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Pixie Dust: The End Reflection

I started writing Pixie Dust during NaNoWriMo 2018 and back then it was a very different love story. Originally it was written in Oisin’s point of view and followed him as he fell in love with a vampire named Nash. I wrote seven chapter’s of this version before I realized that it just wasn’t working. Not wanting to give up of the story I decided to go about it from a different angle and as a result, the shy-vampire Nash was put aside for the shy-human Riel in the current version. The story went from being Oisin struggling to come to terms with what it meant dating a nightwalker, to Riel struggling with being a human dating a member of the Elven community. The current version of the story is a great departure from the original idea and even though I personally am not particularly fond of this project, I much prefer the version it would become. 

My main issue with the book is how short it is and how little of the world is actually in it. The world has changed quite a bit since I started writing it that I honestly no longer Pixie Dust entirely canon in what I will call Fairytale AU. At the same time while writing it I was acutely aware that the story was primarily a romance, and with Riel being the main character I didn’t see much of a reason to include much, if any, magic. I wasn’t really in the mood to write a lot of action, but I also needed a break from the contemporary setting of my San Jaime universe, hence the Fairytale AU.

I’ve considered rewriting the story altogether and even though I have no plans on seeking further publication I don’t want to put it entirely off the table for my dream version to eventually become available on Wattpad. Please don’t get your hopes up though, I have a lot on my plate as it is right now. 

And even if I don’t revisit the story of Pixie Dust, trust there are still many stories to be told in the Fairytale AU. 

Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lot of people came over here to dear my opinion on the last couple of chapters. Well, all I can say is that it wasn’t meant to be. I honestly was a fan of Oisin and Riel, but as I wrote the story they, like many of my characters, veered off their written path. Like with life, it just wasn’t meant to be, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t remain friends and find love elsewhere. Maybe, in some version of the story, it would be possible for them to stay together, but the way it was written today, it’s just not their fate.

I Am Not an Easy Man (Je ne suis pas un homme facile) (2018)

Directed by Eleonore Pourriat

Written by Ariane Fert, Eleonore Pourriat

Starring: Vincent Elbaz, Marie-Sophie Ferdane, Pierre Benezit

Rated: TV-MA

Run-Time: 1h 38m

Genre: French, Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

I Am Not an Easy Man is a humor film with an obvious feminist agenda that manages to be more hilarious than preachy. Though at times the way this aspects of the story is presented is ridiculous, it manages to paint an interesting alternate universe where society is matriarchal. As a women, this sounds like a blessed idea, but the film does a good job of showing the importance for equality, that even in a truly matriarchal world has its own flaws. The characters are well written and the presentation of this world is done well, with both obvious and subtle differences. It does a very good job of raising topics of discussion; including topics of toxic masculinity to the effect of a gender dominated society. 

The only true downside I could find in the film is some of the cultural differences in the matriarchal society that were hard to believe and therefore brought me out of my suspension of belief. The film features a number of scenes with shirtless women, a parallel to how our society has no problem with partial nudity of men but think differently when it comes to women. This simple fact doesn’t bother me, but when a short scene included a shirtless women going on a jog my immediate thoughts were “God that must hurt!” Because, even in a society where it is totally okay for a women to be out shirtless its hard for me to believe someone would be content running while shirtless. For those who don’t have breasts, let me tell you, it is not comfortable to run without some sort of support. Scenes with similar minor grievances are littered throughout the film and while they do not detract from the basic storyline I am going to consider them a negative of this film because they still managed to pull me out of this world. Even in a good film, little things like this can affect the experience greatly. 


In the end I gave the film a higher rating that its rotten tomatoes score, a solid 90%. It a good film to watch and a great discussion starter. I would recommend this film to anyone with interests in women’s studies and even anthropology for that matter! This film can be found on Netflix!

White Stag

By Kara Barbieri

Release Year: 2019

Genre: Fantasy, New Adult

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.71

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling. (Goodreads)

Considering I am not super acquainted with fantasy it probably isn’t surprising that I found the concept of this book considerably unique and subsequently interesting. Adn though I must admit I don’t think the writing is the best, what it achieved is admirable. Aspects of the story aren’t outright told and action scenes are handled well and are easy to follow. 

Arguably, the poor writing can be excused due to the fact that this is the writer’s debut novel. And by no means is the writing horrible, it just shows that this writer still has some growth ahead of them and honestly don’t we all? My main problems with the story come from the characters and the fact that they often come off as two dimensional with very basic motivations. The romantic subplot comes off as undeniably forces and is unnecessary to the story. The romantic subplot could have been reduced to a platonic relationship and the dynamic between the characters would have remained largely unchanged.  
For a debut novel this book is surprising well-done. The author definitely has talent, though she definitely has room for growth (which makes me all the more excited for her future works. In the end I gave this book a primarily subjective rating heavily due to my relatively low expectations with not only book but the genre. In the end I was left with an appreciation for higher fantasy I did not prior have. Though I am curious how my opinion will change as I become more acquainted with similar storylines. My final rating is a solid 4.5 stars.  

Next

By Micheal Crichton

Release Year: 2008

Genre: Science Fiction, Techno-Thriller, Dystopian

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.49

Welcome to our genetic world.

Fast, furious, and out of control.

This is not the world of the future — it’s the world right now.

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction — is it worse than the disease?

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps; a time when it’s possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars; test our spouses for genetic maladies and even frame someone for a genetic crime.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes …

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn. Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions, and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think. Get used to it. (Goodreads)

As the last official book by the late Micheal Crichton Next has big shoes to fill; and does so well enough. Next boasts an interesting concept that is still relevant today and is well executed by its well-educated author. Its contents are not only smart but the way information is presented is smart as well. Most expositional information is presented through fake news reports which works well for this story’s concept. Additionally, the story is considerably realistic as well as plausible (though as time has passed some aspects have become less so due to changes in the law). This is definitely a book for fans of science fiction that poses a moral question, as well as those who are fascinated with genetics (considering a fair amount of the science in the book is considerably sound.)

The one aspect of this book that truly brought it down is excessive amount of subplots. Some are large and we follow it throughout the entirety of the book while others are relatively short. When it comes down to it, though some of them reinforce the intent of the story, many fall short and distract from the overarching plot as a whole.  Not only were the subplots excessive but so was the complexity of the scientific concepts presented. For the average reader the story may be hard to understand and may require multiple reads to fully comprehend. This only adds to the fact that the story itself is slow-moving. Though I cannot call this a bad book, I found this book ultimately unenjoyable. Having a pre-existing understanding of concepts discussed in said book was definitely advantageous, but did nothing to make the book move any faster than a snail-like pace. This book failed to live up to my expectations as is, at best, mediocre addition to Crichton’s bibliography. My final rating is a medial 3 stars.

Hush (2016)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Written by Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegal

Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegal, Michael Trucco

Rating: R

Run-Time: 1h22m

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Metacritic Score: 67%

This film has been in my suggestions on Netflix pretty much since it became available on there, and for whatever reason I never got around to watching it. It follows a storyline quite common in thrillers and, as a result, my first impression of it wasn’t the best. It’s a storyline that I actually enjoy, but as of late have been enjoying less because these films tend to be predictable. The characters aren’t always the smartest and the villain is sometimes so smart they barely come off as actual humans. 

To first address the predictability of this film, I must say that while it was at times quite predictable it was predictable in a good way. Now how can a film be predictable in a good way? For me it has to heavily to with the fact that, in the case of this film, the fact that I was able to predict the next moves of the characters didn’t detract from the event actually happening. Rather it added to the suspense of when will it happen. 

A surprising positive for the film was the production. I found that the film was shot well, and very easy to understand visually. The use of sound added to the general ambience of the story, making it more immersive and, for lack of a better word, stressful. 

The acting was better than I expected, especially from the antagonist played by John Gallagher Jr.. The few scenes in the beginning in which he is wearing a mask are a particularly good example of his acting ability, considering that even though most of his face was obscured by the mask it was still evident to the audience what was going on inside his head. They say true acting is having the ability to not only act the story out on the grand scale, but to be able to act with one’s eyes. This film is a good example of this. 


Ultimately I enjoyed the film. It actually had me at the edge of my seat, cursing under my breath in shock and practically bouncing in my seat in anticipation. Nowadays it’s hard to find a thriller that can evoke such a response, at least for me. Because of this I have no choice but to give this film the resoundingly high score of 90%. And I highly recommend you watch it if you are a fan of horror thrillers. This film is available on Netflix!

The Perfect Date (2019)

Directed by Chris Nelson

Starring: Noah Centineo, Laura Marano, Camila Mendes

Rating: TV-14

Run-Time: 1h 30m

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%

Need a last-minute knight in shining armor? A plus-one Prince Charming? To make his dream come true, he’ll be anyone– except himself. (Netflix)

This is fun film. I really do enjoy it at it’s face value. It’s definately a good movie to watch when you don’t want to think to hard, which though some people consider this a bad thing I think it’s a good thing because that’s the whole purpose of movies in the first place. Isn’t it?

My main issues with the movie has to do with the tertiary characters. There were definately moments where you could tell that the actor was reciting lines, or maybe even reading lines shown to them from off screen. Some background actors blessed with lines obviously didn’t know what they were doing becuase you could tell they were trying to act a certain way. Technically-wise this was the films only true downfall. It’s cinematography was okay and got the point across. You honestly can’t expect anything groundbreaking from a teen rom-com.

My second main issue was the predictability of the story. Of course, the main love interest would be your not-so-average girl who rather go to a cafe-bookstore than a shool dance (which, same to be honest). Of course, the main guy would fall into insta-love with a random girl he doesn’t know. And, of course, the rando-rich-girl will be stuck up and break up with him for some petty bullshit. 

In the end I have to give the film a mediocre 70% rating. I enjoyed it and it’s definitely a fun Friday night movie to watch or put on in the background as you eat, but it’s not going to become a classic. 

Bloom

By Kevin Panetta, Savanna Ganucheau (Illustrator)

Genre: YA, LGBT Romance

Avg. Rating: 4.18

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. (Goodreads)

Most of what I enjoyed about this book, was the beauty in the simplicity of it. Though there is dialogue (which is well-written and easy to understand) I found the thing that really makes this graphic novel stand out is its illustration. It’s simpler, very much unlike some of the uber-popular traditional comics of today, but no less beautiful. With entire spreads void of words, the story is conveyed visually, motion conveyed between the panels and no dreaded over-articulation of character. A smile, drawn with the perfect amount of detail is all that is needed to tell you how a character feels. 

Honestly, I hope this is part of a series. It doesn’t have to be a long one, maybe only one more volume, because I sadly found the ending unsatisfying. Of course, it’s a happy one, that concludes the events of the story well, but for whatever reason, I found myself unsatisfied and wanting more. I don’t want to consider this a full-on downside, because it’s not going to stop me from reading a sequel if there ever is one, but for these very personal reasons a gave the book a lower rating, I admit, than it probably deserves: 3.9. 

If you are interested in reading this book, like all books, it is available on Amazon.