Book Review #12 Disney Series: The Hunchback of Nortre Dame

Hello everyone and welcome to my twelfth book review! With this book review I’m going to be mixing things up a little bit with a so called Disney series. What that means is that I’m going to be reviewing books that have been turned into Disney movies and comparing them. So like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, and others. I know a lot of people know the differences between the movies and the books especially the stories from the Grimm Tales, but this is something I really wanted to do. So these Disney Series of book reviews that I’ll be doing will not be in order, it’s more a less when I feel like reading the book I’ll do it. So I will admit there will be spoilers because I’m going way in depth with the comparisons, but this is honestly for people who want to know the difference between the movie and the books without having to read the books. So I’m starting with The Hunchback of Notre Dame because I really love Paris and I wanted to do The Little Mermaid later!! Also these will be long so bear with me.

Movie Synopsis: I know most people have seen the movies but might as well recap it for people who haven’t seen the movie in a while. Plus it will give people the chance to really compare the differences between the movie and the book

Its Paris 1482 a gypsy named Clopin Trouillefou tells the audience the background of the story that happened 20 years ago: Judge Claude Frollo is in charge of Paris, keeping the city safe from crime, or as he puts it “Gypsy Vermin”. One night while patrolling the streets and find a band of gypsy’s he kills Quasimodo’s mother and almost kills Quasimodo too, till the arch deacon stops Frollo and makes him Quasimodo’s adoptive father. Flash forward back 20 years and it is the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo’s favorite festival and he is persuaded this time to actually go to it and not watch it this time by his gargoyle friends. However he is deterred by Frollo reminding Quasimodo that he is too ugly and vial to go into the public. Frollo is viewed as cruel and yet somewhat kind to Quasomodo, but it’s obvious to the viewer that he really doesn’t care about his and has an ulterior motive for Quasimodo.

The audience is then introduced to Phoebus a knight who came back home from the war to serve Frollo as his captain of the guards. Phoebus is just trying to find the Palace of Justice but spots Esmeralda dancing on the street for coins. Esmeralda is alerted that some guards are coming and while trying to run away is caught and the guards accuse her of stealing the money. The guards try to arrest her but Phoebus steps in and helps her get away. Phoebus is then led by the same guards to the Palace of Justice where he meets Frollo and learns his intentions with the gypsies, and then have to go to the Festival of Fools.

Quasimodo does sneak out and goes to the Festival of Fools in disguise. Quasimodo, Phoebus, and Frollo all see Esmeralda dance and all fall for her. When Clopin is about crown the king of fools they pull Quasimodo on stage reveling who he is, at first the crowd is startled but then they get excited about Quasimodo being crowned the king of fools. Quasimodo is super excited to be crowned and felt that he was finally excepted by society but it turns ugly fast and they humiliate Quasimodo by throwing food at him and tying him down. Frollo doesn’t allow Phoebus to go save Quasimodo from this torture, but Esmeralda stops the crowd from the torture and helps out Quasimodo and apologizes for what just happened. Frollo yells at her not to help him, but Esmeralda refuses and demands justice for him and her people. Frollo orders Esmeralda to be arrested, while trying capture her she humiliates the guards and Frollo and he believes that she used witch craft to get away. Esmeralda sneaks into the church and was followed by Phoebus who explains that she is safe in the church. After a bit of flirting and getting to know each other Frollo barges into the church he tell Phoebus to arrest her, but Phoebus lies that Esmeralda claimed sanctuary and that she is safe in the church. Frollo is willing to ignore that rule and drag her outside until the arch deacon intervenes again and Esmeralda is safe inside the church. As the arch deacon pushes Phoebus and the rest of the guards out Frollo hid in the shadows and confronted Esmeralda threatening her that if she leaves he’ll lock her up and the audience learns that he has other intentions for her and has feelings for her, but does leave the church. Esmeralda catches sight of Quasimodo running back up to the bell tower away from other people in the church and follows him and catches up with him. Esmeralda begins to apologize again about what happened and from then they begin to bond and start a friendship. They then make an understanding with each other about the struggles they deal with and show acts of kindness towards each other when no one else really does. Because of Esmeralda’s kindness Quasimodo helps her escape.

Frollo learns that Esmeralda escaped and goes on a crazy obsessive hunt for her burning the city of Paris in the process. During a raid at a small home Phoebus refuses to burn an innocent families house down and goes against Frollo’s orders. Frollo then orders Phoebus to be killed for his insubordination and while trying to escape with Esmeralda’s help he got shot with an arrow falling into the river. Frollo thinks he died in the river and goes back to trying to find Esmeralda, while Esmeralda save Phoebus from the river and brought to the church. The audience learns that Phoebus and Esmeralda are in love and kiss, which breaks Quasimodo’s heart since he believed that Esmeralda loved him, but Quasimodo still will be a loyal friend to Esmeralda. Esmeralda see’s that Frollo is returning to the cathedral and as she leaves Quasimodo hides Phoebus.  Frollo confronts Quasimodo knowing that he helped Esmeralda escape and lies that he knows where her hideout (the Court of Miracles) is and will attack it. Being scared for her safety Quasimodo and Phoebus go to find Esmeralda’s hideout to warn her. They find her and warn her but it’s too late since Frollo followed them and captured all of them and the gypsies.

Esmeralda is tied to a post about to be burned for witch craft , Frollo gives her an ultimatum: she can either die or marry him. She spits in his face choosing to die than be with Frollo. Quasimodo is chained to the cathedral and broken in spirit not willing to help rescue her, until they actual light the kindling for the fire. Quasimodo breaks the chains tying him to the cathedral, swoops down grabs Esmeralda and brings her back up the the cathedral for safety and sanctuary. Out of pure rage Frollo tries to break into the cathedral to kill Esmeralda. Phoebus breaks out of his cage and rallies the town to riot against Frollo and his guards. Fights break out in the streets against the citizens/gypsies and Frollo’s guards. Quasimodo also is fighting against Frollo and his guards protecting the cathedral from them. Frollo manages to break into the cathedral and Quasimodo believes they won the fight goes to check in on Esmeralda. Esmeralda is not moving or responding so Quasimodo believes she died, Frollo finds Quasimodo grieving over her death and tries to kill Quasimodo as well. Quasimodo stops him and confronts him about how he is not a monster but Frollo is. Esmeralda is actually alive and calls out to Quasimodo, realizing she’s alive Frollo goes back to trying to kill her. Quasimodo grabs Esmeralda and rushes past Frollo and tries to hide from him. Frollo easily find them and in his blind obsession to kill them both he is careless with his footing and falls to his death. The fighting in the streets stops and Esmeralda and Phoebus joining the crowd celebrating their win. They urge Quasimodo to join the crowd, Quasimodo does and the crowd accepts him for who he is. The townsfolk carry him off cheering for him and Quasimodo has a happy ending.

The End!


Book Overview: Alright that was a lot for the movie and now it’s time for the book! Again I’m going to go in depth with this so be ready for a long read.

The book starts out in January of 1482 on the day of the Feast of Fools as well, however the reader follows the poet named Pierre Gringoire who has written a play to be premiered at the Feast of Fools. However for poor Pierre his play keeps getting interrupted by the spectators: Clopin Trouillefou disguised as a beggar, Joannes Frollo (Cluade Frollo’s younger brother), and Quasimodo. Quasimodo is still a grotesque bell ringer but he is actually deaf from the bells. He wins the crown of the king of fools and is paraded around town, the townsfolk still are not fond of Quasimodo but view him as the perfect candidate. Just like the movie Quasimodo is very happy to be accepted and paraded around town and feels accepted.

While Quasimodo is being paraded around town Pierre is sulking because not a lot of people paid attention to his play. Pierre spots a sixteen year old Esmeralda dancing in the street with a good size crowd watching her. Pierre is bewitched by her beauty and her dancing much like the rest of the spectators who either find her beautiful as well or hate her because she is a gypsy. Esmeralda even gets her goat Djali to perform tricks as well: telling the date and time. Pierre spots another man in the crowd watching her and mumbling to himself intently but can’t remember why he looks so familiar. The parade carrying Quasimodo finally reaches where Pierre and Esmeralda are. The man in the crowd that Pierre couldn’t remember revels himself to be the arch deacon Claude Frollo (he is actually an arch deacon instead of a judge), Frollo goes up to Quasimodo and signing to him that he needs to go home. Quasimodo complies with Frollo and goes back to the cathedral. The crowd disperses and Esmeralda has disappeared, but Pierre is determined to find her. Pierre eventually finds her and follows her, knowing she is being followed tries to escape from him. Esmeralda falls into a trap from Quasimodo and a mysterious man (Frollo) trying to kidnap her. Pierre tries to help but is outmatched by Quasimodo and the mysterious man disappeared. Phoebus hears the commotion and comes to save Esmeralda from Quasimodo while Pierre recovers from the fight. Esmeralda thanks Phoebus for saving her and runs off into the night.

Pierre while again finding a place to sleep or Esmeralda stumbles into the Court of Miracles by accident breaking a jug. Knowing the Location of the Court of Miracles lands Pierre in trouble and has a trial with the King of Thunes: Clopin Trouillefou. Pierre can either join the vagabonds and pick pockets, marry someone in the Court of Miracles, or die. Pierre fails at pick pocketing and no one wants to marry him so he is sentenced to death. However, at the last minute Esmeralda agrees to marry him. In her quarters Esmeralda tell Pierre she will never love him and has absolutely no interest in him, she just didn’t want him to die. Esmeralda ask Pierre about Phoebus: if he knows him, or knows what his name means. Pierre also learns that Esmeralda is looking for her parents and has an amulet that will help her find her parents and will only work if she stays a virgin.

The story then shifts to the past where the reader learns about Frollo’s and Quasimodo’s past. Quasimodo was four years old living in an orphanage with nuns, nobody believed he would be adoptive. The nuns believed that his mother sold her soul to the devil and gave birth to Quasimodo. However Frollo who was 20 at the time came and adopted him out of pity and kindness. Frollo’s past is his parents wanted him to be a part of the church. So Frollo followed his parents wishes and goes into the church and starts his path to become an arch deacon. Frollo gets schooling from Universities, Frollo is very intelligent and loves science along with religion. Frollo would lock himself in his tower and work on his science when he wasn’t needed for the church, the nuns and townsfolk would call him a sorcerer and alchemist. Before he adopted Quasimodo, his parents died he took custody of his younger brother Jehan, and when Jehan was old enough Frollo sent him to Universities to make something of himself. However to audience learns that Jehan spends all his money partying and drinking and constantly ask Frollo for money. After Frollo adopts Quasimodo they create a good loyal bond. Frollo treats Quasimodo with kindness and educates him and gives him the job of ringing the bells for Notre Dame. Their bond was more loyal than a dog and master but it was fine.

Flash forward to the future the book shifts to a group nuns discussing about a nun named Gudule who joined the coven because she was heartbroken over the loss of her daughter. Seventeen years ago Gudule was finally pregnant with a child, she was desperate to have a child even with someone other than her husband. Her daughter was a half Egyptian girl named Agnes (Esmeralda). Gulude bought her a beautiful little pair of shoes and went out into town. When Guldue turned away for one second Agnes was kidnapped by a couple of gypsies. She tried to follow them and get Agnes back all she was able to find was one of Agnes’s shoes and she lost her baby.

While the nuns were talking about Guldude’s past Quasimodo was on trial for trying to kidnap Esmeralda. Quasimodo was convicted guilty and is punished by flogging. They punish him and let him go, Quasimodo is very thirsty and begs the crowd for water but nobody gives it to him. Esmeralda goes to him and actually gives him water even though she knows that he tried to kidnap her, and disappears. After Quasimodo goes home he feels conflicted about his new feelings towards Esmeralda.

It’s now March and Pheobus is visiting his fiance Fluer-de-Lys and her family, but Phoebus really doesn’t care for his fiance. Fluer sees Esmeralda dancing in the street and decides to have a little fun by inviting her into their house and have her dance for them. Esmeralda is hesitant but eventually goes into the house because she is excited to see Phoebus and is eager to dance for him. While Esmeralda dances Fluer and the rest of her family make fun of Esmeralda for being a gypsy street peasant. Usually Esmeralda would do a trick to embarrass them but is too enamored with Phoebus. Fluer then asks to see some tricks with her goat Djali, Esmeralda obliges and begins to show that her goat can spell out names. However Djali spells out Phoebus’s name and completely embarrassed Esmeralda as she runs away in shame. Phoebus is shocked by seeing his name spelled out while Fluer becomes heavily suspicious of her fiance and what he does in his spare time. The story returns to Pierre who finds Frollo in the streets and decides to talk to him. Pierre begins to blab about Esmeralda and how he knows she is obsessed loves a man named Phoebus, because it is all she talks about. Eventually Pierre leaves Frollo who then is approached by his younger brother Jehan for some money. Frollo gives his brother some money but before Frollo makes his way back to the church he hears his younger brother calling out the name Phoebus, Frollo puts on a disguise and begins to follow them. Frollo over hears that Phoebus has plans tonight to meet with Esmeralda. While in disguise Frollo approaches them and asked Phoebus if Esmeralda is the same dancing gypsy woman he was thinking of and if he could see her as well while Phoebus is meeting her. Phoebus agrees for a price and that Frollo can come along as long as he stays hidden.

Frollo is disguised again meets up with Phoebus at the meeting place and hides away but in an area where he can still see them. Esmeralda then arrives and they begin to tell each other how happy they are to see each other and that they love each other. Esmeralda is very excited to hear that Phoebus loves her and proclaims that she wants to marry him. Phoebus declines her idea of marriage because she is a poor gypsy girl and he is a high class citizen. Phoebus says he still wants her but not in the way she was thinking (basically he wanted to hit it and quit it). Esmeralda is disappointed with his response but she is also still happy to be with him in some way. Frollo hears their entire conversation and becomes jealous of their feelings towards each other. Phoebus them begins to kiss Esmeralda and she reciprocates, Frollo becomes so enraged with jealousy that he emerges from his hiding place and stabs Phoebus is the back while Esmeralda is stunned as to what she just witnessed. Frollo then runs away leaving Esmeralda to be blamed for the crime of stabbing Phoebus.

Esmeralda is put in prison and on trial for the stabbing of Phoebus. Esmeralda tells the judge and the court the truth of how she didn’t do it but a mad priest did. Of course they don’t believe her and begin to torture her until she tells the “truth”. After a few torture sessions Esmeralda breaks down and says that she stabbed Phoebus and is unfortunately sentenced to death. Esmeralda brought back to the prison cell to await her death, Frollo comes down to visit her. She recognizes Frollo immediately and is startled by him but is willing to hear what he has to say. Frollo confesses his love to her since he first saw her and is continuously haunted by her beauty. He then in a way proposed to her saying if they get married her can free her from the prison and from death. Esmeralda rejects Frollo she is too madly in love with Phoebus to want to be with anyone. Frollo out of anger from the rejection lies to her saying he is dead and leaves her to rot in the prison.

Pheobus is actually doing fine and has been recovering for a month from his knife wound. While in bed he is reunited with his fiance. When he see Fluer he feels the spark of love he once had for her. They reconnect with each other but Fluer is still suspicious of him and Esmeralda, but doesn’t bring it to his attention. Today however is the day that Esmeralda will be executed. Everything is set up as they parade Esmeralda down the street to the noose. Esmeralda spots Phoebus at his window watching the parade and calls out to him to be saved and happy to see he is ok. When she reaches the platform with the noose she gives up all hope of Phoebus saving her and when she is about to be hung Quasimodo saves her and brings her back to the cathedral for sanctuary.

The law cannot go in and grab Esmeralda; she must leave the cathedral of her own accord, so they leave her alone for the time being to think of a plan. While Esmeralda is staying in the cathedral Frollo doesn’t do much of anything to her but sees her walk around in a sorrowful state from time to time. Esmeralda does befriend Quasimodo and gets to know him a little, he then gives Esmeralda a whistle so if she ever needs him while she is in the cathedral she can blow the whistle and he’ll appear. However, Esmeralda still is madly in love with Phoebus and misses him dearly she convinces Quasimodo that he bring Phoebus to the cathedral so she can see him. Quasimodo does comply and goes to retrieve Phoebus. Phoebus however tells Quasimodo he no longer wishes to see Esmeralda or associate himself with her ever again. Quasimodo gives up trying to convince Phoebus to see Esmeralda and goes home. While Quasimodo begins to go home Frollo starts to get stir-crazy with Esmeralda living in the cathedral in proximity to him. Frollo tries to make another attempt to woe her but tries forces himself upon her after she rejected him again. Esmeralda blows the whistle and Quasimodo comes to her rescue and Frollo retreats feeling betrayed and angry.

The Court of Parliament have unfortunately decided to take away Esmeralda’s rights and plan to storm the cathedral to get Esmeralda and hang her. They gather the Kings Men to rally a break in. Frollo learns of this break in and informs Pierre. Pierre is aggravated knowing Esmeralda is stuck in the cathedral and wants to save her; he joins forces with the Court of Miracles and Jehan to go rescue her and storm the cathedral. A small band of people go to the cathedral trying to get inside but the doors are locked and Quasimodo sees Pierre’s group thinking they will hurt Esmeralda and begins to defend the cathedral. Quasimodo defends the cathedral from the people below but Jehan climbs up the cathedral to fight Quasimodo, being very outmatched to Quasimodo’s strength Jehan is thrown off the cathedral and dies. They call off the attack and retreat, but Pierre stays behind to help.

While the King’s Guard storm the cathedral Quasimodo does not stop them thinking they are here to help Esmeralda. In one last attempt to win her Frollo confesses his love again, however the same reaction come from Esmeralda: that she doesn’t want him. In anger Frollo gives her to the nuns to hold her for the King’s Guard. Esmeralda is being held by the nun Gudule. Gudule and Esmeralda figure out they are mother and daughter both reveling they had one of the shoes that Gudule bought for her as a baby. They are excited to finally be with each other but before they could escape together the King’s Guard take Esmeralda away.

Esmeralda is then brought to noose again to be hung. During her hanging Frollo laughs at her misfortune and Quasimodo is enraged by his laughter pushing him off the cathedral to his death at the same time Esmeralda dies. Quasimodo is devastated that both the people he cared for in life are dead; he then goes to Montfaucon, a huge graveyard in Paris where Esmeralda’s body is dumped. He stays with her until he dies.

Phoebus marries Fluer and Pierre goes onto to live his life. So not really a happy ending except for Pheobus.

The End.

PS: Thank you for sticking with me through my hiatus and through this long post. I’ll try to correct any errors as I see them but right now I just want to publish this.

Book Review #11 The Magdalen Girls

Hello everyone and welcome to my 11th book review!! This review is about The Magdalen Girls by V.S. Alexander, a 292 page book so a very quick and easy read. Special shout out to Kensington books for giving me and advanced copy of the book! Review time!

Overview: It’s 1962 in Dublin Ireland, within the beautiful city lies the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Redemption. In the redemption lies the magdalen laundries. Once a place of refuge now turned into a terrible working house. Where some of the fellow magdalens or better known as inmates are fallen women: unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals better known to the nuns as “sinners”. However most of the women at the Sisters of Holy Redemption for false accusations of being “sinners”: being too pretty, too independent, or too passionate in life. And now the Sisters of the Holy Redemption are receiving two new inmate “sinners”: Teagan Tiernan and Nora Craven.

Teagan is a sixteen year old girl who was sent to the Sisters of the Holy Redemption by her family because her natural beauty provoked the lustful intentions of a young priest. Nora is also sixteen and has become too much of a brash independent girl for her parents to deal with. Within the Sister of the Holy Redemption Teagan and Nora and the “sinners” before them lose their old life, given a new name, and stripped of their freedom from the outside world or their own choices. They can’t even leave the Sisters of the Holy Redemption even when they turn 18, they must have someone sign them away from that place. Teagan and Nora soon become great friends trying to scheme and plan their way to get out of that horrible place while dealing with agonizing labor and inflections of cruel dehumanizing punishments from the nuns who run the place. Will Teagan and Nora make it out or will they break and become hollow magdalens like the rest of the girls before them?

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book for a multitude of reasons, but I do give it a 3/5 stars. V.S. has a wonderful, fluid writing style. One scene would flow into the next never leaving me to question what happened and how did the story get to where it was. The pacing was just absolutely amazing, V.S. never spent too much time on one scene. Which made me never really get bored of the book, and it also didn’t make the story feel rushed at all.

The beginning was amazing, I loved that the reader actually gets to read the plot of how Teagan and Nora ended up in the Sisters of the Holy Redemption. Instead of just them already being in the convent telling each other their stories for back ground plot for the reader. The reader really gets a perspective of Teagan and Nora living their good lives to being forced into something awful. The middle of the book was great as well: seeing Teagan and Nora adjust to their new life and how they were struggling to keep their will strong to get out of this horrible place. V.S. did a great job showing how time can affect the human spirit. The ending however felt a little supersaturated and stretched out for the plot. It wasn’t bad but, I felt V.S could have excluded a few things. However, I liked how it ended.

I loved the characters they were easy to relate to and sympathize with especially Teagan, I admired her fighting spirit and courage. I loved Nora’s rebellious attitude towards the nuns and the convent, she was such a bad ass punk! But as mentioned before how time can affect the human spirit it was great to see what they were becoming from being trapped in the Sisters of Holy Redemption and other challenges they had to face in the book.

I very much enjoyed the subject matter as well, not just as a historian but also as a reader. The subject of the laundry reformatories is a fascinating yet very tragic. I don’t know if America had anything like the laundry reformatories, or just the regular mental reformatories but they were popular in Europe. But it is a subject I would love to further research. Plus this is a subject that definitely should be brought to attention not just in Europe but all over the world. It’s a very sad subject to lose your freedom and have your life dramatically altered for the worse by someone you trusted and loved.

I defiantly recommend The Magdalin Girls to everyone because it is such a fascinating subject with great characters. It’s a quick good read that depicts the fighting spirit in women!


Book Review #10 Star Wars: The Paradise Snare

Hello everyone, I know it has been a while! I’m excited to write my tenth book review! This time my book review can get about as nerdy as you can get because the book I choose is Star Wars: Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin, Han Solo’s back story. It’s a 306 page book that was a very quick easy read. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I’ve seen the movies a million times and I thought it was time to start reading the books. I really only want to read the books that are canon to the main story line (excluding any book related to the prequels). I choose to start with Paradise Snare because I love Han Solo, he is my favorite character and I wanted to read what his life was like before he met Luke and Leia. I know at the time that I am writing this there is a start of a Han Solo stand alone movie about his beginnings (like they haven’t even started filming it but are casting and all that pre-filming stuff) that may make this book series null and void to the canon of Han Solo’s past just like other book series when The Force Awakens came out. However, I really want to read these books and I think it will be fine changing the story if it’s something Star Wars fans can enjoy.

Overview: Han is a young man at the age of 18 or 19 and just escaped the cruel grip of the malicious Captain Shrike and his ship to become his own man. Han wants to become the best pilot in the galaxy and to join the Imperial Navy and be a pilot for them. Before Han can do that he needs to sharpen his piloting skills and make some money to pay for the admission fee for the Imperial Navy. Han is already a decent pilot but he find a job on the Planet Ylesia to train in his skills and make some good money. Ylesia, is a paradise planet filled with religious promises and a hidden illicit drug trade but Han knows it will make him great amount of money. However, Han soon learns everything promised on this paradise planet is not what it seems especially with the religious leaders running the place. Han must find a way to escape with his new friends or be stuck to become a brain washed fool.

Overview: Besides the fact that I love Star Wars and that it is a Star wars book I really did enjoy it. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was really fun learning about Han’s past from when he was a kid to the point it reached for the starting point of the book with Captain Shrike. There was plenty of action, conversation, and mystery to the book that could keep me and other readers entertained. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan it’s a fun book to read, you really don’t need to watch the movies in order to understand Paradise Snare. Paradise Snare doesn’t focus on the Jedi, Sith, or the politics of the world like the senate it is easy to understand a story about a regular man trying to make his own in the Star Wars universe. Even if you take out the factor that it’s in the Star Wars universe it’s an action packed story about a young smuggler in space.

My two biggest complaints is that one it was a very easy read. It really took me a day to read this book. It doesn’t present the reader with much of a challenge, but that’s ok. It’s probably going to be pretty fun to watch this as a movie. My second complaint is that A. C. Crispin switches the names of the characters with their alien race names when she writes what they’re doing. For example: Crispin would write “Han said…” then later in the paragraph she wrote “the Corelliean…”. So sometimes I would forget what alien races these characters were and have to re-read just to see who she was talking about. Also sometime the alien race’s names would match the name of a character, so again I’d have to re-read who she was talking about. Just stick to the character names unless you’re describing what the alien race looked like.

What I do love about the book was the characters. Even though I couldn’t really relate to a character because I have never been in space or exist in the Star Wars universe or been in their situation, these characters were people I would cheer for in life or befriend. Even though this a short easy read I think this book makes the reader focus on the characters and develop attachments to characters  than the plot of the book. I got really attached the characters besides Han Solo especially with Muuurgh, Han’s body guard. I also love that a woman wrote this story. She captured the essence of Han Solo’s character and the adventure story-like telling of the Star Wars movies. Women like Star Wars too!

Since this is a trilogy series the ending left at a good point to start up for the next book! It wasn’t a crazy cliff hanger just like the Star Wars movie. However, the reader can feel that there is more to be had in the next book. I say read the book! For those who are big fans of the movies but also for people who are not the biggest fan of Star Wars. It’s a fun action read that makes the reader attached to the characters and wants to see them get out alive in this adventure.

Book Review #9 City of Bones

Hey everyone, I hope all is well and welcome to my ninth book review! This time on The Mortal Instruments book 1 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. A 485 page book so a decent size of a book. This book was recommended by a friend, and when I say recommended I mean the covers are so shiny (at least the old covers) and I kept staring at them like a creeper and finally I asked about them, so she gave me the first book in the series to read! Before I took the book home to read I never knew it was turned into a tv series or a movie. To be quit honest I’ll never watch the movie, with a bad rating of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes I’m not interested. I did see the trailer it looked really bad I mean Jace who is suppose to be handsome and toned like a well fit athlete looks like a recovering meth head with a bad bleach job to his hair. If you have watched the movie, I’m sorry but don’t let that terrible movie alter wanting to read the book, Hollywood did that series no justice. What is also unfortunate is the covers of the book are changing the City of Bones cover has the movie actors on it and who wants that? However this is not a movie critique it’s a book review, but I had to get that out there, so lets get started!

Overview: Clary Fray, a regular teenager of 15 living in New York City is out for a night on the town at the Pandemonium Club. Clary hardly expects to witness a murder at the club committed by three teenagers with strange markings all over them. This murder is Clary’s first encounter with the Shadowhunters: the gorgeous golden haired Jace and the dark haired brother and sister duo of Alec and Isebelle. Clary learns that the Shadowhunters are warriors dedicated to destroying demons that humans can’t see and keeping the world safe from what Clary thought were mythical creatures in story books. After Clary’s first interaction with the Shadowhunters her world gets turned upside down when her mother disappears and is attacked by a demon in her apartment. But why would demons attack Clary? She was just a regular human who shouldn’t be seeing demons like the rest of the humans in New York City. Clary must now join Jace and the rest of the Shadowhunters to know why these strange things are happening to her and find her mother.

My Opinion: I very much enjoyed this book I give it a 3.5/5 stars! Even though I’m a bit too old for young adult books I really enjoyed it. Cassandra is a magnificent author it’s no surprise this series was on the New York Best Sellers list. Plus with the Mortal Instruments Series and other series she has written I will be happily occupied for a while! Cassandra’s writing style is amazing, it was so fluid and mesmerizing. Great transitions of the story from chapter to chapter and scene to scene it was all so wonderful.

I’ve always been a really big fan of fantasy with mythical creatures so I was super excited to know City of Bones had all of that but in a modern setting. The story was absolutely fantastic. With a great plot that kept the story moving along and was exciting with plenty of action. The talking parts were not a pain to read through, you learn the background of the world and the characters in way were it is really enjoyable! Plus they do move the story along.

The characters were all lovable, that includes the villains. Clary was so awesome! She was smart, resourceful, witty, and down to earth. Clary is another female hereon that is just amazing to read about and cheer on in the story. I’m glad Clary exist for teenagers to read and look up to, she is what a strong, real and relatable girl looks like, not Bella Swan that’s for sure. Jace was another one of my favorite characters. Jace was amazing because he added great dialogue and conflict to Clary which was funny to read. The rest of the characters added to the story as well but are not as prominent in the story like Clary and Jace.

The only problems I had with the City of Bones was the romance and the predictability aspects. The romance aspect is a very small part of the book so it’s not like the book is a romance genre. I won’t bash on the romance too much and go into too much detail about it as well because City of Bones is a young adult book. So it’s not too much of a surprise that there is young love. But I seriously prefer the romance in City of Bones over Twilight  any day. City of Bones was pretty predictable so I guessed what mostly was going to happen in the book before it happened, but again young adult book. I know the romance and the predictability of City of Bones isn’t really a problem when it comes to the story. I only bring up these concerns that I had for any reader who doesn’t fit in the age zone of young adult genre and is curious about reading it.

The ending of City of Bones had a good stopping point that could be continued on in the next book. Without giving the reader too much of a cliff hangar anxiety the ending wrapped up a lot of ties in City of Bones however, there are a lot of unanswered questions that will be either brought up again or answered in the next book or other books further down the series. So there are a lot of thing I’m still curious about for the rest of the series that I’m excited to find out about. I would recommenced City of Bones even if a reader is not in the young adult age. The story is just so wonderful and so fluid. Putting the book down to take a break felt like you were disturbing a nice quiet evening!

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Book Review #8 Analyzing Mad Men

Hello everyone and welcome to my eight book review. This time I wanted to do a scholarly book on pop culture so I choose the book Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series edited by Scott F. Stoddart. So this book review is going to be done a little bit differently because the book is complied of 12 essays by different authors all about the Mad Men TV series. So I will review the book as a whole and just several selected essays. If you are wondering why Mad Men? Well I love the series I loved the TV show when it started and when it ended. Also the 60s is one of my favorite periods in history. And before you become that person I do realize that Mad Men doesn’t truly portray what living was truly like in the 60s. It does give a glimpse and nostalgia but no one can ever remake the 60s or anytime period, you can only experience it during the actual period itself. Also if you have not seen the show this review will have spoilers to the show so just a warning. Let’s get started!

Overview: Like previously stated Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series contains 12 critical essays that have a broad interdisciplinary approach on the first three season of Mad Men. These essays: are broken into four parts: The Contexts of Mad Men, The Politics of Mad Men, The Women of Mad Men and The Nostalgia of Mad Men. The titles of the four parts are  explanatory as to what is going to be covered in each part. The Context of Mad Men: what Mad Men depicts on the show and the underlying tones in the show. The Politics of Mad Men: politics of advertisement, capitalism, products and utopia. The Women of Mad Men: addressing sexism, women in the work place, motherhood and progressive women. The Nostalgia of Mad Men: addressing that Mad Men is a period piece and is a nostalgia trap.

There is no real beginning or end to Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series, no story or narrative to follow since all the essays are all analytical essays. The reader can start anywhere in the book and not fell like they missed something. I did read all of them but any other reader can just read a few essays, all of them, or just one if they felt like it. None of the essays in Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series ever really reference each other so a reader doesn’t need to read one essay to understand another.

My Opinion: So I will give two ratings to this review, one for the essays in general and one for the book. Why need two ratings? Because these essays are a collection, each essay was written individually without the need to be in the Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series nor with the initial intention of being in this book. Basically Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series can only exist because of these collective essays but the essays don’t need to be in this book to be published.

The essays get a 4/5 stars! These essay are critically analyzing Mad Man in a scholarly style. Not a personal style. For me it was great to find such a  in-depth critical view of Mad Men. Each author breaks down, finds and address themes in cinema, theory’s, philosophy’s, politics, civilization growth and much more in the Mad Men series. The essays I select to expalin will only summarize a little of the essay, not all of it.

One of my favorite essays in Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series is titled: “”We’ll Start Over like Adam and Eve”:The Subversion of Classic American Mythology” by Melanie Hernandez and David Thomas Holmberg. This essay addresses several themes: civilizing oneself, the rebirth of an image for oneself, and “the American Adam” myth. In the Mad Men series we the viewer know that Don Drapper has it all: a great job, beautiful wife, kids, a good house what is described as the perfect life. Don is a civilized man, but it does not bring him happiness. Don wants to escape this civilized way of life by wanting to run away while on a business trip to California and staying there to reinvent himself. As the viewers already know but Hernandez and Holmberg explain that Don has already reinvented himself once during the Korean war when Done was in the army and his army mate died and took his identity. But again Don wants to escape his life and reinvent himself again as Hernandez and Holmberg describe it as “the American Adam” myth. “The American Adam” myth is basically a cultural mythology that Eden reemerges from the American wilderness (usually the West), where Adam can reemerge as nothing to start a brand new life and make himself into something. Hernandez and Holmberg address other characters in Mad Men who struggle with the same themes but I love Don’s struggle of wanting to leave everything behind even though his life could be seen as perfect.

My second favorite essay is titled: “Every Women is a Jackie or a Marilyn: The Problematics of Nostalgia” by Tonya Krouse. Krouse, addresses the women in Mad Men of how they mostly fit into two categories: Jackie Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe. Jackie’s type would be the innocent loving house wife who can do no wrong by her husband which would be Betty Drapper. Marilyn’s type would the the sexy seductress who knew how to use her body and sexuality to her benefit which is Joan Holloway. Krouse addressed the benefits and struggles of the two main types of women. Betty has to sacrifice her image, personalty and freedom to be the perfect housewife for Don. Joan was not always taken seriously around the office or seen a women to have a long relationship with. Krouse also addresses  Peggy Olson’s character as Peggy did not fit into the Jackie or Marilyn type, she was her own woman and had the struggles and benefits of being Peggy Olson.

Of course all the book in whole will get 4/5 stars as well because the essays do make up the book. But the biggest down fall of the Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series is the essays get very repetitive over the span of reading the book. I’m pretty sure it’s not what the authors had in mind for writing their essays because these essay were published before the book came out. My suggestion is to read the essays out of order that way the essay themes don’t get too repetitive and the reader can read the different parts of Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the TV Series at a time instead of reading it front to back. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Mad Men or wants a more critical in-depth perspective to Mad Men


Book Review #7 Kushiel’s Dart

Hello everyone, I hope you had a good Labor Day weekend I know I sure did! Welcome to my seventh book review on Kushiel’s Dart By Jacqueline Carey. Depending on which copy of the book you have or get will depend on the page numbers you have to read, the first print copy of the book is around 912 pages or the new cover remake is about 654 pages, so a pretty long read. Don’t get cocky with new remade covers that only have 654 pages it’s size is bigger than most books with slightly smaller text, they just remade the style of the book itself.

So a little bit of background about Kushiel’s Dart before I do the review. This book was recommended to me by a very good friend who absolutely loved the series and let me borrow the first book. Kushiel’s Dart is actually the first book of the Kushiel and Naam saga. There are nine book in total of the saga in three different parts. Each part of the saga has its own trilogy of books with its own story that ties all together in the same universe. The first part of the saga trilogies include Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen and Kushiel’s Avatar. So with that stated I must make a rule for any books that I review that are a saga, trilogy or series: I will only review the first book of any series. I feel if I review about later books in any series it’s going to have major spoilers. So now lets move onto Kushiel’s Dart!

Overview: Phédre, a young girl born with a scarlet mote in her eye, a blessing from a deity that is either a curse or a blessing to find pleasure in pain. As a very young child Phédre is sold to the Court of the Night-Blooming Flower to become a beautiful but anonymous courtesan. While Phédre is still a young child, she is sold to a Nobel men named Anafel Delauney, who recognized her rare scarlet mote and sees great potential in her. Delauney trains Phédre to not only be a great be a great courtesan in the bed chamber but also trains her in history, politics, language and so much more. As her training goes along we also as the reader see Phédre grow to be a beautiful, smart young woman, an ultimate weapon in the dangerous courts. During her time in the courts, Phédre learns of a conspiracy against the throne but she is too late to warn anyone as invaders from the north come and take her home land along with traitors within her own country. Phédre must now be the one to save the throne and her home land because she is one of a few who knew about the invasion and who the traitors are. Joined by her trusted body guard Joscelin they must cross the borders and rally armies before everything in her homeland is lost from the traitors and invaders!

My Opinion: Even though there might be no such thing as a perfect book, this book is perfect to me! It is one of my favorite books of all time! So I give this book a 5/5 stars. Kushiel’s Dart is just so amazing I was able to get the rest of the series and reread this book so I’m just really excited.

First off, the story is amazing: great characters who develop so well within the story, and most importantly a great story arc. I got lost int this story so many times that I really did hide away from the world for a few days just to continue reading this book. I will admit I’m not the biggest fan of books and novel whose setting is olden times, like the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. However Kushiel’s Dart was so amazing the time setting doesn’t really matter, the story does better as a Middle Age setting than any other time period. The conflict and the pacing was amazing too. There never really was a part that I thought needed to change it would ruin the story or the pacing. Though the main story plot is a common trope of saving the world, Jacqueline wrote Kushiel’s Dart in such a unique way the story feels original to a common trope.

The characters were just fabulous. Phédre is an amazing female hereon that I can stand beside this character and admit she is fantastic. Phédre is smart, brave, beautiful, fun and a well-grounded person. Phédre develops throughout the story for the better and when she is faced with conflict she isn’t freighted and uses her strengths to her benefit and it works out for her because she is so smart. Phédre’s strengths are relatable she isn’t some average person who can do amazing things because the author said so with no real reason as to why she is great, Phédre is great because she made herself great and the reader can see it. Phédre has passion for learning and her passion made her the amazing person she is in the book. Phédre is a character we can all love and cheer for. For the villains as much as I wanted their plans to be ruined by Phédre I still loved them too, they are a villain I love to hate.

Jacqueline Carey can write an amazing story, her writing style is amazing. Even during slow parts, parts mostly with dialogue or back ground it’s still entertaining to read. Kushiel’s Dart is a book readers don’t need the feel to skip or skim parts, it’s just that good. Nothing against Game of Thrones or City of Bones but Kushiel’s Dart would make a great TV series.

As stated before Kushiel’s Dart has a continuation of the story so as far as endings go it has a great stopping point leaving readers excited to go to the next book. Now what I’m mostly excited about for the next book is that most of the conflict in Kushiel’s Dart is wrapped up really nicely. So it leads me to wonder what’s going to be the main plot in the next book. It just blows my mind that Jacqueline Carey was able to write such a long book with a great plot that has a long saga with books just as big and long as Kushiel’s Dart and the saga continues to have a great plot throughout the saga and it doesn’t get boring or loses the excitement for how long of a series it is. I highly recommend this book to all readers, even people who don’t read should read this book.


Book Review #6 Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City

Good day everyone, hope all is well! Welcome to my sixth book review, this time I will be reviewing a historical book called Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin. A good size book of 372 pages. I will admit I cheated a little with this book because I read this book earlier in the year for grad school, but I still remember the content of the book as if I had to write an assignment.

Overview: It’s 1927, Henry Ford is one of the richest men in American dominating the auto industry.  Ford now wants to try his hand with the rubber industry, so Ford buys land in the Brazilian Amazon twice the size of Delaware to achieve this industry. Ford’s ultimate goal is to have a thriving rubber plantation run by the locals who will have conformed to the American way and around the rubber plantation there will be a thriving city filled with American luxuries. But, immediately after Ford bought the land for the rubber plantation and city that was going to be Fordlandia there are problems: the untamable jungle of the Amazon, bad management sent from America to oversee the plantation, and the indigenous population rejection of the American way and culture. Along with the broken promise of Ford himself coming to visit the people of Brazil. The reader gets to experience the fallen rubber empire that the mighty Henry Ford failed to produce.

My Opinion: For Fordlandia being a book I had to read for grad school I really enjoyed it. I give this book a 4/5 stars! Not for being a topic I enjoy for history purposes but how accessible to is to historians and casual readers. Like Erik Larson’s books Greg writes Fordlandia in a novel style, not like a dry history books like a lot of scholarly history books are. Also a bonus it’s a history book written by an actual historian not a politician (Sorry people who are Bill O’Riley fans but I don’t find his work creditable even if he does have a history degree, it’s not scholarly work).

Greg breaks up Fordlandia into three parts: a beginning, middle and end. Greg had a great part 1 to start Fordlandia of how Ford went about wanting to be in the rubber industry, buying the land, and working with American politicians to work with the Brazilian government for the land and workers. Part 2 of Fordlandia shifts to daily life and struggles of getting the plantation started and running and the people living there. Part 3 of Forlandia focus on the fall and abandonment of the plantation all together. From the beginning Greg addresses all the triumphs (even if there wasn’t a lot when it came to Fordlandia) and struggles to the end of the plantation.

Though Fordlandia focus on a more negative time in Ford’s life, Greg is not scrutinizing Ford for being a terrible person. Greg is addressing and bringing awareness to a time where Ford didn’t do his best or have the best judgment, and abandoned a project. Also the effects the rubber plantation on Ford, the workers both local and Americans down in Brazil and the ecosystem. To this day the buildings of the plantation are still up in Brazil, in very bad shape though and abandoned but still there if people ever want to visit.

Because it is a history book there is no cliff hanger or surprise ending like a novel, just a straight to the point ending that doesn’t really leave much questions for the reader. Greg does have a very good ending to Fordlandia even though it was not a happy ending. Though when it comes to history, historians can’t get the full story from just one book. Historians must have other sources to help claim and back up evidence but Greg does have great sources for Fordlandia of other scholarly books and articles to back up his claims and evidence. The other scholarly sources used in Fordlandia could be used if a reader wanted to continue to research about the failed plantation of Fordlandia. Fordlandia is a great start because it’s an enjoyable read then a reader or researcher can jump into the heavier reads of scholarly works. Anyway, I recommend this book to both historians and casual novel readers. I also plan to read more of Greg’s works because in general they’re great.


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