Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: The Chaperone

Title The Chaperone
By Laura Moriarty
Genre Adult Historical Fiction
Format Audio
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cora's children are grown and off on their own so when the chance to travel to New York City as a chaperone for the beautiful 16 year old Louise Brooks comes up, she jumps at the opportunity. She has her own secret reasons for going to New York and can use this opportunity to fulfill her goal. But where Cora is traditional and a bit uptight, Louise is wild and modern. The two struggle to understand each other and get along as they spend the hot summer together and learn about each other and themselves.

First Sentence
The First time Cora heard the name Louise Brooks, she was parked outside the Wichita Library in a Model T Ford, waiting for the rain to stop.

I can't remember when I first heard about this one but it must have caught my attention because I added it to my TBR list. When it came up on Overdrive I downloaded it as began to listen.

There's a reason this book is a New York Times best seller. It was rich with details and heart and I cared deeply for the characters. Cora was incredibly traditional. In the early 1920s when hemlines were raising she still wears a corset. Watching her interact with a young, modern and headstrong teenager was amusing. I loved how Cora grew as a person and was open minded enough to realize maybe her way wasn't the best. It was one of my favorite things about this book.

I really felt for Cora. She had a pretty awful life. It could have been worse but a lot of things that happened to her were just unfair and frustrating. I was rooting for her happiness through the whole book.

I love when historical fiction is done right. When you can love the characters enough to gladly follow them through lots of historical events with out a single yawn I think the author has done their job. Not that the '20s and '30s were boring but I can see how some people might think so.

I really liked this epic story and won't soon be forgetting it. I want to check out what else the author has written and get my hands on it.

Should you read it
I think this one has A LOT of things going on in it so there's something for everyone. I'd recommend it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: How To Train Your Dragon

Title How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon #1)
By Cressida Cowell
Genre Middle Grade Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

On the island of Berk boys go through a right of passage by capturing their own baby dragon and training it to compete in a contest. When Hiccup ends up capturing the most boring kind of dragon there is he's certain he won't win. Especially because is dragon doesn't even have teeth. How's a boy to become a man with such a sorry excuse for a dragon?

First Sentence
Long ago on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.

I read this one for book club. It was an easy read. I think I read the whole thing in about an hour in one sitting.

Obviously everyone who's seen the movie thinks the movie was WAY better than the book. I love the movie too so I can see why people feel that way but I wanted to defend this little book.

First of all, it's not fair to compare the two. The movie is great but before it came along the book was being loved and admired for itself. If the movie never existed would the book be as "boring" as we think it was? I don't think so.

The book was cute. As soon as I stopped trying to compare it to the movie I quite enjoyed it. Yes, it was a bit young for me but I wasn't the target audience so I was fine with that.

I think it had a good message about finding your own way to become a hero and using your natural talents to do so.

Should you read it
I think it deserves a chance. I particularly think young kids should read it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: The Woman In The Window

Title The Woman In The Window
By A.J. Finn
Genre Adult suspense
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Anna is an agoraphobic. Living alone in her New York City home she spends her time drinking too much wine, watching old movies and spying on her neighbors. When she witnesses a murder but no one believes her she starts to questions her own sanity.

First Sentence
Her husband's almost home.

I thought the premise of this one sounded a lot like the old movie, Rear Window, so I had to give it a read.

This is Finn's first book and I was blown away by his unique writing style. I can't believe I'm going to say this but I haven't actively noticed unique writing like this since Markus Zusak. I don't mean Finn writes like Zusak but they both have this unusual style that makes you pause and reread the sentence with goosebumps running up and down your arms.

The entire time I was reading this I was so immersed in the story and writing that I started feeling like the character. Foggy headed, delusional and a little crazy. I just wanted to go outside and feel the wind and breath! I couldn't stand that she never went out and never cracked a window. I could almost smell the staleness of her house.

A lot of the twist and turns in this one were fairly obvious to me but a few things caught me by surprise which is always good. While I didn't love the ending and found the "villain" cliche, I enjoyed the journey and can't WAIT for more books by this author.

Should you read it
You should. And tell me what you think of his writing style.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: White Tears

Title White Tears
By Hari Kunzru
Genre Adult Literary Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️

The only thing Seth and Carter have in common is their love of music. Particularly old blues recordings. When Seth accidentally records a song at the park Carter edits and posts it on the internet claiming it's a song by a blues artist known as Charlie Shaw. The whole thing is made up but then they learn that maybe Charlie Shaw really existed and the past begins to haunt their lives in ways they never expected.

First Sentence
That summer I would ride my bike over the bridge, lock it up in front of the bars on Orchard Street and drift through the city on foot, recording.

Another Tournament of Books read. Oi! Some of these are hard to read but usually, if I stick with them, they pay off. Not so much with this one.

While it took a bit to get into it, I found myself easily making my way through this one. It was, for the most part, easy to read. About half way through it, however, it got really, really weird. It started to feel like some strange hallucinatory fever dream and I found myself wondering what the hell was going on! I stuck with it hoping my efforts would be rewarded but, alas, they were not.

At it's heart this is a book about racism and, quite frankly, I'm tired of all the talk about racism. If all we do is talk, talk, talk about it nothing gets better and we just keep feeding the machine. Books like this aren't helping. They too are just fueling the machine.

Personal feelings aside, this book just didn't work. It starts out telling a story and then gets so convoluted and far fetched with in your face agenda pushing that it just didn't work. I felt like I'd been taken in with the promise of a story and handed, instead, a pamphlet on why I should feel like crap for being born white. It's the old bait and switch. I should have just set it aside.

Should you read it
No. There are much more beautiful books out there that handle this subject with no agenda and a more hopeful message of love.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: Places No One Knows

Title Places No One Knows
By Brenna Yovanoff
Genre YA contemporary
Format Audio
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Waverly puts on a facade of happiness at school and at home for her friends and family. She's the perfect "good girl" but all is not as perfect as it seems. Her unhappiness is eating into her nights giving her insomnia. Marshall is a nobody. He drinks and does drugs to dull the pain of his miserable home life. He's the typical "bad boy" When Waverly somehow dreams her way into Marshall's room and the two form a tenuous romance they'll have to decide if carrying it into the day time hours is possible or even worth it.

First Sentence
There's something awful about the sun.

I've really enjoyed Yovanoff's writing in the past so I've been working my way through her books. This one sounded intriguing.  What's not to love? You've got the "good girl" dreaming herself into the "bad boy's" bedroom at night. Sounds good, right?

I was expecting a much more light fluffy read then I got. Not that, that's a bad thing. This book dealt with some serious issues. I should have known it would. Yovanoff seems to get down to the nitty gritty of people and deal with the hard issues. It's one of the thing's I love about her writing.

As much as I found myself pleasantly surprised with this one and having an overall good experience listening to it, I found in unmemorable. I read it a few weeks ago and I'm already forgetting a lot of it. I do, however, remember that it felt important. Like teens should read this. I think they'll feel understood and relate to it.

Should you read it
I'll always recommend Yovanoff. I find myself liking her more and more with every one of her books I read.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: He Said/She Said

Title He Said/She Said
By Erin Kelly
Genre Adult Suspense
Format Audio
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

After viewing an eclipse with her boyfriend, Laura witnesses a rape. The case becomes a he said/she said case but with Laura's testimony the rapist can be put away. Years later, Laura and her now husband Kit are living in hiding. Trying to keep their whereabouts a secret from Beth the victim of the rape. What happened to make them go in hiding? What secrets are Kit and Laura keeping from each other that's causing a strain on their marriage? What will happen when the truth comes out?

First Sentence
London is the most light-polluted city in Britain, but even here, in the northern suburbs, you can still see the stars at four o'clock in the morning.

I'm going to start off saying I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. The story takes us all over in time from the past to the present slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle together. I had no problem with the format. I liked getting bits and pieces of the story and watching it come together. What I disliked so much was the characters.

No one was really likable and the only character that was, was the character you were supposed to hate. That's not good, am I right?

I found some of the "secrets" not even good enough to be called secrets and saw absolutely no reason why they needed to be kept secret. It made for a completely unbelievable story.

When everything comes to light, however I was rooting for a certain ending and I got it. THAT is why this one gets three stars rather than the two I was going to bestow upon it. It was a very satisfying ending.

Should you read it
I'm not going to stop you but know that I didn't adore it or anything.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #3

This week sort of sucked for TV watching. Not the content but the amount. Not much to report on but I don't think you'll mind.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
(On TV Now)

 9-1-1 took on Valentines day and introduced us to the craziest woman scorned ever! Seriously. This girl rivals Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. It was pretty a disturbing way. The event with Buck and Abby was weird. I'm not sure why they threw that in unless it was to introduce a future relationship with Abby and Nash???

The Good Doctor
I don't like this new girl. Is she sticking around? I hope not.

The Resident
What the hell is going on with Dr. Hunter's clinic? Color me intrigued.

Jane the Virgin
Last weeks episode was interesting. Can I just say how much Rogelio amuses me? I love him! Jane and Raphael. Meh. I don't know what I think. I guess we'll see. The latest episode was all sorts of drama as usual. I really loved what Jane said to Alba about her beliefs. Is it really what she believed or what she’d been told to believe? A very relevant question when it comes to religion, don’t you think?

I didn't watch anything on Netflix but old re-runs of Frasier. I need to finish season two of The Crown and I wanted to check out Altered Carbon even though I'm hearing it's a disappointment.


Nothing. I think I should note I use Hulu to watch all my "current" shows. I don't have cable anymore. I want to check out The Handmaid's Tale but still haven't. Sigh! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Flicks: Winchester

Rating ★★

What It's About
Heir of the Winchester rifle company, Sarah Winchester believes she is cursed and haunted by the spirits of those killed by the rifles her company produces. To alleviate this curse she is driven to have her sprawling mansion under constant construction. Rooms are added and taken away daily. The construction on her house is constant. Not even stopping at night. Dr. Eric Price is sent to evaluate the heiress. A skeptic, Dr. Price has been offered compensation for concluding the heiress is insane so that she loses her share of the company. But as he stays in the ever growing and changing mansion, Dr. Price quickly becomes convinced that something is indeed haunting the mansion and that Sarah Winchester isn't insane at all.

I didn't have high expectations going into this one. I knew it was going to be an entertaining horror movie and that's exactly what it was. Filled with creepy make-you-jump moments, I found it very typical. Nothing special or new with the the it's-over-but-not-really-over ending included.  Drives me nuts.

The acting was alright. Again, nothing special. Helen Mirren once won an Oscar and I can't help but think about "how the mighty have fallen" but that makes me sound like a snob and I really don't care about what roles and actor or actress takes.

Despite my lack luster feelings, I think most of the other people in the theater liked it. The girl next to me was curled up in a ball whimpering and jumping at every "scary" moment. You know me, I'm always the exception to the rule but the critics weren't jumping to praise this one either so there is that.

I did like the tiny nod at the historical story that inspired this one. Sarah Winchester really did have a mansion she never stopped working on. It's still standing and called The Winchester Mystery House.

Basically it's pretty much what you'd expect. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't amazing either and as far as scary movies goes, I've seen much, much scarier.

Let's Talk
Do you think actors and actresses can take whatever role they want or do you think they should only take Oscar worthy roles? I actually find those actors and actresses that are always taking Oscar seeking roles annoying. Which is why it's weird that I got snobby during this movie.

Wait till it's on Redbox, Netflix or Amazon.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Not If You Were The Last Man On Earth

I considered entitling this post: We Are Never Getting Together or You'll Never Be MY Book Boyfriend. That should give you a good idea about what I'm going to discuss in this post.

There are certain male characters we fall madly in love with and dub our book boyfriends and then there are those we don't put it mildly.

You guys are all so polite. I usually hear things like, "he wasn't my type" or "he did nothing for me". Sometimes I try really hard to be polite like that too but there's a certain type of male character/ love interest I, well, hate!

And I find that this, so called, love interest is usually a fan favorite which I just do NOT get. I wouldn't date a guy like this if he was the last man on earth. So, what's this type of man I find so utterly loathing? Are you just dying to know? Not Really? Alright, fine but I'll tell you anyway.

 A perfect example of the type of man I hate is Edward from the Twilight books. I use him as an example because most people have read Twilight not because poor Edward deserves anymore bashing.  But that definitely gives you an idea, am I right?

Lets look at some of the qualities in a male character that gets my eyes twitching and my anger boiling.

  • WAY too overprotective
  • Like WAY. They act like the woman they love is a helpless moron who's as delicate as a snowflake landing on a hotplate. 
  • Therefore, they are demeaning. It's insulting to watch these men defame the woman they supposedly love by insinuating she's so stupid she couldn't possibly make a rational, self preserving decision. 
  • In fact, they are so over protective they actually LOCK UP these women or have someone guard them to keep them out of danger. What the hell?! 

And this is just the tip of the ice berg. I've read far too many books where the so called hero does something like the above mentioned and it makes me so crazy! You want examples?

Adam from the Mercy Thompson books
Akiva from the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series
Arin from The Winner's Crime trilogy
Edward from the Twilight series (of course)

I'll stop there. So, why? Please tell me what the appeal is? I'm not a feminist in the traditional sense. I obviously get riled up when men act all superior and smarter than women but I also think feminists today need to be careful or we'll be living in a world of amazonian, hard, heartless women and sniveling pretty boys who can't even use a screwdriver but that's a different topic for a different day.

But I do want to know why these types of men are so rampant in books today. Particularly YA books. Am I missing something? Is this attractive? Do some women just love being told every little move to make and that she's a helpless infant who couldn't possibly make a calculated decision about her own life?

Shout out now to the awesome male characters that let women be women and know damn well that she's capable of taking care of herself and kicking ass.

Astley from the Need series
Lincoln from Attachments
Po from the Graceling Realm books
Dave the Laugh from the Georgia Nicolson books

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: Annihilation

Title Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)
By Jeff Vandermeer
Genre Adult Sci-fi
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor and a anthropologist walk into Area X...sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? It's actually anything but funny. These people are part of the twelfth expedition into Area X. The other expeditions have either never returned or returned as shadows of their former selves and then died of cancer.

First Sentence
The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats.

If you didn't know, they are making a movie of this book/series and it comes out in February. The previews for the movie looked so mysterious that I decided to read the book(s). I guess this series is wildly popular? Or was when it came out? I didn't even know it existed before the movie preview. I am SO with it. ;) Anywho, I decided to at least read the first book.

I started reading it in the evening and could NOT put it down. I was so engrossed. I wanted to know what the hell was going on. Eventually sleep won out but I picked it back up in the morning and inhaled the rest of it.

Not only was I invested in the story and what was going on but I was drawn into the creepy, disturbing atmosphere so much that when my cat, who was sitting in my lap, sneezed I violently  jumped and then laughed at myself.

I can clearly see from the movie previews that the book is totally different and that once again Hollywood has put their usual antics on display again. Oh well, I'll probably see the movie too but I don't think it will have nearly the disturbing atmosphere the book had.

A lot of people thought this one offered no answers and while I can sort of see their side I don't agree. Sure, we still aren't sure what Area X is but I'm not sure that was the point and as for the rest of it...I thought there were answers.

 I want to read the others in the series now but am a bit sad we don't get to follow the biologist anymore. I know her story was over but it sure would be fun to accompany her further.

Should you read it
If you like sci-fi then I'd recommend it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January Wrap-Up 2018

January is over and for some reason it felt like the longest month of my life! Maybe that explains why I managed to read so many (for me) books.

The first week of January my husband and I went to the Oregon coast, as I mentioned, and I didn't read a single book that week. So I'm impressed with my eight books. I chose this very unflattering picture of my husband because, well, I look better in it. I'm so nice!

Then, when we got back in town, my brother, who will be working on our backyard this spring, decided to get an early start because the weather has been so nice. Goodbye, dirt and weeds. You'll all be concrete soon!

So needless to say, it's been a wild January. Maybe that's why it felt so endless. Anywho, here's the books I read.

So Much Blue by Percival Everette, Annihilation by Jon VanderMeer, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
(Review for He Said/She Said to come)

No really bad books this month so that's something but no five stars either. I'd say So Much Blue, The Way of the Superior Man and Annihilation were my favorites of the month.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: The Way of the Superior Man

Title The Way of the Superior Man
By David Deida
Genre Adult self help non fiction
Format Audio
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

See second part of title. A Spiritual guide to mastering the challenge of women, work, and sexual desire.

First Sentence
It's Never going to be over, so stop waiting for the good stuff.

I know most of you could care less what I have to say about his book. I know it's not the typical type of book us book bloggers tend to read. But I liked it enough to decide I wanted to review it and also to let you know it's not what it looks like.

I bet this book doesn't consider itself a "self help" book. It calls itself a spiritual guide. Which probably turns a lot of people off. My husband would call it, hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo, if he looked at the title. And while it is a bit "hippy-dippy" I found it much more "self help" then it probably wants to be considered.

As you can see from the title, this book is written for men. I heard it was a very good insight into men so I decided to read it.

My conclusions are this: This is a self help book. It offered insights into women that made me cry because they were so spot on (for me). It also does have this beautiful spiritual guide side. It talks about the feminine and masculine in all of us. Yes. Men aren't just masculine and women aren't just feminine. We are both. I could see so clearly the feminine in myself for the first time in my life and to have it explained in the way he explained it made me cry. I guess the masculine in me isn't very in tune with the feminine because, damn, I'm hard on myself.

Anywho! This was a beautiful book and it opened my eyes and mind to new ideas and for that I loved it.

As a side note, I listened to this one and the one I listened to said it was The Teaching Lessons so there's a good chance I didn't hear the complete book??? I'm not sure. I'm tempted to buy the print book so I can see if it's the same as the audio I listened to.

Should you read it
 If you want an inside look at the feminine and masculine in both yourself and your significant other, I'd highly recommend it. It's very easy to read and understand.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #2

Another week has passed and hours in front of the TV with it. I'll admit I watch way too much TV. Especially when it's cold outside and snuggling up inside is so appealing.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
(On TV Now) 

The Good Doctor
Wasn't new this week! I cried a little. I love this show so much that when there's not a new episode on it's a dark, dark day.

The Resident 
Strong episode this week. It brought up the ugly truth of the health care system in this country and the greedy hospital CEOs. It made me mad! It was very rewarding to watch that little bimbo pushing everyone to make patients have more expensive tests get put in her place.

Way more character centered this week. There was hardly any "emergencies" to witness. No sure what I thought of that.

Jane The Virgin
Who's a complete slacker and hasn't watched this week's episode yet? Me! I'll get to it and catch you up next week.


The Crown
I watched 2 more episodes of season two this week. I really loved the episode about Elizabeth's sister and her new love interest the photographer. Very fun episode! The other episode about The Duke of Windsor and what he did in WWII was shocking. I had no idea all that happened. Yuck!

Amazon Prime

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
I INHALED the entire 1st season of this one this week! Have you head about it? It's done by the creators of Gilmore Girls. Just BE AWARE this is NOT Gilmore Girls. This isn't edited for content because it's on TV. There's swearing and some brief nudity. That aside, I hope you still give this delightful, Golden Globe winner comedy a shot. It was excellent. I loved the feel of it, the story line, the wonderful cast of characters. I LOVED it! LOVED it! Seriously. I'm so sad there's not another season waiting for me yet.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Flicks: Hostiles

Rating ★★★★

What It's About
Captain Joseph Blocker has been tasked with escorting a Cheyenne chief and his family that have been held prisoner back to their home in Montana from New Mexico. Our man Captain Blocker is NOT happy about this task. He despises the native Americans because of the horrors he's seen inflicted on his own people by them. On their way they run into a young mother who's husband and three children were killed by Indians. Unable to abandon her, Captain Blocker takes her with his group. As they travel the treacherous road faced with hostility and prejudice on both sides, Captain Blocker begins looking at things in a different light.

My husband wanted to see this one and I don't mind westerns (or popcorn) so we headed out to see it. Another great pick by my husband. I ended up really loving this one.

This movie is not for the feint of heart. It starts out with this poor mother's family being massacred that sets the tone for Captain Blocker's (played by Christian Bale) loathing for the native American people. It's easy to understand his hatred after you've seen this women's two little girls get shot in front of her as they just saw their father being killed and scalped and are fleeing in terror. Then the mother's little baby she's holding takes a bullet and dies. Yeah, you start feeling a prickle of hate yourself for these "savages".

Of course as you get to know the Cheyenne chief and his family you're reminded people are just people and it's really hate that is the problem, not the color of a person's skin. And once you see the white people's hate and prejudice and what THEY are capable of it's easy to become furious with them and start taking the native American's side.

While, I'm sure the movie was maybe sort of pushing its little agenda it didn't feel like it to me. It did an excellent job of making you see both sides and FEEL both sides.

I cried like a baby at certain parts and was very moved by the change in Christian Bale's characters. The ending was heartbreaking and yet hopeful. I really loved it!

Let's Talk
This movie did an excellent job not taking sides and trying to guilt you into feeling like crap for any prejudices you might have but letting you see and feel both sides. I love when a movie or a book can do that. Often I find these movies too agenda pushing. What movies have you seen that are good and bad at this?

As much as I loved this one I don't necessarily think it needs to be seen in theaters but I'd still recommend it. I think we might be seeing this one in next year's Oscars.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review: So Much Blue

Title So Much Blue
By Percival Everett
Genre Adult Fiction Literary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kevin Pace is an artist. He's been working on his masterpiece. A 12 x 21 foot canvas covered in shades of blue. No one, not even his wife or children are allowed to see it. As he recalls the past events of his life, two instances stand out. Could these instances be the inspiration for his painting? And why can't he let anyone see it?

First Sentence
I will begin with dimensions.

These Tournament of Books, books make me feel so well read. ;) I'm not really because apparently Percival Everett is a somewhat famous author who has written over 20 other books and some have won awards. I, however, had never heard of him before this book.

It started off rather slow and I read about 25 pages and thought about giving up but when I picked it up again I got sucked right in. The main character, Kevin, recounts two past events in his life, an affair he had with a much younger french girl 10 years ago and a trip he took to a war torn El Salvador with his best friend in 1979 to find his best friends little brother and the events that happened there that altered his life forever. He also recounts what's happening in his life currently with a devastating secret his 16 year old daughter has asked him to keep.

The book jumps in time from these events in the past and the present and it all comes together in such a beautiful way that in the very last paragraph of the book I was staring at the book thinking, "Oh, wow". (In a good way)

While I found the main character, Kevin, infuriating, selfish and annoying at times, I also tried very hard to be patient and open minded about him. And I felt like, in the end, he redeemed his character in my eyes.

I've heard this isn't even close to Everett's best work and I might just have to give him another go. Anytime a book can leave you feeling this reverenced at its close is glorious praise for the author and his work, don't you think?

Should you read it
I think this one is most definitely worth a read.  

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Idaho

Title Idaho
By Emily Ruskovich
Genre Adult Literary Fiction
Format Audio
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Follows the life of three ladies and the tragic event that bring them together.

First Sentence
They never drove the truck, except once or twice a year to get firewood.

Another Tournament of Books read! Some of these are far too deep but this one was more relatable and more like a typical story.

I was about half way through this one when my friend who got me interested in this Tournament of Books informed me that you don't get answers to some of the questions. And, boy, am I glad she warned me. I might have been peeeesed off. The story isn't necessarily about what happened as much as it is about the results of it happening. Does that make sense?

It was an interesting read and while it's not the best Tournament book I've read, I liked it.

There's a song that plays an important role in this one and I'm very happy I listened to the audio of this one because I got to hear the song. A song that the author's dad wrote for the book. Fun little fact and I'm glad I got to hear it.

I was amazed at these women's ability to forgive and act so reasonably. There's no way I could have handled things like they did. I think that might have been the message of this one. Moving on and not dwelling.

Oi! I should not be writing reviews right now. I feel a bit loopy and unfocused today. Forgive my ramblings.

Should you read it
   Some of these Tournament books are hard to recommend but this one is worth a read and easy to recommend.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

TV Talk Sundays #1

It's been a ridiculously long time...since I talked TV. I don't watch nearly as many shows as I used to but I still watch some stuff and with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon series becoming a thing I decided it was time to talk TV again so I thought I'd devote Sundays to TV Talk.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
(On TV Now)

Jane the Virgin
I've watched this show from the beginning. I love it. It's ridiculous and overly dramatic but get in the right mind set and it's thoroughly enjoyable. This season has been a bit all over the place. I'm getting a bit tired of the on again off again relationship between Jane and Raphael. I'm not sure what I think about recent developments but am willing to watch it all play out.

The Gifted
I'll watch just about anything with mutants. The first season of this one was just OK for me. I was invested enough to watch it all the way through but only found it so so. I'm not sure if it will come back for a second season but if it does I might give it a few more episodes.

The Good Doctor
I freaking LOVE this show. Freddy Highmore has my heart strings tied to him. Every move he makes in this one just gets to me. I've been very invested in this season and really hope they pick it up for more seasons. Have you seen this one? If not, you need to go watch it! It has all the fun of a medical show with a just the right amount of drama.

 The Resident 
Here we have a doctor show that's a bit heavy on the drama. This one just started and I'm liking it but as I mentioned, it is a bit overly dramatic. I think Dr. Bell is a complete dick! After the very first scene, though, I think we're supposed to hate him. Well, job well done! I can't stand him! As much as I want to hate Dr. Hawkins (because I hated him as Logan in Gilmore Girls) I find him likable. Weird. Emily VanCamp as Nicolette is strange after her role in Revenge. I find her a bit too squeaky clean and the plot device of her as Hawkin's conscience a bit tiresome and overused. I don't mention Dr. Feldman because I find him boring. I think he's supposed to be the relatable Dr but he's as dry as burnt toast.
I'll be sticking with this one though. I'm a sucker for medical shows.

This show is ridiculous. It's fast paced and addictive as hell but I find the emergencies absolutely crazy. It would be OK to have a slightly more believable albeit "boring" emergency to happen. I'm invested in the cast's lives, though and want more.

Netflix Series 
(Currently Watching)

 Stranger Things
I think it's safe to say I love this one. They need a new enemy though. I didn't like that she defeated Demogorgon but at the end it was all, maybe she didn't. I hate that.

The Crown
I'm only a few episodes in to season two so no spoilers please! I really hate that every one else's life get destroyed just so the royal family looks good. And does anyone else struggle to feel sympathy for Elizabeth? She's so prudish and proper. Geeze! Lighten up. Have a heart!

I won't mention all the other Netflix series I'm watching right now because I'm not watching them. Meaning I'm in the middle of them but haven't watched them for some time. I am looking forward to the new season of Jessica Jones though.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Flicks: The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman
Rating ★★

What It's About 
A VERY loosely based account of P.T Barnum with songs every 5 seconds.

I've been so hesitant to see this. I don't mind musicals but I'd only heard one song from it before seeing it and was unimpressed so I was imagining hating all the songs and being bored out of my mind.

And I was bored out of my mind. BUT I liked quite a few of the songs. I actually ended up humming the song that I'd heard before I'd seen it after I saw it. Strange, right? It was This Is Me. I also really liked the song Jenny Lind sang but really hated her. He doesn't like her so she screws him over and refuses to finish the tour? Talk about a woman scorned. Geeze!

My husband read up on P.T Barnum after the movie and said there was very, VERY little truth in the movie which I suspected but still found depressing.

BUT at least Zac Efron was in it. He's kind of annoying but not bad to look at. Not bad at all. And he had a great voice (No I haven't seen The High School Musical Movies). I liked his voice much better than Jackman's.

So besides some eye candy and a few catchy tunes, I found this one rather slow and boring and I felt completely out of place in the theater. I could tell everyone loved it and a lot of them has seen it before and were trying really hard not to sing along and dance. I think my husband liked it more than me which I found shocking. Oh well.

Let's Talk 
Is the catchy music and the eye candy what everyone else loved? Do we even care about plot anymore? I mean, this one had a plot but it was a made up plot about a real person.

I'd wait till it was on Netflix.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: The Night Circus

Title The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
Genre Adult Fiction Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Two magicians, a duel, a magical circus and an epic love.

First Sentence
The circus arrives without warning.

I think I'm the last person in the world to read this book. At least the last person in the bookish world. I tried reading it five years ago but I was on a European cruise at the time and in the throes of twitterpation with my husband (then, boyfriend) and it just wasn't happening. I knew I needed to give it another try and it seemed like now was as good a time as any.

I must say I'm not sure what everyone saw in this one. As you can see by my rating I didn't hate it, I thought it was quite beautiful discovering all the circus's magic but I found it slow. And don't have a problem with slow books. Not everything needs to be fast paced and frantic but I do need a plot in all that slowness and the plot was almost non existent in this one. I felt like we were supposed to be invested in Marco and Celia's relationship but I was far more into Bailey and Poppet's.

So, yeah, I was hoping to love it not just be luke warm about it. I needed more story and less instalove.

Should you read it
You haven't? Um, OK. Sure.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: Fever Dream

Title Fever Dream
By Samanta Schweblin
Genre Adult Literary Fiction
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amanda is dying, she can hear the voice of a little boy named David. Together they recall the events that brought Amanda to her deathbed.

First Sentence
They're like worms.

It's that time of year again! Remember last year when I followed The Tournament of Books that the Morning News does? No? It's a fun little tournament. With a shortlist of books that gets chosen and then book by book voted off till there's a winner. These books are very literary. Some go right over my head and I never manage to read them all but I find it challenging in a good way. This year I've noticed several of the picks are foreign books that have been translated. Such as this one.

Fever Dream. Have you ever had a fever and had such a high temperature that you have crazy dreams and hallucinate? I have. This book is accurately named. While it's a frantic page turner and quite short at only 192 pages I knew there was more to it then the story of what happened to Amanda and the strange things that happened to David.  It was strange and would latch onto a detail here and there that hinted at a deeper meaning.

After reading it in one sitting, I wasn't sure I understood what it all meant but I knew I enjoyed the ride. I did look up and read an interview with the author that talks about what it all means which I found helpful but I'm not sure it heightened my enjoyment. And I did enjoy the book. It was very fast paced and as I mentioned, a page turner.

All in all, I don't regret reading it. Sometimes reading these books makes me think and expands my reading horizons and for that, I love them.

Should you read it
I'd recommend this one.  It's an easy read that will get you looking for the deeper meaning. And I'd recommend you look up the interview with the author when you're done.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mini Movie Reviews #13

Oi! Not only am I so behind on movie reviews that I find myself doing a mini movie review post
instead of a Friday Flicks post but it's almost 6:00pm and Friday is almost over. I've been trying to blog more laid plans, right?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I told you I was behind! Unlike everyone else I just saw this one a few weeks ago. It was too over-hyped and over-crowded to bother before that. We actually went and saw this one on our Oregon coast vacation at a little theater in Tillamook. Guys, I was disappointed. I really like The Force Awakens and I even liked Rouge One but this one felt...different? Wrong? Everything that happened and everything that was said just had me wondering what was going on. I almost felt like someone was going to stop the movie and step out apologizing and saying it was all a joke and NOW they were going to play the real movie. It was that bad. I know a lot of people had issues with this one but I wasn't bugged by all the little details that seemed to bug everyone else. I just thought it felt like a joke. It didn't feel like a Star Wars movie at all.

All The Money in the World
This is one my husband wanted to see and I obliged. Aren't I a peach? ;) I found slightly less intense than I wanted but very fascinating. I didn't even know about J. Paul Getty. Did you? The man was infuriating and I'm glad the whole thing ended the way it did. I'm sure Hollywood changed things up quite a bit but I'm glad of it. I bet in real life (I have't bothered to look it up) it didn't turn out as nicely.

Insidious: The Last Key
Of all the dumb, horrible, b-rated horror movies I've seen, The Insidious movies are my favorite. They follow a slightly different formula than most horror movies and I love it. Curious what that difference is? You know how horror movies always end with you thinking they solved things but in the last 30 seconds of the show they show you it wasn't solved? The evil is still out there? I freaking hate that! The insidious movies don't do that. There's a problem, they investigate, get the crap scared out of them, and then solve the problem. For real. There's no cheap dun dun duuun! moment at the end. Unless it's hinting at the next installment. This one felt a little off to me like Star Wars but I still enjoyed it and was very happy where the ending left us.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle
This one was exactly how I thought it would be. Most of the funny moments were shown in the previews which made for a somewhat boring experience but the cast was great. Both casts. I was entertained but didn't necessarily feel like I should have paid full price to see it in theaters. I easily could have caught it on Netflix in a few months and been glad I hadn't spent money on it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Worst Of 2017

And now the worst of 2017. I used to love doing these posts. I had so much fun bashing books. Sigh! Since I got married I've noticed I've lost my knack for ranting about books in a funny manner.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm too busy dealing with real life to muster up the energy to hate a book or if it's that whole compromise thing you have to learn in marriage that's making me look at books with more leniency but somethings off. I've also been much better at putting books down that aren't a match for me instead of forcing my way through them. I'm sure if I had forced my way through them they would have been one star reviews. Who knows! I did read some real doozys this year. I feel like my reviews were meaner than they were funny which makes me sad. I'm going to work on that.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma 
The WORST book this year for sure.

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutowski
I loved the first two books so this sad excuse for a ending left me shaking with rage.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett 
Eye twitching ensued while I read this one.

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey 
I had to skim through the second half of this one just to finish it.

The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland
Oi! I really don't like the trend these types of books are following. I also felt the writing was horribly amateurish.

While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft
Another one I had to skim through just to finish. The writing was an unedited mess.

I guess just six books that I downright disliked isn't too bad right? Ugh! See how I couldn't even use the word hate? I'm not sure what's wrong with me. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Best Of 2017

I know, I know. Not ANOTHER  2017 wrap up  post. Sorry but I felt like taking a look back on the best of 2017.

As I went back through all the books I read in 2017 to come up with this list I realized I wanted to highlight the books I loved but also the books that stood out in my mind the most. So I had some five star reads that aren't making it to this list which makes me realize I might change their rating on Goodreads. Anywho, here they are!

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Since I've disliked everything else by Rowell this one shocked me. I'm in love with Lincoln and his story.

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Romantic, funny yet heartbreaking, this one will stick out in my mind for a long time and be reread often.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Hilarious! I laughed so hard I cried.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
A book with more than just an idea but actual solutions and actions to take.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne 
Great ideas presented here.

IT by Stephen King
King never ceases to amaze me. This wasn't a horror story it was beautiful.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney 
I liked this one but was surprised how the story stuck with me all year. I'll be rereading this one for sure.

The Break Down by B.A. Paris
Love this newer author. Her tales are suspenseful and wrap up so deliciously.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Frank will stick with me for a long time. Adorable story.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet 
Symbolism done right.

And there you have it! The best, most memorable books I read in 2017. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Ready Player One

Title Ready Player One (Ready Player One #1)
By Ernest Cline
Genre YA Sci-fi
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

In the future the world is becoming more and more ugly. Wade Watts, like most everyone else on the planet spends his time plugged into the OASIS, a virtual world where you can be anyone and be anywhere. And like everyone else, Wade dreams of finding the ultimate prize. The OASIS' inventor has hidden three quests in the OASIS and whoever finds and completes them wins his fortune.

First Sentence
Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.

I've been avoiding reading this one since it first came out in 2011. I'm a nerd but I'm not THAT big of a nerd! When my book club voted to read it I inwardly groaned and probably outwardly groaned too. I did NOT want to read this book! I almost decided to just skip the book this time around but figured I couldn't really call myself a reader if I wouldn't at least give it a try. So I tried.

And guess what? It was way nerdy! Like over the top, nerdy as hell. There wasn't a single moment he showed us the story it was all telling all of the time and about that telling...Cline really needs to take a chill pill. Sure he created an awesome idea (who wouldn't want to plug into the Oasis and go visit The Shire etc?) but Cline seemed a little too obsessed with this world he created and would stop the story to tell us all about it...over and over and over!!!! And the amount of times everything just coincidentally worked out had me rolling my eyes more times than I can count. Oh, and male nerds seem to have this obsession with the manic pixie girl type because the love interest, surprise, surprise, was one.

ALL of that aside...I could NOT put this book down! I was glued to it like I was glued to The Legend of Zelda  A Link To The Past video game back in the day. It was full of flaws but it was one hell of a ride! I was dying to see it all play out even though I knew it would all work out I couldn't stop turning pages to make sure it did. Phew!

My three star rating I think is fair. It kept me totally immersed and turning pages but that's not an excuse for all its flaws. Just because a book is exciting and being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg doesn't mean it can be poorly written and edited; in my opinion.

Should you read it
I think, if you've ever played video games or lived through the 80s you're going to find it as unputdownable as I did but get ready to get your geek on.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

December Wrap Up 2017

December ended more than a week ago, and for me it almost feels like it ended months ago because I spent New Years Ever and New Years day and the following week vacationing on the Oregon coast. My husband and I have decided to make it a tradition to ring in the New Year on the there. Of course, for us, ringing in the New Year means my husband has a glass of wine or champagne and I pass out at 10ish. Good times! So, anywho, that's why it's been so quiet around here and, I know, you're sick to death of end of the year wrap up posts but I've got to do this one for my own sanity. It helps me to look back at the month and also to make sure I've got all my reviews linked. As you may remember, I read a few books in December but then rewarded myself for reaching my Goodreads goal by rereading some books. I won't bother adding the rereads to my wrap up so this should be quick. Here you go!

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
A "self help" book that was awesome!

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
A sweet love story with a fun setting.

And there you have it. See? That wasn't so bad, now was it?  My favorite of the two has to go to You Are A Badass but I loved The Simplicity of Cider too so no least favorites. I also reread three books. And now, onward into the new year!