The Eye of the World: Book Review by Laura C. Cantu -The Wheel of Time

 

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is the first book in the Wheel of Time series.  I found myself being enchanted when I started reading this book. I felt as if I were immersed in an old world full of innkeepers, farmers, smithies, and maidens.  Robert Jordan does a fantastic job of creating vivid and authentic scenes.  Likewise, I immediately fell in love with the main characters, and each page made me want to read more and more.  The antagonistic characters are also “likeable” in their own ways…by that I mean that they play their roles perfectly. You don’t have some kind of wimpy monster chasing around four kids for nothing.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is how the characters evolve. In fact, by the end, I am not sure if the main characters could even recognize themselves. That said, I’ve gone on to read many of the other books in this series. (I’m currently on book 10).  By book 10, the young and innocent characters are definitely no more.

On that note, I think it prudent to give you a slight warning.

Although I believe this story and series to be mostly good, I also think a few books could have been cut out of the series with some prudent editing.  I found myself getting bored by book 7. Sure, there are some interesting things that happen that move the story along, but for me, there is too much information. Why should I care what a small and insignificant character thinks? Why should I read an entire chapter dedicated to a character I barely know and will not see much in the future?  Also, as much as I liked the descriptive charm in the first book, I can only take so much. By book 10, I think I know the world a little better than in book 1, so I don’t see a need for paragraphs committed to such detail. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to know that the lace has weaves of gold that create star-like patterns, but at this point, I’m more interested in learning what happens to the main characters.

This series has gotten so slow for me, in fact, that the only reason I continue to read it is because my friends insist that it gets better. Also, I really do want to know what happens at the end. By now, I’ve invested lots of time into these characters, it would be a shame to drop them, despite the trudging pace.

Therefore, be warned.  If you love incredibly long series with lots of detail…(information out the wazoo about every single little thing happening within a kingdom or world)…then this series is for you.  If you’re not too interested in weeding through side plots, descriptive detail, and unnecessary conversations, then I suggest you move on.

Regardless of how the rest of the series progresses, this first book, The Eye of the World, was entertaining, interesting, and in my opinion…good.  It was probably my favorite in the series…but I’m not sure if it will remain that way once I read the last book.

 

 

Maleficent Movie Review by Laura C. Cantu

Maleficent Movie Review:  

Disney’s Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, and other notable actors and actresses who made this movie memorable and charming. I thought Angelina Jolie played her role of Maleficent perfectly. Not only did she look the part, she gave Maleficent beauty, power, femininity, and depth, which I believe has been lacking in other renditions of the Sleeping Beauty story. On the other hand, Sharlto Copley played a character that I considered despicable. I typically do not detest characters in stories because I realize they are fictional. However, Sharlto Copley embodied the greedy character so well that I found myself revolted by simply looking at his face.

Speaking of villains…One of my favorite casting choices in this movie was for Knotgrass. She was played by none other than Imelda Stauton, the professor known as Dolores Umbridge; yes . . . that’s the one . . . the one who made us grit our teeth in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I was pleased to see, however, that Imelda Stauton’s character in Disney’s Maleficent was charming, fun, and even likeable.

I also thought Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, and others played their parts well, yet I cannot think of anything outstanding to mention regarding their performances. Overall, I consider this a good thing, because fake emotions or lines that seemed forced did not distract me.

As for the storyline, Disney’s Maleficent takes the cake of all the Sleeping Beauty films. Not only does this movie cover the entire tale of Sleeping Beauty, it also gives us glimpses into the kingdoms, societies, and how the realms interacted. I was especially pleased to learn how the monarchies of man and fairies were entirely different. I also enjoyed seeing Maleficent as a young girl.

Perhaps my favorite part of this movie was learning the background and motivations of Maleficent herself. In the other Sleeping Beauty renditions I’ve seen, Maleficent is simply an evil witch with seemingly little or no credible motivation to place such an evil curse on a young girl. In this movie, however, we learn what drove Maleficent to become jaded, resentful, and revengeful. Not only do we learn her motivations, but this script makes it clear why most characters do-what-they-do. In other words, this movie has its bases covered as far as motive is concerned. I would go into more detail regarding this, however, I do not want to put any blatant SPOILERS in this review. Suffice to say, Sleeping Beauty used to be my least favorite of all the animated Disney films. After seeing Disney’s Maleficent, it’s one of my favorites.

One last note . . . I also appreciated the graphics and the new creatures crafted in this film. We didn’t see most of the run-of-the-mill fairy characters, which I thought was refreshing. Instead, we saw amazing and beautifully crafted tree soldiers, root dragons, mud gnomes, and other amazing fantasy beings.

Overall, I give Disney’s Maleficent 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend seeing this film if you enjoy fairy tales, fantasy, villain stories, and tales of true love.

Kindle Paperwhite Vs Paperback

When it comes to Kindle Paperwhite Vs Paperback, the war is on!

To begin, I find it prudent to ask, “How to you choose the books you read?” Do you search libraries and bookstores, determined to only read paper editions? Or do you search online and read e-books on your portable devices?

Personally, I do both.

I recently read a post that got me thinking about my own preferences and ideas.  For your reference, I have posted a link at the bottom of this post.

I have bookshelves overflowing with paperbacks and hardbacks. Per my husband’s request and the lack of room, I tried to narrow down my titles. Until I got my e-reader, a lovely Kindle Paperwhite, it was a losing battle. Books were scattered everywhere throughout my home. At first, in an attempt to solve this dilemma, I tried reading e-books on my computer and my phone. Reading with a backlight caused constant eye strain and discomfort, so I quickly gave up my mission. At that point, I was convinced e-books were definitely not my friends. Then came the recommendation of an acquaintance. She argued that the Kindle Paperwhite would be easy on my eyes, and solve my problem of overflowing bookshelves. Boy was she right!

In my opinion, reading on a Kindle Paperwhite is even better than reading a paperback! It is light, the perfect size, and I can read it in any lighting condition. The screen is not backlit, so I no longer suffer from eye strain. Best of all, I can keep all my books in one place! Not only does this mean my home no longer looks messy, but I can have my entire library with me at all times. How amazing is that?

Is there a con to go along with the pros when it comes to using a Kindle Paperwhite? Unfortunately yes. My lovely device requires more charging than I thought it would. It doesn’t matter if I use it or not, I have to recharge it at least every other week. For some, this may seem fantastic. For me, however, it’s a nuisance when I put it down for a month to read a few paperback editions not available in e-book format.

Some people argue that self-published authors are saturating the e-book market, and for this reason they will not convert to e-readers. Their claim is that the level of  writing is poor and inconsistent among self-published writers. In my opinion, those days are passing. Readers are demanding a higher level of writing. Just read the reviews on Amazon and you will see. “Those reviews are fake,” you may say. For your protection, Amazon is now monitoring reviews. If they feel a review is false, they will pull it without thinking twice. Amazon wants their book selection to be just as pristine as you do. So why not give e-books a try? You might find that you like them.

I would love to know your opinions. How do you choose the books you read? How do you weed through the e-book market? Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?

Reference to post link: http://keepwatchingthewords.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/the-paperback-vs-ebook-debate/

*Note: I have not been paid or hired to endorse any products. These are simply my views.

Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4) by Christopher Paolini

This is a short, to the point book of Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4)  by Christopher Paolini

Of all the books, this one is probably my least favorite. The ending was not as I had hoped. However, I understand why Paolini ended it the way he did. There were a few characters I had hoped to learn more about, Angela and Eragon’s mother in particular. Some of my curiosities were satisfied, and others were not. Overall, the series was entertaining and enjoyable. I may read it again someday.

Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3) by Christopher Paolini

My book review of Book Review: Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3)  by Christopher Paolini …

…And he did it again! So often, when reading a series, a certain book will stand out as better than the rest. For Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” series, however, I find it difficult to choose. Each book, including this one, has its own charm. I find it fascinating how the characters have developed and changed so completely that if I had only met them during this third book, I may not have recognized them when going back to read first book. Of course, this is a must read if you’ve enjoyed the first 2 books.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I typically enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and anything that makes my imagination soar. To my surprise, this book captivated me! I found myself enthralled by the language, the characters, and the plot. The Count is sexy, mysterious, powerful, and all the things women adore. I would dare to guess that men will find him admirable as well, but since I’m not a man, I cannot proclaim this to be true. Also, the way the Count speaks resonates in my mind. I automatically find my vocabulary expanding and my thoughts becoming more “proper.” LOL! I mean, look at the sentence above. I felt completely normal saying, “I cannot proclaim this to be true.” hahaha! Who talks like that in this day and age? I’ll tell you…people who read this book! I highly recommend it!

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

This is a powerful and beautifully sad story. It’s the kind of sadness that makes you cry and smile at the same time. I saw the movie before I read the book and fell in love with the characters. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was learning more of the background history and enjoying the language. I admire Victor Hugo for his ability to create such a rich story that can not only survive, but thrive throughout the decades.

Eragon (Inheritance, #1) by Christopher Paolini

This is my kind of story! Actually, I resisted reading this book because I saw the movie and was less than thrilled. At the time, I was not particularly interested in fantasy. However, a dear friend of mine kept nagging me to read the first book in the Eragon series. So I finally caved in. OMG!!!  I was so surprised! From the first page to the last I was mesmerized! Eragon’s journey was full of fantastical twists and turns, and Alagaesia (his home), was just as magical. This is the book that got me hooked on fantasy! Eragon is a complex character that grows throughout the story. His friendships are well developed, and his bond with Saphira makes me want my own dragon. I would give Eragon 10 stars if I could! It’s a definite must read!

Heal Your Body by Louise L. Hay

This is my book review for Louis L. Hay’s, Heal Your Body.

Louis L. Hay presents a useful and seemingly accurate perspective on why our bodies may express discomfort or disease. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is in need of healing. This book encourages us to use the power of our minds to influence our healing processes. Heal Your Body can help you gain insight into your purpose, the obstacles you face, and  it sheds light on those things that can be difficult to face. Using this clear and easy to use “manual” can help bring not only healing, but joy and peace to one’s life.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This is my review of The Host, by Stephenie Meyer.

I was very leary of reading this story because I did not particularly enjoy the Twilight series. In fact, a friend nagged me for weeks to watch the movie, and I continually refused. Then, when it finally came out on DVD, I gave in.
Boy-oh-boy was I surprised!
Not only did the concept of the movie blow me away, I loved everything about it. I loved it so much I watched it more than 4 times! Then, I decided to read the book. The experience of reading the book was incredibly satisfying because I was able to compare how the movie and the book differed. There were things I liked better in the movie, and things I liked better in the book. What I liked about both the movie and the book, however, was the main character. This was the first time I’d encountered a main character that inspired me beyond measure.
Stephenie Meyer did a fantastic job of bringing essential concepts of unconditional love and connection into our mainstream awareness. It is my opinion that this book and movie should go into a hall of records. Yes, it’s that good!