Category: Movies


It’s late, but I’m excited to share what I got for Christmas. I’m proud to say that I didn’t buy any of these, so I’m keeping to my book buying ban. Chad actually bought all of these books and movies for me. He’s too good to me.

I also received some book and movie related goodies such as an Edgar Allen Poe candle, “The Raven” figurine and poem, and The Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee. This Christmas was amazing all around, and I loved everything I got. Let me know in the comments some of the stuff you received or even something you gave someone else. If you’ve made a similar post, you can leave a link in the comments. I love looking at book, movie, or video game hauls.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

mistbornMistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Genre – Fantasy

(The Final Empire) In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage – Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

 

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Genre – Fiction/Thriller

The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation’s most visionary satirist. Fight Club’s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight “as long as they have to.” A gloriously original work that exposes what is at the core of our modern world.

 

Un Lun Dun – China Miéville
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

 

American Supernatural Tales – S.T. Joshi (Editor)
Genre – Anthologies/Horror

The ultimate collection of weird and frightening American fiction. As Stephen King will attest, the popularity of the occult in American literature has only grown since the days of Edgar Allan Poe. American Supernatural Tales celebrates the richness of this tradition with chilling contributions from some of the nation’s brightest literary lights, including Poe himself, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and-of course- Stephen King. By turns phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic, this is a frighteningly good addition to Penguin Classics.

 


 

The Shining
Rating – R

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

 

 

 

 

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Rating – TV-14

Naruto and Sakura are captured in a parallel world by Madara, who’s intentions are to steal the jinchuuriki from Naruto.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Nemo
Genre – G

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

I thought I might combine these two months together for this wrap-up. I didn’t read many books or watch many movies in each month. However, I apparently read lots of four stars books these past two months. Finally, I’m caught up with these wrap-ups! Woo!

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

Anya’s Ghost – Vera Brosgol
Genre – Young Adult/Graphic Novel
My Rating – ★★★★

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Review: I went into Anya’s Ghost without fully reading the description, and I found that I enjoyed it a lot more than I probably would have had I read it. It was nice to go in kind of blind. The story is surprisingly dark and a lot different than I expected. I really liked the ending because I didn’t see it coming at all. Aside from the story, I thought the characters were very well-written and realistic. None of them were 100% likeable and to me that just seems more accurate. The graphic style is fun and simplistic. It’s not as detailed as a lot of graphic novels but it’s perfect for this story. If you’re into graphic novels I would definitely recommend this book.

 

The Surprise Party – R. L. Stine
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★

It’s been a year since Evan died in the Fear Street woods. A year since Ellen moved away, and “the gang” split up. Meg Dalton felt as if she’d lost her best friends. Everyone changed. Even her boyfriend Tony was acting moody, strange. But when she heard that Ellen was returning for a visit, Meg had the answer: she’d bring them all together again with a surprise party for Ellen!

That’s when the terror began…the phone calls…the threats…the bizarre acts of violence. “Cancel the party—or else,” the whispered voice on the phone told her. Meg was scared, and with good reason. Whoever wanted the party stopped woud try anything—even murder! But why? The dark Fear Street woods held the answer…if Meg dared to discover the truth!

Review: The Surprise Party is very similar to other books in this genre by R. L. Stine. It has all of his usual mystery aspects and predictability. The suspects are all typical and very obvious. Meg is too trusting of everyone and that was a bit frustrating for me, but the book was fun to read and fast paced. Of course, as usual, the ending was a bit crazy and out there. Up until the end of the story, everything made a lot of sense though. Stine’s books are always entertaining to read, and I would recommend them if you’re already a fan of his.

 

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review: Scarlet is a fun read. A bit predictable, but fun all the same. The plot is very interesting and keeps you entertained. I really liked the world but wish there was more world building. You just don’t get to see enough about how everything operates. On the other hand, the characters are what really drive the story. I enjoyed seeing Cinder’s point of view again and was glad to see other characters had returned as well. I didn’t like Scarlet as much as Cinder, but she isn’t a terrible character. She just has a few traits that irked me. Out of all the characters though, Thorne is by far my favorite. The Lunar Chronicles is a series that you should absolutely check out because all the books are fun, easy, and provide a nice change of pace.

*As an added bonus for Scarlet, I’ve been provided with an audio sample to share with you from Macmillan Audio. Click here to listen to the first chapter of the audiobook.

 

Spirits of the Noh – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★½

Kara Harper is finally starting to fit in at her boarding school in Japan-after all, nothing bonds you with your classmates like having an ancient demon put a curse on you. Hoping life can go back to normal now that the demon has been put to rest, Kara joins her friends Sakura and Miho in putting on a play for the Noh drama club. It’s the story of the Hannya, a snake demon who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman. When a few members of the Noh club go missing, Kara fears that the real Hannya has been awakened by the curse. Then Miho is abducted, and Kara must find her before the Hannya destroys her. But the demon is wily, and may be hidden in the last place any of them would think to look . . . .

Review: I’m loving this series. Spirits of Noh is a nice addition to the first book and doesn’t just provide a bridge to the third book. It’s as good as Dreams of the Dead and I am really looking forward to the third book now. The characters continue to develop and the plot remains intriguing. I still love the setting, and the descriptions constantly make me want to go to Japan. The only negative I have about this book is that Kara seems to have regressed a little. How she feels about her dad’s relationship has changed from the first book. Other than that the book is very fun and enjoyable. The book is classified as young adult horror and lives up to the genre while not being overly scary. I think everyone that enjoys young adult should give this trilogy a chance.

 

The Night She Disappeared – April Henry
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★★

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

Review: The Night She Disappeared is really short and fast paced. There aren’t that many details and you don’t really get to know the characters, but the story is pretty interesting. The story is told through four different perspectives, one of which belongs to the killer. This allows the reader to know more than the characters and makes everything more suspenseful. As the book begins wrapping up things get really exciting. It was a lot more intense than I expected. If you’re in the mood for a quick mystery, this is the book for you.

 


 

Blazing Saddles
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★

To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.

Review: Blazing Saddles was surprisingly funny. I know Mel Brooks is well-known for his comedy, but I was just worried this one might not be as good as some of the others like Young Frankenstein and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Those are two of my favorite movies. The plot is a little silly but that’s to be expected from a satire like this.  It’s not a movie that will stick in my mind forever, but it’s definitely enjoyable. If you’re a fan of comedies, this is certainly one to check out.

 

The Brothers Grimm
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

Will and Jake Grimm are traveling con-artists who encounter a genuine fairy-tale curse which requires true courage instead of their usual bogus exorcisms.

Review: The Brothers Grimm is a fun movie, but it’s very silly. It’s entertaining, and the acting is perfect for this type of movie. The fact that Will and Jake are con-artists really makes the story go in a more interesting direction. It wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be, and I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of scenes that caught me off guard, and I found myself laughing quite often. It’s hard to recommend this to a certain group of people, but if you read the description and think it sounds interesting, you’ll probably really enjoy it.

 

Saving Private Ryan
Rating – R
My Rating – ★★★★★

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Review: Saving Private Ryan is such a fantastic movie. I always avoided this movie because the opening scenes are so graphic, but I’m glad I finally watched it. The acting is great, but Tom Hanks stands out as my favorite. It’s easy to get attached to all of the characters and genuinely concerned any time they’re in danger. It’s very unpredictable and just a beautiful story overall. If you haven’t seen it then you really need to. This is a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone and not just fans of war movies.

August 2014 Wrap-Up

The August wrap-up is here! Let me know if you’ve read or watched any of these and what you’re thoughts were or if you want to read or watch any of these.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb. All pictures link to their respective Goodreads or IMDb pages.

The Fever – Megan Abbott
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

Review: I have a full review of The Fever. Overall, The Fever wasn’t a great mystery. Even though the red herrings were plausible and made sense, the true reason for the outbreak seemed silly. The characters were dull and at times had some inappropriate thoughts about other characters. It was an okay book, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

 

Overnight – Adele Griffin
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★★

Everyone expects Caitlin’s sleepover birthday party to be perfect. She is one of the Lucky Seven, the group every sixth-grade girl wants to belong to. But those inside this enchanted circle know it’s often less about feeling accepted and more about watching your step. Of the Seven, Gray is the easiest target for the others, and tonight she disappears. As the girls search for Gray, some of them worry. Others have secrets they’re not telling, even to the police. And as the truth gets harder to hide, new emotions erupt, friendships become shaky, and a power struggle ensues. The Lucky Seven is in danger of falling apart. And as for Gray, she’ll need to call on all of her wavering courage just to survive this turbulent night.

Review: While it’s listed in the young adult genre, Overnight is a middle grade read. I can see why some might not like this story. Some of the girls are a bit cliche and can make some terrible decisions, but I think it’s rather an enjoyable read. It was surprisingly scary for a middle grade book. Though it may not be for some. It was for me because one of my fears when I was little was what happened to Gray. There were plenty of moments of yelling at the characters to do something and then being frustrated when they didn’t do it. The characterization is interesting because while there are cliches such as the shy girl, mean girl, spoiled girl and so on, it doesn’t take away from the story. It’s interesting to see how everyone reacts in this situation. At first, they don’t think much about what happens, but as time progresses and no one has found Gray, they begin to worry about what happened to her. Overall, it’s an engaging story and a page-turner, and I would recommend it.

 

Zombie Blondes – Brian James
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong.
A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah’s first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school.
The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in appearance: blonde, beautiful, and deathly pale.
But Hannah wants desperately to fit in—regardless of what her friend Lukas is telling her: if she doesn’t watch her back, she’s going to be blonde and popular and dead—just like all the other zombies in this town. . . .

Review: I actually forgot that I had already read this book years before. I don’t think that’s a good sign for this story. Nothing really stood out in this novel, and I found myself more frustrated at the main character than anything else. Hannah is very judgmental of others, and she makes rash decisions about the boy that tries to help her. When she’s warned not to hang with the popular girls, of course she must do so. The father is another big issue I had with this book. They just moved into town, and he decides it would be a great time to leave his daughter alone. This seemed like a ploy to get the father out of the picture so all the bad stuff could happen to Hannah. It’s sad that the story fell flat for me because I really liked the first chapter and the ending, but everything in the middle wasn’t that great. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book.

 

Killing Mr. Griffin – Lois Duncan
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery
My Rating – ★★★

High school can be tough. But with teachers like Mr. Griffin it can seem impossible.

They only planned to scare him. But sometimes even the best-laid plans go wrong.

Review: I found out this book was on the banned list, and I can see why since it deals with students killing their teacher. Killing Mr. Griffin has an intriguing plot, and its keeps you wanting to find out what happens next and what will happen to these students. While the plot is interesting, the characters can be annoying at times, and they’re forgettable. Throughout the crime, it’s easy to pick out what the characters are doing wrong and what will cause them to be caught (not that I want them to get away with their crime). It might be that I watch and read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, but as a character was doing something, I knew that it would end up getting them in trouble later. I loved how peer pressure played into this novel and how it showed how far pressure can make someone go. I didn’t really like how the ending was done. It’s a silly way to explain what all happened because the reader is told all of the details through a mother’s dialogue to her daughter (one of the students involved). However, everything is resolved, and it’s a good ending for this type of story. It’s worth reading.

 

The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
Genre – Classic/Science Fiction
My Rating – ★★★

“I’ve had a most amazing time….”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.

Review: The Time Machine has a unique storytelling method. Besides the beginning and end, it’s entirely told through the traveler’s dialogue. He explains what happened to him when he traveled to the future. There was a lot of thought put into the aspects of time travel. It’s so well done that it makes you wonder if Wells did invent a way to travel in time. I did really enjoy the beginning and ending. There were some boring moments in the story. Especially when the traveler first starts his story. The social commentary can sometimes drag on and made me wonder when the he was going to talk about anything else. However, once the traveler met the Eloi and the Morlocks, the story became really interesting. It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you want to see where science fiction began.

 

The Murder Farm – Andrea Maria Schenkel
Genre – Mystery
My Rating – ★★★½

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

Review: I have a full review of The Murder Farm. It’s a unique and enjoyable story. It’s a mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the page. While we don’t get to know the characters that well, I feel they all have distinct voices and are interesting enough to keep the story going. The story is told in a very uncommon way, but it works for the plot. If you’re looking for a short mystery, you should definitely give this book a chance.

 

Dreams of the Dead – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror
My Rating – ★★★★½

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

Review: Dreams of the Dead really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I loved the plot and especially the characters in this story. The characters were so realistic and relatable. Having the story set in Japan only added a bonus to this story. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and this story made me want to go even more with all the amazing descriptions. The combination of plot, characters, and setting really made me think about animes and mangas. This added to my enjoyment of the story. The horror aspect of this story was scary but not too much. It was the perfect balance of intriguing and scary elements. There were also a few surprising twists with how the characters dealt with the demon and other students which were interesting. The only thing I didn’t like was how the main character responded to her friends thoughts about the demon, but other than that I enjoyed everything about this story. I would definitely recommend this for anyone interested in starting to read horror or if you want a story set in Japan.

 


 

Justin and the Knights of Valour
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★½

A young boy becomes a man as he embarks on a quest to become a knight.

Review: Justin and the Knights of Valour is an entertaining movie. However, it’s not an amazing movie. It didn’t capture my interest as much as I would have liked, and I found myself bored during some scenes. It felt as though I had seen most of what happened in this story but in better movies. It’s predictable and most of the characters are cliches. On the other hand, I did enjoy that women were not just damsels in distress, and the movie portrayed them in two different lights which is always nice. It was interesting to watch, but it’s not my favorite. I’m sure others have really enjoyed it, so it’s always worth checking out.

 

Rio 2
Rating – G
My Rating – ★★★½

It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law.

Review: I didn’t expect much out of the sequel to Rio because sequels have a tendency to not be as good as the original, and I only liked Rio (★★★), so I was worried about this movie. However, I found that I liked this one a bit more than the first one. Of course it’s predictable in some areas, but it had a few surprises at the end that I didn’t expect. I have to say that my favorite scenes were the ones with Nigel and Gabi, especially Nigel because I love the evil ones. It was fun to see how they reacted to each other, and I wanted even more scenes with them. Overall, Rio 2 is a fun movie, and I would recommend it.

 

The Great Gatsby (2013)
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Review: This version of The Great Gatsby sticks fairly close to the book while also adding it’s own elements to the story such as changing the arrangement of dialogue or making a character have certain body language that conveys the right emotion. These additions changed some scenes so they would make more sense, at least to me. I felt they made everything flow easier and made character decisions make more sense. I liked the modern music because it gives it a different twist than the other adaptations. I have to say that I liked this one better than the 1974 version. It’s definitely worth watching.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★½

A group of space criminals must work together to stop a fanatic from destroying the galaxy.

ReviewGuardians of the Galaxy is such a fun movie. It’s extremely funny, and Chad and I laughed throughout the movie. I actually wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was, but I was pleasantly surprised. They are very unique characters and each one of them add their own charm to the team. There is plenty of action throughout this movie and really cool easter eggs. The only problem I had with the movie was the weak villain. He doesn’t pose as big of a threat as I would have liked and the audience doesn’t really learn anything about him to make him more developed. I still can’t wait for the sequel though. I hope it’s as good as this one, if not better. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get into the super hero movies. It’s the perfect place to start.

I was approached by the community manager at Man Crates to make a post about what I would want to have if I was stuck in a horror movie. It sounded like a really fun idea, so of course I agreed. Man Crates is a company that specializes in gifts for men. The concept is to ship your man a crate that he has to open with a crowbar. There are different types of crates to choose from, and there are even some for zombie survival. If this sounds interesting to you, definitely check out the website.

While I don’t watch a lot of horror movies, I do enjoy some with zombies. If I was stuck in a zombie apocalypse, these are the items I would want to have to help me survive.

 

1. Magnesium Fire Starter

Fire is very important for cooking and for keeping warm. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe I would be able to start a fire with only sticks, especially when I’m fearing for my life. That’s why I would want one of these.

A lighter would be nice, but it would eventually run out of fuel and knowing my luck it would happen when I need it the most.

 

2. Gun With Lots of Ammo and a Silencer

Killing the zombies will be very important and for that, I will need a weapon. My first choice is to have a gun with lots of ammo. In an ideal zombie apocalypse, I will have plenty of ammo to spare and will never run out. I want to be able to kill them without having to get too close. The silencer will help keep it quiet and prevent more zombies from being drawn to the noise.

When I’m not killing zombies with the gun, I can hunt with it. Or you know, celebrate being alive as shown in this gif:

 

3. Axe

For those times when I have to get up close and personal with the undead, a gun might not be convenient. This is where an axe will be handy.

Plus, I can use it to break open doors to loot houses as needed. Yay vandalism!

4. Medical Kit

This will be essential for me because I can be a klutz and swinging an axe around to break into peoples’ houses will only make that worse. I’m going to need bandages, disinfectant, pain killers, and everything else I can squeeze in there.

If I’m going to die from the zombie apocalypse, I don’t want it to be because my boo boo got infected.

 

5. Flashlight and Plenty of Batteries

There will be plenty of dark nights, so having a flashlight will be very important. I won’t be one of these horror movie victims that can’t see in the dark because they don’t have any light. And there’s nothing worse than a flashlight without batteries, so I want to make sure I stockpile those as well.

I could get a mechanically powered flashlight, but they normally make noise and that’s not good when zombies are around, especially in the dark.

 

6. Athletic Shoes

There will be lots of running, so I want some decent running shoes that will last a while. The shoes I have now are not good for running, so if I was stuck with those, I would be doomed. I might want a couple pairs too. While we’re planning for the apocalypse, we might as well be extra prepared.

 

7. Canned Food and Can Opener

I have to eat and hunting won’t always be effective, so I need another source of food that will last me a while. Canned goods will stay fresh for a long period of time. To get into most cans, I will also need a can opener. I could use my axe but that might get messy.

 

8. Solar Charger

Life without electricity is going to suck. I want be able to use some of my electronics for a little while at least. I would want a solar charger, so I can read my e-books, listen to music, and watch movies when I’m not fending for my life. There’s no need to go without some luxuries. I just need to plan ahead and load up my tablet beforehand.

 

 

9. Pet

It’s going to be lonely out there so having a pet along for the ride might be nice. A dog would help defend me and cuddle up with me at night. If a dog isn’t available, I’ll take this attack bird:

 

10. Helicopter

When all else fails and humans are losing, I’m getting the heli out of Dodge. I’m going to find a deserted island and wait it out with Wilson.

Not that I know how to fly a helicopter, but it’ll come with an instruction manual, right? Right?

 

Bonus Choice:

Good luck – I’m going to need it because I’m no survivalist. I’ll probably end up eating some poisonous berries miles away from the nearest zombie threat, or I’ll end up tripping and falling with all of this stuff I’m carrying and a zombie will eat me.

What would you want during a zombie apocalypse? Or what would you want if you were trapped in a horror movie? Let me know in the comments or leave a link if you’ve already done something similar to this.

*I was not compensated for this post in any way. It was just for fun.

July 2014 Wrap-Up

The wrap-ups are coming slowly but surely. I’m hoping to get August and September up sometime this month too, but we will see if that happens.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

How Not to Write a Novel – Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
Genre – Non-Fiction
My Rating – ★★★★

Many writing books offer sound advice on how to write well. This is not one of those books. On the contrary, this is a collection of terrible, awkward, and laughably unreadable excerpts that will teach you what to avoid—at all costs—if you ever want your novel published.

In How Not to Write a Novel, authors Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman distill their 30 years combined experience in teaching, editing, writing, and reviewing fiction to bring you real advice from the other side of the query letter. Rather than telling you how or what to write, they identify the 200 most common mistakes unconsciously made by writers and teach you to recognize, avoid, and amend them. With hilarious “mis-examples” to demonstrate each manuscript-mangling error, they’ll help you troubleshoot your beginnings and endings, bad guys, love interests, style, jokes, perspective, voice, and more. As funny as it is useful, this essential how-NOT-to guide will help you get your manuscript out of the slush pile and into the bookstore.

Review: How Not to Write a Novel is an interesting take on writing-advice books. I’ve always read books for what you are supposed to do, so it was nice to see what not to do when writing a novel. The advice in this book is helpful while being witty and funny. The authors give great examples of everything they discuss, and they do it in a humorous way to make it stand out. There might be some obvious examples of what not to do, but everything is useful, and it’s always nice to refresh yourself on what to avoid while writing. The book doesn’t tell you to write a specific way, it explains that certain areas in your book would improve if you didn’t add anything unnecessary. I feel like every potential author should read this book. Mainly to keep from making simple mistakes and to help engage future readers.

 

Saga, Volume 1 (Saga #1-6) – Brian K. Vaughan (Writer) and Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Genre – Graphic Novel/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★★

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

This specially priced volume collects the first six issues of the smash-hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.”

Review: Saga is such a great graphic novel. I knew I would like it, but I wasn’t prepared to love it as much as I did. It has an amazing story and characters. The characters are what make the story so intriguing. They are unique, and I found myself wanting to know more about all of them. I love that we were able to see different points of view throughout the story. The plot and characters in the story are unpredictable. I had no idea where the story was going to go next or what the characters were going to do, and I really enjoy that aspect in books and graphic novels. The illustrations are beautiful and make the story seem real. However, Saga is definitely for adults because of all the nudity and graphic violence. It’s an exciting and fun graphic novel, and I need to get my hands on the second volume soon.

 

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre – Classic/Historical Fiction
My Rating – ★★★

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new–something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.” That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

Review: The Great Gatsby is a story where the characters could possibly make it or break it with some readers. The characters are quite realistic but most of them are unlikeable. They each have their own flaws that make them believable and interesting. It did surprise me that there were some boring moments in this book even though the story is short. These moments include unnecessary names and information. At one point there is close to a page and a half of names of people attending Gatsby’s party. I know what Fitzgerald was trying to do with it, but it just seems unneeded to progress the story. However, I really enjoyed the ending. I thought it wrapped up the story well, and it was interesting to see how each character reacted to what happened. I would recommend this classic, but you might need to get used to the writing style.

 

Perfect Shadow – Brent Weeks
Genre – Novella/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★

Discover the origins of Durzo Blint in this original novella set in the world of Brent Weeks’ New York Times bestselling Night Angel trilogy.

“I got a bit of prophecy,” the old assassin said. “Not enough to be useful, you know. Just glimpses. My wife dead, things like that to keep me up late at night. I had this vision that I was going to be killed by forty men, all at once. But now that you’re here, I see they’re all you. Durzo Blint.”

Durzo Blint? Gaelan had never even heard the name.

***
Gaelan Starfire is a farmer, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He’s also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he’s worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he’s become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble.

But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he’s ever believed in.

Review: Perfect Shadow is a nice addition to The Night Angel Trilogy. It gives great backstory for Durzo and Mama K. You get to feel a better connection to why they act a certain way. There’s more of a connection with Durzo when you read this novella before The Way of Shadows because you know more about him once you start the trilogy. The story can be a bit confusing at first because it’s not entirely clear what is going on, but after a section or two, it’s easy to figure out what’s happening. I will warn anyone that reads this before the trilogy that he/she might get some of the twists ruined for him/her. This novella gives away some details that are supposed to be a surprise in the first book, so you’ll have to decide if you want to be spoiled or read this book after finishing The Way of Shadows.

 

The Way of Shadows – Brent Weeks
Genre – Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★★

From New York Times Bestselling author Brent Weeks…
For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

Review: The Way of Shadows is a great fantasy. There are a lot of characters in this story, but each of them are memorable and stand out. I found myself really enjoying every different perspective and that’s good since there were quite a few of them. Even though there are lots of characters and points of view, there are no dull moments in the story. Everyone is important to the plot, and it’s interesting to see what each character is doing. One aspect I like about the characters is that no one is 100% good or evil. They’re a mix and a lot of the time their morals are questionable. It’s interesting to see how everyone reacts to one another. Durzo is, of course, my favorite character. I did enjoy the writing style and all of the action-filled plot. Something interesting is always going on to make you want to keep reading. The novel has a ton of twists and turns that make it even more awesome. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting an entertaining plot and characters.

 

Vicious – V.E. Schwab
Genre – Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★★

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Review: Vicious is another novel where the characters are not 100% good or evil. I love the idea that if someone were to get superpowers, it doesn’t mean that they will use it for good and that’s what makes this story so entertaining. They’re anti-heroes, and it’s not always clear who you should be rooting for. Each of them have their own selfish agenda they want to fulfill for one reason or another. I also love when there are no throwaway characters. If you were to take out any of the characters, the story wouldn’t be the same. Every character in this story is needed, and the characterization is really well-done. This story has a fantastic beginning and ending. The intro is memorable and really sucks you into the story from the start. The ending is the perfect ending for this type of novel because it sums everything up and makes sense for what was going on in the novel. Vicious is very character-oriented with an engaging story and world. I highly recommend this book! I want more from this world, and I hope there’s a sequel in the future for this story.

 


 

Waterworld
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★

In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw “smokers,” and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.

Review: While Waterworld is far from being the best, it’s still an entertaining movie. The world is unique, and it’s easy to tell a lot of work went into the props and sets. That aspect is my favorite part of the movie. Just seeing the new inventions they created was pretty awesome. On the other hand, the characters and the plot could have been better. The characters are amusing and somewhat believable, but you don’t really get attached to them. It’s a fun story about an alternate future, but don’t expect it to be in your top five.

 

Wild America
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★

Three brothers – Marshall, Marty and Mark dream of becoming naturalists and portraying animal life of America. One summer their dream comes true, they travel through America, filming alligators, bears and moose.

Review: Wild America is a fun adventure story that’s full of surprises. The only reason this doesn’t get a higher star rating is because the ending is a little strange. Once the boys get to the scene with the bears everything starts to fall apart. The bears look extremely fake, and the way the situation is resolved seemed ridiculous. Chad and I ended up laughing during most of the ending. However, everything is believable up until that point, and it’s really enjoyable to watch.

 

The Great Gatsby (1974)
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★½

A Midwesterner becomes fascinated with his nouveau riche neighbor, who obsesses over his lost love.

Review: After reading the book, I wanted to watch one of the many film adaptations. We chose this one because it was the only one on Netflix at the time. It was nice to see the book come to life, and in some ways, the movie was better than the book. Some of the scenes were altered and seemed to make more sense. The acting was better than we expected, but there were some times it was a little off. Myrtle, for instance, seemed a bit more dramatic with everything than she did in the book. If you enjoyed the book, I  believe you will enjoy this movie as well because it tries to stay true to the source material.

*I have a post that explains what some of the rules/guidelines will be for my lists of favorite movies. I have two other favorite movie lists also (Hayao Miyazaki and Pixar).

This post will discuss my top 10 favorite zombie movies, and I thought it was fitting for the month of October. I’m not a fan of horror or gory movies because I’m easily startled and can get quite queasy at the sight of blood. However, I’ve seen a few zombie movies. I’ve been slowly exposing myself to movies and shows that contain some scary elements or gore because I’m tired of skipping out on good movies because I’m afraid of blood. Although, I still have limits, so the Saw series is a big no no for me.

I found my admiration for zombie films in college when I took a zombie class. Yes, a zombie class. It was titled Sociology of the Living Dead. I took it to mainly challenge myself with what I could handle in movies. The class went very well, and I was able to watch all of the movies for the most part. A lot of the movies in this list are ones that we watched in class, and I really enjoyed them.

TL/DR: Not a fan of horror or gore, but I still have some favorite zombie movies.

 

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

Night of the Living Dead
Rating: Unrated

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Thoughts: What list of favorite zombie movies would be complete without George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead? Maybe a lot, but not this list. This is the first movie we watched in my zombie class, and I really enjoyed it. It was a good movie to start with. It’s in black and white, so viewers can’t really see any blood, but there are plenty of intense moments and scary elements for a 1968 movie. With today’s standers for horror and gore, the movie can be kind of unintentionally funny at times but that doesn’t take away from its enjoyment. It’s definitely worth watching, especially if you want to start watching zombie movies because this is a great movie to begin with.

 

Dawn of the Dead
Rating: Unrated

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Thoughts: Dawn of the Dead is far more graphic than The Night of the Living Dead but still delivers a powerful message and a great story. I loved George Romero’s take on consumerism and how he represents it in this movie. It’s a clever way to show society’s need for material possessions by having zombies gather in and around a mall. I really enjoyed the ending of this one. While the ending of Night of the Living Dead is epic, I felt this ending fit well with Dawn of the Dead.

 

Dawn of the Dead
Rating: R

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

Thoughts: The 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead is a remake of the original by George Romero. It’s directed by Zack Snyder, and he takes a different approach to zombies. While Romero’s zombies are slow and dangerous in large groups, Snyder’s zombies are fast and aggressive. I’m not sure which would be scarier to come in contact with, but I’d probably lean toward the fast zombies being more terrifying. At least you could have some strategy to get away from the slow ones and might have more time to think about a plan, but with the fast ones, you only have so much time to get away from them which leads to impulsive decisions and more fatalities. Zombies, in general, are pretty scary without any additional abilities. Adding breakneck speed to the list just seems unfair to humans. Even though I find Snyder’s zombies scarier, I like Romero’s zombies better.

 

Resident Evil
Rating: R

A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

Thoughts: Resident Evil is not a fantastic movie and completely ventures away from the source material, but there’s something about it that’s entertaining. This is the first zombie movie I watched by myself when I was younger. Of course, it’s not as scary or gory as other movies, but it was a big accomplishment for me. I’m quite disappointed with the series though. I did like Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but I watched Resident Evil: Extinction and gave up on the following movies. It focuses more on how amazing Alice is instead of the threat of zombies. This is why I really enjoy Resident Evil. There’s a larger focus on zombies and the fear of not being able to escape them. This movie is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I love re-watching it.

 

Shaun of the Dead
Rating: R

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Thoughts: Shaun of the Dead is a unique movie. It’s a zombie comedy that pays tribute to movies, video games, and television series. While it has some graphic scenes, it’s not as gory as other zombie movies. The movie is funny and clever with the way it presents the story and characters. It’s good to watch Dawn of the Dead before watching this movie because it’s fun to spot all of the references. After watching Romero’s zombie movies, I was able to fully enjoy the references that appear in Shaun of the Dead. Of course, you can watch Shaun of the Dead without seeing any of the others because it’s a great movie on it’s own.

 

Warm Bodies
Rating: PG-13

After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

Thoughts: This is definitely a different type of zombie movie than the previous ones mentioned. Warm Bodies is an interesting twist on zombies, and it’s entertaining to watch how these zombies differ from others. I love the commentary at the beginning when it pokes fun at humans being zombie-like because of technology. It’s interesting to see how this zombie romance story plays out. I never thought I would ever say that. While it’s not the best zombie movie, it’s a lot of fun to watch and see what happens to the characters.

 

28 Days Later
Rating: R

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

Thoughts: I know they’re considered infected and not zombies, but I feel like they have certain zombie aspects, so I’m including the movie on this list. 28 Days Later has an interesting filming style. It’s very dark and everything is quiet until zombies appear, which makes everything eerie. It makes the viewer feel like he/she is there with the characters while they try to survive. The opening scene is memorable, and it’s one of the few I still remember without watching it again. The characters are engaging, and it’s easy to root for them.

 

World War Z
Rating: PG-13

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Thoughts: While this is not the best zombie movie and it goes far from the source material, it’s action-packed and just a fun summer blockbuster. The situations Gerry gets into are sort of ridiculous, and the fact that he somehow survives throughout the movie while others around him die is sort of humorous. However, if you can look past the silliness, it’s a lot of fun to watch. The ending is especially impressive and makes you want to be as awesome as Gerry seems to be. Plus, there’s no gore whatsoever in World War Z, so it’s a great way to introduce yourself to zombie movies.

 

I Am Legend
Rating: PG-13

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

Thoughts: I know in the book, the infected are considered vampires, but I feel like in the movie they have elements of both vampires and zombies, so it’s in my list. I really enjoy Will Smith’s performance in this movie. He carries the entire movie, and I feel that takes some great acting skills and charisma. His character, Robert Neville, is portrayed well for a man surviving the zombie apocalypse by himself. Well he does have his dog, Sam, with him but still. The viewer can develop an emotional connection to the character and his dog. One scene in the movie might even make you tear up. I know I was extremely close to crying in the theater. I won’t say specifics because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Another movie without gore, but it’s still an intense movie experience. It’s definitely worth watching.

 

ParaNorman
Rating: PG

A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Thoughts: Of course this movie doesn’t have any gore, but that’s not surprising for a children’s movie. Even though it’s directed at children, it’s a great movie the whole family will enjoy. Lots of jokes for adults as well as kids. I was surprised by the social commentary, and I love how the town initially reacted to the zombie threat. It was amusing and made complete sense for the town who knew what zombies were and how to deal with them. This movie was a nice story on zombies and witches, and it was entertaining and refreshing to watch.

June 2014 Wrap-Up

The June Wrap-Up is finally here! I’m getting through these slowly but surely. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be caught up with everything . . . or at least with the summer wrap-ups. 😀

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

Monstrous Beauty – Elizabeth Fama
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★★

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Review: Monstrous Beauty is a beautifully written book. I didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading since it was the first mermaid story I’ve read. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Even though this concept has been done before, the author did a wonderful job with it. Everything has a purpose and nothing feels forced. It’s darker than you might expect from a mermaid book but not in a bad way. The characters are unique and feel like they belong in their respective time periods. It’s easy to like the characters, and at times, the story is very emotional. I couldn’t stop reading from the time I started, and I had to know what happened next. If you like romance stories, but aren’t a fan of the typical cliches, then I would suggest giving this book a try. This is probably going to be a book I remember for a long time.

 

Pivot Point – Kasie West
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy
My Rating – ★★★★★

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Review: Pivot Point was awesome. It completely exceeded all of my expectations, and I absolutely loved it. The story is original and very engaging. Having the story play out two different ways is really interesting because you get to see how things could be different based on just one decision. I really enjoyed the characters and thought their powers were neat. While they reminded me of the X-Men, they were distinctly different. There are some great twists towards the end of the novel which I really enjoyed. The ending made me want to find out what happens next, and I can’t wait for the second book.

 

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary
My Rating – ★★★½

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review: I have to say, I have some mixed feelings about Fangirl. I was excited for this book because of all the hype surrounding it, but I feel like it didn’t quite live to the expectations I set. The story is definitely cute, and I really enjoy the romance. On the negative side, some of the family elements don’t work for me. The biggest issue I have is that I don’t like Cath’s sister Wren. I know Wren isn’t supposed to be well liked, but I find her extremely frustrating. The only other issue I have with the story are the sections of fanfiction that Cath writes. I feel they are unneeded and add virtually nothing to the story. If you’re looking for a cute romance with a socially awkward main character, then I would recommend this book. The issues I have with it are minor, and most people really enjoy the book, so definitely consider it.

 

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Review: I’ve always enjoyed the X-Men franchise, so I was very excited to this in theaters. I was not disappointed. It’s an entertaining movie that pays tribute to the first two X-Men movies, and it corrects a few things that were done poorly in X-Men: The Last Stand. The inclusion of time travel is fantastic, and everyone is in character the entire time. It’s fun to see how the characters interact with each other. Quicksilver is an awesome addition, and I hope to see him in future installments. Every scene he’s in is incredible. There are also a few unexpected twists that keep the audience guessing. X-Men: Days of Future Past is a lot of fun and definitely worth seeing if you’ve enjoyed other X-Men films.

 

That Darn Cat
Rating – Approved
My Rating – ★★★★★

A woman is kidnapped. While in captivity, she manages to send a message out with a wandering cat. The cat’s owner calls the FBI. The FBI tries to follow the cat. Jealous boyfriends and nosy neighbours also get in the act.

Review: That Darn Cat is one of Chad’s favorite childhood movies, so of course he made me watch it. At first, I wasn’t sure about this movie because the description sounded a bit silly. However, it is surprisingly very well-done. There are plenty of funny moments throughout this movie, but there are also serious moments as well. The plot is believable even though the story is centered around a cat. It’s two hours long, but there is never a dull moment and plenty of great dialogue. Overall, I highly recommend this movie, and I’ve even made my parents watch it. I think everyone should watch this movie.

 

Non-Stop
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★

An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.

Review: Non-Stop is an interesting thriller. Although, I’m pretty sure I would like anything Liam Neeson is in. His characters are always intense and well portrayed. The movie keeps you guessing the whole time and some parts are unpredictable. It’s full of action from start to finish. Unfortunately, the movie is far from perfect. The villain is weak at best, and his/her motive is lame. There are a lot of red herrings, making you believe anyone could be the bad guy. In the end, the character chosen seems a poor choice. I like this movie because of Liam Neeson and the thrills, but don’t expect much from the plot or ending though. It’s just a fun action movie.

 

The Lego Movie
Rating – PG
My Rating – ★★★★

An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.

Review: For a movie about people made of plastic, The Lego Movie was surprisingly great. There is so much nostalgia in this movie. Even though I didn’t play with Legos when I was younger, the movie brought out the kid in me. It’s a really fun movie that plays up childhood imagination. A lot of it is really silly, but the plot is solid and entertaining. The characters are likeable, and it’s easy to root for Emmet and his team. The only problem I have with this movie is the fact the ending takes you out of the world. It’s an interesting addition, but it drags on for a little too long and feels a bit forced. This is a great movie for parents and kids, and I would highly recommend it. Because “everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!”

I bought all of these at the end of August, but since the haul is going up on September 1st, I’m just going to consider it a September haul. I got most of these books at my local book fair, but I did end up getting one bargain book at Books-A-Million because they were having a sale. Chad and I bought most of the movies from one of our local pawn shops. I’m all about bargains and sales. It’s a bit of an obsession, but I love getting cheap books and movies. Anyway, here are the books and movies:

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

 

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

 

The Book of Spells – Kate Brian
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

The year is 1915 when sixteen-year-old Eliza Williams arrives at the Billings School for Girls in Easton, Connecticut. Her parents expect her to learn the qualities of a graceful, dutiful wife. But Eliza and her housemates have a dangerous secret: They’re witches. After finding a dusty, leather bound spell book, the Billings Girls form a secret coven. Bonded in sisterhood, they cast spells–cursing their headmistress with laryngitis, brewing potions to bolster their courage before dances, and conjuring beautiful dresses out of old rags. The girls taste freedom and power for the first time, but what starts out as innocent fun turns sinister when one of the spells has an unexpected-and deadly-consequence. Magic could bring Eliza everything she’s ever wanted…but it could also destroy everything she holds dear.

 

Red Glove – Holly Black
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life.

That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.

Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….

 

Minders – Michele Jaffe
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

A high concept, cinematic read with a surprising twist, MINDERS asks the question: who is really watching whom?

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?

Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She’s been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?

Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?

Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford’s life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.

 

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

 

21 Jump Street
Rating – R

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Michael Bacall (screenplay), Michael Bacall (story)

Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

 

 

Killers
Rating – PG-13

A vacationing woman meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple.

Director: Robert Luketic

Writers: Bob DeRosa (screenplay), Ted Griffin (screenplay)

Stars: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck

 

 

Resident Evil: Degeneration
Rating – R

A warrior seeking revenge unleashes a deadly virus in Harvardville. Responding to the threat are former special forces members Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, who look to bring down a mutated monster before history repeats itself.

Director: Makoto Kamiya

Writer: Shotaro Suga (screenplay)

Stars: Paul Mercier, Alyson Court, Laura Bailey

 

The Great Gatsby
Rating – PG-13

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Writers: Baz Luhrmann (screenplay), Craig Pearce (screenplay)

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton

 

 

 

Movies Tag

I found this tag on Youtube from robyn176 and Bazpierce and thought it would be fun. I always do book tags, but I wanted to do something movie related. Chad wanted to participate as well so both of our answers are included.

Questions:

1. Favorite movie of all time?

Heather – Shutter Island

Wow, that was incredibly hard. As I’ve stated in my Favorite Movies post, I have a ton of favorite movies, and I’m completely indecisive.

Chad – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’ve been watching this movie since I was way too young to be watching this movie. This was one of the first VHS tapes I remember having on my shelf that wasn’t made by Disney.

2. Favorite scene from that movie?

Heather – The lighthouse scene at the end.

Chad – The final confrontation.

 

3. Favorite actors/actresses?

Heather & Chad

Actors – Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith

Actresses – Jennifer Lawrence, Isla Fisher (Heather), and Mila Kunis (Chad)

 

4. Most annoying actor/actress?

Heather – Adam Sandler

This hasn’t always been the case. I really enjoy Sandler’s older movies, but his recent ones have all been pretty stupid.

Chad – Will Ferrell

This was an easy pick.  This man makes Adam Sandler look like Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

5. Best director?

Heather & Chad

Christopher Nolan

I’M BATMAN! But not really. We’re not experts when it comes to directors, but we’ve really enjoyed most of his films.

 

6. Favorite guilty pleasure film?

Heather27 Dresses/Julie & Julia/Step Up 2: The Streets

There are plenty of other guilty pleasure films, but it would take forever to list them all.

ChadPokemon: The First Movie

I could watch this movie anytime.  I know it’s a children’s movie, but I don’t care.  Pokemon is awesome and Mewtwo is a boss.

 

7. Favorite tear jerker?

Heather & Chad

Gladiator

We usually avoid tear jerkers at all cost but some sneak in.

 

8. Character from a movie that scared you the most?

Heather – Mrs. Ganush from Drag Me to Hell

This woman gives me the creeps. Plus, she did everything that I’m terrified of. If you’ve seen the movie, it should make perfect sense. (I refuse to even look for a picture of her)

Chad – Not sure

I never really watched scary movies growing up.  It wasn’t because I wasn’t allowed. I just never really found being scared all that enjoyable.

 

9. Movie you love but everyone hates?

HeatherResident Evil

I know that not everyone hated this movie, but it’s certainly not most peoples’ favorite. However, I really enjoy this movie. It’s entertaining, even if it doesn’t follow the games at all.

ChadTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

This movie gets a lot of hate, and looking back, it’s not a tremendously well made movie or anything.  I watched it a lot as a kid, and it was the only movie in the trilogy that I had on VHS.  Maybe I love it just because of the nostalgia, but either way, I really enjoy it.

 

10. Movie you hate but everyone loves?

HeatherAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

It was hard to pick one out for this one. Usually the movies I hate, others hate as well or they’re not well-known. But I’ve never understood the love for this movie. While I don’t hate it as much as other movies, I can’t stand the characters and some of the humor just isn’t funny to me.

ChadNapoleon Dynamite

This movie came out while I was in middle school and everyone I knew was obsessed with it.  Everyone thought it was hilarious.  I didn’t.  I absolutely detest this movie, and Pedro does not have my vote . . .

 

11. Favorite movie duo?

Heather & Chad

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, enough said.

 

12. Favorite animated movie?

HeatherSpirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

This was another hard category to pick from, but this has always been a go-to movie for me. Any time I feel sad or stressed, I watch this and feel better. The soundtrack is amazing and just adds to everything else great about the movie.

Chad – Pokemon: The First Movie

I know this movie is already on here, but this category was a tough one for me.  None of my favorite movies are animated, but this was the first big one that came to mind.  I just love it.

 

13. Actor/actress crush?

Heather & Chad

Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith

Actress – Jennifer Lawrence and Mila Kunis

 

14. Favorite movie villain?

Heather – Magneto

Look how cute he is. 😀

Chad – Scar

Kills his brother, blames his nephew, becomes king.  He also scores an additional +10 for his awesome song, “Be Prepared.

 

15. What movie surprised you the most?

HeatherMonsters University

Honestly, I thought Pixar was just trying to milk more out of this franchise, and I went in expecting this movie to be a disaster. However, it was amazing. Almost better than the first one and that’s one of my favorite Pixar films.

ChadRango

Every trailer I saw for this made me think it would be just another animated kids’ movie.  It’s much more than that, however.  It’s now one of our go-to movies.  The story is unique, and the entire movie is entertaining for both kids and adults alike.

 

16. If you could only keep one movie what would it be?

HeatherCloud Atlas

Mainly because it’s three hours long and will keep me entertained for a while. Also because it’s such a great movie with six stories in one.

ChadThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is my favorite movie, and it’s a long one, so this would definitely be my pick.

 

17. Movie recommendation and for whom?

HeatherGuardians of the Galaxy

I would recommend this movie to anyone that hasn’t gotten into superheros or hasn’t watched any comic book movies. This is a great place to start because the “heroes” are very different from traditional comic book heroes like Superman or Batman.

ChadGodzilla (2014)

I would, and often do, recommend this movie to everyone.  It was just fantastic.  It’s the only movie I’ve ever seriously considered paying to see a second time in theaters.  This movie will be one we watch many, many times when it finally comes to DVD/Blu-Ray.

 

18. If you could go back in time and marry any actor/actress from back then (but are now old), who would it be?

Heather & Chad

Betty White

Because who wouldn’t want to marry her. . .

 

19. One remake you wish had never been made?

Heather & Chad

Dragonball: Evolution

We know this isn’t technically a remake, but this movie should not exist. Chad and I grew up with Dragonball and Dragonball Z, so when we saw this, it was like we betrayed our childhood and the anime. Nobody should watch this movie.

20. You’re about to die but could only watch one more movie, what would it be?

Heather & Chad

That’ll never happen because we’re invincible!

 

21. Favorite movie genre/favorite movie from that genre?

Heather & Chad

Can’t pick, won’t pick. We love all types of genres (besides horror).

 

22. What’s the first movie you remember watching in theaters?

Heather & Chad

Pokemon: The First Movie

 The only way to get the special promotional items was to go to the theaters, so you better believe we begged to go.

 

I tag anyone that would like to do this. If you do, make sure to let me know so I can check out your answers.

May 2014 Wrap-Up

The May Wrap-Up is finally here and only three months late. In May, I read five books and watched three movies. It’s a bit of a step down from April where I read 11 books and watched seven movies, but I still did pretty good. I’m working on my June and July Wrap-Up, and I plan to have both up sometime during this month. Let me know if you’ve read or watched any of these books and movies and what you thought of them.

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

The Sons of Liberty #1 – Alexander Lagos and Joseph Lagos
Genre – Young Adult/Historical Fiction
My Rating – ★★★★

Forget everything you thought you knew about America’s early days-history packs a punch in this full-color, two-fisted, edge-of-your-seat adventure!

Graphic novels are a revolution in literature, and The Sons of Liberty is a graphic novel like no other. Visual and visceral, fusing historical fiction and superhero action, this is a tale with broad appeal-for younger readers who enjoy an exciting war story, for teenagers asking hard questions about American history, for adult fans of comic books, for anyone seeking stories of African American interest, and for reluctant readers young and old.

In Colonial America, Graham and Brody are slaves on the run-until they gain extraordinary powers. At first they keep a low profile. But their mentor has another idea-one that involves the African martial art dambe . . . and masks.

With its vile villains, electrifying action, and riveting suspense, The Sons of Liberty casts new light on the faces and events of pre-Revolution America, including Ben Franklin and the French and Indian War. American history has rarely been this compelling-and it’s never looked this good.

Review: The Sons of Liberty was my first graphic novel, and it did not disappoint. The concept for this book is a entertaining new twist on American history. The artwork is beautiful and vibrant. The details are great, and it’s easy to distinguish between each character. While characters may not be completely relatable, they are enjoyable and engaging. I wanted a lot more action because of the set up during the first few pages, but I’m glad that we were able to see the backstory of the main characters and how they got accustomed to their powers. I would definitely recommend this graphic novels to anyone that loves historical retellings or anyone interested in a fun and entertaining story about two boys who gain special powers.

 

The Sons of Liberty #2: Death and Taxes – Alexander Lagos and Joseph Lagos
Genre – Young Adult/Historical Fiction
My Rating – ★★★

Several years have passed since Graham and Brody escaped the bonds of slavery. Now, when the streets of Philadelphia erupt in violence, the two boys must decide: will they use their extraordinary abilities to aid the growing rebellion or to quell it? An ambitious, thought-provoking, and visually stunning graphic novel, Death and Taxes offers an entirely new way to experience all the hope and heartbreak of America’s early days.

Review: Death and Taxes is the second installment for the The Sons of Liberty dualogy. While I still love the story and wanted to find out what happened to Graham and Brody, there were elements missing that the first one had. The story can be a bit dull in places, and the main villain isn’t a scary as he is made out to be. The artwork is still nice, but at some points, it’s hard to figure out the difference between the characters. However, it’s a great story, and I did enjoy the unpredictable ending. I want to find out what becomes of the two main characters, and I would really love another addition to this story.

 

This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary
My Rating – ★★★

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life was a bit of a disappointment for me. I did like it, but I didn’t love it like I thought I would. I’ll start with everything that I liked. I think the messages the book focused on are important for young teens in high school or anyone not sure about themselves. It shows that everything gets better over time and that you can find something you love that makes you happy. However, I did have problems with other parts of the story. I didn’t really like Elise. Of course, I felt terrible for her at the beginning with what she was dealing with, but as the story progressed, I felt that she was very judgmental of everyone around her and made impulsive decisions. Some of her actions were unjustified, in my opinion such as (SPOILER)  – destroying her stepsister’s project – (END SPOILER). I understand her reasons and why she committed the act, but I felt there wasn’t a good enough reason to do so. There were also times when the motivations of some characters were strange or silly such as the person’s reason for making the hateful blog about Elise. I would recommend this book because of it’s message, even though I didn’t enjoy everything in the story.

 

Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
Genre – Horror
My Rating – ★★★½

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

Review: Geek Love is a strange story, and it’s definitely not for everyone. If the description sounds odd, believe me when I say it gets quite weird. There are a lot of disturbing things that happen within this novel such as cults, taking drugs while pregnant to get “special” children, sketchy doctors, and mutilation. This is a unique story with quite a few subplots, and it’s easy to see that a lot of time and research went into creating this novel, which is admirable. The characters are not exactly likeable and they have plenty of flaws, but they’re distinct and add their own dimension to the story. They’re intriguing and make you want to find out what happens to the family. I didn’t particularly like the parts of the story where there was a focus on Oly when she’s older. These moments seemed to drag the story down and make it a little boring. I wanted the story to stay with the Binewskis when Oly is younger because I feel like the book would have had more of an impact. If the book ended with Chick’s final act, it could have been more powerful with a more drawn out scene. I ended up having to read that section twice to confirm what actually happened and that moment could have been more epic if that were the official ending. This book is worth reading but be warned that this novel takes disturbing to a new level.

 

Emotional Blackmail – Susan Forward with Donna Frazier
Genre – Non-Fiction
My Rating – ★★★★

Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them. They know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They can be our parents or partners, bosses or coworkers, friends or lovers. And no matter how much they care about us, they use this intimate knowledge to win the pay-off they want: our compliance.

In Emotional Blackmail, bestselling author Susan Forward dissects the anatomy of a relationship damaged by manipulation to give blackmail targets the tools they need to fight back. In a clear, no-nonsense style, she outlines the specific steps readers can take, offering checklists, practice scenarios, and concrete communications techniques that will strengthen relationships and break the blackmail cycle for good.

Review: Emotional Blackmail is a great book for people who have individuals that manipulate them. It goes through steps to figure out if you are being emotionally blackmailed and how to possibly deal with this information. This is a great book to find out if you have a blackmailer in your life and different ways to deal with the situation in a constructive way. It’s extremely useful to learn why the blackmailer is putting you through this turmoil. There were plenty of actual cases shown within the book and each of them demonstrated how each individual handled his/her blackmailer.  Of course, each case is different and might not be solved in the best possible way but having knowledge about the situation is helpful. I would definitely recommend this book because it might shed some light to some who don’t even know they are being emotionally blackmailed.

 

Hero
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★

A not-so-nice man rescues passengers from a crashed airliner, only to see someone else take credit.

Review: For a large portion of Hero, I was incredibly frustrated with the characters. From everyone not believing the actual hero to the news reporter’s feelings towards the fake hero. Then near the end, I started enjoying it a lot, and I really liked how it wrapped up. It was a perfect ending to this sort of movie and matched all of the characters’ personalities. I feel the plot is unique, and I’ve never come across another movie like this one. The characters are not a hundred percent likeable, especially the hero, but it only adds to the overall story. This is worth watching, and if nothing else, you get to see Dustin Hoffman be a really grouchy little fella.

 

Quest for Camelot
Rating – G
My Rating – ★★

An adventurous girl, a young blind hermit and a goofy two headed dragon race to find the lost sword Excalibur to save King Arthur and Camelot from disaster.

Review: Quest for Camelot was a disappointment for me. I was excited for a great adventure with a strong female lead, but all it seemed to be was a girl in need of help on her journey. I do appreciate the incorporation of a blind young man to give the story a different twist, but it really isn’t very different from other stories with damsels in distress. Girl goes on adventure, she gets in trouble, guy rescues her, guy continues to save girl throughout story, and funny side characters join in to add silly banter and sing humorous songs. I honestly cannot remember any of the characters’ names, and at this point, I don’t care enough to look them up. It was saddening to keep seeing the girl constantly in danger and then being saved by the guy. The villain is pretty laughable as well. While he is extremely evil and scary looking, he ends up making silly decisions about the escaping girl and breaks off into song and interpretive dance to explain his next move to the mother and girl. I feel there are much better children’s movies out there and while I don’t hate this movie, I would have to say it’s worth skipping.

 

Godzilla (2014)
Rating – PG-13
My Rating – ★★★★½

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Review: I have a full review of GodzillaGodzilla is a great summer movie. If you were worried about seeing this because of previous versions, don’t be because Godzilla has been redeemed in this movie. It’s the perfect blend of action and suspense and contains great acting and special effects. Of course, I wanted to see more Godzilla, but it makes it more enjoyable when he is onscreen. I’ve read that there’s a possibility of this becoming a trilogy. I’m excited for future installments and hope to see Godzilla in all his glory.