Friday, April 30, 2010

April's 5 Word Movie Reviews

This idea is due to Stacy from Stacy's Books. She's an inspiration! I'll be giving a five word review and a star review out of five. I watch a lot of movies & TV now that I have Netflix and since I'm always with my baby boy who likes movies as much as me! Well, almost...

(2006-2007 13 episodes, Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton, 4/5 stars)

Smart intriguing who done it.

 (2009, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, 3/5 Stars)

Coming-of-age story, odd but intriguing.

(1993, Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, 4/5 Stars)

Fast, intense, seductive, thrilling and great!

(1997, John Cusack, Minnie Driver, 4/5 Stars)

Dark, funny, with hit men!

(2007, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, 2/5)

Creepy, really creepy with singing...

(2009, Catherine O'Hara, Forest Whitaker, 2/5 Stars)

Odd portrayal of children's book.

(2009, Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, 3/5 Stars)

Typical plot, struggling couple, peril!

(2009, Mariah Carey, Mo'Nique, 4/5 Stars)

Disturbing, thought-provoking, true, yet hopeful.

(2008, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, 3/5 Stars)

OK dystopia for kids story.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

At the Library....

Headed off to the library today and I'm really trying to hold off on too many books since I have stacks and stacks at home I'm still getting to! But I couldn't resist this one....

It was just sitting there in the New Fiction section just calling my name! After I'm done with Changeless I'm on to this one!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Genre: young adult
FTC Disclosure: bought from
Published: 2007
Pages: 320
Content: PG for violence/adult themes.

Hmmm....I liked the idea behind the story. But I felt that this one could have been done so much better. This story should've been told as a regular historical fiction novel and not as youth fiction.

We follow Mel, an Irish princess, as she is kidnapped and sold into slavery as a concubine. She's abducted with her sister as they are traveling to safety while their father is attacking some Viking royalty at home. They are to return when they here all is safe.

This is told in first person present tense, which is really difficult to write, in my opinion. And, for me, the story was hindered by it. We only get Mel's perspective and it's very splotchy. The story moves too fast and then too slow. I don't really feel like I get into her head with this perspective. Plus we never learn about others' thoughts and feelings within her world. We never learn about what happened to her sister when she escapes or if her family was killed in that attack. Also the story just ends. I want to know more about how she handles being in a home where she's a concubine, where she has to deal with his wife and how she handles having a child with this man who has raped her over a course of three months. I just felt it would have been a better story in a more adult context. I wanted to know her nitty gritty details about how she was handling all of this horror from being pampered royalty to becoming a slave and then to becoming a sex slave.

It does make you think about slavery and history and women's rights, etc, but not too much. It just could've been handled a lot better.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things i LOVE Friday

Watching my son shred the tissues...

Buying new tennies in Park City

Spring sunny days

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top

Reading the Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Training for my first 5K

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Genre: audiobook, young adult, death
FTC Disclosure: library
Published: 2009
Pages: NA, audiobook
Content: PG-13 for language
Reading Challenges: 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Wow! This was an amazing book. I loved it...I'd give it a 4.5 if they let me.

Gayle Forman combines wit, love, humor, anger, fun etc into her short book. Mia looks back upon her life, in an out-of-body experience, deciding whether or not to stay with her friends and family or to leave and be with her parents and her younger brother...they were all tragically killed in a car accident. She watches her own body, bruised and beaten and lifeless while her boyfriend, best friend, and grandparents talk to her and let her know how much they love her. She reflects upon her life with her parents and brother, how they have changed her life, her boyfriend Adam, her friend Kim.

Forman weaves it all together fantastically. It's an amazing story and one that will stay with me for a long time.

The audiobook was excellent. The voice of Mia was an wonderful actress. The only thing I didn't like about the setup were the long disc chapters, not conducive to remembering where you're at/bookmarking.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Genre: Young adult, vampire, romance
FTC Disclosure: library
Published: 2010
Pages: 339
Content: PG-13 for violence and mayhem!
Reading Challenges: 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

This was another great sequel in the Evernight series! And another horrifying cliffhanger!

Bianca and Lucas are on the run after the ransacking and burning of the Evernight Academy. They are stuck with Lucas's Black Cross gang. How do they hide who Bianca really is and what Lucas may be turning into?

Then there is the ever present wraiths trying to reclaim Bianca and Balthazar's insane sister Charity causing mayhem as well!

It's fast-paced with the story moving along smoothly and plenty of fighting and loving in between and a crazy cliffhanger to boot.

I really like this vampire series. I feel it's a cut above the rest and really enjoy Bianca and Lucas's relationship. The author portrays them on more equal footing and relationship that took it's time to grow instead of crazy and debilitating lust that people think is reference to other vampire novels...

Can't wait for the next one!

Rating: 4/5

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Movie Meme & 5 Word Movie Reviews

Feature Presentation...
hosted by Molly and Andy @ The Bumbles Blog
This week's movie topic is all about Best Couples...

1.  Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (2005): Classic couple! She's smart, beautiful and sassy. He's smart, sexy, and arrogant! Love em.

2. Hawkeye and Cora from Last of the Mohicans (1992):  They have a beautiful waterfall scene!

3. Tom and Summer from 500 Days of Summer (2009): I loved watching these two. Do they stay together? Do they find someone else?

4. Juno and Paulie from Juno (2007): One of the oddest couples out there! Hilarious, though.

5 Word Movie Reviews
1. Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009): Cliche, kinda funny, overall OK.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Things i LOVED.....This Week!

Watching Sherlock Holmes on Blu-ray

My devoted husband making yummy hamburgers

Receiving quite a few Goodreads swap books in the mail.

Getting a bonus

Sunnier days

Gabe standing on his own for a few seconds!

Kitty snuggles at the end of the day

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Genre: mystery, British Lit
FTC Disclosure: library
Published: 2009
Pages: 374
Content: PG for dramatic details

This was a fun and creative new mystery series. Flavia is a precocious eleven-year-old; she has her own laboratory where she conducts chemical experiments. She especially loves all things poison and likes to make up a brew or two (nonlethal) for her two sisters Ophelia and Daphne. Yes, sibling rivalry is on!

It takes place in England during the 1950s, which was kind of fun. I haven't read too many novels in that era. Flavia finds a dead man in her garden early in the morning and hears him utter his last word, Vale. She sets out to solve the mystery with Sherlock senses and chemical acuity at her disposal.

The only thing I didn't like about it was it dragged a bit. There were quite a few references to things that I just didn't know about and didn't really care to find out. But overall it was fun and I really enjoyed Flavia; she's a hoot!

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall

Genre: non-fiction, memoir, polygamy, FLDS, abuse
FTC Disclosure: library
Published: 2008
Pages: 438
Content: PG-13 for sexual abuse
Reading Challenges: Women Unbound

Elissa Wall grew up in the FLDS church, the Fundementalist Latter Day Saints, a polygamous sect and an off-shoot of the Mormon Church. I feel that she's pretty fair in how she grew up. She spoke a lot about some of the good times she shared with her family.

This was a really, really hard book to read. It was so fascinating but ever so disturbing and heart-wrenching. To realize that her life was stolen from her before she was even born. She was a second-class citizen and completely relied upon the men in her life to tell her what to do. If she didn't do it she was going to hell. She was a bit of a stubborn child growing up, but the "prophet" ordered her parents' marriage dissolved and her mother went to a different man and her father was kind of exiled. I can't even imagine something like that. How horrible.

Then as the prophet's health declines his son the infamous Warren Jeffs begins to slowly take over. Rules become stricter such as no more celebrations or dancing, etc. He brings the scattering groups in closer together to keep his eye on the flock.

Eventually Elissa is forced to marry at 14 to her 19 year old first cousin, who then begins to rape her and abuse her throughout their marriage. She eventually finds her way out of the FLDS through the help of friends and family that had previously left. She also finds someone to love and who loves her back.

She describes her feelings how she was pulled from staying to be with her mother and sisters and her eternal damnation to leaving because she needed to be free from the abuse.

Eventually she decides to prosecute Warren Jeffs for his compliance in her abuse. Whenever she went to him for help he told her to obey her husband and be a better wife and to start having babies...despite having multiple miscarriages that her husband/cousin blamed her for, like her lack of complete obedience to him and thus God was punishing icky.

I could go on about this book, but I won't. She testifies against Jeffs and yet is treated with contempt by the defense and continues to be harassed by members of the FLDS church who have devoted at least one blog to telling the world what a whore and liar she is (and if there are any comments that don't fit with their warped view of the world they delete it and claim everyone else is mislead, evil, going to hell, etc...ick.

I'm amazed that Elissa was able to get out of such a horrible place where rights are gone, women are treated as nothing more than breeding machines, and boys are left out to dry since there aren't enough women to go around.

It was a tragic book, but full of hope that others in her situation can get out and get help.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, April 2, 2010

Things i LOVE Friday!

Locksmiths, but not their prices

Mexican food

cuddling with Gabe when he lets me

My new big screen TV & Blu-ray player!

Biggest Loser DVD workouts, Jillian and Bob kick my booty!!!

losing a few pounds when I thought I'd gained them!