#Review: The Legends Saga #paranormal #ya

Sorry for the late post. Life happens its own way no matter how much you plan.


Title:  Crane

Series: The Legends Saga #1

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 298

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, some gore)

This is two stories in one with a dark comical twist… Well, actually two twists.

Ireland Crane just moved to Sleepy Hollow because she couldn’t pass on the opportunity to be associated with the legend of Ichabod… No, not really. I just thought that was a silly coincidence that was going to ruin this book, but it didn’t. Actually, Ireland just broke up with her boyfriend and needed a change so when a job in Sleepy Hollow opened up, it was a chance to escape. Of course, once she gets there, people start dying and old men start waking up in her basement. Enter, Rip Van Winkle.

One thing I’ll say about this story is that it is refreshingly dark and funny. I fell in love with the humor of Stacey Rourke in her Gryphon Series, but this was an entirely different experience. This story is more New Adult than YA, but not filled with a lot of steam. That may be a deterrent for some who feel that New Adult exists only to add more steam to stories.

While I didn’t fall as hard for the first installment of the Legends Saga as I did the Gryphon Series, the story still won my heart. The paranormal elements of this story are right up my alley, and the comedy is just a bonus. The strong female lead, Ireland, is not what I expected which is always a plus for me. She doesn’t start off as a kick-butt character but develops a duality that lets her be the quintessential girly-girl and feme fatal all at once. Kudos to Rourke on the character.

Ireland isn’t the only likable character in this book, but I don’t want to give too much away. A sleepy Rip does steal the show a few times, and have I mentioned the dreamy Noah. Of course, there’s a love interest, but I like that the romance is not the major focus of this story. In fact, as twists go, romance and damsels get mashed up pretty good and I like it. The way the whole curse comes together was original and exciting. The rest of this series is a must read for me.

Recommended to fans of paranormal, myth and fairytale retellings, and dark humor.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon


Title:  Raven

Series: The Legends Saga #2

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 211

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I don’t think it’s fair to compare the tale of Ichabod to the fictionalized story of Edgar Allan Poe, but that’s what we’re faced with comparing books 1 and 2 of The Legends Saga. Considering I am rating both books the same, it seems silly to say that I liked the second book more, but I did. However, I think that is mostly the fault of my enthusiasm for Poe. In any case, Rourke has thoroughly entertained me again with Raven, to which I will doubt her nevermore.

I honestly didn’t know where else this story could possibly go, and knowing who’s showing up for the third book, it’s all I can do not to speculate. I can’t wait to be surprised. To say that matters turned darker in this second book is an understatement, but there’s no denying that Ireland is still Ireland. She’s silly, and sweet, and a bit slow at times, but that’s just part of her charm.

As the Hessian, unfortunately, she gets put in her place when the scorned love of Poe turns out to be much more powerful. Let’s face it; while revenge and rage are powerful forces, love is the ruler of all. As if being the Hessian wasn’t enough to put a strain on Ireland and Noah’s relationship, the handsome Ridley shows up just having to be the missing key to resolving Poe’s century-old relationship issues.  Just as in the first book, life and death are a delicate balance held together or torn apart by love.

This story is much darker than the first, but it didn’t turn me away. Even through all the darkness and death in this book, there was room for quite a few laughs. An addition to the second book, not experience in the first, at least for me, was also a sense of sorrow. Rourke really dug deep and offered a gambit of emotions and experiences for her readers.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, Poe, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link: Amazon


 Title: Steam

Series: The Legends Saga #3

Author: Stacey Rourke

Genre: Paranormal, Retelling

Pages: 228

Reading Level: Adult

Content: PG-13 (violence, adult situations and content, gore, mature and dark themes)

I’ll go ahead and admit that I enjoyed this story, but I didn’t like the way this series ended. I probably would have given this final installment of the Legends Saga a 5 rating, had the ending been more resolute. For me, having so many questions at the end leaves me wondering if these characters will pop up again down the road, just as other Rourke characters have. The uncertainty is agonizing… but still; you gotta read this for yourself. It’s totally worth it.

Aside from my issues with the ending, Rourke has managed to awe and amaze me yet again, adding extended depth to her characters and twisting ageless tales in unexpected ways. Steam takes everything to another level. If you snickered in the first two books, you’ll LOL in this one. If you whimpered a bit with the first two books, your heart will ache with this one. There is one scene in particular that actually made me feel a bit of terror, bordering this tale on the edge of horror, but it’s so much more than that.

Book one seemed to focus on conquering demons and finding purpose. Book two seemed to focus on the power and, even danger, of love. Book three is all about the choice to live with hope and the sacrifices one makes to keep hope, and perhaps even love, alive.

In this installment, Ireland and Ripley are joined with a new character who has ties to witchcraft and the story of “The Scarlet Letter”.  This oddball assortment of humans and their supernatural gifts have been gathered together by HG Wells to defeat the greatest evil any of them have ever seen. Even with Well’s ability to travel through time, he knows that even if they win, there will be a price to pay, he just doesn’t know what it is.

If you read the first two, you should definitely read the third and decide for yourself if the ending is or isn’t totally satisfying.

Recommended to teen and adult readers; fans of paranormal, and other twisted retellings.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Ragnarok Review – Mock Squid Soup No.13 #cinephiles #film #review

www.shocktillyoudrop.com – a much different review

Let’s recap my clues from last week:

Clue #1– It’s a Norwegian film, so yeah I’ll be watching subtitles.
Clue #2– The story is based on a mythological doomsday tale and it takes place in modern times.
Clue #3– The ancient language spoken in the film is apparently quite similar to modern day Icelandic.

So what do you think, was I too vague or was my movie just too obscure?

I did this once before and am thinking of making it a regular thing. I shared my line by line notes of the experience I had watching a film and posted it for my review because that movie wasn’t good enough to warrant a review from me. I figured since I still do that for all my reviews, I’d start sharing those notes. So if anyone is interested in my experience of watching Ragnarok, click here to see my notes. You can also go back and see other movie’s notes.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.

1. What is this film about?

What IMDB posted: “Norwegian archeologist Sigurd Svendsen forms a small team and sets off to find the true meaning of the secret runes found carved in rock and accidentally awakens a giant monster.”

What I read in my mind, “An action adventure in the likeness of Tomb Raider, where ancient creatures and modern historians clash.”

As you can surmise, things didn’t go as planned.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

I thought the poster for Ragnarok rocked (pun intended). I mean look at it. Doesn’t it seem like this movie is going to blow your mind? Plus, the tagline on the poster reads, “All legends have their origins;” I just knew this was going to be about a great adventure of discovery.

After watching the movie and prepping for my review, IMDB revealed to me that the actual movie tagline is, “Some creatures aren’t just real, they’re unbelievable.” Are you beginning to see where this is going?

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

I’m a total newb to Norwegian films and, therefore, knew nothing of the actors in this movie. For the most part, they seemed to be well trained. They played their roles with a natural and un-coached feel, even the children.

As for the characters, I didn’t really like any of them except for maybe the daughter. She had the typical pre-teen attitude one would expect (glad to know that’s not just an American thing), but she was probably the smartest character on the screen.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

This film was shot beautifully and the use of CGI was kept to a minimum for the genre. I give the director a lot of credit here for two reasons (unless he also wrote it; I didn’t bother to check).

1. He/she did a great job of making the characters stand out in their perspective   environments. With a film like this, it’s easy to get lost in the scenery and forget   about the characters you haven’t become attached too.

2. Lighting for me often makes or breaks a scene and with so many cave or dark   scenes in this film, I thought all the shots came out clear and crisp.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

The soundtrack was odd. Not that any particular song or track was odd, just the use and placement of  the music was odd. Sometimes it seems as though the music was suggesting that events on screen were much more intense than they were and more jolly than they were. It wasn’t a bad score, just a little odd.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

I like that overall there was a positive message about family, but the “Brady Bunch” ending was a bit much.

7. What did I not like about the story?

I thought the story was disappointing. I wanted there to be more to it and I wanted the archeologists to be smarter than they were- not only in the expertise of their field but also in common sense. This movie had the perfect set up for a real action adventure (which it is listed as on IMDB), but it quickly changed to into a monster/horror flick in an instant, filled with one monster movie cliché after another … Oh and it wasn’t that scary.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others?

Actually, I would, but there would be parameters.

9. If yes, who? What would I rate this movie?

If I’d known this was a monster movie going into it, I’m pretty sure I would have thought it was a pretty good monster movie. For that reason alone, I’d recommend it to all my friends who like monster movies and wouldn’t mind reading a few subtitles (the dialog is short and sweet, not hard to follow at all).

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 3 reels.


10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

Yes actually. I often write about myths, legends, and even religious or spiritual themes and have even been toying with the idea of writing a monster into one of my stories. I’ll just have to be sure I stick to one genre from beginning to end if I ever do. I don’t want to start writing an action adventure and end up with a purely monster fest.

Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.

Mock Squid Soup – Film Society

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to movie reviews. We invite others to participate and post their reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀

I’m attempting to start a new bookish blog hop. Please check it out to see if it’s something you’d be interested in. BooktagsBlogHop

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Legend

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

I give this book a 4.


This dystopian YA tale is centered around two young prodigies, June from the privileged side of the Republic and Day, a rogue in the sea of Rebels.  I actually enjoyed this story (on audio) even though I found so many little things about it that seemed cliché. However, clichés and all, I can’t seem to be disinterested in a fight the system story that shows just how treacherous Big Brother can really be.

So now, let me explain what I loved about the story and tell you just why I didn’t give it a 5. The whole fight the system theme is right up my alley, but I don’t understand why the main characters had to both be fifteen. I get that appealing to young audience is where the money is these days, but what is it about the age fifteen that’s so special…and prodigies or not, some of the stuff these kids do is just a little ridiculous.

Then there are the themes of rich vs poor and the discovery of government secrets and lies. I’ve read too many books and seen too many movies to allow the “mystery” of this story be a surprise. I figured out what was going on way too early, but I still enjoyed how it was revealed in the end. Like many stories of its kind, in this reality, there’s good reason the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.

World building is very important in this story, though it’s hard to picture everything all at once. It’s one of those stories that describes the surroundings and give you background, but you can only see as far as the horizon until the end. Most of the significance of the Republic, from a geographical point, isn’t clear until about halfway through the story. All in all, though, I liked what was done and appreciate the lack information up front.

Then there is the ever-present notion of romance that’s sure to ensue in some capacity. This particular romance makes me think of a mash-up between Romeo and Juliet, The Hunger Games, and The Matrix. If I try to explain what I mean here, I’ll give too much away. I’m glad to say that the story doesn’t spend more time here than necessary, but then again we are talking about fifteen-year-olds.

The last thing about this story that both attracted and repelling me a bit, was the sense that the whole story was about a struggle between the kids and the adults, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. Some of the things that occurred seemed to focus too much on the fact that the main characters were teenagers, making their age an important factor. It seems to me that if this story tells of the struggle between The Republic and the Rebellion, the age of the soldiers wouldn’t be so important as their actions.

Also, the story is told from the alternating povs of both June and Day. I was expecting this to somehow greatly enhance the story, but I don’t think it made any difference, for better or worse. It was nice and not too difficult to follow.

I’d recommend this book to fans of YA and or dystopian fiction with the mention of some violence and some subtle gore.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords