#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

Redemption by @JessicaTherrien #Giveaway & Interview by #thetoiboxofwords #myth

Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I have a treat to share. A while back, I had the pleasure to interview a wonderful author named, Jessica Therrien. A good time was truly had by all, and here’s how it went down… Oh, and there’s a giveaway at the end. 😀

Toi Thomas: Hi there Jessica! It’s so awesome to have you here at the ToiBox Blog. I’m excited to learn more about you and your work.

Jessica: Hello Toi. It’s nice to be here and I can’t wait to share.

Toi Thomas: So tell me, who is Jessica Therrien?

Jessica: Hi! I’m the author of the YA paranormal series, CHILDREN OF THE GODS. I’m a mommy to a super cute 2-year-old and chubby wubby baby boy. My days are spent taking care of my munchkins and writing, most likely in my pajamas.

Toi Thomas: Well, I can say that I’m already impressed. I can’t imagine being able to find the time to write with two little ones, whether in my pjs or not. I have a feeling this is going to be fun.

Toi Thomas: Well before we dive into your special message today, let’s get to know you, the person inside the author.

Toi Thomas: Who is so you and why?

Jessica: Many people ask me if the girl on my book covers is me. No, she’s not, although we do look alike. She’s meant to resemble my main character, Elyse, who is actually based on me. So there’s a reason the cover girl and I are doppelgangers.

Elyse IS me in the fictional book world.

Toi Thomas: I think as writers, all of our characters are us, to some degree, but it’s kinda cool that you actually look like the character you created.


Toi Thomas: What makes you geek out?

Jessica: Right now, I’m REALLY into superheroes…mostly because my two-year-old makes me put on Hulk gloves and chase him around the house. In the book world, I’m going nuts over SOME FINE DAY. Love that book!

Toi Thomas: I’m a total comic book geek, but I’ve been pumping up my novel muscles- reading lots of fantasy and paranormal. I may have to check out Some Fine day.

Toi Thomas: What was your favorite book or story, pre-teen years?

Jessica: Harry Potter…but that’s everyone’s answer, right?

Toi Thomas: I actually have gotten all kinds of answers to this question, with LOTR being the number one, so far. Harry Potter is, of course, second.

Toi Thomas: In terms of interviews, whose brain are you just itching to scratch?

Jessica: Jesus. I’m sure he could answer a lot of my questions. Plus he’s Jesus, so…

Toi Thomas: That’s a tough answer to beat. I’ve gotten it before and it’s always a good one. For those who are believers and those who aren’t, a sit down with him would be enlightening, no matter the outcome.

Toi Thomas: Now that we know a little more about you, the person, let’s learn about you, the author, and dive into your special message.

Book 3 now available

Toi Thomas: So whacha got for me today?

Jessica: Children of the Gods. Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s well over eighty. Second, her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. Only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability.

Or so she thinks.

Toi Thomas: I already like the sound of this. Not sure what it is about modern generation and our ties to tales of blood, whether good, bad, redemptive, or otherwise, but there’s something mystically appealing about a character with an anomaly in their blood.

Toi Thomas: So who’s starring in this 2 dimensional script read of Children of the Gods?

Jessica: Elyse is stronger than she realizes. Like most people, when the ones she loves are threatened, she’ll do pretty much anything to save them. She has little confidence in herself, but necessity is the mother of invention. Elyse’s people NEED her to be the leader they’ve been hoping for. With her friends and family by her side, she finds it in herself to take charge and make real change.

Toi Thomas: I’m sure with the release of the third book in this series, Elyse must surely be a force to reckon with. The title, however, makes you wonder if it’s her redemption or that of her people, to which this installment will explore. The whole series sounds fascinating.

Toi Thomas: What’s so special about this story that’s going to reel in the readers?

Jessica: Most Greek Mythology related books are retellings or their characters are actual gods in today’s world. My story is based on the premise that the Greek gods were never actually gods at all, they were a supernatural race that had unique abilities and lived long lives. They were only mistaken for gods in ancient Greece. This supernatural race, called Descendants, have been living in secret amongst us, forced into hiding by an oppressive council. Elyse, the last healer among her kind, changes all of that.

Toi Thomas: I agree, this take on mythology confused me at first, which is of course why I wanted to interview you and why I’m currently reading the series. It is typical to see retellings of the same characters or have new stories about demigods, half-human children of the gods, but I like this spin. It’s refreshing and exciting… though it kinda makes me think of that movie Hancock. Did I mention I’m also a movie geek?

Toi Thomas: Past, present, future, is there a rhyme or reason to your writing?

Jessica: I WANT to write in order, but usually my brain doesn’t let me. I get stuck and have to move to a new scene somewhere else in the book. Usually I’m typing in the midst of toddler chaos with a baby climbing up my leg. I just finished my series, so I’m kind of enjoying the feeling of being done, but I am working on a more adult book at the moment.

Toi Thomas: Yes, every writer has to find time to write when and how they can. There are so many methods to try out, but in the end, you just have to write. I like the idea of you working on something more adult. I think it’s good to evolve as a writer and try new things.


Toi Thomas: What author(s) has most influenced your writing? Why or how?

Jessica: Usually I am influenced by whatever book I am currently reading. While I was writing my series I was highly influenced by Moira Young, author of the Dust Lands trilogy.

Toi Thomas: I’m finding that I’m more influence by what I’m currently reading than all that I’ve read in the past. Don’t get me wrong, it all plays a part, but as a writer, it’s important to be reading and vital to learn from what we read.

Toi Thomas: Now this is where the questions get a little kooky; are you ready?

Jessica: Heck Yeah!

Toi Thomas: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jessica: Harry Potter or Lord or the Rings…any in the series. So hard to choose!

Toi Thomas: Yes, there are some series that just stick with you. I’m a Star Wars girl myself, but these superhero movies are pulling at my heartstrings. This is a tough question.

Toi Thomas: When the soundtrack of your life is playing in your head, what songs express your glee and what songs bring out your rage?

Jessica: I’m going to say Up Town Funk because hearing my 2-year-old sing it makes me cry with laughter.

I don’t generally get too rage-y. Maybe death metal, lol.

Toi Thomas: I’m so thrilled that you actually answered this question. So many authors are afraid of this question. There is no right or wrong answer. Love it.

Toi Thomas: Let’s play zombie urban survivor. What 3 things do you need to survive a black-out in Central Park the day zombies attack?

Jessica: My husband. Done. That’s all I need. *bahaha*…he just told me to say that.

Toi Thomas: Good answer; wish I could say the same. My husband has argued that a house boat is what we need to survive the zombie apocalypse, but he still doesn’t know how to clean a fish. Oh well.

Toi Thomas: What’s the most fun experience you’ve ever had, to date?

Jessica: My wedding. Best. Night. Ever.

Toi Thomas: Awww! How sweet. I bet you two are a really cute couple.

Toi Thomas: Last question of the day; here we go.

Toi Thomas: Not that you can see into the future, but in your opinion, what does the future hold?

Jessica: Well if the YA crowd had their way, it would be a dystopian vampire pit with a lot of badass 16-year-olds. In reality…hopefully I’ll be adding 2 more kids to the mix and my family of 6 will be taking lots of fun vacations.

Toi Thomas: Whoa, a family of six. Well, that’s definitely adventurous. I wish you all the best with your writing and your lovely family.

Toi Thomas: Thank you so much Jessica for spending time with me today.

Jessica: You are so welcome and thanks for having me.

Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. For more from Jessica Therrien, check out these great links:

Website: Jessica Therrien

GoodReads: Twitter: Jessica Therrien

Facebook: Jessica Therrien Author

Twitter: @JessicaTherrien


Redemption (Children of the Gods #3)

Lead Council member, Christoph, is dead by Elyse’s hand, and Descendants have begun to emerge, exposing their secret to the world. Some see this as the prophecy come to fruition, but the prophecy caries a heavy consequence. It was never meant to be as peaceful as most had hoped.
Humans and Descendants struggle to live together in a world that isn’t ready for such a change. America is divided. Those who glorify the supernatural race believe Descendants truly are the gods they claim relation to. Others see them as a threat.

When Elyse gives birth to the next generation oracle, she sees one final vision—war. The destruction of the country’s major cities, and the end of America as we know it.

After her daughter is born, Elyse finds herself without the ability she needs to predict the future. Desperate to save the world from such conflict, she puts her faith in the hope that Descendants are the key to survival. After all, they have the power to supply a broken society with the means to survive.

Only from the ashes can a new world be born.

Elyse’s Story…

OPPRESSION (Book #1) – ON SALE $0.99

UPRISING (Book #2) – ON SALE $0.99


Enter the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway here.

This has been a

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