February 9, 2017

Book Review | The Reptile Room

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The Reptile Room is the second book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, a thirteen-book series documenting the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. After living with their evil relative Count Olaf the children are sent to live with Dr. Montgomery Montgomery (whom they call Uncle Monty), an energetic herpetologist who is a ray of sunshine in the childrens’ gloomy lives.

This was, and still is, one of my favorite books in the series. After the terrifying experience of living in the villainous Count Olaf’s house, I was relieved that Violet, Klaus and Sunny were able to find an adult who seemed to respect them and wanted what was best for them. Uncle Monty embraced the skills all three children had and was encouraging them to expand these abilities within his Reptile Room. He provided them with a loving and comfortable home and seemed willing to keep them safe from harm. I wish that he could have featured more in later books, but the Baudelaires rarely have anything pleasant like that happen to them.

The Reptile Room features the first appearance of Count Olaf in disguise. Olaf can be a sinister character, but he definitely stepped it up in this book, always being around the children and wielding a sharp knife which he threatens to use on an infant. Stephano in the movie was played up as a more silly character so I’m interested to see how he is presented in this new television show.

My favorite thing about this book was the reptiles. The Incredibly Deadly Viper and all the other creatures were so interesting to learn about. I’m not normally someone who likes snakes, but after reading this I might look into more books featuring or about herpetology.

As I said before, this one of my favorite books in the series and I am looking forward to watching this episode in the new Netflix series. I highly recommend you check this one out if you haven’t already.

What is your favorite book from A Series of Unfortunate Events? Are you going to check out the show? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

February 7, 2017

Book Review | The Bad Beginning

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The Bad Beginning is the first book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This book introduces us to the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, as they are placed in the care of the cruel and calculating Count Olaf following the demise of their parents. Using their intelligence and unique talents the orphans must find a way to keep their inheritance out of the hands of their evil guardian.

I was introduced to this series by my third grade teacher, who used to read the books to our class. I have read them multiple times throughout the years and still find them entertaining as an adult. I love all the Baudelaires. I dressed up as Violet one year for Halloween, using costume inspiration from the movie that was released in 2004. I used to try and memorize everything I read so I could be like Klaus, who was able to pull out useful facts in even the most stressful of situations. I didn’t really try to imitate Sunny since she was a baby who liked to bite things, but I was impressed with the level of understanding an infant, even a fictional one, seemed to have about these terrible situations she was in.

I had not read this book since high school, so for about five or six years, but since the Netflix show was coming out, I thought it would only right to give the first four books a reread. Despite the large gap of time, this is probably the book I remember most clearly. I think it’s because this was one of the first audiobooks I ever bought. I swear I listened to it so many times I probably could have recited the whole book. Even after all this time, Olaf and his acting troupe terrify me (especially the Hook-Handed Man), I find Mr. Poe frustratingly incompetent, and I still desperately wish that I could give the poor orphans a hug and help them get out of that terrible situation.

One of my favorite scenes in this story (maybe even in the entire series) is Violet making the grappling hook to save Sunny from the top of Count Olaf’s tower. Violet had the incredible ability to make something functional out of limited resources. She only needed three things to make her grappling hook and managed to make it work until she was caught by the Hook-Handed Man.

This is simply one of my favorite series of all time. I highly recommend reading these books, and I hope that the new Netflix series will inspire a new group of people to go out and grab themselves a copy of these books.

What are your thoughts on this series? Did you read them as a kid? And what do you think of the new Netflix series? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

February 2, 2017

January 2017 Wrap-Up

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Hey there Literature Lovers, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday season.

After being in a bit of a reading slump for the past couple of months, I managed to make it through a good number of books in January. I will be doing individual reviews of some of these so keep an eye out for those.

Please feel free to share what you’ve been reading in the comments below, and let me know if you have read any of these!


NOVELS

•Vlogger Nation (my book!!!)

•A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, Books #1-4

     -The Bad Beginning

                Review: http://laurenecox.com/the-bad-beginning/

      -The Reptile Room

      -The Wide Window

      -The Miserable Mill

•The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

•The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

GRAPHIC NOVELS

•Black Canary Volume 1: Kicking and Screaming by Brendan Fletcher, Annie Wu and Pia Guerra

•Uncanny X-Men Volumes 2 and 3 by Chris Claremont

•Radioactive Spider-Gwen Volume 1 by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Chris Visions

•DC Bombshells Volume 2: Allies by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage


COMICS

•Superman Family 100-Page Spectacular #167

•Archie #16 by Mark Waid, Joe Eisma and Andre Symanowicz

•Jughead #6-8 by Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson and Derek Charm

•Frenemy comics #1-5 by Rashida Jones (Kindle)

•Amazing Spider-Man Clone Conspiracy #3-4 by Dan Slott, Jim Cheung and Gabriele Dell’Otto


Thanks for reading!

January 19, 2017

Character Bios | Huntington Markle

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Hi there, Literature Lovers! Exciting news: MY BOOK WILL RELEASED SOON!!!! To celebrate, I will be releasing Character Bios up until release day, introducing you to some of our stars. Here is the first one! I hope you enjoy!

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MEET HUNTINGTON MARKLE

Huntington Markle was born in Seattle, Washington on October 27. He is currently 23 years old.

Huntington was the most social kid in his class, and was nominated Wittiest and Friendliest by his peers his senior year of high school

He realized he was gay when he got to college, but didn’t know how to tell anyone. He filmed a video about it while alone in his dorm room. Saying it out loud made it seem more real and helped him come to terms with it. He wasn’t originally planning to post that video on the web, but he thought maybe someone would see it and find it helpful. Since then his channel has centered on the misfits who feel no one understands them and their situations. He also plays a part in various philanthropy projects to help make the world a better place.

Huntington has a degree in communication studies from Seattle University.

Huntington has 9 million subscribers and is one of the most popular personalities on WorldView.

December 17, 2016

Book Review | Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

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Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw is a 2016 YA novel. The story follows Scarlett Epstein, a high school student in New Jersey who is grieving the cancellation of her favorite television series, Lycanthrope Academy. Scarlett has made many friends online through her Lyncathrope fan fiction, and is encouraged by them to create a new story, which she bases loosely on her life, with characters who are named after and resemble people in her high school, including her nemesis and her crush. Her fan fiction is discovered and she has to repair the damage.

It’s a fairly simple plot, similar to that of to All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. However, despite the sometimes annoying characters, Jenny Han’s story felt like it had a bit more heart put into it and made me want to continue reading. This, unfortunately, was not the same.

I suppose I was expecting Scarlett’s fan fiction about her life would play more of a role in this story. It was mentioned around the first couple of chapters and we are given snippets of the story she is writing throughout the course of the book, but nothing really happens with it until the last third of the book. It almost felt like the author forgot that something needed to happen there and suddenly remembered this plot point.

Scarlett herself as a character annoyed me, and I’m sure most people can agree that if you do not like the main character then it is extremely difficult to be interested in the story. Scarlett felt like a self-righteous and pretentious girl who thought she knew the answer to everything. I know that when you are around 14 or 15 most people do act that way, but somehow reading from Scarlett’s perspective was so painful to get through. She was constantly babying and bullying her mother, her best friend, and her father and stepmother. How could anyone like this girl?

One of the most annoying things to me is the top review of this book on Goodreads states that this book is Feminist AF, to which I only have one question: HOW? Scarlett spends a vast majority of this book talking badly about her best friend’s sister who happens to be very pretty and popular and dating Scarlett’s crush, as well as slut-shaming and body-shaming her. Now I remember being in high school and feeling a little jealous when other girls flirted with a guy I liked, but I didn’t slut-shame them or obsess over wanting to be them, and I certainly did not write them essentially as a sex-bot in a public fan fiction forum, nor would I have called them by their actual name if I had been stupid enough to do so.

Speaking of the love interest, let’s talk about Gideon. Scarlett and Gideon used to be friends, but when she realized she liked him she decided to drop him from her life altogether. He also magically got cooler as they got older and so was out of her league (I guess). They are constantly rude to each other throughout the book. But Scarlett really likes him (for some reason) and can’t seem to form a way to tell him. And yet, despite them being mean to each other and her writing a story on a public forum about him dating a sex-bot, they end up together. Maybe it’s because I’m in my 20s, but that type of high school drama for a crush is ridiculous.

This book had lots of potential to be something truly great, but ended up falling extremely flat for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

December 2, 2016

November Wrap-Up

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Hi everyone! Here is a quick look at all the books that I read in November. You’ll noticed that most of the things I have listed below are comic books. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, and since I have been getting back into comics lately, I’ve just ended up reading those. Hopefully I’ll get out of that slump soon, as there are some books that I really want to get to.

Please feel free to share what you have been reading in the comments down below. Also, do you have any tips for how to get out of a reading slump? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Novels

Queen of Hearts  by Colleen Oakes

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Plays/Screenplays

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Comic Books

Ultimate Comics New Ultimates: Thor Unborn (#1-5)

What If Aunt May Had Died Instead of Uncle Ben?

Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 (2016)

Spidey #12

The Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl #1-8

Wonder Woman Rebirth: #1&2

Harley Quinn Rebirth: #2

Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Supergirl (#1-4) { This was a four-issue run}

DC Secret Origins #1-7 (1973)

Powerpuff Girls (2016) #4

Archie #14 (2016)

Betty and Veronica #2 (2016)

Jughead #3 (2016)

Josie and the Pussycats #1 (2016)

Ozma of Oz (Marvel) #1-8

 

Graphic Novels

I Hate Fairyland Volume One

November 2, 2016

October Wrap-Up

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Novels

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

How I Live Now by Meg Roswell

 

Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Flashpoint

DC Bombshells Volume One

Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted Volume 0

The Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl #1-8

November 1, 2016

Book Review | Afterlife with Archie

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Hey there Literature Lovers! Welcome back to the blog! Today I wanted to share with you my review of Afterlife with Archie.

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I just discovered this series last night and I am already hooked! Our local comic book store was giving away free Halloween issues and I selected Betty R.I.P., which appears to be issue 7 in the series.

Afterlife with Archie gives us a darker look at the usually peppy town of Riverdale. If you have read past Archie comics you know that Riverdale is sort of like Pleasantville. It’s stuck in a 1950s limbo where everyone is sweet and charming, sharing milkshakes and burgers at Pop’s Chocklit Shop or showing their school spirit at whatever high school sporting event is happening. I have always loved these comics and goofy hijinks the gang gets into, but it was refreshing to see this new take on such an iconic town.

Afterlife with Archie kicks off with Jughead’s sheepdog, Hot Dog, being hit by a car. He is close to death when Jughead finds him and brings him to Sabrina Spellman, a.k.a. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, He begs Sabrina to help, but Hot Dog has already died and it is forbidden to use magic to revive someone who has already passed on. However Sabrina does this anyway. Hot Dog comes back to life and is not his usual self, acting untamed and erratic, at one point attacking Jughead, this starting the zombie apocalypse in Riverdale.

I’m normally not a fan of the horror genre, but I have been trying to branch out of my comfort zone. I’m so glad I gave this a shot. After reading the free comic, I immediately went on the Archie Comics app and purchased the other issues (they were all $0.99) and devoured them. I love the deep orange and red colors that dominate the artwork. It’s a striking contrast to the usually bright and colorful Riverdale and adds a feeling of tension.

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I cannot wait to read the next issues, and will possibly check out The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars.

Are you a horror fan, or maybe just an Archie fan? Have you read this comic? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

October 11, 2016

Book Review | As Old As Time

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As Old As Time is the third book in the Twisted Tale trilogy by Liz Braswell. Although this is the third book in the series you don’t have to read the other two to read this one. Each one is its own standalone novel exploring different storylines from classic Disney movies. This particular novel focuses on Beauty and the Beast and poses the question: What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

The book is sectioned off into three parts. The first part follows Belle as she is introduced to us in the original 1991 animated feature. She is living a provincial life, reading and dreaming of far off places, daring sword fights, and magic spells until she takes her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner. She meets the enchanted objects and explores the forbidden West Wing where she touches the enchanted rose, and things go wrong. We are also given chapters in between these familiar scenes that show Belle’s father Maurice meeting and falling in love with Belle’s mother, who turns out to be an enchantress. There is discourse and violence in the kingdom against those who possess these magical abilities, and many magical beings are killed in the process. This is all because of the cold King and Queen who do nothing but sit in their castle. Eventually the plague comes, killing the King and Queen and leaving their son, who is still a young boy, to take the throne. Belle’s family has moved to a new village (the one we see Belle grow up in), but Belle’s mother wants to make sure that the young Prince is not as cold-hearted as his parents. He fails her test and is cursed. The other two parts of the novel focus on Belle trying to break the curse, spending time in the library with Beast and exploring the grounds to find a way for the Beast and the objects to escape with her, as well as Gaston plotting to lock Maurice in the asylum.

The overall tone of this book is similar to the new live action movie starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. It’s a little darker than the cartoon, but it expands on Belle and Beast’s friendship before they fall in love.

Also, I’m not sure how canon this book is to the Disney movie from 1991, but it did offer some answers to plot holes in the movie.

Why does no one in the village remember the royal family or the castle? Because the enchantress wiped the memories from people’s minds.

Where/Who is Chip’s dad? Mr. Potts used to work at the castle as the Stable Master and was the Prince’s favorite servant, but one day he went away and never came back.

Why does no one age except the Beast? Inanimate objects don’t age while people and animals do.

Why is the portrait of the Beast older than when he would have supposedly been cursed at age 11? It has a Dorian-Gray-type spell on it where the portrait ages with the Beast and shows him how he would look as a human if he had never been cursed: handsome but with a cold, unfeeling heart and cruel eyes (a fact that Belle notices and seems to frighten her a bit).

 

This was the best of the two Twisted Tale books that I have read. While it did feel a little slow at some spots in the middle, it felt like the author had finally hit her stride with her writing, and was clearly having a ton of fun with this prompt. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read this book, what your thoughts were, and what is your favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling!

Thanks for reading!

September 20, 2016

Book Review | Wink Poppy Midnight

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Wink Poppy Midnight is a stand-alone novel from April Genevieve Tucholke, best known as the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The story’s narration switches between our three main characters: Wink, Poppy, and Midnight, who each fit into your typical high school stereotypes. Poppy is the mean and pretty popular girl; Wink is the weird misfit from an eccentric family; and Midnight is a boy from a broken home who is in the middle of the love triangle. But are they really as simple as those molds?

Wink Poppy Midnight is quite honestly one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen. I was actually hesitant to buy it at first because of this. Pretty covers often mask disappointing stories. I’m afraid this was one of this situations where I should have trusted my first instinct.

As I stated above, Wink Poppy Midnight tells the story of three characters named Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Midnight is a teenage boy who has been in love with beautiful but manipulative and popular Poppy for as long as he can remember. He starts to realize that he is more in love with the idea of Poppy after spending time with the quirky Wink, who lives across the way from him. The story switches between the characters, giving us more insight to each while posing the question: in this story who is the hero and who is the villain? Are they as simple as the roles life has given them The answer is a resounding yes.

I never felt like any of the characters grew as the story progressed. Midnight maybe, but only because he went from idolizing manic-pixie Poppy to manic-pixie Wink. Wink was just your average quirky girl who likes to sleep in a barn and hang out in the woods with her quirky family. I think the character that could have had the biggest character arc was Poppy. She mentions that she wants to be better, even if it’s only to please a guy (Wink’s older brother a.k.a. the only person has never loved her because she is shallow and mean). But instead of making a big effort of trying to be better, she very quickly keeps falling back on her typical Queen Bee mentality and teasing Wink because she is different.

I was intrigued by this book after reading the first sentence. But as the story progressed I started to care less and less about the characters. The author seemed to focus more on writing pretty phrases that would be shared across Tumblr and Instagram posts than on providing some substance to the story and characters. By the time I finished the book I had already forgotten everything I had read. Sadly, this is a 2-Star read for me.

Have you ever read a beautiful book that ended up leaving you disappointed? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!