The Language of Ghosts|Book Review

Title: The Language of Ghosts

Author: Heather Fawcett

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Synopsis: Forced into exile on an enchanted, moving island, ex-princess Noa Marchena has two missions: reclaim her family’s stolen throne and ensure that the dark powers her older brother, Julian, possesses don’t go to his head in the process. But between babysitting her annoying little sister, Mite, and keeping an eye on the cake-loving sea monster that guards the moving island, Noa has her hands full.

When the siblings learn that their enemies are searching for a weapon capable of defeating Julian—whose legendary spell weaving is feared throughout the kingdom—once and for all, they vow to get to it first. To everyone’s surprise, the key to victory turns out to be a long-lost magical language—and only Noa can speak it.

But what if by helping her brother, Noa ends up losing him?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author to read and review but all thoughts are my own

Spoiler Free Review

I read and loved Fawcett’s young adult series, Even the Darkest Stars, and I was looking forward to reading a middle grade book by her. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this! I feel like with fantasy books, having them being a stand alone can be a hit or a miss and this was definitely a hit.

Noa is our main character and she’s an enjoyable character. Noa is the middle child and the only one without magic but she doesn’t let that stop her from helping. Something Noa desperately wants is her ideas and plans to be heard and the lack of being heard by her older brother Julian leads her into trouble. I think those aspects of her make her a more round of a character, add on top that she’s a bit stubborn and she makes for quite the fun main character.

The world in this book was quite fun. Noa, her family, and everyone else helping to get Julian back on the throne live on an island. But not just any island, a moving island with a people eating seamster below. Beauty is the name of the sea monster and I loved her addition to the story, I don’t think it would quite be the same if she wasn’t in it. I like the uniqueness Fawcett added to the story with the moving island, it’s not something you find commonly amongst a story.

One thing that I found a bit confusing was the magic system and I think part of that has to do with the fact that this is a standalone book. I think if this was a series there would of been more of a chance to further the magic system and get more familiar with it. But with this being a standalone and not that long of one, it didn’t allow for much depth of the magic system.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of Fawcett’s books!

Movie Review

The Phantom of the Opera Adaptations Ranked

Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well! To those who follow me over on Instagram know I am big Phantom of the Opera Phan! To those who don’t, I am a big Phantom of the Opera Phan! So I thought it would be cool to rank the Phantom of the Opera adaptations I have seen so far! I have seen most of the adaptations, the only ones I have yet to see are the 1943, 1989, and 1983 adaptations, and I refuse to see the 1998 adaptation. So every time I see a new adaptation I will come back to this post and update it!

When I was ranking these adaptations I based it off of how close it was to the novel. I didn’t base it off of the characters because some adaptations have different characters or completely new characters so I decided to leave out the characters in my assessment. I mainly based my assessment on the plot, like does the Phantom teach Christine in her dressing room before bringing her to his lair, is there someone representing the Daroga, and is there a final lair?


1925 Phantom without mask

First place goes to the 1925 silent film with Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin! This was a well done film, I was pleasantly surprised! This book followed along with the book and I was really happy to see that! One thing that I found a bit weird was Carlotta’s mom was in it and from what I’ve interpreted she is an age where her mom wouldn’t be very involved in her career. One thing that I was super happy to see was the inclusion of Raoul’s brother Phillip! And not only did they include the brother but they also included !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! His death, no adaptation has had that. SPOILER OVER. The Daroga was in it but he wasn’t named the Daroga, instead he was a chief of police person which kind of made me sad but at least there was someone representing the Daroga. This movie is so far the one most similar to the book, which is why it is number one. And not only for what I mentioned above but there are also a of bunch other scenes from the book that made it into this movie. The only thing that really wasn’t like the book was the ending. I hated the ending, but that’s a whole other manner. Anyways, the ending wasn’t like the book but most adaptations seem to have a different ending. Bottom line, good adaptation and if you can sit through a silent film then I’d recommend you give it a watch!


1987 Phantom without mask

Next is the 1987 animated film with Aiden Grennell and Collette Proctor. This one is very similar to the book. While watching I noticed that some lines were exact lines from the book so I thought that was cool. Besides being very similar to the book, the film overall was… interesting. I found the Phantom’s mask to be a bit more scary than his actual face in this adaptation. It’s only about a 40 minute movie so everything felt like it was happening so fast but they did get the important stuff in so that was good. So far this is the only adaptation to have the Daroga in it which I was happy to see! If you need a good laugh I would definitely recommend watching this! The Phantom in this adaptation is quite funny, especially when Christine takes off his mask for the first time, he says after his little meltdown “I’m a very good looking fellow am I not… I’m a kind of Don Juan don’t you know.” While this isn’t my favorite adaptation it is the one that is very similar to the book which is why it’s number two

2004/25th Anniversary

25th Phantom without mask
2004 Phantom without mask

Okay so in third place we have Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation; I am including the 2004 movie with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler + the 25th with Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo because they are both DVDs that can be bought. Anyways, while this adaptation isn’t quite like the book, it does have the base foundation of the book in it. I say this because while I was reading the book it was easy for me to see what songs would be taking place if I was watching the film. Something the 2004 movie has that is similar to what happened in the book is the Phantom/Erik putting Christine on a horse before the boat which I liked. One of the biggest similarities to the book is when Bouquet talks to the dancers about the Phantom and how he looks. The song is called Magical Lasso and Bouquet describes the Phantom very similar to how he does in the book. As a meme once said, this song is the only evidence that ALW skimmed the book😂 The final lair in this book isn’t exactly like the final lair in the book but I think it’s a pretty good adaptation of it, in both the book and this adaptation the Phantom tries to kill Raoul so that’s something! He also gives Christine the choice to save Raoul by marrying him or refuse to marry him and have Raoul die. In the book the Phantom also gives Christine the ultimatum but the consequences are a bit different in the book. While the Daroga is not in this, I feel like Madame Giry embodies the Daroga just a smidge. Like the Daroga she leads Raoul to the lair for final lair, and also seems to know stuff about the Phantom. Overall, ALW’s adaptation of the book is a pretty solid one and I highly recommend giving the musical a listen!


1990 Phantom with mask

In fourth place is the 1990 mini series with Charles Dance and Teri Polo. I loved this adaptation so much, it is my second favorite adaptation, ALW’s being the first. Charles Dance’s Erik is often refereed to Cherik so if I ever mention that, this is what I’m referring to. Anyways, this adaptation is pretty far from the book. The biggest one is that there is a parental figure in this adaptation. The inclusion of the parental figure pretty much undermines the whole part of the Phantom being mistreated by society and shunning himself below the Opera House. One thing I love about Cherik is he’s kind of a sassy guy. One line that he says that I love is “this place really is haunted” and when he says this, he is referring to Carlotta who is singing at the moment. Anyways, this isn’t about my love for Cherik aha. As much as I love this adaptation, in regards to the book it falls pretty far from similarity. One difference is in the character Raoul, in the book Raoul reconnects with Christine after seeing her perform. In this book he hears her somewhere else and then sends her to the Opera House to be trained under Carlotta. But they are childhood friends so that is something! Also, there really is no final lair scene, I mean there is, but it takes place on the rooftop instead of in well, his lair. This is also the only adaptation I have seen that doesn’t show the Phantom without his mask on, when they take it off the camera shows it from behind so we never see it. Bottom line is this isn’t the best adaptation when it comes to following the book but I still recommend watching it!!!


1962 Phantom with mask

In last place is the 1962 adaptation with Herbert Lom and Heather Sears. I don’t even know where to begin but this is the worst adaptation I have seen and I think it will continue to be the worst. There are so many things wrong with this adaptation and I think the only resemblance it has to the book is that the Phantom wears a mask, and Christine’s name(not her last though). Ugh so many things were wrong I don’t even know where to begin but I’ll start with the Phantom. The whole backstory of the Phantom was he was born with a deformity and was shunned and mistreated by society so he sought refuge under the Opera House. Well in this adaptation he wasn’t born with the deformity, no he got it from being burned in a fire when he was like 20. Not only that but someone was murdered in the beginning which like doesn’t make sense because this Phantom doesn’t have the tragic backstory that causes the real Phantom’s morals to be messed up and stuff so there’s literally no reason for the murder. In the book because his morals are messed up he believes murdering someone for Christine is okay, but that isn’t the case with this Phantom so there is basically no reason to justify this murder, he just straight up murdered someone. Also the Phantom has a minion in this adaptation like ??? so that was a weird addition. So in the book the Phantom gives Christine lessons in her dressing room and she doesn’t know what he looks like and stuff well in this adaptation the Phantom kidnaps her, no sorry the minion kidnaps her, and takes Christine to his lair and then he gives her the lessons. Excuse me, producers, that’s not how it happens!!! I’m not even going to get started on the ending, just the worst. There are so many other problems with this movie from an adaption standpoint, I cannot even describe how bad it was. Overall this is probably going to be the worst adaptation of Phantom to exist. 

So as I stated above, when I watch a new adaptation I will come back and edit this post to include that adaptation. Have you seen any of these adaptations, if so lets talk about it in the comments!

book review

Roseblood|Book Review

Title: Roseblood

Author: A.G. Howard

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, YA

Rating: ★★.5

Synopsis: Rune has a mysterious affliction that’s linked to her musical talent. Her mother believes creative direction will help, so she sends Rune to a French arts conservatory rumored to have inspired The Phantom of the Opera. When Rune begins to develop a friendship with the elusive Thorn, she realizes that with him, she feels cured. But as their love grows, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: save Rune or protect the phantom haunting RoseBlood, the only father he’s ever known.

Spoiler Free Review

I thought this book was okay. I wanted to really like this, I love Phantom of the Opera and I was excited to read a retelling of it. I’m not sure if it was the book or my reading slump but it took me about a month to finish this book. The beginning started out okay but somewhere in the middle it just got weird and fell flat for me.

One thing that confused me was the way the author brought the musical and novel into this world. So the novel is based off of events that Leroux researched, and the author kept all of that in this world, the main character even makes a reference or two the musical and novel. Where it got confusing for me was the fact that the author has the Phantom a.k.a Erik as an actual character. In the novel Leroux took the strange affairs the happened, like the chandelier crash, and developed the character known as the Phantom so to have him as a real character in this retelling made things a little confusing for me.

I was excited for the plot in this but I felt that it was a bit all over the places. For instance, in the beginning it’s mentioned that when Rune gets a song stuck in her head she has to sing it or something happens. But it never was explained why she had to sing whatever song got stuck in her head. And then Rune, Thorn, Erik, and other characters are something and I feel like it was just a weird addition to the story and it felt a bit out of place. There is also this twin flame thing that I felt was never explained very well and I was kind of confused about that.

Being a Phantom retelling I was trying to figure out who represented who. Christine was easy to figure out, that was Rune. Figuring out who was the Phantom was a bit difficult even though the Phantom was an actual character in the book. It was a bit difficult because Thorn was also the Phantom. Raoul was also difficult, for awhile I thought the author just didn’t include Raoul. And then I thought maybe it was Rune’s friends because they were looking out for her and Raoul looks out for Christine. But toward the end of the book I still wasn’t sure if the author included a Raoul representation but in my eyes, it was Thorn and Erik was the Phantom. 

My favorite characters in this book were the side characters and I really wish there were more scenes with them! Rune isn’t a bad main character, I just didn’t care for her or what happened to her. I felt bad for her at some points in the book but in all honesty, Erik can take her🙈😂 Thorn, I guess I liked him. When I learned about his backstory I felt sorry for him but besides that I think he was a little one dimensional. I feel like all the characters weren’t well developed besides Erik but that’s only because he was already a developed character by Leroux. Rune’s whole character was based around her singing problem, Thorn’s was deciding between Rune and Erik, and the side character’s in the beginning was looking out for Rune mainly.

One thing I liked about this was there was a reference to the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie! Thorn uses a red skull wax seal to seal a letter and that is something Gerald Butler’s phantom does as well! There was also a little reference to the sequel of phantom, Love Never Dies.

Overall I was sorta let down by this book. It’s cover is gorgeous so its got that going for it! Phantom phans, and anyone wanting to read a phantom retelling, I would say skip over this one.

Spoiler Section

Something I have to add was that like in Love Never Dies, Christine and Erik have a baby. This isn’t a major thing but I am kind of annoyed of how the author changed the sex of their child. In the musical they have a boy named Gustave but in this book it’s a girl.

book tour

Multiverse|Blog Tour

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog tour stop for the book Multiverse by Robert Mercer-Nairne!

Multiverse was published on June 1st by Gritpoul, Inc. You can head over to my Instagram account afictionreality to enter in a giveaway for a copy of Multiverse! After the synopsis you’ll be able to read an excerpt of the book!

Buy: Amazon


Set in the near future, world trade has collapsed and the American economy has entered a depression. The economically dispossessed are drifting into camps that are being set up in city parks across the country. ln Congress the Nationalists, led by Milo Meadows Ill and Moralists, led by President Henry Dukes are increasingly resorting to the black arts as they vie for the power held by the still dominant Rationalists whose belief in scientific management is being challenged on all sides. While Carrie Holden, a budding astrophysicist is being prevented from getting her doctorate by the backlash against science, her friend Jay Chandler is soliciting support from the billionaire Marjory Anhauser in his bid to run for election to the House on the Moralist ticket.

Excerpt from Chapter Four

“Dr. Preston, welcome to the White House. This is a rare pleasure!” 

President Dukes was excited. The Reverend Richard Preston had become a legend who he longed to meet. At over six foot two with a fine angular face and brindle hair, his youthful features and physical intensity were impossible to ignore. The pastor filled his church in Annapolis to bursting and was listened to by millions across the nation on his internet link God this day

“Mr. President, Mrs. Dukes,” their guest acknowledged shaking their hands and presenting his helpmate, “my wife Abigail.” The pastor’s wife, a petite, attractive woman with raven black hair and a strong face, stepped forward to greet the presidential couple. “Let me assure you both,” Richard Preston insisted, “the pleasure is ours.” 

The family dining room had an air of intimacy, but was still smart with rich red velvet curtains, yellow silk on the walls and a white carpet with blue swirls, chosen by Mrs. Dukes. Hanging above the sideboard opposite a marble fireplace and the gilt-framed mirror above it was Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Annunciation, on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, depicting a woman in the presence of God’s messenger. 

When they were seated the President invited his guest to say grace. 

Richard Preston lent forward slightly, his hands clasped under his chin and his eyes fixed on the center of the table in deepest concentration. 

“Almighty God,” he began, “bless this house, these people and this government and let us give thanks for what we are about to eat, knowing that there are a growing number in our great American family who are without. Through Your grace, help us to find a way out of this darkening nightmare and the will to lead our people to a better place. Amen.” 

The President’s “well said” felt small and inappropriate and he wished he hadn’t said it. 

“How was your drive here?” Mary Dukes enquired turning to Abigail. 

“Just under an hour,” she answered. “We encountered no disturbances. But the encampment in front of the White House is upsetting.” 

“It grows every day,” the President told her. “I guess folk want to be near their government, near to me even, in the hope that we will do something.” 

“Soup kitchens have been set up,” Mary explained, “so people are being fed. But winter is approaching and it can only get worse. It’s the children I worry about. We are trying to get a temporary school established.” 

“Mary’s been tireless,” Henry affirmed. “She does things that matter. I sometimes feel that we politicians are just spinning our wheels.” 

“I have a suggestion, Mr. President,” Richard Preston announced, “if you will allow me.” 

“Goddamn it pastor, I surely need suggestions,” the President responded, trying to ignore his wife’s look of disapproval at his turn of phrase, a look that made Abigail smile. “If you’ve got an idea, now is the time and here is the place.” 

“The Food Stamp program is working. You have extended it indefinitely, or at least until this crisis is behind us. That’s good,” he said. “But the government must go further. People are losing their homes at an alarming rate. Women and children are ending up in sports halls, and many of the young men are running loose. As you would expect, criminality is on the rise. 

“Just this week a mob entered our exclusive Epping Forest neighborhood and ran riot. The residents were terrified. The community police were called and two men were shot, but the rest ran off. There were no arrests. There are just too many footloose citizens for our police to cope. By the time the National Guard is called out the disturbance has moved elsewhere.” 

“Yes, I’m getting similar reports from across the country,” the President confirmed. “So what is your proposal pastor?” 

“A home voucher scheme. The downward spiral must be stopped. People have to be kept in their homes.” 

“Are you suggesting that the government underwrite the unemployed’s rent and mortgage payments?” 

“Yes I am.” 

Henry Dukes let out a whistle as his mind grasped the enormity of the idea. 

“I’d never get that through Congress,” he murmured, mostly to himself. 

“Well I think that’s an excellent idea,” Mary Dukes extolled. “People get to stay in their homes; banks and landlords are made whole; money is fed into the economy. It might just get us moving in the right direction again.” 

“But the cost Mary, the cost,” Henry muttered. “It would be frightening.” 

“Isn’t where we are right now frightening, Mr. President,” 

interposed Abigail, in support of the sisterhood and her husband. 

“Administering such a program would be dreadful,” the President calculated, still trying to grasp the full measure of what had been suggested. “This is public money we are talking about. Can you imagine the bureaucrat at the counter working out what claim was genuine and what claim was not? There would have to be rules and the whole thing would get bogged down before it had begun.” 

“Well, I have a proposal there too, Mr. President,” Richard Preston advanced. 

“Oh, alright let’s hear it,” the President wearily invited. 

“I propose that the entire home voucher scheme be administered through the churches.” 

Henry Dukes sat in silence. One novel idea before bedtime was bad enough, but two: that invited extreme indigestion. Even Mary was speechless. It took Abigail to puncture the sound of pins dropping in the family dining room. 

“Rules, Mr. President, can only ever take us so far. Commitment to the right path comes from belief. If the churches were to administer the home voucher scheme” – in Abigail’s mind it had already moved beyond an idea to an actuality – “the church community would know full well who was genuine and who was not.” 

“I can see a rapid uptick in church attendance,” ventured 

the President. 

“That’s as may be,” continued Abigail. “But if we want to rebuild communities, isn’t that exactly what we need?” 

“I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance – Luke 15 verse 7.” The pastor’s words were delivered with a quiet force that arrested even the White House butler as he gathered up the plates from the first course. 

Noticing this, the President turned to him. 

“Well, what is your view, Matthew?” 

“Between a tent on the White House lawn and my own home, Mr. President, I know which I’d prefer.” 

“So there you are, Henry,” applauded Mary. “All you have to do is make it happen!” 

“I’ll have to run this one by Senator Grasser,” ruminated Henry who was beginning to see some advantage in the idea. “If anyone could drive it though the senate, he could. The lower house is a different matter. Those boys and girls are running around like squawking fowl crying ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling’ and I can’t get an iota of sense out of them. Someone needs to send a fox into that coop.” 

“Then their sky would start falling,” remarked Mary. 

And they probably wouldn’t realize until too late,” countered the President acidly. “They need to be frightened into right action and rewarded for taking it: heaven and hell. That’s where you come in, pastor.” 

“When it comes to Heaven and Hell I’ve always been more New Testament than Old, Mr. President: carrots over sticks.” 

“We’re surely creating hell enough right here on Earth,” observed Mary, “without emphasizing another one. What we need is a way out.” 

“Which is why bolstering the role of the churches makes sense,” urged Abigail. “People will come to see that faith in moral behavior is more important than economic advantage or disadvantage.” 

President Dukes made a ‘note to self ’ that Hell was clearly his domain. 

“So pastor,” he said, “do you think you could persuade the other churches to cooperate on such a scheme, if I could get Congress to approve it?” 

Richard Preston might have been a man of God but he also had an acute understanding of Man. 

“It would have to be kept to the traditional denominations,” he answered. “Otherwise we’d have sects springing up everywhere. Factionalism has been religion’s curse.” 

“You are surely not suggesting that the Reformation was a mistake now pastor, are you?” the President asked with just a hint of mischievousness.

“I’ll pass on that.” 

“A most diplomatic answer!” the President conceded. 

“What about those people who are not affiliated with any religion or denomination?” Mary asked. 

“They’ll just have to pick one,” Abigail interposed. “Our purpose here is to rebuild God-centered, moral communities. Form is not the issue.” 

“And those who don’t believe in God?” Mary wondered. 

“Let’s leave them to the physicists,” the President chuckled. 

“There will always be difficult issues, Mr. President,” Richard Preston conceded, “but I can tell you this. Our church will not turn away anyone in need. The parable of the Samaritan is at the heart of everything we do.” 

book review

The Dollmaker of Krakow|Book Review

Title: The Dollmaker of Krakow

Author: R.M Romero

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.

Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past. 

The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him. 

But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.

Spoiler Free Review

I posted about this book on my account and someone commented that by the end they were crying and I thought I would be prepared for the ending, I was not. This ending had me wrecked. This story is so well written and its such an amazing plot. This book is a mix of fantasy and historical fiction and it was the right amount of combination. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount of fantasy which I liked.

Karolina is out main character and the book takes place from her perspective. Karolina is a doll living in The Land of Dolls and suddenly the rats from across the sea invade her land. Fleeing from the war, Karolina goes to the forest and there she meets a wind who brings her to Krakow, there she meets the Dollmaker. Karolina is such an optimistic and hopeful character and I think she really brought some light to the story. Even with everything going on, she still remains hopeful and tried to uplift the Dollmaker whenever she can. She is also very compassionate and will do anything for her friends.

The Dollmaker is another main character in the book. He fought in World War I and he’s been a bit down since he came back. Enter Karolina, and things start to change for him. He begins to smile more and his whole demeanor changes. It was cool to see the change in his character once he and Karolina become better friends.

The story is such a beautiful story. I didn’t realize it was middle grade until I looked on Goodreads. I think the author did a good job with handling the grim and horrible time of World War II with it being a middle grade book. The writing is beautiful and Romero’s writing plays well with the story and what it tells. As I said earlier the ending of this book is heartbreaking but I think it is the way the book needed to end. I loved this book and I think I can see it making its way on my favorite of the year list.

book review

Listen to Your Heart|Book Review

Title: Listen to Your Heart

Author: Katie West

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★★★★


Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Spoiler Free Review

I loved this book! It was such a cute, light, and quick read; I think I ended up reading it in two days! Once I started reading it I didn’t want to put it down, it was so easy to get sucked into. I ended up staying up until around 1:30-2am to finish it because I just couldn’t put it down.

The book follows our main character Kate. Kate would much rather be spending all her time out on her family’s lake, but with some convincing from her friend Alana, the two of them joined their school’s podcasting elective. Kate would willingly take ant of the jobs except hosting, but of course that is the one job Kate gets. Kate is an enjoyable main character and while she makes mistakes, she is inly human and I think that adds some realness to her character. One thing that bothered me about Kate as a character was her obliviousness to the whole Diego/Alana situation. Toward the end of the book I started to get a little frustrated with how oblivious she was being. I understand that it plays into the plot but I still found it frustrating.

Alana seems like a good friend, someone I would totally be down to be friends with! I liked how prominent Alana and Kate’s friendship was in this book. It wasn’t something on the side for an extra little plot line. Alana sometimes got on my nerves when it came to Diego and this other character that I am blanking on the name of. But again, I think it added to her realness as a character because no one is perfect, even book character fit into that.

West’s writing isn’t anything spectacular but it lends to an easy to enjoy and understand book. Overall I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more Kasie West books!


June Wrap-Up|2020

What a sad reading month this was for me aha. June 2020 was probably one of the worst reading months I have ever had. Last month I read only 3 books. On a good note though, one of those books is now one of my all time favorites!

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

I did not start the month out on a great note. I did not love this book, but I went in knowing I wouldn’t like it very much. Low expectations is the way to go when reading this book. I didn’t hate the beginning of it but around the 50-70% mark the book just started going downhill for me. I didn’t like any of the characters and the ending was not the best. I gave this 2.5 stars.

Check this out!Book Review of the Betrothed

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

We have now reached the book that has become a new all time favorite of mine. I cannot express how much I freaking love this book! I am a huge fan of the musical and I was so excited to read the book and I knew I was just going to love it! It was so cool to read the original storyline of the Phantom a.k.a Erik, Christine, and Raoul. I could not put this down and already want to reread it! This story is a tragedy, not only because of the events that take place, but also because of the characters and their storyline. I gave this 5 stars!

Check this out!Book Review of The Phantom of the Opera

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

I ended the month on a good note, I really enjoyed this book! I stayed up till about 1:30-2am to finish it and it felt so good to have such a strong feeling to read and stay up to finish a book! I’ve read two other books by Kasie West and loved them, this book was so exception! The plot is a cute one, the main character is forced to be the host of her schools podcast is the main gist of it, and the characters were all enjoyable. The romance was super cute and well done as well! I gave this 4.5 stars.

How many books did you read in June?

book review

The Phantom of the Opera|Book Review

Title: The Phantom of the Opera

Author: Gaston Leroux

Genre: Classic, Horror, Romance

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: First published in French as a serial in 1909, The Phantom of the Opera is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster.

Spoiler Free Review

So, I have decided I am not just going to do a simple book review for this book. I am going to do three parts: the review, connections in the book to the musical, and then my favorite phantom related videos! The last part probably isn’t necessary but I will take any chance to share my favorite Phantom of the Opera videos that I have discovered as I stay up till 2am watching them😂

Also, just found out there is going to be a TV series based off of the book and I am so excited for it! Here is the link to the article: https://deadline.com/2020/06/gaumont-developing-the-phantom-of-the-opera-tv-adaptation-1202967376/

The Review

I. Loved. This. Book. I have been in a big reading slump ever since quarantine started so its been awhile since I’ve read a book that has kept me up till 2am reading. The story follows three main characters, Erik aka the Phantom/Opera Ghost, Christine Daaé, and Vicomte Raoul de Changny. The book also follows other characters such as the Persian also known as Daroga, Armand and Firmin(the managers), and lastly, Madame Giry. But the main storyline is about Erik, Christine, and Raoul.

Erik, Erik, Erik, oh how I love him. Ever since I saw the 2004 movie, I have been team Phantom and have loved the Phantom as a character. After reading the book, I love both musical Erik and book Erik. Erik was born with a deformity and the main defining characteristic of him is how ugly, hideous, and distorted his face is. So he wears a mask to hid the hideousness of his face and to make himself more attractive, mainly for Christine. Because of how he looks, Erik has been brutally hurt by society and that is why he confined himself to the tunnels beneath the Opera House. Erik is murderous and manipulative but he is also someone who has been hurt by society, who just wants to be loved, and who’s mind has been damaged because of that. Erik is a complex character, so many times I found myself switching from hating him and being disgusted by what he’s done to others to feeling sorry for him and just wanting to give him a hug.

Poor unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we cure him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a head that could of held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the Opera ghost.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
My poor baby Erik. This is Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom in the 25th anniversary and I loved how he portrayed Erik/the Phantom. I think he did a good job balancing the murderous side and also the damaged side of the Phantom.

Christine, Christine(where in the world have you been hiding… sorry, I couldn’t resist😂). Christine is probably the main of the main characters. I believe she is about 16 in the book, but don’t quote me on that(her age isn’t really stated, I just know she is somewhat young). Her father passed away and he told her that he would send her the Angel of Music, enter Erik. Christine is a character who is trying to navigate her life without her beloved father and that is what makes her easy prey for Erik, add the notion that her father said he would send the Angel of Music, its not hard to see why she embraced Erik as her angel. As the book goes on Christine is still a bit of her innocent and naive self but as she becomes aware of who Erik is as a person and that he isn’t the angel in which her father sent, she starts to edge away from a naive girl. Especially in the final lair scene, I think that is where her character goes through the most change.

Christine played by Sierra Boggess in the 25th anniversary. Sierra is my favorite Christine, her voice is just amazing and she does such a good Christine.

Raoul, the Vicomte de Changny, his last name is so fun to say aha. It seems that for Raoul, you either love him or you don’t. I do not love Raoul, I am Team Phantom all the way, but I also do not hate him. Raoul in the book and in the musical are portrayed a little different in my opinion so it was interesting to see some differences in their character. I am not going to really dive into the differences between their character portrayal because this isn’t a compare and contrast review(although that would be a good idea for another blog post🤔). Raoul is basically a spoiled rich boy who is also Christine’s childhood friend. Raoul just felt useless in this book, theres a part in the final lair scene where Raoul and the Daroga find themselves in a not so good situation and while the Daroga kept fighting to find a way out, Raoul just, I don’t even know what he did but he did not help. I do have to give some credit to Raoul though for venturing into Erik’s house to rescue Christine.

Hadley Fraser as Raoul in the 25th anniversary. This was the first time Hadley was in Phantom and I think he did such a good job!

This book has two relationships, Erik and Christine and Raoul and Christine. First up is Raoul and Christine. Raoul and Christine are childhood friends and their love felt a little instal-love but also not because of how they are childhood friends. I can’t say I am a fan of Raoul and Christine, I just don’t think Raoul deserves Christine. Felt like he cared more about catching the Phantom than Christine. I’m going to strive from the book a bit, theres a scene in the musical, Every Twisted Way, where in the beginning Raoul tells Christine she doesn’t have to be bait for the Phantom. Yet by the end of the song, he basically says the exact opposite and that she is the only hope they have. Yes, that is musical Raoul and that doesn’t happen in the book, but I think the premise is still the same. Anyways, back to the book and Christine and Raoul’s relationship! Bottom line, Raoul did not deserve Christine.

Raoul and Christine as they remember childhood memories.

Erik and Christine, talk about a toxic relationship. Erik saw his opening to invade Christine’s life when her father died and Christine had believed he sent her the Angel of Music. Under the premise that he is her angel, Erik gave Christine lessons on singing, allowing her to become such an amazing singer. To get Christine to become a star, Erik does some unspeakable acts. The main level of toxicity in this relationship is what Erik does in the name of love for Christine. Not to mention the age gap between the two, if I am not mistaken, Erik is age somewhere around 50 where Christine is around 16. Erik manipulates Christine and the biggest form of that is in the final lair scene. As to not spoil the book, I’ll reference the musical. Erik entraps Raoul and says to Christine, “Do you end your days with me or do you send him to his grave.” So Christine has to either stay with the Phantom to save Raoul’s life or if she wants to be free, Raoul will die.

Christine and Erik during the final lair scene in the musical

This book is a book of tragedy, not only because of the events that take place, but also because of the characters, their story, and what happens to them. I loved every minute of this book and I already want to reread it😂 This book has most certainly made it on the list of my all time favorites!

Are you Team Phantom or Team Raoul? Do you have a favorite Phantom? Lets talk about it in the comments!

Book and Musical Connections

One thing I loved about reading this book was finding the connections/parallels to the musical. So many times I would be reading and just get all excited and go “Thats THIS song omg!!!” So, I thought I would share some of the connections that I found!

The first main one I found was when Joseph Buquet described how the Phantom looks to the dancers.

He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull. His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drumhead, is not white but a nasty yellow. His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-faced, and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The connection to the musical is in the song Magical Lasso. In Magical Lasso Buquet sings how the phantom looks, and then Madame Giry tells him to be weary, the lyrics are:

Like yellow parchment is his skin

A great black hole served as the nose that never grew

You must be always on your guard, or he will catch you with his magical lasso

Those who speak of what they know find that, too late, that prudent silence is wise

Joseph Buquet, hold your tongue

He will burn you with the heat of his eyes

Magic Lasso from the musical Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Another connection I found was when Christine takes off Erik/the Phantom’s mask. I got excited when I made the connection because in the musical it is a scene I like so to find it in the book was exciting!

Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask. I wanted to know the face of the voice, and, with a movement which I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore away the mask. Oh, the horror, horror, horror!

Erik, now thrice moaned the cry: “horror!…horror!…horror!

The Phantom of the Opera, page 706, by Gaston Leroux

In the musical, the song is Stranger Than You Dreamt It. The lyric I am going to feature is the Phantom talking about his face to Christine, so after she takes the mask off of him.

Stranger than you dreamt it

Can you even dare to look

Or bear to think of me?

This loathsome gargoyle, who burns in hell

But secretly yearns for heaven

Secretly… secretly

Stranger Than You Dreamt It from the musical Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Christine taking off the Phantom’s mask

The last one I want to mention is the famous chandelier dropping. I think this is one of the coolest scenes in the musical! I was not surprised to find this in the book, but nonetheless I still found it cool and exciting!

She is singing to-night to bring down the chandelier

The Phantom of the Opera, page 672, by Gaston Leroux

In the musical this line and the chandelier drop take place in two different songs. But since we are talking about the actual quote, that is said in the song Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh.

Behold! She is singing to bring down the chandelier! Hahaha!

Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh from The Phantom of the Opera musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber

So those were just some of the connections I found, obviously there were much more but this review is already long enough aha!

Favorite Videos

This part really isn’t necessary but I can never pass up an opportunity to share my favorite Phantom videos! Below are just some of my favorite videos I have come across. If you choose to check them out, which I highly recommend, I do hope you enjoy them!

Hugh Panaro’s final lair. Hugh Panaro is my second favorite Phantom, he plays the Phantom in a psychopath sort of way, in his version you want Christine to go with Raoul I feel like. Video: https://youtu.be/gK5Z1hbHOUI

John Owen Jone’s final lair. JOJ is my third favorite Phantom. I am going to provide two video links for him. The first being his Final Lair scene, he does this scream at the end which is JAW DROPPING, its absolutely crazy! The second video is him singing Music of the Night, in my opinion, JOJ sings THE best Music of the Night, when he hits that high note, just amazing! Final Lair video: https://youtu.be/oR7gtD5HoNM Music of the Night video: https://youtu.be/DkfutNIPdlM

I can’t do favorite videos and not include one from my favorite phantom! My favorite phantom(as I think I stated earlier) is Ramin Karimloo! This video is of Ramin singing a song from the Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies. I was going to do him singing Music of the Night but I already did one for JOJ and wanted to try and give a mix of videos. This is my favorite song from Love Never Dies! Anyway, the video: https://youtu.be/MYKm7mUFGHA

The last video I am going to include is one of my absolute favorites. I have watched this so many times and laugh hard every time. This is a video of Ramin and Sierra, who were the Phantom and Christine in the 25th and Love Never Dies together, singing a POTO medley! Video: https://youtu.be/u5K-_07ua9E

If you watched the videos, which was your favorite? Lets talk in the comments! And if you have a favorite Phantom of the Opera video feel free to link it, I am always on the hunt for more!


The Betrothed|Book Review

Title: The Betrothed

Author: Kiera Cass

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: ★★.5

Synopsis: When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.

Spoiler Free Review

I went into this book with low expectations and I think its the best thing I could of done. Before reading this I knew most of the reviews were low, so I went in not expecting much. I enjoyed the beginning of this book, only because of how low my expectations were. I think this book was alright up until the 60-70% mark, after that I think this book just went down. I was not a fan of how it ended and I think it should of ended sooner than it did.

The characters. Not a fan. I do not think there was one character I actually enjoyed. Hollis is the main character and she is boring. It feels like all she does during a good chunk of the book is give the King compliments and makes him laugh. When Hollis and Silas meet, the insta love trope just smacks you in the face. I am not a giant fan of insta love, when its done right I don’t mind it, that wasn’t the case for this book. Hollis changes her mind about who she feels for very fast, but I guess thats insta love for ya.

Delia Grace is such a fake friend to Hollis. I felt a little bad for Hollis when the nature of Delia Grace’s character was revealed. I sorta liked her in the beginning, felt a bit bad about how people treated her and all the rumors that spread about. But that quickly changed. Now I could care less about her, but that can also be said for basically all the characters.

Silas, I don’t really have many opinions on him. I guess he was alright. I don’t like any of the characters that much but I’ll say that I dislike Silas the least.

The ending was a big no from me. Like I said above, I think the book should of ended sooner than it did. Cass tried to give the ending some shock factor but I think she missed the mark on that. The ending felt a little rushed and was a bit of a mess.

The only reason I am giving this a 2.5 and not a 2 or lower is because I didn’t outright hate the beginning. It wasn’t a horrible beginning and it was an easy read. If you are planning on reading this, go in with low expectations, you may enjoy it a bit if you do. Not sure if I will continue with this series, I guess it will depend on the book cover and how pretty it is😂


May Wrap-Up|2020

May was not the reading month I hoped it would be. I read 5 books which isn’t too bad, but it feels like I read way less. So, onto the 5 books I read last month!

Becoming Brianna by Terri Libensom

This was the first book I read and I finished it all in one night. It follows Brianna as she studies for her bat mitzvah while also navigating school and friends. I could relate to Brianna as a character because I too had a bat mitzvah and I remember feeling things similar to the Brianna. I gave this 3.5 stars.

Check out! – Book Review of Becoming Brianna

Brazen Steele by Ali Dean

This book was a bit of a miss for me. It didn’t do anything for me and I felt like it didn’t add anything to the story. I gave this 2 stars.

Leave Me Breathless by Jodi Ellen Malpas

I enjoyed this but I think it was too long. The plot just felt dragged out and I think the author could of shortened the book. I did enjoy the romance in this book and the characters. I found the ending to be okay, I think the author tried to make this book something that it wasn’t, but I didn’t mind the little mystery it provided. I gave this 3 stars.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I loved this book! There is definitely a lot of hype surrounding this book so I was a bit nervous going into it, but I am so happy I loved it! I loved the enemies to lovers trope in this book, I thought it was well done! Josh and Lucy are great characters and their relationship development throughout the book was well done. I gave this 5 stars.

Check Out!Book Review of The Hating Game

S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett

This was the last book I read this month and I’m sad that I didn’t enjoy it. The writing style was the main issue for me, I almost considered DNFing the book because of it. I just couldn’t connect to it and it was making it a struggle for me to read the book. But the mystery of the plot is what kept me interested and reading. I was torn between giving this 2.75 and 3 stars but went with 3 stars because I was intrigued by the plot.

So those were the books I read in May! Some were good, others not so much, but thats just the way it goes.

How many books did you read in May? Which one was your favorite? Lets talk in the comments!