New Publication: The Knave of Hearts’ Innocence

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This is not really a “new” publication, but I just realized I never announced it on here! I have a short story published in the Alice in Wonderland edition of Nonbinary Review, published by Zoetic Press, titled The Knave of Hearts’ Innocence. It’s $1.99, but you’ll get the chance to read a bunch of stories with the theme of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me! Check it out!

Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup

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5145tmqhtjl-_sy346_Abandoned in the middle of space after her lover—a supernova—dies, Ekhi is picked up by a small space craft with a sole, secretive mission. But as the mission comes to an end,  the crew begin to realize that they may not be as “in charge” of the mission as they believe to be. With a ship with an agenda of its own and an untrustworthy captain, will the crew finally make it home alive or succumb to a mysterious illness plaguing other space ports?

From the beginning, Open Your Eyes hits the ground running with a fast paced and exciting plot. We are dropped in the middle of space and watch as a sinister and surprising plot unfolds. Readers will enjoy a space world colorfully described without taking too much attention away from the main plot. Under 200 pages, Open Your Eyes is a fast read that captured my attention from beginning to end and was hard for me to put down.

While I enjoyed the story, there are two aspects that I felt, if resolved, would make the story just a little bit better. First, there were a lot of typos throughout that seemed to become more frequent as the book went on. It wasn’t something that personally took me out of the story, but it was noticeable. Secondly, I wish there was a little more to the story than was written, specifically when it came to the characters. While the reader is provided with an overview of the characters and their relationship to one another, I feel like the story would be more complete if there was a little more background provided to help the reader see why they acted the way that they did.

However, if you’re a lover of science fiction looking for a quick read with an enticing plot, I recommend downloading a copy of Open Your Eyes.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book by participating in a Patreon run by Paul Jessup.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

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51t467wyz7l-_sx302_bo1204203200_An orphan since the day he was born, Oliver Twist did not receive the best hand in life. Instantly dubbed a trouble maker in the work house, Oliver leaves his apprenticeship at an undertakers and walks to London determined to make a better life for himself. On his way, he meets Jack Dawkins, also known as the Artful Dodger, who introduces him to an infamous Jewish criminal named Fagin. Oliver lives with Fagin and his juvenile pickpockets until he is accused of a crime the Artful Dodger commits and put on trial. However, Mr. Brownlow, the man the crime was against, recognizes Oliver’s innocence and takes him home. Unfortunately, Oliver’s new life is interrupted when he is recaptured by Fagin’s men, leaving him longing to see the kind gentleman once more.

Going from A Christmas Carol, which was super short, I was surprised by the long length of Oliver Twist (before I remembered that Great Expectations was just as long, that is). But it wasn’t too long that I didn’t find it enjoyable. What I liked the most about Oliver Twist was how invested the reader becomes in what happens to young Oliver. Every time it seemed that something good was going for him, some nasty villain would come along and make it worse. As the book began to come to a close, I worried that Dickens would not tie up certain plots, only to be proven wrong. By the end of the book, I was satisfied with the answers to the questions that had popped up throughout, and felt as though everyone received their just deserts.

The only problem I had with this book was I had a tendency to forget who certain characters were. A character would be mentioned in the beginning and then not mentioned again until half way through the book, after many other characters were introduced, so sometimes it took me a minute to remember what role the character played in the story.

Get Out: A Movie Review

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getout-poster-161004Invited by his girlfriend, Rose, to visit her parents out in the suburbs one weekend, Chris slightly reluctantly agrees to go. His main worry: he is Rose’s first black boyfriend. Unsure of how her parents will react, he prepares for the worst—like being chased out of the house by Rose’s father with a shotgun—but finds her family to be surprisingly accepting, if not a little stereotypical. However, Chris’s paranoia heightens when a sudden family get together makes him feel that there is more going on with Rose’s family than he is aware of.

When I saw the trailer for Get Out, my first reaction was: this looks like the corniest horror film ever. And I’ve seen some pretty corny horror films. But after seeing Get Out, I wouldn’t classify it as a horror film, but more of a psychological thriller with comedic relief. And it wasn’t bad. The plot was original and interesting, bringing forth a horror I’m sure not many viewers have seen before or even thought of. While there were bits of the plot that were a little obvious, I thought the movie took plenty of turns that kept the viewer on the edge of their seat, guessing.

One part of the movie that I found to be slightly annoying was several sections of extremely loud bursts of music—the sudden DUN! strategically placed to make viewers jump out of their seat (and skin) just at the right moment. I’m not a big fan of this tactic, anyway, and maybe it was just my theater, but I felt like those moments were a little too loud, making it more of a distraction. The other aspect of the film that I thought was overkill was the gruesome violence at the end. Yes, I did hide my eyes through most of it because I can’t handle seeing random objects being shoved through other people’s body parts. I definitely would’ve been happier if the gore was toned down a bit at the end so it didn’t feel like it was being used as a shock factor.

However, despite the minimal downsides, Get Out was mind boggling and entertaining—a must see for lovers of not-so-serious horror films and psychological thrillers.

Lion: A Movie Review

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1487573786_garth-davis-lion-has-been-traveling-across-globe-earning-recognitions-accolades-galore-filmWhen on a journey with his brother to look for work, Saroo becomes lost when he falls asleep on an out-of-service train and wakes up to find himself traveling away from his home town and everyone he knows. The train arrives in Calcutta, leaving Saroo stranded with no money and unable to speak Bengali. Eventually, he is sent to an orphanage before being adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, while studying to become a hotel manager, Saroo begins to have memories about a brother and mother he once had in India. With the help of Google Earth, Saroo begins his journey to find the town he came from and the family he lost many years prior.

I had never heard of this movie until my husband asked if I wanted to go see it. Once I read the synopsis, my immediate answer was yes. Lion was a powerful movie that told the heartwrenching story of a lost boy who finally finds his way home. Although some people may shy away from the movie because of this, I really appreciated that half of the movie used subtitles, which helped give authenticity to the story. I also liked that they included some real footage at the end of the film of Saroo and his family to show that this actually happened.

The only problem I had with the movie was I felt that it jumped around a bit too much. While the scenes provided enough of the story for the viewer to understand what was going on and how it was progressing, I wish I knew more of what happened during those time periods when he was a child. However, I do understand that not every little detail could be included in the movie, and I do think the writer and director found the best way to portray the movement of time throughout the film.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

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51jx3zbrjul-_sx320_bo1204203200_In the final installment of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Jacob and Emma are tasked with saving their peculiar friends and ymbrynes from the wights before they have their second souls removed. With the help of some questionable characters, and the use of Jacob’s newly discovered peculiarity of controlling hollows, the two navigate through Devil’s Acre and into the wight’s fortress to put a stop to Caul’s evil plans of invading the Library of Souls and save the entirety of peculiardom.

After finishing Hollow City, I could not wait to dive in to the last book of the series. Ransom Riggs had left the reader on such a cliffhanger that it was impossible to push off the last book to a later date. The only problem was that after coming from such a high place story wise at the end of the second book, the third book felt a little slow to me, which was both good and bad. Good, because it reflected how Jacob and Emma were feeling throughout the book: constantly like time was moving too slowly for them but also quickly running out for their friends. But bad, too, because I was used to the fast pace that the second book ended on and so wanted to know what was going to happen without having to go through the extra details.

However, the characters and the story line remained enchanting until the very end, making the characters feel lifelike, as if the reader had been in the book with them rather than reading about it. The only aspect of the book I would say that let me down was the ending which felt too convenient. A lot of it seemed rushed, as if Riggs wasn’t sure exactly how he wanted to end it, but knew he wanted to end the series on a happy note. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it without giving the ending away (which I will not do), but I found myself saying: wow, that was convenient, more than once as the book came to a close.

Anyway, the Miss Peregrine’s trilogy is a winner for both teens and adults who enjoy a good young adult book every now and then. The entire series was peculiar and magical from beginning to end. It’s a great series that shows even if you feel like the most insignificant person in the world, your talents may come in handy in the most important situations.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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220px-hollow_city_novel_coverAfter narrowly escaping being captured by the wights, Jacob, Emma, and the rest of the peculiar children travel across treacherous waters with a hurt Miss Peregrine. Their main objective: navigate through war torn London to find a fellow ymbryne who can change Miss Peregrine out of her bird form before it is too late for both Miss Peregrine and for them.

The second installment in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy, Hollow City was just as captivating and entertaining as the first book. Not only does Ransom Riggs continue to paint a story full of lively characters, he expands their stories by having the characters talk about their lives before being taken in by Miss Peregrine, which was probably my favorite part of the whole book. We also get to learn more about Jacob’s peculiarity and watch as he develops it into a skill that saves their lives on numerous occasions. A lot of times I can figure out what is going to occur in a book before it happens, but Hollow City was full of suspense and surprises that weren’t detectable until they occurred.

There were only two small issues I had with this book. The first issue was that I felt several lines in the first few chapters of the book were a bit repetitive. Riggs wrote that the kids were going to do something, and then he had the kids say what they were going to do before they went to do it. But this only occurred twice, I believe, and the rest of the writing made up for the slight hiccups. The second problem I had was I kept mixing up characters. I had the same problem in the first book, but this time around I only mixed up two characters: Horace and Hugh. And I’m pretty sure I only kept mixing them up because their names both start with an ‘H’ and are similar in sound.

If you’ve begun to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but for some reason have been pushing off reading the next installment, don’t wait any longer! You will not regret following the children on their harrowing journey into the unknowns of the 1940s.