Orville Review: Jo’loja

Episode Title:  Ja’Loja  (2×01 Season Premiere)
Original Airdate:  December 30, 2018 on FOX (Watched on Hulu on January 20)
Grade:  A
Notable Guest Stars/Directors: 

Jason Alexander as Olix:  Alexander is most known for his role on Seinfeld. On Orville, he plays Olix the mess hall bartender.

Notable Quotes:
John:  Always go with one zipper more than what your comfortable with.


SPOILERS BELOW

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Bookit Review: Kiss & Make-Up

 Title:   Kiss & Make Up (Part 2 of the Bayfield High series)
Author: Madeleine Labitan
Publication:  June 11, 2018  (86 pages)
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Teen Romance
Rating:  C-ish
Bookit 2009 #5

This is the sequel to Labitan’s debut novel Truth or Dare,  and continues to take place in Bayfield High school.  This time around, the star is  Madison Cooper, the girlfriend Adam dumped for alleged cheating in the previous novella.  As Kenzie and Sean learned in that one, Maddie had in fact not cheated on Adam, and he spends this one trying to win her back.

This story is remarkably shorter then the first.  I’m wondering if perhaps all three novels were supposed to be a collection together rather than sold separately.   It takes over more time within in the novella, although it doesn’t have much of a driving plot other then “Adam tries to win Maddie back.”  Many of the minor characters aren’t developed enough to be interesting, which is fine as they don’t have anything really to do.  I wish the author could have the characters from the last novel in this one a little bit more to develop more of a connection and flow in the series.

I feel like this would have been better set as the b-plot in a combined novel.  Both the other novellas in this series were longer and had a bit more depth to them.

I ended up giving this a C-ish grade because I feel it could have been developed into a deeper story, or added to fill out one of the other novels.  It wasn’t horrible, just quick and lacking the development in full-length novels.

Bookit Review: Truth or Dare

Title:   Truth or Dare (Part 1 of the Bayfield High series)
Author: Madeleine Labitan
Publication:  February 27, 2018  (105 pages)
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Teen Romance
Rating:  Bish
Bookit 2009 #4

So this was recommended to me because I was reading the Scandalous series by R. Linda so I decided to try it out.  Its relatively short, and I was able to read it, and its two sequels in about 2 and half hours one morning.  So its definately one of those short-and-sweet novels. 
Because its so short, the action of the plot is relatively short.  I feel like this story had the promise of more, but hadn’t been given the time.  This entire story takes place over a couple hours for the most part at a teen party with underage drinking.  There is a slight element of ridiculous in the set up of the events, but I think they would be more forgivable if more happened.
In the first novel (of 3 I read) the main character is Kenzie, who spends half the novel helping her best friend enact  revenge for his cheating on her.  Cheating is a recurring element in these stories.  This story sets up the second book with that same theme.

Kenzie has a prank war with Sean, her love interest in this novella.  However after several mishaps over the night and getting stuck in the bathroom while his girlfriend cheats on him in the other room, Sean relates that he started the pranks as a way to get her attention.  
It’s hard to summarize this because its so short.  Its only around 90 pages long (the book has a bunch of samples at the end).  I think its a nice start, but could have used some more plot in the background.  On the other hand the angst side of things isn’t dragged out endlessly.  

I am going to give it a B-ish.  I feel that this author has potential, although she does have a problem with length.   Maybe in the future she can reissue this series with more backstory development and lengthen the story in general. Till then it almost seems like I’m grading something unfinished. That being said, if you have a wait somewhere and want to read something quick, this book could work for you. It didn’t make me want to (figuratively) throw my kindle in annoyance either.

Bookit Review: Christina & the Rebel Affair

 Title:  Christina and the Rebel Affair (Book 6 of the Scandalous Series)
Author: R. Linda
Publication:  October 16th 2018 217 pages
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  C
Bookit 2009 #3

Previously reviewed:  Bailey | Indie | Kenzie | Harper | Audrey

Oddly enough, this story actually does Audrey a better job then the book she starred in.  We see more of the after effects of her trauma, and how those around her help her deal with it.  The leading lady of this novel is Christina, however, who is a call back from Bailey’s novel.  In Bailey’s novel, Christina had been her best friend who betrayed her by sleeping with Bailey’s boyfriend Chace and then being completely horrible to her. 

This book brings her back as supposedly having grown up and become a better person.  She meets Bennett over spring Vacation and the two hit it off only to find out that Christina is Bennett’s teacher after taking over for Bailey when the later is going on Maternity leave.  The problem with this book, beyond being a little weird with the teacher/student thing is that it almost seems like the author can’t decide if Christina is supposed to be likable or not.  Bennett on the other hand seems almost too good.  He’s made out to be the perfect friend and perfect “boyfriend” material.  In the end I don’t really find myself interested in either of them, more interested in the already established characters, particularly Bailey and Ryder who were in the first book.  Audrey and Bennett’s relationship is basically in a weird status where they are best friends but also perhaps a bit codependent and perhaps not healthy for any of their other relationships.

The book also alludes to the return of the villain of the series Chace in a future book.   My guess is Jack might be the next leading character for the series, but we will see.  Nothing has popped up so far so it looks to be still in production.

My final grade is C.  I feel this book could have had a bit more depth to it, and it could have gone further then just the last couple chapters in showing how Christina had changed.  Also, there is references to things that aren’t really fleshed out that perhaps could have been to make Christina’s motivations more clear. 

Bookit Review: Audrey & The Hero Upstairs

Title: Audrey and the Hero Upstairs (Scandalous Series #5)
Author: R. Linda
Publication Date: July 31st 2018 216 pages
Edition: Kindle (Via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre: Romance
Bookit 2009 #2

Rating: C+

(previously reviewed: Bailey | Indie | Kenzie | Harper )

This is one of the series I think I always imagine I liked better when I see a new book comes out and I end up reading it and realising it wasn’t as good. In this book, the focus changes to Audrey, the woman who in a previous book Nate & Brody saved from a devastating house fire that killed her family. Audrey has a lot of issues to deal with which is apparently is something that disappears once you have a boyfriend. I imagine that was not what the author intended to get across (given what I have read in the next book) but I feel like Audrey’s book should have dealt more with her helping herself by getting help for her issues rather then the awkward relationship with Brody.

I did not hate this book. It was a light read, and I didn’t find anything particularly bad to complain about other then it focusing more on the idea of the relationship solving things. But this a romance, so I’m going to excuse it for the moment. I do have to admit that given Audrey’s age and her trauma, some of the other character reactions seem a little unbelievable. Like her foster parents being okay with everything. But this novel is only 216 pages, so perhaps the length is part of the reason some of this wasn’t developed more.

But then again, the next book in the series is about A student/teacher relationship (he’s 18 at least). I think perhaps it is time to either end the series or focus on the couples already in the series.

Also maybe just retcon the fact that it takes place in California, because over the course of the series it was clear the author was not from California. Or the United States. This story has people handing an 18 year old a glass of wine like its no big deal (which I honestly agree with, but its against the law in the US). I’ve read a bit of the next book and it has someone offering a 18 year old free beer as an incentive to work at his establishment, which would probably cause him to lose his license to sell liquor. (I’m not entirely sure about CA’s laws but its likely). Had it not expressed in the first book that it was California It probably wouldn’t throw me so much when I read it. It’s not necessarily something that would stop me from reading but it stops the flow when I do read it.

So my end assessment is that it was okay – but not going on my greatest hits list.

Bookit Review: Drums of Autumn

 Title: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre:  Romance/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Published:  December 30th 1996 (1088 pages)
Edition:  Kindle 
Rating:  C

(Previously reviewed:  Outlander | Dragonfly in Amber | Voyager)

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New Years 2019

So its a new year, and I’m going to try and start anew myself here on the blog.  Many things will continue, such as the history essays and the book reviews.   I’m going to try and post three days a week, Monday Wednesday and Friday.  I’ll probably reassess this in March and see how well I have done keeping that goal.

Once again this year I’ll be doing the Bookit Challenge.  Every year I attempt to read (and review!) 50 books.   I have several books on the “To Read” pile but I’m always up for suggestions! On Friday except my first review of the year for Outlander’s Drums of Autumn.  I am also debating about using a seperate blog for movie/tv reviews or not so you may see some sprinkled into the lineup as well.  Particularly Orville, since I reviewed that last season on this blog.

I’ll also be doing more history essays (requests can be taken) but I have no schedule for those.  I realised that I failed a bit on those last year by rushing the research and getting several only have done.  I am hoping that at least the WOH essays will happen once a month.

I also intend on doing more writing exercises like I did several years back.  So expect some short stories relating to prompts or just me attempting to write for so many words or so many minutes.  A clean up of old posts is also in the works to streamline this blog and make it easier to navigate (as well as get rid of some of the earlier writing posts that are posted elsewhere).

I hope everyone has a brilliant 2019!!