Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: Be Frank With Me

Title Be Frank With Me
By Julia Claiborne Johnson
Genre Adult Contemporary
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

M.M. Banning  once wrote a best seller but for years has been holed up in her Beverly Hills Mansion. When she tells her literary agent she's working on something new he'll do anything to ensure she finishes her book. He'll even go so far as to send his assistant, Alice, to watch Banning's eccentric 9 year old. When Alice meets Frank, the eccentric 9 year old who she's in charge of and immerses her life in theirs, she'll never be the same.

First Sentence
"Mimi's Prickley," Isaac Vargas told me when he asked if I'd go to California to work for M.M. Banning while she wrote her long-awaited second novel.

I don't remember who read this one and reviewed it and made me want to read it or if anyone read and reviewed it that I saw. I just know it ended up on my TBR list and when I saw it come up on Overdrive on audio I promptly downloaded it and began to listen.

I laughed my way through most of this one. Frank's innocence and bluntness amused me and he wormed his way into my affections just as he did with the MC Alice.

Occasionally while reading I'd wonder just what exactly the plot of this one was, there wasn't much of one, but then I'd become too immersed in Frank's shenannigans to care.

While I found this one an all in all delightful read it wasn't perfect. Xander really annoyed me, that is, his relationship with Alice really annoyed me. I found it unnecessary and kept wondering why the author even threw it in.

So, while I'm not sure why I picked this one up, I'm glad I did. It was a great read and Frank was adorably frustrating in all the right ways.

Should you read it
Yes, it was well worth the laughs.     

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: All The Truth That's In Me

Title All The Truth That's In Me
By Julie Berry
Genre YA fiction
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Judith disappeared for two years.  She returned to her small town with her tongue cut out and unable to speak of where she's been. Her mother barely tolerates her presence, choosing instead to dote on Judith's brother Darrel. When their small town is attacked secrets about Judith's disappearance come to light. Now she must choose to stay quiet or find her voice and change her world forever.

First Sentence
You didn't come.  

First off, I have to say how much I hate the cover of this book. I actually think it's an awesome cover for what the story is about except for a few details. The girl has like twenty pounds of eye liner on and looks like she's in the present. Not so. This book takes place back in like the 1600s-ish. Why couldn't they use a picture of a Puritan girl instead of this modern looking girl? Whatever. The book I read just had a flower on the front but I'd seen this cover and was shocked when I found out it wasn't modern.

So, yeah, this book isn't modern. Moving on.

I think this strange little story was trying so hard to be important. A book about silencing a woman and the harm it can cause. If it was going for that, I felt like it should have been modern after all and not so literal. Cutting out the MCs tongue was overkill (for that particular message) in my opinion.

The story was too long. It just kept meandering along and making me keep questioning WHY the MC wasn't telling her story? Did I miss something? Oh well. I read this one for book club. Maybe after our discussion I'll have some different insights. For now I just found it too long and trying a little too hard.

Should you read it
If you do, maybe don't think about it so hard.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Flicks: Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express
Rating ★★

What It's About
Detective Poirot is finally retiring. Taking a train from his last case, he's looking forward to a relaxing journey reading Dickens but he boarded the wrong train. A murder takes place and it becomes apparent that the murderer is still on the train, Poirot must come out of retirement to solve the murder but this will be the strangest and most difficult case he's ever worked.

There was so much buzz about this one, am I right?! At first I thought it was because it has such a large and famous cast but then, silly me, I realized it was based on a book. An Agatha Christie book. Sorry. I never read her books. I couldn't get into them. Anyways, After realizing why it was so popular I decided to give it a try; I like a good mystery, after all.

And it definitely was a mystery. I tried very hard to guess what was going on but they did a very good job of keeping you guessing (if you hadn't already read the book) and I appreciated that. Of course, now I'm trying to figure out why you'd want to see this one if you read the book. If I hadn't been guessing what was going on the whole time I might have been bored.

I did guess what was going on, right before the big reveal but maybe that's what I was supposed to do. And what a strange reveal it was. Suddenly this murder mystery was trying to be all important with a moral question presented. Meh. I wasn't blown away.

The cinematography in this one was beautiful! Seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets nominated for an Oscar for that or at least costume design. It was a feast for the eyes. I loved it.

 Kenneth Branagh was a delight as usual. He was quite funny and you could tell he brought his personality into the directing.

All in all, I only found this one pleasing to watch for its cinematography. The mystery had me guessing but when all was revealed I was just left with a lot of questions.

Let's Talk
This movie really made me want to take a train ride on this kind of train minus the murder. Do these kind of trains even exist anymore? If not, I'm sad.

While I want to tell you to see its beauty on the big screen, you should probably just Redbox it or wait till it's on Netflix.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Fiendish

Title Fiendish
By Brenna Yovanoff
Genre YA Supernatural/Paranormal
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When Clementine was a child her mother and aunt dabbled in dirt magic, making cures and small spells for the local folk, but when strange things started to happen the towns people panicked. Clementine's home was burned to the ground and her mother was killed. Clementine was kept safe by magic but was locked in the cellar; trapped by willow roots and silenced she stayed that way for ten years, until a boy sets her free. Now she must come into her power and find out what happened in the past so she can save the future.

First Sentence
When I was little, everything twinkled.

I've only read one other book by Yovanoff and had only luke-warm feelings about it so I went into this one with pretty low expectations. Maybe that's why I ended up loving it so much.

The twisted magic of this one lent to a great atmosphere to start off with. Everyone in this crazy little town had a dark side that disturbed me. I think that's why I loved Clementine so much! She was so sweet and kind and forgiving and not in that annoying, too-good-to-be-true way. She was genuine and I adored her.

The story had me intrigued from page one. I wanted to know what in the world was going on. Were the fiends really bad? How did Clementine end up trapped in that cellar? Would the young teens be able to come together with their collective powers and stop another Reckoning? I wanted to know. I actually cared. It was great to be so invested.

I loved the satisfying ending and I love that Yovanoff writes stand-a-lones.

 Should you read it
 If you're looking for a exciting and unique page turner give this one a go.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Haunting Violet

Title Haunting Violet
By Alyxandra Harvey
Genre YA Supernatural/Paranormal
Rating ⭐️

Violet's mother has been masquerading as a medium Violet's whole life. They've worked their way up to being invited to a country estate for a spiritualist party. But when Violet starts actually seeing ghosts she wants nothing to do with them. The ghosts won't leave her alone, though and Violet finds herself dragged into the mystery of a murdered young girl.

First Sentence
A lady does not dance more than two dances with the same gentleman.

Oi! This one has been on my shelf for a long time. I finally decided to pick it up and proceeded to be incredibly disappointed.

I'm not sure if it was a mood thing or what but I had zero patience for the amateurish feel of the writing in this one. I actually thought it was a debut novel, it felt so unpolished, but, nope, the author has written lots of other books. Several of which were published before this one. Could have fooled me.

I also think I was expecting a more modern day setting but this takes place back in Victorian times. Maybe Edwardian times. I'm not sure. That little detail escaped my notice, like most of the details in this one. Yay! Maybe I won't remember how bad it was for long.

Filled with all the YA cliche's of its day I found this one trite and boring and had to give up half way through and skim to the end. Even the skimming was bad. I should have just set this one down 20 pages in when I could tell we weren't going to get along. Oh well.

Should you read it
I think my dislike of this one is personal. So go ahead and give it a shot if you think it's your cup of tea. Just don't expect me to show up to that tea party.