Posted in TV Show Reviews

TV Show Review: Shadow & Bone S01

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Review:

So I finally watched Netflix’s Shadow & Bone! It took me a while to get in the right frame of mind to watch it, but I’m glad I waited until after my re-read of the Shadow & Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.

First off, I have to address the issue of racial discrimination in the show. I figure the producers might have wanted to add another chip on Alina’s shoulder along with her being an orphan, but this did not sit well with me. I found myself getting annoyed over this every time I came across it in the show. This was a major unwanted change from the books and I did not appreciate it at all.

From the books I previously did not like Alina and Mal much. But I ended up loving Mal in the TV show. The actor, Archie Renaux, did a great job. He was so authentic, he made Mal look far better than in the books. As for Alina, I still don’t like her. It’s not a stab at the actress, Jessie Mei Li’s performance because she portrayed Alina well. I always emphathized with Alina’s situation in the story – as an orphan, then being alienated, the burden of responsibility but still I just couldn’t warm up to her.

Now, the Crows! Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Nina & Matthias were my favorite part of the show. God, I loved them! The cast selected for the Crows were perfect, absolutely flawless. Watching them come to life in the show was like a dream come true. I had hearts in my eyes like a heart emoji in every Crow, Nina & Matthias scene. I can’t wait to see more of the Crows.

The show stayed about three-quarters true to the books. In my opinion, the changes that were different to the original Alina-Mal-The-Darkling storyline were quite unnecessary and to be frank, a bit irritating. The only change that I appreciated and loved was how seamless the addition of the Crows to the storyline of Shadow & Bone was. They fit in like they had been part of the original storyline from the beginning.

The Darkling. This review wouldn’t be complete without an opinion on him. I loved the Darkling in the books but Ben Barnes wasn’t quite whom I pictured as the Darkling. That said, I can’t find fault with his portrayal as the Darkling but I feel like some of that Darkling intensity was missing. However, that ending scene in the finale was fantastic.

The special effects were pretty good and the depiction of the different Grisha powers and the Volcra was excellent. One thing that I enjoyed a lot was how the opening credit for each episode was different, especially the one with the crows.

Another favorite scene of mine was Leigh Bardugo’s cameo. That was beautiful to see—the author amidst her beloved characters. It wasn’t just touching but felt like a tribute to the author and I loved that.

For a first season, Shadow & Bone showed great promise and potential. I can’t wait to see more, especially the Crows and I am happy the show was renewed for a second season.

Dark forces conspire against orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world.
[Adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels.]

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Blog, Kdrama Reviews

Kdrama Review: Start-Up

Synopsis:
Set in South Korea’s fictional Silicon Valley called Sandbox, Start-Up tells the story of people in the world of startup companies.
Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) is a bright and ambitious young woman who dreams of becoming Korea’s Steve Jobs. Dal-mi doesn’t have a fancy background but she’s passionate about her work. She has bright energy and is a person of great vitality, having experience in a wide range of part-time jobs.
Nam Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk), is the founder of Samsan Tech. A ‘math genius’ as a young boy, Do-san was once the pride of his family but became their shame now, as his business has been going down for the past two years. He finds out that Dal-mi mistakenly remembers him as her first love, so he decides to work his way up in hopes of turning that misunderstanding into reality.
Air date: 17 Oct 2020 to 06 Dec 2020

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Love triangles, Romance

Review:

If you guys have been following my blog for a while you know I’m not a fan of love triangles. In fact, I tend to avoid stories with love triangles. But I still remember when I checked out this Kdrama. I’d had a tiring and stressful day travelling to and from work and I was feeling pretty low. I only decided to try this Kdrama because of the actor, Nam Joo-hyuk, whom I loved from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo in which he was awesome.

I started watching episode 1 of Start-Up and I told myself if it sucked, I would just drop it. By the end of episode 1, I’d cried my eyes out, I was hooked and it wasn’t even because of Nam Joo-hyuk. No, it was the storyline that drew me in.

I continued watching and somehow I don’t know when it happened, I fell in love with the second lead, Han Ji-pyeong—played by the actor, Kim Seon-ho. I loved the young, prickly Han Ji-pyeong a lot but I have no idea when the actor, Kim Seon-ho snuck up on me and made me fall for him.

I was now stuck with classic second lead syndrome and I continued watching the Kdrama because of him and the delightful grandmother, Choi Won-deok. They were my favorite characters in this Kdrama and I believe the heart of Start-Up.

The storyline is a good one, about the reality of starting a company from the ground up—all the blood, sweat and tears, living with the pain of disillusionment, the crushing blow of failure. Just for that one tiny miracle of success.

The first lead, Nam Do-san, was a bit disappointing (played by Nam Joo-hyuk – the whole reason I wanted to watch Start-Up) but I found Kim Seon-ho, who’s now one of my favorite actors. Start-Up was a good Kdrama though it was the secondary characters who made it worth watching for me.

∼Lyn

Posted in TV Show Reviews

TV Show Review: Star Trek Discovery S02

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama

Review:

Once I finished binge-watching Season 1, of course mired in my obsession as I was, I jumped straight into Season 2 with Spock and Captain Pike joining Star Trek Discovery. I have to say Zachary Quinto is still my favorite Spock. That said, I did enjoy the sibbling dynamics and ribbing between Spock and Michael. Though I still haven’t warmed up to Michael. She’s the main character and yet she annoys the hell out of me.

The new plotline of Season 2 was pretty intriguing and kept me watching, one episode after the next. The plot twists kept me guessing and pondering what would happen next. I really like Stamets’ character – he’s this supersmart scientist and yet he has this kindness about him I found endearing.

But my absolute favorite character remains the badass alternate Philippa Georgio. She used to be a villain but got stuck with the Federation. She’s mean and sarcastic, has the best snarky retorts. She’s amazing! She did all these horrible things but she doesn’t pretend she’s not what she is. She doesn’t apologize or give a damn what others think of her. How can I not be awed by her?

For a second season, Star Trek Discovery did a pretty good job.

Posted in TV Show Reviews

TV Show Review: Star Trek Discovery S01

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama

Review:

I’ve always been more of a Stargate SG-1 fan than Star Trek. I grew up crushing on Richard Dean Anderson on MacGyver (the original TV series) so of course I was crazy about SG-1. I remember watching a few episodes of Star Trek during my childhood but they didn’t really blip on my radar. It wasn’t until I watched the 2009-2013 Star Trek movies with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto that I totally fell for Spock. And I’ve lost count of how many times I watched all 3 movies.

So a few weeks ago when I was deep in my rut, I decided to binge-watch Star Trek Discovery. I sure as hell did not know Spock had a sister! A foster sister but still, it was quite weird for me to ‘meet’ this human Vulcan named Michael of all things. I never did find out why she was named Michael. She was quite Vulcan in her ways and yet so very human at times.

I loved the modern feel to the TV show and I enjoyed the different character dynamics a lot but I never did warm up to Michael. I liked the other characters way better than her. I definitely prefer Spock to her.

The show hooked me in from the beginning of that first episode with T’kuvma’s Speech in the opening scene. Oh, the irony! I loved that. One of my favorite things about Spock is how he delivers sarcastic barbs with that cool aplomb of his so I loved the irony of T’kuvma’s reason for trying to unite his people against the Federation.

The plot-line kept me entertained and it had a major, fantastic plot-twist. Holy cow, I so did not see that coming. Loved the alternate Philippa Georgiou, who was quite badass. All in all, for a first season, Star Trek Discovery wasn’t bad at all.

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Quiet No More – Nikki Barthelmess

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Review:

Life after surviving sexual assault. How do you do it? How do you pick up the pieces and get on with your life? Is that what you’re supposed to do? Can you? That is what Victoria strives to figure out after surviving sexual assault by her father and the hardship of foster care.

Victoria’s now in college, trying to get through her classes while inside her emotions are all messed-up. Her father’s sentencing looms ahead and she’s stuck in a love-and-hate tug of war for him, trying to grasp the right thing to do.

I empathized with Victoria over what she was undergoing and the author did a good job showing her doubts, confusion, her pain, her struggle not to let what happened to her drown her.

Right and wrong have always been pretty black and white for me. So I wanted Victoria to see her father for what he was, and I wanted her to make the right decisions but it’s hard to do that when you’ve been pushed into a certain mold.

What her so-called friend did was horrible and a breach of trust and friendship. I don’t condone that. Quiet No More is a book worth reading, providing awareness on what victims and survivors of abuse face from friends and family, strangers and society in general.

Synopsis: College freshman Victoria Parker is trying to move on with her life after surviving sexual assault by her father and six months in foster care. She’s focusing on the positives–attending college, living on her own, repairing old relationships and making new ones, and getting involved with an abuse survivors activist group on campus. But everything’s thrown into disarray when a strange woman shows up, claiming to be Victoria’s aunt and asking Victoria to lie about what happened to her. With her father’s sentencing in a few months, she’s nervous about having to share the truth of what happened with a judge. She’s not even sure if she has the strength to go through with it. But when her fellow club members begin pressuring her to speak out, Victoria has to decide how to share her story while remaining true to herself.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea (Embraced by Magic #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Rom-Com

Release Date: 25 Aug 2020

Review:

When two months go by without word from the shape-shifter spy, Brody, no one seems perturbed—except for Maeve, the youngest of the five embraced sisters who always had a special bond with him. Maeve goes in search of him, unaware that this course of action will lead Brody and her into a world of peril and painful secrets.

Side-note – Although this appears to be book 2 in a new series, it’s actually a continuation of the series before it called, Embraced. But all the books in these two series can also be read as stand-alones as the author’s segue is easy to follow.

I have to say upfront, I loved the plot-line of this story. So many secrets and conflicts had me turning the page and unwilling to stop reading. Kerrelyn Sparks crafted a compelling story with dashes of humor that made it a boatload of fun to read. I only read one book in this series but the author’s segue was easy to follow and her writing style a pleasure to read.

The main characters each had complicated back-stories and secrets hiding in their pasts, waiting to blow in their faces. The romance was in equal parts sizzling & funny. The side-characters were hilarious, making me laugh out loud numerous times from their witty comments.

After I finished How To Love Your Elf, I thought for sure Kerrelyn Sparks couldn’t possibly top it but I was wrong. The Siren And The Deep Blue Sea was a delightful read with side-characters that left me grinning and satisfactory resolutions to all the stories in the Embraced and Embraced by Magic series.

*Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

When Sorcha and her friend, Aleksi get kidnapped by elves, a.k.a “arrogant, two-faced bastards” in an ambush meant for her sister, she’s determined to escape and save the both of them. Then a mysterious stranger called the Woodsman shows up in the nick of time to help them escape. Before she knows it, Sorcha’s embroiled in elf politics and falling for the Woodsman.

Side-note – Although this appears to be book 1 in a new series, it’s actually a continuation of the series before it called, Embraced. But all the books in these two series can also be read as stand-alones as the author’s segue is easy to follow.

This was my first book by Kerrelyn Sparks so I didn’t really know what to expect going in. But from the first page, the author’s writing drew me in and I was invested in the world she had created and its happenings. The main characters were unique with the side-characters adding much value and comic relief.

Sorcha was easy to like but I have to say it’s the Woodsman I liked more. I found myself with stars in my eyes, devouring every new information about him. I love how Sorcha baffled and exasperated him, making him lose that tranquil zen state of his. And I found myself laughing out loud at so many of their interactions, especially that hilarious picnic scene that I won’t be forgetting for a long, long time.

The additional budding romance of two of the side-characters was quite endearing. I enjoyed this book a lot and Kerrelyn Sparks’ writing left me in smiles long after I turned the last page.

Synopsis: Raised in isolation on the magic-shrouded Isle of the Moon, five girls became five sisters. Now women, they are ready to claim their places in the world—and perhaps change it forever . . . FLAME AND FORTUNE Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage. Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) – Abby Jimenez

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

From the moment I finished The Friend Zone, I wanted Sloan’s story. After what she went through, I wanted a happy ending for her. Losing her fiancé as she did, only days before her wedding, it rips at the heart. How do you deal with grief like that? Sloan couldn’t. Until a mischievous dog crossed her path and forced her to live again, not just survive.

There was only one little hiccup. The dog belonged to someone else, one Jason Larsen who had no idea his beloved dog was missing. And so starts a hilarious bid to get his dog back, only Sloan no longer wants to give him back.

Sloan’s grief, how she tried to get through it, was heart-wrenching to watch. I can’t imagine the courage it took to let Jason in, to give herself a second chance to love, to have a relationship after what she lost. I loved what great friends Kristen and Josh were to her, how they supported her and tried to be there for her during her grief.

I loved how Sloan and Jason got to know each other. All the meaningful texts and phone calls, conversations—deep and frivolous, all the references that felt like fate was pushing them together and it was no wonder Jason fell for her. I have to say upfront, I loved Jason. I loved how he was with Sloan, everything he did for her. Yes, he fell fast, but sometimes, love works like that. I love how he put her first. And that climactic scene? Holy cow, talk about grand gestures!

The only issue I had was the name-dropping of famous real life actors or singers in the story. That felt off to me but it was more like a pet peeve rather than an actual problem with the story. The Happy Ever After Playlist was a wonderful story about getting through the grief of losing a loved one, trying to live again and saying yes to second chances.

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Synopsis: Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back. Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) – Lyssa Kay Adams

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

Undercover Bromance is the story of the man who started it all, Braden Mack. We first meet him and the feisty Liv Papandreas in The Bromance Book Club, where they clash over Chinese food, which results in Liv disliking him. Then as life often tends to do with people you don’t want to meet but who end up on your path just to annoy you, Mack and Liv meet again, in a situation that ends up with Liv catching her boss red-handed in sexual harassment and losing her job. Continue reading “Book Review: Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) – Lyssa Kay Adams”

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: This Eternity of Masks and Shadows – Karsten Knight

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ, LGBT

Review:

In a world where Gods reincarnate as humans, Cairn is an 18-year-old whose life used to be normal and her worries that of a simple teen. Then she lost her mother in what looked like suicide. Her life fell apart and she spiraled into a dark place, hell-bent on self-destructing. Until she unearthed secrets her mother had been keeping. As she dug deeper, she found out there was a lot more to her mother’s death than she realized. Continue reading “Book Review: This Eternity of Masks and Shadows – Karsten Knight”