Book Review: The War Within

Book Title: The War Within
Author: Yolanda Wallace

“The truth is, I don’t know who I am. I guess I’m what you call a work in progress. I know what I want to be, but I don’t want to be defined solely by a title. Nurse. Wife. Mother. I want to be all those things, but I don’t want any of them to make me stop being Meredith.”
Meredith Moser from The War Within by Yolanda Wallace

Final Verdict: A surprisingly good read that keeps you hooked until the very end and cheering for all the characters.

For the full review, click the name of the book.


Book Review: The Vagrant

Book Title: The Vagrant
Author: Peter Newman

“In answer, the Vagrant raises his blade. At its hilt, silvered wings unfurl.
An eye opens.”

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

Final Verdict: An amazing and complex journey with amazing characters that I am already planning to re-read!

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Random News: Happy Birthday Frances

Hello Lovely Readers,

I was hoping you guys would again join me in wishing Frances a very Happy Birthday! It is so hard to believe that it has been a year since the last time I asked you to join me in this! It has been a busy year for Frances, and so much has happened. With more changes coming within the month, this is really her year.

Lynne and Frances with the bust of Mr. Darcy from Chatsworth House.

I know I am very luck to have Frances as one of my best friends, and the best blog partner. So I hope the next year is even better than this one, with so many books, movies, and adventures! If there was anyone who deserves some fun downtime it is Frances. So once again please join me in wishing her a very, very Happy Birthday!

Until next time,

Random News: Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer

Hi everyone,

The movie trailer for the highly anticipated adaptation of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has been released. You can see the movie trailer below:


Fifty Shades of Grey became the biggest selling book on of all time, with Fifty Shades Freed and Fifty Shades Darker taking second and third place. Why is Fifty Shades of Grey so popular given the critics have slated the book for poor writing and a lack of plot? Well, sex sells! (see article here at the Huffington Post). It seems that the movie trailer has become the most viewed movie trailer of 2014 within just a matter of days. Within the first week of release, there have been over 36 million YouTube views! (see article here at the Hollywood Reporter).

How have people reacted to the movie trailer?

It’s been a mixed bag. I think that the best analogy to describe people’s reactions to the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer is this: You’ll either love or hate the movie trailer.

Some of the Fans loved the trailer  –>

On the one hand, some fans seem to be enjoying the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.

Fifty Shades of Grey appears to have gone down well on Buzzfeed (see articles here and here). The first article essentially shows almost all of the “erotic” content in the movie in gifs. I use erotic in inverted commas because if you didn’t know that Fifty Shades of Grey was an erotic novel, you may not guess it from the movie trailer, except for one or two gifs (see below). I guess the first article really shows the romance between Christian and Anna, plus a minor amount of their kinky bedroom antics.



The second article includes 50 thoughts that Virgin Mobile had while watching the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer. Some of the thoughts are pretty random, but most of them gush about Christian or the “erotic” content in the trailer being amazing.

I think the best fan reaction to Fifty Shades of Grey is a YouTube review by NuttyMadam. You can watch her reaction below:


I think that it is safe to say that some fans have reacted positively to the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer. When I say positively though, I don’t just mean they think the trailer fits with the book. Since the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, there has also been a 53% increase in online searchers for sex toys (see article here at Glamour Magazine). Cringe!

The Critics and Fans who hate the trailer  –> 

On the other hand, the critics and some of the fans seem to hate the Fifty Shades of Grey trailerThere does seem to be two reasons for hating the trailer.

First, the sexual content in the movie trailer is LIGHT! According to an article written by Christopher Hooton for the Independent (see here)the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey will be less explicit than the book. Michael De Luca, the producer, is quoted as saying:

“The film can’t be as explicit as the book…A picture is worth 1,000 words. So to be erotic on screen means I think an image is going to have way more power than reading the words on a page.”

I’m not sure that De Luca is right there. The fans of Fifty Shades of Grey are expecting explicit content in the movie. I mean the explicit content in the book – the graphic descriptions of the sex between Chrsitan and Anna – are what the fans like about the book and want in the movie. Indeed, TMZ interviewed members of a BDSM club called The Threshold Society in L.A. and they were left wondering where the BDSM content actually is. The Threshold’s coporate secretary explained that the Grey is pretty “vanilla” and the BDSM content is light. She said that there needs to be more light bondage, caning etc… (see article here at TMZ). There was also an article published in the Mirror that included 8 alternative movie trailers that may actually get the viewers pulses racing unlike the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer (see here). I have to say that I agree with the articles inclusion of Jennifer Aniston’s raunchy dance in We’re the Millers (2013). You can see this scene below:


Second, some fans are concerned with the message that the movie (movie trailer and book series) sends to the younger generations. De Luca suggests that while much of the explicit sexual content is removed from the movie, you are left with an “intense and erotic love story”. I certainly don’t think that’s true. Fifty Shades of Grey certainly doesn’t tell a love story, and I think that it’s wrong for the movie makers to advertise the movie adaptation as a love story. What are we teaching the younger generation about what a love story constitutes? I don’t think that we should teach the younger generations that true love is what happens in fairy tales (i.e., love at first sight, man rescuing a woman etc…), but neither should we teach the younger generations that true love involves abuse, whether that be mental or physical abuse. I am not alone in this sentiment either. If you look at the comments on both of the Buzzfeed articles that I included earlier, the comments show some people’s disgust that Fifty Shades of Grey is being adapted into a movie given the “hyper-controlling,emotionally manipulative sadist[ic]” content (Shaina Higgins, see comment here). There are also blog articles written about the inappropriate message that Fifty Shades of Grey is sending (see here). I appreciate that a small minority of people might desire this type of “love” story, but should we be romanticizing this kind of relationship for young people? Would you want your children to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? I certainly wouldn’t.


What do you think of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer? Will you be going to the cinema to watch the movie on Valentine’s day 2015?

Random News: Rowling the Queen of Nice and More Harry Potter Generation

Hello Readers,

So I decided to continue the theme for this week, especially after the news of JK Rowling’s latest amazingly thoughtful act. So a couple weeks ago I shared a link to a sad story of a young girl whose whole family was murdered. She was able to find strength in a quote from Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Well it is no surprise but Rowling herself heard about this story. Being the amazing person that she is, Rowling sent a care package to the young girl. In the package was a hand written letter written as Dumbledore, a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list, and an autographed copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You can read more about this story here. It just really shows how much ROwling cares about her fans.The above story reminded me of a post I had seen on Buzzfeed about an earlier act of honoring a struggling fan. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a tribute to a Harry Potter fan that was dying/died of cancer. You can read about the story here. I had never heard the story before, and it is really touching. You can read the excerpt from the book below, but Natalie is the only real person named in the series, and it was Rowling’s way of honoring her.Lastly, I realized that I had missed another post I have about being part of the “Harry Potter Generation.” You can read this one here. This one is nicely illustrated and you can see my favorite panel below. This one really touched me because the author talks about the loss that I think many of us felt when we realized we weren’t going to be getting more information about these characters that had become our friends. I know I felt like I grew up with the characters, as I first started reading them right after the third book was released, and I was 11. One of the hardest things for me now is knowing how much older I am currently compared to how old the characters are in the stories (and consequently roughly how old I was when I first read them!). Thank you to those of you who commented about how the series has touched your lives. I love reading about how other people were influenced by these stories, and how much they helped other people as well!

Until next time,

Random News: The Harry Potter Generation

Hello Lovely Readers,

So continuing my belated celebration of Harry Potter and JK Rowling’s birthdays last week, I thought I would share some more scientific and heartfelt articles on the impact of the “Harry Potter Generation.” I know that the Harry Potter series has had a huge impact on my life, in many ways that I don’t even realize. It was one of the first things that Frances and I really bonded over, especially our attempt to attend the premier of the last movie. In preparation of that trip I asked many Facebook friends to write what Harry Potter had meant in their lives and how it had impacted them. Under a single umbrella shared by four people I read out these stories my friends had shared as rain soaked us while we hoped for a glimpse of the actors and Rowling. It is one of my happiest memories, and something that I will never forget.

The first article reminds me so much of my experience with Harry Potter. You can read the article here. The author talks about how the books shaped her life. How it influenced her friendships and helped in university. She talks about attending the book release parties, and how fan initiated things have expanded and broadened now that the books are over. It is a wonderful look at what it is like to be part of the Harry Potter Generation, the kids who grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the Hogwarts students.

The next three finds are all more science based, however I have not had time to track down the original scientific articles and read those myself. But the first of these articles is a brief one on Yahoo about Harry Potter‘s influence on people’s opinions on George Bush and his time in office. You can read the article here. It seems that many people/kids interpreted the actions of Voldemort and the corrupt Ministry of Magic as similar to Bush and his administration, and therefore equated them with each other. There is now guarantee that this would not have happened with other administrations, but there is also some evidence that readers of the series are more open-minded and tolerant, which relates to the next article.

A series of studies in Italy were recently published, and they looked at the psychological impact of reading Harry Potter. The three studies found that those that read the series (and usually they had to identify with Harry or not identify at all with Voldemort) were more tolerant and liberal in their views of things like immigration and LGBT issues. You can read the article here. The themes that the readers were exposed to with the prejudice against “mudbloods” and other species seemed to influence them to more tolerant attitudes.

The last find is a Buzzfeed article on 13 Lessons about Social Justice from Harry Potter. The article breaks down different social justice issues that Harry Potter can be used to illustrate and help educate people on. Some of these are easily related to the previous two finds, but the rest expand on those ideas. It seems to support the idea that Harry Potter influenced a generation to be more open-minded and aware of sociopolitical issues and the existence of bigots!

I know I am very proud to be part of the “Harry Potter Generation,” and I am glad it helped me be more open minded. Do you think it has impacted your life? Do you think certain books can help improve the people that read them?

Until next time,

Random News: Happy Belated Birthday Harry Potter

Hello Lovely Readers,

So it wasn’t until this morning that I realize I missed Harry Potter’s (and JK Rowling’s) birthday last Thursday. In my defense I was out of town, and I had prepared all the post a head of time, so it never really registered. But that means lots of Harry Potter posts this week in recompense for that slip! Today are some interesting Harry Potter themed videos.

First is one that is very dear to me, and it is the opening song to A Very Potter Musical that was written and performed by StarKid Production at the University of Michigan (my old school!). You may recognize Darren Criss who went on to Glee after this. But you can watch the whole show youtube, which I highly suggest. Plus there is also the sequel as well. Anyway this is one of the best songs of the show!

Next is a video that has been out for over half a year, but I just stumbled upon it. If you have ever wondered what it might have been like when Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald fought, and Albus’s sister was killed, this video gives an idea. Some of the acting is a bit rough, but the concept was really cool, and very sad.

Lastly, this video I saw a while ago and though it doesn’t really fit with the other two, I have been looking to share it for a while, as I have a lot o opinions about it. In the video Rowling is asked if Snape was a hero, and she makes it clear he wasn’t. She points out that he wasn’t that nice of a person, and without his “love” of Lily he wouldn’t have cared at all about Harry. I think this is important for people to remember about Snape, even though he did some good deeds, he was not a good person.

Hope you guys enjoy the videos!

Until next time,

Book review: The Crow: Pestilence

Book Title: The Crow: Pestilence
Author: Frank Bill
Artist: Drew Moss

Let my words be carried with you until my return. ‘Cause I will return, to right the wrongs you’ve forced upon on this day, a hundred times worse.
The Crow: Pestilence by Frank Bill and Drew Moss

Final Verdict: A new Crow story for old fans that can handle lots of violence and blood, but not for first time Crow readers. Plus, an ending that saves the mess of the first 60 pages.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Book review: We Will Hunt Together

Book Title: We Will Hunt Together
Author: J. Hepburn

“It occurred to Helgaer then, with perfect clarity, that they would be finding ways to argue until they fell asleep or one of them kissed the other.”
We Will Hunt Together by J. Hepburn

Final Verdict: A decent book, with some good sword fights and a believable relationship, but only for adult readers.

For the full review, click the name of the book.

Random News: SDCC Movie News

Hello Lovely Readers,

Continuing on from my posts already thus week, I wanted to share more news from SDCC. As I am a big fan of movies and comics the news that I am sharing today was really interesting to me, and hopefully you guys agree!

First up is all the news trickling out about The Avengers Age of Ultron. Apparently there was a trailer show, but that has not be released out to the general public (although there are descriptions for those who are inclined). What they have released are mini-posters for each of the characters, and when combined it forms a large image. That is the picture above. It shows the team, and some new members, fighting robots and being overwhelmed. It looks epic, and it gives some nice glimpses of The Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, as well as all the previous ones. You can click here to see more details.

Related to that is that there will be a Captain America and Iron Man animated movie coming out before The Avengers Age of Ultron. The movie will be 71 minutes and is called Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United. There is a great trailer for it that you can watch here. I love the interactions between these two heroes and I will be checking out the movie!

Another big reveal by posters is the look of Wonder Woman for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman. You can see more info here. I really like the costume, it looks pretty good. However, until the trailers come out, I am still not that interested in the movie. I am still not sold on the Batman costume, and I still don’t like Superman.

Lastly, is there is news about the next Godzilla movie. They have revealed the foes that Godzilla will be fighting with in the next movie, and they are some big ones. You can read about it here, but the big three are Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah. I am super excited for Mothra and Ghidorah, as I remember them from the old movies. Hopefully with the second movie the director will stay away from trying to add drama ans just stick to the monsters!

What do you guys think of these teasers that we have gotten?

Until next time,