On my To Be Reviewed Stack!

On My To Be Reviewed Pile!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monsters University

Most Disney films are ho-hum.  I don't really care when they come out.  But Disney now has a movie that I'm chomping at the bit to go to.  I'm even willing to go see it alone if the boys refuse to.  Monsters University.  I loved Sully in Monsters Inc.  When we went to Disney World, I dragged the kids to find Sully because I wanted my picture taken with him. :)

Monsters University comes out June 21..just in time to drag hubby to go see it for our anniversary! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title:  The Madman's Daughter
Author:  Megan Shepherd
Publication Date:  January 29, 2013

Book Description
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Book Review:  4 out of 5 stars
For everyone who loves to read and talk about books, I'm sure no one has been able to escape people talking about "The Madman's Daughter."  I heard so much about it, bloggers raving, that I had to read it. The book is a variation of "The Isle of Dr. Moreau" by HG Wells.  If you're not familiar with the story, it doesn't matter as Ms. Shepherd lays the story out very well.

I plunged into this book, riveted by the beginning and what leads Juliet to have to leave London.  The characters are extremely well-written, and throughout the book you're questioning who is the "bad guy" and who is the "good guy."  

Ms. Shepherd goes fully into the story, describing the island, the inhabitants, the procedures, and the housing. Some things you start to pick up on very quickly and guess what is happening, others not so much.  Until the end, I wasn't sure how it was going to end!

The only problem I had with the story is probably with my lack of patience.  There were just so many jaunts in and out of the woods, describing trees and journeys to such a degree that I got bored.  I think I probably would have enjoyed it more if all the jaunts were just combined into one single jaunt, where the important information could have been gleaned, but not  have extraneous things cluttering it up.

Also, the heroine's dilemma between Montgomery and Edward was drawn out a bit much.  I found myself muttering a few times to just make a decision already. I must admit that the ending threw me for a bit of a loop. I didn't expect it to end that way, but really, there was no way other than that ending that would have been true to the story and the characters.

I would definitely recommend the book.  It was quite interesting, and really forces you to think about humanity and what constitutes human.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Movie Review: Neverwas

Movie Description

Searching for insight into his father's life and the magical place he wrote about in the children's book, Neverwas, psychiatrist Zach Riley takes a job at the institution where his father was once treated. There, Zach meets Gabriel, a patient whose alternate reality is startlingly close to the world his father created. 

Review:  5 out of 5 stars

I recently found this movie on Netflix.  The description of the movie made me think this was a horror type movie.  The minute the movie started, I recognized Ian McKellan's voice, I started paying attention.

This movie has an all-star cast.  Ian McKellan, Jessica Lange, William Hurt, Nick Nolte, Alan Cumming, Brittany Murply, and Aaron Eckhart.  

The movie has a bit of a slow going, with flash backs of Zack's childhood thrown in here and there.  As an adult, Zack gets a mob at the institution his father was treated at, right before the anniversary of his death, to learn more about him and why he wound up taking the path he did.

From the moment Ian McKellan pokes his beardy, wild hair, and talking in riddles makes his first appearance, I got sucked in.  Watching him try to trigger Zack's long-repressed memory  He speaks about the Land of Neverwas like he lived in it, confusing Zack even more.

As the movie progresses, you learn more and more about Zack's father, and how a manic depressive was able to write one of the best children's novels in all time.  You also learn about a child's grief and sense of responsibility for his father's death keeping him from embracing what is surely just a movie.

The movie had so many different twists and turns, snippets of information thrown at you, leaving you the responsibility to sort them out until the end.  I still believe I hadn't paid attention enough to get as much out of the movie as I could, and plan to watch again.

The ending will leave you in tears, leave you inspired, and leave you wanting to stay with Ian McKellan to see what new adventure he has in store.

No review can do this movie justice without giving away major plot points.  But if you love an epic tale and Ian McKellan, you will love this movie.

This movie is one of the first movies that affected me so much I couldn't wait to shout it from the rooftops.  Due to some mature content, I wouldn't suggest children watching it, but if you don't, you are missing a terrific movie!

Book Review: Lucien by Elijana Kindel

Title: Lucien (Book 1 in Romantic Comedy Series: Manipulating the Masters)
Author: Elijana Kindel
Publication Date: January 5, 2013

Book Description
All's fair in love when Manipulating a Master...

Five years ago, businessman Lucien Masters made a deal with his grandfather to save his sisters’ inheritances that required he marry by his thirtieth birthday. Ten days before the deadline and his fiancée in the wind, Luc scrambles to find a replacement bride. Fortunately, the solution to his problem is sitting right across the office and struggling with a few issues of her own.

Elise Hamilton has more on her plate than she can handle. Temporarily assigned as Lucien's assistant, she's overworked, over-stimulated, and overwhelmed especially when her brother informs her the tax police are ready to slap the cuffs on their mother.

Fate intervenes in the form of a lightning bolt and induces Elise to accept Luc's last minute proposal, but if he thinks she'll fall headlong into his arms just because of an ‘I do’, he has another thing coming.

Review:  3 out of 5 stars

I found this book through a giveaway the author was having on her website.  She posted an excerpt, and it sounded great. Like the classic "bodice ripper" romances that I used to read before they started getting more explicit.

I immediately had to read it. 

The book was a very quick read, I think I got it done in a day or two max.  The characters were fun, their interactions fun and heated.  The chemistry between the two was very hot as well.

In most books, there's a villain or an obstacle the couple must overcome.  I spent most of the book wondering when that would happen.  It never happened.  The book was just one long tease and romance and then an abrupt ending.  The author had a good set-up for an obstacle, but before the obstacle could even rear it's head, the author dismisses is and leaves it as an ending hanging in mid-air.  

The other problem I had with the book is that in most novels, there's the "happily ever after" ending.  I like them.  But this book was all happily ever after.  The heroine had a problem, but immediately got out of the problem, and got the man of her dreams in the first 50 pages.  

I kept thinking, why does she get everything?  Why does she get bailed out AND the hunk falls for her?  It just bothered me.

If you want teasing, this is a great book.  If you want light-hearted, this is definitely that.  But as for a book and relationship of substance, it was lacking.   

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: Every House is Haunted

Title: Every House is Haunted
Author: Ian Rogers
Publication Date: November 06, 2012

Book Description
"There are haunted places in the world, all existing in reality and every bit as tangible and accessible as the house next door. Sometimes it is the house next door." In this brilliant debut collection, Ian Rogers explores the border-places between our world and the dark reaches of the supernatural. The landscape of death becomes the new frontier for scientific exploration. A honeymoon cabin with an unspeakable appetite finally meets its match. A suburban home is transformed into the hunting ground for a new breed of spider. A nightmarish jazz club at the crossroads of reality plays host to those who can break a deal with the devil...for a price. With remarkable deftness, Rogers draws together the disturbing and the diverting in twenty-two showcase stories that will guide you through terrain at once familiar and startlingly fresh.

Review:  4 out of 5 stars
I liked this book because it was a collection of short stories.  With "horror" stories, there's always the risk of making it look like padding, losing the thread of the story, growing boring.  Doing the book as a collection of short stories eliminates this.

Some stories should have been shorter, some I wished were longer.  The stories were all different.  It wasn't death, death, death.  There were different horror-genres represented.  

It was a pretty fast read, and an easy read because I could open it up and only read one story, and then put it down and go back to what I was doing.  Or in many cases, I'd think "just one more story" until I was 10 stories in.

The stories weren't all very interesting, hence the 4 out of 5 stars, but it was a solid book and quite enjoyable.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Memories are long when you insult people

This post could be about a multitude of things.  But this one is personal.

I enter alot of blog contests, alot.  I am unemployed, and sometimes I win something that will benefit the family, pay for the boys' birthday presents, give me books to feed my book addiction without having to buy them all, etc.

I read the terms listed on the blogs for giveaways, and follow them.

I've recently gotten into Lilla Rose.  I'm in love with the Flexi Clip.  I won one in a contest, and that set me off.  I've spent ALOT of money on Lilla Rose Flexi-clips.  Half my relatives got them for Christmas, and I have a pretty good collection in clips I've bought, won, gotten as hostess gifts, etc.

In December, I won two flexi clips.  When I entered the contests, they said nothing about you cannot have an account with another consultant.  I was signed up under a few consultants, one consultant even twice.  Most contests require you to sign up for their party in order to be eligible.  At no time, did they say you can't be listed under more than one consultant.  Heck, if there was a problem, wouldn't Lilla Rose have not allowed me to sign up under multiple consultants with the same email address?

I've continued to enter contests, but have noticed terms stating if you've won from that consultant before, you can't win, or if you're signed up under a particular consultant, you can't enter the contest.  When I read those terms, I don't enter the contest.  

Recently I asked one of the consultants if they knew why a clip I won hadn't come yet.  She said she'd check on Monday.  It was then that I got a scathing email that I am still upset about two weeks later.  

I was told that I was scamming the system by having emails listed under multiple consultants.  That my name has been frozen with Lilla Rose, and how I lied to the consultant when I didn't tell her I was signed up under another consultant.  

  1. I didn't KNOW you shouldn't have accounts with more than one consultant.  I have multiple accounts for most direct sales companies (Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Avon, Tupperware, etc.) because if multiple friends sell, I want to buy from them all.  There was NOTHING saying you weren't allowed to be signed up under more than one consultant.
  2. The consultant that I am closest with, talked to the people at Lilla Rose, and they weren't accusing me of scamming the system.  The consultant simply needed to pay for the clip out of her pocket (with the 30% discount she gets), and there would have been no problem.

I find it insulting to be called a liar, to be accused of scamming a system when there was no intent to.  The rules were followed, I promoted their name every day for weeks at a time.  And to be told in no uncertain terms that I am a liar and she refuses to fulfill her obligation to give me a flexi clip for free.

I will remember this consultant's name forever, and will make it a point to never purchase anything from her.  I will be sure to tell my friends not to purchase from this consultant as well.  

And to show that I do patronize consultants who I have won things from, I've purchased three flexi-clips in the last 2 weeks.  One of those orders could have been yours, but never will be.

When you run are a direct sales consultant, you base your business on word of mouth.  The consultant who is friendly and nice, gets business.  The one who sends out scathing emails accusing people of being a liar, will not, and will receive word of mouth of being a bad consultant.  

There are alot of consultants for Lilla Rose.  Ask around before you patronize a consultant, look for one that goes above and beyond for her customers, not one that accuses people of scamming the system to get out of paying $15 to fulfill a prize commitment.