August Movies & $ for Hurricane Harvey

Every month, since November 2009,  I’ve written a 5 word review of the movies I’ve watched and asked my online friends to add their 5 words to mine.  I’ve tied it to money for charity by letting the top contributor choose the charity every $100 (see charities here).  This month I’m doing something a little different.

I am donating money to the Houston Food Bank in the wake of the Hurricane Harvey devastation and I’ll add $1 to my donation every time you add your 5 words (or less) to mine.  It’s that easy. You can start on this post but if you haven’t seen any of these or want to contribute more money you can browse through the hundreds of movies I’ve watched and add your words to past movies.  Or if you want to browse each post to find movies you’ve seen you can do that here.

You don’t need to be a blogger to participate, just leave your movie “review” in a comment.  If you have any questions you can email me at

We’re up to $109!  Open til the end of next week.


Lucky Number Slevin Theater Poster.JPGLucky Number Slevin, 2006 (Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci     Grade B

Mob thriller made me LOL.

Josh Hartnett…before Penny Dreadful  (Michelle)

The main character holding a tabletBridget Jones’s Baby, 2016 (Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey)            Grade B

Two sexy potential daddies? Yesplease.

The Girl on The Train.jpgThe Girl on the Train, 2016 (Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney)   Grade B-

Twisty thriller with great cast.

Was OK, book is better.  (Heather)

 Entertaining, but book was better.  (Michelle)

Trolls (film) logo.pngTrolls, 2016 (Voices-Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, Gwen Stefani)  Grade B-

Cute trolls sing to live.

Fun singing. Lacked a plot.  (Heather)

Singing songs in my sleep.  (Nise)

Catchy tunes, overdose of happiness.  (Wendy)

Movie poster looney tunes back in action.JPGLooney Tunes:Back in Action, 2003 (Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Joan Cusack, Heather Lockear)   Grade C-

Gage seemed to like it 🙂

The icons are guest-stars here.  (Tony)


Book vs. Movie – Girl on the Train

The Girl On The Train (US cover 2015).png vs. The Girl on The Train.jpg

I really liked the book when I read it last year and Jason and I finally got around to seeing the movie last week.  There might be smallish spoilers.  It’s really impossible to talk about either without revealing points that make it worth reading/watching.

The Story/Plot Rachel is a drunk and every day as she rides the train from her home to the big city she watches a couple in love as the train roars past, giving them names and a story of their own.  This is the starting point for both and the way the story unfolds is similar, but different enough to notice.  Location, location, location.  In the book Rachel lives outside of London, in the movie it’s New York.  In the book the story moved between three women, all connected in ways that revealed themselves slowly.  The movie told their stories in a different order and sanitized some aspects so the overall effect wasn’t nearly as twisty. In the book we got into the minds of these women in ways that were missed onscreen.  Thumbs Up – Book

The Visual  Since I live in Ohio, I would have much preferred the setting of London, a place I would love to visit someday.  The screen did get some of the darker scenes right, but nothing my imagination didn’t do as well or better.   Thumbs Up – Book

Characters vs. Actors This is the category where the most significant changes were made, in my opinion.  Rachel is an overweight, unhappy drunk who is obsessed with other people.  Emily Blunt did an admirable job, but the storytelling did her a disservice.  The movie went of its way to redeem her, even adding a character (Lisa Kudrow) to show us that she really was a good person.  She wasn’t the only one they made less interesting.  Rebecca Ferguson as the ex-wife and Luke Evans as the missing woman’s husband were both a shade or two less dark than they should have been to make them as compelling as they were in the book.  Justin Theroux, Allison Janney, Laura Prepon and Haley Bennett rounded out the all-star cast and make this one hard to judge.  I’ll call this one a wash because I did love the cast, but I also think the dark edge of the characters was superior in the book.   Thumbs Up – Tie

The Ending The ending was as close as it could have been, although I could’ve done without the last scene in the police station (further redemption of Rachel was unnecessary).  I guess for that reason I’d choose the book, but it’s close.  Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is…the book!  There wasn’t anything wrong with the movie but it didn’t come close to packing the punch that the book did.

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on: (The Little Prince) (Charlie St. Cloud) (Far From the Madding Crowd(The Girl on the Train) (Tuck Everlasting)  (Northanger Abbey) (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

Top Ten Tuesday – Otherworldly Classics

I love to see these lists on other blogs and have wanted to jump in for a while.  Today is the day!  The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly meme so hop over and see what other bloggers are talking about today.

I was inspired when I saw Wendy’s list (Musings of a Bookish Kitty) so decided to do a small tweak on hers.  My love of reading started with romances, but through some exceptional fantasy/sci-fi classics I have come to appreciate the genre.  And in recent years magical realism has been creeping into my reading too.

Top Ten Classics with an Otherworldly Twist. 

Title: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet Series #1), Author: Madeleine L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I remember loving this one as a kid and need a re-read before the movie comes out later this year.

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia Series #2), Author: C. S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. Another one I loved as a kid.  I admit I never made it through the whole series, but I’d like to try with Gage.

Title: Watership Down, Author: Richard AdamsWatership Down by Richard Adams.  This story completely from the perspective of rabbits is a gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Title: Ender's Game (Ender Quintet Series #1), Author: Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another one I can’t wait to share with Gage someday soon.  Complex and exciting.

Title: Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings Trilogy #1 - Movie Art Cover), Author: J. R. R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Loved it when I read it in college and loved the movie just as much.

Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #1), Author: Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Such a comic treat the first time you read it.

Title: The Time Machine: H.G. Wells' Groundbreaking Time Travel Tale, Classic Science Fiction, Author: H. G. WellsThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  Surprisingly gripping for such a slim novel.

Title: Beloved, Author: Toni MorrisonBeloved by Toni Morrison.  This story covers the aftermath of the Civil War.  The fact that there’s a ghost only adds to its mystique.

Title: The House of the Spirits, Author: Isabel AllendeThe House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.  My first foray into magical realism.

Title: Like Water for Chocolate, Author: Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  Sexy and magical.  Plus, there’s chocolate!

Have I missed one of your favorites?  Let me know 🙂


The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley

Title: The Buried Book, Author: D. M. PulleyThe Buried Book. Finished 7-26-17, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2016

When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he’s left on his uncle’s farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible.

It’s 1952, and Jasper isn’t allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He’s lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle’s good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she’s coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.

As he’s drawn deeper into an adult world of corruption, scandal, and murder, Jasper uncovers the shocking past still chasing his mother—and now it’s chasing him too.  from Goodreads

Unabridged audio read by Luke Daniels. 12 hours 1 minute.

Poor Jasper has been abandoned by both his alcoholic mom and dazed father and he’s left at the doorstep of his uncle out in the country. Life on the farm with his aunt, uncle and cousin is hard, but full of support.  Jasper has a good life but cannot let go of the memory of his mother. He tries to find her, but falls into one dangerous predicament after another.  Jasper is a tough kid and a smart 9 year old.

I liked the slow moving story set in 1950’s Michigan.  It has a real sense of place and the mystery of Jasper’s mother moved the story along until the shocking, but appropriate end.  I liked this second book by local Cleveland author, D.M. Pulley.

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying WinterborneMarrying Winterborne. Finished 7-17-17, 4.25/5, historical romance, pub. 2016

The Ravenels #2  (1-Cold-Hearted Rake)

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…    from Goodreads

We met the Ravenel sisters and Rhys in the first book of the series so the pairing was no surprise, but the thing that kept them apart, briefly, was a good twist. Rarely do you find such a distasteful character in a romance novel.  This second book introduces some new characters, but for the most part really fleshes out the ones we already know.  I would have liked to see a bit more of Devon and Kathleen from the first book, but there was so much going on that it’s easy to forgive.  Strong, independent female characters leave no shortage of future match ups for the series.

I liked this one more than the first and am looking forward to the third book.  I don’t want to rush too much since I know the next one won’t be out until next year.

July’s Movies & Money for Charity

I saw some great films at the theater this month.  How as your movie month?  Anything I need to see?

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment 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.

We’re at $57.

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.

The Big Sick.jpgThe Big Sick, 2017 (Kumail Nanijani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, Anupam Kher)      Grade A

Laugh, cry, cringe, smile,  love.

Love beats out cultural differences (Kathy)

Funny and truly heart-warming romance.  (Heather)

Dunkirk Film poster.jpgDunkirk, 2017 (Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles)   Grade A-

Overlooked WWII struggle that never wavers.

Baby Driver poster.jpgBaby Driver, 2017 (Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez)    Grade B+

Getaway driver tries straight life.

Despicable Me 3 (2017) Teaser Poster.jpgDespicable Me 3, 2017 (Voices-Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gair, Julie Andrews)   Grade C+

Not my favorite, but okay.