Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Line Movie Reviews

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009): Lisbeth is one kick-butt, tragic heroine.
Rating: A

2. The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009): Lisbeth seeks revenge and learns more about the great conspiracy.
Rating: A

3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009): Her friend Mikael helps Lisbeth, who's on trial for murder, discover who the bad guys really are and bring them to justice!
Rating: A

4. Angela's Ashes (1999): Frank McCourt's tragic but inspiring childhood during the Depression, poor, and in Ireland.
Rating: B+

5. Life As We Know It (2010): Heart-wrenching romantic-comedy that made me cry while I knew the final outcome from the previews!
Rating: B+

6. 3:10 to Yuma (2007): Brilliant western with superb acting from Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.
Rating: B+

7. How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Loveable dragons, bad parenting, and action make this a fabulous movie!
Rating: A

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Genre: memoir
FTC Disclosure: bought from Dragons and Fairytales
Published: 2006
Pages: 288
Content: Violence and language

Summary: Jeannette Walls puts all her childhood memories into a book and explores the good and the bad of growing up with crazy, crazy-smart, and crazy-negligent parents.

Review: Jeannette describes her crazy, poverty-stricken childhood. Her parents were definitely off their rockers and were pretty much horrible parents. Her mother hardly seemed to care whether they were there or not and pretty much left them to raise themselves. Her father was overly paranoid, an alcoholic, and put his kids in a lot of dangerous situations.

She starts off when she was three and was making herself a hotdog over the stove and her dress caught on fire and she received third degree burns. She writes from an unemotional distance. It's like she was separating herself from the traumatic events of her childhood. I thought this was a little off-putting and one in which I couldn't quite connect with her or her family. She does put a few quotes in or lessons she learned after the crazy stuff but not the end it just was done. I expect a memoir to be a bit on the uplifting side and this one just didn't pack the emotional oomph I was looking for.

The kids turned out OK, but I'm not sure what she was trying to tell us about her story. "Look how crazy my family was and how I turned out???" Maybe she just wanted it told and that was that. I don't know, maybe I was expecting too much from this one.

But overall, it was a fascinating and yet horrible story. It was like a train just couldn't look away.

Rating: 3/5 stars 

Other covers:

I like the car jumper! It definitely pops the story for me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Movie Meme- Madness!

Feature Presentation...
hosted by Molly of The Bumbles Blog.

This week is all about movies with mad, insane, psychotic, whichever characters and/or movies!

1. Rebecca (1940): Rebecca and her maid Mrs. Danvers all insane and very creepy!

2. The Shining (1980): Jack Nicholson knows how to make any character he plays extra creepy and that is not exception in this one...where he tries to kill his whole family.

3. The Dark Knight (2008): Heath Ledger played the Joker brilliantly mad!

4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003): Gollum, Saruman, Sauron, even Bilbo and eventually Frodo all are and go a bit crazy from the ring in these!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Genre: Science fiction, romance
FTC Disclosure: borrowed from library
Published: 2010
Pages: 389
Content: Sex, violence, language.

Yeah, it's all about Kitty Kat. She's the one perfect woman on Earth and every straight man, whether alien, parasite, or human wants her...

This was a very silly book. Kitty happens to take out Superbing aka human-infested parasite while coming out of jury duty. She's quick on her feet and says a lot of sarcastic and snappy things, oh and she's beautiful. So the Men in Black/Armani pick her up and take her to their secret headquarters and recruit her in their battle to save Earth from the evil parasites that turn into Superbeings when they take on human/mammalian hosts. So yea, lots of silly fun stuff going on all of the aliens are from Alpha Centauri and are just humans but a million times better...better looking, faster, stronger, etc.

Make a long story's silly and it's fun. It's got lots of action and witty and not-witty dialogue. But I could never buy the actual story. It wasn't coherent enough for me. There were so many plot holes and inconsistencies with Kitty that I had a hard time really loving this one. I'm not sure if the author was trying to literally say Kitty was the perfect woman or not. But having her pretty much solve everything and do everything that many aliens and humans couldn't over so many years was just something I wasn't buying. 

There were a few other things I didn't like about Kitty/the book or I should say the author...she made Kitty out to be not overly religious and yet super religious. Her parents brought her up a freethinker and yet her daddy treats her like her virginity is the most precious commodity she has ever had. She believes in God, she doesn't know, then all the bad people in the book don't believe in God...sigh. She has lots of great sex but feels horrible about it. She calls herself a slut and other horrible things. She talks about the double standard of men and women regarding this issue and yet still believes it. Ugh! I don't get it, Gini Koch! Just because some people may not believe in God doesn't make them evil parasitic Superbeings and just because people have a healthy sexuality doesn't make them sluts!!! For crying out loud!

This book reminds me of those blockbuster action movies. Lots of action and witty dialogue but no real substance or storyline to speak of. Get your thrills and move on.

 Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Genre: young adult, fantasy
FTC Disclosure: Nookbook from Barnes and Noble
Published: 2010
Pages: 256
Content: Nothing offensive.
I really liked this one. It was different and that is definitely good in the inundated market that is YA fiction.

Olivia has just moved to San Francisco with her parents after the death of her twin sister Violet. She's devastated and is trying to find a way to fit in at her new school and deal with her sister being gone. The author takes us back a bit so we get to know the exact opposite of Olivia. Violet was outgoing and fun, she had all the friends and the great fashion sense.

Olivia eventually finds Violet's last dress she bought and decides to wear that for her mom's party, only it has a rip and needs to be mended. This takes her to Posey's shop. She's the modern-day fairy godmother! Olivia gets three dresses to make three wishes with.

Mayhem ensues when she wishes her sister a ghost along with the other two wishes.

I enjoyed the sisters' interaction, how Violet tried to help Olivia get friends and the new boyfriend. It was a cute story about moving on and learning to live.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Other Covers:

German version

Polish version
Paperback English version
So which one do you like best? I like the overall design of the Polish cover but the model looks like she has a baby bump starting and she looks really annoyed with those rolling eyes! The German version is simple and pretty. I also like the paperback version with a closeup and the disappearing sparkles for her dress.

My pick would be the German cover! But all are pretty in their own way.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Line Movie Reviews

1. Buried (2010): I also felt trapped in the coffin.
Rating: B+
2. You Again (2010): Silly but cute romantic comedy with Betty White and Kristen Bell.
Rating B-
3. The Next Three Days (2010): Different kind of thriller and ended differently than expected.
Rating: B+
4. The Social Network (2010): Interesting look at Facebook's creation but a bit boring.
Rating: C+

5. Never Let Me Go (2010): Excellent acting but super depressing, and it made me think.
Rating: B
6. The Other Guys (2010): Dumber than expected.
Rating: C-

7. The Expendables (2010): Meh.
Rating: D+
8. Idiocracy (2006): This could really be our future...
Rating: C

9. Memento (2000): Excellent mystery and look at memory.
Rating: B+

10. Salt (2010): Felt like I was watching anti-Russian and communist propaganda the whole time.
Rating: D-
11. The A-Team (2010): Fun and now I want to watch the original series.
Rating: B
12. Knight and Day (2010): Tom Cruise continues to creep me out but it was still a fun movie.
Rating: B-
13. Easy A (2010): I loved this one unexpectedly.
Rating: A-
14. Killers (2010): Surprising performance by Ashton Kutcher.
Rating: A-

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Genre: Young adult, fantasy
FTC Disclosure: library
Published: 2010
Pages: 354
Content: Mild violence.

I was expecting a lot more from this one...

Sydelle lives on the outskirts of her kingdom which is all but forgotten by her king...until the wizard North shows up to change everything. Her kingdom is going to war with another one and she and North must make it to negotiations with important information.

But North wants her for a reason...she's really great at weaving and can even patch up his wizarding cloaks without breaking their magic. Weird things seem to happen whenever she is sad or angry...another wizard is following her and North. North himself is moody and is holding secrets.

This all sounds great and it could've been. It really fell flat for me. Some of the scenes were confusing. I didn't know where people were and what actually was happening until after the fact. I also didn't get their attraction. After North is unconscious a friend of his tells her that she should love him since he hasn't had a lot of it in his she does! Oh, poor North, even though he's a big jerk and treats me like I'm 2 and yet calls me Darling for no apparent reasons, I guess I'll like him, no love him. Yeah, I didn't buy it.

Also, the world of Brightly Woven wasn't described very well. It makes me wonder if she's planning more books in the future. But the world and its magic and the characters in it just didn't have any meat.

I'm being generous with the 3 stars since the story was different and I do enjoy fantasy and there wasn't a love bonus.

I wish she had decided on an adult fantasy so she could have fleshed out the characters and turned it into a trilogy with details and character development, then it could've been something.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Image Source: Goodreads

German cover:

I really like the U.S. cover the best. The German one doesn't have the fantasy feel to it that goes along with the story. Which one do you like best?

Forgotten English- Englottogaster

Englottogaster: One who speaks from his belly; a ventriloquist.
                   ___William Turton's Medical Glossary, 1802

Early Ventriloquism

About the yeare of our Lord, 1554, a wenche who came form Glocester named Elizabeth Croft, about the age of eighteene yeares, stoode uppon a Scaffolde at Poules Cross all the sermon tyme, where shee confessed, that she being moved by dyvers lewde persons thereutno hadde upon the fourteenth of Marche laste, before passed coutnerfaited certayne speaches in an house without Aldersgate of London, throughe the whyche the pople of the whole city were wonderfully molested, for that all men mighte heare the voice but not see hir person. Some saide it was an Angell, some saide a voyce from heave, and some the Holie Ghost. Thys was called the Spirite in the Wall...The penance being ended and the people satisfied, the officers of the Courte tooke the woman and shut hir for a tyme in the prison, but after did shee returne to her owne countrie, and was noe more hearde of.

                                 ---Adin William's Lays and Legends of Gloucestershire, 1878

Source: Jeffrey Kacirk's Forgotten English calendar for Monday March 14, 2011

Image Source: See Mike Draw.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Movie Meme- Food!

Feature Presentation...
hosted by Molly of The Bumbles Blog.

This week is all about movies with some memorable food scenes!

1. Enchanted (2007): The pizza scene with the chipmunk and Nathaniel was hilarious!
 Image Source
2. Whip It (2009): This has an awesome roller derby ladies' food fight!
 Image Source
3. The Great Race (1965): Pie scene! Lots and lots of pies!
 Image Source
4. Hot Shots! (1991): Can you ever eat bacon and green olives the same again?
Image Source

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Genre: young adult, romance, Austen-inspired
FTC Disclosure: borrowed from library.
Published: 2011
Pages: 231
Content: Nothing offensive.

This is a super fast, light, and fun read. I breezed through it in a couple of hours.

Pros: It was short and sweet.
Cons: It was short. It could have used a bit more, not much, just a tiny bit more with character development and story. The relationship between Lizzie and Darcy felt a bit forced. The language was also a bit cheesy. But it's not supposed to be a masterpiece. I think if someone hasn't read Pride and Prejudice before this would be a fun way to get them introduced and onto the real thing.

Rating: 3/5 Stars 

Image Source: Goodreads

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Movie Meme: Bookish Movies

Feature Presentation...
hosted by Molly of The Bumbles Blog.

This week is all about those movies with books and bookish not necessarily book-to-movie adaptations.

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007): While this is a book too, the movie is all about Jane Austen's books and how they affect this little book club that reads them.
Beauty and the Beast (1991): Belle is a total bookworm! Her nose is always stuck in a book!
Dan In Real Life (2007): Dan meets the woman of his dreams in the local book store and ends up giving her a million suggestions to read. The woman ends up buying all of them!
Stranger Than Fiction (2006): Will Farrell becomes the main character in Emma Thompson's latest book...where she always kills them in the end. Can he convince her he's real and that he doesn't want to die?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things i LOVE

St. James Park, London

Parks, especially with the weather warming up and my son can go play outside!

My local library.

Free eBooks like She Walks in Beauty and Darcy's Voyage.

Movie trailer for the new Jane Eyre movie. (Can't wait to see it!!!)

Celebrating my husband's birthday at Wing Nutz.

Cuddling with my little boy before bedtime.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Movie Meme- Weighty Movies

Feature Presentation...

hosted by Molly of The Bumbles Blog.

This week features movies whose characters who want to lose or need to gain extra pounds.

1. Tommy Boy (1995):  Tommy is not the brightest bulb in the tanning booth but he sure is the sweetest. Many fat jokes are thrown his way and he even manages to break a bench he's sitting on. But he ends up saving the day!
2. Hairspray (2007): Tracy is a chubby but happy and bubbly teenager in Baltimore in the 60s. She doesn't let her weight get in the way of her dreams to dance and change the world! Go, Tracy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

*My copy
Genre: Modern classic, Jane Eyre-inspired, mystery
FTC Disclosure: bought second-hand.
Published: 1938
Pages: 380
Content: PG for mild violence. Nothing really offensive.

Mrs. de Winter lives in the shadow of the former Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca. She thinks everyone loved her more, especially her new husband Maxim. But she soon learns that all is not what it seems, especially Rebecca and her housekeeper Mrs. Danvers.

Pros: The mystery was excellent. Who was Rebecca? What really happened to her? Mrs. Danvers? Yup, it was good. I definitely saw the Jane Eyre influences throughout the book, which was also fun. Du Maurier really had a way of describing the setting. I could see the big house they live in, the garden and ocean, etc.

The main thing I enjoyed was her moral ambiguity at the end...SPOILER ALERT....................................................................................................................................................................

Maxim is not a very likable guy either. He's mean and brutish and moody and demanding but he seems like a decent enough person....and then you find out he really did kill his wife. I kept thinking it would be some sort of accidental death by him or Rebecca was so devious she convinced him that he had done it when she really had just killed herself...but, nope, he did it and he wasn't really sorry about it.  In order to avoid the awful controversy of divorce with his sociopathic wife, he'd rather just kill her instead. Granted, it wasn't premeditated murder but he still brought the gun and shot her dead. So I was left to ponder some things. Was what he did really justified? No. He should definitely have gone to prison for what he did. But you kind of feel for him and his new wife and they painted such a horrible picture of Rebecca so you don't feel too bad she died....but still. Anyway, good stuff.


The ending was just kind of left in the air...what happened? She never wrote a sequel...sigh. Good stuff.

Cons: I just had a hard time caring about our protagonist Mrs. de Winter...she was just so timid and shy and didn't seem to have much of a backbone. She was always whining about trying to please her husband all the time...would he like this, is he mad about this, etc. I understand why she was like this...but this didn't make her sympathetic. Maxim wasn't likable, either. I kept thinking he was kind of a pedophile, I mean, he kept referring to her as a child and treating her as one...petting her head, making her feel stupid, etc. She was half his age, but still....kind of creepy.

But overall, a great classic mystery! And is definitely worth a read!

Rating: 4 stars

Other Covers:
I wish I had gotten my hands on one of these editions! I really like them both but the blue R-ed one really stands out to me.

*Image Source from Yet Another Wordpress Blog.
+Image Source from Book Stains.
=Image Source from The Bookish Type.