After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward

So, it’s Day 8 of the #UltimateBlogTours for After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward that hosted by the wonderful Dave aka TheWriteReads! Today is my stop and I’m excited to share my initial thought about this dystopian book! Also, you can check out the other posts from many amazing bloggers on #AfterTheGreenWithered and #UltimateBlogTours on Twitter!

After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward

They tell me the country looked different back then. They talk of open borders and flowing rivers. They say the world was green. But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky.

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality.

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

Title: After the Green Withered | Author: Kristin Ward | Publisher: Independently Published | Genre: DystopianScience Fiction | Publication Date: May 18, 2018 | Format: eBook | Source: Author + Dave @ TheWriteReads (Thank you!) | LINKS: Book Depository (Affiliate)

My initial thought about this book is the massive info-dumping in the prologue. While this is highly informative and could be useful to help readers to understand the backstory of how the Earth ended up like how it told in the story, I personally struggled to get through it since it felt very technical and textbook-y, but I’m glad this writing style is over at the end of the prologue and continued with a totally different take on the first chapter.

The first chapter felt like a totally different book. While it’s full of narrative with no dialogue, I was completely surprised that I get to enjoy it. While the issue is far from light, the story was told cleverly by Ward as it was incredibly descriptive and easy to follow, especially for a slow reader like me. Not going to lie, many aspects of this first chapter made me nostalgic as it reminds me of a lot of popular books and movies back then. The general storyline was very Divergent, as we introduced to Enora, the main character who lived with her parents and was about to graduate and pick her job. The government-controlled universe was very Hunger Games as it really reminds me of the big ol’ Capitol. And the water-currency system was very In Time (2011), except it’s water and not time. Even the barcode system on the wrist was almost similar!

I’m really intrigued to see where this story going and how it’s going to end. 

Are you a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic book? Have you read After the Green Withered?

Us (2019)

Jordan Peele who previously gained huge success with Get Out (2017), is coming back with yet another horror movie, Us. This movie starring Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther & Star Wars) as Adelaide Wilson, Winston Duke (Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War) as Gabriel Wilson, Shahadi Wright Joseph (upcoming The Lion King remake) as Zora Wilson, and Evan Alex as Jason Wilson. The story follows this family during their vacation when suddenly, one night, they got attacked by their doppelgängers.

Us (2019)


Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them.

As a huge fan of Get Out (2017), I couldn’t be more excited when I heard the news about this movie. I believe that Jordan Peele could bring something more than just jump scares or terrifying monsters, and I was right. Taking a look at his previous movie, it’s obvious that Jordan Peele was being consistent by bringing deeper issues within his movies. But before we get into the heavier analysis and theories, I want to give a massive appreciation for the multiple brilliant, chilling, and uncomfortably-scary shots throughout this movie. Because hands down, it’s easy to make a jump scare, but to make your audience feel uneasy from a two minutes close-up shot of rabbits? Only geniuses can do that.

Not to mention the casts’ performances in this movie. Playing double characters is surely a huge challenge. How can you convince the audience that they are two different people when they look physically the same? While most people praised the excellent acting from Lupita Nyong’o, not that I disagree, because that stares and voice cracks still haunted me for several days after watching the movie, I’d like to give a special spotlight to Shahadi Wright Joseph! This is my first time to see her performance and it was incredible. At some point, I truly thought that Fake Zora is scarier than Fake Adelaide. Her sly smiles and laughter are certainly something that you won’t easily forget after leaving the cinema.

If you haven’t watched the movie and don’t want to get spoiled, this is a warning for you because the next part will be full of spoilers!

If Get Out (2017) focused on racial issues, Us (2019) was a bit vaguer since it really depends on how you interpreted it. I personally feel that the different scenes in this movie have different meanings, so the whole movie is not really about one particular thing. Starting from the existence of doppelgängers that attacked the Wilson family. Despite being doppelgängers, they actually had their own personalities which represent the nature of human being. You can never truly know someone, as a human has layers of personality which will show up differently around different people or environment. Multiple psychological researches stated that human reacts based on those expectations surrounding them. Aside from the doppelgängers, it can also be seen on how little Adelaide (or should I say little Fake Adelaide) behaved after she came back to her parents. She learned to adjust to her new environments and she learned how to socialize with people. She successfully kept her secret for years, maybe even forgetting the truth about her past, but we can see her true form in the last killing scene when she let off the grunts and animal-like sounds. This shows how someone may change in a new environment, but once they get cornered into their “old” environment, their instinct will take over and spontaneously reacts. I also think this has a strong correlation with the mirror scene, as the mirror represents the hidden personalities and traits that you won’t be able to notice at a glance.

This movie was probably not as heavy as Get Out (2017), but it sure does spark many interesting points. The other message that I got from this movie is about the matter of consumerism and economic inequality. The Wilson family as the main leads came to the Santa Cruz beach and stayed at their summer house. They drove a nice car. They had enough. But, this is until the neighbors showed up being richer, had a better house and even a better boat, which turns out to be the actual reason for Gabe to buy his own boat in the first place. Jealousy is the main motive of their consumerism. Ironically, this is exactly the main reason why doppelgängers came up to the ground and attacked the Wilsons. The feeling of inequality and not getting justice. Again, this is not a critical analysis whatsoever. It’s rather just one of the point that caught my attention and I think it deserves to be discussed more.

There are also multiple Easter Eggs throughout the movie. Did you notice how little Adelaide wearing Michael Jackson – Thriller, shirt? Where, apparently, he wore a red jacket and pants and also one glove in the music video? Did you notice that glove on Fake Adelaide? Which again, apparently, looks very similar to Freddy Krueger’s gloves? Remember that Freddy had burn scars on his face and the same thing can also be found on Fake Jason. The resemblance of burning fire can also be seen on how Fake Jason died. And the obvious one is the scattered appearances of rabbit throughout the movie because the doppelgängers consumed them. Do you spot any other Easter Eggs?

Overall, Us is that kind of movie that you need to watch several times in order to really absorbs any clue that you missed during the first watch, which turns out to be a lot.  It was clever, full of controversial issues and deserves spotlight as one of the best horror of the year.

★★★★½

Have you watched this movie? What do you think of it? Do you have any theories that you want to share?

This review can also be found on The Nerd Daily.

Artsy Gifts #1: 28 Instagram Story Review Templates?!

Artsy Gifts is an occasional feature on Artsy Draft in which I share design and graphic freebies, mostly related to books, movies and series as an appreciation to Artsy Draft’s readers.

Hey, everyone! So last week, I shared two book review templates for Instagram Story and I received an incredible amount of positive feedback on it, especially on Twitter! In case you’re not following my rambles there, here’s the tweet:

And of course, being extra as per usual, I have to make the movie version for these templates too. 💁‍♀️ I’ve been working on it since last week and I actually finished it on Sunday. Unfortunately, I just realized that I have a few things to set up first before I can publish them! But hopefully it’s worth the wait because today I’m going to share not just one, not just two, but twenty (yes, you read that right, twenty) book and movie review templates that you can use on your Instagram Story!

But before you can grab these gems, I’ll give you a quick guide on how to use them! It’s pretty much self-explanatory, but I think I’d still provide a lil how-to, just in case someone gets confused!

Should I make a tutorial to make your very own rating badge? Let me know if you want one!

Basically, I made 2 neutral versions and 5 colorful versions for each pack. That way, you’ll have more options, especially if you want to color-coordinate it with the cover/poster. Okay! So, without further ado, here they are!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PACK #1: 2019 BOOK REVIEW TEMPLATES FOR INSTAGRAM STORY WITH COVER[/su_heading]

 
Simply save the images above or click these download buttons below.
Download Here | Download Here

 

 

To grab all of these colorful versions, join my mailing list and you’ll gain access to the exclusive freebies library! Yes, this means you’ll also automatically have access to all freebies that I’ll share in the future! Join the tribe here!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PACK #2: 2019 BOOK REVIEW TEMPLATES FOR INSTAGRAM STORY WITHOUT COVER[/su_heading]

Simply save the images above or click these download buttons below.
Download Here | Download Here

To grab all of these colorful versions, join my mailing list and you’ll gain access to the exclusive freebies library! Yes, this means you’ll also automatically have access to all freebies that I’ll share in the future! Join the tribe here!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PACK #3: 2019 MOVIE REVIEW TEMPLATES FOR INSTAGRAM STORY WITH POSTER[/su_heading]


Simply save the images above or click these download buttons below.
Download Here | Download Here

To grab all of these colorful versions, join my mailing list and you’ll gain access to the exclusive freebies library! Yes, this means you’ll also automatically have access to all freebies that I’ll share in the future! Join the tribe here!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]PACK #4: 2019 MOVIE REVIEW TEMPLATES FOR INSTAGRAM STORY WITHOUT POSTER[/su_heading]


Simply save the images above or click these download buttons below.
Download Here | Download Here

To grab all of these colorful versions, join my mailing list and you’ll gain access to the exclusive freebies library! Yes, this means you’ll also automatically have access to all freebies that I’ll share in the future! Join the tribe here!

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]Join the tribe and gain access to the exclusive freebies library![/su_heading]

[yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]

So, there’s that for my first freebies series. Let me know if you have any idea or request for upcoming freebies! Either more templates, printables or blog graphics? I’m not sure for now, so any suggestion from you will be very much appreciated! 😉 Also, if you found this post to be useful, please do share them! 💛

What do you think about these designs? Do you have ideas or suggestions for upcoming freebie posts?

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

I started reading this book on August 28, 2018, and you might be wondering why it took me more than two weeks to finish it. The truth is, I neglected this book several times (due to some IRL responsibilities, ugh). I read the first few pages (which is decent, but quite tense I’d say), but I didn’t feel intrigued enough to keep going. Things started to work out a bit once I passed several chapters. And I’m referring to the plot only here. Unfortunately, the characters brought a bit of confusion, as you can’t really tell at first whether they’re a protagonist or antagonist. Which, on the other side is a good thing. However, I managed to finish it yesterday and here’s my review!

You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day. That’s the last thing your remember. You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident, you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town. The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend is not so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe…

The only thing that I liked about this book is the last plot twist, since the other ones (yep, there’s more than one plot twist) are predictable. It’s annoying because isn’t this supposed to be a mystery novel? Although, the last few pages of this book is definitely interesting and unexpected. I sensed some Gone Girl 2.0 inspo here. The other thing that I appreciated about this book is the writing style. I saw other reviewers that considered this aspect as the weakness of this book since it’s quite straightforward and it can feel like you’re reading a fan-fiction on Wattpad. However, I kinda like it because it’s a huge convenient since I’m not an English native.

Does she really not remember that night? Or is she simply not telling him?

Now, this is the exciting part. Let’s start with the plot. Oh God, I cringed so hard at the mainstream storyline. Car accident, amnesia, affair and two women fighting over a man (not even a good one!). It feels like a soap opera! Not to mention the bad writing of characters. The male lead is so in love with the female lead, and two seconds later he’s become this naive, weak, cheat-ass liar. He’s doubting his marriage right after his wife got into an accident because he feels like he doesn’t know her anymore and he scared. What a coward! The two female leads are at least, has a bit more of personality. Definitely not a great one, however, they’re interesting enough to make you think about what they’re actually up to.

Rating: ★★

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abuse, death, fertility, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_heading size=”12″ margin=”10″]Title: A Stranger in the House | Author: Shari Lapena | Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books | Genre: MysterySuspenseThriller | Publication Date: July 27, 2017 | Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased | LINKS: GoodreadsBook Depository (Affiliate)[/su_heading]

*.·:·.☽✧ Pin this post! ✧☾.·:·.*

Have you read this book? If so, what do you think about it? Have you read any book written by Shari Lapena? If so, how was it compared to this book? Are you looking forward to read this book after reading my review? Let me know!