October 11, 2018

Book Review | Scream All Night

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When you read the synopsis of a book, you expect the book to follow through with what those two paragraphs promise. Boy, does Scream All Night not follow through.
scream all night
Scream All Night by Derek Milman follows Dario, the youngest son of a eccentric indie horror filmmaker. Dario has been emancipated from his family and the crazy world of the Moldavia movie studio for several years, but he is called back for his father’s funeral. During the will reading, Dario is appointed head of the failing studio and must find a way to help save the company from having to sell to a bigger corporation that will turn their projects into cookie cutter horror flicks.
The book started off promising, introducing us to Dario and his less than favorable feelings toward Moldavia and having to grow up on a movie set. However, this should have been an introduction and then something he overcomes, Dario spends the entire book gripping about this point. The reader learns very quickly how much Dario’s father stunk as a parent, but Dario does nothing to show how he can be better than his dad until the last 30 pages of the book. Instead he complains to every person about what a terrible person his dad was and acts superior to his older brother who has known nothing of the world outside of the castle.
The other characters were similarly angsty and were constantly repeating their issues without truly growing or trying to move past them. The only character I kind of liked was Hayley, but she was not fleshed out at all. She ended up being a manic pixie dream girl. Still, she was more bearable than the rest of the characters.
I thought this was going to be a fun look into the indie/horror film industry. Instead I trudged through a 394-page story focused on family drama. The only way I managed to get through it was by imaging the Moldavia castle as some sort of Scooby Doo-Tim Burton hybrid. Even that didn’t help. Sadly, this book was a huge let down.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars.
Have you read Scream All Night? What were your thoughts? Share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
October 1, 2018

Book Review | The Cheerleaders

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Hey there, Literature Lovers!

For the month of October I decided to check out a few thriller/spooky books in order to get the mood for Halloween. I’m not normally someone who gravitates toward these types of stories because I am easily scared, but thought it would be worth stepping out of the comfort zone and giving a new genre a try. The first book I decided to test out was The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas.
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The Cheerleaders is a young adult thriller that follows Monica, a high school junior who is on her school’s dance team. The school is planning a memorial to honor the cheerleaders who died five years before, including Monica’s older sister Jen who committed suicide after the murder of her two best friends. While searching for something in her stepfather’s desk, Monica stumbles across some letters that question whether the police really caught the man who killed her sister’s best friends. The rest of the novel focuses on Monica and her friend Ginny piecing together the story of what happened five years ago.
The overall concept of the cheerleaders dying was interesting and kept me intrigued, although I did feel like the ending was a bit obvious. I’ve never seen the Pretty Little Liars show, but it felt like this was a story that could have happened on that show. Alongside the murder mystery, the author was trying to tackle some very serious topics, but I don’t think in the end that they were handled the right way.
Spoilers Below: (trigger warning for statutory rape and abortion)
 
Monica hooked up with an older guy named Brandon over the summer and got pregnant. She does not tell anyone about this except her mom, although she excludes the identity of the father, and gets an abortion. This is never explictly said, but most of the early chapters heavily allude to this. Brandon is suddenly employed by the school as the track and field coach and Monica is left wrestling with her lingering feelings for him and knowing that it was wrong. In the very end it is discovered that she is not the first high school girl Brandon has taken advantage of. What annoyed me was that this was an important storyline throughout the book and a pretty defining thing for Monica, and in the end she does not blame him for being a monster who used her. Instead she says that she used him too. No, Monica. Just no. I think that the author had shown some great growth for this character and then did not follow through.
 
My favorite character was Ginny. She was nice, helpful, and just seemed like the kind of character you would want to give a big hug. Everyone else felt flat for me, including our main character Monica. I also enjoyed the scenes that were flashbacks of Jen from five years ago. It was interesting to see what was actually happening with her and getting a better understanding of who she was at the time of the deaths.
This was just an okay book to me.
 
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars.
 
Have you read The Cheerleaders? What did you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
September 18, 2018

Comic Review | Welcome to Wanderland #1

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Welcome to Wanderland is a new four-issue series set at the Wanderland theme park. We follow a girl named Bellamy who spends most of her time at the park, searching for the Easter Eggs and secrets that are around the park. She accidentally stumbles across a door marked Staff Only that holds a portal to the real Wanderland. There she meets the evil Princess Syla and the fearless Princess Lark Meadowstone, who is now known as Riot, both of whom mistakenly think that Bel is a mage.

I just finished reading the latest volume of I Hate Fairyland and was so happy I found another comic that features portal transportation and bright, fantastical worlds.

As this is still the first issue, we obviously haven’t gotten into the real meat of the story yet. However, the characters are all very charming and make me want to keep reading. The witty retorts and casual banter that Bel shares with her brother and Riot is very funny. The artwork is great and reminds me of some of the older Disney Channel shows, like Dave the Barbarian, that were subverting some of the ideas we have of medieval times.

I can’t wait to see how the story continues in Issue #2, which is coming out on October 16th.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read Welcome to Wanderland? Are you going to continue the series? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

September 18, 2018

Book Review | Sing

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Hey there, Literature Lovers! This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour with my sister in Indianapolis, and what an incredible show it was! We haven been to a lot of concerts, but you could tell during this show that it was flawless!

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To get myself in the mood for the show, I decide to read Sing by Vivi Green, which you can tell by the cover art is loosely based on Taylor’s Swift.

Sing

Sing follows international pop sensation Lily Ross, who is 92 days away from starting her Forever tour, which features songs about her boyfriend and fellow celeb, Jed. The thing is, Jed doesn’t see their relationship as forever. He ends things with Lily with very little explanation, leaving her crush and unmotivated about her music. Her best friends decide she needs to escape and whisk her away to a small island in Maine where she can be normal. And one perk of being normal is finding small town romance. Lily must find balance between the star she is and the quiet town she has fallen in love with.

This was a short, easy read for me. The descriptions of the island town really made me feel like I was there. Overall, Lily was a pretty good and empathetic character. While she was upset about her boyfriend

If you are a Taylor Swift fan or love fictional books about celebrities, I recommend you give this one a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read Sing what were your thoughts? Have you been to any concerts before? I would leave hear about it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

August 16, 2018

Book Review | Gilded Ashes

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gilded ashesGilded Ashes is a novella from Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bond. This Cinderella retelling is set within the same universe as Cruel Beauty, where there are demons and Gentle Lords who barter with the common folk to achieve their own ends. Cinderella, known as Maia in this retelling, has been living with a haunting secret for years: her mother is a demon, and she must constantly lie about her happiness to save the people around her from this ghost.

I was surprised how quickly I fell into this story. I liked Cruel Beauty for the most part, but I found the continuous descriptions of the horrible demons monotonous at times. I think 80 pages was the perfect length for this. It definitely gave me Ella Enchanted vibes during all the scenes with Maia and Lord Anax (the prince in this version). They had an easy back and forth and felt like they were real people getting to know each other.

It was also refreshing to see the stepsisters in a different way. In every version of this story the stepsisters are mean to Cinderella simply because they can be. In this version the younger stepsister Thea was actively trying to be friends with Maia while Kore was mean to Maia because she thought that was her mother wanted her to do. All three girls were simply looking for happiness in this dark world and were trying to do whatever it took to reach that happy end.

Overall, I really enjoyed Gilded Ashes and would highly recommend picking this up for your e-reader.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read any of the Cruel Beauty books? Which was your favorite? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

August 14, 2018

Book Review | Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village

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vanishing villageRapunzel and the Vanishing Village is the second book in Lelia Howland’s Tangled series. These are in connection with the Tangled television series currently on Disney Channel. This story is set toward the beginning of season 2, where Rapunzel, Eugene and their friends are off to search for the source of mysterious and magical black rocks that have started to crop up around the kingdom. These rocks have some sort of connection to Rapunzel and are the reason that her hair grew long again. The show is currently focusing on this particular mystery so we are instead given this extra adventure, which includes the group visiting the village of Harmony Glen, the birthplace of the Flynn Ryder books, which has been removed from all the recent maps of the kingdom.

I enjoyed this story as much as the previous one. I am a big Tangled fan and loved having this extra story. I liked that Eugene was added to the story as a POV character, although I thought he might have a more prominent role in the story. There were also a few occasions where I felt he was a little out of character, but overall I felt Lelia definitely locked in on making each of the POV characters sound unique. Much like the other book, the ending felt a bit predictable, but as this is a book for younger readers that is to be expected. The new characters in the village were pretty interesting, and it was nice to visit a different setting outside of the kingdom of Corona. Overall, it was a fun read that I would recommend to any Tangled fans or adventure novel lovers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read either of the Tangled books or watched the show? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

August 2, 2018

Book Review | Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon

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lost lagoonRapunzel and the Lost Lagoon is a middle grade adventure novel by Lelia Howland. This story is both a prequel and a mid-quel to the Tangled television show that is currently airing on Disney Channel (which, side-note, is super cute and I highly recommend). It is told in from the dual perspectives of Rapunzel and Cass, the daughter of the captain of the royal guard and Rapunzel’s lady-in-waiting. Most of the focus is put on the building friendship of these two very different ladies with the rest centered on a mysterious lagoon that holds an ancient power.

Lelia captured both Rapunzel’s unfailing enthusiasm and Cass’s brusk nature very well. I could practically hear the voices of these characters. The overall tone of the story easily melds with the adventures in the TV show, which definitely made it easy to get into this story. The ending was a little predictable, but it was still interesting to see how the heroes were able to handle the situation.

If you are a Tangled fan or just love adventure stories, I would recommend you give this a shot!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.

Thanks for reading!

July 16, 2018

Atlanta Comic Con

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This past weekend was the Atlanta Comic Con and I was beyond excited! Comics and Fandom stuff galore, what’s not to love? What my sister and I were most excited for, though, was getting to meet some of the special guests from our favorite movies and TV shows!

My sister met with Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series. Nichelle was super sweet and funny and it was so cute how excited my sister got seeing her.

MeetingBelle

The person I was personally most excited to meet was Paige O’Hara a.k.a Belle a.k.a my all-time favorite Disney Princess! She is the only person I got a photo with at the convention, but I did get to meet Linda Larkin, a.k.a Princess Jasmine (another favorite of mine) as well and have her sign a print that we’ve had hanging up since we were little. You can kind of see Linda in the background of this photo – she is the blonde woman in the back.

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My sister and I also meet the amazing Matthew Lewis, better known as Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter movies. Neville has always been one of my all-time favorite Harry Potter characters, second only to Hermione Granger. Neville was always a character that I wanted to give a hug and be his best friend, and I remember some of my friends and classmates teasing me for liking this goofy secondary character who was always losing things and messing up potions. They stopped after Order of the Phoenix came out and showed how important Neville would end up being. I am so glad I got to meet Matt and get my Funko Pop signed. It’s a great addition to my Harry Potter collection.

The last person we met was Sean Astin. We have seen a lot of his work, specifically Rudy, The Goonies, Stranger Things and of course Lord of the Rings. He signed my copy of Fellowship of the Ring and my sister’s Samwise Funko. We were able to have the most interaction with him, which was surprising considering how long his line was. He was a very sweet guy and joked around with everyone who came up to see him.

We had never met any celebrities before this event and we are so glad that we got to have the experience. Everyone in line with us was respectful and patiently for their turn to meet the stars. I don’t know if it’s because we are in the South and we try to be extra polite or people were starstruck, but overall the process of meeting the stars was handled extremely well.

prints

Atlanta Comic Con also had tons of amazing artists scattered around the room, but there was one booth that had the cutest prints. The artist is Dylan Bonner (Follow him on Instagram: @dylanbonner90), who has done some of the artwork for the Disny Pocket Princess comics from JoeBooks. I picked up two smaller prints, one of Cinderella for my sister (as that is her favorite Princess) and one of Anastasia in her dress from the ‘Once Upon a December’ scene. I ended up going back a little while later and grabbing his Marvel print that featured Stan Lee as well as four of my absolute favorite characters: Spider-Man, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy and Sue Storm/Invisible Woman! It is now proudly displayed on my graphic novels shelf. He also has a Society6 page (https://society6.com/dylanbonner) if anyone is interested. It didn’t look like these specific prints were on there, but he had some other amazing works that I would highly suggested checking out, especially if you are into mermaids.

I am so glad I was able to attend this event and can’t wait for next year!

Did any of you attend this event, or have you been to any comic conventions in your areas? If so, what was your favorite thing?

Thanks for reading!

May 22, 2018

Book Review | Once and For All

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Once and For All is the thirteenth book by Sarah Dessen, who has always been one of my favorite authors. This book, like almost all of her previous works, is set during the summer and follows Louna, the daughter of a wedding planner. Growing up in this industry has made Louna cynical about love, or maybe it was the tragedy of her first love that made her that way. But all that changes when she meets the confident Ambrose and she wonders if there is a second chance at true love.

I have read every Sarah Dessen novel and thought I knew what I was expecting: a cute novel with realistic characters and a ethereal summer feeling. Instead we were given a flat story complete with flat characters. I finished this book so sad that I didn’t enjoy it, and now I’m left wondering if I have romanticized Sarah’s previous books or if I have simply outgrown her work.

While Sarah does focus on the day-to-day details of her character’s lives, it is usually presented in an interesting way, and there is usually some sort of conflict that is the driving force of the story and keeps you holding out for the next chapter. She is able to tacitly handle writing about more difficult topics that are unfortunately a very real part of life (Dreamland and Just Listen are the best examples). The romance she incorporates is also handle well, with a steady build-up and a cute resolution. This book fell short in all these respects.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Our main character, Louna, is not a great character or terrible character. She is barely a character, which is almost worse than being an annoying character. Her main story is that she still mourning her first love, Ethan. They met at a wedding and had one magical night together where, at the end, they profess their love for each other…after only a few hours of meeting (ugh Insta-Love). They then spend the next few months texting back and forth and make plans to see each other during an upcoming break. That is until there is a shooting at Ethan’s school and he is killed. I feel for Louna in this situation, as well as anyone who has ever been caused any harm by a shooter. It is a relevant topic to discuss, but while I applaud Sarah for trying to touch on this subject, I’m not sure it totally worked. Ethan’s death is heavily foreshadowed throughout the entire book, including the flashbacks where Louna reminisces about their one night. However, it sometimes felt like Ethan would be brought up randomly to further the not-really-there plot of this book. I did enjoy all of these flashback scenes. I think if those had been this book, with a bit more build-up of the romance between Ethan and Louna, I would have preferred it, because honestly, it sounds super cute. Oh, Ethan sounded way better than Ambrose.

Our love interest Ambrose was super annoying and selfish. He held up his own mother’s wedding because he was flirting with a girl in the parking lot. He steals someone’s dog (granted it was a dog from a potentially abusive owner) and receives no repercussions of this. He also tries way too hard to be funny and seems to think he is the most charming person to ever grace the planet. I have met people like this in real life and there is not a single person I know who finds this attitude attractive.

My favorite characters in this book was William, the gay godfather, and Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother who reminded me of Klaus Baudelaire. The rest of the characters left much to be desired.

I purchased the Barnes and Noble edition that included an extra scene set one year later, and I personally think it is so much better. Those thirteen pages held the familiar Sarah Dessen magic, with characters from previous books making an appearance and some cute moments between Ambrose and Louna. I really wish this had been incorporated into the main story.

Sadly, this was a disappointing read for me. I still loves Sarah’s work and am looking forward to what she brings out next. But right now all I can say is: Why do meh stories have to come with the prettiest covers?

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars.

Do you have a favorite Sarah Dessen book, or simply a favorite summer read? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

April 29, 2018

Book Review | Prince in Disguise

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prince in disguisePrince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm follows Dylan, a American high school student who is whisked away to Scotland during her Christmas vacation for her sister’s wedding to a nobleman. The couple had met on a Reality TV show called ‘Prince in Disguise’ and now their wedding and the planning process will be televised. Dylan does not like being in the spotlight, nor does she like being in her sister’s limelight. All she wants is to go home…until she meets the dashing Jamie and sparks begin to fly. Christmas, stolen kisses in the snow and new love with a cute boy with an accent? This is one contract away from being the next Hallmark movie.

Honestly I think this would have been a great movie. For a book though the pacing felt a little off to me. The romance in the book moved really fast. Jamie and Dylan had known each other for like a day and half before they started making out in the snow and sleeping together in a barn.  Also the main character was kind of annoyingly naive/uninformed about this country she was visiting and was about to have a brother-in-law from. I also could not relate to the disdain that Dylan felt toward her other sister, Dusty. She was very judgmental and catty toward her. I understood that she was tired of being in her sister’s spotlight (literally in this case), but that’s still your sister. Maybe it’s just because my own younger sister and I are very close, but I found myself annoyed every time Dylan talked smack about her sister.

The author definitely captured the feeling of Christmas in this book. I felt very festive, even though I was reading this in the spring. I was ready to curl up with a spicy candle and some cocoa and spend the day reading. She also really made me want to visit Scotland at Christmas (or really at any point of the year).

Overall, this was a cute book, and I might read it again, but, as I said, if this had been a movie I might have enjoyed it more.

Rating: 2.75 of 5 Stars.

What did you think of this book? Do you have a favorite rom-com story (whether it is a book or a film)? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!