Category Archives: Book Reviews

Movie Review: Troy

Troy seems like your typical, epic fantasy movie. More or less. It’s almost three hours long, focused on the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey. There’s battles, a love interest, and a story that set the tone for many fantasy novels and movies. It’s a star-studded cast: Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana, and Diane Kruger being the leading four. I didn’t expect a whole lot going into it, just a decent story, great battles, and some traditional, Brad Pitt sarcasm.

What I got was actually better than anything I’d expected. The story was exceptional, which makes sense as it was based on a classic. The battle scenes and everything else about the graphics/film blew me away, not because they were anything special, but because they really felt like part of the story. One of the things I always admired about Lord of the Rings was how the battles meant something, every time, and it wasn’t just war for the sake of war.

And then, of course, there’s Brad Pitt, whose performance as Achilles was above and beyond amazing, the main reason I’ll go back and watch the movie multiple times.

Anyways…

Good

  • Battle Scenes

As I touched on above, the battle scenes have two very important qualities. First of all, they serve a purpose in the broad scheme of the movie. There are two real “battles” between opposing armies, one near the beginning and another in the middle. There are smaller scuffles amongst these battles, and a 1-versus-1 showdown towards the climax of the movie. Every sword swing and seemingly-unimportant death serve a purpose along the way.

Plus, the visuals are stunning, especially in the first part of this movie. If you love action films, or you love movies with more plot content, this will interest you either way and entertain you to no end.

  • Brad Pitt everything

Brad Pitt’s performance in this movie can’t be overstated. He’s the main character, a sun-tanned uber-focused warrior, who fights for himself and not for any specific king. Besides saving a woman who was captured by the soldiers he fights with, to showing respect for the dead body of an enemy, Brad Pitt’s Achilles makes it incredibly clear that war is not so black and white, and sometimes the good guys on both sides can die.

  • Dialogue/memorable lines

There were some really good pieces of dialogue with the characters. Really interesting conversations, especially with Achilles and those on that side of the war. It’s hard, at times, to judge which side you’re supposed to be rooting for. And that is the point of it, after all, as seems to be the centerpiece of Homer’s original works. Even as long ago as those books were written, it was clear that war was not for the faint of heart, and that who you fought for often had nothing to do with what you viewed as right and wrong, but instead where your family was from, as in the case of Achilles.

Bad

  • Source Accuracy

I tried to do a little bit of research and understand how close to source material the movie stays. I assume it takes quite a few liberties, although I can’t say for sure how many or to what degree it changes the story. If you know more about this, I’d appreciate an explanation. If historical accuracy (or literary accuracy, in this case) is one of your biggest concerns when watching a film, this one might be a bit of a letdown. Or it could be great all together.

  • Over-doing of Achille’s desires

I took this note early in the movie, as Achilles mentions numerous times in the span of thirty minutes how he wants his name to live on throughout history. That’s the only reason he fights the war, in the film, is so that people will remember him forever. It’s a central theme, but extremely overdone towards the beginning. Now, after about the 50 minute mark, there isn’t more than two or three references to this theme, which saves the movie from becoming overly-centered on it’s key idea.

Overall

I wasn’t sure where to rate this. I liked it better than Lord of the Rings, although going back and watching those again might change my mind. This movie just seemed deep enough to rewatch multiple times and extract something new each time. It was entertaining, thought-provoking, and left you with that “Wow” sense at the end. So…

9.3/10

Highest score I’ve given a movie on this site.

Murder on the Orient Express: Book Review

We went on vacation to Florida over Fall Break, and as usual we stopped in at a book store. I always try to buy something when I go into one, even if I never end up reading the book. This time, I bought not one book, not two, but four. Three of those were the Thrawn Trilogy, my nerdy, Star Wars pleasure. The other was a novel I’d been wanting to read for a long time, but never got around to:

Murder on the Orient Express

Let’s dive right in.

Good

  • Surprising End

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see the ending coming at all. I spent so much time trying to figure out who committed the murder, that I completely overlooked all the details I should have been paying attention to. I do love when a book makes me feel stupid. Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle are some of the very few authors that pull the fleece over your eyes so well, and you don’t notice until it’s too late.

While it wasn’t the most surprising ending, and I figured it out about 3/4 into the book, I only knew because the characters pretty much gave it away with their words. Just judging by the facts and the evidence, I would never have solved it.

  • Good Explanation

At the end of the book, there’s a fairly long chapter where Poirot explains the crime that’s just happened. He actually explains the crime two different ways, which sets up the decision at the end that I found very interesting. I won’t ruin the end of the book for you, but needless to say Christie did a good job of explaining the crime in its entirety, really summing things up so it was easier to understand.

That’s yet another similarity between her and Doyle. They each like to sort of lay everything out at the end, and make it exceedingly clear what happened. I have to say, I do love that part of the book.

  • Writing/Dialogue/Characters

While the murder definitely carried the story, without the characters being interesting I wouldn’t have managed to pay attention. They’re all unique, and they all capture your attention in one way or another, although there were times I wished some of them had different names, because there were quite a lot to keep track of.

Nonetheless, they enhanced the story, and I appreciated the differences in them. No cardboard cutouts here!

Bad

  • Missing in Action (literally)

Even for an older book, a “classic,” there weren’t very many action scenes. None at all, really. I’m trying to figure out how they even made a movie for this book, as I’m writing this review. I mean, I’ll get into it more in a second, but really there’s just not any… movement, I guess?

Poirot walks around the train, does his thing, and the train is stuck in snow anyways, so that’s not moving. They never really leave the train in the book, and inside the train there’s not much to do. There are ways to make this an entertaining, engaging, action-filled book, but-

  • Repetitive Plot

-the entire plot of the book is very repetitive. Basically, the murder happens, and he agrees to solve it. His process is as such: interview somebody, think about what they said, interview somebody else, think about what they said, gather all the interviews, think, interview more people, think.

So, yeah. There’s lots of thinking and chit-chat at the dinner table.

  • Research Paper?

As I just said, all he does is research. Also, the writing around Poirot just feels like a kid who’s researching a paper. Most of the time, he just spends his time talking, interviewing, and ends up at a table with the two other guys in charge, having a nice talk and testing them. That’s the main difference between Poirot and Holmes. In Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books, there are action scenes, intense parts, and suspense. In Poirot’s story, there isn’t much present danger.

Overall– 7.5/10

This book was definitely worth the money, and I found it to be a very engaging read towards the end. Also, there’s just something about the way she writes that had me hooked, and part of that might be because the book is so famous I simply wanted to know how it ended.

Whatever the case, this is a good book, and I highly recommend it if you’re somebody who enjoys an older book every once in a while. Very similar to Sherlock Holmes, really. Maybe I should review one of those books next.

Movie Review: Star Wars- The Last Jedi

So, yeah. Star Wars episode 8. Saw it at the first opportunity, pretty crowded theater, and I was mildly surprised by how un-disappointed I was. Makes sense?

Well, I figured Disney would screw this up just like the Avengers, which hey had a trailer on before the movie. Just served to remind me of Disney’s dominance and how many of their movies only serve as a huge machine, churning out the same storylines and non-creative ideas (see Force Awakens = A New Hope).

For all of its faults, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was not a bland movie out of a machine. It was interesting, it was funny, and it was emotional. With that being said…

**SPOILERS EVERYWHERE BEWARE**

Good-

  • Kylo and Rey Dynamics

Kylo Ren and Rey were the main focus of this storyline, and so, of course, every time they interacted with each other it was a huge deal. There were some funny moments, some sweet moments, and ultimately it set up the next movie with a great showdown. I hope, if everything works out, we get a huge showdown with them at the end, and that’s how this trilogy should really finish. I do wish Luke WAS STILL FREAKING ALIVE AND WE WOULDN’T HAVE TO SEE FORCE GHOSTS EVERY FEW SECONDS JUST BECAUSE DISNEY WANTS TO SELL FORCE GHOST ACTION FIGURES, but anyways Rey and Kylo made this movie very enticing, and very enjoyable.

Also, Poe Dameron.

  • Give Me Some Spaceships

Love, love, love the space battles (even if there were quite a lot of them…) and enjoy seeing the different kinds of ships, as well. That kind of belongs in the Tradition section, but whatever. Also, may I just say, Poe Dameron really makes this movie fun for me… and I couldn’t care less if Finn died. Sorry guys. I just like the spaceship dudes, and Poe is the spaceship dude in this one. And Chewie the Bacca.

  • Tradition

Obviously, this would have ruined the movie had it not been there, but it was nice to see. The opening scrawl, some Force Ghosts, fantastic spaceships at the beginning. Basically, all of the basics were there for Star Wars. I heard a rumor that there wasn’t as much of that epic music we’ve all come to associate with the franchise, but it seemed to me like there was plenty, so for you music-lovers don’t worry!

Also, it just felt like Star Wars. Something I’m just waiting on… the moment Disney makes one of these and it won’t feel like Star Wars… it’ll feel like a Disney movie. (See how confident I am).

Bad

  • Kill Choices……

Why would you kill Luke? Why? Why couldn’t he just stay on that island, and be really old, like Yoda was in Episode 5 and then die a peaceful death somewhere in Episode 9? Why did he have to die? Why does everybody have to be a force ghost? I don’t want a force ghost. I don’t want a force ghost. I want a Luke Skywalker, with Old Man Hamill and his grouchiness. I don’t want force ghosts everywhere.

Why didn’t you kill Rose or Finn, or somebody else of the new characters? Look, killing main characters suck BUT YOU CAN’T KILL OFF EVERY OLD CHARACTER. I WON’T ACCEPT IT.

That’s really my main problem with the movie. While trying to make these new characters “the next big thing,” they’ve gone and taken away all the familiar characters, killing them off piece by piece. Honor them by not killing them, please. Please. PLEASE.

  • Next Movie Is A Fog

Where the heck is the series going from here? I guess the rebels find a new base, and since J.J. Abrams (a.k.a. Mr. Make 17 Death Stars) is directing Episode 9, we can expect yet another Death Star, probably blown up the same way.

Seriously, though. We could’ve had some hints… as to what happened next… just to get some fan theories going.

SIDE NOTE… Why was Snoke so easy to kill, if he’s so powerful? Such a failure.

SIDE SIDE NOTE… That was the worst CGI Yoda I’ve ever seen in my life, and it looked like a cartoon Gremlin stuck into the real world. Come on. Whoever was in charge of that… fire him/her.

  • So. Many. Battles. So. Little. Plot.

The entire movie plot:

Battle, Escape, Get Help, Battle, Escape, Get Help, Battle, Escape, Movie Ends.

Just saying.

Score

So, yeah, I’ve been harsh because I expect a lot from my Star Wars. So, here is my overall rating.

  • If Rey is a Skywalker and they say this in the next episode: 8.3/10
  • If she is not: 6/10
  • If Episode 9 includes ANYTHING like a Death Star: 0/10 because Disney is the laziest mouse I’ve ever seen.

Movie Review: Zodiac

One of the longest and surprisingly-good movies I’ve seen in some time. A mystery movie that turned into a legal drama that turned into a thriller that turned into a melancholy ending that turned into a documentary. It has everything, including some real-life connection with a case that’s just as scary and much more famous.

(The case remains unsolved, although this very day some new evidence came out, and detectives hope the DNA will turn up the real killer.)

From the director of SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB, two of the best movies I’ve seen, comes… Zodiac.

Good

  • Actors (Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr.)

Mark Ruffalo = The Hulk, Robert Downey Jr. = Iron Man, and Jake Gyllenhaal = not really sure but apparently he’s famous. With this star-studded cast (and apparently superhero-studded), I figured the movie would turn out at least decent. What I got, though, was better. Jake Gyllenhaal gave a performance better than I could have imagined; Robert Downey Jr. was his usual, cocky character-self; and Mark Ruffalo was a thoughtful, expert detective. And together, they work to capture one of the most notorious serial killers, The Zodiac.

  • Storyline

The Zodiac Killer has always been super interesting, and super fascinating to even the casual viewer. The mystery, the codes, and the characters involved… it played out more like fiction than real life. So, of course, the adaption for the big screen turned out great. As far as I can tell, the storyline follows very closely, which makes sense because it’s based on the book by Robert Graysmith (played by Gyllenhaal in the movie). So a movie about making a book based on a book… turned out pretty well.

  • Setting

Not sure when it struck me exactly, but the director put a lot of work into the backgrounds in every scene. Whether it was the lake scene, the downtown scenes, or somewhere else, I was impressed with how real they seemed. Like the main characters were talking, but there was so much happening in the back that caught my attention. Or maybe it was just late and I was Dr. Pepper-ed.

Bad

  • Accuracy?

My main question throughout the movie was “how accurate is this really?” From a quick glance at Wikipedia (yep), it seems pretty legit. There weren’t any critics who hated it and called it inaccurate, which I was surprised at. In fact, some critics said it was too realistic, too legalistic, and didn’t take enough creative liberties to make it exciting. So… seems pretty real. But still a big question.

  • Backstory Missing

There wasn’t very much backstory for the characters, because it kinda just threw you in at the beginning of the murders. I was interested to see how nobody took it seriously except for Graysmith at the beginning, but I’m not really sure why because I didn’t know much about his character. Also, I had no idea he had a family until like 40 minutes into the story.

  • Bye Bye, Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. just kinda floats around, and his character is super important at times and then doesn’t show up for half an hour. Same with Robert Graysmith, and also Mark Ruffalo’s. That’s one problem with the movie being so realistic: It can’t really decide who the main character is. And that’s okay. It’s interesting. But, still, a bit odd, so it goes in the Bad category.

Both

  • Length

The movie was over two and a half hours long, which made it both too long and too good. Like, it took over 150 minutes… and it used all of them perfectly. It didn’t force the length, and it really made every minute count. Those usually don’t go together…

My Grade

So, at the end of the day, it’s a super long movie, it’s super unique, it has super good actors… and it’s super confusing. And I super like it.

Let’s go with…

8.9

 

Movie Review: The Crazies (2010)

Been a while, guys.

But I’m back at it! Movies reviews coming fast, slow, and randomly. Who cares about patterns. Let’s start with The Crazies (2010) remake of the 70-something film when we were all scared of governments and bioligical weapons. Maybe we still are?

Most likely comparison for this movie: The Purge: Western-style plus The Walking Dead plus… maybe some Saw (because of gore)

The Great:

—How this movie starts off

Really gets your attention from the first (well, second) scene. Kinda wish there were more “happy people, normal life” parts, but that’s just because I know all the terrible stuff that comes next, and I just want these folks to be happy

The Good:

—Main character was really easy to root for

He’s got that nice, kick-everybody’s-butt attitude, he’s a sheriff (the modern, Call of Duty-master kind). For you ladies, he’s attractive (isn’t every actor nowadays? Sheesh). And, to top it all off, he’s got a love interest who’s pregnant, so he’s almost-not-quite a father. Did I mention he kicks everybody’s butt? Think of him like Rick, from the Walking Dead. Or that really awesome guy from the second and third Purge movies. That’s pretty much him.

—Bad Gu

Dang, the first half an hour has about 4 killers who are each scarier than most movies’ 1. Sadly, most of them don’t show up again throughout, and they each kinda serve their purpose by getting killed (often by their own weapon). But still. Kudos to the movie crew for making each one so terrifying, and putting thought into them. Instead of twenty guys with guys, I get to see twenty guys each with a different weapon. Until the movie becomes the Purge: Western-style, anyways. Then they just have guns.

—Beginning

And I mean the concept at the beginning. I won’t give too much away, because the movie tells you within about twenty minutes, but it’s very interesting. When you start the movie, you’ll be thinking, “This isn’t really like the Purge?” That’s the part I enjoyed most. Enjoy it.

—Emotional Conflict

Always a thumbs up for me. Emotional conflict + freaky movie + lots of scary stuff = pretty good Friday night.

The Bad:

—I feel like there should be some more backstory for Mr. Awesome Main Character’s love interest. They’re married and all, and she’s a doctor, but beyond that we don’t know much about her character. Him, on the other hand, we see tons of throughout. I wish she showed up more in the first twenty minutes than she does. That being said, we get plenty of her (and the Deputy) throughout.

—Once the movie became the Purge, I was pretty much just watching the Purge, and that kinda sucked because it was so unique for the first twenty minutes (maybe 30.) There were a couple big twists that got us to the Purge state-of-being, and those were fun. The ending was fun, too. And the whole thing was fun. But it could have been even more fun if it hadn’t been so predictable. After about thirty minutes, I could’ve stopped watching and known basically what happened. I didn’t, but I could’ve. Maybe.

My Final Rating:

Umm… well the film’s got a great idea at the start, good execution of a stolen idea in the middle, and one of those stupid, “We can’t let the heros live, but we can’t kill them either, so let’s just hint that they’re gonna die later on” endings. I don’t really like those. But still, the acting is good, and it has lots of blood without making blood the purpose. I’m not sure what to give this… I’m gonna sayyyyyyy…

8.4/10

I really wanted to make it a 9. It’s a high 8.4.

The Name You NEED To Know

Jessica Hernandez is an indie author, who makes a very informative video series on Youtube, also has a great site where she will make book trailers for you, and yeah she writes some great books too!

Oh and did I mention she is genuinely one of the nicest people I know? I could tell you countless stories, but if you get to know her for yourself you’ll understand.

Here is a quick message from her:

  • As an author, I understand just how much work goes into making a book. I know that the work doesn’t end when the final draft of your manuscript is completed, for that is when marketing — a beast of an entirely different breed — slithers its way into the forefront of your mind. Suddenly, you find yourself trying to devise ways to call attention to your soon-to-be-released masterpiece — a difficult task, considering that hundreds of thousands of titles are published annually. As you prepare for your novel’s launch date, you lament in despair as the most unwelcome of questions hound you: will your novel stand out from the rest? If you’re looking to increase the likelihood that the answer to the preceding question will be a resounding yes, you must take action to pique both the curiosity and interest of readers. A book trailer is sure to be invaluable in this regard. When properly crafted, they can be an indispensable asset to one’s marketing arsenal. (They are particularly useful in the context of blog tours.) Let me help you garner your book attention. Let me design your book trailer.
Thanks, Jessica! This is about her first book, Capering on Glass Bridges. See what people on Amazon thought!

“What made me immerse myself into the book is the vivid descriptions that illuminate everything yet leave certain aspects to the imagination.”

“I truly look forward to reading more from the author and would highly recommend this book to anyone.”

“This is classic, world-building fiction with a YA focus.”

So, those book trailers. She made one for my very own My Abigail, and it’s pretty great! It’s also the first one she made, so she’s improving every day.

My Abigail — Book Trailer Launch

And she posts the videos on Youtube!

And they’re cheap!

If you haven’t decided yet, go to her book trailer site, or her Amazon Author Page, or her website and give her a chance. If you’re not sure, then just… do it. There’s no reason not to.

You may just meet the newest, best young author, and make a great friend along the way 😉

Links:

Book Trailer Youtube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK-9Fc-REiq0LcT95HLmNyg

Book Trailer Site: https://architectsofworldsafar.wordpress.com/

Author Youtube Page:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJpIhwoMeJRfMFJkg9gXKbA

Author Site: https://jessthestoryteller.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Hernandez/e/B018CU0IJM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Contact Form: https://architectsofworldsafar.wordpress.com/contact/

Review Bomb! Here’s Lots of Book Reviews.

Leave This Place— Spike Black–7.5/10

This was a pretty creepy book about a couple who go to a cabin somewhere, in England I’m pretty sure. There is a haunted history about the house, of course, and a rocking chair in their room that the couple keep seeing a man sitting in at night, watching them sleep. And on the wall, right behind the chair, is a picture… of the same man in the rocking chair, 20 years ago, where he was found dead. But is he dead?

This book was good, and the writing is simple and easy-to-read. I liked the concept, and the characters were just real enough to make it enjoyable. The ending was somewhat predictable, but a good book nonetheless.

The Girl on the Train— Paula Hawkins–9/10

This book is one of the best of the year, despite the movie adaption being… different. It’s about a girl who takes the train to work every morning, seeing this perfect couple in a house nearby. She dreams about them, and wishes she could be like that woman: in a solid relationship, with a nice house, and a perfect life. But when that same woman goes missing and the girl on the train realizes their lives are intertwined, everything changes and the truth becomes a lot less perfect.

While the writing was just about perfect and I loved this book, the last two or three chapters were a let down. The big confrontation was lame, to put it bluntly, but if you ignore the ending it’s one of the best stories and one of the best buildups I’ve read.

Don’t Look Inside— Spike Black–8.5/10

When a book turns up with the words “Don’t Look Inside” scratched on the cover, it seems everybody who comes in contact with it can’t help but sneak a peek inside. They find, on the pages, a story… about them. Each person finds a new, rhyming poem that predicts their death, which promptly happens in terribly scary ways. After the police realize what’s going on, one detective goes on the hunt for this terrible book before it can find its way back to her.

This book, yet another one by Spike Black, is even better than the first. The storyline is interesting, and while the plot jumps around a bit and there are some holes the writing is good enough to hold it together. The characters are intriguing, fun to read about, and most importantly I didn’t see the ending coming.

1984— George Orwell–8/10

A book about the future, or what the future was supposed to be like way back in the 40s or 50s. Big Brother is in charge of one of three nations that have dominated the world, but unlike most apocalyptic books this one is written by a normal, in fact the most normal of them. And the ending isn’t anything like you’d expect! If you’re into futuristic books and like literature that makes you think, this is a must-read.

Of course, the writing is hard to understand at parts, and the 20 pages taken up by a book inside the book are a bit odd, but overall it’s enjoyable read and one that you’re not likely to forget.

The Venus Trap– Louise Voss–8.5/10

Louise Voss, along with Mark Edwards, might be the best horror authors that nobody talks about. This book, which takes place almost entirely within one house, is ridiculously entertaining, to the point where I read it all in a week. The plot centers around a woman who has been kidnapped by a man she met online, but the sick and twisted way of that man are slowly revealed to her.

This ending was shocking and I don’t know how I didn’t see it coming, but I definitely did not. It’s entertaining, emotional, and the writing is perfect. Not to mention, it pulls off all this with a very limited setting, something I’ve always found extremely difficult.

Killing Cupid— Louise Voss and Mark Edwards–9/10

Hey, it’s Louise Voss again. And she’s back, with Mark Edwards, in what is one of the most entertaining books that nobody talks about. This book is about a woman teaching a writing class at a college, and one of the students has an… unhealthy attraction for her. This plays out in many different fashions, and of course it doesn’t end well. But people dieing? That’s too far for this woman, who takes things into her own hands.

With a main character that’s easy to root for, this book hinges on you feeling frightened with and for the writing instruction. She has her own personal problems, of course, but there are some parts in this book that I picture in movies and it’s terrifying. Also, the main character is an author, so #empathy.

Hikers: Part One— Lauren Alego–8.5/10

This is a book that literally nobody knows, and yet that’s entirely unfair because the thought put into this book is crazy. The plot centers around these demon-like creatures called “hikers” that infest people when they are at their weakest points, and force them to do things like rape, murder, and suicide. The “possessed” person always dies. But those who survive, or who are saved from it, can sense these hikers afterwards. One man takes action, and with the help of a former teenage prostitute he saved they work together to take these terrible creatures. The ending is touching, and there’s a sequel!

The writing is great, and the plot is one of the best I’ve read. However this author came up with the concept, she’s a genius and I highly recommend this book.

When the Black-Eyed Children Knock and other short stories— Ben Sobieck–7.5/10

This is a book by another author I know, although he’s more well-known for his blog about guns in fiction than he is for his horror writing. That, too, is a great area for him. The first story in this collection holds up the rest, and if you just read that one story it’s enough for the money’s worth. It deals with a new couple, a new baby, and the perils and threats to every marriage. There’s a deeper meaning in the story besides the obvious scariness, and that’s what makes it best.

While the other stories aren’t that great, they do their part to make this a collection worth reading. And it’s only 99 cents anyways, or free on Wattpad. The writing is good, and each story is unique from anything I’ve ever read.

Because She Loves Me— Mark Edwards–8.5/10

This is one of Mark Edwards’ lesser-known books, but as you can tell from his reappearances on this list he’s quite good in everything he writes. This story, as always, was centered around a newly-formed relationship, although this particular one was secretive and the woman isn’t always what you think. Which is exactly the premise of a book, which centers around a man asking himself one question: Is the girl he loves trying to kill him?

The writing is great, as always with this guy, and the plot captures my attention. It really is crazy how every single book he churns out has the same, engaging plot and the scary, exhilarating pace.

Magpies— Mark Edwards–8.5/10

The book that really made Mark Edwards a star, this one is full of secretive neighbors. Or is the house haunting them? Or is it something completely unrelated? If you read any of the books on this list, this one is by far the best. It’s scary at all the good parts, terribly sad at times, and my favorite book that I’ve read, at least in the horror genre.

The pacing is perfect, and the big surprise at the end will make you cringe at night. Let me just say, you will never feel safe in your own home again. Watch our for those neighbors!

Her Final Breath— Robert Dugoni–8.6/10

This was the second in a series of books, and was definitely the best. It was better than the first because it had a disturbing, intriguing storyline and made me captivated as I flipped through the pages. It’s about a detective Crosswhite that chases down a killer who kills women in brutal ways. While he usually hunts on the poor and unknown women of society, his newest target is Tracy Crosswhite.

This book builds up the tension like no other, and the ending is a twist that I never saw coming. Who the murderer actually is will shock you, and leave you sleeping with the lights on for weeks.

Scarlet Letter— Nathaniel Hawthorne–6.5/10

This is a book about a woman who commits adultery and has to wear a scarlet A on her chest ever after. There is a deeper meaning to everything in this book, and a frightening storyline begins to grow from the second chapter onwards. In this book, there is always the hint of threat in the air and mysteries that are not resolved until the very end.

I enjoyed parts of this book, and the storyline was overall very good. While I think the tension could have been dragged on farther, if you enjoy classical books then this one is certainly for you.

Forward Slash— Mark Edwards and Louise Voss–8/10

The newest book I’ve read from these two authors is just as vivid and frightening as the previous ones. This one, however, focuses on internet dating, a topic everybody seems to have an opinion about. This, of course, shows the darker side of that. It shows us all the gruesome secrets and pasts that are on the internet… and that we very well could meet.

Keeping in stride with their past books, Edwards and Voss fire off a book-changing twist in the last two chapters. I love the sudden turn in the storyline, and without that I would not have thought of this book so highly. The buildup is great, and this had one of the best endings I’ve ever read.

I Hate the Romans— Vivienne Sang–7/10

This is a book I read for a friend of mine, and the most interesting part of it is the historical details and how accurate they are. The story takes place in Europe in the time of the Roman empire, and centers on a young boy who is taken away from his hometown and seeks revenge in many ways. The last half of the book, especially, picks up the pace and got my interest at the highest point.

This book is definitely entertaining, and full of unique characters and names. It really felt like I was back in that time period, and from the descriptions given I can’t say that would be a pleasant thing! The book was fun to read and I enjoyed it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2— Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling–7.5/10

This is the newest and eighth book in the Harry Potter Series. It doesn’t have quite the same feel as the previous seven, but having J.K. Rowling on board for the production at least helped. The dialogue, especially, is lacking in that Potterish feel. The story is good, and has a twist towards the end. It’s a good book overall, and if not for the high expectations would have been great.

The book itself is written in the format for a play, so that does make it unique. I enjoyed reading about the characters and learning what was happening now in the wizarding world. Overall, it was a good read and one i would recommend to any Harry Potter fans.

Movie Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)

Got my wisdom teeth taken out, couldn’t sleep, wanted to watch a horror movie.

You know how hard it is to find a decent horror movie?? Like, really really hard. I swear. All the good ones are about sex and the badness of it, pretty much. And then you have the typical ghost story that turns out really good. Then you have the franchises, like Conjuring and Insidious. And then you have the remakes. I went for remakes.

The Amityville Horror is a remake of a movie based on a book that’s hopefully not based on real life. Although basically every movie says they are. Heck, they probably say Star Wars is “based on real life events.”

Anyways, rant over. Listen up, ya’ll, because I’m typing fast today. (Oh yeah, and there’s a sequel coming out called Amityville: The Awakening or something. Looks pretty good, to be honest. But it’s got that chick from Shake It Up in it so…)

amityville horror cover

WHAT I LIKED:

  • House

Normally, I could care less about the scenery. The exception, maybe is The Shining. However, this movie had the perfect house for the story line. I knew what was going to happen, but I know that with most movies because, well, almost everything’s predictable in fiction, unlike life. So, having great actors and a great setting certainly help with that.

Honestly, it was like the picturesque haunted house. It made me want to go back and read the book, which I just might do. If the novel is anything like the movie, it should be a fantastic, fascinating read.

  • Actors

I touched on this in the last point, but the actors for this movie were phenomenal! Whoever did the casting for this should do it for every single movie ever. It was the perfect cast for the perfect roles for the perfect story line… Okay, that’s overstating it. But really, they were great!

The best part about movies is the actors. So when they fail, the movie does, too. Casting is a very fragile business, which I obviously know a lot about having never been near a movie set other than Disneyworld. But still, it’s tough. And this movie does it great just like Harrison Ford.

Every character looked how I would imagine them, talked like I thought they should, and died how- I mean, what… Nobody dies… Honestly, I can’t remember. It was past midnight when the Gremlins came out and ate my remembering-ness. (Did you know you can put – between any two words and the computer thinks it’s right? Try it in the comments! I think we have spellcheck there…)

  • Ending

I really liked the conclusion to this, to be honest. It left things open for a sequel or many sequels (which Hollywood will never fail to provide!). Not only that, but it wrapped up the story. As far as I know, those poor people are still alive and dealing with the affects of staying in Amityville. But, at least they’re alive. It’s more than the folks in Jaws can say.
amityville horror

WHAT I DISLIKED:

  • The Catholic Priest

He’s like… a major letdown. Maybe it was the director’s way of poking fun at exorcism movies? I don’t know. But he shows up, gets spooked, and then just leaves. It was bizarre! Poor old guy probably broke his hip, just trying to water the gardenias.

  • The Babysitter

So, her name is L… L… um Lisa I think. And she’s this really slutty babysitter, who’s like openly flirting with the son I guess? And he’s not even into puberty age. But he was refusing a babysitter, so the parents get him this girl who they think will keep him occupied, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Who does that?? The poor kid. He was probably more scarred from that experience than with the demon/ghost things. They locked her in a closet, and she got like eaten or something crazy. Well, I guess she won’t be flirting with 11 year old boys anymore. Especially now that she’s in her 50’s.

MY RATING: 8/10

For all the joking and goofing and giggling and joshing I’ve done during this post, I really did enjoy the movie. It was a fun way to spend a night. Although it was nothing special, I’ve seen much worse movies, and at least I wasn’t stuck with another Krampus! Geez. I had somebody tell me they liked that movie recently, and I was…

<><><><><>

Amityville

+

Krampus

is

Krampusville.

NOOOOOOOOOO

 

Book Review: Trail of Broken Wings

This is kind of cheating since I wrote this for a book report book, but all the same here goes:

Trail of Broken Wings
by Sejal Badani
report by David Kummer

For my book report book, I read Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani. The author is from India, as are the main characters, so there is a plethora of Indian influences on the book, from some of the words the characters to use to their meals and also the events they celebrate. The book is a Literary Fiction book, but there are elements of suspense and mystery as the author keeps you guessing as to some plot points.
In the book, Sonya is a photographer who ran away from home after college. Her mother, father, two sisters, and their husbands all live in the same town. Sonya plans never to return there because of her childhood, when her father abused her, one of her sisters, and their mother. However, her father falls into a comma and she finally relents to her mother’s wishes, returning home.
Once there, the neatly sorted lives of the four, related women start to unravel. In only a few weeks, each of their lives fall apart in it’s own way. Sonya sees one sister, Trisha, get divorced, the other, Marian, discover her daughter’s horrifying secret, and her mother, Ranee, deal with what she has done that nobody knows about.
Each of them has secrets, and only when all the secrets are revealed will they be able to build up a normal life.
Sonya deals with helping her two sisters and mother, all while dealing with her own personal struggles. From her love interest with a doctor at the hospital, she finds a new photography opportunity, working with cancer patients at the hospital and using photography as a means to help them heal, both emotionally and physically. She sees herself in the broken patients, and gradually spends more time with the doctor, David, until at last she tells him the family secret and waits to see whether he will leave.
Their mother makes the final say in the matter of their father, deciding whether he will live or die, whether they should pull the plug or give him more time. But when all of them are ready to turn off the machines, Marian’s daughter, Gia, wants to keep him alive. Marian is forced to tell Gia the truth about what happened when they were younger.
The main conflinct in the story, for each of the sisters and mother, is undoubedtly versus themselves. However, Gia faces a dilemma in which she is pitted against both herself and another person, her boyfriend. When they all thought the abuse was long over, Gia falls back into the lifestyle they all knew so well- the lifestyle of a punching bag.
This was a fantastic book in my opinion. The descriptions were vivid and made the whole story seem very realistic. As well, the few scenes that took place in India seemed familiar enough to understand but foreign enough to make it exciting. The author’s Indian heritage greatly affected how the book was wrote, but in the end it turned out wonderfully.
Although this is a very depressing book, the ending is better than one would expect. The characters were friendly and enjoyable to read about. Every time something happened, I found myself rooting for them, hoping they would turn out better in the end, so that when the final page came I was prepared to see if they would win and desperately hoping they would.
I would definitely read the book again, because there were enough layers to the story that I could not possibly get bored. It was fun to read once, and would be just as enjoyable if I did so a second time.
Reading the book, I gained a much wider understanding of abuse victims and how it affects them psychologically. There were so many new things I learned, they couldn’t all possibly be put into a report. The emotional trauma that followed them was evident. What I found interesting was that all four women dealed with the abuse in four completely unique ways. It was interesting.
The ending wasn’t predictable until the last chapter actually came, and even then I kept reading because I wanted to be sure it would happen. Like I said, I was hoping for the characters to win.
The characters were developed phenomanally, taking most of the story to fully flesh them out. Every chapter offered a new piece of their lives that I was eager and glad to lump with the other characteristics and traits I’d learned.
While the conflict is (hopefully) not one everybody can relate to, the sense of man vs. self was definitely something we have all gone through, so that part of it was relatable. Besides that, there was the drama within the family and, of course, the love story that all of us have experienced before.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sad read or likes Literary Fiction novels, where there are, as Stephen King says, “extraordinary people in ordinary situations.” While this isn’t exactly an ordinary situation, there are indeed extraordinary people, and you would do well to pay a little money to spend time with you.

 

MY RATING: 8.5/10

New Movies Added

Check out my Movie Ratings page to see all the new movies I’ve added and the plethora of ratings I’ve given them. The new look has the title, the rating, and then a short sentence describing the movie. Also, about 3/5 of the movies have reviews, which you can see by clicking on them.

If you’re looking for a book to read, then the Book Reviews page  is where you wanna look. I’m sure you can find something scary!

Have a great October and get ready for Halloween!