August 28, 2015

Fall Movie Challege

If you've been around here any length of time you know that I a) love fall; b) love challenges; and c) love movies. After seeing Stephanie's post, I was all set to join in!

The challenge starts September 1st and ends November 30th. There are 25 categories you must complete. Previously watched movies AND made for TV movies do not count; you can't double-dip; and the movie needs to have a page at IMDB.

Sounds easy enough. Here's what I chose to watch:

1| any set in New York City. Almost Famous - I find it odd I've never seen this.

2| any incorporating hot air balloons in the story. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium - Never seen it, why not?

3| any featuring a child as the main character. Kids - Another movie I've never seen. Although, because I know what this is about, I think I've been actively avoiding it.

4| any Disney film. Inside Out - I've been dying to see this movie.
5| any set in Egypt OR that has an Egyptian character OR that stars an Egyptian actor/actress.  Exodus: Gods and Kings

6| a close friend or family member's favorite film. Pride & Prejudice - I couldn't tolerate the book but I'm sure I can manage the movie. All for you Kristen!

7| any with the word great in the title. The Great Outdoors

8| any starring Harrison Ford. Cowboys & Aliens - I remember seeing the trailer for this and wanting to see it.

9| any featuring an idiot as the main character. The Pink Panther (the original)

10| any mentioned in Levis Srauss' list: denim in the Oscars: a look at jeans in cinema. Thelma & Louise - It's sad I've never seen this. I'm a big fan of these types of movies.

11| a film about a knight. Season of the Witch - Because anything with Nic Cage is a bad comedy, no matter what it's about.

12| a love story. Casanova

13| a movie about something miraculous.  127 Hours

14| any starring an actor/actress with the same first name as yours. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Michael Cera)  Gnomeo & Juliet or Kingsman: The Secret Service (Michael Caine)

15| a film about the Olympics. Miracle - K owns this. I've avoided it because I'm one of those rare people who doesn't give a rat's tail about the Olympics.

16| a film on time magazine's list: the top ten newspaper movies. His Girl Friday - my favorite time period for movies. Black & whites are the mac N cheese of the movie world.

17| any with a question in the title. Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? - I've borrowed this from the library at least twice and I always just look at it sitting on the table. Time to finally watch it.

18| any with a score of ninety percent or greater on rotten tomatoes. Skyfall - I'm not a fan of Daniel Craig {bring back Pierce!} but I do love the 007 movies.

19| a film about a superhero. X-Men: Days of Future Past

20| any with subtitles. Let the Right One In - I already know I'm not going to like this.

21| any incorporating unicorns in the story. My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure - Yeah, I'm copping out on this one.

22| a film about a personal victory. Southpaw - I don't this needs an explanation.

23| a film with black or white in the title. Black or White 

24| any set in a country you would most like to visit. Tristan + Isolde (Ireland)

25| a film set in a zoo. Zookeeper - It's been somewhere on my never-ending "To See" list. Plus, Kevin James is hysterical.

So that's my list. Are you joining in? Any suggestions for something better? 

August 21, 2015

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge #2 Check In

I feel like the summer has flown this year. If one thing is for certain it's that I got a lot of reading done in these last few months.

To check in with the Summer Reading Challenge, here's where I'm at.

1| A YA book (mandatory!) ~ That Summer / Sarah Dessen     READ
2| Non US Author  (mandatory!) ~ The Dinner by Herman Koch    READ
3| A book that was recommended by a blogger  (mandatory!) ~ Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen     READ
4| A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more ~ Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt    READ 
5| A book with a kickass female character ~  Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold   READ
6| A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) ~ Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman   READ
7| A book written by a comedian or celebrity ~ Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham   READ
8| A book with a one word title ~ Joyland by Stephen King   READ

9| A suspenseful book - a mystery, thriller, or a book about revenge ~ Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy   READ

10| A book about Summer, with summer in the title ~ Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand    READ

And with that.... C H A L L E N G E  C O M P L E T E!!!

August 11, 2015

Booked Vol. 1


You guys, I'll be honest, last month I felt like the girl who got picked last for dodge ball. Seriously. Reading and seeing all of your book posts gave me major FOMO. I had no idea when this link up were taking place, but I, along with the rest of you, am a huge fan of reading. I finally got my blogging act together and am ready to rock!

I feel like I was a reading machine in July. There were the books I read for the first half of the Literary Ladies challenge and now all of these. I also decided to grade the books on a simple scale: A {love}, B {enjoyed it}, C {ehh}, D {disappointment} and F {this will be reserved for books I didn't bother to finish}.

Captivated by You / Sylvia Day Grade: B
Even though I finished this in June, I'm adding it here because I can. Before I picked up Saint Anything I was in the middle of reading Captivated by You by Sylvia Day. This series is basically riding on the fame that of 50 Shades. It's similar but different. This doesn't apply to the challenge, but I read it, so I figured I'd mention it.

Pride & Prejudice / Jane Austen Grade: F
I can honestly say I avoided any book by Jane Austen because I feared they were huge, lengthy reads. P&P was confusing at times. Take this sentence for instance... "Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?" I kid you not, I had to read that 3 times and I still have no idea what it means. I admit I put this down around page 76 and didn't look back. Sorry Kristen!!

The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone / Emily Griffin Grade: D
I never actually read Something Borrowed because I saw the movie long before I realized it was a movie. I figured I'd give this a try because a) it was super short, and b) it was free. It's a good thing because this was almost painful to read. If you're familiar with Darcy's character as an adult, I'm sure you can imagine how she was as a teen. This little novella just reconfirmed how irritating she is.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives / Gretchen Rubin Grade: B
This book was all about change. Throughout life we attempt to change a lot of things. We want to eat well, exercise regularly, perform beneficial habits. The problem that most of us have - how do we change our habits? Rubin attempts to answer that question here. I enjoyed this book. It wasn't a cure-all where I'm suddenly acing every habit I've tried to make, but it did point out aspects of my personality and how that can help/hinder my progress.  

The Dinner / Herman Koch Grade: C
I read it for the literary challenge and I didn't love it.  However, it reads quick and that was a plus to me. I didn't find any of the characters to be likable and disliked the way the author, and subsequently the character narrating, mention things but then don't discuss them. One of the characters gets very sick and is in the hospital, by description I can only assume they're referring to cancer. The check for the meal comes but the amount is tip-toed around. The concept is interesting enough, the entire book, aside from the flashbacks, takes place over the course of dinner one evening. I'm pretty indifferent to this book. No love, no hate.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up / Marie Kondo, Cathy Hirano Grade: D/F
I listened to this book through Hoopla {free audio book apps that work through your local library} because - fast and free - but unfortunately I found it to be incredibly boring and lecture-y. I'm not sure if it was the reader or the book itself but it made the author come across as a condescending know-it-all. When I was halfway through I truly considered just giving up on the book but I kept listening. I was a little into the last hour and I couldn't take it anymore. I decided to give up.  Skip this book!

Second Street Station: A Mary Handley Mystery / Lawrence H. Levy Grade: A
This was one of my Blogging for Books options this month. Pickings were slim honestly, but as this took place in Brooklyn I decided to give it a try. Plus it's a mystery and I'm a sucker for those. The story takes place in 19th century New York. I was slow to get into this but I knew if I kept with it the story would pick up at some point. In truth the story picked up as soon as I gave it a chance. Go figure... The one thing that truly bugged me was that I felt like the author was trying to show his experience with a thesaurus. So many words were unnecessary and could have been replaced by something more common. I mean who uses "unctuousness"? I had to look it up. One thing I did like, relatively short chapters and the story involved historical figures such as J.P. Morgan and Nikola Tesla.

Angela's Ashes / Frank McCourt Grade: A
A friend of my recommended I read this several years ago, and although I added it to my list, I never got around to reading it. Typical. Once I actually started listening to it I enjoyed it immediately. For one, the reader had an Irish brogue, but he also read in a way that was entertaining. It's interesting to me because Frank McCourt was 66 when Angela's Ashes "burst onto the literary scene" and then he won a Pulitzer Prize for it. He also wrote two follow-up books that I plan to read.

Not That Kind of Girl / Lena Dunham Grade: C
I've heard everyone rant and rave about Girls and Lena Dunham for months. I finally decided to give this a try... for the literary challenge. I listened to the audiobook, which I liked because it was read by Lena. Personally, this just wasn't my kind of memoir. I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't care for it either. In my opinion, it was a 'Hey, here are some essays of my sexual history and my thoughts on other random things'.

August 04, 2015

Saint Anything

Last month I joined in on my first real book club. Fortunately it's not one of those hard core ones. Also, I got lucky as our fearless leaders picked an awesome book for July!

Saint Anything / Sarah Dessen

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Once I picked this book up from the library I fell in lust immediately. I'm partial to aesthetics, and although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I do. This one met my approval.  
It's a YA story {who doesn't love this genre?!} about a girl named Sydney and the rough year her family is in the midst of. Within the first few pages of reading this book I knew I was going to like it. The book opens with Sydney as a young girl in a courthouse looking for the bathroom. A guy, who her parents were comfortable with, offers to take her and wait outside. Immediately I felt off about this character. He did nothing wrong, it just was weird to me.
The story is beautifully written in my opinion and I found it easy to get caught up in the story and feel Sydney's feelings. When she changes schools and makes a new friend, her life starts to change. She grows apart from her old friends, but still supports them when necessary. She tries to follow the "rules" of her new friendships, but ultimately ends up breaking them. She tries to do everything asked by her parents but finally, there comes a breaking point where Sydney must choose to step into her own.
It's a story about loneliness, friendship, love, betrayal, acceptance, and forgiveness. We've all been there. We've had trouble at home, or in school, felt invisible, and then found that group of friends that felt like family.
If you're even considering reading this, do yourself a favor and just read it.