"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Monday, April 19, 2021

Book Reviews Featuring a Colorful Castle, Fairy Tale Crocodiles, & a Lionhearted Math Genius, oh my!

 Hello book lovers!

I hope that you are all having a nice Monday! I’m continuing my goal of reviewing books as well as movies each month with bringing you three more reviews. Here’s what I did in January, February, and March. Since my last review post was such a hit, I’m following the same format! I’m still terrible at coming up with titles so you’ll have to tell me how well I did on this one.

While it’s been a while since I read two of these books, the third is fresh in my mind. Never fear, I took notes and remember enough to supply you with anything you would need to know.

Without further ago, onto the reviews!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. All three of these reviews are absolutely spoiler free!


Review #1:

The Blue Castle - by L. M. Montgomery:
Valancy Sterling has lived 29 years in a grey world when she gets a shock in the form. She’s not been feeling well which turns out to be a heart condition and the chances for her living out a year are unlikely. With determination she decides that she’s going to stop bowing to everyone else’s needs and make her own way in the world. Goodbye to her family who are always using her, goodbye to a colorless existence, and hello to life and experiences while she can have them. It might be hard, but she’s willing to make it work. What surprises away for her to take advantage of will she is living in this radiant new life?
“I’m sick of the fragrance of dead things.”
Genres: Classic, Fiction, Drama, Historical Fiction.
Characters: 8. We have quite an assortment! I love the little obsessive quirks of Valancy’s family that make them so laughable.
My favorites:
Cissy: Oh my goodness, I loved her. She was just a sweetheart who had gone through some dark times yet has such an air of goodness about her.
Abel: He was so well depicted that I just really liked him! I loved his relationships with people and how he processes his feelings is very realistic.
Barney: There is so much mystery around him that I’m going to keep it that way and not say anything.
Valancy: I’m talking about her last because I have a lot to say. I’m sure she was quite a breakthrough when this book came out! Valancy knows what she wants and goes to get it without ducking to anyone. She is very determined, adventurous, and brave. Quite admirable! On the other hand, something rubs me wrong about her behavior at times. I support her in so many ways, but in others she seems a little mean. Independence and spite are not the same thing. I fully support her going out into the world and living, but she just seems unnecessarily rude occasionally. I feel like there could be a better balance between what she claims to have been her whole life and her new attitude. I don’t deny that her family are all horrible and condescending! It was about time that someone told them off for that because that is not how you treat a human being! Her nickname they gave her is horrid. Who would change a glorious name like Valancy?? Telling Valancy that she isn’t good and is weak when they are all TERRIFIC examples. NOT.  I get all of that! Like in this occasion:
‘“I think,” said Mrs. Frederick, “that if a person makes up her mind NOT to have colds she will not HAVE colds.”
So that was the trouble. It was all Valancy’s own fault.’
Poor Valancy! I have been in a situation like this and it is awful to have someone tell you that.
The thing is, I really related to Valancy in the beginning. My family is great, but all of her feelings are so similar to mine, and while I like her character, I don’t want to be like her. If that makes any sense (if it doesn’t then know that it doesn’t make sense to me either). I absolutely 100% get the attitude (I understand it WAY too deeply) that if people are only going to understand you in that way you might as well do that. Like this:
‘People who wanted to be alone, so Mrs. Frederick Sterling and Cousin Stickler believed, could only want to be alone for some sinister purpose.’
Those two are obviously not introverts. They assume that Valancy is thinking mean things about them so she finally breaks one day and goes ahead and says anything that comes into her head. This part hit me really deeply:
‘She had always been told, ever since she could remember, that she must hide her feelings. “It is not ladylike to have feelings,” Cousin Stickles had once told her disapprovingly. Well, she would hide them with a vengeance.’
Do you see how terrible Cousin Stickles is? Why would you tell that to someone! I relate to her repressing her feelings for so long that all at once they come out and are all over the place. While it was right in her case, I don’t encourage other people to lash out at their families.
Overall, I think that she is a very fascinating character I don’t understand yet. I want to read this again and again to understand more what’s going on in her head.
Words/Writing style: 10. I have two examples for this. There is some mild swearing but it is made fun of. I thought it was really funny where in exasperation Valancy suggesed to Uncle Benjamin that he might say a swear word to feel better and he replied, “I can express my feelings without blasphemy.” He is the one who was usually saying the d word which is why it is hilarious.
But, MC, if there are a few words then why did you give it a 10 instead of a 9? Well, this book has THE MOST GORGEOUS WRITING I’VE SEEN IN MY LIFE. I’m not kidding. Before reading this book I would always say that I don’t care about the writing style and just wanted a story, but this proved that writing can be amazing. Read this:
‘The garden was lying in the magic of the warm, odorous July twilight. A few stars were out and the robins were calling through the velvety silences of the barrens.’
Quotability: 8. I haven’t had the chance to quote them to anybody, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about them a lot.
Content: 9. There are some scandalous things that happen! Oh dear! Not really! Valancy’s family thinks they are outrageous but it’s really nothing. Actually, the only things here are some drinking, a story of a girl having a baby without being married, talking about death, and someone being a little too friendly to a lady before he is stopped. I thought all of those things were handled really well so I don’t have a problem with any of it.
‘The only fault he found with her was that she did not sing at her word.
“Folks should always sing at their work,” he insisted. “Sounds cheerful-like.”
“Not always,” retorted Valancy. “Fancy a butcher singing at his work. Or an undertaker.”
Abel burst into his great brood laugh.’
Originality: 9. It is such a creative and cute story! I was just rereading one part of it now while looking for a line to put here and I couldn’t stop smiling. It follows one trope that is not my favorite, but other than that it is stellar.
Good For: Anyone looking for a new beginning in life, anyone looking for amazing writing, anyone who wants a pretty little story.
‘After the meal was over they would sit there and talk for hours---or sit and say nothing, in all the languages of the world...’
Age Range: One factor that I really love about this is Valancy’s age. She’s 29 so that gives it such a fresh and new take for a book! It’s not about your standard teenager, but at the same time anyone can enjoy this story. It would be fine for any and all ages.
Overall Score: 8.
Worth reading?: Yes! The writing makes me feel like I’m drinking sunshine. Totally worth it for that!
Will I read again?: This is a yes because I need to sort out my feelings on it. I go back and forth on what I think of it so I look forward to reading it again and again!
Bonus thoughts:
Basically everyone I know who has read this book loves it. If you came here expecting the same from me then I don’t know what to say to you: I don’t feel the same adoration that everyone else does. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it while reading it and the writing style is my go to example for spectacular writing, but thinking about it almost a year later I have some problems with it. It is super cute and lovely, but there is just one trope that I can’t stand. It had potential to be really inspiring, and while there are elements of that, it fell stale for me in a few places. A few things that were supposed to be surprising just felt thrown together. If you loved this then I am happy for you! I recommend it, but I’m still a little conflicted on my feelings in a few places.
“October—with a gorgeous pageant of color around Mistawis into which Valancy plunged her soul. Never had she imagined anything so splendid. A great, tinted peace. Blue, wind-winnowed skies. Sunlight sleeping in the glades of that fairyland. Long dreamy purple days paddling idly in their canoe along shores and up the rivers of crimson and gold. A sleepy, red hunter’s moon. Enchanted tempests that stripped the leaves from the trees and heaped them along the shores. Flying shadows of clouds. What had all the smug, opulent lands out front to compare with this?”



Review #2:

I, Coriander - by Sally Gardner:
Coriander has seven candles, just enough to last the night and tell her story. She had a happy and magical childhood with her parents. That was before objects came into her life: a stuffed crocodile, a pair of shoes, a set of pearls, and a mysterious raven. She didn’t know the significance of these objects at the time but now she does. Who is she truly and what was her story?
‘I wish I could unpick the stitches of time that have become all tangled and twisted together...”
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction.
Characters: 6. There were some that were monsters but they were the villains and not shown as good in any way. There were a few that I could get behind, but they didn’t really have memorable personalities that were cutting edge, you know?
My favorites:
Esther (at least, I think that was her name...): I love how she broke so many common tropes for people in her circumstances! The poor dear was so nice.
Gabriel: He was adorable! He was so caring and his relationship with Master Thankless was the best.
Master Thankless: From the beginning of when we meet him with the irony of his name I knew I would love him. His loyalty to his friends is so honorable and he is great all around.
Daines: It was good to see a solid character! She was so reasonable when no one else was.
Coriander’s father: While he makes a lot of mistakes he didn’t surprise me with being unpredictable.
‘A silent man can seem many things until he opens his mouth.’
Coriander: She is way more likable than a lot, but I still didn’t love her. It could be that the narrator of the audiobook (Juliet Stevenson) wasn’t my favorite, making Coriander really annoying. But, maybe that was the point because she matured a lot! There were some parts near the end where she really stepped into herself and I got a little misty-eyed.
Words/Writing style: 7. There were a few bad words and some that were just poorly chosen. I liked the first person present tense, but I was so frustrated by the whole “candle” thing because I wasn’t paying attention at the start of the book and missed that. I finally had to ask my sister what it meant because she had read the book before. Besides that it was a unique writing style.
‘I have learned that there is a great power in words, no matter how long or short they be.’
World building/Setting: 7. Part of the beginning is in England in 1643, so the era of Cromwell and Puritans and Charlatans. Combined with that is a magical world. That magical world was really cool! I just wanted to know more about that I didn’t like any of the times that we were in the real world, which was so grey and didn’t compare to the colorful masterpiece. Was that they point, to show such a contrast? I think so, but I didn’t appreciate it. Just give me my happy fairy land!
Quotability: 5. Not terribly quotable, but I there were lines worth writing down. This was my favorite:
“We are but shadows that have a short time dancing in the light.”
Awards: 2: British Book Award (2006) & Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for 9–11 years (2005).
Content: 6. Yikes. Where to start? There is murder, disgusting things, suggestive things (including names), and abuse. So much abuse. Involving starvation and physical and mental beatings for children and elderly. It’s shown as bad and evil, but it’s still horrible to read about! I had to stop a few times because I couldn’t stomach it. I’m not saying that Sally Gardener should’ve glossed it over. I don’t know what I’m saying, okay? It gets graphic. I was not expecting that, so maybe if I was more prepared I could’ve handled it better. I wasn’t in a good headspace to deal with that at the time, but I forced my way through which might have made matters worse.
Learning about the things that happened with the times of the Puritans always makes me really sad but grateful that I didn’t live back then. There are evil preachers and while I realize that was accurate to the time, I wish there were some religious characters to contrast that. Not everyone who loved God was bad! The best example was probably Esther. My sister says I’m being too picky and I probably am.
Originality: 9. This gets this high of a score because of one element that came back around and made me extremely happy. From the first chapter it was worked in and it seemed random but it was involved at just the right times.
Good For: People who like history and fantasy combined.
Age Range: If you can’t tell from my content section, I was very triggered at certain points. This is probably PG-13 but it really depends on the person. I wouldn’t have been fine with it until I am as old as I am (Am I fine actually? *nervous laughter*) but my sister was fine when she was younger and she read it. I would tentatively set 15.
Overall Score: 6.
Worth reading?: Yes, it was. I really liked the glimpses of the magically world that we got  to see and will now imagine my own stories using all of the amazing factors.
Will I read again?: Nope. I can spare my time for something better. I listened to an audiobook version while doing the dishes which was nice, but I don’t need to do again.
Bonus thoughts:
‘When I was small I used to hide under my mother’s petticoats and listen to friends and neighbors as they brought their ailments to her like posies of sorrows, to be made better by one of her remedies.’
I was intrigued by this because my sister told me it had lots of fairy tale elements. Awesome, right? Basically, this book took everything that I don’t like in a fairy tale and put it together. It was dark, random things happened because “MAGIC. It makes everything better”, romantic relationships that had no basis for being there, gruesome deaths. There was a lot of potential! People being turned into animals? Mysterious fairy court dynamics? Medler (can we get a whole story about him??)? Instead the whole story hung on some weak and poorly explained plot points. Things were thrown in there to be convenient and for surprises that made no sense. As Abbie Emmons always says, “A confused mind always says ‘no’.” I was confused for the whole time and I just wanted to yell, “Why? WHY? WHHHHHHHHY?”. I did more that want to do it, I actually did yell. If my sister wasn’t the one who recommended it and I knew she would have answers I wouldn’t have kept reading it. My first reaction when I finished it was to call her and ask, “Are you kidding me?”
Now, she liked it a lot, so some of you may, too! I don’t discourage reading this, I only want to let you know how I feel about it, too. I didn’t get the point of it, but I would love to talk about it to see if anyone else got something out of it.



Review #3:

The Lions of Little Rock - by Kristin Levine:
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Marlee goes to school like everyone else. She likes doing math, but there are things that she doesn’t enjoy like being social and trying to make friends with her crush J.T. between doing his homework. When she meets Liz everything changes. She’s always struggled with talking, but she finally can with Liz who is nice, understands her, and brings her math puzzles. But Liz is harboring an illegal secret. Marlee starts to see the injustice in her hometown and wonders, can she be as brave as the lions in the nearby zoo to stand up to it?
“Let’s start solving the world’s problems. One step at a time.”
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Characters: 9. We get a diverse group! Besides Sally who was your typical mean girl, everyone had such interesting motivations.
My favorites:
Marlee: I feel called out here, but I am basically Marlee in every single way possible. Like math? Check. Has trouble with talking to people? Double check. Seeing her journey was really motivating to me because if she could do something, than I can, too, right? I’m not scared of heights, but that’s the only difference between us.
‘He shook his head. “It’s always the quiet ones who are the craziest.” But he was grinning again, and I knew he was teasing.’
(Paraphrase)
Liz: Marlee and Liz are such great friends because they are so different from her. Do I now want a friend like Liz? Yep, I do.
Little Jimmy: I don’t remember detail about him, but he was sweet!
J.T.: His character went somewhere I didn’t think it would go and it was a new take! I liked him a lot.
David: I want to hug Marlee’s big brother. He was great! Judy was nice, too, but I really liked David.
‘That night I lay in bed wondering how many other times David had grinned and fooled me, too, even though he’d felt awful inside. The idea that my big brother sometimes felt not good enough was strange, and a bit scary.’
Words/Writing style: 8. There is some name calling but it is shown as bad. It was super easy to read and I really liked the first person past tense. I am a sucker for first person. It puts you so nicely into the characters head!
Quotability: 8. I haven’t had the chance to quote it (seriously, MC, why is this such a big deal? I have no idea), but the lines are great.
‘Because all the words in the world won’t do much good if they’re just rattling around in your head.’
Awards: 3: Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee for Grades 6-8 (2014), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award Nominee (2014), & New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award for Young Adult (2015).
Content: 9. This is talks about true stories of murder and the Ku Klux Klan. It all shows that racism is a terrible thing! It is handled so well. It also has vandalism and explosions which are both dealt with just as well.
Originality: 10. This is such a good setting for historical fiction! The characters are unique and have good fears and things to face. Between referencing true events and having experiences like riding in an airplane for the first time it makes you really believe that you are there in 1957.
Notes: It mentioned the book Heidi and I had just finished reading it the book before! It also briefly mentions the movies The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Dumbo (1941).
Good For: Everyone, anyone who loves math, anyone who wants a good book about racial justice, anyone who is afraid of using their voice.
Age Range: A great book for all ages! The main characters are in middle school so it is relatable to kids that age, but it also ties in important historical events that are good for anyone to know.
Overall Score: 9!
Worth reading?: Yes! It was perfect for me personally because of how much I relate to Marlee, but it was also valuable for an in depth look at the things that were going on at that time.
Will I read again?: I’m looking at my sister’s trusty copy (which I bought her, by the way) as I write this and am thinking it’s about time to read it again, so the answer is definitely yes.
Bonus thoughts:
“Maybe they’re tired of being seen as second best.”
Of all of the books that I’ve read today this is my favorite! I like it a lot and have no reason to write a long rant about it. Try it yourself!



Whew, I’m done! Another full day of writing reviews done. It looks like I’ll barely get this in on the 19th because of that. It’s better than what I did yesterday when I decided to ram my face into the sidewalk resulting in a swollen face (long story). How are all of you doing??

Thank you for reading! Have any of you read this books? Do any of them look interesting to you? What is your favorite writing style you’ve ever read? Has a book had potential but fallen short? Who are some book characters that you relate to? Good night!

MovieCritic

Friday, April 16, 2021

TV Series Review: Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episodes 7-9

Good day, everyone!

Today I’m finishing out reviewing my new favorite show Julie and the Phantoms! If you’ve been here the last few months then you know how crazy I am about this show from my reviews of episodes 1-3 HERE and episodes 4-6 HERE. Today is especially exciting because while I’m sad about not having an excuse to talk about it after this, I will be talking about my ultimate favorite episode! When I say this is my favorite I’m not kidding.

This show is only on Netflix and we are all hoping that it will get renewed for a second season. I’ve never seen a show with more potential for a second season so it rightly deserves it! I want more people to know about it because like Reggie always says, “Tell your friends!”

I’ve seen the whole show three times since January and my little sister and I are planning to watch it again soon. I’m grateful for the recommendation from both Lia and Rachel and now want all of you to have the same experience! I hope that I can convince you by the end of this post if you haven’t seen it before. Enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. These reviews are fully free of spoilers for these episodes as well as ALL other episodes in the show. Because of that I’m going to be vague in the descriptions for them (and not have spoiler free pictures) because they are the final episodes and I want you guys to have ALL of the surprises without any clues when you watch it. I’m just here to tell you any content and how much I love these episodes so you are convinced to watch it in the first place.


Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 7: “Edge of Great” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
Julie is planning to perform at her house for her friends, but keeps drifting out of reality into daydreams. She and the other characters are trying to sort out their feelings for each other. Will they accept the circumstances or keep denying them?
‘“Do you have any idea of what you’ve done?”
“Yeah, I do. I’ve defended every kid who’s never been believed. Some could say that I’m a superhero.”’
Genres
: Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.
Length: approx. 27 minutes.
Script: 10. No bad words.
Crew: Directed by: Kabir Akhtar. Written by: Dan Cross, David Hoge, Nora Sullivan, & Leilani Downer, based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
“...But being seen really isn’t their thing.”
Starring (Listing the 10 most important characters in each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
3. 
Jeremy Shada as Reggie. 
4. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.
5. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
6. Booboo Stewart as Willie
7. Sacha Carlson as Nick.
8. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina. (Best dad ever!)
9. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
10. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
Costumes: 10. Everyone’s style is so apparent here! I love it. It’s so unique to each character. There is this one part where I burst out laughing every time because of a hairstyle of Luke's, but it is pretty cool.
Cinematography: 10. Everything with the ghosts is just splendid. The scene with “Perfect Harmony” is gorgeous and throughout it is brilliant.
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
“Kill it on the dance floor!”
(I wish I could find a gif for the little dance move accompanying this because it is the best).
Music: 10!! I’m squealing while writing about this because I love it so much. I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack! This episode has two songs which are so awesome. “Perfect Harmony” was actually written by Madison Reyes and Charlie Gillespie! They wrote it while filming the show then showed it to Kenny Ortega and he loved it so much that he put it in! Not only can they sing and act, they can write!
The other song is “Edge of Great”. THIS SONG. Where to even begin? It is my favorite song in the entire show and one of my favorite songs of all time. It checks all the boxes by being inspiring with phenomenal lyrics as well as having a fantastic melody. In addition to that the scene where it happens is laced with amazing drama! That sounds really weird, but once you see it you’ll know what I mean. My sister and I love analyzing everything that happens in the scene! It shows why you shouldn’t skip the show and only listen to the soundtrack because it’s different! Like most things they recorded the songs beforehand for the soundtrack, but they actually full out performed during the show and didn’t merely lip sync. Oh, did I ever mention that all of the actors play their instruments? That never fails to astonish me! In this episode during “Edge of Great” there are some guitar riffs that Charlie Gillespie asked to throw in there during filming which are one element that makes the song how incredible it is. Since they had already recorded the song they didn’t update the soundtrack so if you just listen to it you don’t get it. I am a little bitter about this if you can’t tell.
Music by:
 David Lawrence, Madison Reyes, Charlie Gillespie, Alana DeFonseca, David Amber, & Andy Love.
Quotability: 10! This episode is hilarious and that is because of the amazing dialogue. Not a day goes by where I don’t quote or reference some part of this! The “oozing chemistry” part is genius! At this point I could probably tell you the whole dialogue without a problem because I love it so much.
‘“Why, he is just too cute!”
“Boundaries!”’
(THIS WAS GOLD)
Content: 10! Where else can you get such quality content that is so clean? There is nothing to complain about here. Character go through some physical pain, but it is not violently graphic.
Originality: 10! These episodes are short but so much is packed in to every single one. I adore what they did with all of the characters and their relationships. It has such a creative punch!
Good For:
 Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range: I know that my description made it sound like something only teenagers would be interested in, but nothing is farther from the truth! I can’t think of something more perfect for all ages! Please don’t be fooled by the fact that it is rated G by thinking that it can only be enjoyed by little kids. That is entirely false!
Overall Score: 10! Guys. GUYS. GUYS! It is perfect. There are no flaws with this episode, it is just wonderful.
Worth watching?: Anyone can answer this for me at this point. OF COURSE! In all ways!
Will I watch again?:
 Story time: The second time my sister and I saw this show we watched episode 6 and this one together on the same day. The very next day we went to continue watching the show and we watched this episode and episode 8. We watched it two days in a row and didn’t get tired of it. I’m not joking, I could watch this episode every day and not be bored of it.
Bonus thoughts:
You’ve probably all guessed it now, but this is my favorite episode. I keep staring at this screen trying to find a way to tell you how much I love it, but I can’t think of anything that conveys my feelings about it without screaming a million adjectives. This episode has so much heart! It is funny and comforting and brings me joy on so many levels. The dynamics between these characters are jaw dropping with their complexity and meaning. This is my favorite episode of my favorite show ever. What else can I say? I think it’s a “great” choice.



Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 8: “Unsaid Emily” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
Julie wants to do something for the boys and ends up learning more about Luke’s past. What she doesn’t know is that they are all keeping a secret from her about something going on right now. How long before the truth gets out?
“You can’t get rid of me, I’m like the crazy glue of best friends.”
Genres:
 Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.
Length: approx. 24 minutes.
Script: 10. Free of bad words!
“It looks like somebody fell asleep watching Ghost Hunters and Chopped.”
(This was funny because I can’t tell you guys how many times I’ve fallen asleep while watching Chopped!)
Crew:
 Directed by:
 Kabir Akhtar. Written by: Leah Keith, Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan  based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
Starring (Listing the 10 most important characters in each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.
4. Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
5. Jennifer Juniper Angeli as Emily.
6. Michael Ryan as Mitch.
7. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
8. Booboo Stewart as Willie
9. Sacha Carlson as Nick.
10. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
Costumes:
 9. Subtle differences convey how characters are feeling and it is so well done.
Cinematography: 9. The cinematography of one scene in particular is outstanding. As usual, the characters being ghosts are really well done!
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10. I need to take a deep breath before I can get any cohesive thoughts. “Unsaid Emily” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life. It will take you on a wild emotional ride!
Music by: David Lawrence, Michelle Lewis, & Dan Petty.
Quotability:
 9. The lines in here hit me deeply, even the ones that aren’t in song! This is a more serious episode, but there are still lines in here that lighten the mood when needed.
‘“What’re you doing?”
“I needed a pick-me-up and hanging with Ray always does the trick.”
“...Does it? Okay...”’
Content: 10. Heartbreaking, yes, but clean, too! A+ to all of the writers and crew.
As I mentioned in my other two posts (so I should mention it somewhere in this post, too), Alex is shown to be homosexual. It is represented very well. I couldn’t think of any better way! It is all clean and I really like his relationships with people because he is so sweet.
Originality: 10. I feel like everyone who watches this did not think it was going to go where it went. It was so unexpected in the best way! Love it!

Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range: It’s rated G so it’s good for any and all ages. I feel like teens and adults are more hit with the significance of things in this episode than teeny tiny kids, but it is still great for them.
Overall Score: 9.5!
Worth watching?: Goodness gracious, yes. This episode has it all! 
Will I watch again?:
 Am I emotionally ready to see it again? Probably not any time soon. Is that going to stop me from watching it a million times? Nope. I love this episode and can’t wait to see it again. It’s the shortest one in the whole season so I only wish there was more!
“This is an interesting little relationship we have here.”
(Also known as the moment when all of our hearts stopped beating)
Bonus thoughts:
I’m not going to say a lot because I am wary of giving spoilers, but you all need to watch this. The whole season built up to it really well and everything happened at the right time. At the risk of sounding crazy, I have to say that I love the struggles that everyone goes through.



Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 9: “Stand Tall” (2020):
Based on:
the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
Luke, Alex, and Reggie try to arrange to get a final chance to finish what they have to do. Together with Julie, what can stop them? One person may have something to say about that...
“Who you calling ‘boy band’?”
Genres: Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.
Length: approx. 35 minutes.
Script: 10. No bad words!
Crew: Directed by: Kenny Ortega. Written by: Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan  based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
Starring (Listing the 10 most important characters in each episode.):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.
4. Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
5. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
6. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
7. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
8. Booboo Stewart as Willie.
9. Steve Bacic as Trevor Wilson.
10. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
Costumes: 10. There are some sweet threads here, not going to deny it. Everyone looks amazing in all of their outfits!
‘“How’d you know our sizes?”
“That’s your question!?”’
Cinematography: 10. The ghostly visual effects reach their peak here! Just everything about them are great. Talk about quality!
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10. The last songs of the season do not disappoint in any way, shape, or form! All the plot threads coming together made for an excellent finale. I'm begging you at this point, watch it as soon as possible!
Music by: David Lawrence, Jakub Vanyo, Alana DeFonseca, & Vincent Alfieri.
Notes: The scene with “You Got Nothing to Lose” almost wasn’t filmed! It has such an important event that I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like without it. I’m glad they went through with it!
Quotability: 10. Guys, the lines here are i c o n i c. I am speechless.
“Stop saying the bus drove itself!”

Content:
10. Characters go through more physical pain which is terrible but not glorified. It is important for the plot but not overused. Ack, guys I can’t even stress how I love how clean these episodes are!
Originality: 10. Utterly marvelous, guys! It is new and inventive and powerful.
Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range: This is ideal for any and all ages! It is enjoyable in all ways so anyone could relate to the characters.
Overall Score: 10! It is kind of unbelievable how good it is, I know, but trust me on this one!
Worth watching?: Too bad you can’t see the tears streaming down my face that say “DEFINITELY!”
Will I watch again?: Why do I have this question when the answer is so clear? Absolutely! I can’t wait. The last time my younger sister Fiona and I watched it impacted us more times than before so it gets better and better with each rewatch.
Bonus thoughts:
THE CHARACTERS ARE MASTERPIECES. I loved seeing each of them on their journeys! I love Julie, Luke, Reggie, and Alex all so much! They are my new fictional family. I don't want to mention specific side characters for the sake of spoilers, but I do want to say that Flynn is awesome. Also, Carlos is adorable! This episode speaks for itself. I can’t do any better, so you should just watch it and be prepared to be blown away. It wrapped up the whole season in the best way. We are all eager for more inspiration and another season!



Fiona and I have no other favorite story, so we can be a little biased. Our older sister probably likes it more reasonably, but what is the point of enjoying things halfway? We don’t demand that everyone feels the same way that we do about it, we just want you to have the opportunity to receive the blessing that watching this show has been for us! Best part of 2021 so far for us and it will continue!


There you have it! I’m a little tired as I had serum injected into me yesterday (I’m trying to make it sound like I’m Captain America but in reality I just got a vaccine) so I’m blaming any grammatical mistakes that I have on that. I have been at this all. day. long. since my brain is working that slowly and usually I would be really annoyed with that, but it's Julie and the Phantoms! I'm so happy to think about it so much!

Thank you so much for reading! Please tell me if you want to watch this show now (If you do it will make my day)! Has anyone new seen it? Let’s talk! What is your favorite episode? Does anyone love episode 7 as much as I do? Who else wants to see season 2?? Have a great rest of your day!

MovieCritic

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs - by Sarah Rodecker and Helena George: COVER REVEAL!!!

 Hello, again, dear readers!

Are you ready for a surprise? Today is the cover reveal for the second book in The Pirate Hunter Chronicles! I loved the first book Ships, Secrets, and Survivors and book 2 is almost here! It’s actually already a reality for me as I got to read it, but I won’t rub it in too much. Are you ready to see the epicness of Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs? Start scrolling!


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This is how I looked when I first saw this cover.


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The last cover reveal that I did on this blog was for the first book in the series so I’m pumped to be sharing this one with you guys, too!

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What is more fun than a book with pirates and SIRENS?? For me, it’s making people scroll. Just kidding, this book is so much more fun than any of you guys can imagine!

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All the same, imagine great things for this cover. You are going to be blown away.

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I’m not cruel. I’m sorry for all of the tantalizing things that I’ve told you. I will leave you with the greatest part now.

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*thunder rumbles and lightening flashes in the distance*


A song on the wind.

A broken crew to mend.

A family’s honor to be upheld.


Leading a crew is harder than Adi thought. Six months after she took up the mantle of captain, she finds herself facing more problems than she bargained for: a grieving crew and rumors of sirens attacking local ports. But the crew of the High Dragon might have finally found their match in the mythical people of the sea.

Ravin’s life was almost normal, until he finds an assassin lurking outside Master Jermaine’s shop and is forced to flee once more. But Treynair del Mankayl cannot be avoided forever and Ravin has to decide his fate: to run for the rest of his life or stand up and face his greatest nightmare by fighting his father. Only this time, he isn’t just trying to save his own life, but that of another as well.


When Adi and Ravin’s paths cross once more, they are thrown into a storm of myths, assassins, and consequences. But will they be able to weather it with the crew tearing at the seams?


Release date:

May 4th, 2021


Where to get it:



Check it out at:



About the authors:

Sarah Rodecker and Helena George have done countless crazy things together since they first met in 2005. One such thing was write Ships, Secrets, and Survivors on a dare. It went so well, they decided to expand it into a series and publish it together.


But wait, there are treats!


If you preorder then you can get goodies! Fill out the form for that HERE.

Physical (US only):
-A bookmark
-Justin’s shortbread recipe card
-A Siren sticker
-Tea

Virtual (open internationally):
-Kindred, a Pirate Hunter short story
-Justin’s shortbread recipe download

 

What do you guys think? I think this cover is awesome! If you haven’t read the first book then you should get your act together and do just that! It’s totally worth it. Now, go!

MovieCritic
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles