What I read and watched and all that other stuff. April edition.


I read this ARC for a book that comes out in July:

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

From Goodreads:

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town–and Becca–into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson’s life are intercut with Becca’s own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia’s death.

It left me really unsettled.  I don’t mean this in a bad way or it’s a horror-movie and I can’t sleep without the lights on sort of way.

It’s hard to explain, so I made a list of a few movies that gave me a similar feeling (descriptions from imdb):

Appropriate Adult – Dramatisation of the case of serial killers Fred and Rose West, focusing on the way in which they were brought to justice.

The Crush A journalist becomes the unwanted center of attention for a 14-year-old girl whom proceeds to sabotage his life after he refuses her sexual advances.

The Silence of the Lambs – A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

For me, the scariest books, movies, etc. have always been the ones that are glimpses into the darkest part of humanity – that hidden evil rippling right below the surface.

Amelia Anne definitely kept me guessing.  Weeks later and I’m still thinking about it.

I just finished reading Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler and two things:

1. I am seriously craving cupcakes.

2. I am really bummed that my high school didn’t have a boys’ hockey team.

It was a little hard for me to connect to the characters, not sure why I felt a disconnect.  But the setting was wonderfully written – all the description of snow and cold had me shivering.  And I love that theme of feeling torn between what you have and what you think you need/want.

Quick reviews:

I re-read Grandpa’s Mountain by Carolyn Reeder and Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson.

GM…again, I felt a strange disconnect from the characters.  I enjoyed the book because I’m familiar with the setting, but I guess I just wanted more feelings and reactions.  On the flipside, I read two more of Reeder’s book, Shades of Gray and Moonshiner’s Son and really liked the main characters.  Boy books!  It’s crazy how much I enjoy historic MG.

JHIL – yeah, there were still those moments where I hurt for Wheeze as she struggled to find her place.  There’s this one scene that I actually remember from the first time, where a family friend is excitedly telling her about this schooling idea…don’t want to spoil it, but augh, it got me again.  I love how she challenges the norms and wants to be on her father’s boat.  And how she’s so smart and talented, but her anger and jealousy cloud her vision.  So glad I read again, but the ending, the very ending, still skeeves me out in a Grapes of Wrath sort of way.


I won’t talk about the good, because it’s all overshadowed by The Box:

A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don’t know.

The first half an hour of the movie was the debate over what to do.  That sounds like it would be interesting and tense, yes?  NO.  The actors had these weird, fake southern accents which distracted me (in the same way Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind did) and the wife seemed beyond stupid.  I was like, “whatever, just DO something!”  So they made a choice and then, um, I have no idea what went on next, the movie completely went off the rails in a Vanilla Sky sort of way.  My hubs and I spent the majority of the time asking, “WTF is happening?”  And the ending…WHAT???

Ugh, this movie annoyed me so badly that I want everyone I know to watch it, so I can freak out some more.

It’s rare that a book or movie or anything pisses me off like this, so kudos to the director!

P.S. if you’ve seen this and enjoyed it, please explain the appeal to me.  Or just tell me WTF happened.  So confused.


After an all-night writing marathon, I am done with the first draft of my WIP!!!!!!

Emerging from my office like a zombie and wondering when the last time I saw a shower, sleep, and sun…

Totally worth it!

I want to dance around and celebrate, but I can’t because I have no clean dishes and no food in the apartment.

I should really go remedy that.

Published by Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

14 thoughts on “What I read and watched and all that other stuff. April edition.

  1. CONGRATS! On being done. Such a wonderful feeling; I hope you do something fun to celebrate!
    AMELIA ANNE is next on my list–going to start it this week! Can’t wait to discuss it because you’ve already piqued my interest. 🙂

  2. Yay for finishing your WIP draft! Congrats 🙂 I say dance around anyway–who needs clean dishes to dance??

    AMELIA ANNE sounds intriguing, but I’ll admit that I sort of hate that yucky, distrurbed “Silence of the Lambs” feeling. Might have to pass on that one…

  3. Whoo hoo and congrats on finishing! What a feeling!

    I can’t wait for Amelia Anne and Bittersweet is up soon. I was the hockey manager in high school because there wasn’t a girls league back then. Love me some hockey boys!

  4. Yay for finishing your WiP… what an amazing feeling!

    I have to admit: AMELIA ANNE sounds just disturbing enough to be intriguing… That probably sounds weird, but yeah… I’ll definitely be on the look for that one.

    Thanks for the fabulous monthly wrap-up!

  5. Ooooh, The Box! Okay, so that is a serious suspension-of-disbelief-non-optional scifi flick — personally I think it’s a masterpiece, but it’s definitely in the same vein as Knowing (the Nicholas Cage movie), or the TV series Fringe, or even I Am Legend (which is like The Box in that it’s based on a story by Richard Matheson). There are leaps of faith you need to take in terms of accepting the weirdness and a really unhappy ending, which is basically predicated (spoiler alert) on the idea that a race of indifferent aliens has come to explore Earth with the intent of testing and punishing the limits of human morality — but in the process of doing that, they also reward the people whose lives they’re ruining with enlightenment/understanding beyond normal human capability (i.e. showing them the afterlife), which ultimately brings about the sort of nobility and self-sacrifice they were hoping to see by presenting them with the Box in the first place.

    Hope that helps!

    1. Your explanation calms my movie rage slightly 🙂 I’m just not a big fan of those suspend-your-disbelief flicks (disliked Knowing, also…haha). Never seen Fringe, but I did like I Am Legend (movie and book). Not a big fan of Matheson’s short stories.

      I guess I checked out mentally after the first 30 mins b/c if a random package showed up at my house, followed by some weird dude, I would have shoved the box at him and told him to get the F out. Or called the police b/c I would have thought he was mental. So I guess the aliens would have let me live!

  6. First, CONGRATS on finishing your WiP! That’s really awesome. 🙂

    You’ve totally piqued my interest in AMELIA ANNE. I love books that leave you thinking for days. I think it’s already on my TBR list, but I’ll have to double check.

    THE BOX was a movie that I wrote off immediately when I saw the preview. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way. Now I definitely have no intention of seeing it.

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