Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: Finnikin of the Rock

Title Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)
By Melina Marchetta
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️

Synopsis
Since the royal family was killed and a usurper put on the thrown, Finnikin and his guardian have been outcasts from their beloved home. When Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, an arrogant and strange women who claims to know where the long lost prince is, he'll begin the journey of a lifetime.

First Sentence
When it finally appeared in the distance, Finnikin wondered if it was some phantom half-imagined in this soulless kingdom at the end of the world.

I've been wanting to read this book for ages! I love Marchetta's books and was eager to see her take on the fantasy genre. Why I didn't pick it up sooner, I don't know. I guess that's what you get when you have hundreds of books on your TBR list. Anywho, my book club decided to read it so I finally picked it up.

I don't know if it was timing, my mood, or a lackluster story but this one was a no go for me. Fantasy is pretty formulaic and that's OK. I get it. It's what I expect when I pick up the genre but I guess I was expecting Marchetta to bring something new to the table or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a fantasy but I was really unimpressed and had to drag my way through this one. It didn't help that I was trying to read it on vacation on the Oregon coast and, well, look at that view! It's hard to focus when the water is right there!

My other beef with this one was how much I disliked the two main characters. Finnikin was one of those overprotective annoying guy's I can't stand and Evanjalin was such a little snob. I really had to contain myself from reaching into the book and backhanding her!

So, yeah, I guess this one just wasn't a match for me. There's no telling if I would have like it if I'd read it at a different time so I just have to go off my impressions today and they weren't good. Not good at all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #6


Hi! I haven't done one of these boring posts for awhile! So just in the nick of time, here you go.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming 
(On TV now)



Season finales have happened, people. Let's talk.

 Jane The Virgin
What. The. Actual. F#&*! Did you guy's see this? I can't even! Mind blown! Why?! Why did it end that way? My only hope is that we have a long lost twin on our hands cause I just can't handle it!!!

9-1-1
Much less of a cliffhanger here. I do hope this series gets picked up for season two. It's completely ridiculous but I kinda like it.

The Good Doctor
This one had me choking up. I couldn't have handled watching poor Sean lose one more person in his life. This one better be coming back!

The Resident
I was SOOOOOOO happy to watch stupid Dr. Hunter get dragged off by the FBI. She's the biggest Beotch! If this one comes back next season I'll be watching. What can I say? I'm a sucker for medical dramas...even if they are all the same.

Netflix

I've been watching The Chalet thanks to Greg's recommendation and liking it. If you like mysteries and can handle subtitles you should check it out.

I'm still working through season two of Jessica Jones but sadly am taking forever.

Aaaaaand that's all I have to report on. This is my busy time of year taking care of too many yards so I never have as much time as I want. The heat does drive me inside though so hopefully I can catch up on my ridiculously long Netflix watch list. That being said, I probably won't be doing too many of these posts during the summer. see how much faith I have in myself?)  But you never know, miracles do happen.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review: Bitterblue

Title Bitterblue (Graceling Realms #3)
By Kristin Cashore
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Bitterblue has an overwhelming responsibility on her hands as the queen of a people ruled by a madman for 35 years. As she struggles to become the kind of queen her mother wanted of her she'll have to rely on her friends and her own intuitiveness to succeed.

First Sentence
Queen Bitterblue never meant to tell so many people so many lies.



I read Graceling, the first book in this series, ages ago when it first came out and Fire, the second book, not long after it's release. It took me six years to read this one after it's release. I even reread the first two in December to refresh my memory. I don't know why it took so long to get to this one, though, it was a perfect ending.

It was slow and a tad long but I loved ever minute of it. Watching Bitterblue maneuver the politics of her kingdom and her heart was a delight.

I enjoyed the return of old characters, especially Po and loved how it all came together and ended satisfactorily.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Review: Being Friends With Boys

Title Being Friends With Boys
By Terra Elan Mcvoy
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Charlotte has been friends with Oliver forever. Writing lyrics for his band and hanging out with him and Abe and Trip has been a blast but when Trip drops out of the band and things start changing dramatically. Will Charlotte be able to handle the changes or will she lose her friends forever.

First Sentence
I'm on the way up the stairs to my locker Monday morning when Abe down the other direction.



I did the absolute worst job with that synopsis. I apologize. This book has so much going on in it that's it's hard to capture it all in a tiny little synopsis. First of all, just know, that that cover is the worst pick for this book. It captures nothing that the book is about.

And I really liked this book. It wasn't the greatest thing I've ever read but it was very character driven and there was a lot of drama happening that both delighted and entertained me.

I love a book that can just keep me in the present and not have me thinking ahead to what might happen or who will end up with whom etc. This book was perfect that way. I was totally enmeshed in the story and the characters and am very interested in trying more books by this author now. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Review: Sometimes I Lie

Title Sometimes I Lie
By Alice Feeney
Genre Adult Psychological Thriller
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
When Amber wakes up in a hospital she has no memory of how she got there. Even worse she's not really awake. She can hear everything going on around her but she's in a coma and can't talk or move. Alternating between one week before her accident and the present the truth slowly unfolds.

First Sentence
I've always delighted in the free fall between sleep and wakefulness.



Maybe you've heard of this one? It's fairly popular in the world of psychological thrillers made popular by the likes of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I find these to either be a hit or a miss for me.

Sadly, this one was a miss. I just don't get why people are raving about it. It was OK and I didn't see a few things coming but I did see enough to be unimpressed.

At one point I was listening and a huge reveal came but I was at at a restaurant ordering food so I paused it and then just sat there, my mind coming up with this really awesome way the story could go and how mind blowing it would be. Then I started listening again. Nope. It went some predictable boring way and I was left feeling disappointed.

On the bright side I have an awesome idea for a psychological thriller if I could make myself actually write it.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers

Title Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers (Georgia Nicolson #6)
By Louise Rennison
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Georgia is back and this time she's traveling to America with her family. Maybe she can find her latest love interest Masimo.

First Sentence
Sun shining like a big yellow shining....er, warmey planet on fire thing.






I always read one of these during the read-a-thon but didn't manage to get to more than a few pages in. I decided to go ahead and finish it anyway.

This is the first time a book in this series had a little more depth to it and I loved it. Georgia is growing up and I'm loving watching it.

These books are great for a laugh and some cute romance but rarely have much depth to them so if you ever read them just go into them for some fun.

The ending of this one was a bit of a cliffhanger so I might have to read the next book sooner than intended.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Review: Drama

Title Drama
By Raina Telgemeier
Genre Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Callie loves the theater and is working on the new set design for her school's latest production, Moon Over Mississippi. Crushes, heartbreak and drama ensue.

First Sentence
"Do you think Mr. Madera will let me operate the spotlight again?"



For someone who isn't a big graphic novel fan, I love Telgemeier's books. They're so relatable and I'm not even the intended audience!

When I was young I acted in a few plays and, boy oh boy, did I have some serious crushes. I could totally relate to this one. It's my new favorite of hers.

As usual the art was wonderful and I couldn't put it down. I read it in one sitting, not that that's hard, but still.

Very fun story. I'd highly recommend Telgemeier for anyone trying to get into graphic novels.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Wrap-Up 2018


April was a busy month for me. With the concrete poured we got to start putting patio furniture in but that meant assembly which was a big headache. Plus it looks like spring is finally here and so we've had to start mowing at our rentals so....yeah, I'm crazy busy and when I get busy I often don't feel like reading in my downtime. So I didn't read that much this month. Dewy's 24 Hour Readthon helped me get two more books under my belt though.

Our new swing, Cliff has made himself at home, and the new fence on the north side of the house

Pergola minus the fire pit.  I'll get complete pictures one day
So there's a few pictures of the backyard for you. Now onto the books.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Optimists Die First by Susan Nielsen, Daughter of the Sun by Zoe Kalo, My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood, Ross Poldark by Winston Graham and Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Favorite of the month with five stars was Optimists Die First. Least Favorites was Daughter of the Sun.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Review: Daughter of the Sun

Title Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1)
By Zoe Kalo
Genre YA Paranormal/Supernatural
Format ebook
Rating

Synopsis
Trinity has only known life at the convent. She was dropped there days after her birth. When a grandmother pops out of the woodwork she's whisked away from the only life she's ever known to a world of magic, wealth, boys and cats. But something sinister is going on in her grandmother's house and as Trinity comes into her powers she'll have to put a stop to it.

First Sentence
Goosebumps snaked up my spine. 


*I received a copy of Daughter of the Sun from the great people at Author Assistant.* 

I agreed to read this one because I'm holding out the hope that someone someday will write a fun Egyptian based story.

Daughter of the Sun, sadly, wasn't that book for me. I felt like the story took way too long to get going and was incredibly predictable from nearly the first pages. I knew every twist and turn that was coming and not once found myself surprised which was a huge let down.

The book was edited cleanly but I felt like the story was one I'd heard a million times with all the cliches you'd expect.

I feel bad because I really wanted to like this one but I only found it and OK read. Sadly, I won't be continuing on with the series.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Read-a-Thon 2018


It's here again! As you can tell from my post coming up 4 hours into the read-a-thon, I'm woefully under prepared. I just woke up, actually. What?! It's Saturday! No, I'm actually a horrible participant. I just read when I get up till I go to bed. One of these days I'll try to pull the full 24 hours but today is not that day.

I have my books and my snacks and my kitties, though so I think I'm good. I won't be updating here on the blog but you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Let's do this thing!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Utah. USA.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
A book I added to the stack later. Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan Mcvoy, It's been on my TBR forever! 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Honestly? I just want to go eat the muffins I got for breakfast.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Married to the most awesome man ever, no kids, and constantly remodeling or working on some project. 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I've participated numerous times, though I didn't participate 6 months ago. I doubt I'll do too much different. Just try to read, read, read! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: My Sister's Bones

Title My Sister's Bones
By Nuala Ellwood
Genre Adult suspense
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Kate never wanted to return to her hometown. The place holds nothing but bad memories but when her mother dies she has to return to her old home, her alcoholic sister and the memories. On the first night of her stay in her old home she hears a horrible scream and sees a little boy in the neighbors yard but the neighbor claims to have no children. Is Kate losing her mind or is something much more sinister going on?

First Sentence
"Would you like me to repeat the question?"

These books are really gaining in popularity: Suspenseful mysteries with an unreliable narrator. I couldn't resist this one and it was available on Overdrive so I dove right in.

I was going through a bit of a non reading mood and I couldn't tell if it was that or if the beginning was really that slow because I had a hard time getting into it. There were tons of typos too and I was under the impression this was published by a traditional publisher but it felt more self published and messy.

Still, I started to get into it about half way through and while I saw one big twist coming, I didn't see the other. I like when these books catch me by surprise.

While I didn't find this one as great as I wanted to, I found it entertaining enough but I doubt I'll be checking anything else out by this author.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: Optimists Die First

Title Optimists Dies First
By Susan Nielsen
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
A tragedy in Petula's past has made her see danger everywhere she looks. Forced to take an art therapy course to deal with her  issues she's trying to fly under the radar. But when Jacob joins the art class and ruffles her calm existence she'll have to face her fears.

First Sentence
The first time I saw the Bionic Man I was covered in sparkles.




This one has been on my radar since it's release last year. I'd heard good things. So when I needed something cute and quick I downloaded a copy and started to listen. These are my favorite types of stories: Cute and romantic while also having issues the characters are dealing with.

I listened to this one all in one go and found it absolutely perfect. There were things about the characters I didn't understand or relate to but I was perfectly happy to join them in their journey.

Because I listened to this one in one sitting I was afraid it wouldn't stick with me but I the characters are so memorable, even the side characters, that I still remember each of them and still love them all.

If I had to complain I might say everything wrapped up too cleanly but after looking at it again I don't think that's true. This is one of those books I don't  just want to recommend but push on everyone I know. So go! Read it!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: Ross Poldark

Title Ross Poldark (Poldark #1)
By Winston Graham
Genre Adult Classic
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Ross Poldark arrives home to Cornwall from the war to find his father has passed away and the girl he loved married to his cousin. Trying to get his father's house and copper mine back in order he tries to deal with his grief.

First Sentence
It was windy.





Another book club read. I've seen  season one of the TV series and had so much fun ogling Aiden Turner that I was eager to read and compare the book. Sadly, I found the book so similar to the series that I couldn't find a reason to read it. In fact, I struggled so much that I finally just downloaded the audio and listened to it while working.

Listening helped make it go faster. I found it so similar that I could zone out at points and quickly orient myself when I started paying attention again. I know, I know! That's awful of me. I didn't hate the book I just found it a bit boring when compared to the show.

There were some differences, of course, but nothing so monumental that I could justify reading the book. I guess what I'm saying is, just watch the show and ogle Aiden Turner and skip the book.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

March Wrap-Up 2018

March has come and gone and hopefully it took the snow with it. Remember how my backyard is getting redone? Well, the last day in March they poured new concrete! It's coming together now. I'm super excited!




It's looking good, right? AND I read 11 whole books! I'm super happy about this.

The Five Thieves of Happiness by John B Izzo, Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, Summerlost by Ally Condie, Pivot Point by Kasie West, I Liked my Life by Abby Fabiaschi, Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Geekerella by Ashley Poston, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

I think I liked pretty much all of them this time! Top rated were, I Liked My Life, The Upside of Unrequited and The Five Thieves of Happiness. Nothing less than three stars so I think it's safe to say there's no bad ones here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Geekerella

Title Geekerella
By Ashley Poston
Genre YA Contemporary Romance
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Elle lives with her step mom and sisters and works in a food truck that sells pumpkin flavored everything. She misses her dad and the bond they shared over Starfield, an old TV show with a crazy fandom. When Hollywood decided to reboot the old TV show into a movie and casts Hollywood's boy toy Darien Freeman, Elle is furious. What would a egotistical set of abs know about her beloved Starfield? When she sees a cosplay contest at the famous Excelsicon with a cash prize and a ticket to LA for the movie premier as the prize, Elle sees her chance to escape.

First Sentence
The stepmonster is at it again.

I've heard great things about this one and I'm always up for a fairytale retelling so when this one came up on Overdrive on audio I snatched it up.

I like retellings but I always want the author to make the story their own with enough uniqueness to make it worth reading. While I didn't feel like this one was quite unique enough, I liked it.

It was cute and fun and just plain adorkable. I loved that Elle and Darien got to know each other before they met so it wasn't just stupid instalove. We all hate that, am I right? I also loved that the "coach" was a food truck. Did I already say adorkable?

The writing was good and the characters relatable but I do wish that the story took a few more obvious deviations from the original story than it did. Oh well. I'd still recommend it and don't regret reading it one little bit.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: Pivot Point

Title Pivot Point (Pivot Point 1)
By Kasie West
Genre YA Supernatural Romance
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
As a Searcher, Addie can look into the future and see the outcome of her choices. But choosing whether to accept a date from the cute guy that asks you out or not is nothing compared to the choice she's facing now. Her parents are divorcing and she has to choose who she'll live with.

First Sentence
"Heads up," a loud voice called from my right.




I've been meaning to read this book since it's release five years ago. Whoops! I also wanted to read it because Kasie West now seems to be writing strictly YA contemporary romance. I read The Fill-In Boyfriend and liked it well enough but thought maybe since this one, and its sequel, have a supernatural element to them, I might like them better.

Sadly this one still focused a little too strongly on the romantic side of things. I could have happily accepted that considering I couldn't stop turning pages and had zero qualms about the writing style but the supernatural elements has some logistical problems that took away from my overall enjoyment.

I'm still going to read the sequel and sooner rather than later but I'm hoping it improves on the supernatural side of things. As for the romance?..Kasie West seems to have that down to an art.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Flicks: Unsane

Unsane
★★★

What It's About
The unsettled victim of a stalker, Sawyer reaches out to a therapist and gets committed to a mental health hospital. As if things couldn't get any worse the stalker has gotten a job there. Starting to question her own sanity, Sawyer fights to survive.













I debated with myself about whether to review this one or not. I'm guessing most of you haven't heard of it??? But I decided to go ahead any way. I was very excited to see it since I love psychological thrillers and the entire movie was shot with an iphone so I was curious.

I had a few disappointments with this one. First, my iphone won't do half the things this one did. Night vision video? What the hell?! Come on! I guess I should get the iphone X if I want that feature. ;)

My real disappointment was that the previews lead you to believe that you're going to be trying to decide if Sawyer is actually sane or not. I don't know why they marketed it that way. There was never any doubt in my mind that she was sane. They should have just marketed it for what it was. A twisty, disturbing tale of a girl held against her will in the one place where no one will believe her.

So if you decide to go see this one, just go into knowing she's perfectly sane and it makes the unfairness of it all so much more disturbing and creepy.

Claire Foy was quite different than she is in The Crown and even puts on a passable american accent. Her stalker, Joshua Stine did an excellent job of being maddeningly creepy.

Besides feeling a bit too long, I enjoyed this one.

Let's Talk
Why do movies and even books often mislead us in their advertising? It's so annoying!

Recommendation
You don't have to pay full price at the theater but it's worth renting from Redbox or Amazon and enjoying a chilling thrill ride in the comfort of your home.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review: I Liked My Life

Title I Liked My Life
By Abby Fabiaschi
Genre Adult Fiction
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Alternating narratives from a husband, his daughter, and the wife and mother that committed suicide tell the story of a women who watches her family from the other side deal with their grief and  determines to find the perfect replacement for herself.

First Sentence
I found the perfect wife for my husband.





I just couldn't resist this one. A story about a woman who committed suicide and is trying to find the perfect replacement from the other side?  Add the seemingly untrue title and that bizarre cover and I'm in.

There's nothing quite as wonderful as fully met expectations. Am I right? Life is full of disappointments and unmet expectations so I always try to keep mine low. But I often find myself getting way too excited for a book. I get the whole thing so worked up in my mind that by the time I read it I'm usually left deflated and unsatisfied. For the first time in a long time I went into a book with freakishly high expectations and was absolutely delighted to find them met.

I really loved this book. It was exactly what I wanted. It met my criteria trifecta of great writing, great characters and great story AND won the coveted fifth star that determines a new favorite that I'll definitely be rereading.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Title The Upside of Unrequited
By Becky Albertalli
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Molly knows all about unrequited love, she's had twenty-six crushes in her 17 years. None of her crushes ever knew about her fondness for them because the other thing about Molly is she keeps herself very guarded and never puts herself out there for rejection. When her twin sister Cassie begins to fall in love, Molly finds herself feeling slightly left behind and decided it might be time to put herself out there at last.

First Sentence
I'm on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I'm wondering how mermaids pee.

Just the title of this one had me wanting to read it. I grew up knowing a thing or two about unrequited love. What I didn't expect was to find myself so closely relating to the MC in more ways than the above mentioned.

This one had a shaky start for me. I haven't read any other of Alberalli's books but I'm aware she always has all the politically correct characters covered. But this one started out feeling like maybe she was trying TOO hard??? Every type of LGBA was included all races were included and the MC is even overweight. It just started feeling more like walking on eggshells than writing a story. Does that make sense?

But then we get into the story. And what a story! I related so much to Molly! It's not even that we had too much in common but I just fell in love with this girl and felt all her feels so deeply that I was sobbing at one point. I couldn't finish the book fast enough to make sure everything turned out OK.

The whole cast of  "politically correct" characters were so dang memorable and I fell in love with them all. Reid is my new book boyfriend and Abby is my new best friend. Loved it!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

Title Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
By Judy Blume
Genre Middle grade/coming of age
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
When Margaret's family moves from New York to New Jersey she's anxious to fit into her new group of friends. They've formed a club to talk about boys, bras and getting their first periods. None of her new friends can believe she doesn't go to any church but why does Margaret need religion? She's been talking to God her whole life.

First Sentence
We moved on the Tuesday before Labor Day.




Can you believe I've never read a Judy Blume book? This used to be a much bigger deal than it is now, believe me. My mom was never a fan of Judy Blume so I was "forbidden" from reading them. I could have if I wanted, I guess, but I never cared enough to bother.

So I decided I'd see what they were like and why my mom hated them so much. I think I must be imagining me mom's loathing for them because there was nothing in this book my mom would have cared about.

Yes, it's a coming of age book and it talks about all the things little girls reaching puberty think about: Getting bigger chests, starting their periods and first time crushes but I didn't find anything too shocking in these pages...unless you find it shocking that a girl would actually WANT to start her period. Because, yeah, I do find that a tad bit shocking.

This one was well written and entertaining even for someone my age but I did find it very dated. The lack of technology and the references to party games etc. stood out.  I don't think young girls from today's generation will relate to it very well.

And then there's the whole religion thing. I actually loved that Margaret was raised without religion and that she tried different churches but had her own personal relationship with God.

Nothing mind blowing or overly special but this one was cute and I enjoyed it.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Flicks: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time
Rating

What It's About
(Jenny style) A father and mother scientist have this idea that one can travel through the time and space with just your mind. People laugh at them. Then the father goes missing and hasn't been seen for four years and his daughter, Meg, grows increasingly angsty while her younger brother, Charles Wallace,  who probably can't even remember their father acts a thousand years older than he really is. Then this neighbor kid, Calvin, shows up and these crazy ladies with way too much makeup show up too and bring them into another world to find Meg's father. And of course, because OF COURSE, Oprah Winfrey plays The Universe. *eye roll*



 I'm almost 99% sure that if I'd taken LSD or at least gotten really drunk before watching this one I would have loved it...that, or ended up under the theater chair on the sticky ground rocking back and forth humming Ingrid Michaleson's Be OK.

Either way it would have been better than watching this one stone cold sober and wondering what in the hell I was watching.

Before you lash out at me I feel like I should explain. My mom and sister tried for most of my childhood to get me to read the books this movie was based on and I tried but I could NOT get into it. After watching the movie I remembered why I couldn't get into the books. This story doesn't even make sense. At least not in THIS movie. You can't just take a bunch of people, plaster twenty pounds of makeup, glitter and sequins on them throw in a bunch of CGI and pretend it's a deep and entertaining story. It's not.

I rolled my eyes so many times in the movie I got a headache. I had to fiercely apologize to my husband for making him go see it too. But, hey, at least there was popcorn.

Let's Talk
Oprah as The Universe? Really?

Recommendation
Honestly, just skip it, if you must see it, wait till it's free. Don't spend a dime of your hard earned money.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: A Monster Calls

Title A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
Genre YA fiction
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
The monster showed up just after midnight. 

I've been wanting to read this one forever but I knew it was going to be sad and hard to read, especially since my mother died of cancer.  I finally picked it up and flew through it. 

I loved the way this book captured grief. I loved it how so perfectly captured a 13 year old boy. I loved the fantasy/symbolic nature of the monster and how well it just worked. 

It wasn't as hard to read about as I thought (considering my mother) but it was hard. It's sad to watch anyone deal with the awful soul crushing grief of a loved one having cancer but watching a 13 year old deal with it broke my heart. 

I felt like the book still manages to end on a peaceful note and not leave you completely devastated which I was very grateful for. Highly recommend this one! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review: A Man Called Ove

Title A Man Called Ove
By Fredrik Backman
Genre Adult Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Ove's lived a good life he had a good job a good car and a wonderful wife. When he loses his wife  and then his job he decides he's done and it's time to join his wife. But first he has to deal with the pesky new neighbors always asking to borrow things and the mangy cat that won't stop following him around and his arch nemesis, The Men In White Shirts, who are trying to take away his old frenemy.  As he becomes unwillingly enmeshed in his neighbors lives he finds there just might be more to live for than he thought.

First Sentence
Ove is fiftey-nine.

Lets start with that first sentence. Other than the fact that Ove acted twenty years older than he was this book was a delight. Yep, just like everyone else has been saying.

I "cheated" and watched the movie first and found both the movie and book so similar that I kind of wished I'd read the book first. Let me explain. Unless you're a speed reader or the book is very short, it usually takes longer to read a book than watch a movie. And when they're both so similar it can FEEL like the book is taking even longer to read because you know what's coming. Does that make sense? No? Yeah, I'm not making much sense to myself either.

Anywho, I ended up enjoying both the movie and the book and loved the ending of the book better than the movie so there you go. A reason to read the book. And I'd recommend you read it before watching the movie.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: Summerlost

Title Summerlost
By Ally Condie
Genre Middle grade Contemporary
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
It's been almost a year since Cedar lost her father and brother Ben in a car wreck. Her mother has decided to buy a summer home in Iron Creek. It's looking to be a long boring summer but then Cedar meets Leo who works concessions at the famed Summerlost festival. When Cedar gets a job there too her and Leo become fast friends as they become engrossed with the mystery of what happened to the famous Hollywood actress that got her start in the Summerlost festival and seemingly died of a broken heart.

First Sentence
Our new house has a blue door.

Trying to get out of my reading slump I decided to pick up some lighter middle grade books. I had success with the graphic novel Ghosts and decided to read this middle grade book by Ally Condie. This is her first middle grade book and I was interested to see what it would be like.

Condie writes beautifully. I like her style. At times it might have felt a bit too beautiful and flowery for a middle grade book but since I'm not a kid I can't say if they'd be bothered by it and I loved it so I didn't mind.

This book had a lot going on for a middle grade book too. It's dealing with grief and first love but it still manages to be a quick easy read.

My favorite thing about the book was the obsession Cedar and her brother Miles had with a soap opera their mother didn't know they were watching. I found it amusing and quirky enough to make the story not only memorable but believable. There were plenty of things I watched and read that my mother might not have approved of but that were my own little thing and I wasn't going to part with them for anybody.

A beautifully written and memorable story, I hope Condie continues writing middle grade. I found it utterly charming.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Ghosts

Title Ghosts
By Raina Telgemeier
Genre MG Graphic Novel
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Catrina and her family have to move because her little sister Maya is sick. The town they move to is even worse than Catrina was imagining. It's damp and foggy all of the time and all anyone talks about is ghosts. Maya loves the idea of the Day of the Dead celebration but Catrina doesn't want anything to do with it or the boy next door that's trying so hard to befriend her.





First Sentence

To get out of my reading slump I decided to pick up a graphic novel. And guess what? It totally worked. I flew through it and have been reading ever since! Wahoo!

I don't know why I'm so drawn to Telgemeier's books but I am. I like her artwork and I love that her stories deal with issues that kids can relate to. This one, for instance, has a lot going on. The MCs little sister has cystic fibrosis and probably won't live very long and when they move to a town that's seemingly obsessed with death Catrina is not happy. Moving to a new town is hard enough but having a future reality shoved in her face isn't easy.

The book still manages to be mostly light-hearted and easy to read in spite of its heavier subject matter and the artwork was beautiful. I kind of wish the town they moved to really existed.

While this one is geared to a younger audience it appealed to me too. I think it was a great read and can't wait to try Telgemeier's other books.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #5


Hmmm, I'm wondering if I should even bother doing this post anymore. Or maybe I should make it a monthly post. Oh well.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
(On TV Now)
Jane The Virgin
They really amped up the drama here! I think this plot twist with Xiomara will be hard since my mother died of breast cancer. :(

9-1-1
While I'm not really a big believer in karma this episode made me smile. Those jerks deserved what they got!

The Good Doctor
No new episode this week. Sigh!

The Resident
This episode almost made me cry. Why can't doctors actually listen to their patients like Dr. Hawkins does in this episode? I can't tell you how many times I've been looked at like a disease or a problem rather than a human being, let alone a unique individual.

Netflix


The Crown
I finally finished season 2! I loved that last episode. Especially when Phillip tells everyone to shut up and the photographer to take the photo. Now it's just the long wait for season 3.

Jessica Jones
It's back!!! Season 2 is here! I haven't started it yet but I will. I'm very excited, though it won't be as fun without David Tennant. I'm not sure if I'll love it as much.

Haven't watched anything else on Netflix, though my list is miles long.

Amazon Prime


Victoria 
 I finished season 1 of Victoria and enjoyed it immensely. I wish season 2 was on there too. I'll have to see if I can find another platform to watch it on. The romance between the cook and Nancy broke my heart. I loved the cook...thought I can't think of his name.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Review: The Five Thieves of Happieness

Title The Five Thieves of Happiness
By John Izzo
Genre Self Help/Nonfiction
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
What's keeping you from being happy? Does happiness come from outside sources or is it something found within. This book talks about five things that are stealing your happiness and what you can do to stop them and live a happy life.

First Sentence
A Thief is someone who steals what's rightfully ours.






(No Friday Flicks today. I saw Death Wish and, well, I figured you didn't care to hear about that one. It's a Bruce Willis movie. 'nuff said.)

In spite of my reading slump, I am making it through a few books. It didn't hurt that this one was so short. My friend recommended it and I'm glad she did.

Who doesn't want more happiness in their life? This book is great! It's short, not overly preachy, and actually has actions you can take. I've talked about how I hate when self help books just talk about your problem rather than offering solutions.

I loved how this book promoted open mindedness. It was my favorite thing about it. But I also thought it had a lot of truth in it. The thieves he talks about really do rob us of happiness. How do I know that? Because they've been robbing me of happiness my whole life!

Excellent little book. I'd highly recommend it to get you thinking.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Eliza and her Monsters

Title Eliza and her Monsters
By Francesca Zappia
Genre YA Contemporary
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
Eliza is an introvert. She keeps to herself and is just trying to survive her senior year of high school and escape to college. But Eliza has a whole other side to her. On line she is the creator of Monstrous Sea, a popular web comic. But keeping the two lives separate becomes increasingly hard when a new boy comes to school. Wallace is a fan of Monstrous Sea but he's also a fan of Eliza's. It's only a matter of time before Eliza's worlds collide.

First Sentence 
The origin post is open on my computer when I shuffle over to it in the morning.

Guys, I'm in the worst reading slump of all time! I did manage to make it through a book though. I'd heard good things about Eliza so I thought it might be what I need to get out of my slump. But while I did manage to read it the whole way through, I'm still in my slump!

This book is 380ish pages and for the first 300 pages not much happens. It's mostly introducing us to Eliza, her family and Monstrous Sea and then watching her and Wallace fall for each other while Eliza keeps her secret from him. Of course the shiz hits the fan and when it does the book became much more engrossing. I flew through the last 80-100 pages. I wish the whole book had been that good.

But I have to say, I'm not sure what everyone sees in this one. It was OK but not amazing. But I'm a horrible judge right now. I'm in such a reading slumpish mood that who am I to judge?

At my last book club this book got brought up and those who had read it were arguing about Eliza's parents. I hadn't read it at the time but I had to laugh at how strongly each person felt. Now that I've read it...sorry Suey, I have to take a stand against the parents. They weren't horrible but they were so clueless. And I didn't buy that they wouldn't have looked up their daughters web comic and seen how popular it was. The fact that they didn't....not good.

So while this one didn't get me out of my reading slump, it did manage to get me to finish which is very impressive these days.

Should you read it
Yes.

Monday, March 5, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #4



Alright, this is a little late but I've been off my game lately. I'm happy the Olympics are finally over and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. I was starting to have withdrawals!

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
(on TV now)


Jane The Virgin
I felt sort of "meh" about this weeks episode. I feel like they've lost momentum. Hopefully things pick up soon.

9-1-1
This week's episode tackled the full moon and all the crazies that come out. I laughed at the prenatal yoga class when three women went into labor. As usual this show makes me roll my eyes but it's still fun to watch.

The Good Doctor
And they introduced a new doctor. I actually liked this guy. He's older and I can see him butting heads with the other doctors but that's got to be a good thing, right?

The Resident
This show is starting to piss me off. It shows the greed of hospital CEOs so well that it's making me sick. Our health care system is so messed up and whoever you want to blame, that's fine but the real villain is greed. It's all about the money. Ugh! I don't know if I can even keep watching.

Netflix

The Crown
Still slowly making my way through season two. I love looking up each episode after I watch and seeing what was accurate and what's not. It's usually pretty close to truth. Anyone else watch the episode with Charles going to that school and wanting to choke him out? Sorry, I know he's the future king of England but he's such a little pansy.

Amazon Prime


Victoria
I've started watching Victoria on Prime and while it's not as accurate as The Crown I still enjoy it. It's entertaining and fun to watch. Anyone else seen it? You should check it out. The guy who plays Albert is very, very dreamy!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Flicks: Oscars Edition


I'm doing something a little different today! The Oscars are on Sunday and I've seen all but one of the best picture nominees. I'm excited to watch them because of this. Usually I've only seen a few of the movies or none at all. 

So I thought I'd talk about the best picture nominees and my thoughts on each of them. Are you ready? Just pretend you're excited.

Lady Bird
My Rating  ★★★★
I started with this one because I think it's going to be the one to win. I'm not basing this on anything but intuition so I guess we'll see. I liked this one but didn't think it was the best picture of the year. It's funny, relatable and entertaining and the actors and actresses did an amazing job and worked well together. Even my husband enjoyed it and it's about a teenager girl and all her angst so that says something. 





The Shape of Water
My Rating ★★★
This is the movie I was most looking forward to seeing and had a scare for awhile thinking it wasn't coming to my state. Luckily it finally came and I was able to see it. And...I loved the music and the sets but found the story a little lackluster and shallow and the villain too cliche. All in all I was a bit disappointed and only found it to be OK.




The Darkest Hour
My Rating ★★★★
I really loved this one! I wasn't expecting to but I did. Gary Oldman did a awesome job and the make up was so well done you can hardly recognize him. The music in this one is on all the time at my house now because I loved it so much. The story was done so well I cried like a baby at the end. And then I read how accurate it was. Apparently not very, which is why it dropped a star for me. I still loved and enjoyed it but it would have been better if I could have kept thinking all the wonderful bits in the movie were real.



Dunkirk 
My Rating ★★★
I actually talked about this one in one of my mini movie reviews awhile back. It was one I really didn't want to see but my husband did so we went and I actually ended up liking it. The events of this movie were also talked about in The Darkest Hour which I found fun. Since I'd seen Dunkirk I knew what they were talking about in The Darkest Hour. I felt so smart! ;)





Phantom Thread
My Rating ★★★
Had I not just read The Way of the Superior Man I'm sure I would have despised this one. Daniel Day Lewis' character was a complete jerk. However, reading that book gave me a different insight into this one. I actually just ended up laughing through the end and liking it a lot more than I ever would have before.





Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri 
My Rating ★★★★★
This was my favorite of the bunch and pick for best picture. I LOVED it. I found its portrayal of events just that. More of a portrayal then an agenda. The acting was superb with incredibly memorable characters. Moments in the film will stick out in my mind for a long time. I want to own this one! I also think Sam Rockwell who's nominated for best supporting actor should TOTALLY win. He is such a great actor and he deserves to win for his role in this one. 




Get Out
My Rating ★★
I'm afraid this one might win too and I can NOT get behind that. This was a stupid horror movie that's only nominated because of its political nature. I'm so disappointed in the academy. They totally were trying to be politically correct when they nominated it and it doesn't deserve it. My actual opinion of the movie is that it was OK. Just that. OK. It was funny and, yes, a bit horrifically disturbing but an Oscar nomination? No.




The Post
My Rating ★★★
I didn't particularly want to see this one. It seemed like it would be nothing but dialogue and I was right. Still, I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I'm a bit too young to remember the events that this movie was based on and I always love learning more about history so I liked that aspect. I wasn't blown away by the acting but I liked Meryl Streep's character. She was fighting an uphill battle in a male dominated world and I admired her choices.



Call Me By Your Name
I haven't seen this one. It kept fluttering in and out of theaters around me after its nomination but I kept missing it. Now it's too late. Oh well.










So, what do you think of the nominees? Have you seen any? Which one do you think/hope will win? Are you even watching the Oscars? Inquiring minds want to know!