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Bitter Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #3)
Bitter Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #3)
Sarra Cannon | 2016 | Paranormal, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)
6
6.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Full review of this book and others can be found on my blog: www.diaryofdifference.com

Bitter Demons is the third book from The Shadow Demons Saga, and the third book of my challenge to read my sister’s books. If you haven’t read the two parts, you can read my reviews on my blog :

Beautiful Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #1) - ★★★★

Inner Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #2) - ★★★★

As a third book of this series, I have to be honest and say that this one didn’t deliver. I expected so much more to happen, and so many more questions to be answered.

The story continues where the second book ends, and now we have Harper, that knows she is a Prima and has great powers. She also really likes this handsome guy, who happens to be a Demon. And Demons can’t have relationships with Primas, because demons are supposed to be slaves, and witches are supposed to use their power.

When two Prima sisters come into town and Harper meets them, she becomes friends with Caroline, one of the sisters. They decide to play a game and swap their looks. But Caroline, who looks like Harper is attacked, which means that someone wants Harper dead - and Harper has to keep this a secret and resolve the mystery by herself.

Now, of course we get to see a lot of Harper in the book - after all, this book is about her. But we don’t get to see her character or story improve in any meaningful way.

We learn a lot about Jackson and his past, and his brother (ooooh… spooky), and how he tries very hard to resist Harper in any way, but ends up doing the exact opposite.

On another note, we are introduced to new characters, but also some of the old characters are given more time in this book and we get to know them better - which I might of not liked so much. Give me more Harper - please!

We meet Caroline - I loved their friendship with Harper and I loved how nice and cute she was. A bit naive, just like Harper, which maybe got her in trouble.

Mary Anne…Oh, Mary Anne... Even though we don’t get to meet her much and she always only shines in the end of the book, I loved the mysterious bit about her, and her will to make the sacrifice that she did. She was the hero for me in this book!

Brook - We got to see the mean side of her, and wow, how fast she changed! Can people really change that quickly and fall under pressure so easily?

I still love the story so much, and will of course read the rest of the books, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much I enjoyed the first two parts. I am hoping the next book will pleasantly surprise me.
  
TM
The Merciless
Danielle Vega | 2014 | Fiction & Poetry
4
6.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
Also read my review here: http://bookbum.weebly.com/book-reviews/the-merciless-by-danielle-vega

<b><i>Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned.</b></i>

Well, well, well, what can I say? This thoroughly disappointed me, after giving it some more thought, I’ve taken this down to 2 stars.

So we have 3 beautiful and popular God-fearing girls who adopt the new girl into their secretive little gang and warn her against demon-possessed Brooklyn. To cure Brooklyn of her devilish ways they decide to kidnap her, stick her in a basement and torture her, or “exorcise her”… Sound like I’m giving too much away? Well yes, I probably am, but the blurb tells you the exact same thing, making the whole suspense element of this book completely useless and a waste of the author's time. <b>Don’t try to keep us on our toes when you’ve already told us what’s going to happen.</b>

Due to this being a novel aimed at Young Adult readers, the language, for me, felt simple and lack lustre. I can only read so much before it becomes laughable for me, and laughable it became. All the characters speech was so unrealistic and straightforward it was almost impossible to believe anyone would actually talk like that. This unrealistic speech really made it difficult to connect to any of the characters on a deeper level so I had no empathy for any of them.

The plot, overall, is just a little bit… completely… ridiculous and nonsensical. The blandness of the characters, scenes and speech make the whole thing feel like a pretty demented, but dumb dream. <spoiler>If Brooklyn had just been evil in a normal teenage girl way and didn’t rip out Riley’s fucking heart, maybe it would have been a better book</spoiler> I didn’t find myself shocked, scared or creeped out at any point in the entire book because it was all so juvenile and cheesy. The reasons the girls did what they did was childish and cringy and it just wouldn’t happen in the way Vega wrote it down. And let’s not get me started on all the loose ends...

Anyone up for reading one of the most predictable endings ever? My God, what an unexciting end to a pretty unexciting novel - at least it was consistent.

I did read this over the period of just one day, so it had me wanting to finish it, but not for any of the right reasons. I wasn’t reading it quickly because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, I was reading it quickly because it was getting stupider and stupider and I wanted to get it over and done with. Do I want to put myself through reading the second book in the series? I don’t know… I’ll give it some time first.
  
Dracula Untold (2014)
Dracula Untold (2014)
2014 | Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
4
6.8 (18 Ratings)
Movie Rating
The latest Dracula movie attempts to honor an ancient story while adding some new spice and bringing the usual graphics flair we’ve come to expect from Hollywood, but falls short.

Dracula Untold, as the name implies, is an origin story for the pop culture father-of-all-vampires. Luke Evans bears the mantle of Prince Vlad Tepes of the Dracula Clan. (Not Count, but Prince.) What about the King, you ask? Well, they didn’t cover this, but there is no King.

Luke Evans is one of my favorite actors in Hollywood right now, and he does this role justice. The rest of the cast contributed solid performances as well, as best they could with sub par script, and poor direction. Charles Dance was a particular pleasure to witness.

This film is Gary Shore’s directorial debut, and it’s easy to see the marks of a neophyte director. Had it been in the hands of someone more experienced, it would have been a juggernaut of a Fall film. Even so, he did pretty well enough, all things considered. According to his work history, Shore was an electrician until 1998, then disappeared until 2014. This is his second film so far this year.

Dracula Untold opens with the story of Vlad the Impaler, as told by his son. Vlad was shipped off to the Turks to become a trained and conditioned weapon. He earned his title by impaling an entire village for the Turkish army. Vlad was a deadly force on the battlefield, but they eventually allowed him to go home, where he could start a family and rule Transylvania. It is painfully obvious that the usual blood-thirsty character was meant to become a hero for this new tale.

The Turks return to take more boys, like they did him, but he refuses. This draws the Turks’ ire, and they demand retribution for the insult and insubordination. Desperate, he seeks out a monster in the mountains who was the REAL first vampire — a man who made a deal with a demon.

Vlad is granted temporary powers, paying a heavy price in the process. After this, the story really ramps up.

This film left me feeling as if something was missing. I attribute this to missing explanations, plot holes (like the lack of King), and several other missteps. Normally, I can look past plot holes. A strong enough movie will keep me from noticing them until I’m rethinking it later. In this case, they were too distracting. The music was unimpressive and not at all memorable. The one liners were forced and distracting, instead of powerful and emotional.

This movie is worth seeing if you’re a fan of vampires in general or Dracula in particular. That said, I wouldn’t advise high expectations. Great aspects were abundant, but there were just as many failings. If you feel compelled to see it, wait until you can see it at home, and save the money.
  
TD
The Demon
Hubert Selby Jr. | 2011 |
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Also read my review here: http://bookbum.weebly.com/book-reviews/the-demon-by-hubert-selby-jr

<i><b>Behind me theres a house, a beautiful house with a loving family, and my guy is filled with rats and maggots that are chewing me up alive.</b></i>

I feel like the aim of this book wasn’t just to shock, but also as a reminder that wealth, sex, admiration and success don’t necessarily lead to a happy life.

I found, to begin with, this was so great at flowing along with the story. There were no sections that seemed overly long and boring, it was just exactly what we needed to know about Harry’s life. Then we came to after Harry’s marriage, where the demons within him couldn’t be kept down and he was frequently going out and sleeping with random women. Now, I was expecting this to happen in this book, Harry’s known as “Harry the Lover” so it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be addicted to sex, but it went on for too long. It felt like half the novel was about Harry going out and shagging anything that moved, all the while, his lovely wife was at home looking after their son, and she had no idea what Harry was up to. The thought of my boyfriend / husband cheating on me one of the worst things I can imagine, so having to read so much of it had me seriously wanting to put the book down and move on.

Thank God Harry moves on to other things to fulfill his desires, because it definitely helped me get back into reading this. Once I was back into reading this, I was really hooked with the story. I kept wondering how far Harry was going to go to hold down his madness.

People get annoyed with the way Selby Jr writes his novels, but I think it’s cool. He doesn’t use speech marks, paragraphs and sentences ramble for ages and he uses a forward slash instead of a apostrophe (it’s closer to type than the apostrophe), this way, he doesn’t ruin his idea and writing flow. I like this raw style of writing, though it can sometimes get confusing to understand who is speaking. Selby Jr is also known for writing about some quite strange, manic and disturbed characters, so his rushed, and a little hectic, writing style does an amazing job as getting you inside the mind of the narrator.

This so could have been a 5 star read for me, but I read it during a reading slump (one that I’m kind of still in), plus the topic of infidelity cropped up too much that everything just fell apart and I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I had wanted to. This is definitely <i>not</i> an easy read but also not a read you should pass up if you get your hands on it.

<i>p.s. I didn't accidentally miss out the apostrophe in the quote, that's how it's written in the book.</i>
  
Magical Girl Ore
Magical Girl Ore
2018 | Animation, Comedy, International
7
6.0 (2 Ratings)
TV Show Rating
Contains spoilers, click to show
Saki and Sakuyo want to be an Idol duo but when Sakuyo’s brother, Mohiro gets into trouble Saki find that the power of love (and a hand from a fairy) can transform her in to a magic girl with a difference. Now she must juggle working towards her dreams with protecting Mohiro and the world from rampaging demons
Magic Girl Ore is a subversive parody of the normal ‘Magic Girl’ series’, it takes the tropes of series’ like ‘Sailor Moon’ and turns them on their head and it is these subversions that make the show. The story line is, to be honest a bit bland, in most episodes the girls are doing some kind of Idol related activity then the demons turn up and try to kidnap Mohiro, who is always around often for convoluted reason, then the girls change and save the day. Each demon attack seems to get worst, building up to the final plan. It takes a few episode to realise that the formulaic, almost dull nature of the show is deliberate, until the end the action is not really important because what you are watching is a subversion of a genre. If you take any number of shows you can see the same plot, ‘Sailor Moon’, ‘Miraculous’, ‘Power Rangers’ and even ‘Scooby Doo’ all have the same plot, a ‘big Bad’ is trying to take over the world/amusement park and the heroes have to stop them.
There are any number of ‘Magic girl’ series’, the genre started in Japan but soon became popular all over the world with many countries creating their own spin on the idea. Most of the time the main character is a young girl who is given the power to transform into their Magic form to fight evil. This is still the standard plot for ‘Magic Girl Ore’ however; the fairy is a normal looking business man, the transformation changes the school girl into a 20 something muscular man, still in the tradition magic girl dress and the demons are cute and buff, there is a hunky possibly gay feel to the demons. This bring us to the transformations, the magic girls change by concentrating on saving the person they love, with Saki this follows a common theme, the school girl in love with her best friend’s brother, the brother doesn’t know. Then Sakuyo get the power but the person she loves is Saki. It’s also hinted that Mohiro prefers Saki in her male form. There are two other magic girls, Michiru, who’s love is male Saki but she hides her feelings so much that her transformations take more energy and ages her and her partner, Ruka who’s love is Michiru.
 ‘Magic Girl Ore’ could have easily fallen into concentrating on these relationships turning the series into a LGB.. statement but it doesn’t, girls like girls or magic girl men or men who like men but it’s just treated as the way it is and, I think that is the right way to do it.
Over all ‘Magic Girl Ore’ is a lot of fun but does seem to drag occasionally.
  
Beowulf (2007)
Beowulf (2007)
2007 | Action, Animation, Sci-Fi
9
7.3 (3 Ratings)
Movie Rating
The classic Epic poem Beowulf has come to the big screen in a stunning CGI extravaganza under the direction of Director Robert Zemeckis.

For those not familiar with the poem, it is an ancient Danish poem that talks of the heroic exploits of the hero Beowulf, as he battles all manner of bizarre creatures. The poem was told orally from generation to generation and eventually became known to many as the source of much of the early great literature from the western world.

I first became familiar with the tale some twenty years ago during my early years in private school where our headmaster had it as required reading for all of his students in honors level English.
The film stays very close to the poem and tells the tale of King Hrothgar (Sir Anthony Hopkins), a troubled leader whose kingdom is under siege by a hideous creature known as Grendel (Crispin Glover).

During a brutal attack by Grendel which results in the loss of many lives, King Hrothgar promises half the gold in his kingdom to any hero who can rid the land once and for all of the foul creature that has caused so much suffering.

In short order, the heroic Beowulf (Ray Winstone), arrives with is army of warriors to take up the challenge. Beowulf is legendary for his exploits in vanishing monsters, but his boastful nature raises the concerns of Unferth (John Malkovich), who thinks that Beowulf ‘s reputation and ability is far more style than substance.

Eventually Beowulf battles Grendel, and accomplishes his goal but learns that the monster has a Demonic mother that to must be destroyed in order for peace to truly be achieved.
Beowulf sets off the kill the demon (Angelina Jolie), but finds himself unable to match her whiles, and enters into a deal that has far reaching repercussions.

The second half of the film deals with the consequences of Beowulf’s decisions and how having is not nearly as important as wanting, which leads to a spectacular and FX filled final segment.
The film is amazing, and for those lucky enough to see the film in 3D, filled with amazing visual treats.

While the film is in no way suitable for children due to the violence it contains, the story holds up very well centuries later, and provides a solidly entertaining tale of heroism, betrayal, and morality that stands the test of time.

I had concerns that the film would be a slap-dashed effort that was attempting to cash in on the success of “The 300”, but in actuality, I found this film to be far more entertaining and satisfying.
The voice work of the cast is solid, but it is clearly the visuals that drive this film, as well as the dynamic effects made possible by the latest advancements in 3D technology as the film literally bursts out of the screen.

Beowulf will not be for everyone as those unfamiliar with the work on which it is based may find it derivative or predictable, but when you consider this is literally the tale that started it all, you could make an argument, that it set the table for all future tales to follow.
  
The Dragon Warrior
The Dragon Warrior
Katie Zhao | 2019 | Fiction & Poetry
10
10.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
<b><i>The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.</i></b>
<h2><strong><em>The Dragon Warrior</em> is such a fun and delightful read</strong></h2>
<strong>I'm 1000% sure the middle school me who got swallowed by </strong><em><strong>Percy Jackson & the Olympians</strong></em><strong> would devour this book</strong> as quickly as she inhales all the dumplings, stuffed buns and dim sum. (Look, they're comfort food.) <em>The Dragon Warrior</em> really brings back the nostalgia of those times. <strong>Katie Zhao wrote a beautiful novel that promises fun and adventure featuring Chinese mythology.</strong>

Zhao's debut novel follows twelve-year-old Faryn Liu as she is revealed to be the Heaven Breaker after she crosses paths with a demon during Lunar New Year Festivities. She and her companions set off on a quest across various Chinatowns to find the island of immortals so she can prove she is worthy to take on the role.

But both she and her brother are outcasts in the Jade Society and have been treated as such for years. To the members in her local Jade Society, she's not worthy of such an important role and it's not something she plans for either (does any twelve-year-old though?). But despite frequently thinking about ròu bāo zi (I don't blame her; meat dumplings are delicious), Faryn readily steps into the role even if she might know what she's doing or feel ready to potentially command an army.

<h2><strong>Full of adventure and humor</strong></h2>
<strong><em>The Dragon Warrior</em> is a huge nod to my childhood, featuring various deities and other well-known figures from Chinese mythology.</strong> They're full of wit and sass that brought a constant smile to my face as they aided or deterred Faryn and her companions in the quest. The novel brings in aspects of family, tradition and honor, all of which are important parts of Chinese culture. It's clear throughout the novel Faryn has a strong bond with not just her brother, but also her Ye Ye.

<strong>Zhao's debut novel is a fast-paced, page-turning adventure that is chock full of humor</strong>; it's easy to forget this is a debut as this is extremely well-written, and I loved every second of it. Honestly, the only thing I'm disappointed is there probably won't be any sequels. (Someone please tell me there will be one???) <strong><em>The Dragon Warrior</em> is an engrossing story featuring Chinese mythology and tying in various aspects of the culture; </strong>I highly recommend this to Chinese American readers who want to see themselves in a world where Chinese mythology clashes into the modern world.

<a href="https://bookwyrmingthoughts.com/the-dragon-warrior-by-katie-zhao/"; target="_blank">This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts</a>
  
    Puzzle Quest 2

    Puzzle Quest 2

    Games and Entertainment

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    ATTENTION: This game is not currently compatible with iOS 7.1 on the iPhone 4. *New holiday sale...