Friday, March 23, 2012

Movie Review: "October Baby"

Release Date in Theaters: 3.23.12

Tagline: "Every Life is Beautiful."

File:Theatrical release poster for film "October Baby".jpg

Official Summary:

"You saw me before I was born." Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah—unscripted—collapses in front of the stunned audience.
After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt.
Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future.
In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

I had the privilege of attending a pre-release screening of this movie. Forget negative reviews saying that it's overly preachy in the Christian sense or the anti-abortion sense. Any Christian themes are woven into the story in a subtle, relevant, and very real way that doesn't beat you over the head. The abortion issue deals with the fact that the main character, Hannah, is a survivor of a failed abortion and how she deals with this revelation. It's simply Hannah's story, not just an abortion story.

The production of this film had me in awe. Everything was so beautiful, and the actors they chose were brilliant. There were times I truly laughed hard and other times I teared up, held my breath, or smiled because it was just that good. The relationships were real, the romance sweet, and the outcome worth it. October Baby is a lovely and powerful story of one young woman's search for who she really is, and I highly recommend it.

*This movie is rated PG-13, but only because of the subject matter dealing with abortion.

Official Website:

View the trailer and two scenes from the movie below (the beach scene with Hannah and her childhood friend, Jason, is one of my favorites :-) ).


Scene #1, "Wrong Turn":

Scene #2, "On the Beach":

Monday, March 19, 2012

Novel Teen Blog Tour: "Halflings" by Heather Burch


"Everyone is in the middle of this war, Nikki. Humans, Halflings, and angels--both fallen and heavenly. You've ignored the battle for seventeen years, but something on the inside of you knows my words are true. You're in a war and it's time to choose a side. If you don't, a side is chosen for you."

Nikki Youngblood has become a prime target in a supernatural war. She's strong and feisty, but those character traits won't save her from the mysterious evil that's bent on hunting her down for some unknown purpose. However, she's not in this fight alone. Nikki has three Halfling--half-human/half-angel--young men sent to protect her. There's innocent, adorable Vine; brooding, complex Raven; and good, protective Mace. As events begin to rapidly unfold, not only the lives, but the hearts and souls, of Nikki and the three Halfling brothers, also known as "The Lost Boys," are at stake.

I'm a huge sucker for anything Peter Pan, and Halflings by Heather Burch has a sort of darker Peter Pan feel with a "Wendy" character and the "Lost Boys" who live in their own type of "Never Neverland."  To be honest, I was a bit wary about the whole "half-angel/half-human" plot, but I believe the author handled it really well. It could almost be viewed in a allegorical sense with the whole sin nature vs. heavenly nature choice.

I was also a bit nervous about the love triangle. I'm not a huge fan of those, but I thought the Mace/Nikki/Raven love triangle was handled pretty well. It was frustrating and addicting at the same time. One moment I would be "Oh, it's sooo obvious she's going to be with him" then "Oh, well, no, maybe it's this guy..." I could totally relate to Nikki's love and confusion over both guys, because even I would really love Mace one moment then all of the sudden be highly irritated with him, or would want to punch Raven one minute and then hug him the next. I have no idea who Nikki is going to choose, which I believe shows some pretty dang good writing on the author's part.

One part of the writing did bother me though. Often when the story switched scenes, it was kind of choppy or abrupt. At one point, I had to pause and turn back a few pages to figure out how one character came to a certain conclusion. Halflings also raised many unanswered questions that left me a bit unsatisfied, like I was reading only half a novel, but the questions also made me even more eager to read the next books. Since this is Heather's first book, the first book in a series, and the story is just plain intriguing and fun, these things are easily forgiven, and the second book is already on my to-be-read list.

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Fantasy/Romance
Ages: 15 and up
Pages: 286
Publication Date: January 2012

*I would like to thank the publisher and author for sending me an Advanced Reading Copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

There are alot of fun goodies that go along with Halflings! Check out:

"In this illustrated prequel to the Halflings trilogy, written by Heather Burch, Mace and Raven are given a mission to stop a catastrophic event. With his halfling abilities still untapped, Vine is allowed to join the mission, but only as a spectator. The clock is ticking and the tragedy is proving difficult to stop. Will Vine be able to sit back and watch, or will the power of heaven unleash just in time?"

  • Become a member of The Halflings Network. This is a fun website where anyone can get connected with the world of Halflings.
Guardian: They Chose to Protect Her. But Forgot to Guard Their Hearts.

  • The second novel in the "Halflings" series is called Guardian and will be released in October 2012.                                                                        (Isn't the cover simply gorgeous?!)

  • Finally, check out the Halflings book trailer:

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Halflings by Heather Burch by clicking on the links below, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Review: "The Lady of Bolton Hill" by Elizabeth Camden

The Lady of Bolton Hill

Clara was not precisely sure what the future held for them, but of one thing she was certain: Daniel Tremain was the best friend she had ever had, and no distance or class or circumstance would ever tear them apart.

Wealthy, timid Clara Endicott and poor, confident Daniel Tremain have been best friends ever since they discovered a common love for music when they were just children. Just as their friendship is on the cusp of blooming into something more, Clara's father ships her off to England. Seperated by time, space, and misunderstanding, Clara and Daniel's paths merge again twelve years later. Daniel is now a bitter, wealthy businessman, and Clara is an independent, crusading journalist. The old spark and connection is still there, but is it enough to sustain the two changed individuals?

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden is a fun, historical, romantic, and surprising ride. Several chapters in, a new character is introduced: Alexander "Bane" Banebridge, and the story takes a sudden twist that had me going, "Whoa! What?" I was a little skeptical how this storyline would work with the main one, but the way the author connects the two made me love the story even more and had my jaw hanging open a few times. I never knew what was going to happen next. And, can I just say, Bane is now one of my all-time favorite book characters. ;-)

Just as a warning for younger readers, there are mentions of opium use, which is not looked at favorably in the story, as well as some violence and other situations hinted or mentioned as happening to some characters off-screen and a couple times on-screen (though these aren't very graphic). These scenes serve a purpose, however, and I believe were necessary in understanding a certain character.

While reading The Lady of Bolton Hill I often wanted to wince, smile broadly, or face-palm myself at some of the things the characters did, but I think that's part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. The clever, realistic individuals are people I was rooting for until the very end.

Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian/Romance
Ages: 16 and up
Pages: 331
Publication Date: 2011

*I was ecstatic (literally, I did a mini happy dance in my room) to discover that Alexander "Bane" Banebridge's story is going to be continued in October 2012. This spin-off of The Lady of Bolton Hill is titled Against the Tide.