Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: Pivot Point

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

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


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!

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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?

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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. :(

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.


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

 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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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.

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.


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

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.

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!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February Wrap-Up 2018

As February came to a close last night, I sat in bed wondering why I was glad it was over. I feel like I'm just tolerating life lately and can't wait for the day, week, month or the year to end. It's as if I think things will get better in the future. The truth is things are pretty good right now; in the moment but I'm in the habit of being grouchy. It doesn't help that February did have a lot of crappy things happen and that near the end of the month I hit a reading slump and my anxiety attacks went into high gear but all in all my life is good. I need to get out of this nasty habit of being irritated all of the time. Another thing I need to work on, right? Anyway, sorry to ramble. I managed 6 books in February. Most were read at the beginning of the month before my book hangover/reading slump hit.

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff, The Women in the Window by A.J. Finn, White Tears by Hari Kunzru, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett and How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.

Favorite of the month and inducer of my book hangover and coinciding reading slump was The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett. Least Favorite was White Tears.

I also DNF two books this month.

Lincoln in the Bardo was one of the Tournament of Book books and it was just written in too weird of a style for me. Every Last Word just felt unedited and childish.

On to March where I hope to get out of my slump and read more and start having a better attitude. Now watch the universe really test my limits.