Book Tour: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Hello dear readers, before I begin I want to just let you know that I received this book as part of a book tour with The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. 

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

Title: Harrow Lake
Author: Kat Ellis
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

If you enjoy this review, make sure to follow me on social media.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Advertisements

The Horror Genre

So I am still new to the horror genre. It’s not a genre I have read a lot of books from, so maybe I have set the bar too high, I’m not really sure.

When I thought about horror books, I had assumed that I would be losing sleep, seeing things in the dark, and being generally scared by what I was reading.

When I was reading Harrow Lake, I never really had those moments. I never felt like this Mister Jitters was going to keep me up at night. I never felt the fear.


On the shorter side

I am still on the fence on how I feel about the length of Harrow Lake. Coming in at 368 pages, that is plenty of time to scare someone, but it’s not too long that the horror turned into annoyance.

Harrow Lake didn’t seem to find a good balance in my opinion. There were times where I was annoyed, but then moments later I felt like I had hope that there was going to be something scary just around the corner.


Advertisements

Felt empty

The overall story itself felt kind of empty and full of holes. The whole premise of the story makes no sense. I don’t think the protagonist would be sent off to her grandmother’s house when her father got hurt.

If he was going to get better in just a few days, she could have stayed at home and someone could have watched her.

Even if that was the case, and she was shipped off to her grandmother’s, there are too many moments in the story that happen just for the sake of happening. There isn’t much rhyme or reason to it all, and the most description we get is “this place turns people bad”.


Scares seemed vague

The most “scared” I ever got when reading Harrow Lake was one of the first scares. The evil monster was still new, and we didn’t understand it yet.

After that, the scares seemed excessive, like they could be avoided with a bit of reason from the protagonist.

When a “scary” moment did happen, it felt like the writing just wasn’t developed enough. Like we were only getting the very surface of what was going on, and that didn’t go deep enough for me.


I’m sorry to say that I didn’t like this book. I always feel bad when I get a book from an author and didn’t like it.

If you enjoyed Harrow Lake, let me know why! I want to hear your thoughts about it.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

One Piece Review: Enies Lobby Arc

Hello dear readers, it feels like it has been a long time since I reviewed a One Piece Arc. It is by far still my favourite manga, and there is still so much to cover!

The Enies Lobby Arc is one of the most popular arcs among One Piece fans, so I’ve been waiting at the edge of my seat to talk about it.

If you enjoy this One Piece Arc review, or are interested in other manga reviews, consider following my blog, or on social media!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Title: Enies Lobby Arc
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: ★★★★★

The Straw HatsSogeking, the Franky Family, and the shipwrights of the Galley-La Company arrive at Enies Lobby aboard Rocket Man to rescue Nico Robin and Franky. Standing in their way, however, are the forces of the World Government, including its deadly assassin organization, CP9. A massive battle ensues between the two sides when Luffy declares war against the World Government by having its flag shot down by Sogeking.


Advertisements

The Fights Get More Intense

In Enies Lobby, the Strawhat crew, especially Luffy, have the most difficult fights to date. Their main enemies are the soldiers of CP-9, which is a secret Marine group that were discovered in Water 7.

Each arc introduces tougher and tougher enemies for the Strawhats and their allies, but they never really seemed like a real threat.

I would say that the only other instance where they faced any real threat was Alabasta, but the external forces of Enies Lobby made the threat much more real to me.

Each of the Strawhats get an exciting fight of their own, but what I really like is that we get development of everyone’s fighting abilities in this arc. We get to explore their capabilities a bit more, and we discover a few new interesting techniques from the crew.


Robin’s Story

Robin’s story is the driving force for the Enies Lobby arc. She has been taken in by Marines, and the Strawhats fight for their lives to save their crew member.

To me, Robin never quite felt like a crew member until Enies Lobby. I know she has been with the crew since after Alabasta, but she just joined on her own volition, she was never really asked.

She is accepted by them over time, and it seems that after Skypeia, the rest of the crew is perfectly fine with having her around, but Enies Lobby is when they fully accept her as a crew member.

Without giving anything away, she definitely has the saddest backstory of all the tragic backstories the crew has. That’s why the Enies Lobby arc is so heartbreaking and emotional, but powerful and uplifting at the same time.


Best Moments

Enies Lobby is full of amazing moments that make Top 10 Lists to this day. This section will likely contain spoilers for the arc, but seeing as this arc is basically 15 years old, its up to you to read it at this point.

There are three moments that really define this arc for me, but there are still plenty of others.

Robin’s “I Want to Live” moment is still in my top three One Piece moments to this day. It sends chills down my spine and it is the moment Robin chooses to be a Strawhat.

Sogeking shooting down the Enies Lobby flag is another brilliant moment. Not only does it look great visually, it is a defining moment for the Strawhats and their war against the World Government.

The last moment on this list is technically in Post-Enies Lobby, but it is when the Going Merry is destroyed. It actually causes a bit of a rift in the crew, but I never for a second thought I would have a strong emotional reaction to a ship being destroyed.


Advertisements

Post-Enies Lobby Arc

With the post Enies Lobby arc, the Strawhats head off on their quest with a new crew member, and all seems right with the world again. They’ve conquered their enemies, saved their friends, and have a new adventure on the horizon.

PLUS, we get to see the new bounties for the Strawhats, which is something I really like every time it happens.


How the story is affected

Enies Lobby is a rollercoaster ride of emotion. It has a big impact on the future story of One Piece, and it sets up a lot of different story lines. There are things to this day that were introduced in Enies Lobby that we haven’t seen a conclusion for, and many other story lines were added to or completed.

Overall it is a fun read. I remember flying through this arc in only a few days. It was a tremendous amount of fun and if you do decide to pick up the One Piece manga, you’ll want to get to Enies Lobby as quick as you can.


If you enjoyed this One Piece Arc review, or are interested in other manga reviews, consider following my blog, or on social media!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

One Piece Manga Review: Water 7 Arc

Advertisements

Hello dear readers, it’s that time of the month again where we review another manga arc in the One Piece series.

We’ve covered a lot of the story so far, with Skypeia being the last arc we reviewed.

We are going to skip over a few arcs, because if you’re a real One Piece fan, you know how awful they really are.

We are going to skip all arcs related to Foxy, because they are literally unbearable.

That leaves us with this month’s arc: Water 7.

Water 7 is one of the best arcs in the entire series in my opinion. It doesn’t add a whole lot to the overall plot of the story on its own, but tied together with Enies Lobby, the two are probably some of the most important arcs to date.

We get introduced to Franky, a ship building cyborg and future member of the Straw Hat Pirates.

What I like about Franky’s character is that we initially see him as a bad guy, and we almost believe that he will be the villain of the arc.

He starts off as bad, but the further the arc goes on, the more we realize he is actually a really good person.


I also like the design and the feel of Water 7 visually. It very obviously represents Venice, with a bit of a One Piece twist to it.

The story and the characters don’t mix in with the visual elements much, but I love how Oda can come up with such unique settings over and over and give them a bit of a One Piece feel to them all.


There are no big fights in this arc, well not in terms of big bad guy vs. Luffy.

We get some of the Straw Hats versus carpenters and some regular riff raf, but it’s not until Enies Lobbie we got some real fights.

There is one really important fight in this arc though, and I would say that it’s one of the most impactful fights in the entire story.

Luffy vs. Usopp.

If you’ve seen it, you know what it’s all about. You know the emotions behind it, you know why it’s happening, you know how powerful it really is.

It’s not a long fight, but it’s important to the story, and it constantly makes Top 10 lists for emotional anime moments.

Luffy vs. Usopp. Saddest fight ever.

It’s not a long fight, but it’s important to the story, and it constantly makes Top 10 lists for emotional anime moments.


Like I mentioned before, Water 7 isn’t an entire story on its own. Sure, it has its own characters and storylines, but none of it would be quite complete without Enies Lobby.

We lose one member of the crew; The Going Merry, but by the end of it we get the Thousand Sunny; a ship built by a Franky and his life-long friend Iceberg.


What did you think of the Water 7 Arc? It’s in my top 5 arcs, and if I thought about it, I’d probably put it in top 3.

Advertisements

Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

One Piece Arc Review: Skypeia

Hello my manga lovers, it feels like its been too long.

I know I’ve done a manga review for Pygmalion last month, but I feel like its been years since a One Piece Arc Review.

This month’s manga arc review is all about Skypeia, which is a little controversial for some One Piece fans. Some like it, some don’t.

I think for the most part people like it, and I tend to agree for the most part, so let’s get into it!

Advertisements

The Skypeia Arc is important for a few reasons. It gives us a better understanding of what Haki is, or will become once we hear about it, and it gives us an understanding of the Poneglyphs, which will definitely become important the more the story progresses.

Though it’s not called Haki yet, we see Enel and his Priests use Mantra as they battle the Straw Hats.

It’s the same idea as Observation Haki, and it shows how devastating it can be in battle.

We also get to see the Poneglyphs. They’re not wholly important yet, but as each arc comes into play they become more and more important because they hold the truth to a lot of questions that have been popping up as the story continues.


Skypeia is often seen as a microcosm to the entire One Piece World. It’s a sea on its own in the sky, and the Straw Hats travel to it, fight the bad guy, save the oppressed, and leave.

It wholly represents what the Straw Hats go through when they come to each island.

The arc has some good history to it, that I have a feeling might come into play later, but I am not entirely convinced.

There is one thing that really stands out about this arc though, and thats we get to see Robin actually fight one on one against someone.

Every other time she fights she is either the one to take out all the lackeys, or she is supporting someone else. She never fights someone on her own.


I think that it is an important part of the arc, but that same ideal gets lost as we continue with the story.

It gets harder and harder for Oda to write a fight scene for each of the Straw Hats. There are just too many of them, and not enough bad guys. It gets to the point that the crew needs to split up because the enemy numbers just aren’t living up to the Straw Hat’s.

Overall, the arc was good in my opinion. I enjoyed it, even if it had a little too much backstory to it.


Advertisements

What did you think of the Skypeia arc? Let’s talk about it in the comments or on social media.
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One Piece Arc Review: Jaya

Hello again StrawHat Crew members, and welcome back to another Arc Review for One Piece.

Today we are taking a look at the Jaya arc. It’s a relatively short arc…but an important arc none the less.

I thought about covering Jaya and Skypeia together, but I think they are important enough on their own that they deserve their own coverage.

Overall, though this arc is short, it has some very important moments in it.

Up until this point, we had the idea of dreams coming true shoved down our throats.

Luffy dreams of being the Pirate King.
Zoro wants to be the world’s greatest swordsman.
Nami dreams of drawing a map of the entire world….etc. etc. etc.

We don’t get to see anyone fight against these dreams, because that is what the story has been about until this point.

Sure, we have a few people trying to contest a StrawHat’s dreams, but not with any serious effort…until Jaya.


In the Jaya arc we get to meet Bellamy…and if you’ve read through the arc, then you know what I am talking about.

Bellamy crushes Luffy’s dreams in an instant, or he tries to at least. Luffy of course doesn’t fall for this way of thinking, and after letting Bellamy’s crew throw drinks over himself and Zoro without raising a hand to fight them, Luffy knocks Bellamy out with just one punch, giving him the ultimate revenge for messing with Luffy’s friends.

After letting Bellamy’s crew embarrass them, Luffy, Zoro and Nami meat the man that is later known as Blackbeard.

He gives Luffy an inspiring speech about dreams, and how you should fight for them to become true, because they won’t just happen on their own.

It’s funny, looking at it from a future perspective, because we know now that Luffy got inspiring advice from one of the bad guys, who has the same dream as him.

To become the Pirate King and rule the seas as the most free man in the world.


We get a little look into the 7 Warlords of the Sea, when they meet about who their next member will be since Crocodile was defeated.

It doesn’t add much to the story, other than giving the audience a good look at some of the strongest pirates in the world, and some future enemies and allies of Luffy and his crew.


Other than that, Jaya doesn’t contain much for the overall story as of now, except setting up Skypeia.

It is a unique arc because it ties in with another, but stands separately on its own.

I like the idea of dreams that is present though, and how they relate to the One Piece world as a whole.

In Jaya we get to experience the other side of dreams.

We get bombarded with characters that dream of being X, or doing Y, or seeing Z, but we don’t get to see many characters that have truly given up on those dreams, or have no dreams at all.

It makes the characters a little more believable, because not everyone would need to have a dream like Luffy, some people could just enjoy whatever it is they are doing.


It’s a nice analogy to real life. Some people go their entire lives pursuing a dream, whether to succeed or fail in the end, and others go their whole lives without a dream in the world. They are happy living in the moment, and living the way they want to.


What did you think of the Jaya arc? Where would you rank it overall in the One Piece story overall? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

And don’t forget to follow me on the social media channels you all love!
Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

One Piece Arc Review: Alabasta

Hello again dear readers, I am back for another One Piece Arc Review. This week I will be talking about the Alabasta Arc (I’ll be throwing in Post-Alabasta arc too since short.


Overall, I would put Alabasta in the better half of the series. It’s still early on in the show, so we are missing quite a few crew members, but it’s the start of the more serious storytelling in the manga.

Alabasta has been a long time in the making when it finally appears. Basically since the moment the Straw Hats arrived on the Grand Line.

Vivi has joined their crew, and after a few roadblocks, they have arrived in Alabasta in hopes of stopping a rebellion from happening, and Crocodile taking over control of the country….and an Ancient Weapon as we further discover.


My favourite part of Alabasta is the fighting match-ups.

As there are more and more crew members, there are less one-on-one duels between Strawhat members and the enemy. We still get it in the future, but it is a rare instance.

In Alabasta, each member of the Strawhats gets to fight against someone on their own, except Usopp and Chopper who do a 2v2.

We get to see each of them grow as characters through these fights, both in character and strength.

I like those moments in the series, because they are a good way to end the arc with a bit of character growth, and we know that the characters are getting stronger.

It’s not often we get a Nami one-on-one battle because she’s usually fighting the regular soldiers instead of one of the heavier hitters on the enemy’s side.

This is also the first instance we see Nami fight in her modern style, using the Climatact, instead of her regular


On that same note though, the Crocodile and Luffy fights bother me, because they don’t really make sense.

Crocodile is probably the smartest person we have met in the story at this point, and he lets Luffy live, twice!

That makes no sense, especially since Luffy poses more of a threat in each fight against Crocodile. Why would you let the pirate that might be able to beat you, live and continue fighting?

It’s not the biggest detail, and I guess you could excuse the confidence that Crocodile has, but it is a little too much convenience for my liking.


The arc itself isn’t great per se. It is a bit long, and it falls prey to being a politically oriented arc, but we get a lot of plot points for a further part of the story, which is a big redemption for the arc.

We get Nico Robin joining the crew, who becomes one of my favourite members of the crew.

One of the Ancient Weapons is introduced, which still has yet to fully come into play, but has been hinted at since.

Crocodile is one the Seven Warlords, which we have seen before, but this adds to the mystery of them, and Haki is mentined, (but we don’t know that yet).


Overall, I would give the arc a 7/10. It has some amazing fight scenes, story moments, and story endings for some characters.

The only things against the arc is the length, and its lack of guts.

Some of the story could be cut out. It takes a little too long for Vivi to deal with the rebels, though it makes sense for the story.

The lack of guts is just because it doesn’t kill of some characters that should have died. They go through some unbelievable injuries (for One Piece standards even) but doesn’t have them die because the story wasn’t there yet.

At this point in the story, we hadn’t really seen any death, so it makes sense that they would save it for more impactful moments in the story.


What did you think of the Alabasta arc? Good, bad? Where would you rank it overall in the story? Let me know in the comments!

One Piece Arc Review: Drum Island

Hello again ladies and gentlefolk. It’s been quite a while since I have posted, but I took a self-inflicted break from the blog for a few reasons.

Last you probably heard from me, I had given an update on some of the movies I was watching for October, posting book reviews, and throwing in the odd movie/tv show review.

I suddenly stopped posting because of a few different reasons. The first, and main reason, is that I wanted to take a break and refresh myself. I had a few things going on in my life that I needed and wanted to do, and I didn’t want to hurt the quality of the blog posts in order to do it.

I thought it would be better just to take a break from the blog until I figured a few things out. I was going to post a few weeks ago, but I decided to extend the break until I could get a few ideas worked out for what I wanted to do on the blog.

There will be a more in-depth post about my break coming on Thursday, but for now, I figured I’d give you a brief summary before cracking open a brand new review for the Drum Island Arc in One Piece.


There is a lot wrong about the Drum Island Arc, but there is also a lot right with it too. When I think about whether or not I like the arc, I find I am split right down the middle.

Some of the Pros about Drum Island: Chopper, Vivi, Dr. Hiriluk.

Some of the Cons about Drum Island: The story and the villains.

There’s not a lot going for Drum Island that isn’t the characters we get to meet for the first time. What I think the Drum Island Arc is meant to do, is give the greater One Piece world some flavour.

The first half of the story (East blue and the paradise half of the grand line) does a great job of letting the Straw Hat Pirates travel from island to island, going on whatever adventures pop up. Drum Island is another example of this type of storytelling, but it also ties into the Alabasta Arc that comes afterwards.


With the Drum Island arc, we get introduced to an important character. Vivi we already knew, but we get to see the type of Princess and person she is when she decides to stop at the island to help find a cure for Nami.

Dr. Hiriluk is an important character, but more so in the way he influenced Chopper, the reindeer who becomes the doctor in the Straw Hat crew.

Without the Chopper Hiriluk backstory, I’m sure this arc would be in the bottom three arcs of the entire series.


Wapol, the bad guy, is one of the weakest enemies the Straw Hats fight in the entire series. He isn’t overly strong, and his lackeys are more annoying than actually a threat.

He re-enters the series later on, many years later, but he is still more annoyance than actual threat.


In terms of the story that goes on during Drum Island, there isn’t much of one. Basically, Nami gets sick, and the Straw Hats need to find a doctor on Drum Island. They find that there is only one doctor on the island, who lives on top of a unimpeachable mountain.

Other than that small story-line, the entire arc is really just a drawn-out flashback about Chopper and how he became a doctor, despite being a reindeer.


As I am writing this review, I would probably give Drum Island a very slightly positive review. The emotional backstory for Chopper puts it just over the positive edge. It’s not by much, but I like the potential that Chopper has in the story, despite being underutilized for most of the series.