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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Review of “Suits” on USA

Suits

Title: Suits
Network: USA
First Aired: June 23, 2011
Seasons: 7
Genre: Comedy, Drama

 


BLURB:

On the run from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross, a brilliant college-dropout, finds himself a job working with Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best lawyers.

Current Crusade Review by Wendy:

Suits is a series that our whole family binge-watched through all seven seasons on MuviBox.  This show peaked each of our interests and held on to it!  The concept for this series was unique and the complicated characters portrayed through quality acting helped launch this drama and sustain its success.

I like smart TV.  I’m not usually a fan of overly stupid humor and cheese.  The characters on Suits are believable and while the situations may be a bit dramatic at times, the overall feel remains believable and I care about what happens in these characters’ lives. Each personality displays intelligence, wit, sarcasm, sensitivity (or not), but most importantly they all feel like they could be real people with real struggles.  There are times when I have wanted to slap more than one person on this show, but the writers have so far been good at creating scenarios where the actors can invoke strong emotions and still work through the situations in their lives.   Louis Litt’s words and actions have dropped my jaw on numerous occasions.  There have been multiple moments when I hated him so much and didn’t believe he could redeem himself, EVER!  Despite my incidental revulsion with Louis, I continue to find myself coming around and accepting him to gain a greater understanding of his character, and as of the end of Season 7, he is one of my favorites!

As much as I really liked Megan Markle’s portrayal of Rachel Zane, there were times she too frustrated me.  Mostly during the streak while Mike was in jail.  I thought Rachel uncharacteristically lost her common sense.  Sometimes her comments and actions were just immature and ridiculous! Other times, she lived up to her reputation and stood up like the smart, professional, bad-ass that she really was.

The relationship between Mike Ross and Rachel Zane started as a slow build and the show’s creators developed it and maintained a natural feel throughout the seasons.  The duo have been essential and fundamental to the show’s story line since its inception. I will not hide my surprise and skepticism of losing these two pillar characters in the upcoming Season 8.  With all of the recent royalty hype surrounding Megan Markle, I am actually glad she is choosing to put her personal life ahead of her professional one, even though I will miss the ever sweet and sassy Rachel Zane.  My initial thought of losing Mike Ross on the show made me think it will never make it.  Actually though, if there is no Rachel, then I am relieved not to have to watch Mike attempt to function without her.  I think the producers are smart to take the show in a new direction.  The addition of Katheryn Heigl will hopefully bring a fresh feel and comfort us in our loss of the power couple Mike and Rachel.  After watching all previous seasons of Suits, I have seriously fallen in love with the drama in the lives of the rest of the regular cast of Harvey, Donna and Louis.  It will be interesting to see how Katheryn Heigl’s character is interwoven into this strong group of professionals with such a rich history.

Wendy’s Rating: 5/6

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Review of “The Retribution of Mara Dyer” by Author Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer 3Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Book Three
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Pages:
470
Genre: Young Adult Fiction


BLURB:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.

Chronicle Review by Audrey:

The final book to the Mara Dyer Series. The growth these characters have undergone throughout the series is attributed to the deceit and secrets kept from them. With constant threats, Mara and Noah create a bond that once was believed to be their saving grace, but now is considered to be one of the biggest threats they will have to confront.

In this book, we read about a different side of Mara, one that had been slowly adapting and lurking behind every bend in the beginning two books. This side of Mara is different and makes Michelle Hodkin’s story more unique and original. It is refreshing to see a bad and vengeful side come out of the main protagonist, as it goes against a wide stream of books that are out there on the market. Although, even I will concede that this rash and headfirst side of Mara is sometimes annoying and selfish (not like the girl we had previously met)

Even though the connection I felt with Mara dwindled during this book, the connections I adapted with some of the other characters were heightened. Jamie, Noah, and Daniel are able to hold more of the spotlight and control the story as their actions are just as important as Mara’s. These characters provided nice breaks from the rampage Mara was evoking on those that did her wrong.

Out of the trilogy, The Retribution of Mara Dyer is my least favorite. It’s not because it took the focus off of Mara, but because the tone of the series shifted including a major change in character development for everyone.  A quality and feel in is lost in this last book that I had found so compelling in the first two books. 

Audrey’s Rating: 4/6
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Review of “The Bite” from Wattpad Author ZeroWineThirty

The BiteTitle: The Bite
Author: ZeroWineThirty
Series: Book 1 of 3
Status: Completed
Parts: 82
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance


BLURB:

Charlotte is on the run from an abusive past to start a new life, turn a new page and begin again. Little does she know that the new life she is about to start, is one that is only supposed to exist only in fairy tales.

What was a minor decision put her in the wrong place at the wrong time; a decision that will be burned into her memory, a decision that forced her to fight for her life, a decision that will turn her into a thing of fairy tales- and it only took one bite.

Concealed Crown Review by Wendy:

The Bite’s story line is entertaining and there were moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, but I felt that not all parts of the book equally propelled along the drama of this fantasy.  During the first half of the book, I found myself feeling impatient, waiting for something to happen.  The “filler” scenes seemed to take up too many pages. Normally I like ‘filler’, but while reviewing the book’s proliferation from start to finish, I just felt that there was an imbalance.  Through the first half of The Bite, ZeroWineThirty narrated what felt like an excess of descriptive “filler” rather than eventful story substance.  Fortunately, the second half of the book actively progressed with memorable experiences and critical developments.  After the book’s mid-point, the events and character involvement sustained applicable action and therefore held my interest, many times it more than just held it…I was captivated with the unfolding adventure.  

While, I believe this author lacked a bit in maintaining consistent movement, I think she more than made up for that in her ability to contrive complex characters.   As a reader, I fully enjoyed being able to understand and relate with all of these characters.  The spirit and general nature of each personality is evident through dialogue and interaction throughout the entire book.  The author is precise in delivering us rich characters, true to their core and consistent from introduction all the way to the cliff hanger ending of book one. 

I believe providing a cast list is a risk for any author to take.  Do you share with your readers your personal visualization of each character’s doppelganger and risk any alterations to your beloved family of characters? Or do you trust in your ability to convey strong distinction of each characters’ heritage?  ZeroWineThirty is gifted when introducing and writing her characters, both physically and emotionally.  I think she should trust in her talented ability to conceptualize and present her fantasy’s unique personality list.  Each person has a well defined back story (which was revealed naturally, by the way)  and everyone’s actions are true and believable according to each individual’s perceived personality.  Although I was not always a fan of the cast list she chose, I acknowledge it can be fun to picture some of those famous actors portraying main characters.  I just think it was unnecessary for the thorough depiction of The Bite’s Characters.  

I have yet to decide if I will read the subsequent books in this series.  As an obvious fan of ZeroWineThirty’s character writing and overall story telling, I will admit I am curious about what happens next and am starting to miss the family of characters in The Bite!  I will review them as I read them…

Wendy’s Review: 3/6
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Review of “Burning Shadows” by Jennifer Anne Davis

Order of the Krigers 2bTitle: Burning Shadows
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis

Series: Order of the Krigers (Book 2)
Release Date: October 15, 2016
Pages: 282
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


BLURB:

The Order of the Krigers has risen.

Determined to destroy the Order, the vicious king, Morlet, scours the land searching for the twelve chosen ones. He burns entire villages hoping to crush the Krigers.

He has other plans for Kaia.

In order to end the curse, Kaia must conceive a child before the Krigers can kill Morlet. However, Kaia doesn’t know if the father is supposed to be her fiancé, Vidar, or his brother, the evil king. Determined to find the answer, she sets off to the other side of the mountains with Anders. Stifling her growing feelings for the assassin, Kaia unearths secrets that force her to reevaluate her cause. Can she sacrifice so much of herself to save the kingdom of Nelebek? Can she kill Morlet when she is starting to understand and even sympathize with him? And is there really any choice at all, especially when it comes to matters of the heart?

With newfound power, Kaia’s heart and mind are entwined with the realization that choices come with a price, passion can rival hatred, and an evil looms on the horizon, more sinister than she ever imagined.

Chronicle Review by Wendy:

Burning Shadows, provides us with backstories of many characters and interesting pieces of history from the kingdom of Nelebek.  At the end of book one, the stage is set with a daunting future for Kaia and the Krigers.  By intentionally releasing tidbits of the past, Burning Shadows focuses on solidifying each character’s personality.  There is a continuous build-up of tension in each scene, no matter who is featured at that particular time, ever straining towards the inevitable fight against Mortlet to save the kingdom.

Throughout this book, all 12 Krigers intently focus on training daily together.  Guided by Vidar and Anders, the Krigers learn how to fight together and support each other.  Friendships and bonds are forged between them, including Kaia, the only girl and the last to join them.

Despite being just 16, Kaia has unbelievable insight. She exhudes a maturity that keeps driving her forward towards the end goal, to free the people of Nelebek.  Kaia is more often than not, the one who comes up with ideas especially while working with the other Krigers.  Although Kaia is the lone female and the youngest of the 12, the other Krigers look to her for insight.  I believe it is because she is so central to the curse, her journey is unique and they each seem to respect that.  Together the Krigers experience a lot of trial and error in their attempts to link and wield the Heks power bestowed to them.  The Krigers must discover each fighter’s part in the curse and how to reach the end goal to defeat Mortlet.  Kaia is quite instinctual and she relies on her intuition, despite opposing opinions.  She genuinely has a good heart and throughout this book it becomes more evident just how contrasting her personality is from those around her…Mortlet in particular.  He is cruel and disregards life, while Kaia is sensitive to each individual.  Kaia constantly struggles to hold true to her philosophy of valuing each innocent life.

Kaia is determined to improve her fighting skills and bolster her mental understanding and emotional grasp of the unique roll she is forced to endure under this curse.  She constantly contemplates her conflicting feelings of disgust and pity while skeptically trusting the erratic kindness from Mortlet.  Her emotions are endlessly churning in an internal war with her consciousness to fulfill her father’s dying wish in her engagement to Vidar; a position that would inevitably lead to her being queen.  She battles with how to discount her growing feelings towards Anders to be able to fulfill her family’s part of the curse and have a child with one of the royal brothers!  All of these consuming burdens relentlessly weigh on Kaia, who keeps much of her inner turmoil to herself.

Book two is really a necessary bridge from book one to book three.  Apart from the introduction of new Heks and Heks magic into Nelebek, most of book two concentrates on developing Kaia’s self-awareness and her understanding of the people and situations central to freeing Nelebek.  I love these characters and as always, Jennifer Anne Davis does an amazing job of telling their story. 

Wendy’s Rating: 5/6
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Happy Easter-Monday!

Minnie Daisy Clip Art  Mickey Easter Clip Art

So Audrey and I have been on a rather lengthy hiatus from Casual Narrative. I apologize for our missing blog posts.  Not only did our family move houses, but my husband and I with some of our best friends got a crazy idea to start a gourmet popcorn business!  Yikes!  It’s been A LOT of work!  Starting a business takes a ton of time and research and effort and energy and money and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.  I am so excited about our new business and all of the possibilities we are looking towards for the future. 

popcorn clipart

Despite being crazy busy, (and this weekend, me being sick…grrrrr…) Audrey and I are still avid readers.  We fully intend on getting back in the swing of things with reviews on Casual Narrative.  Over this past year, I have personally re-discovered my love of writing.  For now, I will continue to use this blog on Casual Narrative as my writing outlet… In the future…I would love to start sharing the stories of the characters I have been writing in my head for years… But for now, I will be happily reading and reviewing books, TV and movies and popping lots of popcorn! Okay, side note – so far, I think my personal favorite is Cinnamon Caramel Apple Pie Popcorn.  After we get our start-up business really going, I will certainly post a link on this site for anyone interested in our yummy treats. 

Today I wish everyone Happy Easter-Monday! Next post will be Thursday, April 5th! Thank you to all of our faithful readers and subscribers! I love that there are people who care to hear our opinions and read our posts.  Thank you for following us!

Spring Daisy

Casual Narrative Blogging Back Soon…

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!

 

Review of “Valentine’s Day” by Wattpad Author LEPalphreyman

Cupid's Match 2Title: Valentine’s Day
Author: LEPalphreyman
Series: Book Two in Cupid’s Matchmaking Service Series
Status: Completed
Parts: 70
Genre: Paranormal, Teen Fiction, Romance, Chicklit


BLURB:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The match has been made
I’M COMING FOR YOU…

Happy VALENTINE’S DAY, Lila…

Concealed Crown Review by Audrey:

The follow up review to my mom’s previous post, Cupid’s MatchValentine’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. 

Audrey’s Rating: 3/6
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Review of “Cupid’s Match” by Wattpad Author LEPalphreyman

Cupid's Match
Title:
 Cupid’s Match
Author:  LEPalphreyman-Lauren Palphreyman

Series: Book One in Cupid’s Matchmaking Service
Status: Completed
Parts: 96
Genre: Paranormal, Teen Fiction, Romance, Chicklit

**WATTYS Award Winner 2016**
***Cupid’s Match will be released for CW Seed 2018***
Cupid's Match for CW Seed
for more info….
Cupid's Match Author Contact


BLURB:

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?
***
Dear Lila,

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.

Yours Urgently,

The Cupids Matchmaking Service

Concealed Crown Review by Wendy:

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!   

Wendy’s Review: 4/6
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Movie Review of “The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002)

The Count of Monte Cristo
Title:
The Count of Monte Cristo 
Rating: 
PG-13
Genre: 
Action, Adventure, Drama
Film Production Studio: Touchstone Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment
Run Time: 
131 minutes
Starring:  Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris…


BLURB:

A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous “friend”, escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Classic Challenge Extra, Movie Review by Wendy:

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 longThe 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! 

Wendy’s Rating 4/6
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