Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My newest book obsession

 I love reading even more than I love movies. Today I finished reading a historical romance and was looking for something new and slightly more modern.  A friend introduced me to Alice Clayton and her Redhead series.  I work in a call center where some days we could take upwards of 80 calls a piece and other days we are lucky if we get 12 and on the slow days we read a lot. My co-workers have been reading Ms. Clayton for a while and enjoying her style immensely. I am usually the one who laughs out loud or even cries depending on what I am reading but this time it was everyone else laughing. I thought why not give it a try? The Unidentified Redhead had me hooked from about halfway down page 1.  The author describes her own writing style as comedic erotica aka funny smut and I am inclined to agree. I laughed so hard reading this book that I actually snorted like Miss Piggy. The book trailer up above does not give a very good example of how funny this book is but it does give a brief over view of the storyline. The main characters are Grace Sheridan, 33 year old working actress trying to rediscover her love of performing and hoping to make it big in the process and Jack Hamilton, 24 year old sexy, British actor on the verge of being the next "big thing".  Grace's bff/agent/roomie has an industry party and needless to say when Jack and Grace meet ....the sparks fly. The interactions between these two and between Grace and bff Holly are so refreshing and snarky that you will not be able to keep from laughing. This is book 1 in the series and you can learn more about the other and her other books ( I am told Wallbanger , pat of The Cocktail Series is equally delicious) by visiting her website: http://aliceclayton.com/ and you can also find her books on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibooks, iTunes, Booksamillion.com, and audible.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Movies to Rent part 2

Okay so here are the movies released to Blu-Ray/DVD for last week and today.

June 16th :Chappie starring Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, and Sigourney Weaver. This movie takes place in a future where the police are androids and one in particular, Chappie,  is reprogrammed to be able to think and feel for himself like a human. This very programming is what makes him a danger in the eyes of the government. I plan to watch this but I have issues knowingly watching a film that will make me cry (aka any film from a Nicholas Sparks novel). Also released is the action film Run All Night starring Liam Neeson as a hit man for the mob who has a very strained relationship with his son. His boss/best friend played by Ed Harris is demanding retribution from Neeson's son for the death of his own. It also stars musician (one of my favs) Common. This is a must watch for me but I really like action/thriller types of movies. Unfinished Business is the newest comedy featuring Vince Vaughn. It also stars Dave Franco. This is your standard "guys go on a trip and everything goes comically wrong" type of movie. I feel like this could either be real funny or it could be disappointing like when the trailers show all the good parts and the rest of the movie is just sort of blah. For those of you who like a little scary/creepy type of movie The Lazarus Effect should be right up your alley. It stars Olivia Wilde and Evan Peters. Olivia Wilde plays the main character who dies and then ends up being brought back to life by her medical student friends with some very unexpected results.

June 23: Today's releases leave me uninspired to write. There are really only 3 for me to mention. Survivor starring Mila Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, and Emma Thompson. This one involves the prevention of a terrorist attack on NY and a wrongly accused/framed Foreign Service Agent. The Forger stars John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, and Tye Sheridan as Grandfather-Father-Son art thieves planning the biggest heist of their careers. Last but not least, American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success starring Virginia Madsen.  If you have any younger ones running around they may want to watch this family friendly film, especially if they are a fan of The American Girl doll/book series. Grace plans to start a business over the summer with her friends until her Mother plans an unexpected trip to Paris that changes everything.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June Movies to Rent

The DVD/ Blu-Ray releases for June haven't really given me much to cheer about but there are a few that I am looking forward to watching. The June 2nd release date brought Focus. This stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Smith is a con man who ends up with his ex (played by Robbie) showing up to complicate things. Random fact: Smith and Robbie co-star with each other in the DC Comic movie Suicide Squad which is currently filming and also stars. These two play Harley Quinn and Deadshot respectively. The cast also features Jared Leto (the Joker) and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang). I can't wait to see this one in the theaters which right now looks like late summer next year possibly. Another one released on June 2nd was Jupiter Ascending starring Mila Kunis and the ever popular Channing Tatum. This one is based on a book about a woman discovering that she is  intergalactic nobility who must fight to protect the people of Earth from doom and destruction. Also worth mentioning is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Disney's Kevin Costner flick McFarland.

June 9th brought Kingsman: The Secret Service. This is about a spy organization bringing in a very new, very young recruit at the same time all Hell essentially breaks loose. I have not watched this one yet but I have it an pretty good authority that it is a MUST see. I rented it during vacation and got so caught up watching season 3 of OITNB that I ended up having to return it unwatched. It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, and Michael Caine. Project Almanac features a lot of young talented actors. The story involves a group of high school students who uncover blueprints for a mystery device that could put their lives in danger. My favorite release for the day and the newest addition to the home library is The Duff. My daughter and I saw this in the theater as soon as it came out and we loved it. I am not ashamed to admit that I even cried a bit at one part. Duff stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. This movie almost feel like a throw back to an 80's John Hughes film. It stars Mae Whitman as "the Duff" and Bella Thorne as "the Hot Chick". Trust me this is not only hilarious but it sends a good message to teens about being proud of who they are.
That is all I have time to cover at the moment but check back tomorrow and I will be covering releases from the 16th and the new ones out tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Review of Jurassic World

Today is the last day of our Stay-cation and I promised myself that I would not be in front of the computer until it was officially over but.......I can't help myself.  We just got back from watching Jurassic World in 3D. It...was...amazing!!! I wasn't sure what to expect from it and I purposely avoided reading any reviews on it so that I wasn't jaded prior to viewing.  It exceeded all my expectations. The dinosaurs were bigger and badder. The storyline was predictable (crazy big dino escapes and terrorizes the innocent park goers ) and yet it was still so satisfying. The best part is that it was left wide open for the possibility of another film. It featured a throwback character from the previous movies which was unexpected and welcomed. Spoiler alert:  The park has been reopened under new management and new advances in genetics have repopulated the park with all our old favorite dinosaurs and some very newly created ones.  Bryce Dallas Howard plays the main female lead who is running the park and Chris Pratt plays a retired military man responsible for training the Velociaptors. Vincent D' Onofrio plays the baddie with an ulterior motive.  I don't want to give too much away but Indominus Rex is the biggest, baddest, dinosaur you can imagine and she has all kinds of traits that make her unstoppable. If you have not made plans to see this movie then you absolutely need to. It was fantastic.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review of San Andreas and Spy


This weekend the family and I did indeed go to the drive-in and see two new movies. We saw San Andreas featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Spy featuring Melissa McCarthy. San Andreas is about what happens when the entire San Andreas fault line gets activated. The fact that this could actually happen is so scary when you really stop to think about it.  I was hooked into this movie right from the very opening scene.  The acting was very fantastic. I loved that the story not only focuses on the destruction that was caused by this natural disaster but also how 1 family in particular deal with it and manage to heal all at the same time. The Rock is a fire and rescue captain from LA who is in the process of  coping with a divorce he clearly doesn't want and dealing with issues from the past. All Hell breaks loose and instead of dropping his daughter off at college he is sent to help with the earthquakes that have started popping up from the Hoover Dam on up to San Francisco. The daughter is just as strong willed as her father. After she gets some help getting out of the place she was trapped when the fault line went completely active begins finding her way to a spot (accompanied by a potential love interest and his little brother) where her Dad  and Mom can rescue her. We all loved this movie. It has action galore and heartfelt moments too. If I had to pick a flaw it would be that I didn't get to see The Rock or his wife (Carla Gugino) punch a certain building architect in the face. You will understand once you have watched it.

Spy was hilarious! I am such a fan of the actors and actresses in this movie anyways that going into I was pretty sure I would enjoy it. Melissa McCarthy plays a CIA agent who is basically the "eyes" behind the scene for the field agents. Her particular spy is played by Jude Law who she of course is in love with. When she witnesses something terrible happen to him she suddenly wants to go active in the field so she can close the case he was working on and earn some justice in the process. Jason Statham plays a rogue CIA agent with a foul mouth who also happens to not be the most intelligent.  Allison Janney plays her no nonsense director ( she also played Melissa's mother in Tammy). Rose Byrne ( from Get Him to the Greek and The Neighbors)plays the villain. The one liners and commentary between Melissa's character and Rose's are the funniest in the whole movie. The plot is somewhat predictable but it is still worth funny enough the you don't even care. Interestingly enough, the director, Paul Feig, is also the writer/director of Bridesmaids and The Heat both of which included Melissa McCarthy as a main character. Also lookout for 50 cent starring as himself and William Yun Lee who stars in both of these movies.
Conclusion: I will be adding this to my home comedy collection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Travel with Our Furbaby

We have been very fortunate the past 2 years with vacation planning. Our first vacation was to a cabin in the Adirondacks right outside of Lake Placid. It was so relaxing but we made the decision that any vacation would be based on the ability to take our beloved "Mrs. Pies" aka Sweets the Dog. We went at the wrong time because it turns out everything is shut down during Spring break time to allow the change over from Winter activities to Spring/Summer. We hung out at the cabin, cooked great food, explored the woods outside, and went for scenic drives but it was April and still cold here in NYS.  The only incident we ran into was that Sweets thinks she needs to be up front on someone's lap and at 70 lbs that is no easy task. Oh and the chicken nuggets that she was feed by the teenager that resulted in puking all over the inside of the car.
Last year we booked a cottage near Eastport, Maine.  We went in June so it was much warmer with no snow. We even rented a car. I decided we would go off grid so there was no cell service, internet, or TV. The cottage was on a bay and the view was breathtaking. We had our own private black sand beach. We collected fresh mussels every time tide went out, listened to the seals on their own little island, and watched early morning(like 4am early) fishing vessels head off to work.  The downside..... our dog thought she was a mountain goat and kept scaling the really high banks and rocks, insisted she steal my spot on the bed each night, and we ran out of things to talk about or do after about day 3. It was the longest car ride in the world it seemed. We also lost an iPhone and an and iPod Touch to the Atlantic ocean while kayaking towards "Seal Island" and enjoying the beach. Sweets went on every outing we made and oddly enough was treated like some sort of royalty which she enjoyed immensely. The rental car deposit was a bust though. We covered the entire backseat with a sheet and she would wait until we were driving and then attack it so she could lay on the actual seat. We tried to vacuum ourselves but it looked like we had a polar bear in the car with all the white fur.
This year we have opted for a "stay-cation". My daughter goes to NYC to visit her Dad and his family every summer for a month or so and I usually make the trip solo. It takes about 6 hrs each way if there is very minimal stopping. My boyfriend enjoys fly fishing a lot and we drive straight through the Catskills so we planned to stop at a campground for a few days before heading back home to begin the many projects we have lined up. Problem #1: All the campgrounds require a deposit for the dog and some charge per night in addition. I don't mind the deposit but when it starts averaging $70/night to sleep on an air mattress in a tent it seems less appealing. Problem #2: We had no idea what else to do except take turns driving and make the trip up and back with no sightseeing or fishing.
You are probably wondering why we don't just kennel the dog right? We adopted her from the local SPCA and she has extreme separation anxiety. The vet even recommended we get her on a medication to help. Plus, she came from a pretty rough home and she is part of the family so why not let her go too? Then it hit me. I went to this great site I had read about www.bringfido.com. It shows you all the pet friendly places you can stay and just like that we found a very nice hotel that allows pets up to 75 lbs. to book. Prices started as low as $78/per night with a $20 pet fee. The hotel has all  the amenities you could want. I would rather pay this price to sleep in a nice King size bed then on the ground. I recommend this site to anyone who loves their furbaby as much as we love ours. Also check out the great site we used to book our previous and hopefully future vacations. It is www.vrbo.com. It stands for vacation rentals by owners. It covers all states and a lot of countries as well. I have had amazing experiences with the people on this site. Check them out and happy vacationing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jurassic Park World

This Friday is opening night for Jurassic World.  I watched the other films and so will be seeing this one. I am actually going on a date night with the boyfriend and watching it in 3D because....well I am just that excited to see this newest addition featuring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.  I will blog my review of said movie as soon as I get to see it which will probably be sometime next week. This weekend the fam and I are going to the local drive-in and catching an awesome double feature of San Andreas featuring Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and Carla Cugino and Spy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham.  These movies are getting great reviews so I can't wait to add mine to the growing list. 

OITNB

This past weekend, along with catching up on some much needed sleep, I also caught up on the second season of Orange is the New Black.  We binged watched the whole season to prepare for the debut of season 3 on Friday the 12th on Netflix. A quick recap of season 2: Piper (played by Taylor Schilling) has found herself being transferred to a new prison in a different state to have her day in court testifying with her ex-girlfriend Alex( Laura Prepon) against the drug kingpin they used to associate with. She meets a few unfriendly characters and kills the "errand running cockroach". Then she gets double crossed while Alex gets set free. She ends up getting transferred back to her home prison where we learn what really happened at the end of Season 1 with her fight with Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning).  As the season progresses all our favorite characters show up and we learn what has been going on while Tucky  and Piper were away. We also learn the backstories on Miss Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat), Lorna (Yael Stone), Poussey (Samira Wiley), Sister Jane (Beth Fowler) and a few other characters.  There is also a new arrival in the form of Vee Parker played by Lorraine Toussaint. She is Tastee's adoptive mother and she upsets the very delicate balance the girls had maintained with each other. 
There are so many surprises in this season that I can't even remember them all but it was so worth the watch. The new season promises to be even better and I can't wait.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My new favorite Salmon dish

We like to try and eat well balanced meals at out house and salmon is always a favorite.  I am always looking to try new recipes and find a lot of good ones online ( especially on Pinterest).  I happen to love the author Susan Mallery, She has a website that lets you know all about her upcoming books and her series she has already published. The best part is that if you sign up on her site you can even see the recipes that references in some of her stories or just ones she loves herself. She had a recipe for Honey-Wasabi Glazed Salmon. It looked delicious in her photo so I thought why not?  Well, as you see the results were pretty amazing. The original recipe doesn't call for sesame seeds but I had some on hand and thought it would be perfect.  We had ours with a side of steamed spinach and garlic buttered ciabatta rolls. I can not tell you how tasty this meal was! You should check out the recipe at the link as well as all the other goodies www.susanmallery.com

Ingredients:                                                                                 My tweaks:
 1/2 c honey                                                                                  2 Tbs sesame seeds 
2Tbs of wasabi sauce, and 2 Tbs of soy sauce                             1 Tbs Chinese 5 spice
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 grated ginger
4 -6 salmon fillets

Glaze:
Mix all the ingredients into warmed honey (placed in microwave for about 15 seconds to make it slightly runny for easier blending) and use this to coat the fish every 4-5 minutes.

We grilled ours on low for about 20 mins and we basted them with the sauce every 5 minutes.







Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rant of the week

I just want to take a moment and vent about one of my biggest pet peeves. I work Mon-Fri right now, which of course has not always been the case, and there is nothing more annoying then the radio playing a song about the weekend on a Tuesday. A freakin' Tuesday for the love that is all that is holy.  I like a good weekend themed song to get my mood right but not at 7 am in the middle of a week.  I literally yelled at the radio in my car on the way to work this week because it played "Weekend" by Priory. I can not here this song with it's annoyingly catchy lyrics and weird melody anymore this entire summer. End rant!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

upcoming June movie releases












This month brings a lot of new movie releases. The first one is Entourage starring Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon. This of course is based off of the television series by the same name and the release date is on Wednesday, June 3rd. Early reviews say that even if you haven't watched the show you will still find the movie highly entertaining. Spy featuring Jason Statham, Melissa McCarthy, and Jude Law comes out on June 5. This is predicted to be the funniest movie of the summer. Personally, I can't wait to see this movie, it stars two of my favorite actors. Also out on the 5th is Insidious: Chapter 3, starring Dermot Mulroney, and Stephanie Scott. For all of you horror movie fanatics this is the movie for you. Jurassic World premiers on June 12th, starring Chris Pratt,and Bryce Dallas Howard. This is for the fans of the Jurassic park series, you might enjoy this. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to be interested but the more reviews I saw I became more willing to see it. Now for the family movie Inside Out featuring the voices of Amy Poheler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader. This is a new release from the Disney-Pixar studios. This is being released on 6/19. Last but not least is everybody's favorite furry friend Ted. Ted 2 comes out on the 26th and of course Seth MacFarlene, Mark Wahlberg, and a cast full of great talent. This chapter has Ted taking on the government for the right to be married just like anyone else. I will keep you posted on my thoughts of these as I get a chance to watch.


Time Lapse




So it feels weird to be posting again but in a good way. It seems that last week almost every electronic device in my home turned against me. My laptop refused to connect to the internet and my Kindle Fire started typing "poo" whenever I typed the letter o. There were a lot of things happening so I feel like I have a lot to catch up on. Last weekend we saw Tomorrowland at the drive-in. It stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson. It was showing with Pitch Perfect 2.  I was really surprised how many people told me that they were not planning to stay to watch the Disney film.  It was their loss. I enjoyed it so much. Now if you are not familiar with the plot of the movie I will give you a quick overview. The movie opens with George Clooney's character, Frank Walker, talking about how he was a child genius who invented a jet pack and took it to the World's Fair in NYC in 1964 and that is where he meets a young girl that changes his world forever.  The girl named Athena helps Clooney's young self be transported to a different dimension full of hope, wonder, and magnificent inventions called Tomorrowland. Their inventions and actions over there very quickly have a detrimental impact and Frank and Athena get banished for it. Frank grows up to become a recluse and Athena spends decades trying to find someone with the drive, intelligence, and hope to help set things right. She finds Casey Newton ( Britt Robertson) and realizes that she is exactly the key they need to repair the damage done and save Tomorrowland.  It was funny and touching and when I left .....I wanted a pin with a T on it. This definitely worth a watch.

I mentioned it in previous posts but I love Pitch Perfect and now I can say that I love the 2nd one just as much. It was fantastic.  The Barden Bellas return after 3 years of being national champions only to have an unforgettable performance for President Obama's birthday.  They are told that they are not allowed to continue on their tour and can only be reinstated by performing and winning the World's Championship. They are replaced on tour by Germany's champions , Das Sound Machine. I can not begin to tell you how funny the movie is. Please go out and watch it. On a random side note: both of these movies feature Keegan-Michael Key.