Twilight by Stephanie Meyer 1/5 (Novel)
Honestly, why waste my time or words?
To Serve and Submit by Susan Wright 3.25/5 (Novel)
Most people will not like this book for the simple fact that sex plays a huge part in the MC’s life. Let me set the record straight: this isn’t book-porn. There is a story that happens to have sex in it. Sometimes it’s a paragraph summary, and sometimes it’s more. The book is in first-person narration, and for me, I typically hate and despise this type of style–a personal preference. The book is well-written, far better than the typical crap getting published today. Many famous authors just phone it in after they made a name for themselves, and people gobble it up. They are buying a name, not characters or stories. For me, this author has found a new fan, and that’s saying a lot coming from me as I am quite selective. I expect a certain level of quality in writing and story, and she delivered. Well done, Susan Wright.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas 3.75/5 (Novel)
Disclaimer: I despise 1st POV novels, but this one was fantastic! A friend and coworker recommended this book. SJM has a captivating writing voice from the first page, and the world she painted, both human and fae, were quite vivid and distinct in their own ways. I am a huge fan of villains, and I have to say that the main antagonist in the book was interesting and relatable … in a sociopathic way; so, right up my alley? Indeed, there is a moment when you feel sorry for the villain. The pace of the novel is middle of the road, not too fast, not too slow. Only a few instances of slight lag. SJM plays her hand well when she describes the fae world and the paintings, colors, etc. I like to be taken by surprise with my novels, but I guessed the ending well before arriving except for one final twist at the end. All turns leading up to the final one were called in advanced, but that is not to say that the novel is apparent either. I will be buying the rest of the trilogy and reading, and from what my coworker/ friend tells me, her other series is even better
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 4/5 (Novel)
I declare going in: I absolute detest first-person point-of-view books! Having disclosed my treacherous ways, this book genuinely gripped me, seamlessly switching from third-person point-of-view into first-person. I am also extremely picky about what authors I read as most bore me in the early stages with chalky, hastily-cobbled together words, more manufactured than artistic.
Rothfuss spins a splendid story, a rich tapestry of characters, strange, bizarre, and unexpected events, and immersive world. What unquestionably intrigued me is the character-driven story rather than plot-driven. By how smooth it reads, and the depth of his novel, you can tell he spent a lot of time perfecting his craft, writing out of passion than making a cash grab. I wish more authors wrote like Patrick, a slow burn that builds, layered, an ensemble if you will, with a more-than-satisfied conclusion.
The only downside to the book or the trilogy… is that the narrator is the main character and you know he survives, but the untold story between is the intriguing part.
I do not compare one author’s writing to another as it seems tactless and unfair to both, but I will say that Rothfuss has caught my attention, and kept it–which is by far harder–and I will continue reading him until he retires. I rank him relatively high on my short list (Martin cough, cough). Hopefully, his retirement is a long time from now in a galaxy far, far away. Do you hear me, Mr. Rothfuss? You are not allowed to retire! I demand you keep writing to entertain me!
All jests aside, absorb the book, immerse yourself, and enjoy the slow burn. I will definitely be reading this book many times for years to come
The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan 3/5 (Novel)
I purchase The Traitor Queen for my Kindle and absolutely loved it. I give this story or rather the conclusion of this story a 4 1/2 out of 5. I love the Black Magician Trilogy and the Traitor Spy trilogy, but my heart is really set on the original trilogy; any Star Wars fan can understand that concept. However, the focus of this particular trilogy and the last book definitely is about Lorkin and his life decisions. Sonea finally gets her chance to kick butt and Dannyl’s story comes full circle and to a close or a new beginning. As in any story, there comes a poignant point that affects you as a reader, but in this case, does not affect all characters in the story, at least until the very end. It is that part of the ending I wish would have been elaborated on more.
As far as the story, it is great and wraps things up rather nice and tidy. Personally, I would have loved it if all astronomical parts of hell had broken loose, but then again, I always cheer for the bad guy too. I love T.C.’s stories, this is no exception! So, again, all personal wants aside, the 7 novels (two trilogies and a stand-alone) flow quite nice, and just when you think you have all the answers, she throws you a nice curveball
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling 2/5 (Novel)
The third installment of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is what I referred to as the turning point or the beginning of the end. This book launches this series to its culmination. It also opens up a little bit more and Harry Potter’s world in regards to the Ministry of Magic and the actual family of Harry Potter about the Dursley’s. I find the third book better than the first two with a witty and twisting end that mark it a cut above the previous two novels.
This is the earlier stages of her writing, and therefore I do not think it is as great as her later books of the series. I do mark it above her first two, yet it falls short of the glorious stories of book 4, books 6, and book 7. However, to enjoy those later books, you must read book 3. If you are reading this to kids, then it is a great novel to read. If you are reading this as an adult, bear in mind that she was writing for children and not for an older audience. However, that is not to criticize her in any way.
It’s definitely worth the read if you are reading the series for the first time, or want to reread the series for nostalgia sake. However, as for me, when I reread the Harry Potter books I will probably just start with four and go to the end. Again, not criticizing but that is the meat of her series in her last four books, and it is rather simple and easy to remember what happens in the first three.
CompTIA Security+: Get Certified, Get Ahead by: Darril Gibson 4/5 (Book)
That was a heck of a tome. I have a higher than average knowledge of computers, but I was a newbie when it came to security issues. I can’t tell you how much I learned. It is dense and dry reading unless you have a passion for IT like I do for fantasy. This is the first nonfiction book I have read in a decade. I especially liked the author’s ‘side-bar’ where it was story time, and I got to see real events and how they unfolded. There is also great little subsegments of “Remember This.” I have nothing to base this against other than old college textbooks, and those were terrible. I’d read this a second time before I ever cracked another college book open. I give it a solid 4.5, but again, take it with some … er, salt?
Batman Begins: 4/5 (Movie)
What a great rebirth of a dead franchise after Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Love this realistic movie with fresh villains and spectacular story. Christian Bale nails it as Batman, and Nolan hits it out of the park.?
Alita: Battle Angel: 4/5 (Movie)
Great film, strong hero, a movie with heart and a good story. Not without its flaws, like every film, but buy worthy. Some moments were the cringe-worthy “Why are they doing this?” moments, but they also treat the reactions to those in the way you would expect. Love the supporting cast, though there are moments of blandness to the portrayal. Superb twists and has a darker tone not fully explored. Best part, it is an entertaining flick without being preachy or political motivations or social agendas. It’s a film that most people have been waiting on. Go support this movie. Don’t let it go down in obscurity. I will be watching it again in theaters and will definitely be buying it. This is the kind of movie I’d watch with my kids, much like the original Star Wars trilogy.
The Last Jedi: 0.5/5 (Movie)
The only positive of this movie is how beautiful each shot is. A more in-depth look peels back the pretty wrapping to reveal the heaping trash compactor beneath. The continuity of this film is that there isn’t any continuity. Lucasfilm would be better served by either retconning this film or pretending it never happen, much like Star Trek Beyond did with Into Darkness. Poor storytelling and horribly-written characters make this movie fall flat. The faceplant isn’t complete without the complete dismissal or denial of logic, science, character arc, or what came before. In the hopes of subverting expectations, Rian Johnson (the director) crafted elements that broke the canon of the entire Star Wars universe. Many have come out in defense of some choices, saying they are explained away in TLJ novel–if it’s not apparent to movie-goers, the people who fund the movie, then it’s a moot point. Not everyone who watches the film will go out and buy the novel, so the excuse is just that, an excuse.
The subplot underpinning the movie unravels at its culmination, as the duo’s sidequest, Finn and Rose, does not accomplish what they set out to do. Worse, the quest ends in a manner that both Finn and Rose profess wouldn’t work. Finn had potential in the end, and of all the characters that carried over from The Force Awakens, his was presented the best. Others did not get away unscathed as they suffered from emasculating counterparts.
The female characters in this movie were atrociously written and give the viewer no cause to root or care for them. Screen time for each turned into a modern, politically-motivated moment to emphasize the personal beliefs of the crafters rather than constructing a grand narrative worthy of the Star Wars title. Unfortunately for women everywhere, they do not have heroes to look up to from this movie, as all women were shown to be incompetent. Even the heroes of the OT era did not come away unscathed.
If you are excited to see this film, you may enter with high hopes, but this is where franchises, childhood dreams, and heroes go to die. The art of subversion is lost due to Rian Johnson’s impotent writing skills. The entire movie is set up to make viewers disregard all that has come before, to forget the past and forge ahead anew, only to turn around and hand you the very things it promised not to deliver. When all is in ashes, and the emptiness of the experience resonates, you will realize how utterly The Last Jedi fails. Save your money and your heartache; rent if you are brave, and definitely don’t buy.
The Empire Strikes Back: 5/5 (Movie)
The pinnacle of expounding on great storytelling in the continuation of the mythological-film that changed everything. Villains reach epic heights in their attempt to catch the Rebels, and heroes see bottomless lows as the Empire haunts their steps. The next chapter examines protagonists as they change from adolescents in this coming of age story. Every-man Luke Skywalker takes an unexpected turn on his Rebellion-led path and emerges haunted by the murky truth and lies crafted around him. Leia is faced with peril and revelations she cannot acknowledge except in the height of stress. Han’s smug bravery and brashness are put to the test as our favorite scoundrel comes to terms with his past and destiny. The Star Wars saga lives on in this film, reaching herald heights none of us could ever quite anticipate or imagine. The stories from a galaxy far, far away will teach generations henceforth the craft of modern mythology, ethos, and pathos. Many movies will strive to achieve this capstone, but none will dethrone this majestic champion.
The Dark Knight: 5/5 (Movie)
It is rare that movies can be near-perfect, and this crafted film is the embodiment of flawless. Taking established characters and reinventing them with a fresh take subverts audience and fan expectations and drives home the originality. The only thing that can rival the epic heights of Ledger’s eerie portrayal is the incredible musical score by Hans Zimmer. This movie builds off the first installment as a continuation of the same story, and Nolan’s interpretation of the great anti-hero takes an unexpected twist, providing fans with an epic finale that most movie-goers have not seen since the infamous Empire Strikes Back. The satisfying conclusion will leave you wanting more as the somber tones stay with you long after the credits roll. What most? don’t realize upon first viewing is that the film ends with a victory tallied for the Joker, and Batman taking on a villain-esqe role to cement a peace built on an epic lie. This movie is a masterful must-see!