Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts Review

This book was so much better than the first! I am reading all 4 books in the series for my Goodreads challenge.  Book 1 was good but this one really had me roped in from page 1. This is the story of how Emmaline ( the owner of the flower arrangement part of the Vows business) falls for long time friend Jack.  Emma and Jack have always regarded each other as honorary siblings since they share all the same friends but that all begins to change after her car breaks down on the side of the road. Jack comes to her rescue and the sparks fly.  I liked this book a lot because it tackles the sensitive subject of dating one of your closest friends and what could happen if it doesn't work out. Nora Roberts handles this issue amazingly when it comes to how it would affect all the other friends not just the couple.  It had some very funny and super romantic parts plus foreshadowing on just who the other two books are about. Can't wait to read book 3!

FYI: If you want to read my review for book 1 in The Bride Quartet just click up top on my pages tab. Most of my Goodreads updates show up there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dirty Grandpa Review

I wasn't ready! I love, love, love Robert DeNiro as an actor especially when he is doing comedy. Zac Efron is also becoming one of my favorites ( plus hello, easy on the eyes much). I was pretty excited to see the two of them together onscreen. I have to be honest...based on the trailers the film looked fairly funny but the reality is that is was freaking hilarious. This movie is rated R and believe me it deserved this rating. I am not proud of my behavior in the theater.  I snorted 3 times and laughed so hard I actually cried. This now means this film will  forever be on my list of funniest films of all time. DISCLAIMER:  The humor in this movie tends to be crude and politically incorrect. I happen to enjoy these things in my films but if you don't then do not watch. Also this is rated R for a reason so keep that in mind for the tweens and younger viewers.

The story starts with the passing of Grandma. Grandpa Kelly (Robert DeNiro) decides he must make their annual trip to Florida the weekend after her passing. He says it is what they always did and she would want him to go to honor her memory.  However, the DMV has taken away his license due to his cataracts so he needs a driver. His grandson Jason (Zac Efron) reluctantly agrees to go even though he is busy with his wedding just a week away. This is when it gets good. Grandpa turns out to be foul-mouthed and on a mission to find "female companionship" since he is now single. They run into Shadia (Zoey Deutch) , who was a classmate of Jason's from college and her 2 best friends. Her BFF Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) is on a mission of her own and Grandpa is just what she is looking for. Needless to say, they all end up in Daytona Beach for Spring Break and shenanigans.

My boyfriend and I have been running around our house all weekend quoting random things from the movie. I don't want to ruin this for anyone but I just wanted to say 2 of my favorite scenes involve Zac Efron singing and a fluffy, bumblebee pouch. I am not sure what that says about my own personal sense of humor. I take solace in the fact that I was not the only one in the theater laughing so hard.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Thoughts on "Making a Murderer"

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Oh man am I tired!  I literally stayed up all night binge watching the Netflix series called "Making A Murderer".  It popped up in my list of recommended shows a while ago but I just scrolled past it without a second thought. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden it started getting mentioned on various news outlets, radio broadcasts, and all over my twitter feed. I had heard from several friends that it was worth watching because it would blow my mind to see the way this man, Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, were being treated by the police and court system in Wisconsin.

So, I watched it. I have no words to describe all the different emotions I felt during the episodes.  The most shocking thing that I discovered first was that at 23 Steven was found guilty of a violent crime involving rape that he never committed! The footage from court appearances and interviews show right from the start that he said he was innocent. He had over 20 witnesses to prove his alibi and they still put him in jail for 18 years. His release was due to some modern updates to the way DNA was able to be tested now as opposed to in the 80's.  Then it turns out that the whole time this man was being arrested and sitting in jail that the sheriff's department knew of another suspect who turned out to be the predator. Flash forward 18 years and he is a free man who is reunited with his family, has a new girlfriend, and is really getting a new start on life.

What happens next is just so unexpected that you really will have to watch the documentary series yourself and decide what you think happened. I do not want to get too detailed because there is just so much info to process. Steven decides the state should be held accountable for wrongful imprisonment and make sure laws are developed to prevent other innocent people from going through what he did. They get a bill passed and it was even named after him, however the matter of the settlement asked for became a problem. It seems pretty clear based on the documentary that the state did not want to admit the case had been handled improperly and the amount of the money was going to have to be footed by the state and sheriff's dept. itself instead of any insurance companies. This is where it all goes bananas. There is a young photographer who goes missing sometime after visiting Steven Avery's home/family salvage yard to take photos for an auto magazine. Next thing you know Steven is arrested as well as his 16 year old nephew for homicide.  I know there are a lot of various opinions and thoughts on what happened and who did it. I have made my own decision after watching this film but that being said....I was not there. I can speculate just like everyone else but to me it just seems that a lot of gray area surrounded this case.  Watching the footage of the interviews just left me to question whether or not I was the only seeing the possibility that both of these men were innocent. I also could understand why the victims family was pushing the issue for the life sentence without the possibility of parole for both men.

I was left with more questions than answers after watching this show. The only thing I know for a fact was that a young woman was murdered, her body was burned in an attempt to hide the evidence, her vehicle was found on the Avery family salvage property, and there was blood in her car that included some of Steven Avery's.  I would recommend that everyone sit down and watch this because it shines a light on some serious issues and flaws within our judicial system, especially in small towns where everyone knows everyone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Revenant is Awesome!

The Revenant is the newest Leonardo DiCaprio film. It stars DiCaprio as Hugh Glass and Tom Hardy stars as John Fitzgerald.  It is set against a 1820's style western frontier background.  Hugh and his son (1/2 American and 1/2 Pawnee) are acting as scouts for a fur trading expedition that ends in an attack on their current camp by the Cree Indians. The Cree are violent and swift in their attack and are searching for the daughter of the chief.  The daughter was kidnapped by two white men and the Cree will not rest until they find her and punish the thieves.  Glass and the remaining men grab as many pelts as they can and flee to their boat and barely escape the slaughter. Enter John Fitzgerald, who is a member of the expedition with very greedy tendencies. It is clear early on that he is NOT a team player.  Glass convinces the team that it is best to abandon the ship down river and trek into the deep mountains where it is much colder and food is scarce so as to avoid the Cree.  There is some conflict between Glass, his son Hawk, and Fitzgerald and it just adds to the tension building in the film. Glass is attacked viciously by a bear while scouting that ends up with him barely surviving (this scene was so intense I had a death grip on my glass of soda).  His team decides to leave him to die with only his son and 2 others members staying behind to bury him when he passes away. This is when the story gets even more enthralling. I will not go into anymore details because this is a MUST SEE film.

This movie was visually stunning. The location, period clothing, and dialects used were so authentic. I could not find one flaw with any of it.  I am not ashamed to say that  I even teared up at one moment because I was just that into the movie.  The run time is over 2 hours but you barely even notice. The performances of the very talented cast were spot on. All in all, I see many awards in the future for this film and  for Leo DiCaprio ( Can we say Oscar worthy?) himself. This movie absolutely lives up to all the hype.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review on The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins

Karen Hawkins does it again! First of all this book contains some of my favorite things (Scots/Gypsies/fairy tales/steamy romance). This does have a Cinderella type feel to its storyline. This is part of the Oxenburg Princes series featuring our hero's other 3 brothers. I highly recommend this series. So here we go with my review of this book.....

Her: Bronwyn is 24 and "firmly on the shelf" and seems content just being there for her family. She had a pretty disastrous season and since has been happy to help her inventor father file patents, balance the household budget to allow funds for her step-sisters society entrance, and reading books. Her romance books are her guilty pleasure. She loves when the handsome and bold leading men passionately claim the hearts of the heroines. Just imagine her surprise when her very own hero in the form of Prince Alexsey Romanovin shows up and leaves her breathless.

Him: Alexsey was born a Prince and as such is used to getting whatever he wants and that is at the moment to not get married. His very heavy handed Grandmother Natasha has other ideas. She is determined to see him settled and married. She drags him to the little town of Dingwald in the Scottish countryside to parade a steady stream of eligible, educated, and acceptable beauties in front of him in an attempt to marry him off. Alexsey is just as determined to remain single. Then he meets bookish, witty, and "old" Bronwyn and the sparks fly! He is positive she is just the delicious distraction he needs to pass time.

This book has it all....a Gypsy Queen, a wickedly determined stepmother, 2 stepsisters, crazy dogs, missing slippers, and passion. The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because my copy never mentioned it was book 2 so I read it out of order.