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

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Book Review: One Bad Apple - by Rachel Kovaciny

 Howdy, “pardners”!

February is sometimes agreed to be the gloomiest month of the year, but it is almost behind us. I didn’t think it was that boring (I mean, there’s snow, so that’s good in all ways!) but these early months are good for reading and I did a lot of that. Technically, I read the book that I’m reviewing now in October, but all the same I think it could be ideal for all of you in this kind of weather to brighten your mood.

This book is the third in the Once Upon a Western series. All of these books are fairy tales retold in a western setting without any magic! Well, that last part isn’t true as Ms. Kovaciny must use magic while writing to make these books so delightful. None of the books contain the same characters (expect for small cameos that please me tremendously) so you can read them in any order. All the same, if you want to read the books in the order that she wrote them, but want to know more, then here are my reviews for the other books in the series:
Book 1: Cloaked
Book 2: Dancing and Doughnuts

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

One Bad Apple - by Rachel Kovaciny:
Levi Dalton and his six siblings and cousins have been left all alone by their covered wagon train. They have all lost their parents and their only remaining guardian is an uncle they have never met but they have to get to him in Junction City. Soon they are found by a wagon train consisting of all Black pioneers. They let the children join their group, but only a few, like Hopeful Mallone and her father, trust them. Levi is soon fascinated by Hopeful’s stepmother who helps heal people and he wants to learn her ways. All seems to be going well, but is something sinister brewing on the horizon?

Genres: Western, Fairytale retelling, Young Adult.
Characters: 9, the characters were great! Ms. Kovaciny deals well with working with big casts of characters and making them unique. It could be quite hard to wrangle all of Levi’s relatives, but she does it with easy as well as have prominent members of the wagon train.
My favorites:
Levi: He is my precious child. This fourteen year old boy is so realistic! He is so sweet with just wanting to help people so there aren’t more deaths as he’s lost too many people already. He wants to be seen by his family but he hates too much attention.
Hopeful: Her name suits her 100%. She sees the good in people, but she isn’t naive and recognizes danger. Too few people listen to her, but she is still strong. Her love of God makes all others hopeful, too!
Jacob: He gets the role of being the oldest and trying to watch out for all the other kids. He is very distant, but not in a lazy way, very understandably. This sentence describes him perfectly: ‘The surest way of making him refuses to do something was by urging him to do it.’
Ness: Poor Ness goes through a lot, but I love him. He is patient and kind, which are the best things.
Words/Writing style: 9. No bad words at all. It is told in first person, past tense. The reason that I enjoy it so much is because it is told through Levi’s perspective! It is the perfect basis for the story. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but nothing could’ve fit it better. Grief has made him grow up quickly, but he is still very much a child.
‘The ache of missing them had become a tender throb and not the first sharp pain I’d thought would split me like kindling.’
World building/Setting: 8. This is a new category for me! It is set on a wagon train heading west which fits the story like a glove. I have done a lot of research about the Oregon Trail, but I still learned loads.
Quotability: N/A. As my reviews mature (at least, I think they’re maturing and getting better...) I’ve found that this doesn’t apply much to books. Mostly because I have no one to quote them too unless my sisters are familiar with them. Don’t doubt that this had good lines, though!
Content: 9. There is death and how to deal with grief which is very poignant. Other death is there with killing and plotting, but it is shown to be wrong. It also addresses racism and shows how judgement is a terrible thing, which I loved!
Originality: 10. I love the fairy tale of Snow White and therefore have read many versions. This was new in all ways! Ms. Kovaciny is not lacking creativity in any ways. There are tie-ins to a certain Shakespeare play which are well done. I’m only mildly acquainted with that play, but I’m sure others who know it more will notice things I didn’t catch.
Good For: Fairy tale lovers, western fans, families.
Age Range: Though this is Young Adult, it is perfectly fine for any age. In fact, I think it could be beneficial for younger readers especially, but older people will enjoy this, too.
Overall Score: 9!
Worth reading?: Indeed, as the day is long! Sorry, that might not make any sense but I’m trying to sound like I’m from the west. The Snow White factor brought me in, but Levi ensured that I stayed! It is a Christian book as Hopeful’s father is a Reverend and has messages of faith. If I had been in a different mood I might’ve found it “preachy” in one or two places, but it was just what I needed at the time.
Will I read again?: I went through all the trouble of getting a copy, so yes I will! I want my sisters to enjoy it, too, though they aren’t as into Snow White as I am.
Bonus thoughts:
“Don’t matter what you look like so much as what you do!”
There is a character I can’t forget to mention, Mrs. Mallone! She is a very complicated character, and while her relationship with one character felt rushed, I know that this is a short book so there isn’t a lot of time to delve into things.
American History month, and this book is rich in just that! This book is inspiring for what people went through way back when, but African Americans had even bigger troubles. This book takes a look at that and is eye-opening. Let’s not make that same mistake as history did.

By the way, after, and only after, you’ve read this then you should read Rachel’s short story, Run, Run! It takes another fairy tale and uses these characters to take a peek into their lives after the book has ended.

There you have it! Have any of you read this? What are your favorite Snow White retellings? Tell me some other African American books (or movies!) that I should try. Thanks for reading!


Friday, February 26, 2021

Movie Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

 Ahoy, mates!

Step aboard my ship as I write out this review! We will be waging war with the high seas, so hold on and enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free!

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012):

Also known as The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
Based on: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! - by Gideon Defoe.
The Pirates are happy with their rooting and plundering, except they haven’t had any luck lately. No matter, as they have more important things to attend to, like the Pirate of the Year competition which they hope the Pirate Captain will win! Their chances are looking slim next to the others, so they decide to get more gold to show how impressive they are. After looting a ship that turns out to be only a science expedition they run into Charles Darwin who recognizes the Pirate’s “parrot” to be a dodo! He makes the case that Polly could gain him back some prestige in the Scientist of the Year awards. The Pirates agree to help him in order to get enough gold to win the Pirate of the Year competition. Everything seems to be going well, but is the tide about the turn?
Animated, Adventure, Claymation.

Length: approx. 88 minutes.
Script: 9, blast! I can’t remember if there were any bad words and swearing or not. I’m giving this a tentative score of 9 because of that.
Crew: Directed by: Peter Lord & Jeff Newitt. Written by: Gideon Defoe.
Starring the voices of:
Hugh Grant as The Pirate Captain.
Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, Anton Yelchin, Ashley Jensen, Al Roker, & Ben Whitehead as his crew.

David Tennant as Charles Darwin.

Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria.
Jeremy Piven as Black Bellamy.
Salma Hayek as Cutlass Liz.
Brian Blessed as The Pirate King.
Lenny Henry as Peg Leg Hastings.
Mike Cooper as Admiral Collingwood.
David Schneider as Scarlett Morgan.
Tom Doggart, Sophie Jerrold, Sophie Laughton, Peter Lord, Kayvan Novak, & David Schaal provide additional voices.
Costumes: 6, there is a time when someone is sitting in a bathtub but not wearing anything for a few minutes and though we don’t see anything, it’s still inappropriate and not particularly funny. There are low costumes, too.
Animation: 9, I’m partial to claymation so I like it a lot. I think it’s a unique and fun style! I like how all of the characters were made to look.
Animation by:
Aardman Animations.

Music: 6, not “bad” but not memorable in any way. It does capture the “piraty feel” in places.
Music by: Theodore Shapiro.
Quotability: 7, nothing really comes to mind except this:
“It’s treacherous villainy! It’s villainous treachery!”
Content: 6, there is crude humor involving pirates, drinking, suggestive things, and killing. I thought it was a little vulgar in places, but from what I read of the book (2/3) it is tame. It’s mostly suitable for kids, who are the main audience.
Originality: 8, I wouldn’t go overboard and say I’ve never seen anything like it, but there are some fun elements.
Good For: anyone who likes claymation, families.
Age Range: I’d say the range for this movie is about from 8 up, but when you get to a certain age you might just be bored of it, which is understandable. It depends on the person.
Overall Score: 7.
Worth watching?:
Yes, actually! You might’ve thought that this review was going downhill, but there was a kernel of gold hidden within. It had a really good message which I’ll talk about that more in a minute.

Will I watch again?: If I had nothing else to do, then maybe. Or if I was sick. Actually, this seems like it would be a very good movie to watch if you are ill because it will make you laugh and feel better!

For the blogathon:
This is my second entry in Hamlette’s We ❤ Pirates Week! You won’t want to miss plundering the list of participants HERE

I’d had notes on this movie for awhile so when Hamlette announced it I jumped aboard ship immediately!

I had originally planned to review the book, too, and compare the two, but 2/3 into the audiobook I gave up because I couldn’t stand it anymore. You see, it’s just that I highly dislike satire. I have a really hard time understanding it and that is not my kind of humor at all. My sister said, “I told you so.”

I had gone into the book expecting it to be a fun and cute romp with pirates like the movie but instead was given nothing but cruelty and parody and satire. Not my kind of thing at all. From what I read, the plots hardly matched up! Therefore I was surprised by this little introduction from the Pirate Captain:

“...You see, there’s a good chance that in your more enlightened times of hover boards and A-semetrical haircuts, a daring theatrical impresario will have decided to adapt my exciting adventure with scientists into some sort of morion picture to be exhibited at your local zoetrope club. Probably, you will notice how the motion picture contains a number of differences from the book you are now listening to. I would like to reassure you that this is not because of any sinister plot to rewrite history, it’s simply that certain things are better suited to the page than to the inside of a spinning metal drum. For example, it may be that the villain in said motion picture is Queen Victoria rather than the diabolical bishop of Oxford...
“...And perhaps the motion picture contains an entire plot to do with me owning a dodo, which is obviously a ridiculous and unlikely flight of fancy. Though I would very much like to own a dodo instead of our idiot parrot, Gary, who is frankly, a nuisance. But, rest assured, that in both zoetrope display and book, my beard is still luxuriant, Black Bellamy is still a fiend with eyes of the darkest pitch, and there’s still a good bit where a chimpanzee gets dressed up in a waistcoat, and most importantly, at no point does anybody mistakenly think it is somehow inherently funny to “talk like a pirate”....”
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! - by Gideon Defoe.

I couldn’t fathom how this little note could be so accurate to something that was so different. The answer: Gideon Defoe, the author of the book, also wrote the screenplay. I’m very pleased with all of the changes that he made, which is such a rare thing for me to say.

If you haven’t experienced either then you might wonder why I’m so surprised so I’ll explain. The book is supposed to be full of humor for the sake of humor. It showed pirates as resembling real pirates with killing and cruelty willy-nilly. That’s not what I want to talk about, as this is Hamlette’s We ❤ Pirates Week! We want to talk about why we like them!

So why do we like pirates, and does that change from the book to the movie for any reason?

Yes, it does change. In the book it’s all about what the next adventure is, whereas the message of this movie is family. None of the pirates are actually related, but they are a crew and work together through it all. I think that is one of the many charms fictional pirates bring us, a camaraderie to bring them through the hardest storms.

“What is the best part of being a pirate?” Well, that’s exactly what is answered in this movie. Maybe memories and companionship are the real gold.

Thanks to Hamlette for hosting! Make sure to check out the participants HERE.

Thanks for reading! Has anyone else seen this? What is your favorite claymation movie? Why do you think that we like pirates so much?


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The We ❤ Pirates Week Tag!

Hello, my scalawags!

Are you ready for a party? I certainly am! I’m dancing around with excitement over here! 
She didn’t host one last year, but the three years previously she had a whole week set aside for us folks to obsess over fandoms, and this year we arrrrrrr talking about pirates!

I have another post coming up, but right now I’ll answer her tag questions. Savvy?

I usually try to make myself think harder by not answering any of the questions with the same movies/books, but I’m not going to hold myself to that this time. Why? To get myself straightened out I made a list of everything related to pirates that I have ever dealt with. It was surprisingly short, which should be remedied. Let’s just jump in then!

SPOILERS for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), but that’s it. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen that or I’ll make you walk the plank!

The questions:
1.  What are your favorite pirate movies or books?

The question is plural, so I can freely name many! I could go on into infinity! Wait, you don't want that?

Well, I guess I'll limit myself.

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006), and At World’s End (2007) (I’ve seen the fourth and it’s okay but not brilliant, and I haven’t seen the latest). Looking at all these gifs I have in this post has really made me want to revisit this series!

Captain Blood (1935). This had all of the swashbuckling goodness! This is one of the few “older” (pre 2000s) pirate movies that I’ve seen, so I would love recommendations as I greatly enjoyed this one!

The Pirate Hunter Chronicles: Ships, Secrets, and Survivors - by Sarah Rodecker and Helena George (they don’t love pirates like we do as they are hunters of pirates, but the story revolves so much around pirates that it definitely could be called a pirate book).

2.  Who are your favorite fictional pirates?

Captain Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean. He’s crazy, but: “Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy. I know I’m crazy, therefore I’m not crazy, isn’t that crazy?” which honestly describes me. That’s pretty much my motto in life.

Okay, and all of the other pirates from The Pirates of the Caribbean: Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan (here’s where the spoilers come in, as I loved her as the Pirate King!), Captain Hector Barbossa, all of them!

Captain Peter Blood from Captain Blood (1935). His actions are very understandable, but not cruel!

Captain Hook from any version of Peter Pan. I don’t like him because he is the villain, but he’s one of those villains that you just have to appreciate how well written he is. He is terrifying! There are so many excellent portrayals of him, but lately I’ve been considering Rhys Ifans who plays him in the miniseries Neverland (2011). Sure, I absolutely HATE him, but how quickly he took to piracy is impressive.

Luigi Vampa and his crew from The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). He is only there for a few minutes, but I still love his part for some reason. He influences Edmund’s story! Apparently there’s more of him in the book? I’ll find out soon.

3.  What do you like best about pirate stories? (Themes, costumes, aesthetic, etc.)

Based on the several Pinterest boards that I have, probably the aesthetics. Sword fights are certainly taken into consideration. If themes are woven in nicely then I will always appreciate that. Especially if it has any resemblance to Robin Hood. You can’t go wrong with that, right?

4.  If you were going to play a pirate on the stage or screen, what would your costume look like?

Something easy to move around in like this, but it could have simpler fabric colors:


If I had to have some (PRETEND) pirate accessory, I wouldn’t mind an eye patch.

Also, one year I dressed up like Captain Hook and it was pretty sweet, so I wouldn’t mind doing that again. It was pretty convincing, too, because quite a few people I know didn’t recognize me! You can see it HERE.

5.  What pirate ship would you like to serve on?

I would love to be part of Auburn Sally’s crew on her ship in Starbordia from the book The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey - by Chris Colfer. It’s an all female crew and hilarious things happen. It was the fifth book in the series and the most epic book ever! The last book really disappointed, but this one was a treasure.

6.  Any favorite sea shanties or pirate songs?

What do you do with a cursed Ashton?
What do you do with a cursed Ashton?
Oh what do you do with a cursed Ashton early in the morning?

I should know so many but my mind is failing me. "Leave Her Johnny" is a classic that is a tad sad. For a more inspiring one, I like "The Mary Ellen Carter".

7.  Have you ever participated in International Talk Like a Pirate Day?

Every year I think, “Oh, that’s such a cool idea!” and start to do it, but then after one “Arrr!”...

I get distracted and complete forget what I was doing.

8.  Would you like to go sailing on a real tall ship?

You bet! I can tell tall tales and the higher it is the more fun it will be to do this:

But actually I just really like boats, so yes please.

9.  Have you ever learned anything about real pirates, or do you tend to stick to the fictional kind?

I was forced to do some research back in 2019 because I decided to do a crazy thing and write my own pirate story/novel for NaNoWriMo. It needs MAJOR rewrites as there are not enough “piraty” things or mystery, but I’m rather pleased with it. So yes, I know a thing or two about actual pirates, but I have the skill set (ha, as if) to make it fictional.

10. Why is the rum gone?

Because I have something much better:

I had to get that liquid out of there to use for this, ‘cause where else was I going to put my dirt?

Thanks to Hamlette for hosting! This is jolly good fun, and I recommend all of you checking out the other posts HERE. If you want some treasure of your own, check out Hamlette’s giveaway! You might get something rare indeed.

What do all of you think of my answers? Please recommend pirate books and movies galore to me!


Friday, February 19, 2021

Inklings // February 2021

Happy winter to all of you!

I know that it's been winter for awhile and is still going to be for a long time (at least where I live), but it's something to celebrate! Another thing to get excited about is Heidi's monthly link-up, Inklings!
This is Heidi of Along the Brandywineʼs monthly link up to talk about favorite scenes from books and movies.

How it works:
1. At any time during the month, on your own blog post a scene from a book or film that matches the prompt, including a link back to the original post in your post.
2. Leave a link to your post in the comments section of the monthly post and she'll post all your links with the next prompt.
This month we are working with:

Prompt: A snow scene in book or film

Check out what Heidi did HERE

I am beyond thrilled at this prompt! Snow is my favorite thing ever! Because of that I wanted to find something that properly demonstrated it. Sometimes in books or movies a scene with snow is a disaster, so I didn’t want that! I keep meaning to use scenes from books, but I drift towards movies because they give such a neat visual!

The thing that comes into my mind first is obviously The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, both book and movie. I dearly wanted to use that, but I decided to find something else. My other thought was a song, but I wanted to dig deeper. I had such a complicated system for picking, but I finally decided to go classic and use an older movie, one showing the benefits of snow!

My pick is from the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939). There is also a book, which was one of my childhood favorites, but this part was very different and didn’t involve any snow! While what happened in the book is fine, I’m biased towards the film version because of my obsession.

SPOILER ALERT! I will be talking about a surprise that happens in the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939) so if you haven’t seen it then read no further!
 This is such a famous movie, is there really anyone who hasn’t seen it? If not, then let me know in the comments!

We start off with the Wicked Witch of the West trying to stop Dorothy and her friends from getting to the Emerald City. She cackles while saying one famous line: “Poppies, poppies, poppies will put them to sleep!”

The scene changes into a field of poppies. Our four travelers come upon it and see the Emerald City at last! They are so excited that they decide to run towards it. They go for awhile but then...

Dorothy: “Oh, what’s happening? What is it? I can’t run anymore, I’m so sleepy.”

Scarecrow: “Here, give us your hands and we’ll pull you along.”
Dorothy: “Oh no, please, I have to rest for just a minute. Toto, where’s Toto?”

The answer is, he’s asleep.

Scarecrow: “But you can’t rest now! We’re nearly there!”

Our poor Tin Woodman starts crying.

Scarecrow: “Don’t cry! You’ll rust yourself again!”
Cowardly Lion: “You know, come to think of it 40 winks wouldn’t be bad.”
Scarecrow: “Don’t you start it, too!”
Tin Woodman: “We ought to try and carry Dorothy.”
Scarecrow: “I don’t think I could, but we could try.”

As they step away from the Cowardly Lion he falls backwards, asleep.

Tin Woodman: “Oh, look at him! This is terrible!”

Scarecrow: “Here, Tin Woodman, help me!”

Together they try to move Dorothy but fail.

Scarecrow: “Oh, this is terrible! Can’t budge her an inch! This is a spell, this is!”
Tin Woodman: “It’s the wicked witch! What will we do? HELP! HELP!”
Scarecrow: “It’s no use screaming at a time like this! Nobody will hear you!”
Tin Woodman: “HELP! HELP!”

Another picture comes to focus over the top of the scene, Glinda!

Scarecrow: “It’s snowing!”

Tin Woodman: “No, it isn’t.”
Scarecrow: “Yes it is! Maybe that’ll help!
Tinwoodman: “Oh, but it couldn’t help.”
Scarecrow: “It does help! Dorothy, you’re waking up!”

Both Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion wake and sit up, covered in snow.

Cowardly Lion: “Unusual weather we’re having, ain’t it?”

They laugh but then see the Tin Woodman standing still.

Dorothy: “Look! He’s rusted again! Oh, give me the oil can, quick!”

Still covered in snow, they get to work helping the Tin Woodman moving.

Wicked Witch: “Cursed, cursed! Somebody always helps that girl! But shoes or no shoes I’m still great enough to conquer her...”

That’s not enough to damped our spirits as we head back to our adventurers.

Dorothy: “Come one, let’s get out of here. Look, the Emerald City is closer prettier than ever!”

A song begins and everyone bops along as they continue onward!

Is this scene a tad dramatic? Maybe, but I love it all the same. It also reminds me that the Scarecrow is my favorite! I love how level headed they are. Even though there isn’t an excessive amount of snow (also known as the right amount), it is so helpful! I love seeing them covered in it!

There you have it! I will stop obsessing about snow for now, but if any of you love it as much as I do then tell me! Or, if you don’t like it then tell me and I’ll try to convince you otherwise. Did anyone else get a straight shot of nostalgia with this scene? It really has been too long since I saw this movie! Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TV Series Review: Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episodes 1-3

 Greetings, friends!

Do you ever find a book, movie, or story that you really love and that brings you so much happiness, inspiring you in all ways that you want everyone else in the world to experience it? Today I’m going to be talking about a show that gives me that feeling:

Julie and the Phantoms!

I first heard of this show on Lia’s blog then later I saw Rachel write a post on it. The premise sounded interesting then Spotify wouldn’t stop playing advertisements for it, so I told my sister about it and once we got Netflix we decided to watch it.

I’m so happy that we did. It is amazing. Fiona and I have since become absolutely enthralled and obsessed by it! We have watched it two whole times in the last month and are eagerly looking forward to seeing it more! It had so many good leads for a second season, but it hasn’t been approved yet. I’m here to tell all of you about this so you can watch it and love it as much as we do! (And therefore the producers of the show will be convinced to make another season)

I could gush about each episode for ages, considering every single detail, but I’ve decided instead to combine three in each post while keeping it free of spoilers. I want to do one (post of three) each month, so there will be one in March and April, too. Let’s start at the beginning and take off from there.

This show is only available on Netflix, so you’ll have to use an account for that streaming service in order to watch. I’m here to tell you that it is worthwhile!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. All three of these reviews are free of any spoilers! I will be more vague during later episodes so you can get a full experience yourself.

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 1: “Wake Up” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
1995: The band Sunset Curve has finally made its way to play the Orpheum. They are hours away from playing when an accident stops them...
2020: Julie Molina’s mom was what connected her to music and ever since she passed away last year Julie hasn’t been able to bring herself to play. She’s cleaning out her mom’s old music studio so they can move when three ghosts appear. She’s the only one who can see them so she doesn’t want to tell her dad about Luke, Reggie, and Alex because he’ll think she’s gone crazy. They used to be in a band and all of this music is reminding Julie of her mom. Where is the line between sad memories and good ones? What is she going to do with these ghosts?
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 38 minutes.
Script: 9, one time a name is used in vain and you can barely hear it, but I noticed. Nothing gets past me.
‘“What’s she handing out?”
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 (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for 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. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
7. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
8. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
9. Alison Araya as Aunt Victoria.
10. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
Costumes: 8, all of the characters have very unique styles. Julie’s outfits aren’t my favorite here, but this is one of the few times we see her wear glasses.
Cinematography: 9, you might think, “In about half an hour how much cool cinematography can there be?” Well, how would you visualize ghosts? They did a good job in here! My favorite part, though, is whenever Julie is near a piano. It’s so cool how her bracelets reflect off of it and let’s not forget the sunrise. Amazing! *chef’s kiss*
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
: 10, the songs are the heart of this show! This episode features two songs that bookend the episode: “Now or Never” and “Wake Up”. Both are perfect for opening this show and inspirational in their own ways! “Now or Never” is rock and very catchy. I’m not sure what genre you would call “Wake Up”, but it is gorgeous! One of my new favorite songs of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it, but at least once every day since I first saw it. And the singing? The singing is amazing!

Music by: David Lawrence, Doug Rockwell, Tova Litvin, & Anne Preven.
: 8, after you’ve watched this a lot like my sister and I have, you will be saying  the lines constantly.

‘“There’s no such thing as cute ghosts!”
“She thinks we’re cute.”’
Content: 9, let’s get to the bottom of this right away: as shown in the title, this show involves ghosts. If that makes you uncomfortable then you might want to give it a second thought before trying. They aren’t scary at all (in fact, they are more scared then doing any scaring) and it is all very lighthearted and fun. At the same time it can be serious as death happens (not on-screen) and it talks about grief and what it is like to handle that. I personally don’t believe in ghosts like that, but I love this show. The Molina’s are shown to be Christians of some sort (Catholics is my guess) in this episode as they pray before a meal but it isn’t ever really shown in other episodes. Julie always wears a necklace that I think has Our Lady Mary on it, but I’m not sure. Honestly the one thing that is a little weird for me in this episode is when Julie is show to have a crucifix...that is covered in charms? I think this was made to have it look more personal, which is nice, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It was just a little disrespectful to me, but that’s just my opinion and it’s only there for a few minutes.
10, full score for uniqueness! In these few brief minutes it establishes itself being something new and different. The hot dogs bit is a little...strange, but once you get over what happens it’s fine. It reminds me of Coco (2017) in a few ways, but that’s not bad or copying!

Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range: This is rated G, and I would agree that it is acceptable for all ages! Sometimes when people see a G rating they think it’s for little kids, but don’t let that fool you! Any ages, young or old or in between, could watch this and enjoy it. It is about teenagers in high school so that is the most relatable, but you don’t have to be in that age range to love this.
Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?:
I cannot stress this enough: Yes! I feel so inspired just thinking about this episode and the music.

Will I watch again?: There is no doubt about it! I could watch this hundreds of times and not get tired of it. In fact, that’s what I plan to do!
Bonus thoughts:
The most awesome ending to an episode EVER. A great introduction to the show!

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 2: “Bright” (2020):
Based on:
the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).

Julie was dropped from her music program at school because of a lack of participation, so how can she get back in? Luke might have just the thing as he and the others get used to being ghosts.
“Yeah, I’m not sure you can call what we have, ‘a life’.”
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 32 minutes.
Script: 10, no bad words or swearing!
‘“Sorry, I don’t believe in wasting power.”
“Great, because that’s exactly what I want to talk to you about.”’
Crew: Directed by: Kenny Ortega. Written by: Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
‘“...If you break it I’ll break you!”
“Okay, well, sorry because we’re kind of unbreakable at this point.”’
Starring (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex.

4. Jeremy Shada as Reggie. “You are so lucky you can play bass.” (Everyone makes fun of Reggie all the time but he is one of my favorites! Okay, they’re all my favorites, but you know what I mean.)
5. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
6. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.
7. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
8. Sonny Bustamante as Carlos Molina.
9. Victoria Caro as Dirty Candy Singer #1 (Kayla).
10. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
Costumes: 7, there is a second where someone isn’t wearing a shirt, but that’s it. The outfits carry through by having the same style for the same characters.
: 8, this doesn’t strike me as much as the first one as being new and different, but the ghost features are still impressive.

Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10, this is the episode with the most songs as it has three: “This Band is Back”, “Wow”, and “Bright”. My favorites are “Bright”, as it is so encouraging, and “This Band is Back” because it is just so much fun. It’s very short, but it’s one of my favorites in the show. “Wow” is so fitting for the characters singing it. You might get it stuck in your head really easily. It has many music references in it!
Music by: David Lawrence, Michelle Lewis, Kay Hanley, Dan Petty, David Amber, Erin Bowman, Ali Dee, Doug Davis, Anthony Mirabella, Susan Paroff, Nikki Sorrentino, James K. Petrie, & Jodie Shihadeh.
9, this is an episode that my sister and I quote quite frequently. Especially, “This, this cannot happen!”. It might seem like a few simple words, but the way the character says it makes it memorable.

Content: 9. There is the start of a suggestive comment but it is cut off. Still deals with ghosts (if you’re looking for something different then go elsewhere). In this episode it is revealed that Alex is gay, or homosexual. I know that that might bother some people and make them think twice about watching it. I was a little wary of where it would go, but let me assure you that nothing happens. This show is so clean which is one of the reasons I love it. Alex is a really nice guy. Later on he meets someone who could be considered a love interest but it’s all very chill and friendly. I did not mind and just think that Alex is a sweetheart.
Originality: 10, still creative and one of a kind!
Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show.
Age Range:
Still decent and great for people from all ages!

Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?: So much so! I could go on and on about the music for ages, but just trust me and watch it so you can hear it. I know my talking about it might’ve made you want to just listen to the soundtrack, but don’t do that! Each and every song is such a part of the plot and really makes the words that much more meaningful. Don’t spoil it for yourself!
Will I watch again?: I guarantee that I will!
Bonus thoughts

“Bro, a ghost hug isn’t the feel good moment you think it is, trust me...”
We got introduced to the characters in the last episode, but we got to see more of our four stars and learn about them. Not everything is told just yet, but it makes you care for each one of them. I especially like introducing an interest for Carlos. He is such a cute little brother!

Julie and the Phantoms: Season 1, Episode 3: “Flying Solo” (2020):
Based on: the Brazilian show, Julie e os Fantasmas (2011-2012).
Julie is worried about her relationship with her best friend while Alex is stressing out about the changes happening. Luke and Reggie fully embrace what is happening and start making plans for the future. How is Julie going to show Flynn how significant her friendship is?
‘“Yeah, I don’t think they can see us.”
“I wish I couldn’t see you.”’
Family, Drama, Musical, and touches of Fantasy.

Length: approx. 28 minutes.
Script: 10, all clean of bad words, thank you very much!
“He’s so nervous he’s almost making me nervous!”
(I loved the whole “back on the runway” part!)
Crew: Directed by: Paul Becker. Written by: Sean William Cunningham, Marc Dworkin, Dan Cross, David Hoge, & Nora Sullivan based on the series by Paula Knudsen, Tiago Mello, & Fabio Danesi.
Starring (Reminder, with TV shows I only list the top 10 most important characters for each episode):
1. Madison Reyes as Julie.
2. Jadah Marie as Flynn.
3. Owen Patrick Joyner as Alex. “Don’t tell me how to ghost!”
4. Charlie Gillespie as Luke.
5. Jeremy Shada as Reggie.
6. Booboo Stewart as Willie.
7. Savannah Lee May as Carrie Wilson.

8. Carlos Ponce as Ray Molina.
9. Marci T. House as Mrs. Harrison.
10. Sacha Carlson as Nick.
Costumes: 8, same. Actually, all of them are exactly the same as the last episode because this whole episode takes place on the day that they last one ended on.
Cinematography: 8, seeing the special effects for ghosts is really making me try to figure out how they did that. Very nifty!
Cinematography by: Jon Joffin.
Music: 10, we only get one song in here, “Flying Solo”, but it isn’t any less fantastic than the others! They rhythm is so cool and the words are so sweet!
Music by: David Lawrence, Joachim Svare, Jillian Allen & Joleen Belle.
Notes: I noticed references to Seven Year Itch (1955) and Ghostbusters (1984).
Quotability: 9, my sister and I love this one scene especially where all three of the guys are hilarious!:
‘“Drumming is so 90s, ‘kay? We’re just gonna stomp our feet now.”
“Okay, well, you know what else is so 90s? Being rude. Alright, get woke, these are sensitive times.”’
Content: 9, there might be one thing that could be considered crude humor, but that’s subjective to each person. Same characters carrying over from last time and new ones are introduced!
10, the characters are all so realistic! In this one especially they all react just like you would expect them to. This is awesome consistency and I loved what problem this episode featured for Julie to work through.

Good For: Anyone who loves music, anyone who has lost someone, anyone looking for a good show, best friends, siblings.
Age Range: These reviews are really easy for me to write because many great things carry over from each episode. This one is also perfect for anyone of any age who wants to watch this!
Overall Score: 9!
Worth watching?: Yes, especially because I got to watch it with one of my best friends, my younger sister! I highly recommend the experience.
Will I watch again?: Is the answer a mystery to anyone? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
Bonus thoughts:
This one is all around fun! We get a peek into the song writing process and we see characters develop and meet new ones. Very satisfying!
I borrowed this photo from where I found it on Lia's blog.

This show is off to a flying start! Full of humor, deep moments, and music, what more do you want?

Usually I deeply dislike the blurbs that most websites give for books, movies, or TV shows because they give things away, but IMBd has really good premises for these three episodes. I’m impressed. They might be even better than my descriptions, so if mine confuse you in anyway then feel free to look there.

Is this perfect? Probably not. I just can't describe how happy it makes me. As I told my older sister, who has watched it but is nowhere near as invested as Fiona and I are, I don’t expect you guys to love this like we do! I just want you guys to have the opportunity. This show brings my little sister and I so much joy, we just want you guys to have to chance for experiencing that, too!

That’s a wrap for those three episodes! Look for reviews of episodes 4-6 in March. For now it’s time to talk: have any of you seen this series? Please let me know! Are you now interested in it or even convinced to watch it (I hope so!)? What are some of your favorite shows, books, or movies that you wish people knew more about?

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