Romantic Geek Girl

Danielle Monsch takes you through the softer side of geek

Archive for the category “Reviews & Recommendations”

Book Review – Beer and Groping in Las Vegas by Angela Quarles

Feierabend BierWhen I come across someone whose tagline is Geek Girl Romance Writer, well, you can see why I’d be interested, right? *Looks up at Title of Blog*

Angela Quarles is a proud Browncoat and namedrops Ada Lovelace. Right there I know her geek credentials are in order. And when I read the blurb for her book Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, I knew I had to check it out.

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?
Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.
Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.
Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.
I point out that this is a very short story. I make mention of this because after some consideration, I’m pretty sure all of the problems I have with this story circle back to that short length and the author needing to fit the story into a small wordcount.
You know how you’ll be reading and a character will do something or say something and it makes you cringe, and you’ll think to yourself, “No way. No one does that. I’m willing to do a little suspension of disbelief, but this is pushing it.” Then you realize, the character had to make those very awkward, out-of-character, no-one-does-that choices, because if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a story! That’s the vibe I got at the beginning. The downside of this, of course, is instead of a fully realized character you are left with a 2D rendering. It makes it hard to get invested into the story.
Next problem is it takes awhile for the hero and heroine to meet. Even as quickly as the author tries to get through the set-up, it’s a decent percentage of the story, which leaves less time for us to get to know our happy couple AS a couple, which lessens the sexual  tension and the happy, squishy feelings – both of which are vital when reading a romance story.
Finally, while I very much appreciated the geek touches of the story (Guest appearance by George Takei!) and I ‘got’ the humor, once again it was an aspect that broke the romantic/sexual tension of the H/h. Now, this is fine in a longer story where we can ride those hills and valleys of love/lust and indeed, it ends up making it a better story. But for a story of this short length, it wasn’t hills and valleys as much as rollercoaster whiplash, and it meant I wasn’t invested in this couple and really couldn’t care less what happened to them – not the feeling you want at the end of a romance.
Now, the good points, because I don’t want to leave on a total downer, and indeed, I don’t think this author deserves that. I do think the author can write well. I enjoy the humor immensely, and in a longer story with a better balance between romance and humor, I see her killing it. And I do think with a couple stories under her belt, she’s going to settle into a very unique voice that will nicely combine geeky elements with romance, which is a very welcome development to those of us with the same nerdy leanings.

Bottom line – The length is what ultimately hurt this story. The (necessary) set-up kept the H/h apart for too long for such a short story, so they had no time to show the chemistry that really makes a romance work. There are geek references galore to make all of us nerdy-at-heart do imaginary leaps of delight, and enough humorous situations so you’ll have a smile on your face a few times while reading, but in the end it’s not enough to overcome the book’s romantic weaknesses. My Final Grade? C-

You can find Angela Quarles at her website, on twitter, her blog, and on facebook.

Movie Review – The Hobbit

Hobbit-Bilbo Of course I went to see The Hobbit. Me and hubby went on a Friday afternoon peoples. Friday afternoon! And we have two kids under the age of five! Do you have any clue how difficult the babysitter situation is on a weekday afternoon? That tells you how much we wanted to see this movie.

Hubby is a long time fan who has read all the books and has discussed the intricacies of Middle Earth often with his D&D game. Me, I have not read any of the books, either LOTR or The Hobbit (I know, I need to be kicked out of any reputable Comic-Con!) However, I did see that old Bass-Rankin cartoon… Do yinz remember that, from the same people responsible for the old Rudolph and Frosty cartoons? It’s been so many years I don’t remember many details, except I thought the elves were scary and I was not very impressed with Smaug’s voice. But I digress. No, I haven’t read The Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy is easily in my top ten movie slots and I never read those books either. And I’m a huge fan of fantasy in general.

So with great joy, mild trepidation, and a well-compensated babysitter at the house, hubby and I saw The Hobbit.

Mr. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit, a race that despises all adventure. In fact, when he first meets the wizard Gandalf and discovers Gandalf is looking for someone to be part of an adventuring party, Bilbo says, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”

And yet Gandalf for some reason won’t take no for an answer. Later that night, Gandalf and a band of Dwarves make themselves at home in Bilbo’s dining room, causing mayhem and eating everything from the well-stocked pantry. And just when Bilbo looks to explode, in walks Thorin Oakenshield, the great deposed Dwarven king, and finally the details of this adventure are discussed. Thorin is setting out to reclaim the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug, and though the dwarves are determined to make this journey, all of them know the chances of succeeding are slim.

Thorin and the other dwarves are dismayed that Gandalf wants to bring Bilbo. Bilbo is rather dismayed as well. But Gandalf is insistent, and the next day Bilbo is indeed travelling with the dwarves. However the path is treacherous, and on their way they encounter trolls, orcs, and a creature called Gollum, who has a very interesting ring…

A little meta data here. It has already been announced that The Hobbit is going to be split up into three movies, so you knew going in there wasn’t going to be a resolution, more like the end of Act 1. First problem, because as soon as I heard this I got a twinge in my stomach, that “Really?” gut reaction to head-scratching news. See, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a vast and intricate place (and why LOTR genuinely needed three movies to work) The Hobbit is actually a fairly straight-forward adventure story with little of the reams of history and backstory that categorize LOTR and other Tolkien writings (The Hobbit really is a kid’s book, around that 10+ age where kids are in love with fantasy and adventure.) Does such a story really need three movies to work?

I can’t answer that completely without seeing what the next two movies offer, but at this point, I’m going with no. While I never actively looked at my watch waiting for a scene to be over, the movie could easily have lost a half-hour and it wouldn’t have changed the flavor one bit.

If you’re a Hobbit purist you will have problems with the story, because not only does Jackson take parts from other Tolkien writings and place them in the movie, he also creates an entirely new subplot and enemy for the dwarves to fight which was not in the book (this knowledge given to me compliments of hubby). That story arc is unresolved so I can’t tell yet if it will stand up to scrutiny overall. The parts I saw I enjoyed, though the creature did come across just a little too CGI in a couple of scenes.

I guess I can’t talk about purists without mentioning the appearance of the dwarves. Jackson went in a different direction than the usual, making the dwarves look… well… not dwarvish, with only a couple exceptions (Gloin being one of those, and any LOTR fan gets that name).


Let me admit here and now, Thorin Oakenshield is a hotty – and when is the last time you heard that about a dwarf? Thoughts on the dwarves looks is decidedly split. Personally, I loved it. It made following the storytelling much easier, the dwarves personalities came through in their looks, and really, why should elves get all the good press in the looks department? Bravo I say, bravo.

The scenery and the world is spectacular, just as you would expect from Jackson. It’s quite stunning to see onscreen. But it does suffer from a little bit of the “Been here, seen that” syndrome, because anyone who has watched LOTR has already oohed and ahhed over it. Same thing with the score from Howard Shore, which reminds you quite often, “Hey, this movie is connected to LOTR! Don’t forget!” Same with Gandalf, and Galadriel, and Gollum, and kind of everything. The panoramic views and the chase scenes and the fights – all of them are reminiscent of LOTR, and The Hobbit just can’t escape the comparisons. They are well done – don’t get me wrong – but there is none of the wonder that accompanied watching LOTR. It’s old hat now. For that sense of wonder to make an appearance again I’m counting on Smaug and expect Jackson to hit it out of the park (Smaug is not in this with the exception of a small teaser, a quick shot of his eye at the end of the movie.) Seeing a DRAGON?! And he’s voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch?! OMG!!!

But in all honesty none of the above bothered me too much (can’t say the same for hubby, but I’m the one writing this review.) I do see the flaws, but the magic of the movie made glossing them over easy to do. The scenery is beautiful, and the acting is top-notch. I enjoy these characters tremendously. But that’s not to say there wasn’t the One Big Problem for me, and that was this – Why did Bilbo join the dwarves to begin with? This was an incredibly dangerous journey, Bilbo loved his creature comforts, and he had no personal stake in the outcome. So why would he go? There were some Gandalf ramblings about how Bilbo used to be so brave and comes from a line that includes some of the bravest hobbits, but the speech felt forced. It was up to Martin Freeman to sell me on Bilbo going (of his own free will mind, no blackmail or magical inducement.) I hate to say it, especially since I’m currently enjoying watching Freeman in the series Sherlock, but he never did. That was the main sticking point for me enjoying the movie, because I never believed for one moment this character would leave his hobbit hole for this adventure. Now, maybe once I’ve seen the other films and the complete character arc for Bilbo I’ll be more comfortable with this decision and buy it, but that doesn’t help me now with only this movie under my belt.

Bottom line – It’s hard to give a bottom line for The Hobbit, because the list for both what worked AND what didn’t are quite decently sized. So I’ll end it with this. I enjoyed the movie a lot. I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out, watch it occasionally at home after the little girls are asleep, and rewind and rewatch a couple favorite scenes.  But it’s not a go-to movie. It’s not a movie I’ll always be in the mood for. It’s a movie I’ll use the forwarding button on because really, that scene wasn’t needed. And it’s a movie that when talking to someone about Jackson’s take on Middle Earth, I’ll say, “That scene in Fellowship, wasn’t that awesome? And in the Two Towers, I still get chills seeing the March of the Ents. What? The Hobbit? Yeah, that was a pretty good movie too, glad Jackson was finally able to make it.”

My final Grade? B




Book Review – Generous Fire by Olivia Waite

Just a heads-up, the book being reviewed is an erotic romance.

This is a very naughty, very short story that plays on a real-life fact – that to cure *female hysteria*, doctors in the late 1800’s created what is now known as the vibrator.

The hero and heroine are a Headmaster and schoolmarm respectively, and they use this new invention purely for scientific study. Well, except that once it starts being used, scientific study goes out the window.

The book opens with a homage to Charles Dickens that made me sit up and go, “Cool!” The writing style channels the spirit of Jane Austen – if she wrote a lot spicier, that is.

It was charming, it was sex-ay… and it was way too short. The story is billed as a romance, but with the very short length it was impossible to give any depth to the characters, let alone believe in these characters falling in love. While I enjoyed what was there, the lack in this area made it impossible to give it a higher grade.

Bottom Line – Clever writing with a wink and a nod to Dicken’s A Christmas Carol elevate this naughty Victorian short story. However, it’s too short, reading like the final chapters of this couple’s courtship than a complete story of its own. Because of this, it’s impossible to get fully invested into the story.

My final rating? B+

You can find Olivia Waite at her Website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Book Review – Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead by Christiana Miller

At the beginning of this whole, surreal journey, I had no idea you could be evicted from your body as easily as you could be booted out of your apartment.


“One of the problems with being a witch is when you ask the universe a question, it generally gives you an answer. Or at least enough of one to ruin a perfectly good week.”

And thus with not one but with two killer opening lines, Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead begins.

Writing a line like that – let alone two lines – takes skill and craftsmanship. With much anticipation, I began reading.

Mara is a witch living in Los Angeles. She’s a witch, but she’s very leery of magic for many a reason, and she tries to keep it to the smaller stuff that can’t come back to bite her.

Around her 27th birthday, she’s about to get kicked out of her apartment by her fundamentalist Christian landlady.

So she worries over it and talks smarty-pants with her gay best friend and fellow magic user,Gus.

And then Gus talks her doing some magic against her will.

And then something bad happens, and she has bad dreams and bad feelings about what is about to come, especially since *dum dum dum* her mother died at the age of 27.

And then she frets and talks smarty-pants with Gus.

Then the landlady comes back to reiterate witches are evil and she’s still evicted.

And then Gus reassures her, and talks her into doing magic against her will.

And keep going like that through the first half of the book.

Let me stop here for a bit. This is not going to be the most complimentary review, so I’d like to say right now what I liked and give the story it’s due. The author has a fantastic voice with dialogue, especially that “you are a pain but I love you” dialogue that occurs between long-time friends. The book has that everyone-is-crazy humor, sort of reminiscent of the early Stephanie Plum books, and the author does it well. And as shown by those opening lines, the author knows how to string together a sentence in a clever way.

Now to the problems. The biggest one is the story has horrific pacing. The above back-and-forth takes almost half of the book (and this is novel-length, so that’s a lot of between friends bickering). The first few rounds between Gus and Mara were fun and had me smiling, but when we got to a third of the way through the book and that was all that had happened so far, I was getting frustrated. Bickering does not a story make.

Once we got to around the 40% mark and still no story forward momentum, I put the book down… and ended up forgetting about it.

Not long ago I came across the title and went, “Oh yeah, I’m in the middle of that, aren’t I?” I actually debated with myself if I wanted to restart it again. But I remembered what I liked about the story and the fact that sometimes the second half of the book might be better than the first, I decided to go forward and finish the book.

About the halfway point we get to the heart of the story:  Mara inherits her Aunt Tillie’s cottage far, far away from LA. Once there, Mara deals with colorful locals, the ghost of her Aunt (who may/may not have her best interests at heart) a love interest, and the possibility the house itself wants to kill her… or worse.

I wish I could say the second half makes up for the first, but that’s not the case. Because of the over long set-up, this part of the story is rushed. There is so much tossed into it that the story is superficial – we’re never really given a chance to absorb anything, so we don’t have any deep feelings for what’s happening.

Also, Mara goes from being a character in her own right into taking specific actions because she needs to do them or else the story won’t work. Multiple instances I thought to myself, “Would the character I saw in the beginning do this?” From my point of view, the answer was usually no. Again, because of the rushed nature of the second half of the book, the author wasn’t able to convince me of these changes. Also, in this part of the book Mara deals with her issues surrounding her Mother, but once again, everything is so rushed that what should have been poignant and added some depth to the story was barely a blip on my screen.

The humor that served so well through the first half of the book becomes a detriment in the second half. Humor can be used to increase tension and dread, but in this case, the author was not able to pull that off. Instead, the humor turned what should have been high tension instances into shoulder shrugs.

The small-town residents are barely more than cut-outs, and the love interest isn’t. It felt like the author needed a male body (I can’t say more without going into major spoilers but anyone reading the book knows what I mean) and threw him in there. The only love story in this book was the love between a woman and her Gay Best Friend Forever.

And the ending – what was that? In all honesty, by that time, I just wanted it over and was like, “Fine. Good luck everyone.”

Bottom line – This author creates wonderful dialogue and fun supporting characters, and her humor speaks to me. On the other hand, she has no idea how to pace a story, she spends too much time on things that she shouldn’t and way too little time on areas that need more in-depth exploration, her characters tend to be a little superficial, and she hasn’t learned how to use her humor to amplify the tension – instead, the humor dilutes it. Will I read her again? Yes, but I would want to know who her editor is first.

My final grade? D+

You can find Christiana Miller at her Website.

Book Review – Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddy Barone

We have werewolf stories (still?) We have post-apocalyptic stories (yawn…) We have time-travel stories (is this the 80’s?)

But how often do you see a post-apocalyptic time-travel story featuring werewolves? Huh, huh? Yeah, I got your attention now, don’t I?

In the year 2014 our heroine boards a plane with the intent of going to the concert that will propel her to the big leagues of country music stardom, only to have the plane crash en route. Many die, many others are hurt, and the ones who are still standing divide themselves so some stay to care for the wounded while others walk to find help – because strangely, no authorities have come to rescue the passengers…

Carla, she of the singing career, realizes her life has worse problems than a mere plane crash. She is kidnapped and brought to a town. There, she hears the ugly truth. The year is 2064, society suffered through an Armageddon wiping out huge amounts of people, and maybe worst of all, men outnumber women about 100 to 1 and women are treated like property.

Carla is put up as a prize in a Bride Fight, and there she learns one last piece of crazy on top of the crazy she’s been dealing with – that werewolves are real, and their leader Taye wants her for his mate.

I’m not normally a post-apocalyptic person, but I liked the twist on this one. My hubby still messes with me because we went to a weekend wedding that was held at a boy scout camp – which featured cabins complete with plumbing and running water – and when it was over I told him I had no desire to rough it like that again. So the idea of a modern woman being thrust into a world without plumbing, electricty, cars, electronics, or any other of the myriad things we take for granted intrigued me. I wanted to see how she’d deal with that.

I’ll tell you what, Carla handled it a heck of a lot better than I would. There were some grumblings and “It’s not fair!”, but basically in a week-ish she had gotten with the program. While I acknowledge that she wouldn’t be throwing hissy-fit after hissy-fit with what we knew of her character (a pragmatic woman who has no problems rolling up her sleeves and getting to work) I still thought her acceptance was too easy.

Actually, that kinda sums up my thoughts on the book as a whole. Even though the set-up is a natural for high emotion, the way the characters handled the various challenges and events was distinctly low-key and smooth. Even the “fated mate” trope was laid-back. Sure, Taye knows Carla is meant to be his from the first, but beyond a couple of growls we don’t really feel the edge that usually accompanies that particular trope. It took him awhile to realize he might like her and want her around other than for sex.

And Taye? Probably the most beta Alpha Wolf you’ll ever meet.

For all the insane set-up, this is a gentle, almost soothing romance and by no means what I was expecting. It took me a little time to readjust my thoughts and realize what I assumed would be happening and what was on the page were two different things. Once I got on board, the story went smoother for me.

Taye is more of a gentleman than most guys I meet in daily life (sorry guys, but it’s true). He is bewildered on what women want – understandable, because he really hasn’t known many in his life. And a source of humor in the book is how the wolf pack deal with Carla coming to live with them since most of them have never been around a woman before.

The sexuality and sensuality are not high in this book. Yes, there is sex, but to my mind it was mild (granted, I write hot/spicy to erotic romance, so adjust your expectations accordingly). This book is not about sensuality or lust, it’s about a gradual falling in love with someone and being ‘grown-up’ enough to accept that your life is not going to be what you wanted it to be and moving on.

Bottom line – Once I adjusted my expectations and got into the rhythm of the book, I enjoyed it. While I feel the story was light on conflict and Carla accepted her new life a little easier than was realistic, it is a nice contrast to the high-octane werewolf stories that dominate the genre.

My final grade? B-

You can find Maddy Barone at her Website, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Movie Review – Snow White & the Huntsman

Too much and yet not enough.

That about sums up my feelings on the movie, but to leave it there would be a pretty pitiful review. Before I go any deeper, though, I give you this:

Now seriously, isn’t that a frickin gorgeous poster? If you are a fan of darker fantasy – especially when it comes to reimagined fairy tales – is there any possible way you wouldn’t go see that movie?

Of course not, and people flocked in droves. SW&TH made over $55 million opening weekend. Not bad work for a pale princess.

Now forward we go with the review. Oh, and be warned, I am a spoilerific type person. No spoilers in your world? Then no reading any further.

We open in standard Snow White fashion – the kind Queen wandering a Snowy landscape where she comes across a rose blooming in the midle of all that white. Picking it, she pricks her finger and spills three drops of blood. She proceeds to wish for her baby. Hair as black as night, skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, but in his movie they added one additional requirement. The Queen wishes the child to be as strong and defiant as this rose which blooms in the middle of winter.

Forward about seven years, and Snow White is now a little girl. Our Narrarator (voice of The Huntsman) says that Snow White is beloved by the people as much for her inner strength as for her beautiful face.

(And as an aside – Chris Hemsworth’s voice? Swoon!)

The Queen dies, and shortly afterwards a mysterious Army attacts the heartsick King. He rides out to meet the invaders, but finds they are a magical Army, nothing more than living quartz that crumble when hit by the sword. The King and his men have no idea what is going on, but there is a prison transport. Opening the transport, the King sees the beautiful Ravenna (Charlize Theron). He instantly falls in love and marries her the next day.

Bad idea. The wedding night is not exactly what the king hoped for, as Ravenna kills him and lets into the castle the real army. While many of the nobles escape the castle that night – including Snow White’s best friend, the Duke’s son William – Snow White herself is captured.

Fifteen years later, Snow White is Kristen Stewart. I will skip many a detail here, suffice to say Snow White escapes and runs into the Dark Forest. Ravenna’s magic is useless in the Dark Forest, so she hires the Hunstman (Chris Hemsworth) to find and bring back Snow White. If he succeeds, Ravenna will bring back his wife from the dead. And so the story begins…

I’m a little unsure how to talk about this movie because I’m so conflicted about it. I enjoyed it, but there was so many things wrong with it, but it was so gorgeous, but the story just did not hold together, but the Evil Queen was so cool at the beginning and the end, but the Evil Queen was kinda pathetic in the middle…

See, it’s like a little tennis match in my head.

Let us start by saying the movie was gorgeous, a gothic landscape careening from the bareness of Ravenna’s lands to the nightmarish landscape of the Dark Forest to the lush greenery of the Fairy grove. Visual appeal in every nook and cranny. While I was watching I detected a strong hint of a Japanese aesthetic, but I kind of pooh-poohed that thought, telling myself I was probably seeing things I wanted to see. Then came a scene where I went, “Wait a second, did someone just switch movies and put Princess Mononoke on?” which tells me, no, I’m right about the Japanese influence.

So, gorgeous, but that is also part of the problem. This film could easily have lost 20-30 minutes if the director spent a little less time examing in minute detail every…little…effect. So you don’t get just one fairy, you get ten! You don’t just get one creepy Dark Forest scene, you get five! It really slowed down the pacing of the story.

Ah yes, the story. In most movies (or books) the writers beat you over the head with information. This is one of the rare instances of the opposite problem, where you get too few answers and too much ambiguity, leaving you in a haze of confusion and constantly asking, “Why?” “What?” “Huh?”

To begin, why didn’t Ravenna kill Snow White in the very beginning and instead kept her prisoner? What happened to the other kingdoms Ravenna conquered?

Another problem was the script kept contradicting itself. Was Snow White the fairest in the land because of physical beauty or because of her kindness, innocence, and strength of character? There was no internal logic to the world, the answer on magic was whatever that scene needed the answer to be.

Finally, the film was disjointed. Instead of “A Movie” it felt more like several beautiful scenes which were stuck together, with no flow between the scenes previous and following. For example, there’s a scene where Snow White and the Huntsman are walking along to get the the Duke’s castle, when out of the blue and no warning given, the Huntsman turns to Snow White, hands her a knife, and proceeds to show her a move to kill her enemy and protect herself. As soon as he shows her he turns away and starts walking again. It was, “Dude, you couldn’t be more obvious that this is the way Snow White is going to kill Ravenna if you tried!”

As for the love story aspect – it’s The Triangle That Never Was. I don’t know why the filmmakers were so timid in this aspect, fairy tales have always been grounded in emotion and passion – not always nice and kind, especially the early original ones, but it was always there.

There are hints that the Huntsman comes to view Snow White as more than a damsel in distress, but I’ll be honest, you really have to squint to make it work. An older William eventually catches up to Snow White in her journey and seems more into her, but you are not sure if it’s because he’s always loved her since they were kids or if it’s because of the guilt that he fled to safety and left her behind in Ravenna’s clutches.

And Snow White? Well, she actively kisses William (actually, the Evil Queen disguised as William) but after the apple, it’s the Huntsman’s kiss that breaks the spell, not William’s.

I wasn’t feeling Kristen Stewart as Snow White (and no, I don’t have Kristen Stewart hate – the only other time I’ve ever seen her was when I watched the Rifftrax of Twilight.) She is a pretty girl, but she’s pretty in a tomboy-type way. While that is well and good and run with it, there is a disconnect with that type look when talking ‘The Fairest of Them All’. Beyond that, she never exuded all the traits that this Snow White was said to possess, this gentle and fair spirit combined with a valiant heart and a fiery determination.

Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman was spot on – and no, I do not say that because he bared his chest for one scene – a soldier laid low by grief who finds himself coming back to life because of his admiration for this girl.

Charlize Theron was great in the parts of the story where the Evil Queen is strong and believes absolutely that she’s the type queen this world deserves, which is the beginning and end of the movie. Coincidentally, these are also the parts where it’s awesome watching the Evil Queen be her evil self and be the villian every fairy tale needs. In the middle the character falls apart and is laid low by *tragic back story*. These parts suck. You want to shake your fist at the screen and go, “Bring me back the true Evil Queen and get rid of Weepy Wendy here!”

Oh! I can’t forget the Dwarfs! Best parts of the movie, hands down. They manage to be the comic relief without being bumbling fools or breaking the dark charm of the movie. I need to look up how the ‘dwarfed’ the actors though. It didn’t look like the same type of tricks that were used in Lord of the Rings.

Bottom line – When it worked, it really worked. Unfortunately, in the end, you were left with the thought that the filmmakers almost had something great, but for whatever reason they just couldn’t break through. So while the movie IS good, there is a heavy sense of lost possibilities.

My final Grade? B-

Two final things before I go. One:

Two – I went with my friend and fellow writer Anna Alexander. At the end of the movie she turned to me and said, “There’s going to be a sequel.”

“What?” I replied. “Why do you think that?”

To which Anna replied, “The ending was too abrupt.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “but it was a rather slim story.”

“Trust me, sequel.”

The lesson from all this is never doubt Anna Alexander. I learned today that a sequel is indeed in the works.

Two New Book Releases from my Writer Buds

Like every other writer out there, I have critique partners.

Critique partners brainstorm together, discuss how to work past problems in our stories, read each other’s works and push each other to make the writing  the best possible it can be. Most authors feel that critique partners are essential to their success and I am no different in that respect. I wouldn’t be even half as good of a writer if I didn’t have my critique partners.

My amazing critique partners – Anna Alexander and Crista McHugh – both have new releases this week. Anna Alexander has her debut story – A Superhero novella entitled Hero Revealed – releasing from Ellora’s Cave. Crista McHugh is an award-winning author whose latest fantasy novel A Soul For Trouble has just become available for sale.

Obviously I’m not a totally unbiased source (!) but I think they are fantastic writers and it is well worth your time to check them out.

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