Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review: As You Wish Inconceivable Tales From The Making Of The Princess Bride By: Cary Elwes

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Princess Bride - the movie with that dashing hero Westley, played by Cary Elwes, who stole my heart that very moment all those years ago. It is in this beautiful memoir that Mr. Elwes has put together the magic of the behind the scenes tales from his perspective mainly but with added bonuses from his director, the writer, his fellow castmates.
I can't imagine anyone else playing Westley and I am sure looking back most people feel the same, but at the time Mr. Elwes didn't have a lot of confidence under his belt and with an very strange but quick meeting with him, Reiner, and Scheinman - the rest as they say, became history. A beautiful tale that had the most wonderful talents gathered together partaking, it was lightening in a bottle, and is still a favorite among favorites.
I love the tone of the book, the little inserts from the others from their point of view, the backstage viewpoint so to speak of such a classic film (it is in most people's viewing libraries). I laughed out loud at some of the stuff and found that I could not wait to view the movie after reading the book, I sat up til 1am looking at all the interesting things pointed out. This is the one to share with your family, your movie buff, your best friend, this is definitely the book meant to be read and shared and appreciated -- just like the film. And Mr. Elwes, anything at all, as you wish.

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Review: An Italian Wife By: Ann Hood

An Italian WifeAn Italian Wife by Ann Hood
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Oh, how I wanted to like this. Coming from a large Sicilian family second generation, I looked forward to such a story as the blurb on the book described - a multi generational tale about Josephine Rimaldi, who married at fourteen in the old country, came to America, had children, and her life - along with their lives, including her children's children. Sounded like the perfect book for someone like me, still ripe with tradition and memories of my great grandparents - unfortunately, it wasn't.
Maybe I had a better family and could not relate as I first wanted to. Instead the pages are filled with a family filled with anger and resentment, with more hate than happiness, more deviance than actual love - the pride of tradition gave away to the shame of their own family, their own matriarch. As I continued the book, I found myself wondering about the author and how could one write such a book, filled with such sadness and brokenness about a family unit. But I digress, this is one I forced myself to finish, I wanted to relate to - yet could not.

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Review: Alex By: Pierre Lemaitre

Alex (Verhœven, #2)Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful thriller - reminds me of the writing of Stieg Larsson.
Enter the world where the layers between a taken, caged girl may not be the victim, where people are being killed through a painful death of acid eating away their jaw and innards, where the lead detective has returned from a stay at the asylum due to the kidnapping and death of his wife. Time is ticking away in Paris and the dots are not connecting fast enough as the bodies are being found and the mystery deepens.
I could not put this book down. It is a translation, but there is nothing that does not flow easily through the story. I was on the edge of my seat a few times and stayed up wanting to reach the wonderful end. I highly recommend for personal enjoyment and book clubs - there is plenty to discuss here.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body By: Darynda Jones

Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, #7)Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charley, Charley, Charley - what to do... let's see - first things first, if you have not read or gotten with the Charley Davidson series -- What Are You Waiting For? Go to the bookstore and catch up - now! And Don't Read Further!

So, Charley's preggos -yay! The underworld is releasing the 12 - umm, boo! The book begins with Charley working some of the usual strange crimes, body dumpings - but then something strange comes along, information about a file that Thee Vatican has an actual file on her, that's right I said Thee. There are also some suicides of people that are strangely linked together and some spirits that are complaining about empty graves. That isn't part of the issues of going to decaf, having an Archangel upset because you are healing people away from death, there is a psycho chasing your man, your dad is missing, you are being attacked by demons, and you have to pee more often.
I love this series - I love Charley's attitude. This is an exciting supernatural adventure thriller that is like Buffy for adults (um, Reyes is hot and some scenes are super hot). Now I tried to get in touch with my inner Charley while writing this and I hope I did her justice. I can't wait for the next book in the series and want it to keep going.

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Review: The Christmas Light By: Donna VanLiere

The Christmas LightThe Christmas Light by Donna VanLiere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know about you - and I don't know how Ms. VanLiere does it - but every time I read one of her books I am struck with something, but there is not one word for it. She has a gift. She creates a town, fills it with amazing characters - those that are filled with heart ache, those that have ice in their veins, those that need to forgive, those that need to heal, those that have the ability to shine, but they are everyday people. She then finds a way to get them to meet, to feel the nudge inside, or to listen to what is being called to do - direct the Nativity play, find a pregnant Mary, a Joseph at the gas station, or be kind to a face that needs it so. And so the book takes life, as do the characters, the lessons held within.
I find that I will laugh and cry, and I will re read every one of Ms. VanLiere's books and this one is no exception. I highly recommend stepping into the town of Grandon, meeting some characters that will jump off the page, root for little Avery to heal after the death of her dad, laugh at the antics of the triplets playing angels (as my grandmother says - it's the horns that hold up the halo), and know that guiding the way is The Christmas Light.

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Review: Mr Miracle By: Debbie Macomber

Mr. Miracle: A Christmas NovelMr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harry Mills has come to earth to work some 'Divine' interventions. This is his first time in human form, but he has studied them, what can go wrong.
Addie Folson has returned home after too many years and too many mistakes adding into too many regrets. She was hoping to spend the holidays with her mother, but just found out the her mother and her widowed friend have made plans to go on a cruise. As fate would have it, Erich Simmons, childhood crush and menace, was injured in a car crash and in order for his mother to go on the cruise and her mother to enjoy enjoy the holiday, Addie has to care for him.
Between her classes with the new professor, Mr. Mills and caring for her old crush Erich, Addie begins to feel the magic of the season. Soon both Addie and Erich find the boy/girl next door has grown up and so have their feelings for each other.
Sweet and filled with holiday spirit as Ms. Macomber delivers another treat for the season. Wonderful secondary characters, especially the quirky Celeste. This book can not help but have you smiling as you read.

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Review: A Christmas Prayer By: Kimberla Lawson Roby

A Christmas PrayerA Christmas Prayer by Kimberla Lawson Roby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alexis Fletcher appears to be a woman who has it all, she even is a motivational speaker to help others become more, but Christmas brings nothing but pain and problems. She can't find any spirit within when she is still mourning her mother's death and when she is in constant battle with her future mother in law. To make matters worse, the strained relationship with her sister is leaving her niece at risk of living hungry, cold, and on the street.
One Sunday Reverend Curtis asks the congregation to go home and write a Christmas Prayer. Although Alexis doesn't feel like it or the spirit inside, she writes her prayer. Sometimes it takes time and rough patches but soon the light shows the way and prayers get answered.
A nice Christmas story that isn't afraid to show the imperfections of people or the Grace of God in forgiveness and love.

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Review: An Island Christmas By: Nancy Thayer

An Island ChristmasAn Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jilly Gordon has worked hard for the perfect home, perfect holidays, perfect life - even the perfect daughters, Lauren already married living close enough with the seemingly perfect life and Felicia, the wild one, who wants to get married on Christmas at home to a wild man and live a wild and crazy life. This is a little more than Jilly can handle, so she comes up with a plan involving the perfect boy next door that Felicia once went out with.
Jilly begins the holidays changing her life, with a feral cat entering her life and home, her future son in law destroying her antique chairs, her normally careful husband 'wiping out' on a moped, and it's just the beginning of the chaos. Everything that she once thought perfect soon falls away.
Ms. Thayer has the reader enjoying another beautiful tale set in Nantucket. A gentle reminder what the reason for the season is all about and the gift of family, for all it's character makes the heart even bigger and brighter.

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Review: The Christmas Train By: David Baldacci

The Christmas TrainThe Christmas Train by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tom Langdon finds himself traveling by train because of his ban on airlines - a certain incident with a security wand- part to get to LA to his on again/off again girlfriend and the most important part to finish what his ancestor Mark Twain didn't as his dying request. Meeting so many people the train does come alive and Tom certainly feels like he might get a lot of material.
It comes as a surprise that a Hollywood bigwig Max Powers is on board and wants Tom to work with his writer and secret weapon, Eleanor Carter. Eleanor, the one who got away, no - ran away, with no explanation, the one who haunts him, and if she was honest the same. With a thief, a wedding, an avalanche these two have plenty to work with, hopefully they will work out the past to have a future, and just maybe there is an angel directing it all.
The book also contains two short stories. One that will grab at your heart, another that will peak your need for adventure.
This was a great book. I loved the story, it wasn't contrived and the words, the characters, the landscape came off the pages and enveloped me.

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