Thursday, April 10, 2014

21. Dead Heat - Dick Francis & Felix Francis

(This looks like the first book in the "collaboration" between father and son)
read by Martin Jarvis
9 cds (10.5 hours)
2007, Penguin Audio
352 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 4/8/2014
Goodreads Rating: 3.78
My Rating: 2.5 It was okay and went very quickly
Setting: Contemporary Newcastle/Cambridge and London, England

My comments:   2.5 - It was definitely okay, one of my three problems with it - and the biggest - was the reader.  I think the protagonist, Max, was supposed to be a young man, not yet thirty.  However, the reader made him sound a great deal older, and sort of stuffy.  I think if I could have "felt" that Max was under 30 I would have enjoyed the book more.  I really enjoyed the beginning and all the nitty-gritties of running a restaurant.  The mystery was compelling, but the reasons behind the hi-jinx were not plausible.  And the fast-and-furious loved story between Max and Caroline made both of them look desperate.  I found it really hard to believe.  Oh well.  On to the next!

Goodreads Review: Max Moreton is a rising culinary star and his Newmarket restaurant, The Hay Net, has brought acclaim. But two disasters fall. Food poisoning fells banquet attendees, and a bomb explodes the private boxes at a race, killing guests and employees.

Monday, April 7, 2014

20. Lake of Tears - Mary Logue

#9 Claire Watkins
2014 Tyrus Books
207 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 4/7/14
GoodreadsRating: 3.38
My Rating: 2/ It was okay
Setting: Contemporary rural Wisconsin
1st sentence/s:  "The tattooed flames on the man's shoulder were illuminated by the fire."

My comments:   I have not read books 1 through 8 in this series, which means I don't have the background information on the main characters I probably needed to better understand some of what was going on.  And I think the mystery was a little weak. Had to force myself to finish, because I didn't care about most of the characters.  

Goodreads Review:  Deputy Sheriff Claire Watkins has had an easy summer in Fort St. Antoine, Wisconsin; the only problem is that her daughter Meg is leaving for college soon. When Claire walks down to the park to watch the Burning Boat--a large replica of a Norwegian longboat set on the shores of Lake Pepin, burned at the autumnal equinox--she has no idea that more than just a wooden structure is going up in flames.   
          The next day, the bones of a young woman are found in the ashes. When Claire learns that the new deputy she has hired, a vet returning from Afghanistan, was the young woman's former boyfriend, and that he is now dating her daughter Meg, she is desperate to find out who is responsible for the death.
          In order to get to the heart of this mystery, Claire must understand what happened in an attack in the mountains of Afghanistan, which left one man wounded, one man killed, and one man disturbed. Could one of those two remaining men be the killer?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

MOVIE - A Birder's Guide to Everything

PG-13 (1:27)
Limited release 3/21/14
Viewed 4/2/14 at the Loft
RT Critic: 95 Audience: 69
Cag: 3.5 A sweet and funny coming-of-age with a touch of teariness
Directed by Robber Meyer
Screen Media Venture/Focus

Ben Kingsley, James LeGros

My comments:  First reaction:  It was so short! (Lost of long movies lately, I guess.)  Totally enjoyable movie about three 15-year old geeky friends who are bird-watchers, focusing on one who lost his mom a year previously and his discomfort with his dad's remarriage (SPOILER:  to his mom's nurse).  Very cute movie.

Reviews:  David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a 15-year-old birding fanatic, thinks that he's made the discovery of a lifetime. So, on the eve of his father's remarriage, he escapes on an epic road trip with his best friends to solidify their place in birding history. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alliance - Mark Frost

#2 The Paladin Prophecy
2014, Random House
329 pgs.(read the first 88 and the last 35) DNF
YA Fantasy/SciFi
Abandoned 4/1/14
Goodreads Rating:  4.06
My Rating: 2/It was okay but didn't care about it at all, so abandoned it.
1st sentence/s: "Lyle Ogilvy had trouble staying dead."

My comments  :I read up to page 88, and it didn't interest me at all.  Nada.  So I read the last 30-35 pages and realized I hadn't needed to read much of what was in between to understand what happened.  So I'm not going to rate it.  I just don't care about the characters.  Isn't that funny - I so enjoyed the first book but reading the first quarter of this second book didn't add any dimension to those same characters, it almost seemed to flatten and stereotype them.  One of the two "surprise" revelations at the end were totally foreseeable.  I made the right decision not to read the book. 

Goodreads Review:  After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights' shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what's going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alphabetical Listing of Movies I've Seen and Reviewed Since Mid-2008

I Love My Movies!!

2 Guns (8-8-13) enjoyable, but nothing special (3)
17 Again (7-20-09) Cute and light (78%)
33 Postcards (5-17-13) Liked it despite its badness and goodness...something different! (3)
About Time (12/11/2013) great, feel-good movie! (4)
Adam (9-1-09) Wonderful acting and moving story. (90%)
Adjustment Bureau, The Clever entertainment (2)
Adventureland (5/15/09) Entertaininguntrivialized comedy-drama (70%)
Alvin & the Chipmunks, the Squeakuel (12-26-09) The kids loved it. (50%)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (12-29-11) It was okay (cute) (2)
Amazing Spider Man, The (9-4-12) It dragged on and on and on... (2)
American Hustle (1-2-14) This movie just tickled me! (5.5)
Amreeka (6-9-11) Another good one! (4)
Angels & Demons (5/09)- Nonstop action with never a dull moment (70%)
Anonymous (2-2-12)
Argo Wonderful movie, loved it (5)
Artist, The (1-26-11) Loved it (5)
Attack, The (8-22-13) nope, the book was SO much better.... (2)
August: Osage County (1-29-14) Dysfunctional family hysteria (5)
Austenland (11/14/2013) cute, and much better than the book (3)
Avatar (1-10-10) Saw it in 3-D..Amazing! (96%)
Avengers, The (6-2-12) (and again 6-26-12 with Brendan) Liked it quite a bit (3.5)
Back-up Plan, The, The (4-26-10) - Don't expect any surprises - but gorgeous protagonists (40%)
Beastly (3-15-11) Enjoyed the book, enjoyed the movie (2)
Beasts of the Southern Wild  Nope, didn't like this one (1)
Beaver, The Loved it - oddly endearing (5)
Before Midnight (7-21-13) just dialogue (but some really good dialogue!) (2)
Beginners (12-23-11) Liked it a lot (4)
Bernie (6-5-12) Definitely a keeper, Liked it a lot (4)
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (5-22-12) Loved it (5)
Big Wedding, The (5-25-13) It was lots of fun - very predictable but fun (4)
Big Year, The (11-18-11) "Obsessed birders with heart," fun to watch three really good actors (3)
Birder's Guide to Everything, A (4-2-14) A sweet and funny coming-of-age (3.5)
Black Swan (12-20-10) Intriguing psychological story with too much ballet (85%)
Blind Side, The (11-26-09) A based-on-real-life feel-good movie (90%)
Blue Jasmine (8-16-13) sad, but brilliantly acted (4.5)
Book Thief, The (1-28-14) Stunning & sad (4.5)
Bottle Shock (10/24/08) Lots of Fun (75%)
Bounty Hunter (7-8-10) Cute but trite (55%)
Bourne Legacy, The  Liked it a whole lot (4.5)
Breaking Dawn Part 1 (11-24-11) Splendid scenery, sets, and makeup (4)
Bridesmaids (5-11) Rip Roarin' Funny! ! ! (5)
Brothers Bloom, The (7-14-09) Great story with really likeable protagonists (91%)
Butler, The (9-4-13) a great overview of the civil rights movement (5)
Capitalism, A Love Story (11-28-09) Informative, but a little choppy (74%)
Captain Phillips (10/24/2013) Edge-of-your-seat true story (5)
Cedar Rapids (3-19-11) Funnnnneeeee.....and fun (4)
City Island (5-13-10) A new favorite - quirky with lots of laughs (95%)
Crazy Heart (1-30-10) Jeff Bridges was amazing! (96%)
Columbiana Liked it a lot (4)
Company You Keep, The (5-3-13) I liked it a lot (4)
Country Strong (1-12-11) Love the music (3)
Cowboys and Aliens Liked it (3)
Crazy, Stupid, Love (8-7-11) Watching what the men will wear next is the best part...really cool outfits! (4)
Cyrus (7-22-10) Nowhere as good as expected...disappointing, actually (66%)
Dallas Buyers Club (11/19/2013) almost flawless and unforgettable (6)
Dark Shadows (5-14-12) Liked it a lot (4)
Date Night (4-28-10) - Fun and Funnnnnnny (87%)
Debt, The, It was okay (2)
Descendant, The (12-9-11) Loved it (5)
Divergent (3-29-14) Equaled expectations and was fun to watch (3)
Don Jon (10/13)  I keep thinking about this one...(5)
Double Hour, The (7-30-11) Good movie. Good mystery. Great storytelling. (4)
Doubt (2/25/09) Fantastic acting (80%)
Duplicity (5/7/09) Very entertaining (70%)
East, The (8-18-13) just terrific (6)
Easy A (9-22-10)  Delightful.  Fun.  Clever (90%)
Eat, Pray, Love (8-25-10) Gorgeous settings - Rome, India, Bali  70%
Eclipse (7-4-10)  Better than the book! (89%)
Fair Game (12-9-10) Entertaining AND educating. (93%)
Family, The () as much as I wanted to love it, I didn't (2)
Fifth Estate, The (10/31/13) interesting and informative (3)
Fighter, The (3-6-11) Great accents...acting....and story! (6)
Five Year Engagement, The (5-26-12) Liked it a whole lot (4.5)
Footloose (12-15-11) Liked it (3)
Friends with Benefits Liked it a lot (4)
From Paris With Love (3-30-10) A bit boring at first, but redeemed itself with tongue-in-cheek humor (68%)
Frozen (1-1-14) Great music and animation (4.5)
Ghost Town (11/7/08)  Imaginative and quite funny (70%)
Ghost Writer, The (3-12-10) Kept me engrossed and thinking (81%)
Gigantic (6/2/09) Quirky and clever, a new favorite (95%)
Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2-13-11) Disappointing, left me wanting something more....(2)
Girl Who Played With Fire, The (8-22-10)  Mesmerizing - but not as good as the first one (88%)
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The (English) Loved it even though I didn't want to (5)
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The (Swedish) (6-13-10) Wow.  An incredible movie! (97%)
Gloria (3-19-14) For all women of a "certain age" (4)
Gnomeo and Juliet (3-1-11) Didn't like it (1)
Grand Budapest Hotel, The (3-26-14) A freakin' riot! (4)
Greenberg (4-13-10) Slow-moving, hard to care about the characters (45%)
Grown Ups 2 (11/22/13) stupid...perfect for a Friday night (3)
Grown Ups (7-18-10)  Hilarious! (85%)
Guilt Trip, The (2-15-13) Quite a few chuckles, enjoyable (3.5)
Hamlet 2 (9/28/08) Expecting More (1.5)
Hanna (4-23-11) I expected something more, but I'm not sure what.... (2)
Happy-Go-Lucky (12/12/08) Charming and fun (5)
Harry Potter & the Deathly Harrows (8-8-11) All Harry's movie...not quite enough of everyone else... (2)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows Part 1 (12-2-10) The book dragged, the movie didn't! (92%)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7-15-09) A blast! (91%)
Heat, The (8-6-13) freakin' hilarious (5)
Help, The (8-16-11) Wish I'd read the book first - the movie was a very good period piece. (3)
Help, The (1-15-12) Liked it a lot (4), seen for the 2nd time
Hope Springs (9-13-12 Hilarious and sweet, Liked it a lot (4)
Horrible BosseSheila hated it and left - pretty crass, but funny in places (3)
Hot Tub Time Machine (4-2-10) This really stunk (38%
House Bunny, The (9/14/08) Extremely silly (1)
Hunger Games, The () Loved it (5)
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (12/6/13) watchable, good in places, but draggy in others... (2)
I Am Love (8-5-10) Some WOW, Some Blech (81% )
I am Number Four (2-22-211) SO kept my attention, but the book was better. (2)
Ides of March (1-27-11) Really loved it (5.5)
Impossible, The
In Time (12-2-11) Thrilling to watch and interesting to think about (4)
Incendies (5-29-11) Powerful - a masterful piece of storytelling(6)
Instructions Not Included (8/30/13) just wonderful and F-U-N-N-Y (5.5)
Invention of Lying, The (11-19-09) Some good chuckles, entertaining.... (65%)
Invictus (3-24-10) don't even need to "get" rugby (86%)
Ironman 3 (5-27-13) Liked it at least three times more than Ironman 2 (3.5)
Iron Man 2 (5-25-10) Can't even compare to Iron Man 1 (42%)
It's Complicated (1-6-10) (84%)
Jack Reacher (12-22-12) Very entertaining (3.5)
Jane Eyre (4-28-11)  a lovely film for a classic story (4)
Julie & Julia (11-25-09) Simply wonderful in every way (96%)
Just Wright (7-2-10)  predictable...but fun (72%)
Karate Kd, The (6-24-10) Fun movie, yucky bullies... (87%)
King's Speech, The 1-5-11 Amazing acting, my favorite movie of 2011 (6)
Knight and Day (6-30-10)  Funny and action-packed (85%)
Labor Day (3-16-14) Tension-filled and slow in places, but very likable (4)
Larry Crowne (7-11-11) Light and entertaining (3)
Last Chance Harvey (1/22/09) Super (60%)
Last Station, The (2-22-10) A fascinating story. Three "amazing" actors in a row - let's add James McAvoy! (88%)
Last Vegas (12/21/2013) hilarious! (4)
Late Quartet, A (1-6-13) As it developed I liked it more and more (4)
Leap Year (1-19-10) Adorable but SO predictable (63%)
Letters to Juliet (5-15-10) A sweet, feel-good, predictable love story (76%)
Lincoln Lawyer (4-21-11) Michael Connelly and Matthew McConaughey- a winning combo (3)
Love and Other Drugs (12-4-10) Nothing like what I expected.  Jake! (85%)
Love is All You Need (7-9-13) sweet film -enjoyed the Italian setting, Danish language, and Reel Pizza (3)
Madagascar 3 (6-23-12) with Brendan & Ashley (and again (7/5/12 with Ella) Not quite my cup-a-tea (2)
Magic Mike (8-24-12) Very entertaining, liked it (3)
Mamma Mia! (8/14/08) Fun and funny (70%)
Master, The  Yuck-but terrific acting.....(1)
Midnight In Paris (6-18-11) Absolutely charming....and fun!(6)
Milk (12/13/08) Super (6)
Mighty Macs Liked it a lot (4)
Mirror, Mirror (7-19-12) Lots of fun (3)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (8-22-11) A Surprising Delight (4)
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (5/31/09) Wonderful (91%)
Monsieur Lazhar () Really Loved it (5.5)
Monsters University (6-13) Not bad for an animated movie... (4)
Monsters vs. Aliens (4/22/09) A fun movie (75%)
Monuments Men, The (2-15-14) True story, fun-to-watch actors (3)
Moonrise Kingdom (7-8-12) Liked it a lot (4)
Mortal Instruments, The: City of Bones (11/6/2013) mesmerizing actors (3)
Mother and Child (8-14-10)  A beautifully woven  beautiful story (89%)
Mud (5-29-13) Good movie, though a bit slow and long (3.5)
Muppets, The (12-13-11) Didn't like it (1)
My Life in Ruins (6/10/09) A-l waste of time (25%)
My One and Only (9-24-09)  A surprise hit for me. (72%)
Names of Love, The
Nebraska (1-10-14) Second half of the movie was AWESOME (5.5)
New in Town (5/09) Predictable, cute, and charming (75%)
New Moon (12-2-09) Entertaining...though quite long.... (60%)
New York, I Love You (1-26-10) Artsy and different (82%)
Non-Stop (3-21-14) A good mystery (4)
Nora's Will Liked it a lot (4)
No Strings Attached (3-26-11) Delightful! (5)
Nothing Like the Holidays (12/16/08) I liked it a lot (80%)
Olympus Has Fallen
Omar (3/5/14) Whew! Quite a story.... (5)
One for the Money (2-6-12)
Other Guys, The (8-13-10) Very funny - it's meant to be stupid so you don't mind that it is. (71%)
Oz the Great and Powerful (3-12-13) It grew on me, liked it quite a bit (4)
Patience Stone, The (10/1/13) extraordinary story! (4.5)
Paul (3-20-11) A Riot! (3)
People Like Us (8-13-12) Liked it a great deal (4.5)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (4-27-20) Enjoyed the book AND the movie (77%)
Philomena (12/10/2013) bittersweet story, wonderful actors (4.5)
Pitch Perfect Loved it (5)
Precious (1-5-10)  Powerful. Great Acting. Tough to watch. (94%)
Pride and Glory (10/28/08) A good murder mystery on film (90%)
Proposal, The (7-6-09) Charming and really, really funny (90%)
Public Enemies - (8-6-09) Really good movie (88%)
Pulling Strings (10/13) This was a blast (4)
Queen to Play (Joueuse) (7-16-11) Lovely setting, a little too much chess (3)
Rachel Getting Married (12/2/08)  Unsettling (Story 25%/Acting 85%)
Reds 2 (8/23/13) Left in the middle - BLECH!
Reluctant Fundamentalist, The (5-26-13) - It bowled me over (6)
Robot & Frank (9-20-12) Okay, great cast, flat ending. (2.5)
Ruby Sparks (9-17-12) A charming movie that sparkles.  Loved it. (5)
Run and Jump (2-10-14)  Great storytelling and beautiful Irish scenery(5)
Sabah, A Love Story (1-2-10) My kind of movie (88%)
Safe House () It was decent (2.5)
Safety Not Guaranteed (9-1-12) Loved it a lot (5.5)
Searching for Sugarman (4) It was really good, I liked it a lot
Secret in Their Eyes (9-23-10)  Great movie - an Argentinian murder mystery (97%)
Secret Life of Bees (11/18/08) Wonderful (5)
Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1-15-2014) Loved it - hilarious and clever! (5)
Secret Life of Words (12-18-09) Indie, off-beat, and interesting (83%)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World- Yuck (1)
Separation, A (4-30-12) It was awesome (6)
Serious Man, A (10-29-09) Adored this Coen Brothers black comedy (93%)
She's Out of My League (5-5-10) - Haha funny and quite sweet (84%)
Silver Linings Playbook (1-7-13) Fantastic movie- WOW! (6)
Single Man, A (2-21-10) This time is was Colin Furth that was amazing! (90%)
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 8/10/08  Just plain fun
Skyfall: Dragged on and on (2)
Slumdog Millionaire (2/4/09) Outstanding (75%)
Social Network, The (2-14-11) Intriguing! (6)
Source Code (6-8-11) Super! (5)
Spectacular Now, The (9-6-13) a particularly good movie (5)
State of Play (5/12/09) Very Good with suspense and a twist (75%)
Sunshine Cleaning (4/27/09) I just loved this one (6)
Super 8 (8-26-11) It was okay, a modern day Goonies (2)
Terri Liked it (3)
Thanks for Sharing (9-20-2013) a splendid movie with fantastic acting (5.5)
This is the End (9/24/2013) silly, nutty, funny....(2)
This Means War (2-18-12) It was okay (2)
Thor:  The Dark World (11/11/13)  good one with lots of chuckles (4.5)
Thor Just Plain Fun (2)
Three Musketeers, The  (10-30-11) Didn't like it (1)
Time Traveler's Wife, The (8-19-09) Better than expected...a tear jerker, though. (89%)
Tiny Furniture (2-4-11) pathetic protagonist, did NOTHING for me. (1)
Tower Heist (12-5-11) Liked it (3)
Town, The, (10-7-10) Great setting (Boston) and great accents! (87%)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (7-21-11)  Brendan really enjoyed it.  I didn't (1)
Transsiberian (10/16/08) Hey, this was good (80%)
To Rome With Love (8/10/12) Liked most of it a lot (3.5)
True Grit (2-5-11) So good! (5)
Twilight (11/27/08) Pretty much what I expected (60%)
Twilight Saga  (11-20-12) Worth the wait (4.5)
Two Lovers (5/5/09) Like it a lot (80%)
Ugly Truth, The - (7-30-09) Cute but silly (55%)
Unknown, The (2-21-11) A wonderful mind-tickler(4)
Up in the Air (12-25-09) Completely enjoyable. (90%)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (8/27/08) Still mulling it over (2.5)
Way, Way Back, The (8-5-13) fabulous movie (6)
We're the Millers (10/26/13) a freaking funny movie! (4+)
What Just Happened (11/21/08) Mostly boring, much emotional sadness, some funny parts (1)
Whip It (10-31-09) Thoroughly enjoyable entertainment (93%)
Winter's Bone (9-11-10) Bleak, sad, depressing, but wonderfully put together (86% )
Winter's Tale (2-16-14) Stupid film.  Enough said. (1)
Win Win (4-17-11) A super movie! (4)
World War Z (7-13) will watch for the sequel (3)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (10-31-10) I liked it a lot, despite not-so-great reviews (86%)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (10/31/08) Fun, Funny, Sweet -- and Tasteless & Raunchy (67%)
Zero Dark Thirty (1-28-13) A bit of hugely important contemporary history (4.5)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

19. Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens

2014 Harper Teen
321 pgs.
Written for YA
Finished 3/29/2014
Goodreads Rating: 4.10
My Rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Tennessee
1st sentence/s: "Black funeral dress.  Black heels.  Black headband in my hair.  Death has a style all its own.  I'm glad I don't have to wear it very often."

My comments:  Read this all in one night.  I loved Bodee - but who wouldn't?  I loved Alexi's mom, but again, who wouldn't? I couldn't stand Alexi's sister - but you weren't supposed to. I liked the whodunnit aspect. A little-too-pat ending, but I wanted that.  So why not a five?  I needed more reason that Alexi couldn't say NO!  More than once! This is just not believable to me - her reasons (or non-reasons) just don't cut it.....

Goodreads Review:  Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

MOVIE - Divergent

PG-13 (2:20)
Wide Release 3/21/2014
Viewed Saturday afternoon 3/29/2014 at El Con
RT Critic: 40 Audience: 79
Cag: 3 Equaled expectations and was fun to watch
Directed by Neil Burger
Lionsgate Films/Summit

Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, TonyGoldwyn, Miles Teller

My comments:  Well, I was particularly impressed with the casting of the movie - the two leads did a great job (Shailene Woodley, playing Tris, knocked it out of the park and Theo James is so intense - and gorgeous).  The addition of Miles Teller as Peter was particularly well-cast, as was Tris' father (hello, Mr. President!)  The only ones that didn't do it for me were Christina and Will, those didn't work for me at all.  The storyline followed the book pretty well, but it doesn't really bother me when things are left out....they can't include all the idiosyncrasies and nuances that you get from a book.  It was very entertaining and fun to watch, I was completely absorbed.

Rotten Tomatoes Review:  DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it's too late. Based on thebest-selling book series by Veronica Roth.

18. Chasing Darkness - Robert Crais

#12 Elvis Cole/Joe Pike
audio read by James Daniels
8 unabridged discs, 7 hours
2008, Brilliance Audio
288 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 3/27/14
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
My Rating: 4.5 (Loved it)
PBS - now it's my turn to send it off into the great unknown -
Setting:  LA (or course!)

My comments:   I really enjoy Robert Crais' writing.  A lot.  He writes believable mysteries that keep me guessing. I love Elvis Cole. He's fun and funny.  I want to learn more about Joe Pike, but I like that he's kept a bit mysterious.   You can read this series in any order - I have and it works just fine. Bring 'em on!

Goodreads Review  It's fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. When police and fire department personnel rush door to door in a frenzied evacuation effort, they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide. But the gunshot victim is less gruesome than what they find in his lap: a photo album of seven brutally murdered young women -- one per year, for seven years. And when the suicide victim is identified as a former suspect in one of the murders, the news turns Elvis Cole's world upside down.
          Three years earlier Lionel Byrd was brought to trial for the murder of a female prostitute named Yvonne Bennett. A taped confession coerced by the police inspired a prominent defense attorney to take Byrd's case, and Elvis Cole was hired to investigate. It was Cole's eleventh-hour discovery of an exculpatory videotape that allowed Lionel Byrd to walk free. Elvis was hailed as a hero.
          But the discovery of the death album in Byrd's lap now brands Elvis as an unwitting accomplice to murder. Captured in photographs that could only have been taken by the murderer, Yvonne Bennett was the fifth of the seven victims -- two more young women were murdered after Lionel Byrd walked free. So Elvis can't help but wonder -- did he, Elvis Cole, cost two more young women their lives?
Shut out of the investigation by a special LAPD task force determined to close the case, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike desperately fight to uncover the truth about Lionel Byrd and his nightmare album of death -- a truth hidden by lies, politics, and corruption in a world where nothing is what it seems to be.:

MOVIE - The Grand Budapest Hotel

R (1:40)
Limited Release 3/7/14
Viewed 3/26/14 at ElCon with Sheila and Connie
RT Critic: 92 Audience: 90
Cag:4 - A freakin' riot - liked it a lot.
Wes Anderson
Fox Searchlight

Ralph Fiennes + a whole lot of famous actors doing smallish parts (including Bill Murray)

My comments: I've got to admit I wasn't really looking forward to this movie and probably wouldn't have gone to see it if Sheila and Connie hadn't picked it.  But what a pleasant surprise - it was 100 minutes of pure pleasure.  I'm so glad I saw it.  (Someone said that this was Ralph Fiennes first comedic part.  And the young man who played Zero was just great!))

Rotten Tomatoes Review: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop ofa suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

MOVIE - Non-Stop

PG-13 (1:50)
Wide Release 2/28/2014
Viewed 3/21/14 at ElCon with Fran
RT Critic: 59 Audience: 71
Cag: 4 A really good movie!
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Universal Pictures

Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore

My comments:  I didn't realize how much I was going to like this movie - the mystery kept you guessing back and forth, one way then another; the tension was perfect, and Liam Neeson was his usual enjoyable-to-watch self.  Nto a bad afternoon at all!

Reviews  Global action star Liam Neeson stars in NON-STOP, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.

Classic & Great Movies

It's time to watch some classic movies!  The Arizona Inn has a huge library of classic movies that feature people that have stayed at the Inn.  It was fun poking through their annotated list of titles and choosing one to watch.  I have not seen many of the old classics.  I guess it's time!  

I've gathered this list of movies from here and there.  Let me know those I've missed!

Classic Movies Watched in 2014
North by Northwest (1959) Alfred Hitchcock - Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint

Alphabetical Order:
39 Steps, The (1935)
400 Blows, The (1959)
2001 (A Space Odyssey) (1968)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Adam's Rib (1949)
Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938)
African Queen, The (1951)
All About Eve (1950)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
All the King's Men (1949)
Amadeus (1984)
American Grafitti (1973)
An Affair to Remember (1957)
An American in Paris (1951)
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Annie Hall (1977)
Apartment, The (1960)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Asphalt Jungle, The (1950)
Bad and the Beautiful, The (1952)
Bells of St.Mary's, The (1945)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946)
Big Heat, The (1953)
Big Sleep, The (1946)
Birds, The (1963)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blow-Up (1966)
Body Heat (1981)
Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Bride of Frankenstein, The (1935)
Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Casablanca (1942) saw on the big screen at the Fox Theater, downtown Tucson
Chinatown (1974)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951)
Deliverance (1972)
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Dr. No (1962)
Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Dr. Zhivago (1965)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Duel in the Sun (1946)
East of Eden (1955)
Easy Rider (1969)
Elmer Gantry (1960)
ET (1982)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Flashdance (1983)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Frankenstein (1931)
Freaks (1932)
French Connection, The (1971)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
From Russia With Love (1963)
Godfather,, The (1972)
Goldfinger (1964)
Gold Rush, The (1935)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The (1966)
Goonies, The
Graduate, The (1967)
Grapes of Wrath, The (1940)
Greed (1924)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
Heiress, The (1949)
High Noon (1952)
His Girl Friday (1940)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Hustler, The (1951)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It Happened One Night (1934)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
Key Largo (1948)
King and I, The (1956)
King Kong (1933)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Lady Eve, The (1941)
Last Picture Show, The (1971)
Laura (1944)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Lost Weekend, The (1945)
M (1931)
Maltese Falcon (1941)
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
Manhattan (1979)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Metropolis (1927)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Modern Times (1936)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
Moonstruck (1987)
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
My Man Godfrey (1936)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
Night of the Living Dead (1969)
Notorious (1946)
North by Northwest (1959)
Nosferatu (A Symphony of Horror) (1922)
On Golden Pond (1981)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Out of the Past (1947)
Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943)
Philadelphia Story, The (1940)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946)
Princess Bride, The (1987)
Psycho (1960)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Quiet Man, The (1952)
Rain Man (1988)
Rashomon (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebecca (1940)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Red River (1948)
Red Shoes, The (1948)
Repulsion (1965)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Robe, The (1953)
Rocky (1976)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Say Anything (1989)
Searchers, The (1956)
Seven Samarai (1954)
Seven-Year Itch, The (1955)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Shane (1953)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
Silver Chalice, The (1954
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Some Like it Hot (1959)
Sound of Music, The (1965)
Spartacus (1960)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Stagecoach (1939)
Star Wars (1977)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Summer of "42 (1971)
Sunrise (1927)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Ten Commandments, The (1956)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Thin Man, The (1934)
Third Man, The (1949)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
To Sir With Love
Tootsie (1982)
Top Gun (1986
Top Hat (1935)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
True Grit (1969 & 2010)
Twelve Angry Men (1957)
Vertigo (1958)
Way Out West (1937)
West Side Story  (1961)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
White Heat (1949)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff? (1966)
Wild Bunch, The (1969)
Witness (1985)
Wizard of Oz (1939)
Written on the Wind (1956)
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

MOVIE - North by Northwest

Unrated (2:26)
Wide release 9/17/1959
on DVD 8/2000
Viewed at the Arizona Inn with Fran and Terry
RT Critic: 100 Audience: 94
Cag: 3/Liked it
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Turner Studios

Actors:  Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Landau

My comments:  I must be missing something.  People rave about this film - a young acquaintance has seen it a dozen times. Cary Grant was certainly charming. To me it was predictable though fun - production techniques and acting has certainly changed (improved?) over the years.  My question - has it been colorized?  Or was it originally in black and white?  I saw the color version, but the black and white might have given me an "older" feel and thus I might have been able to watch it more as a classic and not thought it was actually funny.....

Rotten Tomatoes Summary:  While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad luck to call for a messenger just as a page goes out for a "George Kaplan." From that moment, Thornhill finds that he has stepped into a nightmare -- he is quietly abducted by a pair of armed men out of the hotel's famous Oak Room and transported to a Long Island estate; there, he is interrogated by a mysterious man (James Mason) who, believing that Roger is George Kaplan, demands to know what he knows about his business and how he has come to acquire this knowledge. Roger, who knows nothing about who any of these people are, can do nothing but deny that he is Kaplan or that he knows what they're talking about. Finally, his captors force a bottle of bourbon into Roger and put him behind the wheel of a car on a dangerous downhill stretch. Through sheer luck and the intervention of a police patrol car and its driver (John Beradino), Roger survives the ride and evades his captors, and is booked for drunk driving. He's unable to persuade the court, the county detectives, or even his own mother (Jesse Royce Landis) of the truth of his story, however -- Thornhill returns with them to the mansion where he was held, only to find any incriminating evidence cleaned up and to learn that the owner of the house is a diplomat, Lester Townsend (Philip Ober), assigned to the United Nations. He backtracks to the hotel to find the room of the real George Kaplan, only to discover that no one at the hotel has ever actually seen the man. With his kidnappers once again pursuing him, Thornhill decides to confront Townsend at the United Nations, only to discover that he knows nothing of the events on Long Island, or his house being occupied -- but before he can learn more, Townsend gets a knife in his back in full view of 50 witnesses who believe that Roger did it. Now on the run from a murder charge, complete with a photograph of him holding the weapon plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the country, Thornhill tries to escape via train -- there he meets the cooly beautiful Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who twice hides him from the police, once spontaneously and a second time in a more calculated rendezvous in her compartment that gets the two of them together romantically, at least for the night. By the next day, he's off following a clue to a remote rural highway, where he is attacked by an armed crop-dusting plane, one of the most famous scenes in Hitchcock's entire film output. Thornhill barely survives, but he does manage to learn that his mysterious tormentor/interrogator is named Phillip Vandamm, and that he goes under the cover of being an art dealer and importer/exporter, and that Eve is in bed with him in every sense of the phrase -- or is she? 

Author Robert Crais

Robert Crais

born June 20, 1953
raised in Louisiana 
adopted - only child
I'm guessing he now lives somewhere in the L.A. area

Robert Crais has written (or helped write) scripts for many tv cop series and has penned many unproduced (and a few produced) tv pilots.  

He writes with tongue-in-cheek humor and puts a huge value on friendship.  His mysteries have everything I look for - I need to be kept guessing.  And his photos make him look gorgeous.  A nice plus!

Robert Crais has quoted that he doesn't think his books need to be read in order.  I agree.  I've skipped around with them and have had no trouble at all.  I WILL read them all, though.  I adore Elvis Cole and am super fascinated by Joe Pike.

He says he will not sell the movie rights to Elvis Cole.

Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series:

1 - The Moneky's Raincoat (1987) The title comes from a Basho haiku included in the front of the book
2 - Stalking the Angel (1989)
3 - Lullaby Town (1992)
4 - Free Fall (1993)
5 - Voodoo River (1995)
6 - Sunset Express (1996)
7 - Indigo Slam (1997)
8 - L. A. Requiem (1999)
9 - The Last Detective (2003)
10 - The Forgotten Man (2005)
11 - The Watchman (2007)
12 - Chasing Darkness (2008)
13 - The First Rule (2010)
14 - The Sentry (2011)
15 - Taken (2012)

Non-Series novels:
Demolition Angel (2000)
Hostage (2001) (Made into a 2005 film starring Bruce Willis)
The Two Minute Rule (2006)
Suspect (2013)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

MOVIE - Gloria

R (1:49)
Limited Release 1/24/14
Viewed 3/19/14 at the Loft with Fran
RT Critic: Audience: (can't bring this up on Rotten Tomatoes!)
Cag: 4-Liked it a lot
Directed by Sebastian Lelio
from CHILE - in Spanish with subtitles

Fandanago Review:  Gloria is a "woman of a certain age" but still feels young. Though lonely, she makes the best of her situation and fills her nights seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults. Her fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her vacillating between hope and despair -- until she uncovers a new strength and realizes that, in her golden years, she can shine brighter than ever. GLORIA is Chile’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards®, and stars Paulina GarcĂ­a in a tour de force performance that captured the Silver Bear Best Actress Award at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

My comments:  One of those movies that makes you think during ... and long after ... the movie is over.  What is loneliness?  Your kids are grown, your husband/partner is gone (I guess it doesn't matter if it's through divorce or death), but you're still very much alive.  What happens next?  THAT''S what this movie is about!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Through the Evil Days - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Rev. Clare Ferguson & Russ VanAlstyne Mystery #8
audio read by Suzanne Toren
2013 Macmillan Audio
368 pgs.- I only got through a little more than 50
Adult mystery, quit reading on 3/19/2014
Goodreads Rating: 4.09
My Rating: 1/Didn't Like it
Setting: Contemporary upstate New York

My comments:  I guess I should have read these in order, but the first books in the series were totally unavailable (or extinct) in audio, so I jumped into #8.  I made it through almost the first two cds.  Too many bigoted church people. Too much talk about church and church-related "stuff."  And one of the most unlikable protagonists I've encountered in a while (Russ). Totally negative, pissed about his new wife's pregnancy, temper easily triggered.  I spent a 35-minute ride without even turning it on - that's when I decided I didn't like it and didn't want to listen to another word. (In 50 pages, the mystery was barely even touched upon!)

Goodreads Review:  On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs...Currently he's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban's Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare's "unpriestly" pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties. Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away.
     As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they've never encountered. In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents readers have come to love and cherish change forever. Readers have waited years for Through The Evil Days and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success.