Review: From Hollywood with Love

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (William Morrow) for promotional purposes. 

I absolutely love romantic comedy movies. It is one of my favorite movie genres so I was pretty excited to read this. This book was everything I hoped for and more.

This book explores the history of romantic comedies, starting with When Harry Met Sally and ending with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Each chapter is dedicated to a different movie, with an essay in between exploring different rom-com actors. 

The selection of movies and actors were a good mix. I liked that it discussed non-white rom-coms (Waiting To Exhale) and rom-coms about older women (Something’s Gotta Give). 

I was also happy that the book dove into how problematic Hollywood can be. In discussing the Oscars So White controversy, the author writes, “this long standing bias reflected the type of loves stories the Academy deemed worthy of serious consideration…It raises a question Hollywood still hasn’t seriously reckoned with: Do critics and voters like the best stories, or the ones that out comfortingly reflects their own lives?” (pgs. 77-78). I found that question deeply intriguing and it brings up a very important point on the biases prevalent in the film industry. It’s a question that spans across all movie genres and not just romantic comedies. 

The author’s writing style was so accessible and easy to read. Sometimes nonfiction can be dry, but this book was like reading a magazine article. 

The book was also incredibly well researched. Every chapter is filled with so much information on the history and background of the movie, as well as fun trivia. The author includes a Notes section at the end with the citations to all his research. 

Lastly, The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter were adorable and a very cute touch. 

Overall, I loved this look into the world of Hollywood romantic comedies. If you are a fan of the movie genre, you have to read this book! 


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Review: Renegade Women in Film and TV

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

First off, this is a gorgeous coffee table book! The illustrations are so cute and I love the backgrounds of each portrait. The backgrounds all showcase something special about the woman featured.

I loved the selection of women featured. It was very inclusive. There were lots of women of color and even some LGBT ones as well. 

As for the descriptions of the women, they were on the short side, but this is a coffee table book so I was 100% okay with that. This book is meant to be more of an introduction to these incredible women, rather than a full analysis on them. The author even complied a list of essential viewing (films and TV episodes) for each woman listed to further encourage readers to physically see the work they have created. I could definitely tell that she worked in the entertainment industry because she knew her stuff and it showed. 

I also enjoyed the interviews. They were short but still insightful. The author asked the right questions that really fit the theme of the book well. 

Lastly, I liked how current this book is. It does mention some current issues like the #MeToo movement a few times.

Overall, this is a beautiful coffee table book that highlights 50 amazing women and their groundbreaking accomplishments. 

Review: Cinemaps

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this book. The idea behind it is so fun! The book consists of maps from 35 different movie worlds. Some of the movies featured include, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Clueless, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The maps are also not your typical flat ones. They are more three dimensional and are reminiscent of bus/subway maps because of the characters’ paths that run throughout them.

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Artistically, each map is stunning, You can tell so much work was put into each one. There is so much detail in each map. It’s really amazing.

The essays that accompanied each map were incredibly insightful in its analysis. The essays don’t necessarily correlate to the map; they just talk about the film in general. I also really liked the writing style of the essays. They were easy to read, concise, and flowed nicely.

My one issue with this book is the size of the maps. Even though they take up a whole page, the maps are still too small to fully appreciate. Some parts are made bigger which helps, but it’s still not enough to gain the entire experience. You would need a magnifying glass to see all the little details. In person, the maps would be glorious, but in the book they fall a bit flat.

Together, the essays and the maps create a beautiful coffee table book that will make you want to re-watch the movies featured.

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