Twilight Book Review/Movie Review

I finally got around to reading Twilight and watching the movie again. Boy, did I notice the difference. I finally felt the pain that Bella felt in New Moon when Edward leaves her, simply because the Edward in the book is so much more, passionate and loving towards Bella than Edward in the movie. Both Edwards were still afraid of hurting Bella, but the movie Edward seemed to keep closed and just not want to be emotional towards her at all (or the acting was just bad).

Bella’s eccentric mother is going to be traveling around with her new husband a baseball player, and so she sends her daughter to live with her father Charlie whom Bella has never seen in quite a few years. Both her and her father are quiet people, but Charlie tries to keep bella happy by buying her a truck and fixing up some of the small house. There were only 358 kids at Forks high school, so Bella can no longer just blend in, especially being the new girl that nearly all of the guys had a crush on.

Jessica, one of Bella’s first female friends, explains that the mysterious Cullens had moved to Forks 2 years prior and that they kept to themselves. However in Biology Bella is forced to sit next to Edward, and he acts quite mysteriously as if she is the most disgusting thing that he’d ever smelled. He disappears for a few days but when he returns their hands brush over each other and  it feels as if sparks flew between them.

Charlie gives Bella snow tires on her truck, but she doesn’t realize this until she gets to school and goes around the back of her truck to see them, unlike in the movie where he tells her. Tyler, his tires without the snow chains on them, nearly slides into Bella killing her. Edward leaps in front of her saving her life, but then sweeping her into a supernatural whirlwind. Boy after boy asks her out but she turns them all down in order to focus on Edward. Edward saves her yet again when she goes to Port Angeles and a group of men attempt to attack her, and she finally gets the opportunity to ask him some questions.

Edward explains that that he can read minds, and in the car away from the prying waitress tells her basically all she needs to know about being a vampire. He is nervous when Bella speaks about the Quileute legend, but neither denies nor affirms its validity. He promises that he cares for Bella just as much as she cares for him, seems pained to even leave her even so long as for his classes, and so their love story begins.

Edward in the movie does no justice to the Edward from the books. Edward from the books showed greater control over his thirst, greater love for Bella, and far more personality than Edward from the movie. He acted more like a teenager, sneaking off to meadows to try to make out before his “vampirey instinct” kicked in and he had to stop until he calmed himself down. He complimented Bella far more on her looks, even if she was wearing a simple blouse and a skirt, and their kisses in the book made her faint, go crazy, or stopped her heart.

The more I read this book the more I compared it to the movie I had seen beforehand and became saddened as I realized how watered down the movie had been. There is a stigma around the Twilight franchise, but I feel that some of the stigma could have disappeared if the movies had kept more of the book information in them. I will have to give totally different ratings from the books to the movies for once, simply because the difference is so adamant.

Overall Rating Book: 4.5/5

Overall Movie Rating: 2.5/5

The Cage Review

Cora Mason was on her way to the first real family vacation she had in years in wintry Virginia. Now, somehow, she wakes up in the midst of a red desert in punk rock clothes that she never owned. Trying to remember what her father’s guard had told her in case she was kidnapped for ransom because of her father’s political position, she stays in one place and waits for someone to find her. After awhile of sitting there with no one even visible in the distance, she travels from the desert and magically appears on a beach with a dead girl.

Lucky wakes up near a beach, and when he reaches the beach he sees the girl who’s life he ruined. The girl that he sent to juvie for 18 months for some type of accident.

When he goes to meet her, they notice that they are both tagged with some type of black marking on their necks. . He sees that the dead girl has bruises on her arm showing sign of a struggle, and so he pairs with Cora to travel into the city.

Once they reach the city, they meet large New Zealand boy named Leon, a genius boy from London named Rolf, and an emotional Thai girl who worked as a model in London named Nok. Rolf notices all the big black windows with shadows behind them, suggesting that they are being watched.

When Rolf solves a puzzle in the candy shop, candy flies out of the machine for anyone to grab. Another puzzle  is solved in a different shop, tokens come out so that you could buy something from a “toy store”. After their meals start arriving, they realize that they are being kept for some unknown purpose. When their “Caretaker” arrives in order to tell them the rules of the place, they notice that his skin looks metallic and that his eyes are black, he is not human. What scares them more are the 3 rules, they must solve puzzles to gain tokens, they must maintain their health, and they must have sex (conduct “reproductive activities”)  within the first 21 days of being in the area.

Cora grabs the Caretaker as he is transported out of the habitat, and is teleported outside where she sees that the supposed habitat is simply a cage for them. Once the caretaker seems to be on her side and helps the other aliens not to kill her immediately for insubordination, she gets back into what is now the cage and tries to work with the others in the group to escape this place. However escape will be a struggle, because this place is not purposefully horrible, but instead is also satisfying and a paradise to some members of the group.

Throughout the book, we explore the human psyche as they are trapped by these aliens, hear about stories outside the habitat when eventually the dead girl is replaced by a girl who’s lived with them before, and explore the interesting backstories for each character. All the children come from different walks of life and are having different experiences within the Cage, some love the idea of not having to provide anything for themselves and simply surviving happily, some cannot fathom the idea of not being in control and constantly fighting for their rights.

I enjoyed this book by Meghan Shephard, albeit not as much as the Madman’s Daughter trilogy. It took me awhile to get past the seemingly slow first 100 pages into the fast paced action of the rest of the book. I enjoyed learning about each of the individual character’s stories although I wish we had heard more from the characters of Leon and the girl who shows up later. The book does not finish up nicely, but in facts leaves off on a cliffhanger for the next book in the series, which is unlike the Madman’s Daughter trilogy where I read the first book and could have possibly been completely satisfied.

I liked the character Cora’s strength as she did the time for a crime that she hadn’t committed, but by the same token I disliked Nok’s lack of strength even after going through her modeling job. The book shined a light on child exploitation in four completely different ways, but did not spend as much time speaking about them as they could have.

I hope that the next book in the series ties up all the loose ends, and possibly holds more of an attraction for me so that I don’t spend any time reading it and feeling like a chore.

Overall rating: 4/5

Orleans Review

Imagine a dystopian United States where the Gulf Coast States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas are cut off by a huge wall. The reason for this includes hurricanes pounding this area almost yearly from 2005 onward. Every time the areas rebuilt, another hurricane slammed them, making them start over. After this, the Fever swept across these states and took the lives of many citizens. The incurable disease starves the body of nutrients through the blood, making a victim want to eat dirt to try to get nutrients from it. A person who suffers from it won’t last very long, even with blood transplants.

In the Outer States, the loss of the states inside the wall has driven the South to poverty, and despite their best efforts the Fever has also reached the Inner States. Daniel’s younger brother is taken by this disease, and it as just as incurable as it was 50 years earlier before the wall in the Gulf States. He was determined to find a cure in the name of his brother who died in less than a week due to this disease, but the one he finds after years of work only kills the Fever victims in 2 days instead of a week. He believes that by crossing the wall and going into the Delta region where the fever  originated, he will be able to find the last ingredient to make his cure work. Consulting with a old smuggler that made many trips over the wall, he receives a suit that is self containing so he won’t need to eat or find water in the area since he would be infected with the fever.

Fen is a girl who lives in the Delta region that has now been split into tribal groups. The O positives and O negatives are hunted almost daily by blood hunters because the As, Bs, and ABs want the blood to try and live a little longer with the fever. She is a member of the O positive tribe that is led by Lydia, the one girl who showed the orphan Fen some mercy, and is leading as good a life as she can live in the Delta hell. Lydia, about 9 months pregnant, is trying to make a pact with the O negative tribe in order for them both to be safe. However, during their tribal meeting, ABs attack. ABs have the worst symptoms as they are basically born with the Fever by living in the Delta and end up suffering some of the symptoms and pain without actually dying. They take drugs and blood in order to try to cope with the pain of survival, but that means that they are not in their right minds when they attack and scatter/kill a lot of the members of both tribes.

Lydia goes into labor when they are being attack, has a difficult birth and dies, so Fen must escape with Lydia’s newborn and try to live life as best as possible. This is difficult because people who have O blood and don’t have a tribe to protect them will die very quickly in the Delta. When she and Daniel cross paths, she wants to find a way to get the newborn over the wall before she is infected, and Daniel needs her help to get through the war torn Delta. The two of them go on a long adventure, and discover the darker secrets of what’s really going on with the cure of the Fever in the Delta.

The main problem I had with this book was the fact that it did not truly explain what happened to each blood type in the Fever, or why the blood types had to stay apart in tribes besides the fact that they attacked the O’s. This is not a series but a standalone novel, but the novel finishes itself up nicely without too many loose ends. I also wanted to hear more about the other areas that had been affected by the wall such as Florida or Texas, but this story only focuses on “Orleans”. Daniel’s backstory was glossed over, and the whole story of the Inner States did not receive as much attention as it should have, as they have supposedly turned their back on the Outer States completely.

This story is a unique dystopian story written for teens, with a strong female main character only held down by her horrible circumstances. I was happy to see as I read it that there was not going to be any romance, but it was simply an adventure story between a scientist and a girl with knowledge of the area. Never did we hear her actual age if she knew it, her backstory could make you estimate that she was a teen but she could have been anywhere between the ages of 12 and 20, making her a character relate able to a variety of ages. When the tribes were introduced it seemed as if it could have been just a new form of racism, which could have been cleared up if the disease was further explained, but nevertheless as I read I noticed how each tribe felt like a family no matter how messed up the fever made it. Altogether, although the book felt disappointing in some areas and confusing in others, the story was sweet and I really enjoyed spending time in that alternate universe.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Rock And Riot Webcomic Review

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I was not expecting to find this. I was looking at a random cartoon on YouTube that had popped into my recommended when this was “Up Next”. I saw the name, Rock and Riot Love Follies Pilot, and I thought that this would be pretty interesting to watch. I was treated to a lovely short love story between the African American girl in the gang pictured above, and a white girl with blond hair and in a pretty pink dress. If anyone wants to go see the beginning of the new webseries, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l8xbqvFPYI

Then I saw in the description the link to the webcomic, and I decided to go and read it. The webcomic started being written in 2015 and has 14 chapters now, updated biweekly. It tells a whimsical tale, akin to the high school stories of the 50s with the greasers and the gangs, except there is a guy gang and a girl gang. The whole story is based upon the premise of an LGBTQ version of the old movies such as Grease. Every, and I mean every character has a unique backstory, all the relationships are sweet and representative of all, and the characters although they have their flaws are all quite likeable. I spent a full hour this afternoon simply reading this amazing comic.

I will most likely be reviewing the webseries individually, first starting off with Love Follies and then updating whenever the author Chelsey Furedi decides to post more videos. This comic has tackled tough subjects of homosexual relationships, transgender, racism, asexual, bisexual, and non binary people in a tactful manner that I have come to love. I reccommend this to anyone looking for a lighthearted and fun read, and the link to her site is http://rockandriotcomic.com

Overall Rating: 6/5

Call the Midwife Review Seasons 1-2

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I think that this show is one of my favorite shows that I have ever seen. It is based off of former Nurse Jenny Lee’s book about working in the poverty-stricken East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s. The main characters are Jenny Lee, Trixie Franklin, Camilla or Chummy, and Cynthia Miller.

The show tackles the issue of mothers giving birth at home in the poverty stricken neighborhood. Most mothers wanted to give birth around the house where they could be near their support system such as their mothers. This became a problem for the nurses as they tried to make sure that everyone had a clean place with space to give birth but most of them did not.

Jenny Lee moved there to join the league of midwives that had a weekly clinic to check up on the mothers, run the home visits, and also help with the birthing of the children. In Poplar, there was almost always pregnant women, and not only that but the society was nearly run by women because they were all taking care of the children while the husbands often were out at sea fishing.

The midwives were comprised of the main characters, along with nuns that lived at the Parish House, and so they all slept in the same quarters and ran their business out of there. They rode bikes around Poplar to get to all their deliveries, and answered the phone inside in order to send out the midwives.

Many problems could occur in the birth, and without the full time hospital care these women were the best medical care that the mothers could receive. Some of the issues with birthing that the show covered were disorders such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, babies being born in the wrong position, mother hemorrhaging, and  even twins/triplets which could take a toll on a mother that didn’t have any type of pain relief medication available.

The show tackles the growing problem of racism in Poplar, when they had to service an African woman who’s husband was off at sea although the neighbors were against it, or when a mother slept with a black man so she and her white husband had a black baby to take care of. They have teenage motherhood, told through the eyes of a teenage prostitute who is afraid that she will be forced to have an abortion. Abortion is a big issue on the show, as it was not safe for women to have them as the tools that they used to get rid of the baby were primitive, unclean, and unsafe.

The midwives bond together through their work, through the joys and sorrows of child birthing, as they face the sadness of one of the extremely bright nuns deteriorating mentally as she became older. They have to do some of the toughest work with some of the most basic tools, and they do their best to serve the women of Poplar.

I love this show, as it is based on true stories and shows yet another example of strong women saving the lives of possibly thousands through their tireless and dedicated work. Although they were not recognized for quite some time, this show definitely shows them justice as their lives are portrayed through the actors and actresses and we in the present day get to see one of the most accurate depictions of early medical care. I would recommend this show to absolutely anyone, because everyone can take something from it and learn from the lives of these influential women.

Overall Rating: 6/5

I Am Number 4 Book Review

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Another book fallen victim to what I like to call the Percy Jackson effect, great books but horrible movies. I could not even make it past the first couple of minutes in the movie, so I will not be reviewing it here, simply the book.

I am number 4 is a sci fi novel about aliens with special gifts called legacies escaping their environmentally fresh planet called Lorien when other aliens called Mogadorians try to take it over. The Mogadorians are kind of like an early version of current world citizens, knowing they have an environmental problem but refusing to fix it until its too late and they have to take over another planet in order to survive. Citizens of Lorien did the opposite and now have a fresh planet and are blessed by the planet with their Legacies.

John, as we know him in this book, is one of the 9 that escaped the invasion the day the Mogadorians came to Earth, and is meant to try to go back to restore Lorien to its former glory. However, the Mogadorians have come to Earth and are hunting down the 9 one by one in some strange numerical order that they have. John knows that he is going to be the fourth to die, and so him and his protector Henri have to go to Ohio to try to escape them for as long as possible.

John falls in love with a girl named Sarah at his school, becomes best friends with a boy named Sam who is ironically obsessed with science fiction and aliens, and he is beginning to settle in. At the same time, his Legacies begin to appear since he turned 15 and he gains the power of being fireproof and also is supposed to have the power of telekinesis which he struggles with. He thinks that he might be able to stay in his current place awhile, but with a strange article in Sam’s alien magazine appears he realizes how much danger he is actually in.

I will admit. This novel has a slow start to me. I struggled to make it past the first 100 or so pages, but after that the book picks up the pace and I found myself drawn in. I enjoyed the small teenage romance brewing under the secrets of John and his life. I admired how John befriended Sam, a formerly quiet and lonely boy. The bond of Henri and John only grew throughout the book as John started to step into his own personal responsibilities as the fourth hero. I am not sure how I will do with the rest of the series as I struggled quite a bit more than I would have liked with this book, but if all goes well I should be able to finish the Lorien Legacies series.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Cherub Book 3: Maximum Security Review

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The third mission that James is going on may be his most difficult yet. John originally wanted to punish him for getting into trouble around the Cherub base, but then this mission came up and it would be far more dangerous than any recruitment mission. Jane Oxford, a thrill seeker, has been illegally selling US weapons since the 1970s at around 20 years old, and now she has been on the most wanted list of the FBI for at least 20 years. She is almost always completely unreachable, and untraceable as her work is pristine, but as of now she has a kid who is in prison for going on a joyride and shooting 3 people when he escaped his military school. James must go with a slightly older Cherub spy Dave into a maximum security prison with possible child murderers, escape with Jane’s 14 year old son Curtis, and infiltrate Jane’s system in order to use Curtis to capture her. 

Within the first day of being in the maximum security prison, one of the inmates has tried to stab James as he returns from using the restroom. James breaks his neck in the middle of the fight but since everyone thinks that Dave did it he gets thrown into the hole. The hole is a cell where you are completely naked, no food, no toilet, no light, and they simply hose you down once a day. Since Dave had broken a few ribs before being shoved down there, he ended up getting hurt pretty badly before being pulled out and put into hospital for the rest of the mission. Now it is James’ job to get both him and Curtis out of jail without any inside help besides the adults that are on the mission.

I really enjoyed this story in the Cherub series because of the prison setting, and delving into the live of Curtis, a child who has killed people, and trying to see what made him the way he was. Lauren goes on the mission with them, although she does not come in until later on in the book, and she grows as a character from being the 10 year old girl who used to get the whole team in trouble into a useful top agent. 

The main thing that I still dislike about the book is the shakiness of James’ character. He wants to act as if he is mature to go on missions in some ways, but at the same time wants to take a joyride in the first car that they receive. *spoiler alert* He wants to get a girlfriend but then cheats on her for the second time in the series in this book. *spoiler over* With a little more stability in James’ character, I feel that he will become a far more like-able character for me. 

Overall Rating: 4/5

A Cold Legacy Review (Madman’s Daughter Trilogy Book 3)

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Yes, I managed to finish this 380 page book in less than 24 hours yesterday. I really love this series, and I heard some hints online that it will be turned into a movie, so I will surely be watching that soon.

Juliet, Montgomery, Balthazar, Lucy, and Edward are now all living with Juliet’s official guardian Elizabeth in her private “von Stein” or Frankenstein mansion. All the men in the town save one are afraid of the mansion, so only girl servants who have been helped by Ms. Elizabeth occupy the mansion. Montgomery proposes to Juliet and all the girls of the mansion are ecstatic to be a part of the first and possibly only wedding they will see for a long time. Edward is still flashing between Beast and human, while Lucy is still in love with him hoping that someday he can be brought back as fully Edward.

Elizabeth has sworn that she is no longer doing the deeds of her past relatives, the Frankenstein family, and bringing the dead back to life. However, she lies as the little five year old boy Hensley is actually the reanimated version of the professor’s son. Also, the girls of the mansion are revealed to not be totally reanimated but having parts of them that were taken from dead bodies such as eyes, hands, legs, or other things.

As Edward’s health deteriorates, everyone is thinking about if there is a way to remove the Beast from him. The beast was created from Montgomery’s malaria-infected blood being combined with the brain of a diseased jackal, and so his whole second persona is truly only because of this infected part of the brain that he contains. A possible solution of this is for Edward to die, and then Elizabeth to bring him back after transplanting his brain, however this would be going against Elizabeth’s previous promise to herself to never bring back another whole creature besides Hensley and so she would not do it.

All the while, Juliet has been made heir to the Von Stein mansion with the girls, but a servant named Valentina who wanted to be the heir is jealous enough to try to turn Juliet in. The team is not only fighting time with trying to save Edward, but they are also trying to fight it when fleeing from their past.

The biggest problem I had with the story was Valentina’s backstory, although it contains spoilers I can plainly say that it was confusing and I could not tell whether I simply disliked her for being jealous or whether she had any saving graces. Also, Hensley being reanimated as he was seemed to have strange tendancies, whether he be 5 years old or not, reanimated or not. It seemed a big unrealistic.

This book even more grew upon the Juliet versus her father inner turmoil, which made me have a lot of respect for Juliet’s character as she fought off her inner demons. Lucy went from a flighty teenage girl to one of the most determined characters I have seen in a book, whether it be as a cause of her love for Edward or simply her growing as a person. Montgomery changed from still a servant whose distrust for Juliet nearly overturned his love for her to a man who is ready to marry her.

This was an amazing end to the series, I definitely plan to try and buy these books, and I hope that the movie is really in production so that I can see it when it comes out (hopefully soon!). I will be giving this book yet another outstanding rating, and I cannot wait to read more of Shepherd’s books.

Overall Rating: 6/5