July’s Movies

Wow!  I saw a lot of movies this month.  And some good ones too 🙂

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.  This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.

We’re up to $50

Austenland Poster.jpgAustenland, 2013 (Cast-Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie)                          Grade A-

I want Austenland immersion too!

Slapstick, cheesy comedy with romance!   (Heather)

 I want who she got 🙂   (Michelle)

Lorax teaser poster.jpgThe Lorax, 2012 (Voices-Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Betty White, Zac Ephron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle)      Grade B+

Trees, trees – I love trees!

Cute and fun. Save trees!   (Heather)

Total cuteness, go the trees!   (Teddyree)

Belle poster.jpgBelle, 2013 (Cast-Tom Wilkinson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emily Watson, Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Sam Reid)       Grade B

Seemingly romantic view of history.

Winters bone poster.jpgWinter’s Bone, 2010 (Cast-Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt)     Grade B

Ozarks aggressive take on  justice.

Better on second time watching.  (Michelle)

Acting amazing…story so sad.   (Heather)

It ain’t easy being poor.  (Tony)

Just Go with It Poster.jpgJust Go With It, 2011 (Cast-Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman)      Grade C+

Aniston makes 40’s look good.

Sex Tape (film).jpgSex Tape, 2014 (Cast-Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper)      Grade C

Laughs, eye rolls, laughs, shrugs.

Lucy (2014 film) poster.jpgLucy, 2014 (Cast-Scarlett Johanssen, Morgan Freeman, Min-Sik Choi, Amr Waked)       Grade D

90% really, really disliked it.

  Mind-blowing – really makes you think.   (Michelle)

Not expected storyline – kinda ‘meh’.  (Kay)

Love Life by Rob Lowe

Love LifeLove Life. Finished July 2, 2014, rating 4/5, memoir, pub.2014

Unabridged audio read by the author

When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.

from Goodreads

I loved Rob Lowe’s first memoir about his start in the movie industry (Stories I Only Tell My Friends).  It even ended up on my favorite list at the end of the year.  Here’s what I said about Lowe’s narration at the time, “the audio is definitely the way to go with this one.  Lowe’s charm and intelligence come through loud and clear and I looked forward to getting in the car and visiting with him every day because that’s what it felt like.  He was very conversational and it was just a fun and easy listen.”  This is again true with this second memoir.

This one is a little less focused than the first, with stories ranging from acting to fatherhood to marriage, but no less engaging.  He still does lots of name-dropping, but the stories are told with respect and they aren’t always easy to hear. I’m thinking of the one when he went to rehab and his experience with other well-known celebrities; it broke my heart.  His stories about his boys growing up and leaving home, as well as his love for his wife, might have left a tear or two in my eyes.  But, for the most part I was smiling and chuckling.

If you want inside info on the movie industry or enjoy hearing fun stories about famous people then I recommend this one with both thumbs up.  And if you like those things I say listen to the first one too 🙂

I checked the audio out from the library.

1,000 Quiz – guessing closed

quizRecognize these books that all have over 1,000 pages?

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section until Sunday.  

1. “Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.”   Don Quixote

2. “Jean Valjean had this peculiarity, that he might be said to carry two knapsacks; in one he had the thoughts of a saint, in the other the formidable talents of a convict. He helped himself from one or the other as occasion required.”  Les Miserables

1000 quiz

3.War and Peach (Tolstoy)   4.The Fiery Cross (Gabaldon)   5. Shantaram (Roberts)  6. And the Ladies of the Club (Santmyer)   7. It (King)   8. Imfinite Jest (Wallace)   9. The Executioner’s Song (Mailer)   10. Gone with the Wind (Mitchell)

Answers to last week’s James Garner quiz here.

That Night by Chevy Stevens

That NightThat Night. Finished 7-22-14, rating 4.25, fiction, 384 pages, pub. 2014

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.  Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside.

from Goodreads

It’s hard to put my thoughts on this one in a cohesive review.  If I hadn’t agreed to read this for She Reads (who has chosen some of my favorite books of the year), it would probably still be sitting on my nightstand with a bookmark that moved forward ten pages a week.  For me, it was the tale of two books.  The first half was so slow and, well, slow.  Toni seemed like your typical angst, chip-on-her shoulder teen who fell prey to the bitchy girls of high school.  She had the perfect relationship with her boyfriend, a most imperfect one with her clueless parents and she and her sister were never close.  I. Was. Bored.  I powered through because of She Reads and also because I remember reading another blogger say that it took a long while for the story to pick up.  And I am so glad that I continued reading because pick up it did and the second half of the book had me reading late into last night when I closed the book with a satisfied sigh.

Since Toni was our narrator, it was easy to see that most conflict was skewed in her favor, and there was a lot of conflict. I viewed her as someone who wanted everyone to think she was tough and because of that she attracted trouble wherever she was – high school, prison, halfway house, going back home when no one really wanted her there.  I had sympathy for her but I also was hoping that she could somehow rise above it all.  You’ll have to read it and make up your own mind on whether that happens or not.

I thought the book really highlighted the problems of our prison and rehabilitation system here in the States.  Here was a girl who was innocent, sent to prison, and then expected to learn how to live in a world hostile and distrustful of her.  Maddening and saddening at the same time.

If you are willing to get past a slow beginning you will be in for a great thriller that will have you turning pages as quickly and as long as possible.  Like me, you might even give up some sleep for it.

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.   There’s still time to enter for a free copy here.  

A Scrambled James Garner Quiz – guessing closed

quizJames Garner passed away at the age of 86 this week and I didn’t realize until I read about his life that he had earned two Purple Hearts in the Korean War. I remember watching The Rockford Files when I visited my grandparents, but I think that even if you don’t know much about James Garner that you’ll be able to recognize thses 10 films.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

James GarnerUnscramble these Garner film titles (from oldest to newest)

1. ELWOMAR – Marlowe

2. MVOE  REVO  INGADLR – Move Over Darling

3. HTE  TEARG  EESCAP – The Great Escape

4. ETH  ILDRENCH’S  OHUR – The Children’s Hour

5. ROVITC / VRIAITCO – Victor/Victoria

6. PHMURY”S  NCERMOA – Murphy’s Romance

7. ICKMAVER – Maverick

8. PECSA  YSOOCWB – Space Cowboys

9. INEIDV  REECSTS  FO  HET  AY-AY STERIDOOHS – Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

10. HTE  OOONKTEB – The Notebook

Answers to last weeks American quiz here.

Monday Mailbox – July 21

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Nothing came in the mailbox this week but I did pick up these two books for $3 at Half-Price Books 🙂  What a steal!


I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells 

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation. Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means. Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could. Dan Wells’s debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

One spectacular Christmas, Lady Perdita Selby, known to her friends and family as Poppy, met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was the perfect match for the innocent, breathtakingly beautiful young Englishwoman, and theirs was the most romantic wedding she had ever seen. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of the ton… but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out.

Unwilling to lose the woman he still lusts after, the duke is determined to win back his beguiling bride’s delectable affections…and surpass the heady days of first love with a truly sinful seduction.

Have you read either of these? Did anything fun arrive in your mailbox this week?


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)A Discovery of Witches. Finished 6-28-14, rating 3.75/5, fantasy, pub.2011

Unabridged audio narrated by Jennifer Ikeda.  24 hours.

First in a trilogy

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

from Goodreads

I am not a vampire or witch lover.  I occasionally get intrigued by the hype and check out a book with these characters (Twilight) but haven’t really fallen in love with any.  I’m not sure what made me pick this big book up at the library sale (value by page count?) but I did and I also checked out the Playaway so most of my reading of this one was really listening.  It was good.  I might listen to the next one if it’s the same narrator because I liked her performance.

Some things I liked

  • the concept of a lost book containing the origins of creatures (witches, vampires, daemons)
  • the easy relationship between Diana and Matthew
  • when Diana was trying to figure out what to make a vampire for a romantic dinner – totally made me giggle
  • the setting of Oxford and France
  • all of the well-known historical people who Matthew had known in his 1.500 years of existence
  • Diana. I really liked Diana and her aunts

A few things I didn’t care for

  • the story really slowed once in Wisconsin at the Bishop house
  • too much dialogue and the addition of so many characters in the last third of the book made it peter out for me a bit at the end

I am really curious about the time-walking coming up for Diana and Matthew and I would like to know what happens.  Harkness has made a fun world and I would like to see how it all pans out.

I’ve heard not so great things about the second one, but maybe she redeems the trilogy with the third?  Anyone read them?

It’s as American as apple pie QUIZ! – guessing closed

quizReady for another round of quizzes?  I haven’t got as many in the draft folder as I’d like, but I’m excited to start again!  I do have a favor to ask. I know many of you like the quizzes (it’s always one of the things that get mentioned  first in an email) but my number of participants has gone down.  If you like them but don’t want to take part could you please spread the word so your friends might join in too?  Thanks so much for humoring my quizmaking ways 🙂

Okay, let’s get started!  An American themed quiz.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

1. Who is the best selling American author of all-time? both would be acceptable because I think several places still have Robbins listed, but it is save to say that the winner is Danielle Steel with over 120 books totalling anywhere from $500-800 million in sales.

   A.Stephen King

   B. Danielle Steel

   C. Nora Roberts

   D. Harold Robbins

2. The Hornet’s Nest, a novel of the Revolutionary War, was written by which U.S. President?  Jimmy Carter

3. Who is the last American author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature?  Toni Morrison, 1993 for Beloved

Give me these titles…

flag quiz

4.Jamie’s America (Jamie Oliver)  5.American By Choice (Craig Ferguson)  6.The Execution (Dick Wolf)  7.The Traitor’s Wife (Allison Pataki  8.America (Daily Show)  9.Ragtime (EL Doctorow)  10. North and South (John Jakes)

Happy Guessing!

Mailbox Monday – July 14

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I received one book last week – a win from the awesome Bookfan Mary!  I just love the cover.

Save the DateSave the Date

A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. 

So what arrived in your mailbox this week?

Sundays with Gage – Recovery

When an ER doctor writes your 3-year-old an antibiotics prescription for two infections, it should me mandatory to also write the attending parent a prescription for a vacation or if that’s too much he might throw in a bottle of wine with the bill.  Gage has been on antibiotics this week  and started camp again on Thursday.  That’s a week and a half of yuckiness and fever.  I  filled my own wine prescription but really think I need to up it a notch to a day at the spa!  After some early trouble we have found a method of getting him to take his medicine.  Yesterday it took Jason and hour and a half and this morning it took me about 20 minutes.   This is the first day he’s actually starting eating meals again, YAY!  I know he lost over a pound the first week he was sick, so the boy needs to eat.

benjamins partyI am happy and relieved that he is feeling better. He was able to go to his friend’s birthday party yesterday and have some fun. Stay healthy everyone.  Maybe I’ll see you at the spa 🙂