Review of “Luke Cage” on Netflix

Luke CageTitle: Luke Cage
Network: Netflix
First Aired: September 30, 2016-Season One,  June 22, 2018-Season Two
Seasons: 2
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rating: TV-MA



BLURB:

Luke Cage is a TV series starring Mike Colter, Simone Missick, and Theo Rossi. When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.

Current Crusade Review by Audrey:

With Season Two coming out soon, I figured now would be a good time to write up my feelings about Luke Cage’s Season One.

Starting out slowly, the progression of events took its time developing (sometimes to a fault). I felt myself urging for it to quicken its pace and add in more twists and turns that Luke would have to face being in his home of Harlem. However, as I watched, I realized why the show take a while to develop.

The villains.

Without the dramatic build up, the enemies Luke Cage faces would not have their own stories to tell, and the ultimate goals of each person of the show could not be expressed as artistically. That is what Luke Cage the series, is. A show that reveals the brutality of Cage’s Harlem and creates a multi-layered story that has many moving components throughout.

A main focus of this Netflix Original is to create a culture that is Harlem. This is one of my favorite aspects of Luke Cage. The exhibition of culture. It is such a driving factor for each and every person that is showcased. From the small barber, to the detectives, and flowing into the villains.

When I saw that they released the trailer for Season Two, I couldn’t have hit the play button fast enough. Once I was done, I couldn’t help but feel hyped for the new plot and characters being introduced. Though, isn’t that the goal of every trailer, to get the audience hyped?

So there you have it, my feelings about Luke Cage, the story of Harlem and one altered human.

Audrey’s Rating: 4/6
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Review of “Spinster” by Suzanne G. Rogers

SpinsterTitle: Spinster
Author: Suzanne G. Rogers
Series: N/A
Release Date: January 26, 2017
Pages: 359
Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult


BLURB:

Staring down life as an old maid, newly jilted Clare flees to a country home she’s inherited from her grandmother. She doesn’t count on clashing with her handsome neighbor, whose gentlemanly manners and education are at odds with his workingman’s image. As their relationship unfolds, however, she discovers the mysterious Meriweather Holcroft is not at all what he appears to be. 

Chronicle Review by Wendy:

I loved Clara!  She is a wonderful character who is level headed and smart, respectable and a little bit snarky, especially for High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, 1891.

The story is comforting in its predictable elements.  Jilted, and distancing herself from the hurtful situation, Clara believes she must accept her life as a spinster.  Sparks fly and romance follows between Clara and her new, handsome neighbor.   The unpredictable elements of this story really made it a fun read.  This intriguing neighbor’s past unfolds, revealing multiple facets to the story and even a little mystery.  I loved how the relationship between these two strong characters developed……slowly at first, and then all at once!

Clara is super determined to save herself whatever humiliation she can and NOT go back to live in her parents’ home.  She would rather face being alone for the rest of her life, giving up all of her future plans, including creating her own family than to face the intense feelings of being shunned for being (gasp) unmarried at 24!  Ever question what society was thinking at the time?  Clara’s determination combined with sheer will,  and a lot of hard work are the factors keeping Clara resolutely transforming her grandmother’s neglected cottage and grounds.  I personally don’t know that I would have stayed in a dusty home that was abandoned for 10 years and do all of the physical work to not only get the cottage inhabitable again, but make it warm, inviting and even cozy.  Clara manages just this feat though!  She often reflects on her late grandmother.  The two had many similarities such as independence, defiance, hard-working, and lots of sass and spunk.

Clara truly is the star of this story.  She is selfless in thinking of her sisters’ future, on multiple occasions putting it above her own happiness.  As Clara matures and is dealing with her new situations, her core opinions begin to change.  She becomes more intolerant of the old views society has bestowed on her.  Her sass and independence emerge through her resolute will and determination.  Clara is strong, admirable and sweet, tender and likable.  At times her reactions can be rash, but after the heat of the moment and she has had time to calm down,  she feels regretful and will take the next steps to make necessary amends.  Her way of thinking feels so natural to me which made me connect to this well-written character.  

I enjoyed Spinster and the characters Suzanne G. Rogers created and wove throughout this story.  

Wendy’s Rating: 5/6
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Assisting Characters that MAKE the Book

Audrey’s Top 8 Assisting Characters That Make the Book

 

  • Magnus Bane – City of Bones Series
    Mortal Instruments 1  Mortal Instruments 2  Mortal Instruments 3  Mortal Insturments 4  Mortal Instruments 5  Mortal Instruments 6
    Sparkles, extravagance, magic, mystery, and finally, his wealth of knowledge. Magnus Bane is the center of information and offers immense support to the Shadowhunters, even though they have a long standing feud. He is my all time favorite character, period. Nothing more can be said except for; he is Magnus Bane.

 

  • Jamie Roth – Mara Dyer Trilogy
    Mara Dyer 1  Mara Dyer 2  Mara Dyer 3
    He never fails to have a sarcastic comment or throw his erratic personality in somebody’s face. Compared to others, Jamie is a breath of fresh air with his truthfulness and resistance to taking any crap from anyone. This is why he is in the number two position for my favorite assisting character.

 

  • Nico – True Reign Series
    The Key  Red  War
    One of my favorite additions to this series is Nico, the ferociously loyal best friend and companion to Darmik. Nico adds a steady character who is level headed and would dive head first into a mission for those he bonds himself to, even if it means his death.

 

  • Luca – River In Time Series
    River of Time 1  River of Time 2  River of Time 3  River of Time 31  River of Time 32 River of Time 4
    With his flirty banter, easy-going personality and head-strong will, Luca is pretty high on my list. He provides a relief, not necessarily comical, that is so crucial during the strenuous times in this beautifully crafted series.

 

  • Jessamine Lovelace – The Infernal Devices Series
    Infernal Devices 1  Infernal Devices 2  Infernal Devices 3
    Even though Jessamine holds a controversial personality, her heart gives her a place in my Top 10. Every action she made, although not in the best interests of most, were all out of a place of need and hurt as she struggles to find a place amongst society. Jessamine’s actions impact the course of the books, and make the series what it is.

 

  • Garvik – Reign of Secrets Series
    Reign of Secrets 1  Reign of Secrets 2  Reign of Secrets 3
    Only being in one of the three books, Garvik had to make a massive impression during his limited presence. The reason why I picked him to be on this list is because of his normalcy while everything shifts in Allyssa’s life. He adds a safe home for her to come back to, making his relationship with her a prime motivation for what comes later in the series.

 

  • Ben – The Dark Side of the Forest
    The Darkest Part of the Forest
    The brother and sister relationship is a weird one. You love, brother and protect one another to a fault. From my own experiences, this relationship is a key part of lives and is irreplaceable. Ben is this for Hazel, and through the fear and skepticism, Ben is there to help guide her through it, offering a shoulder to lean on when Hazel needs it most. Ben is Hazel’s strength, and this is why he makes The Dark Side of the Forest.

 

  • The Wizard – Dorothy Must Die Series
    Dorothy Must Die 1  Dorothy Must Die 2  Dorothy Must Die 3  Dorothy Must Die 4
    We all know the story of Oz. The Wizard is always the entity that performs great deeds, and allusively is not seen. This take on the Wizard is impactful to the story, because he is actually magical, and leads Amy Gumm in certain directions, whether or not this will end up benefiting her fight. The Wizard directs the course of action, and takes matters into his own hand. 

Review of “Me Before You” by Wattpad Author Emily Slough

Me Before YouTitle: Me Before You
Author: Emily Slough
Parts: 7
Status: Completed
Genre: Short Story

BLURB:

❝i should have said no. i should have just hurt you and left you again. but i couldn’t. i had to save you. because i loved you. and because the me before you was just a hopeless boy with superfluous dreams. and you defined me, rain.

and then, after all the anger you had for me leaving you, you left me. after i didn’t let you die that night.

and a new me before you was born.

a me before you left. a me before you died. a me before you fucked it all up. a me before i stopped loving you and started hating you instead.

a me when you were still in that bed with me, your hair spread across my pillows, your eyes like liquid amber as you told me you loved me.❞

in which ford remembers the one night he spent with his ex-girlfriend, rain, before she left.

Audrey’s Condensed-Concealed Crown Review:

I have always held short stories close to my heart. Not only are they my favorite thing to write, but the sheer exhilaration at reading one makes me strive to be a better writer. Short stories are under-stated, undeniably under-stated. The amount of effort and soul it takes to write one is outstanding. What short story authors do is art. They have no build up. No back story excluding the few mentionings of someone’s past, but only if it is completely relevant to the story. Short stories tell a life long journey without telling you anything. In these tales, everything is riding on the one moment. The singular moment in time that the story is taking place in, and everything else, the reader improvises through the author’s prompting.

Me Before You is a prime example of why short stories are so…defining. In this story, Ford is falling back into time, remembering a shadow of his ex, an ex that changed his entire life. The amount of sorrow, anger, confusion, and peace jammed into these seven chapters is what I live for.

As if writing in a letter, Ford speaks to his ex, Rain. Emotions are all over the place as his word takes us through their last night together, and the not-so-abrupt ending they were given. The author crafts his enchanting words in such a way that you can’t help but think he is talking to you. When I looked at the cast list for who was playing the parts, I learned that that was exactly what EmSlough was doing as “Ford is played by me” and “Rain by you”.  By doing this, you don’t question their motives, but focus on the outcome. You don’t ask why they would leave each other if they were so in love, instead, you find a peace of mind in the fact that they loved each other enough to let the other go.

Having Ford’s perspective was, in all simple terms, refreshing. EmSlough told a whole journey within a few words, letting us gain solace in the fact that we aren’t meant to know anything more than what we are given. That is the beautiful journey of short stories, and is why Me Before You has impacted me and my desire to created a piece like this.

Leaving this review on one last note, I can’t help but think of a quote from one of my favorite authors, that I believe fits this book perfectly.

“So it goes”

Audrey’s Rating: 6/6
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Review of “Coexist” by Julia Crane

Keegan's Chronicles 1Title: Coexist
Author: Julia Crane

Series: Keegan’s Chronicles #1
Release Date: June 19, 2011
Pages: 238
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal


BLURB:

Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends–she’s an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans. 

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan’s brother Thaddeus told her Rourk’s name because his visions warned him she’d need Rourk’s protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan’s side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan’s family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle…without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

Chronicle Review by Wendy:

I initially found this book and read it on Wattpad.  After finishing it however, I realized it was actually published years ago and is the first in a trilogy, and even has spin-offs based on these characters.  

This book was an easy and quick read.  I was intrigued by the concept of elfin society, predetermined mates and ancient prophecy.  I’m not sure how to exactly put my finger on it, but for me this story felt less than fully satisfying.  Some concepts just didn’t seem to have a full enough explanation or maybe just not enough dramatic anticipation? It is the first installment in this trilogy, maybe I need to read the remaining two books to complete the picture?  I think my problem is that I don’t care enough to want to read more. 

I just wasn’t able to connect very strongly with many of the characters, especially the main protagonist, Keegan.  Keegan appears to be picture perfect on the outside.  In fact aside from her being annoyingly spoiled, she doesn’t have much opportunity for character development in the book.   Some characters were special, however. Keegan’s mother, Emerald is pretty awesome; She is interesting and likable!  Her father, Richard, feels like he has a rich history, Rourk has multiple issues to work through and her friend Donald is quite charming.  I wanted more from these individuals.  I did enjoy the author’s inclusion of multiple magical creatures interwoven throughout the story. 

The author has a unique way of expressing different perspectives with constant view point changes throughout each chapter.  I was impressed with her seamless transitions from one character’s thoughts to another.  

Immediately after finishing this book, I was looking for the next to continue the saga.  After I had some difficulty finding books 2 & 3 (I never did find them on iBooks), I began reading descriptions to the subsequent books and spin-offs.  By just reading the descriptions, I felt my questions were answered enough for me to not pursue reading further on in this series.   

Obviously other people felt more positively about this book and it’s characters.  I have mixed feelings on the story and its delivery. 

Wendy’s Rating: 3/6 
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Cinema Review of “On Golden Pond” (1981)

On Golden Pond
Rating:
PG
Genre: Drama
Film Production Studio:
 ITC Entertainment
Run Time: 109 Minutes
Starring: 
Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda…


BLURB:

Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea’s new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

Cinema Review by Audrey:

A grumpy old man, one loving wife and a teenage boy all under one roof. On Golden Pond is a simple movie based around a handful of people as they take the yearly vacation to their summer home. With the arrival of their daughter, an open wound finally has a chance to close.

On Golden Pond is a slow progression of events. An introduction of the characters and their personalities is the prime focus of the beginning as it lays out the problems this family has faced in the past. These problems are what the film follows, making for a beautiful story. The actors fill their roles perfectly, letting themselves be drowned in their work. This makes Norman, the grumpy old man, to actually hold the qualities that Henry Fonda was portraying. For me, the actors’ use of emotions and skill are what defined the movie, and what make it one that I would recommend anyone to watch.

Billy is a young teenage boy who has never experienced the wonders of outdoor living. Being left with Normal and Ethel, Billy quickly is immersed in a world that includes fishing and back-dives. Norman and Billy just as quickly connect as Norman shows Billy a different kind of relationship than what he has encountered before. The bond these two have progresses the show and enlightens Norman as to what he was missing out on with his own child, Chelsea.

While watching, the attitude and bluntness that Norman held is comical. Not only does it make you like him even more, but it brings life to the movie and reminds me of people in my own life. That being said, I can’t deny the fact that I gravitate more towards Norman than any of the other characters.

On such a small budget, this movie was able to create a story that all took place in one house on a pond. Not only was this film technique used to give the movie justification for its namesake, but it made the shots interesting and beautiful to look at, even if this is an older film.

Audrey’s Rating: 5/6
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Review of “The Voice” by Jennifer Anne Davis

The VoiceTitle: The Voice
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Series: N/A   
Release Date: January 29th, 2013  
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

**WINNER in the 2014 SAN DIEGO BOOK AWARDS, BEST YA NOVEL
**FINALIST in the 2014 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS. 


BLURB:

During her abduction and assault, Audrey begins to hear a voice. She hopes she’s not going crazy, because after what she’s experienced, that’s the most logical explanation. However, as she begins to listen to the voice, Audrey realizes that someone may be telepathically trying to help her.
Unfortunately, rescue isn’t all she needs. In order to leave behind the constant reminders, she flees to her Aunt Kate’s house in San Diego, and assumes a new identity. It works until the eighteen-year-old twin boys who live next door threaten to break through the protective walls she’s worked so hard to build.
Between Caleb going out of his way to befriend her and Justin avoiding her at all costs, Audrey doesn’t know if normalcy will ever find her again. But one thing is certain: When a familiar danger resurfaces, it’s the same voice that she turns to — a voice that is not only real, but a lot closer than she realizes.
Gripping and tastefully told, The Voice is a story of healing, trust, and courage

Chronicle Review by Wendy:

My phone glitched last night and my touch screen didn’t work.  I normally read on my phone and since that wasn’t an option, my insomniac-self grabbed an easy read off the shelf.  I will disclose this from the start-I read The Voice for the first time, about two years ago.  It became my favorite stand-alone book back then….and after reading it again last night, it still remains my favorite today.  I know Audrey and I review a lot of Jennifer Anne Davis’ books, but her books are amazing. What can I say? She is one of our favorite authors.    

One of the reasons I find the works by Jennifer Anne Davis so appealing is because she writes with clarity, excitement, drama, expression, romance….and yet she manages to stay within the lines of not crossing over to inappropriate.  I believe, this was an exceptionally difficult task while writing The Voice.  The protagonist in this story is also named Audrey, I won’t deny that could have endeared her just a little more to my heart.  Fortunately, the story is full of drama, heart wrenching drama that is even more traumatic because it is so believable.  Despite including a touch of psychic flair, the story is captivating and feels like it could totally happen.  (Please, no, though) 

The Audrey in the book feels like a real person.  Her thoughts, actions, emotions, and even her family are all plausible and feel normal.  After her rescue from being abused and terrorized, Audrey is crippled with fear in everyday situations.  Her reactions and thought processes seem conceivable.  As a mom, I hope I NEVER have to truly know how I would react if my Audrey suffered the anguish the story’s Audrey endured.  I do hope that I would be more sensitive on how my actions would affect my daughter.  At times, I felt frustrated with Audrey’s mother and frankly her whole family in the story.  It’s hard to fault them too much however, loving your child and wanting to help them recover and not exactly knowing how to make that happen would be painfully awful (I think that is putting it mildly)

Audrey’s Aunt, Kate Brown, is one of my favorite characters in this book.  **On a side note-Kate made #2 on my list of “Impressive Literary Parents/Guardians” Codex, posted August 4, 2017-Please check it out 🙂** Aunt Kate encourages Audrey in a way parents can’t always have their intentions heard.  She is a sweet lady, also dealing with her own personal life struggles, but she manages to help provide a haven for Audrey where she can begin to heal.  Audrey’s recovery is also directly linked to Kate’s two unique and special neighbors.  The relationships Audrey develops with these two teenage guys allows Audrey to learn to accept herself as a person again, not just damaged leftovers.  The two brothers who are abnormally sensitive to Audrey’s tendencies, moods and emotions are more than just supportive of her and end up rescuing her from varying situations.  

This book contains some heavy situations.  As I said before, Jennifer Anne Davis delivers us a compelling story including said heavy situations with tact.  I am admittedly a sap so it should be no surprise that this book, one of my favorites, elicits tears from me each time I have read it.  I highly recommend reading it. 

Wendy’s Rating: 6/6
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