Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.
She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.
I think I may have read this book as a child, but it's been so long that the only thing I remember is the movie Matilda.

In Matilda, Matilda is a young, brilliant child with neglectful parents. When Matilda starts going to school, her teacher takes an interest in her, mostly because of her intelligence and humility. Matilda's headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, however, is a horrible lady to everyone. She scares most of the children, but she meets her match in Matilda.

I like the illustrations in this book as I've come to expect this style when reading Roald Dahl books. They're not particularly beautiful but they are quirky and somehow fit with Roald Dahl's writing style.

If you've seen the movie, the book follows the same narrative, although there were some scenes and characters here that aren't in the movie. The vibe is a little different too. While the movie is charming and sweet, the book is slightly sharper and more biting in tone, but funnier.

As a kid, I liked that Matilda was smart and a bookworm. I still like that fact, and I appreciate that Matilda makes reading look cool.

From what I remember, the things I got most from the movie, was letting your light shine, and that punishing others when they do something bad can be hilarious and maybe even good. Now that I've read the book as an adult, though, I noticed a couple of things that I didn't really pay much attention or felt too outraged about back then.

Matilda's parents were terrible parents. It is absolutely unacceptable to treat your child in the manner that they treated Matilda. Miss Trunchbull is also a very bad person, and that kind of behavior is definitely not going to fly in this day and age.

If you've read Matilda before, I suggest you read it again as an adult. If you haven't read it at all, you should give this book a try.


  1. Matilda is an amazing child.
  2. The story isn't as simple as it sounds.
  3. There are some funny moments here. 


  1. If you saw the movie first and loved it, you might find yourself preferring the movie over the book.

“Here it is,' Nigel said.
Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs FFI, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs LTY. That spells difficulty.'
How perfectly ridiculous!' snorted Miss Trunchbull. 'Why are all these women married?”

  1. You haven't read Matilda before.
  2. You like protagonists who are bookworms.
  3. You like bullied characters who fight back. 




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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Devon’s Choice by Catherine Bennett Book Blast

Today, we are featuring Devon's Choice by Catherine Bennett.

devon's choice

Devon's Choice

Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.
Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?


Brandon looked over at her neutral expression. Whatever kind of relationship she had with Michael Turner didn’t seem to be making her happy. At that moment, all he wanted to do was to make her forget all about the jerk.
As if sensing him watching her, Devon turned her head enough to make eye contact with him. The faint, milky glow from the streetlight showed enough of her features for him to see a soft blush warm her cheeks. Under her dark lashes, he watched her sea green eyes glint invitingly as her soft lips turned up at the corners. In that moment, his resolve to keep the date on a friendly level came crashing down.
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Catherine Bennett

Author Catherine Bennett

I grew up in Ohio where I currently live with my husband and our two rescue Labradors. Some of my favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with my two grown sons. I also love dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for my husband and I!

Growing up an only child, I had many imaginary friends. I believe this - and a love of books - fueled my desire to write. It was many years later that my dream of becoming a published author came true.

I’m grateful to God for always keeping a story in my heart and hope you are blessed and entertained by my book.

Devon's Choice (1)

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/15/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Super Secret Crisis War! Volume 1 by Louise Simonson and Derek Charm

The devious demon Aku has called together a League of Extraordinary Villains — composed of malevolent miscreants from different cartoon universes.
When their evil robots show up in the world’s of The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and (even) Ed, Edd and Eddy, it’s up to all these fearless heroes to band together and put an end to the League’s nefarious plot of interdimensional conquest!

I love a good crossover episode, and this was definitely a good one.

In Super Secret Crisis War! Volume 1, Aku (Samurai Jack), Vilgax (Ben10), Mandark (Dexter's Laboratory), and Mojo Jojo (Powerpuff Girls) have teamed up to create a robot army that will help them take over their worlds. It's up to Jack, Ben, Dexter and the Powerpuff Girls to stop them.

At first, I was a little confused by the story. Some of the confusion was due to the fact that this is meant to be read as a comic book/ paperback and I was reading an e-ARC which only allowed me to see things one page at a time. There were several panels that covered two pages or parts of two pages, and sometimes the story flowed from one page to the next then back. Once I realized this, the story became much easier to follow.

Now, while I know all of the main characters here, the only ones I really know from actually watching the shows were the Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo, Dexter and Mandark. I don't know how many kids (or adults) out there today watch all four shows, but even if they didn't it should be a problem. By the end of the comic, I was already quite familiar with Aku, Samurai Jack, Vilgax and Ben10 and sort of understood their personalities and powers.

Bubbles is as cute as always, and Buttercup is still tough and no-nonsense. I thought that there was a little something going on between Blossom and Ben, and I would love to see that develop further if they're the same characters in volume 2. Mojo Jojo is a sweetheart here, which I liked as I remember him being my favorite Powerpuff Girls villain. Dexter was a bit more annoying than I remember him, though.

The story was pretty good, with several plot twists to keep it interesting. The varied layout, panel sizes and sound effects added to making the action seem even more exciting. The color palette for most of the comic was pretty dark, with lots of black and red, with the colors being provided mostly by the colorful main characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for the e-ARC.


  1. The story is interesting and action-packed.
  2. The layout, color choices and illustrations do a good job of making the story come to life.
  3. The characters have chemistry.


  1. It can be a bit confusing to follow at first, if you're used to typical comics that flow one page at a time. 


  1. You're a fan of the Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack or Ben10.
  2. You like crossover projects.
  3. You enjoy stories with lots of action.




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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The way he kissed me felt like a brand. Like he was tattooing himself under my skin.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Zodiac by Stan Lee; Stuart Moore

Ages 8-12
We are aware that due to the graphic elements within this text, certain pages may render strangely on the Kindle, but should still be readable. If not, please try the download button.
Don't miss our two free e-book prequels to Convergence! Download The Zodiac Archives and The Vanguard Archives from or any e-book retailer.
Stan Lee presents a brand new, magical, super-powered adventure!
Think your life's too complicated? Use our handy Zodiac checklist and see:
1. Are you running for your life, hiding from a group of super-powered mercenaries, including a guy who can fly, breathe fire, and read people's minds?
2. Are your new friends, who saved you from the guy in question #1, possibly even more dangerous and definitely hiding something?
3. Are you suddenly able to punch through walls? (Which is, admittedly, pretty cool so far...)
4. Are you pretty sure that somehow this is all your parents' fault?
*Subsection 4(a): Are you also pretty sure that your parents are trying to take over the world?
5. All of this "running for your life" stuff means you're missing the start of school (at least that last part's not all bad).
If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, well, keep on running. And welcome to Zodiac.

The premise of this book really excited me.

In Zodiac, Steven Lee suddenly finds himself with extraordinary powers after he stumbles upon a ritual while following a tour guide who was acting suspiciously. He's not the only one with new powers, though, as the powers of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac have been unleashed. Now he and his new team must find the others before the villain does.

The start of the book was a little confusing then a little bit meh for me. I mean, there was plenty of action from the start, but I wasn't feeling it at first. Things only started to get interesting for me in Chapter 5. Once things became clearer and the hunt for the other Zodiac members were on, it became more exciting. Pretty much every time someone used their powers after that was a highlight for me.

The story made me think of Avengers mixed with a little Jackie Chan Adventures. Of course, unlike the Avengers, Steven and his team are very inexperienced. Their opponents, on the other hand, are very combat-ready. That's why the battles were often lopsided, at first. I understand that Steven and his team don't have a warrior mentality, but it irritated me to no end. Jasmine and Carlos should really consider adding mental toughness to their training regimen, otherwise, they're in for a tough ride.

The members of Steven's team are pretty cool. My favorite character is Liam. He's tough, but he's laid-back. Steven is okay, but he still has a while to go before he matures. Maxwell, the villain, on the other hand, is like your typical evil villain or dictator. He's intelligent, believes that what he's doing is for a higher purpose or a greater good, but because he's morally bankrupt, he does terrible things.

The book is graphics-heavy, and the illustrations are predominantly black with shades of red. The style reminded me of The Punisher comics, for some reason. It's not my style, but Marvel fans will probably like it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for the e-ARC.


  1. There's a lot of potential here.
  2. The characters are generally likable.
  3. The premise is interesting.


  1. Reading about Steven and his team getting pummeled will make you want to cringe. 


  1. If you find the Chinese Zodiac fascinating.
  2. If you like the Avengers.
  3. You like books about people with superpowers. 



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Sunday, January 25, 2015

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Zodiac by Stan Lee; Stuart Moore


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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once Upon A Time Fairytales) by Cameron Dokey

"Once upon a Time" Is Timeless

Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight, tom-boyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call.
But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?

I'm a huge fan of the Disney portrayal of Mulan, and we discussed the Ballad of Mulan in college, so I was curious about how this retelling of the Ballad of Mulan would play out.

The Wild Orchid tells the story of a young girl named Mulan, who is the daughter of a famous general. Unlike most girls, Mulan has a lot of skills that are usually only known to males. When the Huns threaten to invade China again, Mulan decides to serve in her father's place.

This particular retelling is somewhere in the middle of the Disney version and the older versions of The Ballad of Mulan. That is, obviously, there are no dragons here, but unlike the original stories, there's a love interest.

The style is relatively formal, which helps make it easier to imagine that this was written by a woman in Ancient China. Occasionally, there were Chinese words and phrases, but their meaning in English were stated immediately so comprehension isn't a problem.

The twists about Mulan's parents and her father not coming home right away is something new and adds depth to the story and Mulan's motivations. Mulan's childhood friend was interesting, and I'm glad that it wasn't made into a love-triangle sort of thing.

I liked the characters in this book a lot, however, I felt like the story was too short for me to be appropriately invested in their futures.

I'm glad that Mulan has a love interest in Prince Jian, who is certainly a match for her. My favorite moment between them was their impromptu archery contest. However, I felt like their romance was unexpectedly fast. Unlike in the Disney movie wherein Shang and Mulan were able to interact as male-male and male-female in combat and you can practically see the sparks, here it feels like insta-romance, almost.

I would have liked if the story was extended a bit so that Prince Jian and Mulan had at least one more scene to solidify their attraction/love.


  1. There are interesting plot twists.
  2. The characters are likable.
  3. The family drama makes Mulan's story more interesting. 


  1. Mulan and Prince Jian's romance feels rushed. 

All of us show many faces to the world. No one shows her true face all of the time. To do that would be dangerous, for what is seen can also be known.

  1. Mulan is your favorite Disney princess.
  2. You like reading fairy tale re-tellings.
  3. You like heroines that are smart and brave.




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