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!