Monthly Archives: August 2016

Charming by Elliott James (Pax Arcana #1)

The Pax Arcana series is simply a jewel.  If you enjoyed Percy Jackson as a kid (or now) you will most likely enjoy this series.

Charming is an urban fantasy novel about John Charming.  He isn’t a prince, nor is he descended from any, but he is related to a line of bad ass monster fighters.  He was a Knight.  Knights are magically obligated by a geas to protect magic people and the Pax Arcana, which is a magic spell keeping regular humans from finding out about magical people.  John is not longer a part of the Knights, but he joins a cobbled together group of monster hunters, headed by Sig, a mysterious woman of unknown mystical origin.

The book is first person narrated by John himself, and he is full of snark and sarcasm.  The book is a fast read, but thoroughly enjoyable.  A small warning for those who are too young/don’t like certain topics/ language in your books.  There are mentions of sex and some language in the series.  I didn’t mind it, but many of you might (or your parents might).  Sex is talked about more openly and in a way that I’m not used to, but again, I didn’t mind.

All in all, 10/10, would read again.

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Redwall by Brian Jacques

This was one of my first favorite books, to be honest.  There used to be a TV show/movie that played on PBS Saturday mornings, and I loved it.  Then, years later, my best friend told me I had to read these books.  She explained some of the story, and it sounded super familiar.  Eventually, I realized where I knew it from.  It is also one of the few books I physically abused.  I slept with this book.  I abused it so much that pages were falling out.  So, I have two copies; one loved copy, and one new copy.

I don’t usually like ‘animal’ books, but Redwall is more than an exception.  It is about a young orphaned mouse, Matthias, who is raised by the monks in an abbey called Redwall.  It is a safe haven for all of the forest creatures.   But, an evil rat, Cluny the Scourge, is coming to destroy the abbey.  Matthias, along with Brother Methuselah, start to look for the sword of Martin the Warrior, a warrior mouse who helped found the abbey.  This takes him away from the abbey while Cluny moves to attack Redwall.  The creatures of Redwall fight Cluny and his minions.  Do they win?  Read it to find out!

10/10, would read again!  (and beat up another copy)

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Becket by Jean Anouilh

This is one of my favorite plays ever.  I love the story of Thomas A’Becket, anyways, but this play makes the story very palatable.

I found this play through Netflix, actually.  I found the movie version with Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton playing Henry the (number) and Thomas Becket, respectively.  They were phenomenal. Then, I found out it was a play, and bought the script as soon as I could.

The story of Thomas Becket begins with Becket and the King.  Henry and Becket are friends, doing all sorts of horrible things.  Because Henry likes Becket, he keeps promoting his friend, who is a Saxon, which drives the Norman Lords mad.  Henry is also fighting with the Catholic Church in England.  His great-(insert correct number)-grandfather, William the Conqueror promised the church that he would not collect taxes from them or their land.  Henry, on the other hand, is fighting a war and needs every bit of cash he can get his hands on.  He is also fighting with the Church over who has judicial authority.  If the King is King of all the land, he should have judicial authority over members and clergy of the Church on his lands.  However, the Church argued that he had no authority over clergy, and the Church argued its right to divvy out punishments as it saw fit, as well.  This drove Henry crazy.

But, Henry thought he figured it out.  When the Archbishop of Canterbury died, he figured he would place his old pal, Becket, in that position.  Becket asked the King not to promote him to Archbishop, but Henry would not have it.  So, when Becket became Archbishop, he started upholding the Church’s positions instead of Henry’s.  Henry felt betrayed.  One day, in frustration, he yelled, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest!”  Some of his Lords heard him, and rushed to Canterbury, where they murdered Becket in his own church.  Henry was heartbroken; he didn’t mean what he had said.  To appease the church and his people, who quite liked Becket, he agreed to strip and go under the lashings of several monks from Becket’s church (which was unheard of.  Most kings would have never subjected themselves to that).

Rating: 10/10, would read again.  (and again….and again…..)

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Books, Classics, English, Library Updates, Plays


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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

If you like wacky literary books with lots of references, this  book is for you!

The Eyre Affair is set in an alternate universe 1980s England where the Crimean War went on for 100+ years.  Our hero, Thursday Next, fought in the Crimea, has come home, and is now a member of the LiteraTecs SpecOps.  The LiteraTecs deal with all kinds of literary fraud and crime, including a fraudulent Hamlet sequel.  However, a new bad guy, Hades Acheron, is trying to get inside Jane Eyre and change the story.  Can our hero save Jane Eyre?

Side note, one thing I super love about these books is that Shakespeare is pretty much a religion in this alternate universe.  Different people believe certain authors actually authored Shakespeare’s works, and some go door to door trying to convince people they are right.  There’s plenty of other stuuf for the Shakespeare enthusiasts among us.  So, check it out!!!

10/9, cause I love it, but it’s been awhile since I read it.  I may update the rating some other time.


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Beowulf is fantastic!  I started it once and couldn’t get into it, but then  I read it for an English class when I was 13-14, and it was fantastic!  This is a book where you want to find a friend or a class to read it with, or you won’t enjoy it as much.

Beowulf is about a badass warrior who comes to a kingdom to kill their monster.  No one has succeeded in this task, but Beowulf with the strength of fifteen men in one hand, smites the monster.  The monster’s mom is very angry about this, so Beowulf kills her, too.  Eventually, Beowulf becomes king,and when he’s 80+ years old, he takes a little kid with him to go smite a dragon.  He kills the dragon, but dies because of it.  He only dies because he’s 80+ years old fighting a dragon.

Beowulf was written by at least two authors; one pagan author and one Christian author.  It’s often pretty evident where one ends and one begins.  Try it out for yourselves!

It is interesting to read Beowulf alongside Gawain and the Green Knight, to contrast the themes of masculinity between them.  Arguably, Beowulf is closer to what we think of as manly; he’s super strong and heroic, but really that means fighting dragons and monsters.  Not much else.  Gawain, on the other hand, may dress in satin and silk with birds and flowers embroidered all over him, but he is more selfless and protective of those around him.  (I could say more, but I’ll save that for my Gawain the Green Knight review.)

Rated 10/10, would read again.

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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Books, Classics, English, Library Updates


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The Inferno by Dante

OK, I love The Inferno.  The poetic justice of each circle of Hell I find interesting and entertaining.  I don’t believe that’s what Hell is like, but it is interesting, none the less.  I also think it’s kinda funny that Dante used people he knew and put them in Hell.  That takes guts.  Most people wouldn’t appreciate being written into Hell, you know.  I also really like Dante’s interpretation of Satan as a three headed beast and that the greatest sin is treachery/back-stabbing.  So, in Dante’s Hell, the ‘un-holy trinity’ is made up of Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius.

The book is fairly short and definitely worth the read!

Rating: 10/10, would read again!

(I may update this review if/when I re-read it.  It’s been awhile.)

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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Books, Classics, Latin, Library Updates


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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K.Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

My Harry Potter reviews will come later, but I figured I would review Cursed Child while it was still mildly pertinent.  (Warning, SPOILERS ABOUND)

I wanted to like Cursed Child.  I really did.  Being aware and reminding myself that it is a play and is meant for a different medium didn’t help.  I really, really tried to like it.  But, there were too many things, story wise, that didn’t sit right with me.

Let’s start with Albus Severus Potter.  First, let’s all acknowledge that his name should be Remus Rubeus or Arthur Rubeus.  Second, I have no problem with Albus being a Slytherin.  However, I do have a problem that we never really see why Albus is a Slytherin.  Hermione, Ron, and Harry prove time and time again that they are Gryffindors.  Luna is creative and strange, proving herself a Ravenclaw.  Cedric is kind, just, and a good finder proving himself a Hufflepuff.  People’s sorting makes sense, if not at first, then later on in the book and series (i.e., Neville Longbottom).  We don’t get that with Al, or Scorpius either.  Cunning and ambition are what Slytherin valued.  We know that pure-blooded status no longer matters, so far as sorting goes, and Slytherin is not the house of evil and meanness.  But, we never see Albus or Scorpius act with ambition, nor do we see either show much cunning of any kind.  We see both consistently act in friendship, which are often considered Gryffindor and Hufflepuff traits.  I know that friendship is not only a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff trait, but it is usually attributed to them most.

My next issue came with the whole ‘Scorpius-is-Voldemort’s-kid’ crap.  That was such a dumb move, and I couldn’t stand it.  I also hated that Rose Weasley abandoned her cousin because he became friends with Scorpius on the train.  Look, if Harry said it doesn’t matter that Albus be sorted in Slythernin, then IT SHOULDN’T MATTER THAT ALBUS IS IN SLYTHERIN OR THAT HE BECOMES FRIENDS WITH SLYTHERINS.  And those sentiments should have been ingrained in Rose Weasley as well.

Also, I couldn’t stand Harry’s relationship with Albus.  I understand that they were trying to show that Harry’s not a perfect Dad, but really?  We had SEVEN BOOKS to prove that.  Why can’t Harry just be happy?  I really prefer the headcanons that Harry is the most supportive and loving Dad that could ever Dad.  Can we go back and change that?  Harry can be a loving and supportive parent without being perfect.  He can give his kids candy and sweets that he didn’t get growing up and still  be flawed.  But, you can’t tell me that Harry Potter, the boy under the stairs, would miss so badly, or that Ginny would let him.

Next on the list, the ladies.   I love Ginny Weasley, and I hate what they’ve done to her.  In my mind, she is very much like Lily Evans, and Lily Evans would not just sit by while her husband screwed up her child.  Heck, Molly Weasley wouldn’t sit by while her husband screwed up her child.  They’d smack him upside the head and set him straight.

I could go on and on.  How things went down in the alternate universes (Hermione is Snape?  Snape smiles?), DELPHI IS VOLDEMORT AND BELLATRIX’S DAUGHTER, Scorpius not being more broody, etc., etc., etc.  But, I’ll leave that for others who have/will write their own reviews.

I would watch Cursed Child, cause I hope that watching it would be better than reading it.  It read like a bad fanfic from someone who doesn’t know how to write exposition and writes in script.

5/10 out of hope that watching it is better than this.

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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Books, Harry Potter, Library Updates, Series


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