Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Me & Orson Welles

Okay, you need to be a die hard Zac Efron fan to sit down and watch this one, because it is slow. It's all about character, character development and Orson Welles.

It also helps to be a Claire Daines fan.

Young love, back stabbing, lies, learning the ways of the world and theater. That is this film.

Although, I can't say anything against the acting. I think perhaps it's the execution of the concept that is the issue.

One view is enough for me. I'm not even sure given what I've just said I'd recommend you watch it. Is it the worst movie I've seen, no. Best, not even close. Waste of 90 minutes of my life, quite possibly.

PG-13. Language and immodesty as I recall. Not to mention some questionable moral decisions.

What ranks on your waste of time movie list?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Change of Plans

Donna K. Weaver's debut novel, A Change of Plans, is no amateur novel. 

It's really really good clean romance writing and I am hungry for her next one! (No pressure Ms. Weaver!)

Can love be found on a cruise when romantic dreams have been crushed? Can love blossom in false reality? What about when pirates intervene and survival becomes your only priority? How strong can love be?

The book grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go until I finished it. It only took a few days. Thankfully two of those included uninterrupted reading time on planes. The story haunted me. I got emotionally tangled up with the heroine, hero and all the characters. I didn't cry, but sometimes I wanted to, and I didn't scream with frustration as I sympathized with the characters in their impossible situations, but I wanted to.

That's part of what makes this writing so good. Emotionally connected to the characters. Love the settings. Constantly putting Lyn and Braedon together and then ripping them apart again. Putting them in impossible situations and then extracting them in a believable way. It's a master class in romantic writing.

Totally jealous. Maybe we can convince her to teach a class at Midwest Storymakers next year. (hint hint)

In short: a worthy romance read. Don't miss it.

What's your best romance read so far this summer?

Here's the blurb and where to get it:

When twenty-five-year-old Lyn sets off on her cruise vacation, all she wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a diversion uncomplicated by romance. What she gets is Braedon, an intriguing young surgeon. He's everything her fiancé wasn't, and against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world, her emotions come alive.
Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship-on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic. But it's hard to get away from someone when you're stuck on the same ship. Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions. Then paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped, and Lyn's fear of a fairy tale turns grim.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Closet Writer or Loud and Proud?

Whichever you are or aspire to be, make your way to the LDStorymakers Midwest Conference in Kansas City this Sept!

Check out the info here: 


I'll be there and I hope to see you there too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Warm Bodies

I'm not a zombie lover. Nothing about that genre seems all that appealing. Dead people killing live people to make more dead people and then what happens when all the living people are dead? Do they eat each other until all the dead are dead? Then the planet is devoid of all living and dead human life. Not sure how you work out a storyline with that.

So, it's ironic, that when the trailers for this movie came out, a small part of me sneaked up and said, "I want to see that."


It looked like a potentially humorous zombie movie. Can such a thing be?

I finally caught a chance to watch it on video with two recent high school grads on vacation. Watching it with them cracked me up, because they 'watched' it while being on their phones the whole time. Can't this generation just put down the phone for two hours and enjoy a film they've already told me they like?

My thoughts:

Humorous, but not quite as funny as I'd hoped.

A clean storyline, but when you steal from Shakespeare you really can't go too wrong. I think it would be hilarious to read the screenplay for this one.

Zombie A: grunts
Zombie B: a shorter grunt
Zombie C: long groan
shuffle, shuffle

It's really amazing how much a zombie can convey to you when they have to keep the same expression all the time. I give full props to the main character, R, for keeping in zombie form (even while running) through out the film, even as he progresses and becomes more 'alive'. Really cool ideas of how a zombie functions.

Worth a view? Yes.

Need to own it? No.

There are a few words your kids shouldn't hear or say. No nudity or sex. I guess it was PG-13 for the language and violence.

What are your thoughts on zombies?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Crusaders From Warwick Castle

The Crusaders from Warwick Castle by C. LaRene Hall is out!

This is a series and looks like a good read for many age groups. Most adults I know these days read YA and even middle grade for fun and also to read what their kids are reading. Congratulations to Ms. Hall for launching another book!

Mary, fourteen, and John, almost sixteen, are excited to go on a Ghost Alive Tour at the Warwick Castle in England, but soon find themselves surrounded by blackness in a small enclosure. After much effort, they head down a long, dark tunnel in search of their tour group.
                After traveling back in time they become fast friends with Richard and Katherine who are the oldest children of the Earl and Countess of the castle. The four children spend days hunting for a secret passageway so Mary and John can find their parents.
                Among their many adventures, Mary and John join the men of Warwick Castle in a crusade to the London Towers to rescue the Earl from prison, but he doesn’t want to leave.
                There’s a little girl that cries every night and disturbs Mary in her sleep. Is she a ghost in trouble or is she trying to help?
Also, Ms. Hall is going one better and giving copies away for free on Kindle on the following dates. The first is this Sunday!

July 21, July 22, Aug 2, Aug 8, Aug 10
So, remember to get your free book and share the love to all your friends.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fire Girl

Fire Girl: Part 1 by Taryn Taylor is out!

This looks like a fun YA read. I think I can identify with the main character at least on the level of perpetually having things go 'wrong'. If you have run out of books to read this summer, grab this one next!

Let me know what you think.

And congratulations to Ms. Taylor!


Everyone has secrets. Maddie wants to take hers and run.

After getting court ordered to live with her grandparents in Sugar Valley, seventeen-year-old, Maddie Haven doesn't expect to tick off the hot student body president, have a faceoff with a horrendously grumpy girl in a wheel chair, and get blamed for a school fire—all on the first day of school. Good thing she plans to leave. And don't even ask why Maddie volunteers to help out after her grandpa has a heart attack. Staying in Sugar Valley is not possible!

After an unexpected friendship leads Maddie on a journey to remember the faith she thought no longer existed, the only thing she knows for sure is the truth never comes easy. And helping someone else just might change her in ways she never thought possible.

When the people that share her secret threaten the people she loves, Maddie is left with a choice: run away or let it all go up in smoke.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Despicable Me 2

Just so we're clear, I didn't like Despicable Me 1 the first time I saw it. In fact I fell asleep before the end. It is extremely rare for me to fall asleep during a movie.

I just didn't get why this movie was funny to my family or anyone else the first time I watched it. I think I finally caught on like the third viewing.

Not so with Despicable Me 2.

This movie is funny!

I can sum it up in 2 words: Lipstick Tazer!

It lives up to being a worthy sequel. Feel free to take your kids, young ones included and as a parent will recognize when your minion is acting yellow or purple. You'll see. Trust me.

Catch it on the big screen for full or half price or wait for the small screen, but catch it.

Watch worthy: Yes.

Own it worthy: Yes.

What did you think? Are you're kids yellow or purple? For mine it depends on the hour!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

Did that catch your attention? 

It sure caught mine when I saw my mother-in-law reading it!

You are all pretty aware by now that I love Jane's work, so when I saw this one by Syrie James (cool name right?) it instantly shot to the top of my 'I must read this' list. (I was a good girl though and finished Oliver Twist first.)

I devoured this book in mere days. It was captivating, well written, loveable characters, set in merry old England. The gushing could go on and on.

In this book there are two stories happening: the modern day one of discovery of the manuscript and the story told in the manuscript itself. Which means Ms. James had to write in two completely different styles and convince us that one was Jane Austen's! Dear me. Any writer can tell you that writing one story style is enough to make us want to tear our hair out and to do two?! And do it well? We sometimes end up in a temporary asylum for the writerly insane. (Yes, I just made that word up.)

Honestly, I couldn't find a weak spot in this book. I give it 5 stars. This is the first book I've read by Ms. James and I became an instant fan.

Now, go grab a copy and enjoy a nice few days in this awesome world of James/Austen and then you can grab The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen that she penned too.

What Austen knock off book have you read an loved?


The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…

Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes--or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire." Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?

Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work--until she mentions its possible million dollar value.

After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present--a story that just might change both of their lives forever.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Man of Steel

My husband saw this first, and when I asked him for his review/reaction I got one word:


He was right.

This film is seriously intense, seriously well acted, seriously crafted, seriously well written, seriously awesome special effects...I think you get where I'm going with this.

I admit, I haven't seen the original Superman series films since I was my kids ages, so I spent some of the film wondering how close it was to those and if it would fly with the Superman aficionados. That last group can tell me how it measures up.  Also, I didn't see the remake that came out in the past 5-10 years. It just didn't look up to par.

This film is up to par in my book.

My two fave things: the crafting of the storyline (giving us all the intense special effects and fight scenes we expect) and interweaving them with snippets of Superman's background to really drive the story forward.

Plus it just has a stellar cast!

If you were on the fence about going to see this one like I was, I say, See It!

For you old school fans, look for the Lex Corp sign on the gas tanker.

And, you don't have to stay until the end of the credits to see if there's a sneak peek or tag scene at the end. I waited. There's nothing.

But I think if it does well in the box office we'll see a sequel and I would welcome it.

What did you think of Man of Steel?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Hope you have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Remember to take a moment to send up a prayer of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy and those who laid down their lives that we might have them.

Enjoy the fireworks!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Independence Day

Right, so every 4th of July I get the hankering to watch this old school film.

What's not love? We've got Will Smith, Harry Connick Jr., Vivaca Fox, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman all trying to reunite with loved ones while trying to save the world from an alien invasion.

Doesn't that just scream America?

Okay, so maybe if I was more of a historical girl, I'd force my family sit down and watch the movie musical 1776, which would be more in keeping with the spirit of the day. But I think they'd take a cue from our forefathers and stage a revolution where I'd go down like the British.

Now I've got to go hunt down a DVD version since my VCR one went the way of the Dodo.

What movie do you like to watch to celebrate the 4th of July?