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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

Looking for Me (2013) by Beth Hoffman (author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt) is the story of a woman, looking back on her life and showing us the ways she fought against stereotypical "women's roles" to make a living doing what she loved...which just happened to be finding, restoring and selling antiques.  It is also the back story of the disappearance of her beloved brother and the clues that lead to the explanations.  Both are following their deeper calling to do and be what they love.

I read Beth Hoffman's first novel and really enjoyed it for its simplicity, descriptive narratives and the strong role of the female characters.  I enjoyed this book for the similar theme of following one's heart vs following a prescribed role.  The characters were well-developed and the rich narratives were there again.

For whatever reason...and it could have just been me, and what was going on in my world...this book felt like it moved a little slow.  I found myself having to backtrack when I returned to it because I had already forgotten it.  There was something lacking in it...or in me.  I would call it an OK beach read.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Movie Review: Insurgent

Insurgent (2015) is the second film adaptation installment from the four-book Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  In a somewhat repetitious theme of books and movies for young adults of late, it is a post apocalyptic or utopian film where teens must overcome, fall in love and look sexy.  Groan.

However tired I am of predictable themes, they book series was a bestseller, and the movies are quite popular as well.

In the second in the series, "divergents" are being sought to pass required simulations in order to open a box that is believed to contain a message about how to end the "problem" of divergents once and for all.  Since Tris is 100% divergent, she might be strong enough to open the box if they can force her to cooperate.  Other divergents with less divergent blood concentrations are dying in the process.

There are a lot of cool special effects as well as implausible bits where during chase scenes, the timing is off and first they should have caught up, but then they don't.  For me, Tris is not played by a physically strong enough actress.  She's a good actress, but she's not believable as a tough-girl.  She's far too frail.

It is rated PG-13 for detailed storyline, violence, and teen sex.  The third movie installment which will only be part 1 of Allegiant is due out in March of 2016.

I'm really sort of tired of the same-themed, teen angst, love triangle, post apocalyptic films, and super duper tired of splitting up films into multiple parts...not sequels;  splitting up the films into part one and two.  I'm not sure yet if they will make a film out of the fourth book, "Four".  I didn't really mind the film, but I can't say I enjoyed it either.  Seems like I've been watching versions of it since Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games etc.  They seem to sell, and I guess that's the point for movie-makers.  After Harry Potter...I think it's gone a bit downhill.

Watch the trailer below or via this link.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Television Series Review: The 100

The 100 (2013 to present...on The CW channel or available on Netflix) is a post-apocalyptic coming of age series.  It is based on a book of the same title by Cass Morgan.  It was renewed for a third season early in 2015.  Season one is available to stream on Netflix.

Following a nuclear apocalypse, Earth was uninhabitable.  Twelve space stations of humans were established in time to save the human race and they joined together to form "The Ark".  They have been in space for three generations, but overpopulation means the Ark is running out of resources to sustain life.

In an experiment, 100 teenage law offenders who are considered "expendable" are sent to Earth to see if the nuclear danger has passed and if life can be sustained on Earth.  That's really where the journey begins.

The series toggles back and forth between survival events on Earth, and survival and political events on the Ark.

In sort of a Twilight sort of way, it is bound to be perhaps more appealing to teen girls for the triangles and romances taking place, but overall, it is an engaging and interesting series.  Watch the trailer below, or via this link.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2014) by Michael Koryta, is a suspense thriller.

Jace is 13 and he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessed a murder and saw the murderers.  They are hot on his trail and no matter what program or what protection he is provided with, they just keep coming after him.  Many fall in the wake of the ruthless killers who will stop at nothing nor will they hesitate to mow down anyone who tries to help Jace.

I sped through this book and really enjoyed it.  You sort of always know the good guys will eventually win but there are a few twists (which this time, I saw coming).  I liked it.  I would read others by this author.  Koryta is only 32 but already has 10 books to his name.  "Write on", brother...write on.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

Goodnight June (2014) by Sarah Jio is a women's novel covering the topics of friendship, sisterhood, family ties, romance and choosing the life path that fits best with your spirit.

June is leading a hard-driving life as a banker (or one who forecloses), and lives far away from her family and her roots.  She is estranged from her sister, and distant from her mother.  When her aunt dies, leaving her a children's bookstore, June must do some soul searching and figure out where her values lie.

I will say, on the negative side of things, that the book is UTTERLY and COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE.  There are no surprises.  It follows the theme so common in many women's fiction books.  You can see it all coming before it happens, and there are really very few surprises.  I wish there was more depth in that regard.  I groaned when early on I saw the romance coming.  I think women's novels could do so much more if they just focused on the women.  For example, the business next door could have all been the same but run by a woman, and they could have collectively decided to join forces, strengthening the bonds between women.  IF, the author really wanted to show how June had learned to trust men again after a betrayal, she could have ended the story with June going out on her first date in a long time, with hope and confidence that she would choose more wisely in the future.

Having said that, I enjoyed it.  I could relate to the struggle of an estranged sister (who just happened to be the same number of years apart as my own), and what that process of healing, closure, or living with what is one needs to do, is.  I'm sure many women (and men) can relate to wondering if the career or live choice paths are still the right ones for them and if a change was in order, how would one go about them?  I enjoyed the research Sarah did to make tie-ins with the book and author of Goodnight Moon...that was a nice aspect of the book.

So while I wished for a bit less predictability, a few more twists, ditching the love interest...the characters were fleshed out nicely and I breezed through the book.  Good beach read.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Product Review: Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes

I purchased these while looking for a thicker, stronger, larger disinfecting wipe for clean-up in the bathroom and kitchen areas.  I saw these and sort of liked the concept of them having a wipey side and a scrubby side.

I liked the IDEA of them, but in practice, I don't like them nearly as much as a thick, paper towel sized disinfecting wipe.  What I noticed that I don't like is that either side seems to not allow dust and particulates to stick to it, and I notice I sort of push those things around and and have a hard time picking UP the dust or wants to loosen, but then push around the surface (no matter which side I use).  For me, I don't have many messes that require "elbow grease"...or if I do, I use another cleaning method.  I'll be switching back to a regular wipe if I ever manage to use up the two containers of this that I already purchased.

This reviewer likes them.  Watch her review below or via this link.  Have you tried them?  What do you think?  If you use a disinfecting cleansing wipe, what's your fave and why?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Movie Review: Pirate Radio (or The Boat that Rocked).

Pirate Radio (2009) is a British comedy film depicting the numerous radio stations operating on ships in international waters playing rock and roll music that the BBC would not play on the air in or around 1966.

The film was known by other titles: Pirate Radio (North America), The Boat that Rocked (UK), Good Morning England (France), Radio Rock Revolution (Germany), Rock Wave (CIS region), and I Love Radio Rock (Italy).

It's sort of corny humor of grown men behaving like college frat boys, but amusing nevertheless.  I wasn't aware of this historic blip and always like learning new things.  The film is rated R for language, nudity, and mild scenes of sexuality.  Think of how a boat full of college boys might behave.

Watch the trailer below or via this link.