Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thursday, March 29, 2018

28. Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

listened to on Audible
read by Steven Weber
2017 Dutton Books
368 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 3/29/18
Goodreads rating: 4.01 - 22,160 ratings
My rating:5
Setting: Contemporary NJ and PA

First line/s:  "The mark peered into the glass of whiskey in front of him as though he were a gypsy with a crystal ball."

My comments: Another riveting mystery by Harlan Coben.  Twists, turns, and lots of questions put you right their in the midst of the investigation with Nap.  I loved listening to Steven Weber read this, he did one heckuva job.  Highly recommended.

Goodreads synopsis: With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.
          Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn't been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he's been looking for. 
          When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

MOVIE - Sherlock Gnomes

PG (1:26)
Wide release 3/23/18
Viewed with Tristan, after school on Thursday, March 29, 2018
RT Critic: 27   Audience:  36
Critic's Consensus:  Sherlock Gnomes is sadly, utterly stumped by the mystery of the reason for its own existence.
Cag:  1
Directed by John Stevenson
Paramount Pictures

My comments:  Always fun to take T to a movie, just the two of us, and he enjoyed this.  But for me, yuckety yuck yuck.....

RT/ IMDb Summary:  When Gnomeo and Juliet first arrive in the city with their friends and family, their biggest concern is getting their new garden ready for spring. However, they soon discover that someone is kidnapping garden gnomes all over London. When Gnomeo and Juliet return home to find that everyone in their garden is missing there's only one gnome to call SHERLOCK GNOMES. The famous detective and sworn protector of London's garden gnomes arrives with his sidekick Watson to investigate the case. The mystery will lead our gnomes on a rollicking adventure where they will meet all new ornaments and explore an undiscovered side of the city.

Monday, March 26, 2018

17 Years to Commemorate - 48 Years to Celebrate!

March 26, 2018
Celebrating Steve's life on the date of his death
For remembrance, with love, lots of it.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (4/3) 17.00
MDI Sharks/Bar Harbor YMCA (3/18) 30.00

Sunday, March 25, 2018

MOVIE - A Wrinkle in Time

Widel release 3/9/18
Viewed date at 3/25/18 at Carlisle 8
IMBd:  4.2/10
RT Critic: 41   Audience: 33
Critic's Consensus:  A Wrinkle in Time is visually gorgeous, big-hearted, and occasionally quite moving; unfortunately, it's also wildly ambitious to a fault, and often less than the sum of its classic parts.
Cag: 2.5  It was okay.
Directed by Ava DuVernay
Walt Disney Pictures
Based on the book by Madeline L'Engle (which I've read many times, beginning when I was just a kid).

Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling

My comments:  Pretty over-the-top.  Not at all what I had envisioned in my mind after all the times I've read this book.  Meg was nothing like I'd pictured, nor was Calvin.  And Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which?  NOOOOOO!  Okay, so I forget about the book, and think about the movie as a whole, without the book.  How does that change my thinking?  That's when the over-the-top thinking kicks in.  Mindy Kaling's character, costuming, and setting di work okay for me....
          I love fantasy, I love sci fi.  For some reason, this just didn't do it for me.  DARN!  The music was pretty decent, though....

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg's younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself. Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides-Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)-who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

27. The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

listened to on Audible
read by the author, and boy do I love to hear her read her work!
2017 William Morris
342 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 3/24/18
Goodreads rating:  4.02 - 9552 ratings
My rating: 5 !!!
Contemporary small-town Alabama

First line/s:  "Superheroes have always been Leia Burch Briggs's weakness.  One tequila-soaked at a comic-book convention, the usually level-headed graphic novel artist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.  She remembers that he was tall, black, and an excellent French kisser - but not much else."

My comments:  This was a fabulous book.  Beautiful, fluent, often comical writing.  One heckuva story.  I listened to the author reading this herself and it was like a special gift.  I've read a lot of good books recently, but this one will go down as the best I've read in a long time.

Goodreads synopsis: With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality - the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
          Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. 
          It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy - an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
          Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

Friday, March 23, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - Noah Webster's Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer

Illustrated by Mircea Casusanu
2017, Millbrook Press
HC $19.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:
My rating:  5
Endpapers: Solid orange - with a note from N. Webster

1st line/s:  "Noah Webster was a proud American, even as a little boy. 'I began life ... full of confidence in my own opinions,' he once said."

My comments:  What an interesting "character" in American's history!  This book introduces facts that make Noah Webster really come to life...and Tracy Maurer has done it in a clever pretending Mr. Webster is editing her writing with comments that he would probably have made himself.  Excellent idea, and it made the book extra fun to read.  Although there's a lot to look at on each page, it's not overwhelming, and I, who usually love lots of bright colors, love the muted browns with lots of orange and the collaged look of each page. It all works together really nicely.

Goodreads:  Noah Webster - famous for writing the first dictionary of the English language as spoken in the United States - was known in his day for his bold ideas and strong opinions about, well, everything. Spelling. Politics. Laws. You name it, he had something to say about it. He even commented on his own opinions! With a red pencil in hand, Noah often marked up work that he had already published. So when Noah's ghost came across this new picture book biography, he couldn't help but make a few suggestions!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

MOVIE - Peter Rabbit

PG (1:35)
Wide Release 2/9/18
Viewed Thursday, March 22, 2018 with Tristan in a Carlisle recliner, fun!
IMBd: 6.4/10
RT Critic: 60   Audience:   61
Critic's Consensus:  Peter Rabbit updates Beatrix Potter's classic characters with colorfully agreeable results that should entertain younger viewers while admittedly risking the wrath of purists.
Cag:  3/ liked it, and Tristan liked it a lot
Directed by Will Gluck
Columbia Pictures
Based on the book by Beatrix Potter

My comments:  I went to this thinking it was animated (and dreading it).  However, it wasn't animated, the faces on the animals were a RIOT! and the movie itself was entertaining.  Not boring or snooze-worthy at all!

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter's feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). James Corden voices the character of Peter with playful spirit and wild charm, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

26. Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz

Illustrated by Brian Floca
Listened on Audible AND read the BOOK
2017 Candlewick Press
74 pgs.
Mid Grades Fairy Tale
Finished  3/21/18
Goodreads rating:  4.01 - 1029 ratings
My rating:  4

First line/s: When Princess Cora was born, her mother and father thought she was as perfect as a snowflake."

My comments:  I purchased this book through Audible for a ridiculously low price - can't remember how low, but like maybe 99-cents.  Because I've loved everything I've read by Laura Amy Schitz previously, I couldn't pass it up.  Oh, does Davina Porter read this beautifully!  She has the easiest-to-understand British accent and is just a joy to spend time with.  The story is adorable, but I really think that I need to see the illustrations - that's the only problem with an audio book that has illustrations.  So I won't make an actual review of this until I have sat down with the book itself and take in the pictures.  5/5 I have done that now.  They've really fun.

Goodreads synopsis: A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces to give an overscheduled princess a day off and a wicked crocodile a day "on." 
Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She's sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She's sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won't let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn't expect help to come in the form of a crocodile, a crocodile who does not behave properly.

Monday, March 19, 2018

MOVIE - Love, Simon

PG-13 (1:49)
Wide releale 3/16/18
Viewed 3/19/18
IMBd: 7.9/10
RT Critic: 91   Audience:  89
Critic's Consensus:  Love, Simon hits its coming-of-age beats more deftly than many entries in this well-traveled genre -- and represents an overdue, if not entirely successful, milestone of inclusion
Cag:  4/Liked it a lot
Directed by Greg Berlanti
20th Century Fox
Based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My comments:  I've heard people reflect that this is a sweet movie, and it is.  The actor that played Simon did a really good job and portrayed the character well.  His car full of friends seemed a little bit too unreal, however.  As did his picture-perfect loving family.  Just a little too picture perfect, I think.  I did like the way that as he kept sleuthing out his unknown pen pal he envisioned the possibilities typing his return messages.  The assistant principal was a real hoot.  Very enjoyable movie, recommended.  

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it's a little more complicated: he's yet to tell his family or friends he's gay and he doesn't actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli's acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

25. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

read the book - received from @Kaye - Listsy  #Passport
2014, Ecco
262 pgs.
Adult Dystopia/Horror
Finished 3/17/18
Goodreads rating:3.98 - 49,950 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Anywhere, USA contemporary (dystopian) times

First line/s: " Malorie stands in the kitchen, thinking.
     Her hands are damp.  She is trembling.  She taps her toe nervously on the cracked tile floor.  It is early; the sun is probably only peeking above the horizon.  She watches its meaager light turn the heavy window drapes of softer shade of black and thinks,
     That was a fog.
     The children sleep under chicken wire draped in black cloth down the hall.  Maybe they heard her moments ago on her knees in the yard.  Whatever noise she made must have traveled through the microphones, then the amplifiers that sat beside their beds."

My comments: This is not a book I would have ordered, or bought, or borrowed.  Its blurbs, reviews, and summaries sound too scary and disconcerting.  But the book was put in my hands and I opened it and read the first short chapter.  I was immediately hooked.  It's sad. It's depressing.  But it's fascinating.  Apparently it's being made into a movie and I can't imagine how that could be done successfully because so much of it takes place in the total absoluteness of darkness, blindfolded or eyes-shut darkness. Yes, it's going to be a scary movie, and yes, I'm going to go see it!

Goodreads synopsis: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
          Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat--blindfolded--with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
          Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Friday, March 16, 2018

PICTURE BOOK - A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. White by Barbara Herkert

Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
2017 Henry Holt & Co. 
HC $18.99
Goodreads rating:  4.29 - 318 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Endpapers" Bright lime green

1st line/s:  
"When young Elwyn White
lay sick in bed,
a bold house mouse
befriended. him.
Elwyn made a home
for his companion.
If his mother knew,
she would not approve."

My comments:  This is a lovely, gentle picture book, as I picture E. B. White to be lovely and gentle. The three page author's note at the end are the perfect short biography for me.  What a great read-aloud picture book for kids to go along with the reading of Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web , or The Trumpet of the Swan.  I'm SO glad that kids are still reading these books today...published in 1945, 1952, and 1968 respectively! 

Goodreads A lyrical biography of E. B. White, beloved author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, written by Barbara Herkert and illustrated by Caldecott honoree Lauren Castillo.
          When young Elwyn White lay in bed as a sickly child, a bold house mouse befriended him. When the time came for kindergarten, an anxious Elwyn longed for the farm, where animal friends awaited him at the end of each day. Propelled by his fascination with the outside world, he began to jot down his reflections in a journal. Writing filled him with joy, and words became his world.
          Today, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web are beloved classics of children’s literature, and E. B. White is recognized as one of the finest American writers of all time.
          A Christy Ottaviano Book

MOVIE - Tomb Raider

PG-13 (1:58)
Wide release 3/16/2018
Viewed March 16, 2018
RT Critic:  50  Audience:  56
Critic's Consensus:  Tomb Raider reboots the franchise with a more grounded approach and a star who's clearly more than up to the task -- neither of which are well served by an uninspired origin story.
Cag:  3/Liked it - good entertainment
Directed by Roar Uthaug
Warner Brothers Pictures

Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins

My comments:  Totally stupid and unbelievable, but really fun to watch.  She would have been dead at least a dozen times, and at the very least not been able to get up andmove afterwards, never mind fight and run and blah blah blah.  It certainly kept me entertained, though.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can't understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad's last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn't be higher for Lara, who--against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit--must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

MOVIE - Black Panther

PG-13 (2:15)
Wide release 2/16/2018
Viewed March 11, 2018
IMBd: 7.4/10
RT Critic:  97  Audience:  79
Critic's Consensus:  Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Cag: 4.5
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Marvel Studios

My comments: What an amazing set, costumes, sound - the music was just great.  It was a really good movie and a really interesting story, with usual major battle scenes; good versus bad throughout.  Black panther will make a nice addition to the Avenger's crew, it was nice to be able to see from whence he came!

RT/ IMDb Summary:  "Black Panther" follows T'Challa who, after the events of "Captain America: Civil War," returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T'Challa's mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

24. The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

listened on Audible
read in a gorgeous Irish lilt by
2017 Bookouture
(13:55 unabridged) 424 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished March 10, 2018
Goodreads rating: 4.1 - 15,674 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting:  Contemporary small-town Ireland

First line/s:  "Susan Sullivan was on her way to meet the one person she was most scared of."

My comments:This was an interesting, though very drawn out, mystery.  Most of the time I didn't like the protagonist much of the time, which makes me wonder how much that affects someone's rating of a book?  The Irish setting was enhanced greatly by listening to this being read in a gorgeous Irish lilt.  However, although I didn't particularly care for Lottie Parker, I could understand - and even relate - to her.  The mystery was intriguing, with a few Red Herrings thrown in.  I'll definitely read a second in  the series.

Goodreads synopsis: The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror. 
          The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. I wonder which one of us will be next?
          When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how? 
          The trail leads Lottie to St. Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal. 
          As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger? 
          Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice. 
          Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

PICTURE BOOK - Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Illustrated by Jon Klassen
A Caldecott Honor Book
2012 Balzer & Bray
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.08 - 13,707 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers a darkish sage green

1st line/s:  "On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys, Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color."

My comments:  Start with a great story....about yarn! ....and knitting! ... and doing for others! ... add great illustrations ... make the protagonist a YARNBOMBER! ... and you have one happy knitter/reader/picture book enthusiast .... me!    I've read this over and over, but this is the first time I've written about it.  I think I'll take it to my "stitcher's group" next week and read it aloud to them.  Good idea, huh?

Goodreads:  This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn.

But it turns out it isn't.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

MOVIE - Get Out

R (1:44)
Wide/ 2/24/ (though it took FOREVER to get anywhere near here)
Viewed 3/8/2018 
IMBd: 7.7/10
RT Critic:  99 Audience: 87
Critic's Consensus:  
Cag:  5/Loved it
Directed by Jordan Peele
Universal Pictures

Daviel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford

My comments:    Bizarre.  Creepy.  Wonderful, fun and even funny.  I love it when you have no clue what is going on buy you totally know that that's okay and you are able to follow along with no problem at all.  I immediately got inside the protagonist's head and knew that he would figure everything out and be okay in the end, which made the scary bits extra fun and not quite so scary.  Catherine Keener was so incredibly creepy!  And Daniel Kaluuya, the guy who played Chris Washington, was marvelous.

RT/ IMDb Summary:   Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

23. Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

read the book -had to get it through Interlibrary loan
2017 Bloomsbury
169 pgs.
Adult Graphic Novel sort-of
Finished  3/7/18
Goodreads rating:3.79 - 2392 ratings
My rating:  4

First line/s:  "This is not a 'definitive guide book' to Manhattan.  In fact, it's not really a guide book.  There's nothing in here about the Statue of Liberty, for example."

My comments:  This graphic novel was a fun, quick – VERY quick – read. Granted, I didn't learn anything new about Manhattan, but it reminded me over and over again about why I love this wonderful city. The author's observations and comments are clever and funny, and her love for New York really comes through.

Goodreads synopsis: From the #1 NYT bestselling author of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast's new graphic memoir--a hilarious illustrated ode/guide/ thank-you note to Manhattan.
          A native Brooklynite-turned-suburban commuter deemed the quintessential New Yorker, Roz Chast has always been intensely alive to the glorious spectacle that is Manhattan--the daily clash of sidewalk racers and dawdlers; the fascinating range of dress codes; and the priceless, nutty outbursts of souls from all walks of life.
          For Chast, adjusting to life outside the city was surreal--(you can own trees!? you have to drive!?)--but she recognized that the reverse was true for her kids. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange visual world of Manhattan--its blackened sidewalk gum-wads, "those West Side Story-things" (fire escapes)--and its crazily honeycombed systems and grids.
          Told through Chast's singularly zany, laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons, Going Into Town is part New York stories (the "overheard and overseen" of the island borough), part personal and practical guide to walking, talking, renting, and venting--an irresistible, one-of-a-kind love letter to the city.

Monday, March 5, 2018

MOVIE - Red Sparrow

3/2/18 Wide Release
Viewed Monday, 3/5/18 at Carlisle 8
IMBd:  6.7/10
RT Critic:  50    Audience:  56
Critic's Consensus:  Red Sparrow's tense, character-driven story -- elevated by outstanding work from Jennifer Lawrence -- help this topical spy thriller overcome its somewhat uneven narrative.
Cag:  5/I loved it
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Twentieth Century Fox
Based on the novel by Jason Matthews

Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and a short part played by Mary Louise Parker!

My comments: The review numbers weren't that great for this movie, but I found it very entertaining and exciting. I've not been enamored of Jennifer Lawrence lately, but I think she did a terrific, mesmerizing job.  And I think Joel Edgerton is really good. What an intriguing story, Russian bad guys vs. American good guys.....

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Dominika Egorova is many things. A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs. A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit. A master of seductive and manipulative combat. When she suffers a career-ending injury, Dominika and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future. That is why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including an American CIA agent who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.

Postcards from Thailand

1213.  Lesor Hilltribe, Northern Thailand
10 February, 2018
Hello Chris, I send you a very warm greetings from Thailand.  It is winter here now but the weather is quite hot.  Today is +32 degrees C!  The Lesor (or Lisu) people are believed to originate from Tibet.  They can be found all over southeast Asia although it is only Thailand and Burma where traditional dress is very colorful.  Weena

1047.  Phuket Island, Thailand
card sent from AUSTRALIA
Greetings from Australia, my name is Mark & I live with my wife and son in the town of Merredin, in the state of Western Australia.  Merredin is a small town (pop. 2,900) in a wheat and sheep farming area.  We are 260 km. east of Perth, the state capital city ad we are 18,309 km southwest of Carlisle, PA.  25th October 2017

22. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

read on my iPhone
2017 Viking
327 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 3/5/18
Goodreads rating:  4.34 - 95,075 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting:  Contemporary Glasgow, Scotland

First line/s:  "When people ask me what I do -- taxi drivers, hairdressers -- I tell them I work in an office.

My comments:  I've been pretty much consumed by this book for the last 24 hours. It was definitely a slow starter, but so worth getting into. Super sad in spots, laugh out loud funny in others. Engaging characters, I'd love to read more about Glasgow… and visit  Bucket list!

Goodreads synopsis: No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 
          Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
          But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
          Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
          The only way to survive is to open your heart.

Friday, March 2, 2018

21. Outcast by Adrienne Kress

read on my iPhone
2013 Diversion Books
322 pgs.
YA Contemporary Dystopia
Finished 3/2/18
Goodreads rating:  3.61 - 2012 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: Contemporary Louisiana

First line/s:   "They com out of the sky and take you.  Everyone knows that."

My comments:  I like fantasy, but I've never much been into fantasy about angels and all their relations...and I didn't realize how deeply it would go into all of that until the last quarter or so of the book. But I enjoyed the rest of the book, and even shed a tear at the end, which I don't usually do. Another reviewer mentioned they thought the book moved slowly, but it didn't at all for me. I really enjoyed the protagonist/heroine, too. Recommended.

Goodreads synopsis: After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.
          Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is. 
          He thinks it’s 1956.
          Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

MOVIE - Annihilation

R (1:55)
Wide 2/23/18 On video 5/29/18
Viewed March 1, 2018
IMDb: 6.9
RT Critic: 87   Audience:  66
Critic's Consensus:  Annihilationbacks up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll
Cag:  4 -Creepy (good!)s SciFi
Directed by Alex Garland
Paramount Pictures
Based on the book by Jeff VanderMeer

Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez

My comments:  A mesmerizing sci-fi movie that left me with many questions, and I've spent a bit of time mulling them over.  Now that I think I've figured out what the ending meant, I don't feel a unsettled as I did when I walked out of the theater.  I really do enjoy sci-fi, and this one had a bit of horror attached, which was pretty cool actually.  I love it when you have to think and think to put things together and wonder why things happened, and wait for the explanation.  It's when there's no explanation that I have trouble - especially in sci-fi, because it doesn't always have to make sense.  I'm pretty sure that this was based on a book, I'll have to check that out.  

RT/ IMDb Summary:  A biologist's husband disappears. She puts her name forward for an expedition into an environmental disaster zone, but does not find what she's expecting. The expedition team is made up of the biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a linguist.            
 It's been already twelve months since his last covert operation, and the rugged military, Kane, is still missing in action, presumed dead. With his wife--the successful academic biology professor, Lena--still grieving him, an unprecedented phenomenon in the swamplands of Florida will soon have her following in Kane's footsteps, as a member of a strong all-women team. So many theories try to explain the mysterious ever-expanding iridescent membrane which swallows the area; however, none was able to yield facts. What kind of startling biological transmutations lurk behind this bright and colourful kaleidoscope of horrors? In the end, what did Kane see?