Crawl (2019) Review

Crawl (2019) Review

Directed by: Alexandra Aja

Written by: Michael Rusmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

Rated: R

Run-Time: 1h 27m

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Availability: Amazon Prime and Hulu

A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators. (IMDb)

I generally don’t have much hope for movies like this. They tend to be formulaic, and easily predictable since the beats of this type of thriller are pretty much set in stone. This movie isn’t an exception in that it is pretty predictable. It tried to set itself apart, especially in the second act but fails to do so. 

Crawl doesn’t struggle to keep your attention but does struggle with reality. A lot of things that happened in this film were tough to believe whether you know a lot about alligators or not. This film does set itself apart in that it heavily features the protagonist potentially getting gravely injured. Of course, this starts to get a little old after the second time she miraculously gets away. The only character that was safe throughout the film was, of course, the dog. Because, if you didn’t already know, it’s a sin to kill a dog in any movie. Keanu Reeves will come after you. 

The acting was believable enough, but after watching the film I can’t tell you much about the characters other than the main girl can swim really well, her dad is stupid, and the dog’s name is Sugar. Even the few lines in the film that had me laughing have already left my mind. 

I feel like I say this about practically every movie I review, but this movie is one you can only watch once. If you want to watch a thrilling film that you don’t have to overthink while watching, this film is the right choice.  But I doubt you’d be clicking it again after experiencing it once. 

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10 Creepy Books to Read in October

With the spooky season finally here I thought I’d curate a shortlist of creepy books to read during the month of October. Some are adult fiction, some YA, a non-fiction book, and a couple of mystery-thrillers. Whatever tickles your fancy I hope there is an option you enjoy!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

1984 by George Orwell

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Buliosi and Curtis Gentry

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime.

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Girl Gone Mad by Avery Bishop

They say everything is fun and games until someone gets hurt. Well, someone did—and now the game has changed…

Emily Bennett works as a therapist in Pennsylvania, helping children overcome their troubled pasts—even as she struggles to forget her own. Once upon a time, Emily was part of a middle school clique called the Harpies—six popular girls who bullied the new girl to her breaking point.

The Harpies took a blood oath: never tell a soul what they did to Grace Farmer.

Now, fourteen years later, it seems karma has caught up to them when one member of that vicious circle commits suicide. But when a second Harpy is discovered dead shortly after, also from apparent suicide, the deaths start to look suspicious. And when Emily starts seeing a woman who looks a lot like Grace Farmer lurking in the shadows, she’s forced to wonder: Is Grace back for revenge? Or is Emily’s guilt driving her mad?

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the Harpies are about to find out just how much words can hurt you.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Please note that all descriptions are taken from the book’s respective Goodreads.

Book Tag: Meet the Blogger

Geek Declassified has been up for a little more than a couple of months now, and I figured it’s about time I sit down and formerly introduce myself. What better way than through a bookish-tag!? I found this tag through Mystery Bookworm Blogs, and it was originally created by one Lauren Bodiford. Be sure to check them out after you give this a read!

Introduce Yourself

My name is Crystina Luna, but I go by C. Luna and CL. I live in California and work full-time as a writer. 

That’s me! (Pic from March 2020)

Do you have any pets?

I have two beautiful old ladies. There is Mina, who is a pomeranian, and Gidget, who is an Eskimo Dog. I’ve had Mina for 11 years, and this coming December she will turn 12. We adopted Gidget summer of 2016, and she recently turned twelve herself. They are my darling fur-children.

This is Mina! (Pic from July 2019)
This is Gidget! (Pic from Oct. 2019)

I’d like to also mention Kel, a stray cat who lives in my backyard. While I’ve never gotten to pet them, or really spend any proper time with them, I do regular feed and provide water for them. Honorarily, I consider them my cat. 

What is your favourite thing to drink?

This is a hard question… Do you mean like every day? On special days? Or, like, alcohol? I guess I’ll answer all of them: my go-to everyday drink is water, cause adulting; on occasion, I enjoy some nice cold brew with sweet cream and in the evenings a few times of week I enjoy a nice glass of Stella Rose Red blend wine. 

What is your favourite season?

Without a doubt, Spring! I love blooming flowers and warm breezes. It’s the perfect temperature to be outside. Of course, living in California means Spring only lasts, like, a week. 

Do you have any special talents?

Okay, now this is a hard question… Math, maybe? In high school, I went beyond Calculus in maths. Though I don’t like doing it, if actually use effort I’m quite good at math. I just rather not.

When and why did you start your blog?

I originally started reviewing books on my personal website (crystinaluna.com). That was where I realized how much I enjoyed doing it. After a while I started to worry though, taking into account my personal website is primarily for my personal writing blog. Separation of the two seemed the most appropriate. So the following year, which would be this year, I created Geek Declassified as my home for all things, well, geeky. Whether it be books, movies, or videogame related content it can go here. 

What is something that you wish you knew about blogging when you first started?

To be honest, I find blogging, for the most part, to be quite intuitive, but this is most likely a result of being born at the beginning of the technological age. Also, before creating this website I already had a fair amount of experience with blogs.

What is the hardest part of blogging?

For me, it has to be “advertising.” I find it hard to be consistent on social media, which can definitely make it hard to grow an audience for your blog. The fact that I can schedule a tweet to go out along side with the post has been a literal lifesaver. I wish there was an option like that for instagram because that’s where I really struggle. 

What is the most rewarding part of blogging?

Finding and building a community. I’ve met so many cool people, as well as had some great opportunities as a result. Also, I love writing. And when I’m not working on my own writing projects, I’m reading and watching films. This blogs is a way for me to share my thoughts with others and start discussions. I also love getting the opportunity to give visibility to up-and-coming authors, filmmakers, and game developers.

Do you write your post ahead of time or write them the day of posting?

Generally, I write my reviews a week or two ahead of time. I like to have a bit of a buffer, in case life gets in the way or I just don’t feel like writing a review one day. There are occasions that, for whatever reason, I don’t manage to have anything ready for a specific date ahead of time. As a reader, you can tell by the fact that these reviews tend to not come out at my usual 10 am PST.

Who are your top five favourite authors?

Ray Bradbury

Sarah J. Maas

Brandon Sanderson

Kohei Horikoshi

Elise Kova

What genre do you read the most?

As of this year, Young Adult Fantasy. I’ve been reading it a lot.

What genre surprised you with how much you love it?

This would, again, be Fantasy. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like fantasy, but something must have changed because now its all I want to read. 

What book didn’t live up to the hype for you?

I do a pretty good job of not hyping up books for myself, but the only one I can think of is maybe Legend by Marie Lu. I remember everyone reading it when it came out and it just never appealed to me. When I finally got around to reading I struggled to get through it and will likely not be continuing with the series beyond the first book. I still plan on reading more Marie Lu though. 

Who are some popular authors you haven’t read?

I read a lot in such a wide variety of genres it’s really hard to say. Of the top of my head, the first author I can think of is Alice Oseman. Though I’ve read Heartstopper I haven’t read any of her novels. Some others are Jim Butcher, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Robert Jordan. I should mention though, that I have one or more books by all of the authors I’ve mentioned. 

What upcoming releases are you excited to read?

Oh my god! There are so many! But at this very moment, I am really looking forward to A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, and A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. 

Do you listen to music while reading?

The vast majority of the time I actually wear earplugs. I like to be in complete silence because I find the world to just be too loud. There is rare occasion where I listen to ambient nature noises though, but those are considerably rare. 

Where else can I find you online?

Oh, I’m everywhere. The easiest way to find me though is through my Linktree! Feel free to check me out wherever you fancy.

Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Review

Fahrenheit 451 (2018) Review

Directed by: Ramin Bahrani

Written by: Ray Bradbury (source) Ramin Bahrani (screenplay)

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Aaron Davis, Cindy Katz

Rated: TV-14

Run-Time: 1h 40m

Genre: Drama, Science-Fiction, Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%

Availability: HBO Max

In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young woman– and begins to rebel against society. (IMDb)

Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favourite classics by my most favourite classic author. It has been adapted twice, the most recent being in 2018. This was the version I watched for this review, and for me, this adaption didn’t quite hit the mark. 

It’s evident Bahrani took creative liberty to modernize this story, that was originally written in the early tv-era, way before the advent of the internet. Bradbury was never a fan of the internet, or technology for that matter, so in that sense, this film stayed true to portraying it as a powerful and scary thing. This version takes focus away from television and shifts it social media– an understandable change for the modern audience. The writing we do see people reading in the film is heavily laced with acronyms and emojis, emulating the comment section of many a live video on Instagram and Facebook. 

In taking so many creative liberties, a lot of the story was changed. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but in the case of this film, I feel it differs too greatly from the original tonally. It doesn’t hold the same weight as the book and is more of an aesthetic depiction of a dystopian future. 

One thing this film definitely did right was it’s casting. Michael Shannon is amazing as  Captain Beatty and Jordan’s performance is emotional. Together, they carry this movie farther than any of the other actors. They maintain the tone set in the film well and deliver believable performances. 

For viewers who are not familiar with this film’s source material, this film may be entertaining; but for those acquainted with Bradbury’s original may not enjoy it as much.

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Miss Meteor Review, Theme Analysis & TV Recommendations + Fan Art

Miss Meteor Review, Theme Analysis & TV Recommendations + Fan Art

By Tehlor Kay Mejia, Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Harper Teen

Print Length: 320 pg

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Release Date September 22, 2020

Buy this book at Amazon and B&N

Special thanks to HarperTeen and HearOurVoices Tours for providing me with an ARC and allowing me to participate in this book tour.

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything. (Goodreads)

Lita Fanart

Miss Meteor proves to be a top of the line coming-of-age story with plenty of drama and laughs for everyone. Exceptionally inclusive with a hint of magic, we follow a group of friends who learn probably the most important lesson of them all: about being yourself. The book goes to great lengths to illustrate this common lesson in a way that shows the wide variety of acceptance someone can come to, whether it be on there own or with the help of those around them. Miss Meteor is a feel-good read for anyone who has ever felt other, and for me, one of the very few books I felt represented as a queer Latinx woman. 

I loved this book and felt truly blessed when I realized this is a five-star read (the second of this month!) I related deeply to a lot of the story and found myself rooting for the characters and crying alongside them. This is one of those books you read when you’re not having the best time; cosy up with it under the covers with a cup of warm tea and escape into Meija and McLemore’s version of Meteor(ite), New Mexico. 

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As mentioned above, Miss Meteor is full of a lot of important lessons and themes. I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of the themes explored in this book. All of which are important, and represented masterfully:

Stand-Up for Others (and Yourself) is one of the smaller themes explored in this book with the character of Cole (who, let’s just be honest, is my new book boyfriend). Throughout the book, he stands-up for those being bullied by his sister’s boyfriend, but when it comes to himself he stays considerably silent. As the book continues we see him realize that if he’s going to stand up for his friends, he also needs to stand up for himself. And, in doing so, he puts the book’s bullies in their place in a triumphant scene that had me cheering out loud for him as I read it. 

The Value of Friendship is heavily featured in this book, as we see old friends come together, friendships grow stronger, and relationships metamorphosis. The character of Chicky is probably the one who learns the most from this lesson, as she realizes how much she needs her friends and how important they are to her. We watch as she overcomes personal struggles to preserve her friendships as she realizes that her friends are much too important to lose. 

Self-acceptance is the explicit theme heavily woven throughout this story. Every character has something holding them back, and as the story progresses we follow them as they come out of their shells and learn one of live’s most important lesson. While the focus is mostly on Lita and Chicky, it’s hard to miss the personal growth in Cole and Junior as well. This definitely gave the book a sense of depth that I’m truly amazed the authors managed to put in so few pages.

I don’t want to let go of this book yet. I could re-read it right now if it wasn’t for the fact that I have other things to read. If you share these feelings with me, I hope you enjoy a short list of series I’ve included below that embody some aspect of this book in some way (in order of least related to most related):

Switched

This series is the most different from Miss Meteor, but I wanted to include it because there are definitely parallels in the lessons of this show to that of the book. 

Switched follows a depressed and bullied young woman who decides her only option is to commit suicide. After a series of unexpected events she switches bodies with a popular classmate, the young woman is forced to more closely examine the reasons that lead her to want to end her life.

I Am Not Okay With This

I’ve reviewed this series in the past, and while it is tonally very different from Miss Meteor, it heavily includes themes of friendship and otherness. 

I Am Not Okay With This is a coming of age story following a young woman as she develops telepathic powers. 

Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty shares a lot of themes with Miss Meteor, including those listed above as well as some not mentioned, such as Latinx-culture and queer culture. 

Ugly Betty follows a young woman who, despite a chronic lack of style, lands a job at a fashion magazine.

The Inheritance Games Review (Book Tour)

The Inheritance Games Review (Book Tour)

By Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Print Length: 384

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

Release Date September 1, 2020

This book is currently available on Amazon and B&N

Special thanks to Little, Brown Books and TheWriteReads for providing me with an ARC and allowing me to participate in this book tour.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive. (Goodreads)

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never been the biggest fan of mysteries. As of late, I’m wondering if that’s simply because I haven’t read enough of them. After all, a year ago I would have said the same thing about fantasy, but that’s now one of my most favourite genres. The Inheritance Games, in a way, maybe a wake-up call for me to pick up more mysteries. 

The Inheritance Games is honorarily the first YA mystery I’ve read and I have to say: I thoroughly enjoyed it. If it weren’t for certain life-responsibilities I would have read this book in one sitting, my attention was utterly rapt. Barnes shows an exceptional understanding of how to properly create suspense, making every little detail seeming like a possible clue. It’s hard to put down a book when you’ve convinced yourself you can solve part of the mystery in the next chapter; the desire to continue and know more seemingly endless. (And the book ends on a cliffhanger! Boy, isn’t that frustrating!) 

This book follows a young woman, Avery, as she discovers she has been left an immense fortune by an eccentric billionaire; all to the chagrin of his family. She soon finds out she may be a piece in yet another one of his puzzles, and as she falls into the spirals of this mystery we are treated with a fair amount of thrills and romance. There are so many questions, and the answers are in sight, but just out of grasp. 

I enjoyed following along with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers as they worked through puzzle after puzzle, finding some easier than others as I’m sure they did. The book was predictable enough to be a chill read, but with enough unpredictability to keep you turning the page. For romance lovers, the book definitely did not fall short on its romance, with a heart-pounding love-triangle that had you anticipating what came next almost as much as the mystery. The characters are charismatic and charming, it was easy to fall into their world. 

From what I understand this book and it’s upcoming sequel have been picked up to be adapted into a television series, or streaming series rather. While reading the book I was acutely aware of how well this book would translate into a serial television romance, and if the production follows through, trust I will be an early viewer.

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Code 8 Review

Code 8 Review

Directed by: Jeff Chan 

Written by: Chris Pare, Jeff Chan

Starring: Karl Matchett, Robbie Amell, Penny Eizenga

Rated: NR

Run-Time: 1h 38m

Genre: Action, Drama

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Availability: Netflix

A super-powered construction worker falls in with a group of criminals in order to raise the fund to help his ill mother. (IMDb)

I’m a big fan of movies with superpowers, franchised and otherwise. Code 8 is one of those rare films that doesn’t belong to any big franchise; it also just so happens to be a film that was funded through Indiegogo. Code 8 definitely has the innate charm of a passion project, but could still stand to benefit with improvement in its writing.

The overall execution of this film is impressive. The effects are on par with films with a much larger budget, which is something you don’t often get to say. This shows the filmmakers really took care in how they allocated the money, as well as likely employing underused techniques that need not be forgotten. 

This fill can’t really boast much else. The most recognizable name featured in this film

Is Robbie Amell, and the plot is overdone and not well executed. The action is not well-paced and it’s easy to find yourself getting bored. Overall the film tends to have a general sense of being disjointed. The effects and mild mystery is enough to keep you interested in the film to the end, but like many films I’ve discussed before this is not necessarily a film you watch more than once. 

In the end, I was quite disappointed. The concept for this film is so good and could have been used in so many creative ways. There is some hope, with a series revival supposedly coming to Quibi. But, let’s be honest… who uses Quibi?

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Girl Gone Mad Review

Girl Gone Mad Review

By Avery Bishop

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Print Length: 411 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Available on Amazon

They say everything is fun and games until someone gets hurt. Well, someone did—and now the game has changed…

Emily Bennett works as a therapist in Pennsylvania, helping children overcome their troubled pasts—even as she struggles to forget her own. Once upon a time, Emily was part of a middle school clique called the Harpies—six popular girls who bullied the new girl to her breaking point.

The Harpies took a blood oath: never tell a soul what they did to Grace Farmer.

Now, fourteen years later, it seems karma has caught up to them when one member of that vicious circle commits suicide. But when a second Harpy is discovered dead shortly after, also from apparent suicide, the deaths start to look suspicious. And when Emily starts seeing a woman who looks a lot like Grace Farmer lurking in the shadows, she’s forced to wonder: Is Grace back for revenge? Or is Emily’s guilt driving her mad?

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the Harpies are about to find out just how much words can hurt you. (Goodreads)

I don’t often read thriller because the ones I have read this far have been guilty of a writing faux-pas (in my opinion). I absolutely hate it when the final twist is revealed at the very end of the book, as in the final chapter. At least give me a few chapters to watch things unfold, and please, please, have the final twist make sense. It’s frustrating when the book spends so much time setting up possibilities only for the reality to come out of the far left field. (Think Arya killing the Night King in the final season of Game of Thrones.) In saying all this, I’m glad to say, that even if this book sort of did that, it did it in a way that made sense. This book was good. I couldn’t put it down. 

I appreciate that the protagonist was a pretty reliable narrator and a pretty smart narrator. While reading it was refreshing to come to important realizations at the same time she did or only shortly before. The characters, while some terrifying, were all relatable in some way. This book definitely plays on many victim’s dreams of vengeance on their bullies while showing that people are able to change. At the same time, it shows that who you truly are can come to light under the right circumstances. And with subtle character development peppered throughout the book, details that at the time seemed like throwaway lines for setting the tone actually turned out to be hinting that culminates into this powerful realization. 

Honestly, this book deserves five stars, but I reserve that rating for books I love so much I can reread them. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, at the end of the day I don’t feel like I can read it again. Not because of the whole “well, I already know what’s going to happen” reasoning, but because this was a stressful read. Stressful in a way that I would compare to Gone Girl. Phenomenal, well worth it read, but something that can only be experienced once.

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Slash & Girl Review

Developer: Shenzhen Yifanshikong Technology Co., Ltd

Age Rating: 12+

Size: 171.3 MB

Price Range: Free with in-app purchases

Available on iOS and Android

Slash & Girl is a well made classic runner arcade game with a striking art style and lots of customization to unlock. 

Personally, these types of games aren’t really for me, but the customization aspect fo this game definitely makes it more appealing. Additionally, like many arcade-style games, there isn’t a paywall, the gameplay is easy to understand and the user0interface is very easy to navigate. Is the game unique? Not really. When it comes done to it whether or not you download this game is up to your aesthetic preferences.

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Extinction (2018) Review

Extinction (2018) Review

Directed by: Ben Young

Written by: Spencer Cohen, Brad Kane

Starring: Michael Pena, Lizza Caplan, Amelia Crouch

Rated: TV-MA

Run-Time: 1h 35min

Genre: Action, Drama, Science Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%

Availability: Netflix

A father has a recurring dream of losing his family. His nightmare turns into reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. Fighting for their lives, he comes to realize an unknown strength to keep them safe from harm. (IMDb)

This movie, at best, is hard to quantify for a number of reasons. 

At this point, I’ve seen this film twice. And both times I found myself struggling to maintain interest. This film has an exceptionally unique concept but falls short in execution. It doesn’t quite follow the beats of a proper thriller and takes a long time to gets where it wants to go. This film is definitely philosophical because it does not necessarily end with your common film resolution. It ends with a question: can people and AI live together in harmony?

The best part of this movie is the concept, followed by Pena’s performance. We are used to seeing Pena in comedic secondary roles, but with being at the forefront of this film we find that he has a great range of emotion. After a point, he might as well be carrying the whole film on his shoulders, as he makes lacklustre reveals have more weight than they would have with a bad performance. If anything, this film shows that Pena has the potential to take on more serious roles, as well as play more major roles in future films. 

In a way, I want to call this movie a hidden gem of Netflix, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem quite good enough to call it that. It’s a surprising film, but not one I’d willingly watch more than once.

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