After Movie Review *SPOILERS*

Hello, wonderlandians. Today I have a movie review for you of After. After if you don’t know is a book that was written by Anna Todd and was recently adapted into a feature-length film that premiered last Friday, April 12th. Now I was fortunate enough to see the movie a day before it came out because my theater does that and I know a lot of other people saw it on April 11th as well. Why did I wait until April 15th to write this review I really needed to gather my thoughts and opinions about the adaptation. So I’m going to be breaking this review down into a couple of parts I’m going to be reviewing the movie by itself and then I will be comparing it as a book to movie adaptation.

Now I need for everybody to understand that I am not bashing the movie I’m not bashing the actors who put all of their hard work and effort into this fell. I am going to be critiquing the movie and I’m going to be pointing out things that I didn’t particularly like about it but I will mostly be doing that in the book to movie adaptations portion of this review.

Movie Review

About two months ago I listened and reviewed the after audiobook. I was really excited for this movie to come out that as soon as I could pre-order my ticket I did. I went into this movie knowing that they were going to be making it PG-13. So with that in mind, I knew that they were going to be many changes made from the book to the movie at application portion of it.  I will be getting into all of that in my review of the book to movie adaptation portion. So as a film as a standalone I really enjoyed my time watching the film. It was a very cute film. The acting for me was beyond the point I thought all of the actors and actresses playing the parts had really great chemistry. All of the locations were absolutely beautiful. The cinematography was on point. Every shot was beautifully filmed. My hats go off to the cinematographers because as a photographer myself I enjoyed every aspect of that. For the story as a whole if I had not read the books and I went to go see this movie I honestly feel like I would have been very confused. I have seen a lot of people on Twitter who haven’t read the books saying that they were very confused about what was going on. I feel how the editing was it was very choppy and didn’t feel like a whole cohesive story.

I definitely have a feeling that it is going to be greenlet for a second movie.  I have to say that if this does happen I will be very intrigued to see how they are going to bring the second book to life because there was so much changed. Josephine Langford is a new actress to me. I have never seen her act in anything before and I thought she pulled the leading female character off very well. For somebody who is a newbie actress who is thrust into a very popularized book-to-movie adaptation that has a very strong fan base, it can be a little scary. At least this is quite a lot of young women say. I think she has done a fantastic job. Hero plays the main male character and he played Voldemort in Harry Potter while young Voldemort anyway. So book-to-movie adaptations shouldn’t be anything new to him. Harry Potter has a very loyal fan paste and I must say they might be a little crazier than After fandom.

As a whole After set out to do what it wanted to do. I have a feeling we will be seeing Josephine and Hero gracing the big screen once again in the next After movie.

I have to end this off by say that I actually LIKED the movie. I really enjoyed my time watching it.

Comparing the Movie to the Book

This is actually the part of the review I’ve been dreading.  Now not all book to movie adaptations are great. Unfortunately, this one falls in that category. If you want to go read my review of the book after by Anna Todd here is where you can go read that. this movie was a very watered-down completely change the version of the book. The first mistake I feel that they made was making this a PG-13 movie. If you read the books you will understand that the books are not at all rated PG-13. They are very much rated R in the sense of movie ratings. After is not a book that should be read by Young teenage people. Those are just the facts I am seeing many reviews from people in their late teens probably early twenties now who said that they read the book as early as 12 years old. I know for a fact that I would never let my 12-year-old son or daughter pick up this book. One because there are heavily graphic sexual scenes. Yes I know that they can find that on television but as a parent I really would think that there would be more policing on what your children are reading. That’s my personal opinion. so the fact that they really watered down the sexual tension between Tessa and Hardin kind of irritated me because their relationship at the core is very lustful. Harden is this very possessive person and in the movie, we don’t get that at all. maybe a little bit but not to the extent that we get it in the book. Hardin, in fact, is actually a lot sweeter they really did soften him for the movie. This is one point that got a lot of the fans kind of disappointed in the movie. Hardin is meant to be a very cruel individual to everybody around him. This has a lot to do with his upbringing from his dad being an alcoholic and his mother being raped.

Tessa for me was very much how she was in the books. So I really don’t have any qualms about her. What I do have a big issue with is the pacing of the movie was way too fast. There were a lot of scenes that were filler and were sped up too quickly. There were scenes in the movie that really shouldn’t have gotten as long as a timeframe as they did. A lot of crucial parts that make a lot of sense to the story or not in the film or were rush over. I personally feel like this did a disservice to the storytelling of the movie as a whole. some factors that were changed were how Tessa meets Hardin dad. In the book they have a dinner. In the movie she meets him at the wedding. This to me was a little bit problematic because there was a whole build-up to the wedding that we get in the books that we do not see in the movie. Again to meet at the little bit of sloppy storytelling. Another big part of the book is the fact that Harden gets an apartment for him and Tessa. He’s paying for it. In the movie, they are at a friend of his dad’s apartment where they can say for a year. In the book he got Tessa to put her name on the lease. This kind of locks her into a sticky financial situation because she can’t break that lease at as long as she is I’m at least he has some kind of connection to her.

One thing that I really like is they changed Tristan’s character to female which really expanded the diversity that we didn’t really see in the books. With this change, I was actually very proud that they made this.

The one change I really can’t Overlook is how they changed the bet.  in the book The that was for Hardin to basically trick Tessa into losing her virginity. This for me was such a crucial part of who Hardin was and by the end of the book and even into the next book him trying to break away from who he was. This was a very disgusting thing that happened in the book but it was pivotal to the storyline. In the movie, all he had to do was make her fall in love with him. This in my opinion is very much over played in Hollywood and I was actually really excited to see the that played out on screen. It would have brought something new and exciting. In an interview that Anna did, she said that she wanted to change the bat because in her opinion it wouldn’t translate while on film. I completely disagree with that, in fact, it would have made it way more interesting. She also cringes when she reads how she made the BET. Honestly, authors should stand by her writing and I feel like she made the changes she did because she was trying to fix the things that in her mind she had messed up. It’s there it’s in writing please stand by what you write.

It may seem like I’m coming really hard for the book to movie adaptation portion. That’s probably because I am. This honestly probably should have been picked up by passionflix. If you guys don’t know what passionflix is it is kind of like Netflix but for romance novels. I feel they do an amazing job when it comes to book movie adaptations. Everyone that I’ve seen I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. They stick really close to the books swell as much as they can. Pretty much from the books that I’ve read and the movies that I’ve seen they don’t miss much. There are a lot of fans who are disappointed by the book to movie adaptation. As I’ve said as a movie it’s not bad. As an adaptation, this book is not adapted it’s Loosely based off of the book.

This just in there is going to be a second movie.

I feel like at this point I’m just ranting and I’m really sorry about that. Let me know if you are going to be seeing the movie. Let me know if you read the book and what you think of it.

Thank you all for joining me here in our little part of Wonderland. Please do not forget to feed the unicorns on your way out.

Until next time

much love

happy reading

Ashten



Audiobook Review – Slay Me

Author: Louise Cypress

Narrators: Reba Buhr, Alexander Cendese

Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

Series: The Puritan Coven Series, Book 3

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Release date: Feb. 19, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance; Young Adult

He’s a vampire bad boy. She’s a slayer’s daughter who’s never been kissed.

Kyle Logan has been a 16-year-old bad boy for three years, ever since he became a vampire. After a stint at the rehab center run by the Brothers of Temperance, Kyle has finally kicked his blood addiction. Now, he’s back in high school with one goal in mind: stay clean so he can grow up and become an animal-rights activist.

Cassandra Xander wants two things in 10th grade: a car and the chance to attend a traditional high school. She loved being homeschooled growing up, especially since her family moved every six months for Helsing Incorporated, but now that her mother is founding a slayer training academy in La Jolla, California, Cassandra is excited by the opportunity to attend La Jolla Cove High.

When Kyle witnesses Cassandra give a verbal reckoning to a dog owner who leaves her beagle locked in a sweltering car, Kyle makes his move. He loves that Cassandra is smart, intense, and willing to break rules. But Cassandra has zero experience dating and isn’t sure a relationship with a hot-tempered vampire is a good place to start – especially when she discovers Kyle’s secret ability.

Kyle works hard to master his emotions and make all of Cassandra’s high school dreams come true. Just when their romance brightens both of their lives, Kyle’s past draws him back into darkness. The only way forward for these high school sweethearts is to slay or pay.

Louise Cypress believes in friendship, true love, and the everlasting power of books. She has never met a vampire or a mermaid, but she has been to a Love Sucks concert on Valentine’s Day. She can often be found curled up with a romance novel on Saturday night, diet soda in hand, secretly wishing bustles were back in fashion. Louise is from San Diego, California, where the beach is crowded and summer is immortal.

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Narrator Bio

Reba Buhr grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Los Angeles, working in theater, film, and television. She has degrees from Occidental College in theater and classical voice. Reba began recording audiobooks in 2012 and has turned her love for performance into a passion for narrating characters that jump off the page. Reba is an accomplished voice actor and has lent her voice to many commercials, video games, and animated projects, including Popples and Knights of Sidonia for Netflix, Toonami’s Hunter x Hunter, and Zagtoon’s Zak Storm.

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Narrator Bio

Alexander Cendese is a New York–based actor/narrator whose credits include roles on and Off-Broadway, in films, and on popular television shows, including Law & Order: SVU and All My Children. He holds a BFA from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.

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Louise Cypress really knows how write a great book. Her writing is consist through all of her books. She writes characters that you root for. You get really invested in the story. I love the fact that this book focuses on Cassandra. She is one of my favorite characters out of this whole series. Kyle is our new main guy. He is funny and you just want to keep reading with him as one of our main POVS.

Once again Reba and Alexander are the narrators for this book. Reba is such a joy to listen to. She has many different voices for the characters. Alexander has such a unique voice that he is just hard to forget.

The production was great. Really professional. There were no weird noise or breaths that I could heard. Would 10 out 10 recommend this book.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Louise Cypress. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Top 10 List

Top Ten Reasons to be an Audiobook Listener
  1. Voice actors make scenes come to life in new ways.
  2. You love hearing accents spoken aloud.
  3. Audiobooks are cheaper than Broadway tickets.
  4. Road-trips are always more fun with a good book to listen to.
  5. Audiobooks make great workout buddies.
  6. Washing the dishes in silence is boring.
  7. That basket of laundry won’t fold itself.
  8. You’ve run out of space on your bookshelf for more hardbacks.
  9. You love bossing Alexa around. “Alexa, read my book to me!”
  10. Up to one in five people have a language-based learning challenge like dyslexia and ear-reading is just as valid as eye-reading.

Guest Post

The Inspiration Behind SLAY ME’s Hilarious Taxidermy-Battle Scene

By Louise Cypress

Did you ever go to summer camp? I’m a lifelong Girl Scout, and when I was in college, I worked at Camp Joe Sherman in Southern California as the nature director. This meant that I was in charge of Camp Sherman’s nature museum and extensive taxidermy collection.

“Eeeww! Gross!” you might be thinking. “Those poor, defenseless creatures!”

Yup. I 100% agree with you.

Girl Scouts aren’t normally known for taxidermy—I’d like to make that clear, but Camp Sherman was an exception. The original property was owned by a guy named Joe Sherman who traveled the world hunting animals, some of which are now endangered. Meanwhile, his wife would collect rocks. All of the animals are stuffed and displayed in the living room of their old house, and the rocks are built into the fireplace.

I understand why the Girl Scouts kept the taxidermy collection on display. They weren’t the ones who killed the animals, and the animals were already dead. But still…. [shudder.]

When you spend an impressionable summer in your 20s as curator to a taxidermy collection, it does weird things to your psyche. That’s why when I wrote SLAY. ME I made Kyle, my vampire bad-boy, a vegan. I’m not vegan myself, but I definitely oppose animal cruelty.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the end of SLAY ME features an epic taxidermy battle that had me laughing so hard that I could hardly write it. All of those summers at Girl Scout camp got processed into fiction. I took the icky and I made it funny.

I’ll just add it to the list of all the ways Girl Scouts has made a difference in life.

Giveaway

Giveaway: $30 Amazon Gift Card

The Puritan Coven Series Giveaway: $30 Amazon Gift Card

BOOK ONE

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Spotlight – Hunt Me

Author: Louise Cypress

Narrators: Reba Buhr, Alexander Cendese

Length: 5 hours 24 minutes

Series: The Puritan Coven Series, Book 2

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Release date: Jan. 29, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance; Young Adult

An all-girls vampire camping trip turns deadly when a Sasquatch hunter is accidentally killed.

All Esma Siban wants this summer is to stay out of her stepmother’s way. When her stepsister, Morgan, suggests a road trip to Oregon to visit a friend from high school, Esma jumps on the idea. A camping trip sounds like the perfect way to help Esma recover from breaking up with her boyfriend. But when Esma and Morgan encounter a stalker, Esma’s fangs come out.

The death of a Sasquatch hunter wasn’t on their itinerary. A terrified Esma is unsure what to do next, so she texts her ex-boyfriend for help.

Chase Wheeler feels like the biggest fool on the football team. The entire time he was dating Esma, he had no idea she was a vampire. In high school, Chase did exactly what Esma told him to. He let Esma plan their dates, pick his wardrobe, and even pack his lunches. Now, Chase has a month left before he starts college to forget the girl who froze his heart.

Audiobook Review – Being aWitch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For

Author: Sara Pascoe

Narrators: Fiona Hardingham

Length: 7 hours 40 minutes

Publisher: Sara Pascoe

Released: January 28, 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy

After a life of hurt and disappointment, Raya, the spiky-haired, Doc Marten-wearing 14-year-old decides it’s time to strike out on her own. She leaves the boring English village and what she’s determined will be her last foster placement for the excitement of London. But it turns out she’s a witch, with the annoying habit of time-traveling – by accident. And a sarcastic witch’s cat Oscar tags along for the ride. Why would she fling herself into the midst of the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 England?

After being arrested by one of history’s most notorious witch hunters, her social worker and witch mentor Bryony goes back to try to save them from the gallows. But returning to present day London remains out of reach when they find themselves in Istanbul in the year 1645. There, life is more amazing than she ever dreamed.

Sara Pascoe comes to writing after a career in psychology, where she had many wonderful experiences, from the chimp house to the halls of Congress, with neuroscience research in between. Originally from the United States, she moved to Great Britain in 2004. She lives in Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England where they run a B&B for English language students.

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Narrator Bio

Fiona Hardingham is an award-winning audiobook narrator who has voiced over 175 audiobooks specializing in YA, Children & Contemporary Fiction titles. She is the recipient of several AudioFile magazine Earphones Awards and this year was nominated for an Audie in the ‘Middle Grade’ category. She is a professionally trained actress and recently played a role in the eagerly anticipated ‘Pokemon Detective Pikachu’ as well as a role in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ both out this coming spring.

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This story is exciting, entertaining, and really funny. The author writes a story that takes you through time and adds a new level to the lore of being a witch. The writing style of the author I definitely feel was more I’m telling you it’s happening instead of showing you what’s happening. Though I do find this with a lot of stories that take place in England. This is the first book that I’ve read by Sara Pascoe. When I first heard about this book for the store I thought it would be an interesting read because our main character Rhea is only 14 years old and typically I don’t go for sorry it’s where the main character is under about 17 oh. There was something in the blurb that really caught my eye and I think it was the time-traveling element to this. I really didn’t know what I was getting into when starting this book but I’m really happy that I did sign up for this to her because the book took me on a very wild ride. But that’s all I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to give too many spoilers.
The narrator’s name is Fiona. This is the first book of heard her narrated and I have to say her voice is extremely Pleasant. She definitely had a wide range of voices for every character. Even though the book takes place in London what are the characters she had to voice for an American but specifically with a New York accent. She did a fantastic job when it came to an American accent from what I know doing an American accent is really hard. In my opinion, I feel like she did nail the American accent. I would definitely recommend listening to Fiona I think she is amazing in Narrating.
The production was bad of very professional. There were no awkward pauses when Fiona was narrating. There was no breathiness that I could hear when listening to the audio book. I would definitely recommend this audiobook to anybody and everybody who loves reading about witches.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Sara Pascoe. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Q&A with Author Sara Pascoe

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • It was quite a process for me because at first, I tried doing it myself. I set up a home studio, which is no easy feat because there are all sorts of normal house noises you don’t think of, like the furnace kicking in, and even the hum of the fridge in the floor below had to be dealt with. I was able to manage all of that, but then I realised my acting and voice are not up to it, especially with all of the various accents and characters. And I wanted to do the book justice. So, I started looking around for a narrator, and got really lucky with Fiona Hardingham!
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • No, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of an audiobook at all when researching and writing the book. In fact, if I had, maybe I would have reduced the number of characters! I felt bad for making Fiona do all these different characters across country, accent and time. But in the final analysis, to me all the characters are necessary to the story. In fact, I had gotten rid of some characters from the earlier drafts. So it could have been worse!
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I found her, and then I asked her if she’d be willing to narrate Being a Witch. I started out by looking on the internet at a lot of different book narrators. And listed Being a Witch on the ACX site so narrators could bid for the job. (ACX is the Amazon company where audiobooks are produced, where narrators and writers can find each other to work together.) Some lovely narrators came forward and auditioned, but none of them matched Fiona Hardingham. I had found her profile on ACX and watched and listened to her work. I was smitten. I thought she was perfect for the book, by far. But I knew it was unlikely she’d agree to do the job, as people are busy, and it’s very subjective what work you want to do, especially when you’re a sought-after book narrator like Fiona. But, she agreed!
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Fiona, the consummate professional asked for detailed information about the book before she started. She asked for brief character biographies, and had me record all words that were unusual, or that I wanted pronounced in a certain way. Half the book happens in 1645 Istanbul, with Turkish names and terms. Luckily, I have Turkish friends who helped me get these (hopefully) right. Then, I recorded all of the words in question. And Fiona is brilliant at not only British versus American English, at also doing regional accents from both countries. She had me roaring with laughter – as though someone else had written the book!
  • Were there any real-life inspiration behind your writing?
    • Yes. I used to work as a psychologist including with foster kids. Their lives always moved me. What it’s like to not have anywhere that couldn’t just throw you back if you were a pain. Not to have anywhere to call home the minute you turn 18. And to have all these grownups nosing around your life like you’re a bug under a magnifying glass. The two foster kids in this book, the main character Rachel (Raya) and the younger boy, Jake are tributes to the kids I’ve known, but not based on any specific individuals. None of the details or names are from any real people or real lives that I’ve known about.
      The cat, Oscar is a tribute to a wonderful, huge, black and white stray who came to live with us, in the very real cottage and village where the story starts. The first place I lived when I moved to England was this story-book cottage at the edge of a village called South Nutfield (really). There was a farm behind us, and an old stone cottage across the field, just like in the book. Oscar had been living on his own for a while and was skinny and scraggly. It was a friendly village full of pets, and although everyone knew him, no one knew where he’d come from. My husband thought maybe he’d fallen off the back of a witch’s broom as they were flying over the field. Hence, Oscar, the witch’s cat character was born!
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Oh yes, I love audiobooks. And I think they speak to a very deep, human trait reaching back to our origins.
      Human language developed about 100,000 years ago. But the first mass-printed books weren’t made until the 1400s. So, we had a lot of time on our hands, over 98,000 years, when we talked to each other before most people had anything to read, let alone the ability to do so. In addition to simple transfer of knowledge, “there are good berries over there,” “watch out for the new caveman, he’s a jerk,” we also developed or found in ourselves the appetite and need for stories. Since ancient times, across all cultures, we told each other epic poems, myths and stories through song, passing these down across generations. Recent neuroscience shows that the listeners’ brains synchronise to the storytellers’ – we really to get onto each other’s wavelengths it turns out!
      I love hearing someone tell me a gripping story, or new information I’d been keen to learn through audiobooks. I find there is something special about having this person’s voice bringing the narrative to life. The science showing how we sync our brains to the story teller’s makes a lot of sense to me, because I get drawn in like you can with a movie, but with your own imagination filling in the visuals. And I often feel refreshed afterwards, like after watching a good movie, as though you’ve been on a mini-vacation. It can be a magical experience.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • More than a particular part of the book, I think it’s the fact of all these characters and accents, being brought to life by someone as adroit as Fiona that is especially wonderful in this audiobook. It was only once I started working to get the audiobook made that I realised what a challenge I had created for a narrator. When you ask for auditions you pick out parts of your book for people to narrate. I chose a selection covering the voices and accents, including Oscar, the cat who thinks he sounds like a movie star, so I could have an idea of the narrator’s abilities to do them all. Fiona really nailed it, you always knew who was talking, whether it was a human for the 21st or 17th century, in England or the Ottoman Empire, an animal, or a spirit being!
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • After I read so much about the Ottoman empire in the middle 1600’s, I think I’d like to go back there. Istanbul was one of the most advanced cities of its time, and it was definitely the most diverse and very tolerant. Women from Venice and other European kingdoms ran away to Istanbul for better lives. And I would definitely want to go to the Turkish baths, the hammams. They still exist today, but nothing like what they were. Three different rooms where you went through a series of baths, showers under hot and cold fountains, massages and beauty treatments, all followed by coffee and pastries! I’m not a big beauty treatment person in this century, but these sounded so amazing, and they were also places where women would chat, make connections and get things done.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say, please have another think and give them a try. If you don’t listen to audiobooks, you are missing out on a deeply essential human experience, a wonderful experience that can be uplifting, mood-changing, and mind-expanding. Listening to audiobooks is different than reading and reading cannot be replaced for many uses. No one is saying that. It would be hard to use a recipe from simply listening to it, because you couldn’t look back easily to check amounts and ingredients for example. And hard-core academic learning requires reading and re-reading information you want to learn. Although I find listening to a book I’m also reading a very good way to reinforce the information. And audio is essential to some types of learning including languages and music.
      But putting aside the learning of new information aside, sharing a story, being brought into someone else’s world, is terrific, and shouldn’t be missed. As we now know from neuroscience, our brains synchronise when we listen to a story teller we find compelling. And how magical is that? Why not let yourself synch up to new thoughts and feelings and worlds. What could be more amazing?
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am currently researching and working on the sequel to Being a Witch. I don’t want to give away too much about this first book, but at the end Raya finds herself with a huge responsibility to undo something she accidentally did back in 1640’s Istanbul that has unravelled history. In this second book, she learns in Witching Academy that this unravelling can be stopped, but only if she does certain things. While she is living her life with this heavy responsibility, she stumbles into current-day horrors that run under the surface of all our lives. Through the lady who owns the dog she walks for pocket money, she learns of a powerful evil over 1000 years old that has gotten larger while remaining invisible. Although she had no intention of fighting evil this school year, she can’t unknow what she now knows. Now, what to do about it?

Rachel Hollingsworth, “Raya” is a fourteen-year-old foster girl when we meet her in Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For. She’s a “turtle” hard on the outside from what she’s been through, but soft on the inside.

She grew up in East London, which is known as a hard-scrabble, working class area, until she was five. Her biological mother had problems with schizophrenia and couldn’t care for Raya by the time she was about three. She never knew her father was as her mother either didn’t know, or wouldn’t tell her. She’s an only child. Her maternal grandparents took care of her after he mother no longer could, but they had both died by the time she was five. She’s in in her fifth foster home when the story starts.

Raya is about 5’ 7” tall, and slender. She has blue-green eyes which she always thought looked like dirty dishwater. She finds her medium blonde hair boring, so dyes it jet black and has it shaved on the sides, with the top gelled in spikes when she’s allowed (most of the schools she’s gone to don’t allow it). She has a couple of facial piercings she got by lying about her age. She has almond shaped eyes and high cheekbones. She likes running although she has never joined a sports team at school, not being much of a joiner. And her experience as a foster kid has been to mostly be on the outside of most friendship groups in any of the schools she’s attended. She’s always liked reading, but her interests weren’t really formed for her at the start of the story, but this changes as she goes through a number of mind-bending and time-shifting adventures.

She secretly likes Sudoko and is pretty good at it. Before the story, her favourite food was Italian, especially anything with a white sauce, but she adores Turkish food after her adventures, now too. She prefers bold colours and funky, offbeat clothing. She secretly watches rom-coms, because she hadn’t wanted people to know she’s soft inside.

She can be spikey emotionally speaking, saying sharp things sometimes before she even knows what she’s said. She’s also kind and empathic inside, funny, impatient and has a decent brain.

Q&A with Protagonist Rachel Hollingsworth, “Raya”

  • QUESTION 1: So, Raya, what was the worse part of working with your author, Sara Pascoe?
    • RAYA: ‘What? Oh, right. Yeah, well she was OK mainly. But she could also be a whiny pain in the ass. Can I say that here? Ass? Sometimes she’d moan about not being able to, or not having enough time to write. And I’d have to just sit there waiting for her. She didn’t seem to think about that. About how we all had to just hang around in suspended animation waiting for her.
  • QUESTION 2: What’s suspended animation like? Is it relaxing? Do they have a nice sound track?
    • RAYA: I wish. It’s just boring, nothingness. Sometimes us characters would get together and play cards or something. But we’d have to use imaginary cards, and Oscar, the cat – I’m sure he cheated.
  • QUESTION 3: Getting back to you and your life, I hope this isn’t too personal, but what would you like to say to other kids out there in foster care?
    • RAYA: ‘Stop it. You’re making me cry. Just a second…OK, well, I’d like other kids in care to know, no, I’d like them to feel and believe in their hearts that there’s nothing “wrong with them”. That they weren’t put into care because they’re rejects or unlovable. Believe me, I know it feels like that’s why you’re there, in care. And it’s really hard to shake that feeling. But grownups are just human and a lot of them are screwed up or have problems bigger than they can handle. So just hold on and get through childhood as best you can. And do let the good parts in. There is always some good stuff. Sometimes even really good people around. And it doesn’t have to be someone you even know all that well. It could be the lady who runs the corner store. Or a custodian at school. Let yourself recognise these good, kind people and let yourself soak up your interactions with them.
  • QUESTION 4: Do you think it was the time travel that helped you see what you already had in life in general?
    • Raya: Well, it did in a way. Living through history is much more interesting than reading about it, if you ever get a chance. England in 1645 was shocking. It stank, people hardly ever bathed. The toilets were outside, the food was boring and gross. People had really weird ideas, like the idea that you can kill someone, or their pig just by being mad at them. But it also made me appreciate how knowledge and stuff accumulates over time, over the centuries. I mean they didn’t know about viruses or bacteria back then, so they tried to figure out why people got sick. And I had to zip and unzip my jeans really quietly. Zippers weren’t invented for like another 100 years, and I already stood out as weird. And back then and there was no good weird. There was only lock you up weird.
    • Istanbul, in the same time in history was so amazing. They were much more advanced in comparison. But I think the whole experience made me see that whenever and wherever we live is just luck. And that you’ve got to look at your own culture and society with clear eyes. You’ve got to think to yourself, “what stuff do we believe, take for granted, that they’ll laugh at 300 hundred years from now.”
  • QUESTION 5: Do you think everyone should get the chance to time travel?
    • RAYA: Absolutely not! I mean it is really interesting, but I think they should be careful who they let time travel. For example, I’ve totally messed everything up, and not on purpose. And now history was changed, which of course you’re never supposed to do. So, the instructors at the witching academy, they tell me it’s like an avalanche rolling toward us in the present. And that we need to make it right. As soon as Sara starts writing the sequel, this is going to be my biggest challenge is going back and doing certain things to fix what I messed up. And if I made this big problem, and I wasn’t even trying to do wrong, you can imagine what some time terrorist might try to do. So no, not everyone should time travel. Plus it’s a pretty weird thing to go through. It would probably mess with some people’s heads. I think people should be carefully selected, like astronauts or something.
  • QUESTION 6: Were you a cat person before you went through all this?
    • RAYA: Oh, no, not at all. In fact, I used to think people who get so mushy over their pets were a bit sad, to be honest. But after time traveling with Oscar, I completely changed my mind. At first, he got on my nerves with his snarky comments. But then I realized I must sound the same to a lot of people, which really made me laugh – learning to be a better person from a cat. And he saved my butt a number of times. And they are good company.
  • QUESTION 7: Are you looking forward to working with this author, Sara Pascoe, again?
    • RAYA: Yeah, I am now. Sara kind of grew on me, the way the cat did. Actually I wish she’d get off her butt and write the sequel. She keeps talking about it. Hmm, actually I guess it’s get on her butt in order to write, right?
  • QUESTION 8: What are you hopes for your future?
    • RAYA: Boy, if that isn’t the classic grown-up question. OK, so first I need to finish senior school. I think you call it High School in the U.S. And I also want to go to witching academy and get my certificate. It’s a lot of work to do alongside school, but I don’t want to wait two years, and keep accidentally time-traveling, popping across history. I need to get these skills under control. After all that, I think I’d like to go into law. Maybe human rights, or environmental law. This cracks me up. I never thought I’d hear myself talk about any kind of serious job. But what I went through changed all that – changed what I think is important. And changed what I think I can do.
  • QUESTION 9: Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers?
    • RAYA: Oh, right, “the interviewer can’t think of any more questions, question.” OK, I’ll give it a go. Don’t wait for your life to be perfect, or even for some particular thing to happen, like graduating from school, or getting the right job, or getting the right boyfriend or girlfriend in order to be happy. Don’t hang your happiness on some specific thing happening. ‘Cause, you know what? You’ll get there and you’ll still be you. Look around and really experience the cool stuff that’s happening now. ‘Cause there’s always some good stuff. Promise.

Mar. 12th:

Lone Tree Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Mar. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Book Reviews

Mar. 14th:

Jorie Loves A Story

Mar. 15th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Mar. 16th:

Turning Another Page

Mar. 17th:

Wonderlandians Books

Mar. 18th:

Wall-to-Wall Books

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Audiobook Review – Bite Me

Hello, wonderlandians. Today I have a great book review for you.

Bite Me audiobook cover art

A nerdy high school senior transforms into a vampire vixen who’s unaware that her hunky date for prom is the slayer sent to destroy her.  

Morgan Taylor-Jackson can’t wait for high school to end. In six months she leaves for UCLA and says goodbye to La Jolla, California, and her parents’ messy divorce. But when Morgan is bitten by a four-year-old boy, she becomes infected with a mysterious condition. Fever, insomnia, and a new bustline are only the beginning; Morgan morphs from nerd to bombshell.  

As far as Van Xander is concerned, all vampires are evil, even the ones who reject human sacrifice and call themselves Puritans. When Helsing Incorporated sends Van to La Jolla to investigate the local coven, Morgan is his prime target. Pretending to be interested in her, Van asks Morgan out and puts her through a series of tests to determine her killer nature.  

Morgan is thrilled to be dating a hot guy like Van and falls for him hard. As Van strings Morgan along, he grows increasingly guilty. Morgan is kind, compassionate, and a gooey romantic. Just as Van’s mind begins to change, evil forces threaten everything. When prom night arrives, there are only two ways out of the ballroom: death or immortality.

Review

Bite Me is written by Louise Cypress. This is the first book I have read by her. Her style of writing is on where you can just sink you teeth into and have a great time. This is an interesting take on the vampire genera. If you know me or my tastes in reading then you will know I love me a great vampire book. Morgan is such a great and relate able character. What I love is that for most of the book she has no idea that she is a vampire. Then we have Van Xander who is a descendant of Van Helsing which is again something I thought was interesting to incorporate into the story.

The narrators Alexander Cendese and Reba Buhr. This is the first book I have listened to be these voices actors. I have always said that the narrators can make or brake an audiobook. Reba Buhr was such a joy to listen to. Her tone was consistent. Reba had many different voices to all of the characters. Alexander was great for the role of Van. I feel like Van in person would have a large and in charge voice/personality. He was enjoyable.

The production was great. Sounds was clear. Sadly, I couldn’t speed up the audio to test it at higher speeds.

This book was given to by Audiobook Worm. This is no shapes my opinions.

Thank you for joining me here in our little part of wonderland. Please don’t forget to feed the unicorns on your way out.

Until next time

Much love

Happy reading

Ashten

Thirty One Days of Free Amazon Books Day Eight

Locked Tight (Mindjack: Zeph Book 1) by [Quinn, Susan Kaye]

When mindreaders run the world, being a jacker makes you a weapon.
Zeph can break open the toughest minds—or lock the weakest—which only means every Clan leader wants to own him. He did as he was told, kept his head down, and tried to shut out the screams. But when they came after his family, he hugged his kid sister goodbye and ran away to keep them safe. For two years, he’s passed as a reader. Then his family disappears, readers start changing into super jackers, and Zeph is forced to return to a city filled with jackers who hate him. To find his family, he must trick a mindware CEO into helping him, avoid a girl who knows him too well, and spy on the most powerful jacker in the state.

All without dying or revealing his abilities—or being caught in the firestorm of hate between jackers and readers that’s threatening to pull the world apart.

Get the book here

Thank you for joining me here in our little part of wonderland. Please don’t forget to feed the unicorns on your way out.

Until next time

Much love

Happy reading

Ashten

Thirty One Days of Free Amazon Books Day Seven

Obsidian (A Lux Novel Book 1) by [Armentrout, Jennifer L.]

Discover the New York Times bestselling Lux series, which RT Book Reviews called “A thrilling ride from start to finish,” from the very beginning

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Read the entire bestselling series!
#1: Obsidian (from Katy’s point of view)
#2: Onyx (from Katy’s point of view)
#3: Opal (from Katy’s point of view)
#4: Origin
#5: Opposition
Oblivion (Books 1-3 from Daemon’s point of view) CAN BE READ FIRST OR AFTER KATY’S POV!
Prequel: Shadows (Dawson’s story)

Get the book here

Thank you all for joining me here in our little part of wonderland. Please don’t forget to feed the unicorns on your way out.

Until next

Much love

Happy Reading

Ashten