It’s ok to DNF

Sometimes you start a book and it’s not all you hoped it would be. Sometimes you power through and finish it anyway, but sometimes that feels a bit like pulling teeth.

I don’t know what it is, but I always feel bad if I DNF something. It’s like an obligation to the author and all the people that put so much effort into the book that I do my duty as a reader, writer, and reviewer to finish the book. But sometimes, there is a book that’s problematic or boring or just plain bad and it no longer feels worth it to review and promote something that makes you feel like pulling teeth.

After I finished Dream Waters which was something that I didn’t particularly care for, for a lot of reasons, I had a Netgalley review copy to read. I started it. But, right away I didn’t like the vibe. Then I looked into the reviews and I just didn’t have the energy for a book like that one. It was problematic in a lot of ways. The main character wasn’t like able, but that wasn’t the issue. There was weird relationships with older men. A general idealization of men in general. As well as many other negatives that many reviews pointed out.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep going. I’d read about 4 chapters and I couldn’t read another word. I wanted to read something good and right after the book I read was incredible. Something with great representation and solid history. I loved it. I felt good about reviewing it. I dreaded reading and reviewing the other book.

However, you don’t have to have a particular reason to not finish a book. If you don’t want to read something you don’t have to. You don’t have to explain it or give a discussion like mine. You just stop reading and forget about it. It’s ok to DNF. That’s a reminder to myself as much as to all of you.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Dream Waters: A Review

Dream Waters by Erin A. Jensen

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Cover Rating: 5/10 stars, this kind of cover isn’t typically what attracts my attention. The color is pretty, but otherwise it’s a pretty standard cover. It’s also a little misleading. I thought this was a ya book when I first saw it and didn’t realize it was adult till a ways into the book.

Publisher: Dream Waters Publishing

Publish Date: April 4th, 2016

Number of Pages: 418

Received: Giveaway

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

A contemporary fantasy that blurs the lines between dream and reality, fairy tale and history, love and obsession, Dream Waters is the first book in the Dream Waters series. 

All his life, Charlie Oliver has watched the people around him morph into creatures that no one else sees. Unlike the rest of the world, Charlie remembers the Waters that transport him to the Dream World each night. And he sees glimpses of people’s Dream forms in the waking world. Condemned to spend his waking hours in a psychiatric facility because of his Dream Sight, Charlie doesn’t expect anything to change. But everything starts changing the day Emma Talbot walks through the door in the middle of a group therapy session. 

Haunted by memories of the events that led to her admission, Emma plans to end her life the first chance she gets. But something about Charlie stops her. From the moment they shake hands, his friendship feels safe and familiar. As Emma begins to let down her guard, Charlie catches a glimpse of the fiery-eyed dragon that lurks behind her Dream form. Each night, as Emma dreams of the man who’s been banned from visiting, Charlie searches the Dream World for the monster that shadows her. But when Emma’s suppressed memories begin to surface, Charlie finds more monsters than he bargained for.

Opening Sentence: If anyone had told me when I woke up that morning that my life was about to change forever, I’d have said they were crazy and considering the fact that I woke up in a psych ward, odds are I would’ve been right.

Musings:

So, there are a lot of things about this book that felt odd to me. The first being that I didn’t get the fact that this was an adult book until later as ages aren’t given till a bit into the book. The relationship between Emma and her husband which is one between a man who was an adult when she was a child and knew her all during that time and took her to his bed by the time she was 16. Which is something I’m not sure is properly reprimanded in this book. However, as I have not read any of the next books in the series I’m not sure how it will be handled in the future.

In general, while the concept was interesting, I felt it wasn’t fully realized in this book. It felt like an early draft of something that could have been much better, but never quite made it there.

The psych ward itself didn’t feel like a true representation of one, but more of a movie like idea of one with rules that made the plot fit.

Then there were the secrets that we never learn about Emma’s husband. Like, did he kill the girl that told Emma she was having an affair with him. Or why the hell no one went after him when Emma’s father found the two together before she was an adult.

There’s a lot of things in this book that makes me raise my eyebrow wondering why it’s even a thing. Especially after the ending. The ending made me question if they would ever properly reprimand the husband for grooming Emma to be his wife, because they give rights to have her under house arrest and then he gives Charlie a job.

I know this review is all over the place, but this book makes me go: ????

Charlie was the only thing I liked about this book and still even the way he was written still didn’t feel fully fledged.

All in all:

There are a lot of things I wish were different about this book. I wanted to like it, but I simply didn’t. It was entertaining at times, but there was too many things that felt unfinished and some things that was ended up completely up in the air. This book was not my cup of tea.

About the Author:

Erin Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. She was awarded the Bronze Medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite international book award competition. She also received Honorable Mention for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Writer’s Digest self-published e-book awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she resides in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two teenage sons–who are both taller than her–and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Wicked Saints: A Review

Wicked Saints (Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 a standard book cover. I like the darkness of it. It just doesn’t give me a wow factor. I do like that the kingdom is in the cover though. That’s pretty cool.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: April 2nd, 2019

Number of Pages: 385

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: An instant New York Times bestseller! 

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves and The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holytrilogy.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Opening Sentence: Death, magic, and winter. A bitter cycle that Marzenya spins with crimson threads around pale fingers. She is constant; she is unrelenting; she is eternal. She can grant any spell to those she has blessed, her reach is the fabric of magic itself.—Codex of the Divine, 2:18

The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars.”

Musings:

This book reminds me of why I love fantasy. A whole world in your fingertips that can be as dark and magical as you dream it to be. Emily writes such a tale. Something where everyone has their own agenda and manipulation and truth within lies makes world views shatter and the fate of whole kingdoms lying in the balance of all of it.

What I Loved:

The writing. There were some chapters of this book where the writing was positively addicting. The reason I say some is only because certain chapters were written like dreams and the elegance of those chapters shown, while others served the purpose of showing action and furthering the plot and that isn’t a bad thing. It made the book very well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable.

Falling for the wrong guy. It’s nice to see a story that shows someone making a mistake about the person they fall for. It happens to all of us and in this story it had some dubious consequences. Although I loved the attraction between Nadya and Malachiasz. I think I have a thing for male characters with M names “cough Morpheus cough Mephistopheles cough” with a penchant for magic and very charismatic personalities. It’s a sad that Malachiasz would probably kill me before showing me any sort of interest.

The unwinding of truth and lies. Nadya has lived her life incredibly sheltered. She lives to serve the Gods and has practiced a perfection of being and devotion that is tested and bent completely as the book unfolds. She uncovers lie after lie. Something about the way everything is revealed to her was sort of grossly beautiful to me. Because it makes me think what sort of incredible fury she will unleash in the next book. I want to see this girl rise and I have a feeling she will and I can’t wait to see it happen.

The magic itself. There isn’t really much limitation to how the magic in this world manifests. It does have limits from person to person, but in general there is a lot of variety to the spells that are very personal to who is casting. This makes for some beautiful scenes where the magic manifests in very unique ways that I really enjoyed.

All in all:

This book is a great one! The way things enfolded has me very excited about what is to come and what adventures await Nadya in the future! I love a book with intensity and Wicked Saints had that aplenty.

About the Author:

emily / XXVI / 
—NYT & Indie bestselling author of WICKED SAINTS and RUTHLESS GODS from Wednesday Books/Macmillan 

— purchase Wicked Saints here! 

—preorder Ruthless Gods here! 

— YA fantasy writer rep’d by Thao Le of SDLA 
evil!boyfriends / villains / metal music / Goth Life /

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 918

Avengers: Age of Ultron: A Discussion

Age of Ultron was another one of those films I didn’t appreciate to the full extent till another go-around. I liked it well enough the first time, but now, I feel that I understand and appreciate Age of Ultron so much more.

Age of Ultron is one of the more nuanced films in the MCU. The motivations of the various characters clash against each other and everyone is trying to do what they believe to be right and all of them have very different ideas of what that is.

Ultron himself has a twisted idea of “saving” the universe. Which umm.. has to do with destroying everything living on the earth.

Iron Man wants to put a ‘suit of armor’ around the world after being attracted by aliens in the battle of New York. This is what ends up creating Ultron in the first place, but also the next character I’m going to talk about: Vision.

Vision simply wants to be on the side of life. To be a bringer of peace. He doesn’t even want to kill Ultron, but knows it is necessary for the safety of the Earth.

The twins want peace for their country and vengeance for the death of their parents. Their parents were killed by a bomb that came from Stark industries and so of course they have a special hatred for Stark, but they change their minds after Scarlett sees into Ultron’s mind and find inside only destruction.

The Hulk or rather Banner helps out Tony, but not fully thinking it through. He is driven by the science, but doesn’t fully realize how far Tony was willing to go.

Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America are the damage control. They didn’t realize what was going on with the others, but once mistakes were made they came in to help reduce the damage done.

My favorite moments:

Every time Ultron was on screen made for great scenes. Slowly he became a more and more formidable opponent and he was so much fun to watch. His hatred for Tony despite speaking just like him was fascinating. I think one of the best parts of the films was how imprinted in Tony’s way of thinking Ultron is in simply a twisted way. He really is Tony’s creation in every sense. Yet the creation hates the creator and acts in a similar way, but just twisted towards darkness. I love that.

I think it took me watching all the other films to care more about this one simply because I see the evolving of everyone and how interesting it is that the line of morality in this film is so blurred. Seeing your heroes make mistakes remind you that they are as human as you are and how you can get this one twisted idea in your head and it transforms the way you see the world in a grayish manner. It’s the mistake of one bad experience coloring the rest of how you see a group of people or organization in life. It’s cool that that kind of social commentary can be made by watching this film.

In this film it’s not a battle between good and evil in the strictest sense. But a battle between the mind of doing what you think is right and your beliefs tailoring what decision you make.

This movie has some really incredible fight scenes and lots of action, but at its core it’s the exploration of the mind and morality that makes this movie great.

Also, the party scene was fantastic..

What a show captain put on.. no one believed him for a second. Least of all Thor. Though I would argue most of the Avengers should be worthy of the hammer. Everyone’s sacrificed much in the name of justice.

Also, I loved the little early Black Panther references. Like the one shown in this photograph and video:

https://youtu.be/oytnbiux_lk

Marvel is really good at fusing humor and seriousness into its films. Sometimes it’s a little jab of humor, but at the same time it always gets some sort of reaction out of me.

I very much have a higher sense of respect for this film and it’s not the best of the marvel universe by far, but it is great in its own way.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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-Till next time!

In Another Life: A Review

In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Cover Rating: 3/10 stars, I’m not really feeling this cover. I think the only thing that would attract me to it is the color. It doesn’t feel like it’s truly connected with the story in any real way other then to say things get a bit fractured in the novel. I wish they had gone in a different direction.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: March 26th, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?”

Opening Sentence: ““What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a convenience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living.”

Musings:

Reading this book brought up a lot of emotions in me. It was a story way more intense then my own, but I was taken by the similarities in feeling. Chole was happy with her situation for most of her life. Living with the family that loved her and gave her all that she could have ever wanted, but her parents divorce changed everything. Then, Cash comes into her life and her world is flipped inside out and upside down. When he presents the idea that she was the kidnapped child of his foster parents and slowly reveals to her his own checkered past she is thrown into a state where she doesn’t know what to believe.

What I Enjoyed:

The action. It’s slow building to this point, but it has many tense thriller moments. I really enjoyed the way the events added up and built suspense as the story went on.

How suspicious Cash always was. Cash had constant suspicions to the 10th degree. Sometimes, I had no idea where they were coming from. But, I enjoyed how he began to trust Chole slowly as time went on.

Watching the two come together. I liked the relationship between them. It was complicated yes. It brought up a lot of baggage in them both, but what mattered was the love that was there and they decided to be there for each other and accept each other as they were.

That Chole had a good relationship with her parents. Yes at times due to divorce that the relationships were strained. However, at the end of the day the love was there. It was nice to read an adoption story where the parents weren’t abusive.

All and All:

In Another Life is a unique read with curious situations and some really great writing. You’ll keep guessing what the real truth is till the very end.

About the Author:

C. C. Hunter is the American author of the Shadow Falls young adult novels. C.C. Hunter is a pen name. Under her real name, Christie Craig, she also writes romantic suspense novels. Born in Alabama, she now lives in Texas.

Thanks for reading! I meant to write and post this review ages ago. I procrastinated on this one a ton and I no longer remember why, but better late then never! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Watching: Men In Black: International

I needed a break from some stress and I really loved the comercial for MIB: International so of course I dragged my mom and my sister to go watch it, got them (and myself) to wake up early and have a grand time watching this comedic Sci-fi.

I sadly missed the first minute or so of the film because we were running a little late, but this film is mostly about Molly and I didn’t miss any part of her story and I kinda inferred that the part I missed was Agent H’s past and I kinda deduced that from the ending so I feel like I didn’t miss anything at all.

Anyway, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. I love how creatively the aliens were put together. There was these shoe teeth aliens and a giant starfish looking one and of course beard alien. Visually everything was weird and cool to look at which is something I love.

The personalities of the creatures too are a major part of what makes this film a fun watch. Specifically Pawny.. pawny is MVA/MVP of the whole film. I would watch this film again again just for him. The humor of the tiny pawn was literal gold.

Just look at the little guy he is “cute in an ugly kind of way” as one of the aliens in the film put it.

But again it’s the details that I find myself in love with in this film. Like small nods to Hemsworth’s role as Thor with a part where Agent H throws a hammer at an alien as well as this:

Which happens throughout the film.

Also, this bit about Agent H’s name being Henry which I wouldn’t have gained anything from unless I heard someone in the theatre behind me say “I knew it!” Very triumphantly. On further research it might very well be a nod to Henry McKay.. a real life man who has been conspired to have a real life men in Black encounter.

If that’s a real nod or not I did really enjoy the different relationship dynamics in the film that center around Agent H and Agent M, Agent M as Pawny’s Queen, Agent H and his erm.. unique, past lovers, and Agent H with senior Agent High T. Honestly, Agent H really seems to get around.. (I hate myself a little for saying this).

Without spoiling anything, I wanna say that I really enjoyed this film. It had some great action, Great funny moments (of which way too many are in the trailer, but whatever), and I know many nods to the previous films (which I’ve sorta saw as a kid, but I honestly don’t remember and can’t say what the nods are). All around it’s a humorous film and that’s all I wanted to see.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Let’s Talk About Fall

This is a 100% random post in every way shape and form, but it’s what I felt like talking about so it’s what will exist.

I woke up this morning, put on some new earrings (of which I now deem my October earrings) and thought to myself ‘Man I really miss the fall’. Before I wasn’t really sure what my favorite season was. I thought maybe summer or winter, but now I know in reality it’s fall.

I love the fall weather. I love how cosy it is. I love that it’s the time where you curl up with a cup of coffee and just sit and enjoy the cooler weather. I love how spooky it is. I love that Halloween is right around the corner. I love the excuse to celebrate the darker parts of life and reveal in them instead of hiding from them. I think I’m in love with fall.

I always get this amazing creative energy spike in the fall. I enjoy having the permission to explore the darker parts of my mind in a healthy way and sharing scary stories with others as well as creating them.

One of my favorite things to do is watch people play horror games online and there’s always a ton of them available to watch in the fall months. Games like FNAF, Doki Doki Literature Club, Until Dawn, and the hundreds of smaller indie games Youtubers play as one-offs.

Honestly, fall is the best.

Thanks for reading! This was a short and random post from me. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

You Asked for Perfect: A Review

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 9/10 it may not be in a style I typically find to be incredibly beautiful I think this cover is perfect for this book. This story is very School centric and this cover fits that vibe very well for me.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publish Date: March 1st 2019

Number of Pages: 288

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“For fans of Adam Silvera and Nina LaCour comes a timely novel about a teen’s struggle when academic success and happiness pull him in opposite directions. 

Senior Ariel Stone has spent his life cultivating the perfect college résumé: first chair violinist, dedicated volunteer, active synagogue congregant, and expected valedictorian. He barely has time to think about a social life, let alone a relationship…until a failed calculus quiz puts his future on the line, forcing Ariel to enlist his classmate, Amir, as a tutor. 
As the two spend more time together, Ariel discovers he may not like calculus, but he does like Amir. When he’s with Amir, the crushing academic pressure fades away, and a fuller and brighter world comes into focus. But college deadlines are still looming. And adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push Ariel past his limit. 
Full of empathy, honesty, and heart, You Asked for Perfect is a story for anyone who has ever questioned the price of perfection.”

Opening Sentence: “My feet pound the ground.”

Musings:

You Asked for Perfect is a fantastic novel. It perfectly encapsulates the anxiety of trying to be at the top academically in school. The pressure school provides on students to be perfect in order to get the best possible future for themselves they can and how that can reck all sorts of havoc on students mentally.

What I Loved:

Honestly everything. Personally this book managed to get me to miss school, but that’s just me. I loved the juggling act of trying to be there for your friends while at the same time juggling school and extra curricular activities. I loved the romantic elements of this novel. I loved how music played a part in this novel. I also loved that Ariel is Jewish and those elements. So pretty much everything about this novel was fantastic.

The portrayal of anxiety. I remember being in school and really struggling in AP Calc and having to drop it because it was too much for me along with my other honors and AP classes. Ariel scholar that he is pretty much aces everything and studies like a maniac. (I admit I was never one that study nearly as much as this character). But, the constant being on your phone. Testing yourself on mathway or quizlet. Reading material or listening to a audiobook while trying to accomplish some other homework assignment. Asking for extra credit (even if you don’t necessarily need it). Pushing yourself and then being super critical when you get a c or even a b. Feeling like a total and complete failure if you dare get an F. (I admit to crying on the occasion I got an F). Thinking each and every moment your in school you are working towards creating the best possible future for yourself. Essentially, this book showcases how in school aiming for perfection can at times bring you to a breaking point.

Ariel and Amir together. Ariel is bisexual and it was super cute to see him fall in love with Amir. Amir has this gentleness about him and this understanding that lets him have the ability to chill out Ariel. He is the one that calms Ariel’s storms and helps him to see that it’s ok to settle down the work load for a while. To have fun at times and to remember that your relationships with other people are just as important as preparing for your future.

The weaving of Jewish Traditions. I love it when books include some sort of religion in it. Especially if I don’t know too much about it. So, what intrigued me about this was the various foods and the times for prayer and the Shabbat dinner mostly. The family practice and unity aspects were very beautiful to me and I felt like I was learning about a different aspect of the religion I didn’t know before.

Remembering that everything is about perspective. Ariel puts in front of himself the need to be valedictorian in order to make it to an Ivy League college and make something of himself. But, he finds that all the expectations have been created by himself and himself alone. He perceives others to expect a certain level from him and perceives his parents to expect perfection from him, but in reality it’s all a response to what he said he himself wanted from himself. In other words his own mind created a cycle of needing perfection and creating that to be his identity and when he isn’t perfect he feels he doesn’t have anything else to show as his identity. This was a really deep and introspective part of this novel that was so interesting to read and think on.

His friendship. Ariel is best-friends with a girl and I love that they have their own little rituals and things they do together. I also love that she was fully fledged as a character and had her own goals and unique background and story. The author did an amazing job of making each character their own and having them come off as 3D full fledged characters.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend ‘You Asked for Perfect’. It’s really well written. It has a great story and a great message.

(Side note to those still in school)

I feel it necessary to say that this book really encapsulates what school was like for me. However, having been out of school for a while and having the opportunity to go to college has been taken away from me till I turn 25, I want to say this: you do not know what the future holds for you. So please enjoy the time you have now. Have fun and make friends and enjoy time with them now. Do your best, but don’t get stuck in feeling bad when your not perfect because you will have so many more opportunities in the future. Yes school is important, but it isn’t everything. Live your life to the fullest now and enjoy the opportunities you have now in the present moments. Take care of yourself and have fun. You’ll thank yourself later for it.

About the Author:

“Hello! I’m a writer and freelance editor. I currently split my time between Atlanta, Georgia and Brooklyn, New York. Thankfully both cities have good bagels.

My first novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the summer to care for her younger cousins. My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, explores the effects of intense academic pressure through the eyes of a teenage Valedictorian-to-be as he juggles school, friendships, and family. You can order both books from most retailers or request them from your local library.”

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Warrior Maiden: A Review

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it is a beautiful cover. I like the balance of it. It fits what the story is as a Mulan retelling.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publish Date: February 5th, 2019

Number of Pages: 320 pages

Received: the publisher provided a arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen of fairy-tale romance, and all I can say is—long live the queen!” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.”

Opening Sentence: “Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bow string taut.”

Musings:

I always have and always will have a soft spot in my heart for retellings. The Warrior Maiden is no exception. Something about being in the world of the familiar in a brand new way is awesome to me and I was happy to read this version of Mulan’s familiar tale.

What I Loved:

Mulan’s resourcefulness. I love a character that thinks outside of the box and sees opportunities where others would see blocks. She takes charge and works as hard as any of the men she fights alongside and it shows.

An interesting brotherly dynamic. Wolfgang and his brother are at an opposition. Wolfgang May be younger, but his elder brother is the black sheep of the family. Their shared guilt over a past event affects them both. One far more then the other and it leads the brother down a darker path.

The spirituality. There is a lot of mention of religion in this book and it’s nice to see. It explores sort of how Christianity was in the past and it was unique to think of how it’s changed and remained the same to this day.

What I Wished were different:

The closeness to the original. I felt like this story was a bit too similar to the original Mulan. It was different technically in the setting, but it essentially felt like the same story. It didn’t have enough of a twist to it for me.

Mulan’s and Wolfgang’s back and forth was slightly frustrating. I just wanted them to sit down and communicate clearly to each other how clearly it was they loved each other and they were both so stuck in their own heads that nothing happened most of the time. I think it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine when two people want nothing more then to love and support each other let weird thoughts and fears get in the way. I hate how something small can turn much larger and it prevents action from being taken. It is realistic, but it is frustrating.

No Mushu. This isn’t actually a concern. Having Mushu or some sort of other animal companion is something that makes me happy in general.

All in all:

I enjoyed the story. It had some action, a bit of romance, some lives being saved. It’s a sweet little adventure retelling and it was a very entertaining read.

About the Author:

“Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing’s Best award, and her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.”

Thanks to everyone for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Avengers: A Discussion

One of the world’s most beloved band of superheroes unites for the first time in The Avengers to make their stand against Loki the God of Mischief.

As always in these films there is some level of in-fighting. This time it’s Hawkeye fighting alongside Loki thanks to the mind control abilities of Loki’s staff. But, also a bit of fighting between black widow and The Hulk. Then of course there was everyone against Loki. Then, everyone against everyone in their battle of wits filled with too much testosterone. I guess in a way there’s nothing more fantastic then the good guys fighting each other and then putting aside the fight in the name of justice. Plus, a lot of their fights between each other can be pretty funny so it’s fun in that way too.

But hands down one of my absolute favorite scenes to ever grace a Marvel film ever is the one where the Hulk smashes the crap out of Loki. When I first saw this scene I was in tears of laughter. I love it.

Watch it for yourself here:

https://youtu.be/31ZjnrHR8EA

It is pure gold.

What I find to be interesting about The Avengers is that you can split it up into parts. The beginning where all the main players are gathered up on the ship. A very long middle part where they are on the ship and fighting mostly with their conversation until they finally do battle on the ship. Then, the battle where the heroes all come together in New York where Loki summons these Alien things that are apparently called Chitauri. I know this is a little bit picky, but I felt those two beginning parts where a little slow. It’s what makes this film not quite make it on my favorites list of all the marvel films, but still it does have great humor and one of my favorite scenes ever so.. take that as you will.

But, for sure my favorite parts of the film were the battles. Especially the final one. It’s where the heroes themselves finally believe that working together is actually possible and they do work together seamlessly. Captain America comes into his own and leads the entire thing. The Hulk kinda excepts himself and uses his power to his full potential. Hawkeye and black widow fight with their typical badassery. Iron Man sacrifices himself (again). Thor uses his lightning to an amazing affect. Together they realize that they do make quite the team.

There was something so beautifully cinematic about that last New York battle where they fought the threat and still did their best to protect the people who were there and afraid. Then the way they added the newscast to the film at the end where people shared their gratitude, but also their fears and it felt very true to life if superheroes were real in society today.

All in all, the original Avengers film sets up the team of a lifetime. It sets the tone of humor and interaction that we see again and again in later films. It’s the beginning of the greatness that shines brightly in the later films of the franchise. This film is fun, witty, and a great ride. I enjoyed watching it immensely!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!