Sunday, July 24, 2022

REVIEW: Star Trek (live action movie)

Star Trek is a 2009 science fiction movie, essentially a reboot of the original series. I bought my copy brand new.

I don't go into too many details, but the latter half of my review technically includes spoilers.


James T. Kirk is just about to be born when the Federation starship USS Kelvin is suddenly attacked by a Romulan ship. As the ship's acting captain, Kirk's father sacrifices his own life to give more people a chance to evacuate. 

Years later, Kirk is a roguish Starfleet cadet who finds himself at odds with a young Spock. When the Romulan ship that killed Kirk's father suddenly reappears, Kirk and Spock must learn to work together in order to keep it from destroying everything they love.

Or at least that's as much as I can say without going into too many spoilers. There's not actually a whole lot to the story.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

REVIEW: Lock the Doors (book) by Vincent Ralph

Lock the Doors is technically a YA thriller, but I think it'd appeal to adult readers of thrillers who are willing to take a chance on something with teen protagonists. I bought my copy of this book brand new.


Tom's blended family has just moved into their dream home, and Tom is still adjusting to...everything. Jay, his stepdad, seems like a genuinely nice guy, but his mom was in enough abusive relationships prior to him that part of Tom still expects things to fall apart if he gets too invested. He struggles with anxiety and OCD, and when he notices the odd little holes outside his and his stepsister's doors, everyone else dismisses his worries as probably nothing. But he swears they look like drill holes for locks. But they're on the outsides of the doors, so who were they meant to lock in? What happened in this house before Tom and his family moved in?

He gets a chance to start answering his questions when he meets Amy, a new classmate of his and a member of the family that just moved in across the street. Amazingly, Amy and her family were the ones who lived in Tom's house prior to them moving in - who moves out of a place only to move into another one right across the street? Granted, it's a bigger house, but Tom can't stop himself from digging for info, and it doesn't hurt that something in Amy reminds him of himself, sad and kind of broken. However, Amy keeps telling him that she's fine and that nothing happened in the house. Could he be seeing shadows that only exist in his own mind?

REVIEW: Mr. 365 (book) by Ruth Clampett

Mr. 365 is a contemporary romance. I bought my copy brand new.


Sophia has always wanted to create documentaries focused on topics that matter, but she quickly learned that she wasn't going to be able to pay her bills that way, so she eventually ended up doing cooking shows. She has since moved on to reality TV and is still adjusting to the change. The first show she's assigned is focused on people who love a particular holiday so much that they basically live it 24/7. She's initially told that Will is completely on board to take part in the show, but in reality he takes a bit of convincing. Will decides Sophia is honest when she says she'll present him in a sensitive way, so he agrees to do the show. It also doesn't hurt that he and Sophia are attracted to each other.

Will loves Christmas, so much so that his house is elaborately decorated for it, and he's gotten special effects friends of his in the movie industry to help him out. Sophia finds herself falling for Will more and more as she learns about him and the motivations behind his house and the charity work he does that's connected to it. However, what neither Sophia nor Will realize is that Sophia's boss has very different plans for the show than what Sophia laid out for Will.

REVIEW: Heartstopper (graphic novel, vol. 1) by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper is a coming-of-age/gay romance graphic novel series. I bought my copy of the first volume brand new.


Charlie and Nick both attend the Truham Grammar School for Boys. Charlie was outed as being gay last year and had to deal with a lot of bullying, but that has since tapered off. Now he has a secret sort-of relationship (kissing in out of the way places) with Ben, who's still in the closet. Meanwhile, assigned seating has placed Charlie and Nick next to each other in class. Nick is a rugby player, but despite jock stereotypes, he's actually a really nice guy. He invites Charlie to come play rugby, and as the two boys get to know each other better, Charlie realizes to his horror that he's starting to fall for the almost certainly straight Nick. However, Nick is coming to some realizations of his own...

Saturday, July 16, 2022

REVIEW: Disturbia (live action movie)

Disturbia is a 2007 thriller. I bought my copy brand new.


Kale isn't handling things well after his father dies in a car accident. He ends up under house arrest, with an ankle monitor and proximity sensor, after hitting a teacher during a confrontation in which the teacher baited him by bringing up his father.

Kale's mother, upset that he seems to be trying to treat house arrest like some kind of extended vacation from school, revokes his access to TV, games, and anything else he might have used to pass the time. With nothing else to do, Kale starts watching his neighbors. On the more pleasant side of things, he spots a new neighbor named Ashley who he hopes to get to know better. However, he also spots another neighbor, Robert Turner, who he begins to suspect might be a serial killer.

REVIEW: Umma (live action movie)

Umma is a 2022 horror movie. I bought my copy brand new.


Amanda and her daughter Chris live a quite life on an American farm off the grid, producing honey that a friend of theirs in town then sells for them. There are a lot of things about her past that Amanda never told her daughter, and when Amanda's uncle arrives from Korea with her mother's ashes and most precious possessions, everything starts coming to a head. Amanda is forced to face her past, her painful relationship with her mother, and her complicated feelings about Chris's wishes for her own future.

REVIEW: Mr. Malcolm's List (book) by Suzanne Allain

Mr. Malcolm's List is a Regency romance. Possibly a Regency romantic comedy? I bought my copy brand new.


Mr. Jeremy Malcolm, second son of the Earl of Kilbourne, is a much sought after bachelor, but no one seems to be able to catch his eye for long. When his best friend, Lord Cassidy (known to friends and family as "Cassie"), asks him why he rejected his sister Julia, Malcolm admits that he has a list of qualifications for his future wife, and Julia didn't meet all of them. Plus, her attempts to flutter her eyelashes at him flirtatiously just looked odd.

Although Mr. Malcolm only escorted Julia to the opera once, she took his rejection hard, and Cassie's news that he has a list of qualifications that she failed to meet leaves her seething. Julia, schemer that she is, comes up with a plan: she'll invite her friend Selina for a visit, set things up so that Selina meets all of Mr. Malcolm's requirements, and then have Selina crush him with a list of her own requirements that he doesn't meet.

Selina, a vicar's daughter, hopes that visiting her friend Julia in London will allow her to make a good enough match that she'll be able to sponsor her younger brothers and sisters. She wants nothing to do with Julia's plan once she hears about it, but she doesn't really have much of a choice. Also, she figures it's unlikely that an arrogant-sounding man like Mr. Malcolm would fall for her, so she's surprised when she meets him and he doesn't seem anything like the person Julia described. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

REVIEW: I Want to Be a Wall (manga, vol. 1) by Honami Shirono

I Want to Be a Wall is, so far, a slice-of-life manga dealing with LGBT+ issues. I bought my copy brand new.


Yuriko and Gakurouta have just gotten married when this manga begins.

Yuriko is an asexual woman who loves reading about fictional characters' romances, particularly in "boys' love" (BL, m/m) manga and novels, but who has spent a large portion of her life feeling like she doesn't really fit in because she's never been in love and doesn't even really want it to happen to her. 

Gakurouta is a gay man who has always been extremely close to his childhood friend, Sousuke. Ten years ago, he realized that he'd fallen in love with his friend...who was very popular with the ladies and gave no indication of any interest in men. He's since tried to fall out of love with Sousuke, but it didn't work, and he has now resigned himself to forever nursing a one-sided love.

Yuriko and Gakurouta know the sides of each other that won't allow them to fit in with regular society, but otherwise they know very little about each other. This first volume shows them gradually adjusting to their new married life and figuring out what that relationship means for them.

REVIEW: The Obsession (book) by Jesse W. Sutanto

The Obsession is a YA thriller. I bought my copy brand new.


Content warning for this book: stalking, abuse, suicide, drug use, and murder.

Logan hasn't been doing well since the love of his life, Sophie, overdosed on drugs and died. Sure, people used to say she was leading him on, and his mother was horrified by the file of photos and information about Sophie she'd found on his computer, but they didn't know what it was like when he and Sophie were alone. They'd clearly been soulmates, and now he has no one...until he runs into Delilah. She looks so much like Sophie, and he's sure that Delilah is a gift the universe has sent to him. He just has to be careful and patient until she realizes that they're meant to be together.

Things have been tough for Delilah since her dad died in an accident at work. Her mom started dating a police officer named Brandon who seemed perfect at first, but it's since become clear that he's an abusive monster. When Delilah meets Logan, she's instantly drawn in by his good looks, charm, kindness, and interest in so many of the same things she's interested in. But when circumstances free Delilah and her mom from Brandon, Delilah realizes that Logan is yet another trap, one she might never be able to get away from. He knows things about her that could ruin her future...but he doesn't quite know everything about her.

Monday, July 11, 2022

REVIEW: Sin & Chocolate (book) by K.F. Breene

Sin & Chocolate is fantasy/paranormal romance. I got my copy for free in my Book Bonanza 2022 attendee bag.


Alexis is a magical citizen eking out a living in the dual-society zone, where she and her wards can escape the notice of more powerful and dangerous magical folks and be tolerated by non-magical folks. Her teen wards are Daisy, a non-magical girl who'd spent time in the worst parts of the foster care system, and Mordecai, a werewolf whose immune system treats his need to shapeshift like an enemy, leaving him perpetually weak, unable to shift, and likely to die at a young age.

When Alexis is almost run over by a hot magical guy in an expensive car, she suddenly finds her careful anonymity threatened. Although she doesn't know it at first, the hot magical guy is Kieran, Demigod and the heir of Valens, the Demigod in charge of San Francisco. Alexis's power may be the key to freeing Kieran's mother's soul, and he's not about to let her out of his sight.

REVIEW: Asylum (book) by Madeleine Roux

Asylum is YA horror. I bought my copy brand new.


Sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford is excited to spend his summer taking part in the New Hampshire College Prep program - he'll finally be around people who care about their particular academic interests as much as he does about his.

Students in the program will all be staying at the Brookline Dorm, which used to be a psychiatric hospital. Dan and two new friends of his, Abby and Jordan, slip into one of the closed off areas one night and discover abandoned equipment, photographs, old patient files, and more. Dan has always had issues with weird blank spots in his memory, but he suddenly finds the problem getting worse. He has visions of being one of the patients at the hospital, and he feels an odd connection to the hospital's warden. Abby, too, discovers that she has an unexpected connection to this place.

It's all just creepy and unsettling, until the murders start. Is one of the students the killer, or is it one of the former patients, somehow back and getting revenge for the horrific things they experienced at the hospital?

REVIEW: Good Girls Die First (book) by Kathryn Foxfield

Good Girls Die First is YA horror. I bought it brand new.


Ava and nine other teens are invited to the abandoned amusement park on Portgrave Pier. Ava's invitation indicates that whoever invited them knows her darkest secret, the one she'd rather not admit even to herself. She figures that the others are also hiding things, although of course no one wants to admit it.

When the group discovers that they're trapped on the island, they find themselves stuck playing a deadly game. They'll be repeatedly confronted with the ugliest parts of themselves until they either break or become the last one left alive.