Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review of A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden   Leave a comment

 

Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

I usually enjoy historical romance fiction, so I decided to give this a try. One thing is for certain. Elizabeth Camden will definitely not be getting added to my favorite authors’ list.

Our main characters are Lucy Drake, a skilled telegraph operator at the AP news agency and Sir Colin Beckwith, head of the rival agency, Reuters. Lucy and her brother have been embroiled in a bitter court battle with their dastardly uncle who managed to cheat their family of a special plumbing valve their father invented. With all their time and money being spent to keep their Uncle Thomas at bay, they have no time to actually live. Lucy keeps them going by reminding herself that once they win the fight, the valve can be offered at cheaper prices so everyone can have running water in New York.

Sir Colin Beckwith is heir to a title, but with no wealth to match it. While he loves his job at Reuters, he feels the weight of his ancestral duty pressing down on him. His only hope for restoring his home in England and taking care of the tenants who live on the estate is to marry a wealthy heiress.

Despite resisting a romance with Lucy, he soon becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding her family.

The time period is 1903 and Elizabeth Camden does a good job portraying the excitement of the telegraph and the way news could be received over it. Plus other historical facts from this time, like plumbing, homing pigeons, journalism.

Unfortunately, it saturates the very beginning, practically the first quarter of the book. And as one reviewer already mention, there was a lot of repetitive writing. From details of why Lucy and her brother were still fighting, to the telegraph itself.

The plot meandered, and I fought to get through it. Finally reaching the halfway mark, things started to pick up, and the plot finally perked my interest. The ending was so-so. I liked where it left the characters, but the resolution of the fight with Uncle Thomas was weak and chopped short. In fact, it was like a passing breeze.

What I like: Honestly, Colin is the character who makes this book shine. His British snobbery and belief that Americans knew zero of culture was hilarious. Even Lucy’s brother Nick proved to be a pretty strong character. I really liked also when Lucy discovered just how much of her life that had been so devoted to the lawsuit with her Uncle, she’d never really taken the time to live.

What I didn’t like: Lucy’s character was just annoying. I won’t go into specifics to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that I wish Colin had someone else to go for.
As for the romance, it was okay, but I’ve read better. Same goes for the spiritual content, which was downright sparse and then shoved in there for the sake of being a Christian novel.

So final conclusion? It’s a comfortable read for the most part, if you’re looking for light reading material. But it’s not really compelling in the characters, romance, or spiritual aspects. I should add that I passed this book on to my mom, thinking this would be something she would enjoy more than I did. Unfortunately, she did not. She actually got so bored trying to press through the beginning that she gave up.

Verdict: Pass

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and 
author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

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Halflings by Heather Burch Review   1 comment

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After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves Halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in their earthly mission, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

(Description from Amazon)

It sounds rather exciting, and after months of poring over reviews from Amazon and debating, I made the plunge and bought the book. Normally, I’d end up with a prize read and a “phooey you” to the naysayers. Sadly, they proved to be right this time.

I wanted to like the story. I really did. The story starts out strong, placing us with Nikki, the protagonist of the story, right in the middle of a terrifying chase with hellhounds. Then things go downhill. Nikki is presented as the epitome of the modern self-assured woman. She is a karate master who wins trophies in the contests she enters, drives a motorcycle, and is a talented artist. But behold Mace, the Halfling. At his appearance, her brains turn to mush, and her speech fades, for he is…hot.

Not to be outdone, here comes Raven, the bad boy Halfling with his pathetic attempts at snark that will never come close to matching Iron Man. And he too is…hot.

And there is Vine, he with the long womanly hair who also is…hot.

By now, you should get the gist of the story. Instead of it going somewhere with a solid plot and real character development, it plods along agonizingly with Nikki’s attempts to understand the Halflings and her inexplicable attraction (simple lust, really) to Mace and Raven. Vine, apparently, who is just as attractive, is too young and of course would never fit into the proverbial love triangle.

Some reviewers claimed they didn’t like the religious overtones in the story. I was like, “where are they?!” Yes, God and angels are mentioned, especially since the Halflings are part angel due to being the offspring of fallen ones.

But that’s it. What we are treated to is a trip down Nikki’s hormonal lane where she feels a hot thick stream through her system, and how hard it is to breathe in the presence of the god-like Halflings.

It’s not a big book. Maybe a little over three hundred pages. But it felt long. I had to stop several times while I waited for my disgust to subside long enough to continue. And continue I did. I plugged away through the drivel and then reached the end, a hastily rushed climax that sets things up for the next installment in the series.

Halflings seeks to be the Christian alternative to Twilight, but all it can do is show that Nikki is hot; Mace is hot; and Raven is hot. And the story itself doesn’t even reach the halfway mark into being a story, let alone a Christian one.

Verdict: pass

Batman v Superman   Leave a comment

Batman_v_Superman_poster

Finally decided to drop by and post after what seems forever. And what better thing to start off with than a movie review? Be aware that there will be some spoilers, so read at your own risk.

Now though I am a Marvel fan, I enjoy DC as well, and was eager to see their own cinematic universe take off. Regardless of what anyone says, Man of Steel was a decent film and one of the best for Superman, so I was excited to see the followup.

Having now watched the next entry in the DC cinematic universe, I will be honest and say I can understand where the naysayers are coming from. While it’s my personal belief that critics enjoy only the crap of movies, their criticism does have some merit.

Batman v Superman runs almost two and half hours, and the first half is a bit of struggle. The very beginning starts out well enough with recapping (yet again) the death of Bruce’s parents and his encounter with bats. Then we switch to that scene in Man of Steel where Superman engages General Zod, only this time it’s with Bruce from the ground. The frantic rush to save the employees of Wayne Tower flows well, conveying the terror and frenzy of the moment, and shows us why Batman distrusts Superman so much.

3-66

After than, though, things seem to take a dive. The story does not flow well, with scenes being thrown in the wrong place and getting chopped prematurely. The political turmoil over Superman and references to his “savior qualities” sprinkled throughout the film, rather than enhance the film, actually feel more distracting than anything else, and seem to have little impact on the rest of the world. What little you do see is regulated to nothing more than the brief clips you saw in the trailers, instead of being fully fleshed out. Lex Luthor only serves to muddy the waters, with his little story to go against Superman thrown in chopped up little pieces. When it comes to villains, I like them smart, ruthless, and to possess a modicum of dignity. A villain who comes across as geeky and acts like a dork is not very compelling. Not to mention there was no reason given as to why he hated Superman and Batman so much.

The nightmares Bruce has that are scattered in the first hour are another problem. The smart thing to do would have been to show the reason why Bruce was having these dreams, whether it was a magical object or some mysterious force manipulating things. Instead, it’s like he just dozed off and had some of the most interesting visions of the century. I will say, though, that I did enjoy the part where he tackles the Superman soldiers, as well as the part with the Flash.

Contrary to what the critics and a lot of viewer say, I did not find the film very dark at all. Not that it isn’t, but when you compare it to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, it does not even contain half of the darkness in those. The action, sadly, is lacking as well. I don’t have to have violence from the beginning to the end of a show like the Avengers, but it probably would have helped tremendously to have had at least one decent action scene in the midst of the confusion.
The second hour is where, I think, things improve mightily. The character development gets better, and the action finally kicks into gear. Even Lex improves.

The actual fight between Batman and Superman was shorter than I expected, but I really couldn’t find fault with that. After all, you can only prolong a fight between the two for so long. And while I could understand why some people would question why Martha’s name would suddenly stop Batman from killing Superman, I actually did not mind it. The way I saw it was this: Batman is still grieving for his mother. He could do nothing to stop her death. All he could do was stand there and watch (something he also had to do when Superman and Zod laid waste to the city, hence the rage factor) and in a strange way, saving Superman’s Martha is like a chance to save his own. And that’s one thing I have to give Snyder kudos for, and that is finally acknowledging the moms behind the heroes.

The rest of the film centers on the fight with Doomsday, which I personally would have saved for a solo Superman film instead, but again, it was enjoyable and not something I’d quibble about. And while I can’t say I was thrilled with the ending, knowing things will be resolved in Justice League provides some peace of mind.

So my opinion on the film on a whole? It certainly is an ambitious undertaking, but one that does not quite meet the mark. But while it certainly isn’t the best superhero film ever made, it certainly isn’t the worst. There are some fantastic action scenes, and the performances of Cavil, Affleck, and Gadot in their respective roles are above excellent. It’s a comfortable film and one I intend on watching again, despite the hiccups it goes through. And in the meantime, I shall wait for Justice League and hope that it will give a better story than its predecessor.

Justice League

(DISCLAIMER. All credit for these images goes to the copyright owners. No copyright infringement intended. These are posted for review purposes only.)

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