Still processing Cursed Child feelings…

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Image from pottermore.com

Hello!

So I meant to get a post up yesterday but things got busy and then when I finally had some free time/motivation, my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally decided to show up. Of course I dropped everything. I have so many feelings. Too many to really put in words but I’m going to try.

I guess here’s my review/recap/thoughts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Fair warning, I can’t really fully process/review this without spoilers, so SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

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On Ghostbusters

Image courtesy of geek.com

Every once in a while I watch a movie or show that I can’t help but comment on. This is one of those times.

So I managed to convince my boyfriend to go see Ghostbusters. He wasn’t too keen on it but went anyway. Personally, I didn’t have very high hopes for it, but I’m not about to not fund a lady-led film with potential, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I tend to reserve judgment on movies until I’ve seen them myself so this was no different.

Maybe it was my low expectations, but I really, really enjoyed it! It was funny – seriously funny – without being vulgar or stupid. It seems to me that most comedy nowadays (unless targeted at children) is one or the other. This was just good, family humor. In the interest of preventing spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail. I will say this, though: Chris Hemsworth really needs to explore his comedic potential more in the future.

As far as the main cast goes, They were awesome. There was nothing particularly groundbreaking about the movie’s feminism, and I think that’s the best part. All the female characters were just doing their jobs and at no point did it seem preachy or anything. I’d say it was a pretty well-done gender bent reboot. The only problem I had with the female characters had less to do with gender and more with race. The one black character is the only non-scientist, and while that’s a nod to the original, it’s an overdone trope I can do without. That being said, she wasn’t stupid and wasn’t only street smart, so I’ll give the writing that.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie and kind of hope they use it as a jumping point for more films like it (lady-led and hopefully going away from the usual tropes). As far as action comedies go, this one gets the job done.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Book Review: Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) by Jen Wylie

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Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) By Jen Wylie

Happy Wednesday!

I know – it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. However, I’m super excited to tell you guys about Broken Aro!

A while back, I signed up as a reviewer on Our Write Side (if you’re interested in reviewing books, check out the application here), and the first book I chose to review is Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) by Jen Wylie. I was a bit iffy at first – I don’t usually read high-fantasy type books, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised the further I got into it.

But, before I get into the review, here’s a synopsis (keeping it spoiler free as possible!).

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Lucifer Pilot – A review, I guess?

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Image found on screenrant.com

So I didn’t know this show was starting until a few weeks ago. I know nothing of the source material other than what a quick Google search reveals: the character was created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman comics and then got his own spin-off series, Lucifer. Both comics were published by DC, so this is my second foray into a DC-comic inspired TV show (Gotham being foray #1).

Can I just say I was in love by the ten minute mark? If you’ve read anything under my Secondhand Soul tag, you know I’m a sucker for redeemable demons. I’ve also always been a fan of the idea that Luci’s just doing his job – that he does what he’s supposed to because that’s just how things are. Which seems to be the case in this new show.

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Book Review: The Tramp (The Bound Chronicles, #1) by Sarah Wathen

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Happy Monday! (As if such a thing even exists!)

Hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend.

This week, I get to be the first stop in April’s Spread The Word Virtual Book Blog Tour, organized by 2 Book Lovers Reviews. This month, the featured novel is The Tramp by Sarah Wathen. Click here for the week’s tour schedule, to check out what other people are saying about The Tramp.

Keeping it as spoiler free as possible!

Synopsis:

At first glance, Candy was a pretty little seven-year-old girl like any other in Shirley County. She was prone to singing and dancing and splashing in the rain, in her yellow polka dot bikini and her favorite red galoshes. John was a normal little boy and he loved playing with his best friend, Candy. But their bond drew a darkness that had long stayed hidden in a small, southern mountain town. Sometimes the truth is in the things you can’t see.

Something happened all those many years ago, and it can never be forgotten.

But our story begins long after that, when Candy and John are teenagers.  John, caught up in the business of life, stops spending his summers in Shirley County. And Candy, hurt and lonely at first, moves on as well. She meets Sam, the new boy in town.  Even though she has never ventured more than a hundred miles from her home, she has never felt at ease there. Always at odds with her high school friends, her church, her family—and bored with her small town existence—she finds the adventure she needs in Sam. He is cool, confident, independent, and Candy likes that. He lives on the fringes of society, and perhaps she likes that, too. But even with Sam in her life, she is sometimes overcome with a sense of dread, like a shadow has passed, just on the edge of vision. And sometimes the truth is in the things you wont see.

Something was awakened all those many years ago, that can never be undone.

When John finally does find his way back, it’s to a Shirley County that is much more disturbing than he remembers. He’s accosted by strange dreams and preoccupied with his grandfather’s visions—the evidence scrawled so frantically that the paper is ragged and torn. Howling animal masks and flailing human figures. Teeth sharp as razors. Wherever John tries to find reason in the madness, he’s blocked by evasion and dead ends. He doesn’t miss his old friend Candy’s new secrets, either. And John’s once comforting presence becomes unwelcome, when he uses the brilliant mind Candy has always trusted to turn up troubling information on Sam’s past.  Despite the confusion of strained friendships, new romance, and high school intrigues, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. And then there is a murder. Sometimes the truth is in what you must see to survive.

There are dark spirits in the mountains of Shirley County, and one of them is bent on revenge.

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Review:

3 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up The Tramp. Going by the synopsis, I thought it would a supernatural high school drama, but as I read on, it seemed more like a small-town drama with few, if any, supernatural touches.

When the story starts, the reader is treated to the events that lead to John and Candy’s friendship – however, after the prologue, we don’t see the two main characters again for a while (Candy in chapter 2 and John in chapter 17). To me, that was a bit confusing, as the author introduces us to several characters right from the beginning, some we don’t hear about again until much later in the story and only in a passing mention (such as the tourists from the first chapter). For a while, every chapter switches to different groups of characters, sometimes making the story a bit hard to follow, resulting in a plot that almost doesn’t seem linear. At times, I’d forget about certain characters and then have them pop up again as the people we follow in the chapter, throwing me for a loop when I was more interested in what was going on with Candy. There was so much going on in the pages of the book, that at times it felt like the author was trying to do too much – and it was a little overwhelming for me as a reader. This seemed to die down a bit in the latter half of the story, so that everything flowed a little more naturally.

As the story continues, we get to know each character, making for a fairly large cast. Handling a cast that large can be pretty difficult, but the author does it pretty well, so that most of them are pretty well-rounded (though a bit hard to keep track of at times). I can picture meeting people like them in real life, which is part of what continued to carry me through reading it. The characters seemed real, and their problems – though petty for many of them – were enough to keep me going. There were a few times where I thought some of the characters may have been a bit cliche, but it served the purpose of the story, so it was necessary. Over all, the story seemed to be driven by the plot, rather than the characters, so that Candy and John were more reactive than proactive.

Being the first in a series of books, the end of the novel leaves the reader with many questions – hopefully to be answered in the future. The mysteries that do get addressed are looked at only briefly, so that the answers we get by the end of the book are not enough to feel any sort of closure, which is the point if you want people to read the next installment, so the author does a good job of keeping the reader guessing and asking for what comes next.

Conclusion: All in all I enjoyed reading The Tramp. The cast of characters are an interesting group of people and the closed-minded, small-town dynamic intriguing enough to keep the mystery going. If you’re into things like Pretty Little Liars and other high-school drama types, you might want to check out The Tramp.

About the Author:

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Sarah Wathen is an artist, an author, and the founder of the independent publishing house, LayerCake Productions, specializing in the fun part of creative writing—original artwork, video trailers, and musical soundtracks. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, and received her Master’s in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design in New York City. If Florida was where she discovered her passion, New York was the place she found her voice.

“Writing a book was my obvious next step, once I realized I’d been trying to tell stories with pictures for years,” Sarah says about transitioning from visual artist to novelist. “Painting with words is even more fun than painting with oil.”

Sarah lives in Florida with her husband, son, and at least a dozen imaginary friends from her two novels, a paranormal mystery called The Tramp, and a young adult coming of age story, Catchpenny. A painter at heart, her novels incorporate art judicially, both in narrative content and supporting materials.  Her characters are derived from the people and places that have influenced her own life—at least one beloved pet makes it into every book—but the stories they live will take you places you have never imagined and won’t want to leave.

Check out Sarah Wathen and The Tramp in the links below:

Give away!

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As always, think happy thoughts!

Review – R.E. birth by Thomas W. Everson

Hey hey!

So, as promised, I was finally able to finish reading R.E. birth by Thomas W. Everson. His book was on tour with the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours two weeks ago, and I did a promo spot, which you can check out here.

R.E. Birth

Quick Synopsis (check the promo spot for more info):

After collapsing in the woods due to a stab wound, the protagonist, Rain, is saved by a trio of time-traveling women: Ami, Agatha, and Evelyn. The women are bound to the time-traveling house by Evelyn, who had the ability during her life, and now haunts the house, and her family, in death. Owing them for saving him and without any memory of his past, Rain vows to help them break their curse, joining them in their travels.

Review:

4.5 Stars!

This book was unlike anything I’ve ever read before – and that’s awesome! Very rarely does something outside my typical genre keep my attention long enough to finish, let alone for me to enjoy it as thoroughly as I enjoyed this. Everson does an amazing job of pulling the reader in immediately with Rain’s struggles, and the predicament in which he finds himself. It’s difficult to keep someone interested when the protagonist spends so much time unconscious in the beginning, but Everson makes it look easy. His writing is fluid and quick, following Rain’s thoughts and emotions – a perk of writing in first person.

Every description and scene is vivid, and you truly feel like you’re seeing the world through Rain’s eyes. The reader shares in his confusion and curiosity, and that makes for a very immersive read. Rain is relatable, despite the fact that he doesn’t even know himself, and that makes him sympathetic almost immediately. Ami, Agatha, and Evelyn are also delightful characters, keeping Rain more than entertained with their day to day life. At times I did find that Ami was a bit exaggerated, almost a caricature of what “typical girl” would be like, I did come to realize that it makes sense – given her lack of interaction with anyone else but her mother and aunt from a very young age. Agatha and Evelyn are a bit more down to earth, though Evelyn can be a little larger than life at times, but this is what makes her my favorite character. Even the background characters are very real, as well, from little Emma to Burly. The constant time travel could make it difficult to have those passing characters come across as genuine, but once again Everson excels. It feels like we’ve just scratched the surface of this cast, and I’m looking forward to learning more about them!

Another bit from this book that had me wanting more was the settings! I wish they could have spent more time in each period, because the author manages to seamlessly and smoothly implant them into each one with little to no explanation. There’s no exposition of annoyingly long descriptions of where they are, or anything that would put a reader off as too much information. Rather, like Rain and the others, we learn about each time period as we go, with bits of info picked up from their experiences and surroundings. That’s expert world-building, in my opinion, and perfect for the sci-fi genre.

I won’t give too much about the ending, but I will say that it has me chomping at the bit to buy the second book, which came out a couple of weeks ago, so hooray!

Conclusion: Any fan of time travel and epic adventure needs to read this – it’s pretty great and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Can’t wait to get started on the next installment (once I clear the current mountain of books waiting for me!).

As always, think happy thoughts!

R.E. birth by Thomas W. Everson

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Happy weekend!

As part of the Spread the Word Virtual Book Blog Tours, this month I’m participating in promoting R.E. birth by Thomas W. Everson. I’ve been reading the book and absolutely love it so far! Unfortunately, as those of you keeping up here know, I’ve been having trouble making time to read/write, so I won’t be doing a full review of the book until I’ve finished it. I’m hoping that will be in the next couple of days. I can tell you this, though – even though I’m not done with book one, I’m definitely looking forward to checking out book two!

Anyway, on to the book!

R.E. Birth

Synopsis:

Mortally wounded, a man embraces death on the cold and lonely forest floor. But fate intervenes, as Ami and her mother, Agatha, are brought into phase with his time. He is saved, however his memory is gone and he is vulnerable. With the fear that his attacker might return to finish what was started, he plunges into the unknown and follows his saviors through a time vortex to help in their struggles rather than face his own anxieties.

Traveling through time with Ami and Agatha provides a new life to fill the void within him. He is able to define himself and finds his drive to help others more than anticipated. The events and conflicts in time begin an internal battle against violent impulses. His personal discoveries, the new sensations and the exploration of time become the Rain Experience.

Excerpt:

As I get to the window I look in to see the two thugs that seem to wander the city on Denis’s command stirring up trouble.

The smaller one begins knocking baskets off of their stands and stomping on her merchandise. I become infuriated. Swiftly walking toward the door I am forced to jump into a roll to my left as a table comes flying through Emma’s newly installed window. I hear Emma cry.

“Stop! Stop! I’ll pay! Just don’t destroy anything else!” she pleads for their mercy.

“It’s triple now. Denis’s angry that you haven’t paid him any of your protectin’ money,” the muscular thug hollers at her.

As I stand back up and move to enter the door, glass fragments crack under my feet and there is no element of surprise now. Swinging the door open hard I clear my throat to get their attention.

“You have one chance to leave,” I issue a stern command as I see Emma beginning to swipe a credits card. The big one turns around and glares at me from under his hat.

“Or what? You gonna teach us a lesson?” His rather deep voice gives the impression he’s attempting to intimidate me.

“I just might.” I see Emma still continuing to issue her transaction on the PayPad. “Emma, don’t give it to them.”

“But…” she looks up at me with tears.

“No ‘buts’ Emma. I’ll take care of this,” I step in one more foot length.

About the author:

Author

Thomas W. Everson is father to Bubby, a rambunctious boy despite having autism and other health issues, and has been married to Brandi for over a decade. He loves to spend time with his family by indulging in fictional worlds through books, shows, movies, and games.

He was born in Seattle. He moved around to a couple different states, but ultimately came back to live and work in Washington. He loves his job working in an aircraft component repair facility, but he hopes that one day his ideas will take him on to become a great writer.

You can learn more about him & check out his work at the following links:

To buy his book(s):

Some thoughts: I’m really loving this book so far, and I can’t wait to finish it and move on to #2! The characters are awesome, and the concept is intriguing. Can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead for these guys! Keep a lookout for my full review in the next few days.

As always, think happy thoughts!