What’s On Your Mind?

I’ll tell you what’s on mine, the WEEKEND! I only worked three days this week but man, it sure feels like twelve.

I am still trying to come up with my “one word” for this year. Last year I chose Simplicity and for the most part, I did manage to pull some of it off. I can continue with that but my mind just isn’t focused enough to come up with a decent word for this year. Don’t say ‘focus’. Hahaha. I’d be a big failure if I went with that word.

After my forced reading break I have read four books so far this year. Once I was able to, I really dove in. Feels good to finally be reading again. I need that time to balance me out and trust me, if you asked my kids or Hub, they’d agree that I was a bit off for over a month. I am going to try to do whatever errands I need to do tomorrow so I can relax come Sunday.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Tonight? I am really craving a lettuce-wrapped burger and fries and then hopefully I will get to watch The Hundred-Foot Journey. Sometimes, I cannot convince my family to see these types of  movies but when I am successful, they usually agree that they are very good. The Girl is a challenge, she always wants a Rom-Com and The Teen will either want slapstick comedy or an action flick. I have a hard crowd to please.

So, what’s on your mind? Any plans for the weekend? I have the new Stewart O’Nan book (West of Sunset) and I am dying to read it this weekend.

Review: Big Driver (Audio)

Big Driver (audio)Big Driver (audio)
Written by Stephen King
Read by Jessica Hecht
(Simon & Schuster Audio | ISBN 9781442383746 | October 2014 )

The Short of It:

The kind of story you drop everything for. The kids can go hungry, but you’ve got to finish your read. You know the type I am talking about.

The Rest of It:

This little novella was actually part of a collection, originally published in Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King in 2010.  But in case you haven’t noticed, King is on the popularity train right now. Many of his books and short stories have been adapted for film or TV or are in the works to be adapted soon and he has another new novel coming out this November, Revival.  I have some fun scheduled for that one.

Tess Thorne, a thirty-something mystery writer who lives at home with her cat, runs into a little bit of car trouble on her way home from a book signing. What she encounters is horrifying and every woman’s worst nightmare.

The story is riveting and at times, brutal. I listened to it on my way home from work, and every time I pulled into my driveway I walked into the house with my ear buds firmly attached because it was so hard to stop listening! King’s story is not that unique but there are things about it that creep you out. One, the main character creates voices for those around her, her cat, the librarian and the person she is most afraid of.

These imaginary conversations are very disturbing. More so, because Jessica Hecht’s interpretation is downright chilling. I can’t say that I enjoyed her speaking voice all of the time. Sometimes, the main character, who is supposed to be a thirty-something, sounds like an 80 year-old woman and that’s not just because of what the character goes through. Because of that, at times, I didn’t feel that her reading was true to the character.

King includes all the classic “King” stuff that keeps you coming back for more. The weird little sayings, “It likes you, and you like it.” Said, over and over until you feel like you are on the brink of losing it. The strange mannerisms and yes, the zinger cuss words here and there, coming out of the main character’s mouth. Lends the story a crassness that keeps you on the edge of your seat because you don’t know what the main character is capable of. Is Tess losing it? Holding it together? Giving up? Your heart will beat out of your chest until you know for sure.

This also counts as a R.I.P read.

Peril the Second

As I mentioned above, so many King projects being translated for TV or the big screen. This is no exception. Big Driver is airing tonight, October 18th on Lifetime. Here is a little preview and if you miss tonight’s showing, you can catch it on Sunday, 10/19.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: All About The Monsters

Godzilla Movie Poster
Some movies, you just have to see in a theater and Godzilla is one of those movies. Because of my extreme irritation with most movie goers (texting, talking and overall rudeness) we like to go to a theater where you pay a little more but can reserve your seats ahead of time.  I cannot do 3D and the only showing that worked for us ended up being in a really tiny theater, only eight rows but every single person in there was there for one thing, the movie! So, it was an awesome experience. Big screen, small audience and all of us riveted. That’s how it should be.

The movie was everything I expected it to be and yes, I expected some cheesy bits and some humor and some ridiculous moments but the monsters looked really good and the fighting was good too. I would have liked to have seen more of Godzilla and the acting was sort of lacking all the way around but if you are a fan of monster movies, you will enjoy this one.

A word of caution. My daughter is ten and had no problem with Godzilla at all but the preview that they showed before the movie was a very scary horror movie. I forget the name of it but that trailer kept her up half the night! She could not go to sleep and had a really had time with it.  So, beware of the trailer.

Sunday Salon

Now, for my Sunday. We hardly ever go anywhere during Memorial Day weekend. We are usually too wiped out to do much and that is absolutely the case this weekend.  We are heading to church within the hour and then afterward, I have to hit the market because we are out of everything and you can’t grill your dinner if you don’t have anything to grill.  I keep waiting for one of those contraptions from The Jetsons when you just punch in what you want and it magically appears but I guess the technology isn’t there yet.  I SO wish it was.

This week, The Girl auditions for Grease, The Teen will hopefully finish his summer school enrollment and then I can have some inkling at what we are looking at for summer.

What am I reading?

I am about halfway through with The Vacationers. It’s very readable but it’s not wowing me in any way.  I am about to start The Fever and then I really have to read my book club book for next month, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall which I started but then put down.

I am also reading Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret with my daughter. We take turns reading it out loud. It’s very mild compared to what I remember. We are almost done though and she can’t wait for us to start another book.

I am listening to a HORRIBLE audio book right now. I am giving it some time because it has to get better. It’s Rick Springfield’s Magnificent Vibration. I am not feeling it at all. However, I love him to pieces so I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and will stick with it a bit longer.

What am I cooking?

I think we will grill burgers tonight and then tomorrow, steaks and those scallops I talked about the other day.

What am I watching?

I was watching some Adam 12 the other day and I recorded Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble concert on PBS which I want to watch at some point. Other than that, whatever everyone is in the mood for. No agenda this weekend.

Well, gotta get ready for church but I hope you all have a nice, relaxing weekend.

Movie Watching: Aliens


Has anyone NOT seen this movie? It came out in 1986, several years after the first movie, Alien and it was one of those kick-ass movies that you could not get enough of. I’ve seen it many, many times but recently The Girl asked to see it. I did a “no-no” and had her see this one first. Mainly because it also stars a young girl and I thought she’d be able to relate to it better and perhaps, not be so scared while watching. I was right, The Girl literally cackled over Newt’s high-pitched screaming and in my opinion, this one has a lot more action than the first one.

Why am I even talking about this?

Well, I have been recording movies to watch this fall. Movies that count towards the RIP VIII challenge that I signed up for. And although this is not a horror movie per se, it’s definitely a thriller and full of suspense. There is a lot of action and chase scenes involving, small, tight spaces which really add to the tension. Plus, the acting is not bad. Bill Paxton is hysterical in his role as Pvt. Hudson. It’s a fast-paced roller-coaster of a ride and it’s always been a fave of mine.

RIP 8 Main
And maybe it was just me, but when I first saw this movie, I felt sure that we’d see Newt in another installment. Without giving anything away, there were opportunities for her to be, ahem, tampered with. That could have been the plan but it never panned out. Alien 3 was horrible, in my opinion. They should have just left it on a high note.

Have you seen it?

Review: Life Itself

Life Itself

Life Itself 
By Roger Ebert
(Grand Central Publishing, Paperback, 9780446584968, September 2012, 448pp.)

The Short of It:

Written with humor and heart.

The Rest of It:

Everyone is familiar with Roger Ebert, right? His characteristic “thumbs-up” rating for movies he enjoyed, his battle with cancer that destroyed his face and took his voice forever, his antagonistic but often funny interactions with Gene Siskel? I grew up watching him. I spent hours in theaters watching the movies he recommended and he was probably one of the main reasons I entered college as a film major. But what I didn’t know and really didn’t begin to know, was the man behind the famous rating system. I didn’t really get to know him until his battle with cancer and I didn’t read this book until he passed away this past April. What a life.

Life Itself is a treat for anyone who enjoys small town life and nostalgia in general. Ebert’s small town of Urbana, Illinois provided a safe, comforting backdrop for his childhood. His trips to the local movie theater are written about with the care and gentle handling of a man in love with his childhood. He was always a wonderful writer, but the sense of place he conveys in this memoir will bring tears to your eyes for what once was. I loved these glimpses into Ebert’s life. His funny perspective, his awkwardness and his ability to break it all down into pleasant digestible bits.

There are some things I learned that I was not aware of before reading his book. I had no idea that he was a recovering alcoholic. The section on him joining Alcoholics Anonymous was told with such honestly, that I wanted to just reach through the pages and offer him a gentle, guiding hand. I also didn’t know that Gene Siskel, the critic that was forever (in my mind) arguing with Ebert over the movies they reviewed, was actually a very close friend and that their success on TV came quite accidentally. Additionally, I had no idea that Ebert was such a reader! Lots of book love in this one.

What I did expect and did not get was more insight into his battle with cancer. This part of his life is told in a very matter-of-fact way and details are kept to a minimum. He doesn’t dwell on what he lost. In fact, I’m not sure I expected him to be as optimistic as he was in the book, but in the end, I am glad that the cancer did not rule his life even though on the outside looking in, it certainly seemed that way.

I don’t read many memoirs but this book was a real treat. There’s quite a bit of humor and the stories from his youth are told with a lot of heart. I found myself yearning for simpler times and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the man is missed. I never look at movies quite the same way. His sense of wonder, his ability to appreciate the small, creative nuances that directors injected into their films and his knack for saying exactly what he means is what made him a favorite in my eye.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: Stuff and oh… The Oscars

Sunday Salon

It’s Sunday. I adore Sundays because they are usually slower paced and more relaxed and this Sunday is no exception. First off, it’s absolutely gorgeous outside!

My Yard

This is my back yard, looking out. The Otter Pup was in my hands so excuse the patio bit you see in the upper right corner. You also can’t tell from this picture how chilly it is or how windy. Those trees on the left were swaying but I guess I got them mid-sway. When I read outside, this is my view. Sigh. The Otter Pup wants to run around unsupervised but hawks have been seen flying off with rabbits when they are out so no…the Otter Pup has to stay with me. I think she is okay with this.

Right now I am inside, drinking coffee thinking about the day. Later, I plan to don yoga pants and sit in front of the tube with a big carton of Chinese food to watch the Oscars. It’s ALL I want to do today and I have been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks. Except, the Chinese place burned down! Yes! How can that happen? Didn’t they realize these plans were made weeks ago? We’ll be trying a different place tonight. Cross your fingers it’s good.

I will be reading too. I just gave up on Ashenden. I got through 25% of it on my Kindle and decided it’s just not working for me. Now I am reading a collection of stories titled This Cake is For the Party by Sarah Selecky. I am only on the first story but so it’s great and just what I need and want.

Did I mention that there will be cake baking later? I am going to bake a gluten-free cake to go along with the meal. I’ve used this Betty Crocker mix before and it’s really good, but bakes up a rather small cake, which is okay by me. I haven’t had cake since September. Yep, I am counting.

What are you doing today? Will you watch the Oscars? What about books? Are you reading any books that I need to know about? I think most everyone who follows Stephen King knew about Doctor Sleep coming out this September, but I don’t think a lot of people knew about this one, which comes out in June! With a title like Joyland and this tagline, “Who dares to enter the funhouse of fear?” it’s going to be a winner. On sale, June 4th! Summer read-along?

Movie Chat: Flight


I watch a lot of movies but I don’t watch current movies too often. To me, Flight is a current movie (if that tells you anything). I got it from Netflix and watched it last week. I’ve wanted to see it since it first came out. I love Denzel Washington. He is such a powerful actor and his Oscar nod this year certainly says something.

The opening of the movie is very gritty and dark but the crash scene was well done. Not quite as vivid as the crash scene in say Bohjalian’s The Night Strangers, but dramatic. Very dramatic.

Halfway through the movie, I realized just how dark it was. Yes, I knew that Denzel’s character had a drinking problem but I wasn’t aware that drugs played a role as well. I think I moved the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer at that point or I would have known this fact earlier. I don’t know about you but once drugs enter the picture, everything becomes desperate and I immediately hated Denzel’s character. The whole plot of the movie revolves around the fact that although Whip (Denzel) saved a lot of lives that day by landing a doomed plane, he did it while totally under the influence of drugs and alcohol. As you can imagine, the situation is not ideal.

Towards the end of the movie, Whip makes a terrible decision and his union friend and lawyer are forced to go along with it and that made me so mad! I almost turned it off at that point. The tone of the movie reminded me of another depressing movie, Leaving Las Vegas. But, in the end, I ending up liking it quite a bit. Denzel’s performance was impressive. John Goodman, as Whip’s drug dealing friend, has a small part but he plays it like a boss. Whip’s love interest is played by an actress I’ve never seen before (Kelly Reilly) but she was quite good and very beautiful in a non-traditional way. I actually looked her up to see what she’s done but didn’t recognize her previous films.

Kelly Reilly from Flight

Isn’t she striking?

If you managed to stay with me this long then you should know that I recommend the movie but make sure you don’t have your kids around.It’s not a movie for the whole family to see. There is some nudity, lots of profanity and of course, the drug aspect to consider.

Have you seen it?


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