Welcome!

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

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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Review of “Blue Comes Through” by Wattpad Author LouiseLLawrence

Blue Comes ThroughTitle: Blue Comes Through
Author:  LouiseLLawrence

Series: N/A
Status: Completed
Parts: 30
Genre: Romance, Adult

**The 2017 Literary Awards Winner**

BLURB:

Escaping an abusive relationship, Maddie has run to Cornwall. She’s starting over, with her young son Will and has covered her tracks to ensure she can’t be found.

Maddie very quickly meets Finn, gorgeous, laid back, surf obsessed, the ultimate good time guy.

The attraction is instant, but as far as Maddie is concerned, the absolute last thing she needs.

Can Finn conquer her fears and convince her to trust him?
When Maddie discovers Finn has secrets of his own – will their pasts ultimately destroy their chance of happiness?

Concealed Crown Review by Wendy:

I personally related to Maddie Blue in her thought processes, her OCD need to organize, her emotions, her mindset on being a mother protecting her son and her overall circumstance.  Maddie over thinks everything!  She is constantly second guessing her actions because she analyzes and re-analyzes her interpretation of others’ actions, reactions and their comments.  I understand the complications and delayed processing time from this redundant reasoning.  I have first hand understanding of conceiving a baby boy with someone in an unhealthy relationship.  Fortunately, the relationship with my baby boy’s biological father didn’t have the extreme level of physical abuse poor Maddie endured but, it was unstable and toxic nonetheless.  My “Finn”, who is still my awesome husband 23 years later, loved and embraced not only me but also my baby boy.  If you have read my reviews before, you know I am a sap and a sucker for happy endings.  *Disclaimer* this book may fall right in line with a pictured Happy Ending.  

This story is in the Adult genre and not Young Adult and it does contain some explicit scenes.  I feel the author, LouiseLLawrence, scripted this tale, including the more graphic and sexual scenes with sensitivity.  Her authentic illustration of the abuse Maddie suffers at the hands of her son’s father is chilling.  Maddie’s story begins while this young lady is right in the thick of dealing with dangerous abuse in a noxious relationship.  Focusing on all of the details written to explain Maddie’s physical and emotional reactions while being brutalized made me sincerely hope the author hasn’t personally experienced it herself. 

As a mom, I appreciated Maddie’s constant awareness of her son.  Her primary concern is for her Little Will’s safety and well being.  She sacrifices her own welfare over and over again to ensure her baby is safe and unaffected, as much as possible anyway.  Often times when reading other stories from a mother’s point of view, I find myself getting annoyed and frustrated at how clueless some mothers are regarding their own children.  Sadly, in real life there are many of these pathetic excuses for parents, but when I’m reading a story and I am supposed to respect and connect with the maternal figure, I need her to put her kid(s) first!  Throughout the entire book, Maddie demonstrates what I consider to be logical thinking of a good mom…for example, she remembers to bring the appropriate baby essentials, bottle, diaper (nappy), change of clothes, even his favorite stuffed ‘Dog’.  I appreciate the author included practical details of everyday life, like pushing the stroller one handed because your little munchkin wants to ‘walk’ or remembering to wash his little face and hands after a messy snack and striving to keep the language clean around her very impressionable sponge. 

Leaving her abuser is just the first major milestone Maddie has to overcome. There are other interesting hurdles and some fantastic characters Maddie encounters along her journey of healing and recovery.  I laughed out loud several times at the banter between the newly formed friends.  As Maddie heals and matures through the story, she blossoms, emerging as a strong, independent, healthy, and beautiful lady who is now equipped to be the best version of herself.   

I enjoyed this book.   The characters felt genuine.  The situations felt sometimes too real.  The path Maddie navigates is truly a journey worth following.  

Wendy’s Rating: 5/6
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Review of “The Bad Boy’s Girl” by Wattpad Author Blair Holden

The Bad Boy's GirlTitle: The Bad Boy’s Girl
Author:  Blair Holden / JessGirl93

Series: Bad Boy Series #1
Status: Published April 12, 2017
Parts: 55 Pages: 395
Genre: Romance, Young Adult


BLURB:

Tessa O’Connell is a girl as ordinary as they come-or so she thinks. Her aim for senior year is to keep her head down yet somehow manage to convince her childhood love Jay Stone to love her back. What she isn’t prepared for is for Jay’s brother, Cole to return to town and change the life she’s always been seemingly content to live. Tall, gorgeous as all hell and a bad boy with ocean blue eyes and the perfect edge of adorability, he was her greatest tormentor, her number one enemy. But the guy that’s come back is like no one Tessa’s ever come across. He challenges her, he tests her limits, he forces her to bring out the girl she’s long ago buried under a veil of mediocrity and most of all he compels her to consider that perhaps the boy that infuriates her to the point of no return might just her guardian angel.

Concealed Crown Review by Audrey:

For me, this is one of the most daunting ‘Concealed Crowns’ books that I am undertaking reviewing. Not only has this series been dear to my heart, but it has been in my heart for a long time now, (revealing it seems odd). I don’t tell many people to read this book, not because it doesn’t warrant it, because trust me, it does. I don’t tell people about it because if they don’t like it I think I will take it a bit personally. Obviously, as the author, Blair Holden will always have a stronger connection than I can ever have to this story, that is what happens when you put your whole soul into a book series while writing it, and that is exactly what she did. The amount of personality and life she put into this book is probably the reason why I love it as much as I do.

Tessa O’Connell is an accurate representation of a teenage girl, she hold flaws and also great redeeming qualities that can only be shaped through her experiences that are so crucial to this story. We all make mistakes and find ourselves enticed by the things we know deep down we cannot have. The way Tessa responds to the obstacles in her life shows how human these fictional characters have the potential of being. Often, I find myself annoyed with how, either flawed or perfect characters are in books. Things in life are not black and white, they often have many different angels to look from, and this book addresses that. Even though for some, characters in the book like Cole Stone seem too good to be true, for others he is the guy we all strive to find in life.

Although sometimes annoying and rash, when you take a step back, you are able to see why and how they reacted to the choices the characters made. Honestly, none of us can know how we would react in these situations, no matter how much we believe that we do. Until it comes to the point of fight or flight, we can never truly know what we will do. Tessa is the definition of unexpected choices and dealing with the obstacles life provides.

The Bad Boy’s Girl is first and foremost, a romance book. With the main journey being that of Cole’s and Tessa’s love, it doesn’t hold back the other story that progresses at the same time. This other story being the journey of maturity and realizing who you want to be, and how you are going to be that.

This book has been, and probably will stay one of my favorite books. I really urge you to buy it and read this journey that is laid out before you. It is truly remarkable what the soul of a writer can produce when it is nourished enough to do it.

Audrey’s Rating: 6/6
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Review of “Conquering Fate” by Jennifer Anne Davis

Order of the Krigers 3Title: Conquering Fate
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Series: Order of the Krigers (Book 3)
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Pages: 282
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


BLURB:

With no choice but to face her destiny straight on, Kaia is determined to end the curse—no matter the personal cost. Sacrificing her own wants and desires, she turns herself over to the evil king, Morlet. Together, they seek to discover the catalyst for the events that started it all over a hundred years ago. 

The path she embarks on tests her skills, her willpower, and her heart. Facing the darkest truth inside of her, she makes a choice that not only has unspeakable consequences, but also changes her life and the future of the kingdom forever.

Chronicle Review by Wendy 

A reoccurring theme from book 2 that carries throughout the series; While enduring each hardship, Kaia must remind herself the reason she continues with these burdens.  Her purpose becoming a manta inside her own head.  She will choose to save the people of Nelebek.  She will choose do her part to end this curse for the people of Nelebek.  She will choose to fulfill her promise to her dying father, complete her tasks and save the Kingdom of Nelebek.  She will choose to complete each segment required of her to end the curse and save Nelebek.  She will choose to do what is needed to complete the cycle involving her family to end the curse over Nelebek.   She will continuously choose to sacrifice her own wants and desires in order to achieve the final objective…End this curse and end the suffering of the people of Nelebek.  

Kaia’s responsibilities only increase as time goes on.  Her burdens become immense as more and more details regarding the curse are revealed.  Kaia is unnaturally strong in mind, body and spirit, especially for a 16 year old!  It becomes clear, only a very unique, specific lady descended from her family line could possibly fulfill all of these objectives in her central position to end the curse over Nelebek.  I couldn’t help but feel sad for this young lady who grew up oppressed and poverty stricken.  For her entire life, she could only rely on her father and their dismal apartment for consistency.  After the quest to end the curse over Nelebek is thrust upon Kaia, she forges many new connections with the other Krigers, an assassin, royal brothers, estranged family, heks and even the people of Nelebek as a whole.  Kaia’s fate will cruelly force her to choose which of these connections to destroy in her crusade to end the curse. 

Kaia is the only one who sees the two warring sides within Mortlet. The evil side who was created by dark Heks magic that was transferred to his body at the inception of the curse.  This is the dark side that takes over the king turning him into the merciless Mortlet.  Then there are select times when she sees a light of hope, a direct opposition to the wickedness buried inside him.  She comes to know and eventually love this human side of the king as Espen.  A human raised to rule Nelebek, Espen was supposed to take over for his father as king in royal succession.  Espen is the tortured soul entombed inside the king, now only recognizable as the powerful, cruel and evil, Mortlet.  The complicated circumstances and her conflicting feelings make it so important that Kaia remain steadfast in her conviction to defeat the curse.

Kaia concentrates much of her inner dialogue analyzing every detail of the curse and past events not only to determine her role to end this curse, but also everyone else’s too. In part because she is so young and in part because she was shielded from certain truths throughout her upbringing, Kaia is naive and innocent and guided by an ingrained sense of good.  Her resolution is relentlessly tested over and over again.  Kaia stays true to her good-hearted character throughout the entire book series.  She feels empathy and compassion for everyone and everything, including the heks who are the key to harnessing her good magic as well as the purely evil magic consuming Mortlet.  

Wendy’s Rating: 6/6
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Review of “Holding Onto You” by Wattpad Author UnsinkableShips

Holding Onto YouTitle: Holding Onto You
Author:  UnsinkableShips

Series: Spin off – “A Song for You”
Status: Completed
Parts: 47
Genre: Romance, Young Adult

BLURB:

When Helena finds a phone on the night train, she decides to text the first number in the list of contacts in order to figure out who it belongs to.

Concealed Crown Review by Wendy:

The concept for this story is endearing and fun!  The author, Unsinkableships did an excellent job of illustrating their introduction and then the development of the relationship between Helena and Adam.  Their snarky thread of banter is intriguing for each protagonist as well as for me, the reader.  The quick and easy connection that forms between Helena and Adam seems to take each of them off guard.  Developing this relationship through continued texting conversations was an original way for not only the characters to get to know each other, but it also affords the reading audience the opportunity to form a connection with each of these characters. 

Helena and Adam continue living their busy lives, however what starts from sassy and flirty banter morphs into a genuine friendship.  Trust builds between these two and they each unexpectedly find in the other a reliable confidant.  Their lives are worlds apart and yet they are still able to genuinely care about one another, more than each is willing to admit, especially to themselves.

I enjoyed their messages of light hearted banter with each other.  There was a sense of freedom for Helena and Adam hiding behind the veil of texting much more so in the beginning when they first ‘meet’.  As knowledge about each other becomes known, constraints that can plague traditional relationships also come into play.

This story is a true illustration of being attracted to a person’s “insides” before beauty on the outside.  Although cliche’ and a super bonus for our leading characters, Helena and Adam discover the other is basically a model… no literally…the cast list that the author chose for Helena and Adam are actually models in real life… It’s probably the most unrealistic part of the whole story’s concept that both of these people who turn out to be loyal, trustworthy, hardworking, honest, self-sacrificing, smart, and then also turn out to be equally beautiful on the outside as well.

 This story is an entertaining read.  It’s not void of substance however, and incorporates some pretty heavy concepts like death and abuse while dealing with life issues and massive responsibility before you are ready.  I enjoyed this story and the characters and mostly their text chats.  Each character grows along with their budding relationship. 

Wendy’s Rating: 4/6
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Review of “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill HouseTitle: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Release Date: 1959
Pages: 187
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Supernatural,

BLURB:

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Classic Challenge Review by Audrey:

The book that paved the way for all other supernatural books. The Haunting of Hill House is a book that has created widespread influence and is easily seen as a classic novel. Since I have not read many supernatural or thriller books, this was a very exciting experience for me.

First encountering the four main characters, I was very skeptical of Dr. Montague. I did not expect to like him as he was arrogant and presented himself as if he was better than others. Though, once the book got underway, I found that he was the only sane one when the others seemed unstable. He was a much needed anchor throughout the book, and actually ended up being one of my favorites.

When it came to the other characters, well, I underwent a love-hate relationship with them.  In the beginning, Eleanor was a girl who had experienced too many people walking over her, but as things are revealed, the bit of innocence this lady possessed, seemed to dwindle. The same thing happened with Theodora. I believed her to be an eccentric and dramatic girl, but as the story unfolded, I found myself questioning my first impressions and why I had believed them to be true. I guess this is a common theme of the book as you question every action, and every word and thought that erupts from these characters.

I enjoyed this book, I feel that it has set a good standard that other similar books should follow. It laid out a plot that was easy to follow, yet made you second guess what you were reading, and why. This brought the story and its characters to life, producing an impactful ending that could only be manifested by a supernatural thriller.

Audrey’s Rating: 4/6
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Review of “On My Block” on Netflix

On My Block
Title: 
On My Block

Network: Netflix
First Aired: March 16, 2018 – Season One
Seasons: 1
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TV-14

BLURB:

A coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.

Current Crusade Review by Audrey:

After getting a recommendation from my friend, I quickly tuned into this new release Netflix Original.  I cannot say that I was hooked instantly.  In fact, even after the first episode, I was still skeptical to see the great things that my friend endorsed.  However, I know that you need to give any show more than one episode for the story to develop, so I did what any self-acclaimed binge-watcher would do, watch the next seven episodes (I would have watched more if I had enough time that day).

By episode number two, I was hooked. Not only was Monse a killer leading female character, but with the addition of Ruby, Jamal, and Caesar, I could not help but find myself laughing out loud. With one-liners pulled by Jamal, and Ruby consistently posing as the desperately loyal best friend, one cannot help but love the cast.  Caesar’s story is the heart of the show, for better or for worse, and fuels every action that ends up benefiting this teenage family.  So, with that being said, loving Caesar is a part of the journey.

Every episode adds another dynamic to the show. By either introducing something that is detrimental to the group, or something as trivial as a high school dance, the show continues to go up a level with every episode that passes. This creates a climatic, and hilarious show that stereotypes the high school experience, and fortunately, in a tasteful way.  

The only thing that I would critique negatively about the show is its ten episode cap.  In a series that amps up the danger and the risks and the rewards every episode, by the time the tenth comes, everything ends abruptly with a bang. Literally.  I was left wanting more. 

I couldn’t search fast enough to see if and when season two is coming.  Luckily, season two has been confirmed, and we will actually get to see what will come to be after that agonizingly amazing season finale.

Audrey’s Rating: 5/6
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TV’s Current Characters Who Always Make Me Laugh

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of those quirky TV characters to bring a smile to your face.  This list includes some of my favorite comic-relief characters from shows that are mostly on-air now.

12.) Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) – Once Upon A Time
I can always rely on Mr. Gold to double cross and make the shady, selfish choice.  Carlyle portrays Rumpel so well that he makes me laugh at his corny mannerisms and evil speak.
Mr Gold-Rumpel

11.) Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) – Friends
We have all seen Friends and who doesn’t love Phoebe?  Quirky outlook and comments.  Sometimes so ridiculous that even her friends didn’t know how to respond…
Phoebe

10.) Bob Belcher ( H. Jon Benjamin) – Bob’s Burgers
Bob has a straight forward, stoic delivery that is just so honest and real.  His one-liners are always good for a laugh and I appreciate his perspective of a father, husband, and middle-class, hard working small business owner.
Bob Belcher

9.) Ravi Chakrabarti ( Rahul Kohli) – iZombie
Ravi is the very hands-on/involved/supportive friend, the brilliant medical examiner, the very non-judgmental roommate, the the attractive co-worker, the appealing English accented doctor, and often the sarcastic voice of reason.
Ravi

8.) Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) – Lucifer
Lucifer may sometimes drive me crazy with just how self indulgent his focus is…on himself.  But the Devil is supposed to be selfish, right?  This very alluring portrayal of Lucifer has me pulling for him.  He really is getting in touch with his sensitive side.
Lucufer

7.) Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) – Supergirl
Winn is the brilliant and adorable behind-the-scenes tech guy who is everyone’s friend.  He saves the day more often than not and doesn’t actually get much of the credit for it.  He delivers the best one-liners and the show wouldn’t be the same without him.
Winn

6.) Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones can get a little dark…just saying…so Tyrion is the fresh breath of sarcastic realism to tell us how it really is. Who doesn’t love this guy?
Tyrion Lannister 2

5.) Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) – The Flash
I have always felt that Cisco is the original brilliant and adorable behind-the-scenes tech guy.  Fortunately, in this case he also gets to ride the superhero vibe…see what I did there? Cisco combines his good-hearted nature and his quirky sense of humor to creatively invent and assign names to each new meta-human!
Cisco Ramon

4.) Henry Winkler, William Shatner, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw and Jeff Dye – The Entire Cast for the show Better Late Than Never
Each of these celebrities have had amazing careers and huge successes!  Put them together and add in a young, side-kick comedian and the results are hilarious! In its two seasons, I haven’t watched this show once and not laughed out loud during an episode!
Better Late Than Never

3.) Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) – DC’s Legend’s of Tomorrow
Leonard Snart has the best delivery in the business!  Overly exaggerated, cheesy and completely hilarious I laugh every time he speaks! I want to have an excuse to speak this way.  He’s the captain of the cold villains who thawed and turned into the warm and heartfelt hero.
Leonard Snart

2.) David Rose (Dan Levy) – Schitt’s Creek
David is seriously my favorite character on this entire show!  He has THE BEST lines, perfectly delivered dry and understated.  His character is so endearing despite his affluent upbringing.  He learns to fully embrace their living situation, even though I’m not sure he will overcome his ignorance of normal middle-class people’s lives.  He stays true to his black and white, very individual style.  My favorite phrase of David’s…”I don’t know what that means.”
Schitt's Creek

1.) Jess Day, Nick Miller, Winston Schmidt, Cece Parekh and Winston Bishop (Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris) – The Entire Regular Cast of New Girl
I feel like New Girl is the updated version and a cross between Friends and That 70’s Show.  All of these shows induce a laugh from me every time I watch or (re-watch) an episode!  This cast has a magical camaraderie that is rare but epic when it hits.  I was quite sad to hear the upcoming season of New Girl is slated to be its last.
New Girl 2

Review of “With Crayons and Love” by Wattpad Author JasmineDahlia

With Crayons and LoveTitle: With Crayons and Love
Author: JasmineDahlia
Status: Completed
Parts: 30
Genre: Romantic Suspense

 


BLURB:

Tessa O’Brien is a twenty-three year old woman with a dark past. Her only experience with love took a dark turn for the worst, and she has not yet fully recovered from the literal blows of her experience. Determined to rebuild her self-esteem and her life, Tessa builds a safe, spontaneous home around her work as a pottery artist and newspaper journalist.

That is, of course, until her family entrusts her with the care of her fostered five year old cousin Stella, who is very much obsessed with crayons. And as if that isn’t enough of a shock to her well-structured system, the handsome and devilishly charming artist who moves into her apartment building sets her in his sights, with much more than just crayons in mind.

It seems everything is finally starting to fall into place in Tessa’s life, until the darkness of her past comes to haunt her once again, and threatens everything she has come to love. Luckily one man has vowed to protect the redheaded beauty, with whatever means necessary. Now, if only she’d let him…

Concealed Crown Review by Audrey:

With Crayons and Love was a book that I was not really expecting to hold as much substance as it did. In the description it alludes to a previous love that Tessa O’Brien had barely survived. 

While reading, I found myself captivated by the strength Tessa has. Not only is her five year old cousin sprung on her at the last minute, but her life is completely changed by her new neighbor. It sounds a bit cheesy, and I’ll admit, some parts live up to this image, but this story still holds a quality that is unique and draws you in. I believe that some of this captivation is due to the familial bonds formed not only between Tessa and her cousin, but also the family that clearly has been Tessa’s biggest foundation after the life altering ordeal she had gone through.

Every choice, that Tessa has made was based off of her inner demons and the fear of history repeating itself. Everything that happens in this story is real and genuine emotions can be felt behind all the words the author has penned. I could visualize every scenario, and to me, that is why I enjoyed this book so much.

Of course, there are some things that I would have liked to be a bit different. I don’t think you can read a book and not think up your own twists to apply to different situations. These details that I may have changed, like small mannerisms the characters sometimes displayed, never really took away from the story in the ways that truly mattered.

Audrey’s Rating: 4/6
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