The scariest things are always what you don’t see.
This movie starts out pretty harrowing right from the start. It’s easy to relate to Cecelia as she desperately tries to put her plan of escape into action. I found myself holding my breath as she checked continually to make sure Adrian was still asleep. And I came close to jumping out of my skin when she kicked over the dog’s bowl.
Having said that, because of the movie’s close focus on Cecelia, I found it difficult to see the other characters as people in their own right. They seemed to exist solely for the purpose of driving Cecelia’s story forward. There was little about their history with each other. With her. Cecelia talks about how strong her sister is. That she has to control everything. Yet very little of that is actually shown.
The feeling of isolation Cecelia experienced in the movie came across very clearly. I didn’t really feel she went through a satisfactory journey. The ending wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the path she took to get there didn’t really make a whole lot of sense.
The movie was intense to watch, but at the end, it felt like that was it. No real sense that the characters would continue past that point.
Something about the movie kind of just felt flat. I was looking forward to watching it, but it just didn’t resonate with me.
I’ve been going to so many conventions, I figured that starting 2020, I’d start blogging about them.
I only attended LFCC Spring on the Saturday and went with my niece on the coach, getting up at 5am in order to get on the coach at 6.20am.
So we got to London, got to Kensington Olympia for 9.30am. The doors were opening at 9, so I figured we’d get there after the majority of people had got inside.
Well… That didn’t happen. It was after 10 before we even got inside the building. And then there were bag checks. Which we both passed, though I was asked who needed so much Pepsi Max. Believe me, by the end of the day, I needed all the energy I could get!
As soon as me and my niece got inside, we picked up our diamond passes. I had those for Christopher Lambert and Mark Dacascos, while my niece had a diamond pass for Robert Englund.
My first interaction of the day was with Casper Zafer. He was so incredibly nice. He complimented my hair, which my sister had dyed for me Thursday night. He also wished me happy birthday for today, the 1st March. And he was my first photo of the day, too.
Casper played Finn in the Vampire Diaries and the Originals. So far, I have autographs from three of the original vampires and photos with two.
It’s worth noting that I had great experiences with all of the actors at this con. I’ve had actors who don’t acknowledge me at all and will even have a conversation with someone else while signing. But at this particular event, my favourite encounter was with Ivana Baquero, who played Eretria in the Shannara Chronicles and the main character in Pan’s Labyrinth.
I don’t tend to ask for quotes or character names on my autographs. The only thing I’ll ask for is personalisation. But when an actor chooses to add more than just my name and their signature, it means a lot. And Ivana included a quote from Eretria. And remembered me from the photo.
‘There can be only one.’
I loved Highlander, the movies and the TV series. And getting to meet Connor MacLeod’s actor was truly amazing. Probably shouldn’t have been grinning with my head about to be cut off, though.
This was the photo included in my diamond pass.
Mark Dacascos was one of the actors whose queue was a long one. I wanted to meet him primarily because of the television series The Crow. But also the movie Double Dragon.
He was talkative and engaging. Completely great with the fans.
There weren’t that many people getting photos with Robert Emms, which was quite surprising to me. I enjoyed his portrayal of Pythagoras in Atlantis and got to have a bit of a chat with him.
Tom Hopper, the Umbrella Academy. Yes, he is really that tall. Or maybe I’m just that short. I bought my niece an autograph from him as well. We got into a debate about Luther’s actions. Me and my niece, not me and Tom. She hates the character, while I just felt he was trying to do his best.
I got two extra autographs, one from Anna Shaffer and the other from MyAnna Buring. Both from The Witcher and both extremely great to meet.
By the time me and my niece had finished photos and autographs, there wasn’t much time for browsing. I’d missed out on the Brothers Trust stall, which I had wanted to look at. And our feet ached due to constantly going back and forth.
I did manage to get two books, both signed by their authors. My niece got quite a few items, with her final purchase being a Game of Thrones shirt ten minutes before closing.
The only real issues with the day were the delay going in and the photo times being randomly changed, a fact I discovered ten minutes before my first photo, which had only a five minute slot. But I did enjoy the day. Me and my niece got to spend it together. And despite multiple cancellations, we still got a lot of photos and autographs between us.
So, Maleficent 2. Firstly, while the character of Prince Philip did eventually grow on me, it was difficult to see him as the same Philip from the first movie, due to him being played by a different actor. I also felt he didn’t really play a big role in this movie until the end. In the first movie, it was clear that he and Aurora didn’t really know each other, so it would have been good to get some idea of the growth of their relationship.
Maleficent was by far the most three-dimensional character in this movie, at least in my opinion. It was really great to see a bit more of her abilities and learn about the dark fey. And I really liked being able to see the differing opinions of her kind. Those who wanted peace and those vehemently opposed to it.
The visuals were stunning in this movie. I loved how the wings were shown on Maleficent and her kind. Seeing them all in flight was especially amazing. And I would have enjoyed seeing more of the individual dark fey, like the teacher. I particularly liked him.
I wasn’t really that fond of Aurora’s aunties. They were very flighty and didn’t seem to play much of a role until towards the end.
It was interesting to see the differing opinions on the Moorlands and how the humans didn’t really know what to make of Maleficent. It was very obvious who the bad guys were almost from the start.
I enjoyed this movie and did feel it stood up very well against the first one. If there’s a third movie made, I would love to see it focus more on the dark fey and how they integrate into society now they’re no longer hiding.
In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth.
Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls–and most horrifying of all–visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.
Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Ideally, I’d give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. When I read the blurb, I was hugely excited. That, along with the cover of the book, really grabbed my attention. And there were a lot of bits that I really liked about the book. For example, the main characters. Both Nell and Lea were well-written, well-rounded characters, although I did feel that Lea slipped a bit too much into the rebellious young woman stereotype.
One thing I really struggled with was the switching viewpoints. This probably wouldn’t have been such a problem had the chapters been longer, but some of the chapters were so short, I’d barely got my head around the time period I was in before I was thrust back into the modern day. Or vice versa.
I liked the other characters in the book, but I would have liked a bit more detail about what Alec was going through. I saw everything from Nell or Lea’s point of view, but apart from a few vague hints, all I saw of the love interest was someone who was miserable most of the time.
I did like that the stakes were quite high in the book. The premise and the characters were strong enough to keep me reading. But I was left with an awful lot of questions even as I learned more about Lea’s history; and I felt that plot devices were a little over-used in places.
I wasn’t especially sold on the love triangle aspect between Nell, Alec and Max. I would have liked to see more of Max standing on his own two feet, not just as another area of conflict that I see all too often in young adult books. There were glimmers of his own personality coming through, but by the end of the book, I felt he was very much there as another plot device. The strongest supporting characters were his mother and Nell’s father.
I did feel that the ending was kind of anticlimactic. I was left with a very strong sensation of, ‘Wait. That was it?’ The whole buildup throughout the book was awesome, but I did feel like the ending let it down somewhat. There were a lot of hints that I felt didn’t really come to fruition.
I would read more books by this author in the future, but although I did enjoy reading this book the first time through, I think it’s one I got all of my enjoyment from in the mystery threaded through the pages. I would recommend reading it.
Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.
Girl At the Grave by Teri Bailey Black
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Young Adult — Historical Fiction, Mystery
Synopsis: Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer. Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end. Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository IndieBound
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I found this book a really engaging read. Valentine was a character who was really easy to relate to and empathise with and I really liked learning more about the history of her parents and what really happened to Rowan’s father as the book went on.
I didn’t really like either Rowan or Sam at times, I have to say. It was good to see that both of them were flawed, but I found Sam kind of abusive at times and Rowan came across as quite a weak character. I think I would have liked the book more if it had had less romance in it.
I did think there were times this book dragged a bit; and while I did really like Valentine as a character, I really couldn’t have said the same for the rest of the people in her town. The more I read, the more it seemed like everyone there had an ulterior motive.
I would have liked to see more of the secondary characters who weren’t central to the storyline. At times, I found myself confused about which characters were which, as many of them didn’t seem to have much of a life outside of their interactions with Valentine.
I did think it was good to learn more about the secrets of the different townspeople as the book went on and I couldn’t help but feel really bad for Birdy. She was definitely one of those characters I felt had a really raw deal through the book.
I did think the author did a good job of keeping to the kinds of thoughts and opinions people had at that time, even though I found myself getting irritated on behalf of the people who had a raw deal due to the way society saw them.
I did find some of the thoughts and feelings a bit hard to get behind and it seemed there were very few truly ‘good’ characters in this book. I liked seeing that both Rowan and Valentine had dreams and goals outside of each other, but I would have liked to see more of that when it came to other characters too, like Sam.
I did enjoy reading this book and it was a quick and easy read. In the future, I would definitely be interested in reading more books by this author.
About The Author
Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California
I thought the blurb on this book sounded really intriguing, but on the whole, by the time I reached the end of this book, I was actually very disappointed.
While I did find Rhine to be an interesting character at first, I actually grew bored of her by the time I reached the middle of the book. In comparison, I found Helen and Cecily to be more interesting than she was. I would have found either of them to be more intriguing narrators than Rhine was, especially as Rhine showed no real desire to get out of the place she’d found herself in, apart from towards the end, even though she spent so much time thinking about it. And, yes, there was an escape attempt made…but she was such a passive character that it was everyone else who spoke up and lied for her.
I really couldn’t like Linden in this book. Just like Rhine, he was very passive; and I would have liked him a whole lot more if his actions with Cecily hadn’t left my skin crawling. At first, I’d thought he was going to resist it…I was vastly disappointed to see that he wasn’t much different to the rest of the people.
While the start of the book was really quite promising, I felt there was too much summarising of conversations and how Rhine related to the rest of the characters. Entire conversations were just glossed over and it left me with no clear view of how Rhine and Gabriel had developed any kind of emotions towards each other.
Linden’s father could have been a lot more interesting if there was more shown about him than just the whole ‘he gives me the creeps’ vibe Rhine got from him. He could have been a lot more subtle without it being ‘just a sense’.
I did find Rose to be a really interesting character and it was really good to learn more of her history as the book went on, even though she passed away fairly early on. I also really liked the descriptions of Linden’s drawings and work as an architect.
I felt there were a lot of ways this book could have been better, such as if Rhine had been less passive and actually tried to escape at least once, instead of deciding it wasn’t worth trying straight away. I won’t be reading this book again.
This was another book I originally read quite a while ago and when I had the opportunity to read it again, I jumped at the chance.
I really liked the plot of this book. It was a fairly simple, uncomplicated romance. I enjoyed learning about Keir’s people along with Lara. I do have to say that this book was very slow; there wasn’t very much in the way of action. I still found it fairly easy to read and I was drawn fully into the book.
I did like the fact that Lara formed friendships with the other characters, even though she thought she was actually a slave. It was kind of painful to read about how uncertain she was with Keir…though I did think he could have been a bit more understanding when it came to explaining things to her. I found myself getting really frustrated with him at times during the book.
I particularly liked the secondary characters in this book and I have to say, my favourites were probably Joden and Simus. I particularly enjoyed their friendship and seeing Simus’ relationship with Keir, as someone comfortable enough to joke around with the warlord. It said a lot about Keir’s character as well as Simus’.
I also really liked being able to see the contrasts between Lara’s people and Keir’s. While Keir and his people were clearly warriors, it was nice to see how they lived outside of battle. It was somewhat sad to see that warriors believing themselves not to be whole asked ‘for mercy’, though. I thought that was a way in which the people were lacking, considering they didn’t seem to be able to see any other way apart from that of a warrior. No matter what Keir was trying to do.
I would have liked to see some more depth to Xymund, as he just came across as a villain without any redeeming qualities to him. I was left questioning how he’d kept any kind of control over his people, considering he seemed incapable of actually being a king.
While this book didn’t have much action, I did enjoy the romance and I liked meeting the characters. I definitely intend to reread the next books in the trilogy at some point in the near future.
It’s been a while since I read one of the Guild Hunter books, but it didn’t take long reading this book to remember the world and the characters; and even though I hadn’t yet read Honor’s book, I found the events referenced to easy to follow.
Jason was a character I could really empathise with, even though I know he didn’t need or want sympathy. Being able to learn about his history and his motivations was as fascinating for me as it was for Mahiya, a character who I also felt a lot of empathy for. I finished the book with a strong sense of hatred both towards Neha and towards Mahiya’s mother. It was disappointing not to see much depth to Neha, who came across as a villain more as a kind archangel – that was referenced by the other characters, but not shown at all in the book.
I liked being able to see glimpses of Raphael and Elena’s relationship, along with Honor and Dmitri’s. It was nice to see that, even though the focus with the book was on another relationship, the other characters did put in an appearance too.
I found the romance and how Mahiya and Jason related to each other to be very realistic. While both of them came across as broken through the course of the book, I thought that Mahiya in particular showed her inner strength, even if she wasn’t outwardly as strong as Jason. And I really liked the opportunity to see more of the other characters, such as Venom.
Even though the romance was the main focus of the book, there was enough of a plot involved to keep me engaged and reading. I did get the impression that all of the archangels just saw humans as insects or pets…maybe something to be entertained by or care about, but humans played such a small role in the world, it was difficult to see them as anything other than cattle at worst and glorified pets at best.
There were definitely some disturbing scenes in this book, but I didn’t really find it to be too over the top, even when it came to the violence.
All in all, I very much enjoyed reading this book and stepping back into the Guild Hunter world. I definitely plan to explore more of it in the future.
This was another book I read originally quite a while ago and it’s a book I’ve found myself returning to quite a lot as an enjoyable fantasy book.
I found Ben to be a character really easy to empathise with, considering his need to escape and find some kind of magic that was missing from his life, with the death of Annie. And even though she didn’t really put in an appearance, it was clear just how important she’d been to Ben and I could see how her shadow continued to linger over him.
I liked the fact that Landover, despite being a magical kingdom, was far from what Ben (and me, as a reader) had expected. While I enjoyed seeing and learning about the world, though, I did find that there were some areas where there was something of an information dump; when Ben was learning about the history of Landover, for instance.
I really liked most of the supporting characters in the book, but I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the demons, rather than them just being the bad guys. How much power did they really have in Landover?
One of the things I really liked was how Willow played a part in the book. The whole destiny thing actually worked really well, considering Ben was doubting and didn’t feel any love for her straight away. I thought a lot of his reactions were incredibly realistic, even though some of them did contradict his personality and what he’d said and done before going to Landover.
Out of the more villainous characters, Strabo was probably my favourite, as the dragon had a lot of depth to him and it was particularly good to see that he didn’t really follow the normal ‘rules’ for dragons.
There was less action in this book than I would have liked there to be, but I did like the characters and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the G’home Gnomes…even if they did seem to bring an awful lot of their suffering on themselves. I did like the fact they were so loyal to Ben, even when the others thought they were useless.
I really did enjoy reading this book and I plan to re-read the next books in the series at some point in the future.
I read this book series originally quite a while ago and found myself really engaged by it. While I do think werewolves are as over-used as vampires have been, I found the Prowlers different and unique enough to really engage me throughout this book. And that was helped along by the fact the characters were interesting enough that I cared about them and what was happening.
While the start of the book didn’t really have much action to it, I found myself enjoying the relationship between Jack and his sister in particular. It was good to see the characters from each others’ eyes. The Prowlers were little more than animals, though, and I would have liked a little bit more depth than actually ended up being shown about them. The Pack hierarchy was really interesting to view, but some of the decisions made by the pack leader seemed to be really arrogant and something that would end up with them being discovered. I was left with the problem that if they didn’t care about being discovered, why would they concern themselves with hiding their lair in the first place?
One of the really interesting aspects I found about this book was the Ghostlands. There wasn’t enough detail about why only Jack could see them and not anyone else, but the descriptions of the world were enough that, in some respects, they felt more real than the world of the living.
One of my favourite parts of this book was the fact that it didn’t follow the formula of the main character being disbelieved by everyone around him. It was really good to see how he was trusted enough by his family that they knew he was telling the truth, even if Jack couldn’t tell them everything about what he was seeing.
One of my favourite characters in this book was probably Artie. He was more interesting as a ghost than he was alive and the fact that he wasn’t alive anymore added a lot of conflict and depth to his friendship with Jack that made both more interesting.
I found this book drew me in really easily once more, despite having read it before. I definitely plan to re-read the remaining three books soon in the future.