Saturday, January 31

FitReaders Week #5

This challenge is organized by Geeky Blogger's Book Blog & That’s What I’m Talking About

Saturday: .5 mile walk/jog
Sunday:    2.5 mile walk & 5 mins weights 
Monday:  Nada
Tuesday: 1 mile walk/jog & 5 mins weights
Wednesday: 100 crunches & 1.5 mile walk 
Thursday:  30 mins Zumba, 15 mins yoga, & 1 mile walk 
Friday: 3.5 mile walk 
Conclusion: Super busy this week! Monday was my only day off, so of course I was a lazy kid. 


Wednesday, January 28

Book Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Title: North and South
Genre: Historical Fiction, Classic, drama, & Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: 1855
Where I Got It: My shelf (Freebie)

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

Okay...I am going to say something rare and strange...I actually liked the TV movie better then the book. I tried reading this a while back, but it was a DNF. After watching the TV movie, I had to re-read it and give it a second chance. Don't get me wrong the book was okay and I enjoyed the journey. I loved the love story, the personal growth, the social issues, and the drama in the book. However, I did like the TV movie better for one simple fact: I was never bored.

The author is compared to Jane Austen a lot, but I have to highly disagree. There were many moments that I could not put the book down, but the majority of the book I was bored. I hated how she focused on certain things and dragged on and on and on. Somethings needed the detail, but somethings did not. I also hated how she portrayed the characters. Especially John. I did not like him that much. Maybe I am biased bc I adored the actor who portrayed him in the TV movie, so it was easy to ignore his flaws. IDK, but in the book I really wanted to punch him all the time. I did want to punch him in the TV movies as well, but not as badly as in the book. The character development was seriously lacking in the book. There was little growth between Margaret and John. 

Now the characterization of the minor characters were amazing. They were 3D and helped make the story even better. One character knocked some sense into John and gave him some obvious truth. Oh John Thornton. SMH. I like you, but idiot. Okay, I get is historically correct and all that jazz. Any man of that time period would think and feel the same way until the truth came out. But claim to be utterly in love with her....sighs.

The ending was long and drawn out, but I loved the last page/scene. It made the journey worth it. It took FOREVER for the love, but it was well worth it. No insta-love and easy HEA here:

'Oh, Mr. Thornton, I am not good enough!' 
'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness.'

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In the end, this was an okay read and I am glad I gave it a second try. However, I will admit that I adored the TV movie waaaaaaaaaay more. It was mostly due to the writing style and how the author presented the story and characters; she is no Jane Austen, sorry. The final couple pages were well worth the journey though. I recommend this to those that like the classics, it is a read everyone should attempt. I shall stamp this with 2 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Bessy, John (even tho he was an ass), and Mr Bell
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Fanny, Mama Thornton (>___>), & Mrs Hale 

Tuesday, January 27

Book Review: The Coffee Legacy by Katharina Bordet

Author: Katharina Bordet
Title: The Coffee Legacy
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, & mystery
Pages: ebook
First Published: 2011
Where I Got It: My shelf (Won in a giveaway)

"An old café, an even older legend and a new threat.

When Isabelle's secret past returns to haunt her nightmares, she must take action to protect her family from a threat that is closer than she realises.

Set within the traditional Viennese café culture, The Coffee Legacy is the story of café owner Isabelle Schindler-Krug and her role in a struggle for power that stretches back for centuries.

As she tells her sons the legends behind coffee and Vienna, it becomes clear that one such legend is still in the making, with her own family caught right in the middle."

I did not expect anything to happen at all in this book. Especially the ending! Holy cow. There were certainly many twists and turns and it was all fun. I certainly loved the mix of fantasy/fairy-tale/legends and contemporary. It worked so much better then I expected. 

Honestly, I loved the beginning of each chapter; I thought it was super duper clever to have chapter titled with a fancy coffee with how to make it and the origin of each one. Not only it make dying for a cup a coffee and a donut to go with it, but it seemed to oddly add to the story. There is a secret world that sends people to come to our world and spread new ways how to make coffee. It seemed silly at first, but there is so much more to that world and to the story.

The beginning was a little slow, but it got better as secrets and the "fairy-tale world" was a real world and all the secrets the characters were hiding would come back and haunt them. So good. The ending tho...I have mixed feelings. It was super duper sad, but I liked it. It certainly did shock me, but yes...I liked it.

Ugh...Dominick. >____> *grumbles* Weak...pathetic...cry-baby...*grumbles* He DOES kinda sorta make it better, but still. I was sort of mad that Isabelle took him back soooo easily...yes, he did deserve to be forgiven because she wasn't innocent either, but honestly, he needed to earn it more. His secrets were "worse" in sense then hers. Yes, both lied and kept secrets, but honestly, I can totally see WHY she did hid it...his secret was dumb and if he had been honest sooooo many things could have been avoided. Bleurgh. 

ANYWAYS, I really liked this book. It was a fun adventure and I loved the story. It was a mix of contemporary and fairy-tale. It was done lovely and all the secrets slowly came out at the right time and it made me want to keep going. I did not like Dominick, but his secrets were important and made the drama. Poor Isabelle. The ending was sad, but I oddly liked it. I sometimes can't help liking sad endings. 0.0 In the end, this was really good. I shall stamp this with 5 stars. It is more like 4.5, but I rounded. 

Favorite Character(s): Isabelle, Christopher, Maria, & the kids
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Daniel & Dominick 

Monday, January 26

Blodeuedd's Monday: The Tears of the Rose

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs—and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn—or a queen? 

Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2014 by Kensington
The Twelve Kingdoms #2

My thoughts:
The adventure continues! This book is about the youngest princess Amelia. The spoiled and beautiful one. The one who liked to party, who married her prince charming at 16. The one people assumes has no brain cos she is so pretty. The one who is told to be an avatar of their Goddess, cos she is so pretty...

But that is not now. Now she is a widow. She is told her husband was killed by her kidnapped sister. Who now lives with demons. She is told a lot of things. And not all things true. She is a pawn but slowly she starts to realise things, that she does not need to be a pawn. That she can find out the truth herself, and that, yes people could be lying to her. But the road there is long.

At first I did want to shout at her, ok so that was not her fault. She is lied to and of course she believes those lies. Why wouldn't she? I just wanted her to find out the truth and to be herself. But it's a dangerous game. Her father wants destruction, the church wants obedience. These countries are going to hell.

The end is pretty brutal, sometimes a cliffie is all ok, I can live with it. But here, omg, omg, no! I can't live with that, I want the next book to see what happens! The 3rd book, that is about the 3rd sister, but stuff is still going on with Amelia..ok calm down, things will be resolved...hopefully. And people will live happily ever after.

This is light fantasy/fantasy romance. I enjoyed it and duh, I want more. There is cliffie! after all. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.


Friday, January 23

FitReaders Week #4

This challenge is organized by Geeky Blogger's Book Blog & That’s What I’m Talking About

Saturday: 2 mile walk
Sunday:    2.5 mile walk & 10 mins weights 
Monday:  1 mile bike, .50 walk/jog, & 5 mins weights
Tuesday: 1.5 mile walk 
Wednesday: 1 mile walk
Thursday:  30 mins Zumba & 15 mins yoga
Friday:  1 mile walk
Conclusion: Not bad this week! I plan on doing the water-to-drink-only diet again for Monday and Tuesday. :) I think it really helped and I felt like a million bucks when I did it a couple weeks ago. :) It's a good way to clean out your system. I haven't gone on the scale in a week or so, but I feel better and I think I may have lost another lb or two...but I prolly gained it back last night after I gorged myself on Tai food and a frape mocha from McDonalds (I needed it haha). Below I am going to share a before and after pic of me (I don't take a lot of full pictures of myself), but I will post them every week. It motivates me. 

(The right) *Before* This was 44 lbs ago. 

Feeling good about myself this week. I still am amazed about how different I look after losing 44 lbs.  *After pic*

Thursday, January 22

Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Length: 2 hours & 9 mins
Released: 2012
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13
Where I Got It: Netflix

Oskar is convinced that his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can't be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father's closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him.


This movie was my first movie about 9/11. I remember watching the towers crumbling down and no matter how much time passes by, it still makes me tear up. I honestly lost my innocence about the world that day. How could people hurt and kill innocent people like that? The world is a cruel place and I learned it that day. I was a little bit younger then Oskar was, so I can relate to the confusion. Sadly, though, he lost his Dad. He is tortured by the voicemails left by his father on the voicemachine (he stole it and listens to it everyday). He then finds a key and to help remove his grief and guilt of not picking up the phone, he begins an adventure to find what the key opens.

Along the way he comes across many different people who aid him on his adventure. Not only do they help him, but he helps so many people along the way. It was really touching even tho even was a bitter little boy. He seriously needed to take care of that potty-mouth of his. I get that he is acting out a lot (he lost his dad and his mother became disconnected), but still. I partially blame the mother. She was so lost in her own grief, that she pretty much ignored Oskar and became disconnected with the world. I totally get that she lost the love of her life, but you have a child that needs you. She does make it up near the end, but I cannot say why or how, but it made me smile. 

I really liked this movie, but I am having a hard time getting myself to read the book. It is sad. I heard and read that the book is sad and has more details (which is common in books). The book is waaaay better, I have heard, so someday I plan on reading this. This movie was the first piece of entertainment that I have experienced that is about 9/11. I've avoided it for many reasons....but the main one is that I know I will cry. Especially when they have scenes/parts where the family member actually calls their loved ones to say goodbye. That *sniffs* always gets to me. 

I totally recommend this movie if you don't mind feeling feelings. It really does touch the soul, especially those who were alive (and can actually remember) 9/11 happening. Soo tragic. This movie isn't "about 9/11", but around a boy who lost his father and is trying to hold onto him and get over his grief. It's really good. The boy has an attitude problem and a swearing problem, but that is common with boys that age, who have experienced a horrible life event. Out of five stars, I stamp this one with....5. It's more like 4.5, but I rounded. 

Favorite Character(s): The Dad (but I may be biased, bc I adore Tom Hanks), Oskar, & the grandmother
Not-so Favorite Character(s): The mother (she makes up for it later in the film, but still....)
Re-watch?: Yeah, I prolly would

Wednesday, January 21

Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Author: Neil Gaiman
Title: Stardust 
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, & YA
Pages: ebook
First Published: 1998
Where I Got It: My shelf (Borrowed from library)

"In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life."

I've honestly never heard of this book until it was picked for the Book Club. I was a little weary about reading this, but it certainly was an adventure and I nice add to our book list for the book club. I can't wait to discuss it. 

Ooooooooooooooooo! Victoria you dumb, dumb, witch. Poor Tristran...instead of being honest saying she didn't "love" him like he did her, she sends him out on a simple little errand to go to the magic land and get the falling star and then MAYBE she'll kiss him and if he is lucky she might consider marriage. >________< Gah. 

So yes, the beginning was rough for me for that reason and that is was slow and there were a lot of character introductions. There are a lot of people who want that damn star! Things got better when Tristran did manage to find the star - which made the book much more interesting. It was a twist and I liked it. I can't say what happens when he finds the star, but it was good. 

I loved the including of fairytales and fables! It was a nice! Especially the lion vs the unicorn for the crown. That was my favorite little bit - the unicorn was my favorite!

The only thing I did not like at all in this book was the random parts with lots of violence and/or non YA words/scenes. I'm mostly referring to the death of a character (that I liked - of course) that was brutally murdered. Okay...I think what bugged me was that it was an animal. I felt that these scenes took away the "fantastical" feel of the book. It just stuck out like a red thumb and it wasn't needed.

Overall, this was a fun adventure. I honestly would have never picked up this book on my own, so I am grateful for the book club introducing this to me. There were a few scenes I didn't like because 1) it took away the "fantastical" feel of the book and 2) it bugged me. The beginning was slow, but it got a lot better. I would highly recommend this to those that like fantasy-type books. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3 stars (it was going to be 3.5 - so a rounded 4 - but the animal murder took away a .5).  

Favorite Character(s): Tristran (even tho he was blinded by the love he had for Victoria), the star (sassy!), and Trsitran's mom
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Victoria and the witch (>_____>) 

Monday, January 19

Blodeuedd's Review: Chasing Kings by Sierra Dean

Short and Hot: Chasing Kings by Sierra Dean

A porn star and a bookseller walk into the same BDSM hotel room suite…

Samantha Hart wishes things would stop happening in Vegas when a case of mistaken identity lands her in the Hard Rock’s racy Provocateur suite—an S&M wet dream that’s occupied by an honest-to-God porn star. Ethan Silver’s reputation should put her off, but his naughty charm and wicked-sweet smile have her agreeing to a night on the town. Then wishing for a night in, as well.

Ethan knew the instant he stepped through the door that this wasn’t the Samantha Hart he was almost desperate to see. Yet he can’t help it. He wants to ease the blushing bookseller out of her shell and show her a good time…and not just in the bedroom.

As a hot night on the Strip turns into a hotter night at the hotel, Ethan begins to prove there’s a good guy under his bad-boy façade. There’s a loan shark hot on his tail, though, and only Sam can help keep his movie-star face intact. But telling her the truth could cost him something he needs more than money. Her love.

Warning: Contains a bad boy porn star with all the right moves, a good girl who wants to go bad, and one wild week in Vegas.

My thoughts:
For a book about a porn-star it was kind of cute...and passionate. Do not forget that cos they do get down and dirty too.

Samantha comes for a nice relaxing holiday in Vegas. Destiny throws her into a pRonstar's room. She is all what? No! He is all, just one date, I do not bite..a lot ;)

So of course that date happen eventually. And she finds out that there is a nice guy behind the star. A guy she likes and would like to spend more time with.

And there is smexy times.

And then there is drama when he owes someone money.

Can they get a HEA? Or are they too different?

Cute, short, nice, and hot.

ebook, 150ish pages?
Published December 2013 by Samhain
Contemporary romance

Sunday, January 18

Joint Review - The Favored Queen by Carolly Erickson

Author: Carolly Erickson
Title: The Favored Queen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 295
First Published: September 2011
Where I Got It: My shelf (Book section at store)

"Born into an ambitious noble family, young Jane Seymour is sent to Court as a Maid of Honor to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s aging queen. She is devoted to her mistress and watches with empathy as the calculating Anne Boleyn contrives to supplant her as queen. Anne’s single-minded intriguing threatens all who stand in her way; she does not hesitate to arrange the murder of a woman who knows a secret so dark that, if revealed, would make it impossible for the king to marry Anne.  

Once Anne becomes queen, no one at court is safe, and Jane herself becomes the victim of Anne’s venomous rage when she suspects Jane has become the object of the king’s lust. Henry, fearing that Anne’s inability to give him a son is a sign of divine wrath, asks Jane to become his next queen. Deeply reluctant to embark on such a dangerous course, Jane must choose between her heart and her loyalty to the king.

Acclaimed biographer and bestselling novelist Carolly Erickson weaves another of her irresistible historical entertainments about the queen who finally gave Henry VIII his longed for heir, set against the excitement and danger of the Tudor Court."

For this review, B and me decided to do a joint review! If it's successful, we'll be doing a monthly joint review! Fun times! We did a Q&A for this book. At the end of the review, I typed a few more words about how I felt about this book:

1) There are a lot of complaints of the historical inaccuracies in this book, what do you think/feel about the liberties taken by the author?
B: I understand the complaints and sometimes stuff like that truly bother me. But it mostly has to do with language or how they act. Here it was more that she yes took liberties about facts and hey I can roll with that. It's fiction, it has to have some drama, cos else it becomes dry and I become bored. If I did not sign up for non-fic I do not want that. But sure there were things that were a little too much...

C: I'm an open-minded lady when it comes to to entertainment and the liberties they take in books and movies. I get it...some aspects of history is boring for those that don't like history (or even those who do). The author took A LOT of liberties, but I have come to realize she does that in all her books. For this one...there were a few scenes I couldn't help but laugh at or roll my eyes or get annoyed. However, compared to some of her other books, this one was not too bad. 

2) What did you think of how the author portrayed Jane Seymour?
B:I have never really had an opinion about Jane. Mostlty because people write about Anne, Anne, Anne, omg I am so over ANNE! Sure, a bit too much Anne in this one too, sigh. But anyway, Jane, I liked her, she was sensible, most of the time.

C: I applaud the author for how she portrayed Jane. I normally don't like Jane (and I still don't), but it was nice seeing this side of Jane. Jane was stronger and not so idiotic like in other adaptations. I feel odd...because I liked her. 0.0

3) What do you think would have happened to Jane's son, Edward, if he had lived a long, full life?
B:Carole answered this before me and damn she nails it. Yes I am sure the world would have thought of Henry as an ass, and I am sure Edward would have to try to re-write history a bit to make his dad better. And because of this father I think he could have ruled well and ok let's not talk about everything Like maybe no Spanish Armada, aww the possibilities. 

C: Oooooh. Tough one. Ummm, honestly, I think Henry VIII would not have been as remembered. He was remembered because he was an ass and because of his two daughters. Edward would have been remembered instead. 

4) What Queen (Catherine, Anne, or Jane) would you have stood behind? Or would you play neutral? 
B:I would definitely go for nneutral It was not a good court to be a part of. I would try to play it as safe as I could and for GODS sake hope that Henry did not look at me. But if I had to choose I queen I would go for Catherine.

C: I wish I could say Queen Anne, but she was certainly hated in reality and in the book. Everyone hated her for "seducing" the King and kicking Catherine off the throne. I would have played neutral, honestly. Just go along for the ride and not kick up too much dirt. It's bad to say, but King Henry and his bipolarness scares me. hahaha

5) Would you marry King Henry VIII? If not, why? If so how come? you had a choice. ;)
B:Young Henry, not old. But rather no Henry. He was way too lusty, but then which king would not be? But his problem was more the hacking of heads things. Did you look at that guy?! Off with her head! Yeah, no thanks Henry. I'd rather be his mistress, cos then he would just hopefully send me away and give me stuff and make me marry someone else.

C: Mmmmmmmm, maybe young Henry. Not old Henry after Jane. Bleurgh. He was gouty and HUGE! I would not want Queen Catherine Parr's fate to take care off an elderly, sickly man while I am super young and be afraid he would get grumpy and have my head hacked off. 

6) Would you be a nun, peasant, or court lady in this time of the book? Your choice.
B:A nun would be good, but sigh, how boring! Not to mention..ahem...well you know.
A peasant's life would be so hard and I am seriously lazy.
Lady it is. I would be a pawn of my father, of my brother, married to some guy, playing dangerous games, but hey at least I'd have  better chance of surviving if I got sick.

C: I really wish I could say I would be content as a peasant or nun...but I would be a court lady. It is dangerous and can seriously stink especially with arranged marriages, but have nice stuff and you for sure will have food on your table. I would keep my head down and stay away from political stuff though. Not worth getting my head hacked off. 

7) Do you think the King felt anything for Jane or was she just a baby machine? And what about our dear King's sperm count? SO many ladies, so few living kids?
B: She was tolerable, she could be fertile. Yes why not give her a chance if it does not work out just get rid of her. I mean he knew how to now.
As for his sperm, yes that was my question. Sure he had kids (mostly the bastard ones), but still he spread it around a lot. I did read this interesting article after this and sure maybe. But like Carole will say, we would need that blood to check.

C: No. At this point, he was desperate for kids. I think the first two wives broke his heart, so he was over love. He just wanted a baby boy. He only "loved" Jane because she gave him a son.  I think there was something wrong with the King or how he treated his preggo girls. He stressed them out and it caused miscarriages. Also, there is a theory that the RH factor of the blood types might have had something to do with the first two wives. I wish we could do some blood work on him!

8) Which character was your favorite? Least favorite?
B: Favorites, *coughs* Honestly no favorites.  But, yes I am partial to Catherine, so her.
Least favorites, Henry, but that is obvious. Anne, cos I DO not like her.

C: My favorites were Jane (oddly), Anne (even tho she was super bitchy in this one), & Charles Brandon. My least favorite was King Henry (he was a super ass and he nicknamed Anne "puffball" or something like that - what? Really? Stupid nickname), the Prophet Nun (*shakes my head*), and the guy - I can't remember his name - who almost killed Anne (I get it...she had the Sweating disease, but you sir are an ass). 

*A few more words from Carole*

In summary, this was an okay book. Certainly better then the last one I read from Carolly Erickson. This was light and a quick read. I am Team Anne, but it was nice reading about Jane for a change. Honestly, this is my first book in Jane's POV. Crazy, right? Anne was a total and utter bitch in this book, but Jane would perceive this especially when she was trying to win the heart of the King and Anne fighting back. 

Like I said above, there were a few scenes that were cheesy/made me annoyed/I rolled my eyes at, but overall, it was an interesting take on Jane and her story. I would recommend it for people that don't mind historical inaccuracies and are looking for a light and quick read about a queen. In the end, I shall stamp this with.....2 stars. 

Saturday, January 17

FitReaders Week 3

This challenge is organized by Geeky Blogger's Book Blog & That’s What I’m Talking About

Saturday: 2 mile walk & 40 crunches 
Sunday:   1 mile walk 
Monday: 3 miles bike, .50 walk/jog, 10 mins weights, & 50 crunches 
Tuesday:  1.5 miles walk & 10 mins weights
Wednesday: 1.5 mile walk
Thursday: 1 mile walk, 15 mins yoga (got lazy) & 50 crunches 
Friday:  1 mile walk 
Conclusion: Meh, not a great weak, but I at least did something everyday! Yayy! This week has been utterly busy, because of work. XI They are working me to death...but I love this job, so I am okay with it. 

Monday, January 12

Blodeuedd's Movie Reviews: The Good Lie

The Good Lie
110 min

Sudanese refugees given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri. where their encounter with an employment agency counselor forever changes all of their lives.

Director: Philippe Falardeau
Writer: Margaret Nagle
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany 

My thoughts:
I am not good with movie reviews. It's such a different feeling from reading a book, but I will give it a go.

First, the cover does not give the movie justice. One would think it's mostly about Reese or something, well it's not...

The movie is about a bunch of kids from a Sudanse village. After soldiers attack and kill everyone they are the only ones left standing. So they trekk over Africa to find a place to settle, to find help. Instead they find other refugees, death, soldiers and destruction. Eventually they make it to Kenya and a refugee camp.

13 years later they get the news they waited for. They can go to America. The cultural clashes hit at once. Everything is different, but at least they have each other. Now they must find jobs and go on with their lives. But the scars from war haunt them all, they lost so many.

And yes Reese is in the movie, later on. She is an employment agency worker and help them find jobs, and eventually becomes envolved in their lives.

It was a good movie. It showed the horror of war, and what is still happening there today even if most have forgotten or turned a blind eye to it. It's genocide.

I liked how they stuck together, even if not related by blood. Their will to live was strong. I even liked how they missed their cows.

I would recommend it. And it's more of a thinking movie, you need those too.

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Sunday, January 11

Book Review: Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser

Author: Susanna Fraser
Title: Freedom to Love 
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: Janurary 5th, 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

"Louisiana, 1815

Thérèse Bondurant trusted her parents to provide for her and her young half-sister, though they never wed due to laws against mixed-race marriage. But when both die of a fever, Thérèse learns her only inheritance is debt—and her father’s promise that somewhere on his plantation lies a buried treasure, if she can find it before her white cousins take possession of the land.

Then British officer Henry Farlow, dazed from a wound received in battle outside New Orleans, stumbles onto the property. Thérèse insists he stay with them to recover, and he is quickly captivated by her intelligence and beauty. Thanks to her care, he is back to full strength just in time to fend off an attack by her cousin, inadvertently killing the would-be rapist.

Knowing they will find no justice in the law, the trio flees. Henry risks being labeled a deserter, but more than duty compels him to see the sisters to safety, and Thérèse comes to rely on Henry for more than protection. On their journey to freedom, they must navigate another new territory—love. But when they arrive in England, an unexpected inheritance puts their newfound commitment to the test."

First off...I was drawn in by the cover. Rarely does a lovey-dovey cover draw me, but for some reason this one did. The summary really did it in for me. Yes, it is a historical romance, but its deeper then that. Therese is a mixed race girl who is trying to find a treasure hidden by her deceased father to help support herself and help get her half-sister's freedom. While digging and looking around, Henry stumbles into their lives with a wound from the war going on. They take care of him and he can't help but help them out and protect them. Of course he falls in love Therese. Duh.

It wasn't necessarily insta-love. They admired each other and became friends first; after a while they do fall in love. Henry was the perfect gentleman (even tho he slipped up once and kissed/groped Therese before she was ready) and he was adorable and protective of the girls even though they are not 100% white.

WHICH....kuddos to the author for being authentic to the times. Race was a huge, HUGE deal back then (it still hinders us today) and Therese got lucky that she can pass off as a white girl/Spanish girl, but she is struggling with her self-hate. I am glad that the author didn't shy away from this issue of race and slavery. It made the story more believable and the characters had added depth. Yes, Henry is a great guy, but he even had a moment of "OH MY GOSH YOU ARE NOT 100% WHITE? YOU HAVE A BLACK AND NATIVE ANCESTOR! OHMIGOSH! Okay, okay. I believe in black freedom, so its cool. I like're pretty and smart and awesome." 

The characters were nice and very 3D. I ADORED Jeanette (the half-sister); she was 13, but full of spunk and cleverness. Poor girl had to grow up before her time, but she handled everything so well. She was too smart for her own good sometimes. haha. Now, I liked Therese a lot too, even though I wanted to smack here sometimes - she was sooooo irrational sometimes. She had the hardest time accepting that Henry doesn't care she is mixed. Get over it. He loves you. xI How many times does he have to prove is willing to fight for you? Bleh! But besides that, I liked her. She was willing to do anything for her sister and find happiness in her life. 

Now, I will admit I did some skimming....some parts were so slow and dry. There would be lots and lots happen and then it would halt. Honestly, I think there was too much conversation going on and it seemed to draw out scenes that did not need to be drawn out. 

I liked the ending, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes at Therese being irrational...again. However, I did like the rest of the ending when she was slapped back into reality. 

In the end, this was an enjoyable adventure. Even though it was a historical romance, it had some real depth and the characters were really well developed. I wish that Edward wasn't such a snot...but I can kinda see how and why he was bitter. *shrugs* But get over it dude. ANYWAYS, there were some slow spots, but that happens sometimes. I really wish that Jeanette will get her own book/short story! 

In the end, I stamp this with...3 stars. 

 Favorite Character(s): Jeanette (I want her to have her own story!), Therese, & Henry

Not-so Favorite Character(s): Edward (*shakes my head*) & Henry's mother (>___>)

Saturday, January 10

Book Review: Haunting Secrets by Marie Higgins

Author: Marie Higgins
Title: Haunting Secrets 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, & Paranormal Romance
Pages: ebook
First Published: November 2014
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon freebie)

"Victoria Fawson desperately needs answers about her father’s death. When she visits the Maitland Manor to discover those answers, she finds only secrets…haunting secrets that leave her wondering who she can trust. Should she trust her feelings for the one man who hides from the world—the man who might put her in danger?

Justin Maitland hasn’t been human for over a year. He knows things about his family—things that could destroy Victoria. The only way to help her is to send her back home without learning anything. Yet, how can he let her go when he’s given her his heart?"

Ooh, this was not at all what I thought it was going to be - but in a good way. It certainly was insta-love, but being together? Not so instant. Justin has an issue...he and his family are faking his death because he was turned into a werewolf by some nasty witch who is bitter, because she will not accept that he is NOT in love with her. Victoria also has an issue....her dad was murdered and she was brought to be a potential bride to Justin's brother, Johnathon. Eek. Also...there is something fishy going on in the house. Roddy and Bethany seem TOO eager for Victoria to wed Johnathon. Hmmm.

Even tho I thought it was silly how quickly Victoria fell for Justin (ridiculous name for a British Lord), I still loved the journey. They certainly had a HUGE mystery on their hands (like how to remove a curse) and what the hell is going on in the house. Nasty witches and their nasty selfish magic. Tsk. 

Gah, I do feel super bad for Johnathon though...he actually likes Victoria and he is being used JUST as much as Justin and Victoria for a certain baddie's schemes (I shall not spoil who the baddie/baddies are - ok...there are more then one running around). I was totally hooked with this story, because I wanted - NO - needed to know what was going to happen next. Especially how they were going to remove that nasty curse from Justin. He turns into a wolf whenever he feels desire - it certainly helped that he actually fell in love with Victoria, so they didn't need to worry anymore about him eating her face (in a bad way). 

I found this randomly on Amazon's freebie. I'm not sure if it is still free, but give a go and check it out! I totally recommend this to those that like historical fiction mixed with romance and mystery and paranormal stuff. ^.^ The insta-love made me roll my eyes, but the rest of it was a lot of fun. I certainly want to check out this author's other works. Out of five stars, I stamp this with....4 stars. 

PS - What the hell is the girl wearing on the cover? Is that a see-through bodice. Sighs. 

Favorite Character(s): Justin, Johnathon, and Mrs White (hehe)

Not-so Favorite Character(s): Bethany (gr) and Roddy (*shakes my head* Man-whore)