Originally, I wanted to start this blog as a way to challenge myself to read more classic books and meaningful literature. After looking at lists like “99 Classic Books Challenge“, “50 Books To Read Before You Die” and “Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime“, I realized, much to my embarrassment, that I have read very few. (Shame! Shame!) Read More
For the past couple of weeks, we have been moving houses. Yikes! We are all so tired of moving! Fortunately, this time we are only moving 25 minutes away from the last house, not 15 hours! I’m just going to say, it all sucks though. I thought we had purged stuff when we moved to Colorado from North Dakota, but I now realize, not nearly enough! After going through all of our….stuff…and having to physically pick up and move said stuff, we have committed ourselves to having a garage sale this spring, intending to sell some of this…stuff. I am refraining from using a certain four letter word in this post that verbally I have been using to describe all of our crap, junk…stuff! The TV is hooked up again, maybe I should catch an episode of Hoarders so I can feel a little less shameful of the treasures I thought were so important to keep. Lately, any free time we find to watch a little TV has been designated to our American Olympians. I really do love the Olympics! It’s a relief that most of our weekly “Current Crusades” are on hiatus so the DVR can be set to record these athletic competitions.
I apologize for no posts this past week. I am hoping since we are getting our electronics set up again and starting to get our stuff put away in our new home, we can get back to reviews and regular Monday and Thursday posts. Also need to get back to actually reading again, especially The Count of Monte Cristo! We are really going to have to push ourselves to get through that one in the next couple of weeks!
If you actually read our posts and enjoy our reviews and opinions, I thank you! We really appreciate it when other readers find us worth coming back to and following us. Thanks for being patient with us on our journey of learning how to blog and again now while our lives are changing and enduring this move. Have a great weekend!
Title: Valentine’s Day
Series: Book Two in Cupid’s Matchmaking Service Series
Genre: Paranormal, Teen Fiction, Romance, Chicklit
Roses are red
Violets are blue
The match has been made
I’M COMING FOR YOU…
Happy VALENTINE’S DAY, Lila…
The follow up review to my mom’s previous post, Cupid’s Match, Valentine’s Day is the continuation of Lila’s story as she navigates through the ever growing maze of secrets her new world seems to offer.
In Cupid’s Match, Lila is introduced to Cupid and the mythological world that comes along with being his match. While the author’s fun, twisted take on the classical image Cupid usually portrays was interesting, I couldn’t prevent my mind from reverting to their perceived origins rather than the images that LEPalphreyman used to conceptualize mythological analogies. I am a geek when it comes to mythology. Comparing the stories used by the author in this series to their traditional legends, ended up being one of my main focal points while reading. I admit, the portrayal of this whole “humanized” version of Cupid is more realistic than the typical baby with a heart tipped arrow that has been so widely accepted in our society. Thankfully, there were enough correlations in this updated story-line with traditional mythology that I wasn’t too distracted to keep me from enjoying the overall story.
Now, onto the review of the second book, the main reason for this post to be written. In Valentine’s Day, the addition of another, new threat comes to light. Of course with Lila’s naivety to this new world, she is not completely sure how to handle the hurdles thrown her way. This aspect was completely relatable. The protagonist has not yet been able to acclimate with this magical society she just been flung into. Seeing the fantastical world for the first time is bound to leave enough shock to last most of us a lifetime. However, with her friends like Cal, Charlie, Crystal, and of course Cupid, Lila is able to find some sort of barrings to help cope.
Valentine’s Day stirred up more mixed feelings for me than the first book. Reverting to my impressions of traditional mythology, some of the adaptations LEPalphreyman assimilated to these beloved stories didn’t rest well with me. Of course, I understand describing a version where you have more creative liberty, but there needs to be a balance within these changes. In all honesty, some of these new versions of traditional fables felt forced upon those of us who happen to love the classic and previously religious legends. I could be alone in my thoughts, but I would not be telling an honest review without addressing something that I feel so strongly about. In addition to the twisting of tales, I was a bit disappointed the two books as a whole, were a little lackluster in the romance department. When dealing with the god of love, I fully expected more moments of passion and love. I believe that the addition of just a few more scenes highlighting these connections in a book about Cupid and his match would have made their relationship and the whole story more believable.
Okay, that’s enough with the negative. Overall, the book(s) had well thought out characters. All of their personalities worked to either antagonize or strengthen the character’s relationships. I give credit to LEPalphreyman for being able to bring this inventive story, created in the nerve passageways of her brain, and transcribe it into written words. This is hard enough on its own, and successfully describing your vision clearly, I believe is sadly not always given enough credit. The world brought to life in these two books is enjoyable. Despite some stumbles, it was realistic depiction of the characters’ reactions and felt like an accurate portrayal of their emotions staying compatible with the story.
Title: Cupid’s Match
Author: LEPalphreyman-Lauren Palphreyman
Series: Book One in Cupid’s Matchmaking Service
Genre: Paranormal, Teen Fiction, Romance, Chicklit
**WATTYS Award Winner 2016**
***Cupid’s Match will be released for CW Seed 2018***
for more info….
In a world where everyone has a perfect match, what if you were matched with the dangerous, notoriously good looking, original bad boy…Cupid himself?
I am contacting you on behalf of The Cupids Matchmaking Service.
You will not have heard of us but we are an organization that works behind the scenes of society, identifying each person’s perfect match.
Usually we would not contact our clients. We prefer to work in secrecy – setting up the ideal environment for the two matches to have a chance encounter.
Recently, however, we ran your details through our system and…well….in your case…
We think you’d better come in. LEPalphreyman created
Please respond at your earliest convenience.
The Cupids Matchmaking Service
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this Wattpad book is my festive contribution launching into the month of February.
I believe I am not alone in this preconceived notion….but when I hear the name Cupid, I automatically think of a cute little chubby baby boy sporting a diaper, hovering by the ceiling in the corner of a room, golden wings fluttering while aiming his golden bow and heart tipped arrow towards his next recipient of love. Lauren Palphreyman completely shattered that image. She created an entire history for new supernatural characters, integrating them with legends, known mythological beings and magical species. Through explanations of new characters and their relevant backstories, she managed to convey to us an understanding of chronological events, both realistic and magical. I was especially impressed how the writer mixed folklore, magic and real world, cutting-edge technology, to set a very contemporary tone for the entire book.
Lila Black is the main protagonist of this romantic tale. The premise of the story begins with Lila responding to multiple texts, emails and finally a letter she received urging her to contact the “matchmaking service”. Lila is actually annoyed with the hassle and baffled as to why she is even known to this ‘dating service’. I did find it improbable when the very people at the matchmaking service, who persisted in reaching Lila, are the very ones who act put-out when she does finally respond to their many attempts of contact. Lila initially goes to Cupid’s Matchmaking Service to demand that they stop contacting her, but employees who call themselves cupids, ask her to stay and hear them out….instilling a sense of urgency and impending danger. Why then do they become annoyed when she doesn’t believe their fantastical explanation? Lila is a normal, skeptical human who has never been exposed to magic. I wouldn’t be convinced easily either. It seems to me, logically they should have been more prepared to explain and instruct Lila on consequences and a plan of action going forward.
Apart from my nitpicking some of the details and me questioning some of the decisions the writer directed certain characters to make, this story is original, the characters are endearing (or some may be maddening), mythology and modern life are creatively woven together and overall, this book is a fun story. It’s sweetly romantic and a great read to delve into around Valentine’s Day. Coincidentally, Valentine’s Day is book 2 in the Cupid’s Matchmaking Service series…check out our next blog post on Thursday, Audrey’s review of Valentine’s Day is coming up!
Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Film Production Studio: Touchstone Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment
Run Time: 131 minutes
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris…
A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous “friend”, escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.
The Count of Monte Cristo produced in 2002 is a really good show. I watched it many years ago and I remember liking it at that time too. The last time I watched this movie, I was not also reading the book. This book. O.M.G. This classic book is an intricate and compelling story, but it is so very long! The Count of Monte Cristo written by a sometimes long-winded, Alexandre Dumas is actually 1,276 pages! I didn’t realize it was quite this long when we started reading. Yikes! The review of this very lengthy, classic literary work will come in February. I apologize, but we just couldn’t get through all of those pages in one month!
So now, my thoughts on this captivating tale, as told on the Big Screen… I believe this movie, made in 2002, successfully transferred the dramatic story that Alexandre Dumas penned back in 1844. It was interesting to watch this complex story unfold as compared to reading and visualizing each scene in my own head. Because this book is so drawn out, we are only about 1/3 of the way through it at the time of writing this review. The rich backstory, created by Dumas was effectively condensed…by a lot for the movie. The omission of several facets detailed in the beginning of the book didn’t change the overall plot and for the most part the feel of the entire story is still intact.
One change from the book that I did not appreciate was how cruel and corrupt the prison governor was portrayed on-screen. I experienced strong feelings against the movie portrayal of the prison head, however the literary rendition gave me the impression he ruled over the inmates indifferently and certainly with a less barbaric approach. In the book, Dantes still finds himself in dire circumstances, however, how he got to that point feels less maliciously directed and more inadvertently worst-case-scenario for Dantes. Please don’t mistake my comments. Edmond Dantes has his freedom, integrity, love, family, career and his entire future jerked out from under his feet! He is only guilty of being naive. Danglars and his overwhelming envy of young Edmond, initiates a sinister plot against Dantes. The book explicitly describes multiple situations and environments that inadvertently contribute to the destruction of poor Edmond Dantes. The ‘perfect storm’ of events, theories, encounters and moods that culminate to rain down at precisely the same time to seemingly defeat our protagonist.
Fortunately, this is a book about revenge and (if you believe in it) karma coming back around to ensure you get what you deserve. Can you feel my implication of a happy ending? I didn’t recognize the first time I watched this film, but a very young Henry Cavill is quite believable as Jim Caviezel’s son…great casting!
Author: Melissa Haag
Series: Judgement of the Six, Book 6
Release Date: November 4, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
My sisters hate their gifts, but they don’t know how lucky they are. They have a home and family. I have nothing. But, I am Courage, and I know my purpose. I exist for one reason only: to complete the Judgement.
Olivia is blind, yet sees. And what she sees, she keeps to herself. Her father conspires for control while Olivia does her own plotting with forces that only she understands. Now, time is running out, and choices that will impact the world must be made.
Okay, so obviously I enjoyed this entire series. (If you haven’t already done so, please read my reviews of the five previously released books in this series.) Melissa Haag delivered a thrilling conclusion to this six part story. (Sur)real is action packed from beginning to end. She changed up her usual format, amping up anticipation by writing from different points of view and alternating those points of view…often. Although primarily told from Olivia’s perspective, reading again from the perspectives of her sister Judgments, as well as some completely new viewpoints, connected me that much more to all of these complex characters.
Olivia’s actions were not predictable to me. Her gift of “sight” and what she was able to see was a foreign concept to me so I had to rely on the writer to really guide me through Olivia’s thought process. Although she is a fellow Judgment, Olivia is unknown to her ‘sisters’ and frankly…everyone, well, apart from The Lady. Olivia’s existence is by far the saddest and loneliest of all the Judgments! Truly heartbreaking, considering none of her ‘sisters’ have known a joyful, carefree life.
I am a sucker for those happy endings, and I won’t deny, this long awaited conclusion didn’t disappoint…however, not everything played out as intended. Changes are inevitable and unpredictable, ominous. “You finish this life as best you can, try to prepare those you love, and wait for the next Judgement. Every end is a new beginning.” -The Taupe Lady-
Title: The Day I Died
**Watty Awards Winner 2014**
Ever plummet at 200km an hour and face plant the ground? Well let me tell you something, it’s way worst than it sounds.
You’re probably wondering how I would know in the first place and if you’re not, well too bad, I’ll telling you anyways. You see, I have a bucket list, filled with exactly 100 things I wanted to do. Thanks to number 81 and a little malfunction that occurred, I maybe, sort of, kind of….died.
Lucky enough, I got a chance to redeem myself, a chance to earn a second life and all I had to do was finish the rest of the list. Sounds easy, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Why? Well, I have deadline.
And all of this madness started yesterday, on the day I died.
I figured since starting a new year always initiates bucket lists and resolutions, why not review a book that highlights these aspirations that so many of us hold? The Day I Died by NeonLights1404 is a Wattpad novel that I read a while ago, but have never forgotten.
Sometimes I struggle with finding something to read that is new and original. On a platform like Wattpad where people are developing their own voice and discovering their writing style, this can be especially hard. NeonLights1404 had one of those original ideas that was still laced with fun cliches. She was able to develop characters that were weirdly unique compared to their seemingly used up physique.
Throughout the book, the main character Ranelle, is fighting against time as she needs to complete her bucket list by the end of the year or risk not returning to her old life. While doing this, some twists come her way as she meets some guys that get the same joy out of doing new things like she does. This leads Ranelle on a path that makes her journey amusing and interesting as she is able to enjoy it with people she grows to love.
Ranelle’s desires for her future become a little muddled as the connection she feels for her new friends cannot be replaced nor would she want to replace these new emotions. This book isn’t about the dependency Ranelle has on other people. No, this book is captivating because it centers around Ranelle’s desire to be her own person and to rule her own life. Her devotion is never something that she has to discover, but is already present in the beginning, which is honestly, very refreshing to a lot of stories I feel are out their today.
NeonLights1404 did a great job with her story line, and conveying the views and emotions of different characters, but I felt the book was lacking in a few areas. Instead of using typical stereotypes, I wish she would have written more originality into her characters. Specifically, infusing the characters Nike and Jordan with more individuality could have made them more important to the story. I would have liked to learn more about their backgrounds and then in turn, could have grown more of a connection with each of them. The lack of some creativity could also be found in the plot. The stage was set with more stereotypes; a high school with her “queen bees” and also the group the main character finds herself with are the “attractive, popular guys that everyone wishes to be or be with”. Overall, I believe if more thought was put into these few areas, the book would have been even better and more original.
First Aired: July 26, 2015- Season One
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
The adventures of Superman’s cousin in her own superhero career.
My husband and I binged the first two seasons to bring us current so we could watch on-going episodes with our daughter, Audrey. She really enjoyed the series and between the snippets we caught while she was watching and The CW’s promotional spots we caught, we were intrigued too.
I enjoy many of the characters in this series. Since we also watch all the other DC superhero shows on the CW (Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), we all feel pretty connected to each of these characters and their cities, villains, and plights. I do appreciate the cross-over events that have aired in the past, they are just too fun.
Supergirl has much of the same feel as The Flash. The story is amusing, but not overly severe and usually incorporates some cheesy element along the way. While I do like Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers aka Supergirl, for me the supporting cast really holds up the entire show. My favorite of Kara’s friends and ‘all-around good guys’ are Winn and James Olsen. Katie McGrath, who plays Lena Luthor is perfect for this role! Chris Wood who portrays Mon-El is satisfying as a fellow alien (although I thoroughly enjoyed him as the evil big brother in a coven of witches on The Vampire Diaries. One of my very favorite supporting characters in this cast is Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant, chieftain of CatCo Worldwide Media and independent, opinionated, eccentric and tenacious authority. Cat Grant’s dynamic confidence is a drastic contrast to timid Kara Danvers, reporter.
Kara’s sister, Alex, adds an interesting perspective to Supergirl’s story. Human and yet a highly trained agent for the D.E.O., Alex has multiple points in her life that intersect with her little sister, Kara. I really like Alex. She is independent, strong and kicks serious ass! She is pretty, has a super cute haircut (shorter in Season 3, and still adorable) and she gives solid advice and is a great sounding board for Kara. My only problem with Alex was the way her relationship with Maggie played out. The two met while investigating overlapping cases from the Police Department and the D.E.O. They developed a friendship, grew closer and Alex discovered her attraction to another female. There was a brief time of Alex accepting her newly discovered feelings, which felt normal. The two went from a first date to all of a sudden being in a committed relationship, moving in together and hang on…engaged! Wow! Wait! What??? They were ‘so in love’ and yet in almost every episode they were still learning about each other’s past, ideals and feelings. I think what bugged me the most was both Alex and Maggie, who up to this point had been represented as independent, strong, smart and successful women were now acting like immature adolescents, not honestly communicating with their partner in their personal lives. I think the concept of their love story is sweet, but the way it actually played out on screen was annoying! Their interactions felt forced and rushed! Personally, I blame the writers for this blunder. I think they should have given more time for the couple to develop an understanding and build trust between them and then maybe I could have believed it. So, no joking, I was not a fan of the progression of Alex’s on-screen relationship, but the show has since focused in a different direction and I am enjoying it again! Yay!