Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

Professor Layton Movie Review Rachel Poli
via IMDB
Title: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Starring: Yo Oizumi, Maki Horikita

Summary (from IMDB):

Layton and Luke are caught up in an adventure, when a masked figure steals an entire opera house and forces those in attendance to play a high-stakes game. The winner will receive eternal life, but it could mean death for the losers.

My Review:

Okay, I’m kind of cheating this month with my movie review. No, this movie is not about writing. Yes, this movie is based upon a video game series.

However, being a mystery writer I felt as though this movie would be fairly appropriate.

Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke, find themselves in trouble when a masked man takes over an opera house not allowing anyone to leave until they solve his riddles and he gets what he wants. Of course, no one knows his true motive and if you fail his riddles… Well, that could mean death.

Some of the riddles were easy to guess, some not so much. There was one that I was sure I was right and then Layton had to ahead and be smart and prove me wrong. It reminds me of when I’m writing my mystery series and I wonder if any readers will guess what’s going on or not.

The end of the movie is a complete twist, one that I had not seen coming. Yet when I knew the truth, everything else the movie made perfect sense. It really was a great mystery.

It’s a cartoon, it’s silly, but it was well worth the watch for me.

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva gets  4 out of 5 stars.

Would I recommend? Yes.

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Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers Movie Review
Via IMDB

Title: Freedom Writers
Starring: Hilary Swank, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey
Rating: PG-13

Summary (from IMDB):

A young teacher inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.

My Review:

Based on true events and the book, The Freedom Writers Diary, this movie is inspiring and powerful. This movie shows just how writing can make a huge difference.

Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) is in over her head her first year of teaching. She has a classroom full of interracial freshman who are all against each other. She teaches them to love and respect each other no matter their color or race.

She gives them each a journal to write in every single day. She encourages them to write the stories of their lives and helps them realize that they do matter, they can make a difference whether it’s in their own life, a friend’s, or the world.

Erin taught them way more than English. She taught them history, how to be themselves, and how to really live in this world without being afraid. Because of her, they all were able to graduate high school and some of those students were the first to graduate in their families.

And it all started with a journal.

Freedom Writers gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Would I recommend? Yes.

One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd

Via Publishizer
Via Publishizer

Title: One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview
Author: Jason B. Ladd
Genre: Military/Religion
How I got the book: from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Publishizer):

His mission began with a realization: though ready to defend his country, he was unprepared for his most important missions as a husband and father. Drawing from his military experience as an F/A-18 “Hornet” Weapons and Tactics Instructor and a former F-16 “Viper” Instructor Pilot, Ladd warns seekers about spiritual apathy and teaches Christians tactics for withstanding spiritual attacks.

Birthed from a legacy of service, One of the Few speaks from the spirit of a man reborn—with the soul of a Marine, the mind of a fighter, the heart of a father, and a commitment to the Son. Join him as he uses fighter pilot fundamentals to embark on the greatest mission of all: the pursuit of truth.”

I’ve had the privilege of following some of the worlds greatest leaders, and the number of collaborators on this project is growing. I’m asking you to join us. The questions you ask along the way could bring you to people and places you never knew.

It might just be the beginning of your own journey to becoming One of the Few.

I used to laugh at Christians. Now I’ve joined them. I’ve led Marines in combat. Now I want to lead others to Christ.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

This novel is inspirational as Jason B. Ladd tells stories of his time in the U.S. Marines and how he found his faith in Christianity.

The book was written well and formatted in a way that I haven’t come across before. The prologue was before the introduction and then it started on chapter one.

The novel came full circle with the epilogue touching base with the prologue and the last chapter continued from the first chapter.

The story touched upon real life events in Ladd’s life and connected them to what’s taught in the Bible. I enjoyed reading about Ladd’s life and how he discovered his faith thanks to his wife.

The book was split up into three parts. I have to admit the second part drew me out of the story a bit. There were a few chapters where I felt I was reading an essay about the Bible rather than reading about Ladd’s life. He always connected the Bible to his life, but the Bible was analyzed a lot.

Other than that, I thought One of the Few was a great read and definitely a book for anyone; especially if you’re a Christian.

One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I became acustomed to moving every few years; it was an exciting opportunity to travel the world.” –Jason B. Ladd, One of the Few

About the Author (from his website):

Jason B. Ladd is an author, speaker, and Marine providing a cultural apologetic focusing on leadership, parenthood, and worldview development. He helps people discover, understand, and strengthen their faith.

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One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview will be available on November 10, 2015.

Rippler by Cidney Swanson

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Title: Rippler
Author: Cidney Swanson
Genre: Science fiction and fantasy
How I got the book: Downloaded it onto my Kindle

Summary (from Amazon):

When Samantha Ruiz turns invisible in front of team mates on a rafting trip, she knows something’s wrong with her. According to her knowledgeable friend Will, she’s got a rare genetic disorder. Fearing a lifetime sentence as a lab-rat, Sam wants to keep her ability secret. But she also wants to know if there’s a connection between dark Nazi experiments on others like her and her own mother’s death eight years earlier. At the same time that Sam is sleuthing, she’s falling hard for Will. And soon, she’ll have to choose between keeping her secrets hidden and keeping Will safe.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

Interesting concept. The idea of having people ripple–having the ability to turn invisible–is pretty cool. I love the way Cidney Swanson created the ripple gene.

When they turn invisible they basically step out of their skin. They don’t feel hot or cold, hungry or thirsty. They can walk through things and each material (plaster wall vs. glass door) has a different feel to it and that was described pretty well.

Aside from the cool idea of rippling, the plot itself was okay. Someone is out there trying to kill people who can ripple. It’s not explained that much as the characters try to figure it out themselves. Also, this is the first book in a series so I’m sure it’ll be more explained as it goes on.

However, this book didn’t have a lot of information and the information that was revealed didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

The characters were alright. The protagonist, Samantha, was a hit or miss I think. She cried… a lot. That got annoying pretty fast.

Will, her friend, was 18-years-old. He didn’t act like it. He lives with his older sister (who was pretty cool) and she was pretty protective of him. The way they acted it made it seem as though Will was a lot younger than he was.

The novel was okay, but will I be going out to get the next book? Probably not.

Rippler by Cidney Swanson gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I tasted all the bitterness of this choice, because if life were fair, I wouldn’t have to choose between them.” –Cidney Swanson, Rippler

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’m reading next!
If you have a book recommendation for me, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to get in touch using the contact form on the Contact Me page.

Gasp by Lisa McMann

2015-08-15 18.24.28

Title: Gasp
Author: Lisa McMann
Genre: Young adult paranormal
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Amazon):

After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and those around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the vision curse passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then it must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved.

That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy—that the images are of something real. Something imminent.

As the danger escalates in this conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening—before it’s too late to prevent disaster.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

Just like the first two books, the visions are still happening.

Jules has realized that when you save someone from a vision, you accidentally pass on the vision.

They saved a lot of people from the school shooting so now they have to figure out who they passed the visions to in order to stop the next tragedy.

Bed-ridden for a while due to the shooting, Tori finds it hard to help Jules and the gang solve the next disaster; especially since she’s the one having the visions. Ben, who they saved from the shooting, helps them along the way.

Together, Jules, her two siblings, Ben, Sawyer, and Tori solve the next tragedy.

It isn’t until much later they realize how Jules got the vision in the first place. I found the answer to that question to be very satisfying. It was great how Lisa McMann brought everything full circle.

There’s no explanation how the visions came to be in the first place, but that’s left up to the imaginations of the readers.

Gasp by Lisa McMann gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Too bad there’s nothing admirable about being a fraud.” –Lisa McMann, Gasp

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’m reading next!
If you have a book recommendation for me, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to get in touch using the contact form on the Contact Me page.