The Happening (2008) Movie Review

Movie Description

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Length: 90 Minutes

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi, and Suspense

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo

A science teacher, his wife, and a young girl struggle to survive a plague that causes those infected to commit suicide.

Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl by Erin Grammer Book Review

Author Information

Erin Grammar writes about horrible things happening to good people—while looking as cute as humanly possible. When she isn’t working on her latest novel, she likes to hunt for gemstones and Hello Kitty collectibles, spend time with her family (including two real and very demanding cats), craft, watch horror movies, and style wigs big enough to hold tons of secrets.

She lives in Southern California because she’s an actual lizard, and without constant heat she’ll die. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @eringrammar

Book Description

Fight like a magical girl in this paperback original contemporary fantasy in which a Harajuku fashionista battles mutants—and social anxiety—by teaming up with an elite group of outcasts. Perfect for those obsessed with the technicolor worlds of Sailor MoonThe Umbrella Academy, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Book One of the Magic Mutants Trilogy.

Holly Roads uses Harajuku fashion to distract herself from tragedy. Her magical girl aesthetic makes her feel beautiful—and it keeps the world at arm’s length. She’s an island of one, until advice from an amateur psychic expands her universe. A midnight detour ends with her vs. exploding mutants in the heart of San Francisco.

Brush with destiny? Check. Waking up with blue blood, emotions gone haywire, and terrifying strength that starts ripping her wardrobe to shreds? Totally not cute. Hunting monsters with a hot new partner and his unlikely family of mad scientists?

Way more than she bargained for. 

You can find this book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ IndieBound ~ Book Depository


Thank you to the author for providing me with a advanced copy of this book so that I could partake in the street team for this book.

Thoughts and Themes: I was so pleased to get to be a part of the street team for this book even prior to reading it and then was even happier once I finished reading the book. I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this book and it felt like I was getting a chance to be in this world. It was really nice to feel like I was a part of this world especially since I missed conventions, cosplay, etc. because of the pandemic.

This book manages to mix Sci-Fi elements with the contemporary world which had me hooked right from the start. It took me into a time in which the pandemic didn’t exist and I got to enjoy my favorite activities through immersion into Holly’s world. Similarly to how Holly now has people she would protect at all costs to her, this book gave me a character that I hate to love and would defend to the end. This book has the theme of found family all throughout it and that is something that I really enjoy especially when it comes to queer characters.

I really liked how the author gave us the trigger warnings for this book ahead of time so I knew what to expect in terms of that. One thing I really liked was how much of Holly’s social anxiety we see in the way she speaks to others and her actions. I really did like how that was displayed throughout the story because it felt so real to me. I can understand why others would not find Holly to be a likeable character but when you see so much of yourself in a character it’s hard not to like them.

The more I think about this book and the characters, the more I really love it. I can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive so that I can just go ahead and give the whole thing a re-read. I love the twist at the end of the story that really makes me unable to wait for the next book. I need to know what happens to my favorite character and new son who I will protect at all costs.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Harajuku fashion, Lolita, Cosplay, science fiction, messy queer characters, and strong female protagonist.

Characters: Throughout this story you get to meet Holly, who is our main character and several of the other members of N.E.R.D. You also briefly get to meet Holly’s friend along with one of the mutants. Our main characters include Holly, Nunez, Brannon, Chi Ho, Kyle, and Dr. Laura. I really love that most of our main characters have some kind of queer identity and that we really get a diverse cast of characters.

I really want more of these character’s backstory and am hoping that we will get more of that in the next book. I liked that we got some of Nunez’s backstory and got to learn how he became a part of N.E.R.D. I felt that we also got a bit of that from Kyle and that really added to the whole story. I can’t tell you much about any of their backstory because it really would ruin parts of the plot so you’ll just have to read to find out.

I really enjoyed the way that the relationships between Holly and the others developed and liked the idea of a found family for her. I liked how that aspect was written into this story and how this new found family adds to her character development. I really want to read more to see how this found family helps Holly develop and if it eases her social anxiety at all.

Writing Style: The story is told in first person through Holly’s perspective which is something I really enjoyed. I liked how much of the story is taking place in her head and how we follow along with her thoughts. The way that this is written really allows the reader to see how anxiety driven her thoughts are and how her response is driven by those thoughts. I’m really hoping that we get to see more of the other characters throughout the other books and that we may get some of their thoughts too. I love seeing everything through Holly as a unreliable narrator but I need to know what the others feel about this whole situation.

Skyhunter by Marie Lu Book Review

Author Information

Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites,
as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the
University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an
artist and art director. Now a full-time writer, she lives in Los Angeles, California,
where she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck
in traffic.

Book Description

A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left . . . with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all. 


Thank you for the advanced listening copy in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: This is the first Marie Lu book that I have read, while I have wanted to rea her other books I just haven’t got to it yet. After reading this one though I really want to go back and read her other works. This is one that I had tried to listen to on audio but had to put down since I had other books that I had to get through. I am glad that I came back to this one though and followed along with the e-book. I don’t think I would’ve been able to stick with this book if it wasn’t on audio though because there were parts that I was confused by and had to go back and listen to again.

I really enjoyed this book and the world building in it. I liked learning about the different types of people in this world and the strikers, and shields. I liked the relationships that these two types had and why the relationship was built that way. While the premise of human experimenting is something that I have read before, I think this was done differently. I think that when you put all the pieces of this story together, it becomes something new that I hadn’t read before.

The cover was made a lot prettier as I read the book and understood the cover. I didn’t see a part of the cover until I was halfway through the book and then looked at it again and was amazed. This was a cover that I had to look at several times because the meaning behind each piece comes alive as you read the story.

Something I really enjoyed about this story was the use of signing as the main way that Talin was able to communicate with others. I liked how she uses sign to communicate with others and then finds another way to communicate with Red. I also really enjoyed learning her reason for being mute and seeing how her past affected her ability to speak.

I really liked learning about Red and the reasons that he was produced. I liked learning about how Ghosts were created and why they were created. I thought that this portion of the book was really interesting and I wanted to hear more about this. I liked learning about the federation and how they played into the whole story and how they played into Talin’s past.

Characters: Throughout this story you get to meet several characters but there are four main characters in this story, Talin, Red, Adena, and Jeran. The characters didn’t feel too flushed out and the story relied mostly on plot rather than the characters so I don’t have much to say about them.

I really wanted to learn more about Red and see more of who he is. I felt that we didn’t get enough of him and the relationship between him and Talin just developed out of nowhere. I wanted to see more the build up to this and while we did get the back story between them, I would have wanted more of his personality fleshed out.

I really enjoyed learning about Talin and her past and listening as her story unfolds. While I enjoyed learning about her past and seeing her go through the book, I wasn’t too attached to her character. I was more attached with the relationships that she had with the other characters and how those would be affected by her actions.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Talin. I listened to this one in audio so I also want to comment on the narrator and how was it was to listen to. I loved the pacing of each action scene and how that pace quickens and then fades back to a normal pace for the rest of the story. I liked that I was able to listen to the story at 2x the speed and still understand what was happening. The audiobook also included a question and answer with the author which I enjoyed as you get to know more about the book and her decisions behind some scenes.