Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Hello dear Ghibli fans, I come to you this week with a review of Kiki’s Delivery Service.

If you don’t know by now, I am slowly making my way through the Studio Ghibli catalog and reviewing each of the movies. So far I’ve reviewed: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.

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Title: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy it here

13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back.

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Simple is Best

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a perfect example of why I love movies with a simple premise. Often it’s thriller movies with a simple but intriguing concept that I like the most, but Kiki follows the same principle.

Its premise is simple, but the storytelling possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes it beautiful. It could have been a much more confusing movie. With magic and technology working hand in hand, the world building could have been a lot more in-depth, but it didn’t need to be. It fit perfectly to the feel of the movie, and I wouldn’t ask for it to be any more in-depth than it is.


Coming of Age

This theme seems to be quite common for Ghibli movies, and its amazing to see it in so many different ways.

It’s quite a common theme in storytelling, but it’s effective. When done well it can get you to relate with the characters, and you see their growth.

Kiki’s Delivery Service tells a great coming of age story, despite some parts being a bit unbelievable. We see a strong, determined Kiki go through struggles and fears to push through them and become a strong young woman in her own right.


Soft Magic

Kiki’s Delivery Service, like many of the Studio Ghibli movies has magic involved, but we never really get any explanation of it. We don’t get the rules of who can do what sort of magic, all we get is that people can do magic.

Magic can often be used as a storytelling device, which it is in Kiki’s case, but it doesn’t grow with our characters. Our characters don’t get stronger the further into the story we get, they just embrace their powers and use them as a part of themselves.


Final Thoughts

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a great movie that is obviously family friendly. If you can get past the “old-school” animation style it’s a great movie to cuddle up on the couch with and enjoy one night.

It’s not only enjoyable and fun, but it teaches some great lessons for kids to learn.


Book Review: The Way of Kings

Hello dear readers, I have technically reviewed this book before on my blog, but I did the entire series in one review.

Now that the fourth book in the series; Rhythm of War (order through the link), is coming out in the fall, I knew I had to give each book the proper review it deserved.

Because of that, it’s time to review the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. I hope you enjoy because this book series is in my top three of all time.

Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Buy: The Way of Kings
Pre-order: Rhythm of War

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed…

They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won.

Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.

On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight.

What happened deep in mankind’s past?

Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?


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Sanderson Magic System

It’s no surprise that Brandon Sanderson is my favourite author. I love the way he can craft such beautiful worlds based off of a simple thing like a magic system.

I would say that The Way of King’s is the best of his magic systems. Not only does it affect how some of the heroes fight, which magic systems are almost always used for, but it also affects the important details of the world; money, light sources, societal class, and scientific advancement.

I love a well developed magic system when all it does is allow characters to fight, but when it literally runs the way the world works, it becomes so much more interesting.

What’s the most beautiful about this magic system is that it is simple. Yes it can be built upon and developed the more we learn about the story, but the core principles of it are as simple as 1 + 1.


A Fraction of the World

I love exploring new worlds in books. It’s one of the reasons I love reading so much.

A lot, if not all, stories have a sliver of our world in them. That might be an inspiration of a name, a location, or even an event.

There’s plenty of that in The Way of Kings, and that’s why I love it. There’s class issues, slavery, issues related to the death and punishment, women’s place in the world, and plenty more.

The fact that a story can deal with issues like that while telling an epic tale amazes me.

What’s even more wonderful is that we are only discovering a fraction of the world. We get MAYBE a tenth of the entire story, and so much is left as a mystery to us.


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Mental Health is Important

Maybe I read a very narrow scope of books that don’t talk about mental health issues (other than books specifically about it).

It’s not an issue that is common in the books I read, but The Way of Kings touched it in a nice subtle way. It doesn’t outright state that one of the main characters has any mental health issues, but you see it in the way he interacts with the world and how his mind sees everything he does.

I don’t think there’s a perfect way to tell those stories, because it is a different experience for everyone. What is important is getting the idea out there, so that other people know that it is normal, even if it isn’t the same experience that they have.


Final Thoughts

The only thing I didn’t like about The Way of Kings was that I had a bit of a hard time following along at first. It had moments later on where I literally jumped out of my seat when I was reading, but it took me a while to understand the story.

Because of that, it took me a while to really commit myself to reading it, but when I did I was hooked.


What did you think of The Way of Kings?? If you love epic fantasy it needs to be on your TBR radar. The series just continues to get better. Make sure to follow me on social media for more book reviews!
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Book Review: Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Rating: ★★★★.5☆

Buy it here.


Hello dear readers, I am excited about today’s review. I had bought Priory a few years ago after it was blowing up all over Twitter, but I kind of forgot about it for a while.

I never really knew anything about it. I knew it had dragons and magic, but that was it.

I am angry at myself for not getting to this book sooner, because it is one of my favourite standalone books of all time!

I’m a sucker for a book series, but its not often that I find a book on its own that I love this much.

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The Worldbuilding

I will admit right off the hop the only reason this book did not receive a 5 out of 5 is because the world building left me quite confused at times.

I think Shannon did a brilliant job of creating a diverse world, with so many cultures, peoples, and customs. Some of my favourite characters in fiction come from this book, but I found it a bit tough to follow at the beginning because of it all.

There was so much history, so many character names, so many stories that I found it hard to get a grasp of it all.

Once I put the pieces of the puzzle together and started remembering the names, the relationships, and the stories, it all started coming together.

I thought Shannon built a beautiful and diverse world in Priory, and it was just the surface. We get to see several places where there is nothing but a mere chapter of information.

The world of the Priory is definitely one I would want to dive into again.


The Romance

There isn’t much romance in the beginning of the book. There is marriage and rumors of a love affair, but it doesn’t come across as romance to me.

The romance comes in the second half of the book, in two same-sex relationships.

I will admit that this is the first book I have read where there were same-sex relationships, and I think I picked a good place to start.

The romance doesn’t happen in an instant. It doesn’t even happen after a few chapters. The romance happens over chapters and chapters, between characters that I didn’t think would fall in love.

It felt so natural though. Shannon does a perfect job of taking two characters and making them fall in love. First with the small moments in life, until bigger and bigger moments occur.

It is a true fantasy love story and the realest romance of any book couples that come to mind.


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The Characters’ Change

Almost every single one of the main characters are tested throughout Priory. Whether its their beliefs, their physical capabilities, or their wits, they are tested again and again.

Too often characters from books stay the same. They don’t change throughout their stories, or they change in ways that don’t make sense. Priory is different than that.

Priory allows the characters to grow from their experiences. Shannon writes characters that adapt based off of their circumstance, and turn into smarter, better, stronger people.

They change in believable ways, whether in an instant, or more slowly.

Shannon does a lot well with Priory, but this was one of the best aspects of the story.


The Magic

Magic is both important and hidden in the background in this story. It is a secret art that is looked down upon.

Though dragons are real, and the bonds between them are common, the use of magic itself is very limited.

Even when it is used, we don’t get much of an explanation of it. There are no hard set rules, but it is explained well enough that we understand what can be done.


The Final Thoughts

I love The Priory of the Orange Tree. I love the world, the characters, and I love Shannon’s writing style.

I don’t often come across books that seem to capture the human essence so well, and because of it I have gotten a hold of the rest of the books by Shannon.


What did you think of The Priory of the Orange Tree? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media.

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NetGalley eArc Review: The Jealousy of Jalice

Dear readers, this was my first ever approval from NetGally. I received an eArc of this book in return for an honest review.

When I went on NetGalley, I will be honest this was the first book I saw. I got swept up in the excitement and got instant approval for this book and started reading it right away.

Title: The Jealousy of Jalice
Author: Jesse Nolan Bailey
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In this dark fantasy, two women enact a scheme to overthrow a tyrant chief by first kidnapping his wife. The land and its people are corrupted. The Sachem, chief of the Unified Tribes, is to blame. It is this conviction that drives Annilasia and Delilee to risk their lives. Afraid of the aether magic he wields, they enact a subtler scheme: kidnap his wife. In her place, Delilee will pretend to be the chieftess and spy on the Sachem. Unaware of this plot against her husband, Jalice is whisked away by Annilasia. Pleading with her captor proves futile, and she rejects Annilasia’s delusional accusations against the chief. After all, the Sachem has brought peace to the land. Yet a dangerous truth hides in Jalice’s past. As she and Annilasia flee through a forest of insidious threats, they must confront the evil plaguing the tribes and the events that unleashed it.


I only really read this book whenever I was on the elevator or waiting for it. Since I take the elevator a minimum of eight times a day, and am able to read a minimum of three or four pages were elevator ride, I got through this book surprisingly quickly.

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I enjoyed the world that the book took place in. It seemed large and like I, as a reader, was only scratching the surface. There was so much more that we could discover if we just kept exploring.

I liked the idea of the story, but for some reason I don’t think it stuck with me very much. It’s not that the book itself was bad, but I never really found any moments that hooked me in.

There was nothing that turned me off of the book, it just sort of felt okay the whole time I was reading it.

I honestly don’t have much else to say, and it kind of upsets me because I spent a lot of time reading the book, but I don’t want to just tell you that everything was okay.

The characters were hit and miss. I wasn’t a fan of Jalice. Her writing seemed inconsistent to me, and she brought down some enjoyment for me. But other than that, most characters were okay.


To counteract the mediocre character development, I will admit that I liked the story’s premise; Jalice at first believing she has been kidnapped, then realizing the truth behind all the lies she has been told.

It was a different take on a fantasy story that I enjoyed, but there just wasn’t enough to save it for me.

I commend Jesse Nolan Bailey on writing this book. From what I’ve seen a lot of people enjoyed it, I just think it wasn’t the proper book for me, so in that sense I’d say my review is out of the norm.


What was your first eArc review? Did you enjoy it? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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TV Review: The Dragon Prince Seasons 1 – 3

Hello my dear readers, I hope things are going well with you. Being stuck inside has allowed me to cross off a few shows on my Netflix list, though I seem to add more shows than I finish watching.

I wanted something lighthearted and fun, with short episodes, and The Dragon Prince came across my radar. I had heard it had a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, so I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.

So, what did I think of it?

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Title: The Dragon Prince
Network: Netflix
Rating: ★★★★☆

In the magical land of Xadia, magic comes from six primal sources: the sun, moon, stars, sky, earth and ocean. When human mages create a seventh kind of magic — dark magic — they start capturing and harvesting the unique magical creatures they need as ingredients, which sparks a war between Xadia and the Human Kingdoms. Three kids from opposite sides of the conflict — two princes and an elven assassin sent to kill them — discover a secret that could change everything and decide to join forces and go on an epic journey. That trek could be their only hope of ending the war and restoring peace to both worlds.


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The Animation

It took me a while to get used to the animation style. One moment it looked really good, then the next it felt almost two dimensional. It was a different animation style than I was used to but by the end I ended up liking it. It actually had some moments that were really beautiful, and I think both the dragons and the elves were beautifully designed.

They had such unique characteristics and features, and you could see the tiniest differences between the different groups of elves.

I will also admit that the fights were “well choreographed”. I find a lot of animated fights look really good, but the ones in The Dragon Prince had a good flow to them. They never felt clunky or too fluid. It felt right.


The World

The main focus of the first three seasons is not very political at all. It’s much more adventure based with a nice touch of politics in the background. Despite that, I think The Dragon Prince does a good job of explaining the world dynamic. Not just the separation of the elf and human kingdoms, but the intricacies between those two sides as well.

What The Dragon Prince does really well is allow us to explore the magic system. There are six main different sources of magic, and then dark magic. With Callum wanting to be a mage, we really get to explore the intricacies of how it works and the strengths/limitations the system has. It gave me a lot of Avatar vibes when we got to see the magic system.


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The Story

This is my favourite part of The Dragon Prince, because it is so simple. It’s not an original story at all. A group needs to travel across the world to deliver something to a certain spot. We’ve seen it dozens of times, but there is a beauty in simplicity.

It is one of the best ways to tell a story in a fantasy world, because we get to explore the world alongside the main characters. The Dragon Prince did it really well, because there was a good amount of mystery, drama, thrill and action along the way.

It is one of the best ways to tell a story in a fantasy world, because we get to explore the world alongside the main characters. The Dragon Prince did it really well, because there was a good amount of mystery, drama, thrill and action along the way.


Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Dragon Prince. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I think the writers did a great job at making every episode so different from each other, but making sure they all tied together nicely.

What did you think of The Dragon Prince? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Hello dear readers. We continue our journey into the wizarding world with the third book in the Harry Potter franchise.

If you’ve missed the first two books in the series that I reviewed, then check them out here.

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Loss of Innocence

With the Prisoner of Azkaban, I felt like there was a loss of innocence for the Harry Potter franchise. The first two books, even with their tense action moments, were so lighthearted and fun. We were exploring the Wizard World as we went on adventures with Harry, and we got to see some really cool ideas pop out of Rowling’s head.

I will admit, that Rowling continues to impress me with her creativity with things throughout the series, but you can really tell that PoA is where the story isn’t about Harry discovering the magical world any more.

It instead becomes the beginning of a decades long war between good and evil, and all of the new characters we meet have a big role to play as the war progresses.


Voldemort Plot Thread

Voldemort is obviously the big bad guy throughout the series. Other than book 3, 5, and 6, he is the physical evil that must be beaten at the end of each books in some shape or form.

With PoA, we don’t get Voldemort any more, and to me that kind of sucks.

We think we get someone that betrayed the Potters and helped murder them – Sirius – but that’s not how it pans out.

Instead we get a glimpse at Pettigrew, who does betray the Potters, but we get almost no build up. No emotional connection. No hatred toward the man.

Sirius turning out to be a good guy was a bit of a twist that went off decently well. It wasn’t mind-blowing or anything, but I think it did a good enough job.

But the lack of Voldemort in this book is the most prevalent because in every other book we get Harry fighting against Voldemort or some of his followers. In PoA we get Harry proving that Sirius is innocent – which he doesn’t even manage to do.

It feels like a bit of a throwaway in terms of the overall plot structure. I think Rowling could have had the Sirius story line still tell the same story but as a sub-plot to something bigger.


Harry Still Kinda Sucks

Yes, I said it. Harry is a pretty shit wizard when it comes down to it. He’s really only good at three things. Being lucky, getting help, and being half-decent at casting two spells.

He would literally get nowhere without his pseudo-family and friends beside him, saving his lucky butt more than once a book.

I get he is the chosen one, and the symbol that he represents is almost as important if not more important than his abilities, but the guy could try a bit harder.

PoA is where Harry really suffers. Sure, he shows some good skills with Quidditch, but that has so little to do with the overall story that it really doesn’t matter.

If it wasn’t for the adults around him using him for the symbol that he is, and protecting him from most harm, Harry would have been dead during the first book, and at least a few times in every other book.


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What did you think of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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Ultimate Blog Tour: The Die of Death

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Title: The Die of Death (The Great Devil War II)
Author: Kenneth B. Andersen
Rating: ★★★★☆

Philip’s adventures as the Devil’s apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life.
But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death’s Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe.
Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way.

The Die of Death is volume 2 in The Great Devil War-series and winner of the ORLA-Award.

The Great Devil War-series is a humorous and gripping tale about good and evil, filled with biblical and historical characters, such as Judas, Goliath, and Pontius Pilate, as well as modern figures such as Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and many more.

Hello my dear readers, it is finally my stop on The Ultimate Blog Tour! For this tour, a bunch of us bloggers took a look at Book 2 in The Great Devil War series by Kenneth B. Andersen.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book, and immediately jumped at the opportunity to read the second book.

Before I begin, I just want to let you know that I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Shall we get going?


The Character of Phillip

Phillip comes off a bit juvenile in this book, maybe even a little more so than he did in the first one. I’m hit and miss on this aspect.

On one hand, it’s nice seeing a kid be a kid and have an innocent point of view. On the other hand, it almost seems fake, because that’s now what kids are like any more.

Though he seemed a bit predictable at times, I didn’t think any of his actions were too obvious that it ruined the book for me

I think Phillip knocked Satina out of the spotlight a bit, which isn’t necessarily bad, but she was one of the things I enjoyed about the series so far, and I wanted to see her a bit more this book.


The Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is something that I look for in books. It is one of the things that can easily turn me on or off to a book.

Andersen does a good job at worldbuilding, in my opinion. I think he did a great job in the first book, and kept that going in this book.

Though we are already somewhat familiar with Phillip’s world, we got a bit of a peak behind the curtains to Purgatory and Heaven in this book.


YA Category

Though I would consider this book Young Adult, it definitely is nearer middle years. Yes, it is a bit dark, but it comes off very child-like to me. If the dark aspect of the book wasn’t present, I think this book would definitely be middle years.

I don’t read a lot of YA these days, but I pick one up now and then, and it’s refreshing. They’re usually simple reads with interesting premises, so I enjoy exploring their pages.

This was definitely true for The Die of Death. It was a lot of fun diving deeper into the world that I enjoyed so much in the first book.


Slow and Steady Doesn’t Win the Race

Anderson’s pacing is one of his strengths when it comes to his writing. He seems to have mastered the pacing of the books in the series, knowing exactly when to press on the gas, and when to ease up just a little bit.

He makes it feel a bit stressful. Like there’s always something happening, and that the stakes are high.

This helps add to the connections you feel with the characters. You feel like they’ve achieved something, like they’ve failed or succeeded in their goals.


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If you do a little digging, it won’t be hard to find a bunch of other bloggers with reviews out there of this book. It was a lot of fun to read, and I can’t wait till I can get to book 3!

Let’s talk about The Die of Death in the comments, or on the social media!
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