moving to Wordpress.com on October 1! My new URL will be exploringbystarlight.wordpress.com.

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Tomorrow, there's going to be some spooky changes here on Nerdette Reviews because...


October will completely dedicated to horrors and thrillers, which I'm incredibly excited about because I haven't done something like this in two years. Back in 2012 I decided to be more spooky by reviewing four classic monster monsters and hosting a giveaway, but it was nothing like this.

What can you expect from me?

Well, I have:
  • Spooky book reviews
  • Scary film reviews (this is where I'm really challenging myself)
  • Top Ten lists
  • My Creature Feature giveaway returns!
  • And more!
I've still got my regular Life of  Blogger posts scheduled, so you'll know which posts are for this month when you see this little banner at the bottom of a post:

So, stick around and come get scared with me! You'd better be there, or I'll set Godzilla onto you...

gif by televandalist
See? He's watching you...

And also, if you have a Halloween event of your own, let me know, and I'll link up to you in my sidebar!

My Attempt to Be More Social

I don't know if you guys knew this, but I'm really shy. Not the kind of shy where I get nervous about talking to people in person but then I'm really social online. No, I'm shy everywhere; in person, on the phone, and even online. I haven't had any online friends since everybody decided to leave Piczo because they hated it (that was about four years ago). And you know what? It's kind of my own fault.

Obviously, I can't really help being shy. I always have been, and meeting new people can often be a struggle for me. Even today, I still have trouble asking people that I'm close to for help, and it takes me at least two days to reply to an email.

But what does this have to do with blogging? I don't feel like I'm fully a part of the book blogging community, and it's because I've spent so long nestled away in my little corner, watching people interact with each other, then wishing that I could do the same and then shying away back into my corner.

Every now and again I think about whether I should continue blogging and I always come up with three reasons as to why:

  • I don't think that my posts have enough personality
  • I'm losing my motivation due to the fact that my time management skills suck
  • I don't talk to anybody.
I actually only started commenting on blogs properly this year, which is pretty bad, but what I really need to do is start talking to people properly over on those Twitters. And even though I do talk about myself quite a lot, I don't feel like people really know me yet. So, allow me to re-introduce myself.

gif by rhetthammersmithhorror
  • My name is Louise, I'm 19, and I'm from the North East of England
  • Apart from books, I love films (my second love), cartoons, video games, normal TV shows, and writing
  • I love, love, love, love The Simpsons. Just try to beat me at Simpsons trivia. Go on, just try it.
  • My favourite Disney movie is Tarzan (two worlds, one faaaamiilyyyy ~), and I'm still working on reading the books (two down, twenty three to go!)
  • I tend to make my own gifs, simply because I can (if you ever see a gif without a source link, it was made by me!)
  • My current favourite TV show is Dexter (and I've only read the first book so far)
  • I'm addicted to Starbucks and buying socks with fun patterns on (plain socks are boring)
  • My favourite colour is blue
  • I have the most humongous crushes on Henry Cavill, Tom Hiddleston, and Anton Yelchin (that's my personal holy trinity of hotness).
  • The city where I'm from is where Jabberwocky was written.
  • I'm studying English at university
  • If I could have one superpower, I'd be telepathic. Just to freak people out.

Now it's your turn!
  • Who are you? Where are you from?
  • Apart from books, what else do you love?
  • Do you have a favourite TV show?
  • Do you like Disney? If so, what's your favourite Disney movie?
  • What non-bookish thing are you addicted to?
  • What's your favourite colour?
  • Do you have any celebrity crushes? If so, who?
  • Tell me something cool or interesting about where you're from
  • Are you at school or college? What do you study (if you did go, what did you study?)
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Let's be friends! If you see me around Twitter, don't be afraid to say hi (like I am)!

Nerdette Reviews Turns the Big 3-Oh!

Hey. Guess what?


gif from Tumblr

Usually this would be where I say "where has all the time gone", but honestly, I barely remember setting up this blog, it's been such a big part of my life that it feels like I've always been doing this. No, really.

I know that I haven't been the best blogger, and I'm still not, but I just have to thank all of you guys for sticking with me for so long, putting up with my cartoon-quoting nonsense, and making blogging one of the best things that I've ever done. I seriously don't regret a single second of this.

gif by madonnalovers-club
I did have a giveaway planned, but I had to scrap it because I'm broke as fuck and things are just bad for me right now. I'm not going to go into specifics here because this is supposed to be a happy post, but trust me, things suck for me right now.

I'm not really going to be around much for the end of this month because I go back to university on Monday and I want to get back into some sort of routine, so I will be properly coming back in October, where I have a lot of stuff planned. See you all then!

Review: Lucy (2014)

Directed by: Luc Besson
Genre: Action / Science-Fiction / Thriller
Released: July 25 2014 (USA) August 22 2014 (UK) by Universal Pictures
Running time: 89 mins (1 hr, 29 mins)
Rated: R (USA) 15 (UK)
Viewed at: Cinema

It was supposed to be a simple job. All Lucy had to do was deliver a mysterious briefcase to Mr. Jang. But immediately Lucy is caught up in a nightmarish deal where she is captured and turned into a drug mule for a new and powerful synthetic drug. When the bag she is carrying inside of her stomach leaks, Lucy's body undergoes unimaginable changes that unlocks her mind's full potential 100%. With her new-found powers, Lucy turns into a merciless warrior intent on getting back at her captors. She receives invaluable help from Professor Norman, the leading authority on the human mind, and French police captain Pierre Del Rio.
Before it came out, I hadn't seen or even heard much about Lucy, but once I actually saw the trailers on TV I gave the summary a read and thought it sounded pretty cool. I've always thought that stories about people with psychic powers are interesting, and the idea of Scarlett Johansson being an ass-kicking lady with psychic powers just sounded like the best thing ever. It actually took me two tries to see this film in the cinema (the screen wasn't working the first time), and this is the first time in a long time (definitely more than two years) that I've left the cinema feeling disappointed because this film was just not as good as I was expecting it to be.

Lucy is the story of a young woman who is kidnapped by Korean gangsters after delivering a suitcase of drugs, and is then forced to become a drug mule for their boss. However, she gets beaten and the bag inside of her leaks then then she is able to unlock psychic abilities. With these new abilities, she aims to get revenge on her captors and bring the police to the other drug mules. After that, it gets a bit hard to explain. The story of this film starts out pretty strong and it goes well until we get to the point where there are ten minute action sequences with no dialogue. Another issue I have is that at the beginning of the film, the focus shifts from Lucy to Professor Norman giving a lecture at a Paris university, which is also interspersed with random footage of wildlife, which I'm assuming is used to illustrate all the points that he is making. These scenes with the Professor are where nearly all of the science lies, and I'll talk more about that below. The end of the film is a bit of an issue for me because it just gets stranger and stranger. I usually like strange stories, but they have to at least make sense rather than just being introduced by a giant percentage that's flashed up on the screen. Once the film had ended, my initial reaction was just "what".

My biggest issue with this film is the characterisation, and mainly how Lucy's character changes three times in the space of either twenty-five minutes or half an hour. At the very beginning of the film, Lucy is a bit sassy and a bit snarky, but once she gets kidnapped she becomes terrified and doesn't show anything other than that. Now, that's totally understandable because if I was kidnapped by gangsters and then told I'd become a human drug mule I'd be pretty scared too. Once the drugs leak and she 'transforms', Lucy basically becomes a robot. She has one facial expression that has a few flickers every now and then, and speaks in one tone of voice that isn't completely monotonous but still makes her seem like a robot rather than a human. This really makes me kind of sad because I love Scarlett Johansson and I know for a fact that she can give better performances for better characters than this. The same can be said for Morgan Freeman's character. It felt like all he did was spout science, and I honestly think that anybody could have played that part and that Freeman was there for two possible reasons: 1) he does the wise old teacher thing so good that it might be becoming his signature role 2) he's another big name to add to the cast. If I had to be brutally honest, I'd say that I think this film is wasted on the two of them because we all know that they have the ability to play better written characters than this.

I'm quickly becoming a stickler for sci-fi to have actual scientific explanations rather than saying "this happened because science", and thankfully Lucy does have science in it. A lot of science. This is a good thing, but the way all of the science is set into the story was a bit jarring to me, and I even got a little overwhelmed. We go back and forth from Lucy being a drug mule and trying to get in contact with the police, to Professor Norman giving a lecture on the brain. However, once his lecture is over all the science is almost gone. It felt as if the writers were saying, "we've explained how all of this is possible, now here's the rest of the movie". Fair enough Lucy does give some scientific explanations herself towards the end of the film, but I actually would have preferred it if it was more evenly spread out than dumped on me in one go because I just got overwhelmed and forgot nearly everything.

Before I conclude, I can finally move on to one good point, which is the special effects. If there's one thing about French cinema that always stands out to me, it's how their films look and Lucy looks pretty good. I often have issues with camera work in action films (shakycam is my absolute worst enemy when it comes to camera work), but I didn't have any of those here because everything moves pretty smoothly. Even in the big car chase scene I didn't find myself having to look at my knees or the ceiling, and even the CGI looks pretty good. There were a few scenes that use a lot of special effects that I thought looked a little awkward but that may be down to how they were acted, which often leads to the effect looking a bit odd.

Lucy sounds a lot better than it actually is. The story starts out strong and gets weirder and weirder as it progresses, but it's not exactly boring. I would say that this film is entertaining in some sense, but in every other sense it's pretty dumb. I might have liked this film a lot more if the plot stayed sensical and the characters were made of flesh and blood rather than cardboard, but hey at least the special effects (and Scarlett) look good.

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Released: April 15 2014 by Walker Books
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★

Add to Goodreads | Purchase on Amazon | Purchase on TBD
Two best friends...
             Two broken hearts....
                     One summer that will change everything...

Reagan O'Neill and Dee Montgomery are more like sisters than best friends. It's a bond that can't be broken, even by Dee's fame and fortune as a country music superstar.

When Reagan breaks up with her bad-news boyfriend and Dee gets dumped by her high school sweetheart, even the sweetest country ballad can't heal their broken hearts, and that's where friends come in. Dee's twenty-four-city tour is the perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer that will kick off the dust of any relationship gone bad.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm completely throws off Reagan's plan for a drama-free existence. With miles to go before Reagan and Dee are ready to risk their hearts again, this summer will be one to remember...
I will admit that I am the kind of person who will pick up a hyped book just to see what the fuss is about. I hadn't read many reviews about Open Road Summer, but I was seeing it being recommended many times, so I got myself a copy figuring it would be the perfect book to end the summer with. But, oh boy, I really fell for the hype with this one, and I was left feeling a bit... bleh.

Open Road Summer is the story of Reagan O'Neill (who I originally thought had the same name as the kid from The Exorcist, but doesn't), who is accompanying her country superstar best friend, Dee, on her country-wide tour. However, a media scandal breaks out and Dee's management decides to bring comeback kid Matt Finch onto the tour to quiet down any rumours. My main problem with Open Road Summer's story is that I wasn't expecting this to be a full-blown romance story. I originally read the blurb and thought 'great, a story about two best friends', but then got a big shock when I could hardly get any friendship vibes. I would have much rather read about Reagan's relationship with Dee than the weird one she has with Matt. And that's another thing: I thought the romance was strange. Reagan and Matt go from awkward one-sided flirting, to flirting with each other, to bickering, and then being with each other but not using the words 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend'. I'm not an expert on relationships, but if someone kissed me while I was arguing with them, I'd punch them. If Dee had more of a presence, I probably would have enjoyed the story more. Probably.

My biggest issue with Open Road Summer is definitely Reagan. I haven't disliked a main character so much in a long time. Reagan is written as a stereotypical 'bad girl': her mum ran away when she was a kid, her dad's a recovering alcoholic, and she has a criminal record at the age of seventeen. This is mentioned so many time that every time she started talking about her past, Everclear's Volvo Driving Soccer Mom started playing in my head. It got to the point that I just didn't care anymore. Not only that, but Reagan has a sucky personality. She's paranoid, she'd kind of arrogant, she's ridiculously jealous, and to me, she seemed like a bit of a slut shamer. Every time there are girls are Matt's sets, or even just talking to him, she comments on their appearances, i.e. their clothes and how Matt can probably see down their shirts. Now, there's something to bear in mind: Reagan's wardrobe consists of tight clothes, short skirts, push-up bras, and high heels. so I have no idea where she gets the nerve to judge other girls based on their clothing choices, when she regularly dresses in her 'bad girl' attire. If I ever met this girl, I would easily out-bitch her because she is just so petty. I know I said I would prefer there to be more of Dee, but she really is a bit bland. All I got of her is that she's wholesome and polite (kind of like early Taylor Swift without the slut shaming), but that's pretty much it. She really needed to be fleshed out more because she's just as important as Reagan and Matt.

Open Road Summer is written in Reagan's point of view, and I honestly would have preferred a third person narration here. The fact that I didn't like her as a character made reading this feel long and tedious; I was even flicking through pages to see how much I had left to go. I managed to finish this book in three days, but that's mainly because I almost had to force myself to get through it; it wasn't at DNF level, but reading was still a pretty tedious task.

I was really disappointed by Open Road Summer. I wasn't too blown away by the plot, and I couldn't stand Reagan and her constant reminding of the fact that she's a changed person. I might have liked this book when I was younger, but with the mindset I have now, it's just not doing anything for me.