Saturday, April 12, 2014

Movie: Great Gatsby


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Genre: Life…?

Primary actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan

Length: Almost 2 ½ hours

Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time period: 1920s

Quote: “Old sport” – catchy!

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2013

My overall opinion: Well! I went back and forth about whether or not to review this one – and decided I would, as I think my readers will find it interesting. But reviewing it means I have to at least attempt to organize my thoughts on it, and that is a challenge.

So why did I go for an 8? Because I enjoyed it…I think. At any rate, I found it fascinating and impossible not to finish watching. But I also don’t whole-heartedly recommend it, nor do I agree with the basic concept/morals that were conveyed in it.

Be advised: I’m not trying to avoid spoilers, not really, so look out – there probably are some.

What did I like? It was impossible not to like, or at least feel empathy for, Jay Gatsby himself. I don’t approve of what he did or how he lived. Sure, he might have loved Daisy, but pursuing a married woman like he did is wrong. But at the same time, I felt like DiCaprio did a good job with the role and you couldn’t help but empathize with him a little.

And then the fashion of the time! I once wrote a paper about fashion in the 1920s, and it was really interesting to research. That whole time-period is just fascinating to me, so I really enjoyed that aspect of this movie – seeing their fashion, vehicles, houses, and way of life was amazing. I was also a little horrified by how utterly pointless their lives were…nothing but endless parties. It was disturbing.

And then what I didn’t like. I wasn’t overly fond of Daisy at all. Actually, I loved her looks (wow, that sounds awkward…). Like, her bobbed blond hair and brown eyes were adorable. But I didn’t like her as a person. Besides which, her behavior as a married woman was wrong. Just plain wrong. Be advised, there are a few somewhat objectionable scenes – keep that in mind before you watch it.

So all in all, what did I think? I’m not quite sure. Will I watch it again? I don’t know. I think the only movie I’ve been more confused about was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I think I’m glad I watched this, or at least, I don’t entirely regret it. Good movie? Not sure. Bad movie? Not all. But yeah – there’s my thoughts in brief.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TV Show: Psych Season 3


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Mystery, crime

Series or set: Psych

Number in series: 3rd

Primary actors: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson

Length: 16 episodes (each 45 or so minutes)

Time period: Present

Rating: TV-14, I assume

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: Delightful and hilarious as ever! Who could help but love Shawn and Gus? They are their normal selves in this season. I laughed the whole way through it, was thoroughly flummoxed as usual by the mysteries, and enjoyed it a great deal. This is easily one of my favorite shows and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Governess of Highland Hall


Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Romance

Series: Edwardian Brides

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 324

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Multnomah, $14.99

My overall opinion: A good read. It really did remind me of Downton Abbey, as it focuses (obviously) on a governess. Some of the scenes with the maids and other servants were very much like in Downton Abbey. The governess side of things had some definite similarities to Jane Eyre as well. All in all, good for a one time read, but not a book I’d buy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie: Eragon


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Fantasy

Series or set: It should technically be the first in a four-part series, like the books…but this is the only one they’ve made.

Primary actor: Ed Speleers

Length: A little under two hours

Based on: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Time period: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Year it came out: 2006

My overall opinion: I didn’t put this on my priority to-watch list, due to having heard so many negative reviews of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Having read the books by Paolini several years ago, I don’t know how accurate to the books this movie actually was. However, as a movie, it wasn’t bad! The graphics weren’t always amazing, but all in all, I enjoyed it and am not against watching it again. Seeing characters from Once Upon a Time and Downton Abbey was neat too – anyone else catch that? :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie: Quantum of Solace


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Genre: Action

Series or set: James Bond 007

Number in series: You can watch James Bond in any order you like!

Primary actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench

Length: About two hours

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: Yet another James Bond movie in which Daniel Craig steals my heart! Okay, he’s actually way too old for me. But if I was…25 years older, I would be head over heels in love. He is seriously a great hero dude in these movies. My favorite thing about this movie? It included epic chases by plane, by boat, AND by car. Like I said, I once again really loved Daniel Craig’s performance as James Bond, and if you’re a fan of Craig, Bond, action movies, chase scenes, or action - this movie is a must-see!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Need to Read #41: Captive Maiden


Title: Captive Maiden

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Book blurb: Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Quick endorsement: I love fairy tale retellings and was delighted when Melanie decided to re-tell Cinderella! This book was lovely and I highly recommend it to all fans of fairy tales.

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/12/blog-tour-captive-maiden.html

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Song of My Heart


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Romance, life

Series: Heart of the Prairie

Number in series: 8th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 348

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This book was delightful! It perfectly entwined being humorous yet heart-touching. I was always sad to set it down and eager to pick it up again. The characters were amazing – extra colorful and such fun to read about! They came to life for me. This is a sweet story, all in all, relaxing and easily moving.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Movie: The Vow


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Chick flick 

Primary actors: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum

Length: About two hours

Based on: A true story, if I remember right?! Anyone know for sure?

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: I liked it better than The Notebook. No, but seriously. This was a sweet movie and melted my heart just a little bit in some parts. If you need a sweet chick flick for an evening, consider this one! :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Movie: Bourne Legacy


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Action

Series or set: Bourne

Number in series: 4th

Primary actors: Jeremy Renner, Scott Glenn, Edward Norton

Length: Two hours

Based on: Well, all of Bourne was originally from books by Robert Ludlum…other than that, it’s not really BASED on anything.

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: What a great movie! I know, it’s a little weird that I’m reviewing the fourth movie in this set without reviewing the others – sorry. I have seen them all, just not reviewed them all. I think quite possibly you could watch this one without seeing the first three, though you might miss a few references. But all in all, this movie is most decidedly enjoyable. For one thing, it has Edward Norton. It gave me a turn when he came on screen. See, he’s the bad guy in Italian Job and I’ve seen that movie…I’m not even sure how many times. A LOT. Anyway. So he was in this. One great thing about this movie was that it was the most epic dirt bike chase scene EVER. I’m pretty sure that there’s no beating it. Seriously. The stunts they did were amazing. I was riveted to the screen through that entire section…and actually, through this entire movie. But especially that part. Oh, and the part that almost made me fall out of bed? (wow that sounded weird…I watch movies in bed most of the time, so that’s why I said that.) A dude comes driving up. He’s driving a Dodge Ram truck. (brownie points for him right away – I love Dodge.) And then a song comes on – and it’s Rodney Atkins singing “Cleaning This Gun” which just so happens to be one of my favorite songs. I almost exploded with happy over that part. It was awesome. So, all in all? Great movie! Check IMDB as there are a few things that are objectionable. But. I’d watch this again. :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Need to Read #40: No One to Trust


Title: No One to Trust

Author: Lynette Eason

Book blurb: Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she's been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?
The search for her husband--and answers--takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn't know who to believe.


Quick endorsement: Lynette’s books are never a disappointment! This one was packed with action, suspense, mystery, adventure, and romance. I couldn’t put it down!

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2014/01/revell-blog-tour-no-one-to-trust.html

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Whisper of Peace


Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Life

Series: Heart of the Prairie

Number in series: 7th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 349

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Sadly, this book didn’t grab me as much as some of Kim’s have. She’s had some books (like Courting Miss Amsel) that I’ve absolutely loved. This wasn’t one of them, but I don’t regret reading it. For one thing, I absolutely loved the Alaskan setting! Right in the shadow of Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). It was awesome – cause I’ve been there! All in all, this was a good book, just didn’t grab me as much. Definitely worth my one-time read though.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie: A Beautiful Mind


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8…I think…see my review below.

Genre: Life

Primary actors: Russell Crowe (the reason I watched it) and who else matters?!

Length: Just over two hours

Based on: I think there’s a book? At any rate, the main character was a real guy. Way back when.

Time period: 1950s, I believe

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2001

My overall opinion: I didn’t really like this one and was gonna go for a lower rating, but then I remembered – I didn’t dislike it. And despite these slight misgivings, it kept me watching for the whole movie. Time flew. The plot is intricate, but not hard to understand. You will empathize with this guy! It’s an amazing story. I can’t say much, because you’ll be more interested if you don’t know what’s going on (same as me), but this movie – watch it. It’s worth a view. Seeing Russell Crowe here was a delight! Recommended for fans of his. Anyone looking for a unique drama – try this!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bethany House Blog Tour: A Match Made in Texas


Authors: Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox

Genre: Romance

Series: A Novella Collection

My rating on a 1-10 scale: I’m going to rate each novella individually

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 379

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This, as you have probably deduced by now, is a novella collection. Four short stories by four wonderful authors! I decided the simplest way to review this was to do each novella individually, so here we go.

A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer – 9: The first words that came to mind as I considered how to best describe this book were sweet, funny, creative, and romantic! I loved seeing a character from some of Karen’s previous books. This book was so enjoyable! A delight.

An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings – 8: Even the title in this one is a play on words, since the heroine is partially blind! The characters were engaging and the story was unique and enjoyable. Especially the hero was admirable.

No Match for Love by Carol Cox – 8.5: There was some great mystery in this, masterfully presented for such a short story! It was a refreshing addition to the romance. The characters were especially lovable here.

Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy – 9: I really loved the humor in this one! Definitely a unique story and unique characters. It made me laugh, and I always love that! Quite a superb book. So good!

All in all? This is a unique and delightful collection of short romances by wonderful authors. If you’re already a fan of one (or more) of these authors, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this collection!

**Bethany House sent me a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. I wasn’t required to review it positively, nor was I recompensed for my review. All opinions are my own. **

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Need to Read #39: Glittering Promises


Title: Glittering Promises

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Book blurb: America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try...

Quick endorsement: I have loved so many of Lisa’s books – this one is no exception! It was a stunning conclusion to the Grand Tour series. As I say in my review: “This book is worth buying, worth owning, and worth reading again and again.”

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/10/litfuse-blog-tour-glittering-promises.html

Monday, March 24, 2014

Movie: Casino Royale


My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Action

Series or set: James Bond 007

Number in series: These are awesome – you can watch them in any order. And they still work. :)

Primary actors: Daniel Craig (falling for this guy!), Judi Dench

Length: A little over two hours

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2006

My overall opinion: Ooooo. So I started watching James Bond with Skyfall and have now watched everything my library has. I really love Daniel Craig and James Bond at large! This one had some lovely sets in Venice – absolutely beautiful. There were also AMAZING sets at an airport and a construction site – the whole chase at the construction site was one of my favorite scenes. Pretty amazing! I also really enjoyed the soundtrack for this one. It was great. I’ve never played poker (or whatever game it was they were using to gamble) so some of that lingo went over my head – but I still managed to find this a great movie. Like with all James Bond movies, be advised that there’s a little objectionable content – look on IMDB for details. All in all though? Good movie!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


My rating on a 1-10 scale: I don’t even know. I’ve never not known what to rate something.

Genre: Life

Primary actors: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton

Length: Almost three hours!

Time period: 1960s, I guess, or that’s what I’m putting…anyone have a better answer?

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: We have a problem, y’all. I don’t know what I thought. Or what to rate it. Out of something like 1000 reviews, I’ve never been flummoxed on what to rate something – some were hard, but I always managed to come to a decision. Until now. This movie was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, I guess. So here’s a random collection of thoughts…

The concept is fascinating. A man who lives his life backwards? Really neat. He starts old (though
baby size) and slowly grows up with a young boy’s inquisitive brain in an old man’s body. It was fascinating. I do need to warn you that there are some rather objectionable elements in here, so make sure that you read about it on IMDB before watching, just to make sure.

Benjamin’s whole relationship with the girl…never mind, I’m not even going to try to figure out what I thought. Cate Blanchett was awesome as the girl, though! I really liked her – she did a great job.

The ending was so moving. I cried a lot. Which means the producers did something right. Yeah. I guess the ending almost redeemed it – no, more just improved it for me. It was really amazing.

All in all, I don’t know if I’d say I “liked” it, but I certainly am glad I watched it and wouldn’t be opposed to watching it again someday. Do I recommend it? I’m not sure. Some people would love it.
Some people wouldn’t. I can’t tell for you. I don’t even know what I thought. This is really disconcerting. So yeah. I think I’ll just stop here. Have you seen it, and if so, did you like it? And do you understand why I’m confused?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: In the Shadow of Jezebel


Author: Mesu Andrews

Genre: Life, romance

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 high

Type: Historical fiction

Number of pages: 412

Time period: 800s B. C. (Bible times)

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

My overall opinion: Contrary to what you may assume from a precursory glance at the title, this story is not focused on Jezebel (though she is certainly a player in the grand scheme of things). Rather, this book concentrates on her grand-daughter, Jehosheba. As you may have noticed, it’s got over 400 pages, and each page has a lot of words – definitely full. Despite this, it’s never boring! Mesu managed to absolutely pack this book with Biblically accurate information, events, and people. She brings to life characters and stories that may otherwise seem stuffy – but truly aren’t! The whole book has a realistic feel and a gripping story. I could definitely identify with what Jehosheba felt. It’s absolutely worth reading! I highly recommend it for those of you who love Biblical fiction, or anyone looking for a creative and unique story set in Bible times.

**Revell sent me a free copy of this book for review. I wasn’t required to post positively or paid in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. **

Litfuse Blog Tour: Where Courage Calls


Author: Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Genre: Life

Series: Canadian West

Number in series: 7th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 329

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: Janette Oke was one of my favorite authors many years ago when I first started reading Christian romance, and she has remained an author whose books I enjoy. So when the opportunity to review this one came up, I jumped at it! While Goodreads categorizes this book as 7th in the Canadian West series (and I copied that), it could be read as a stand-alone and it could serve as a lovely beginning to a new series. That being said, I enjoyed seeing (or at least hearing about) characters from some of Janette’s earlier series. The end leaves it open for a sequel, most certainly! The story in this particular book is almost predictable, but a few surprises make sure that it’s not quite. A good read! Contrary to what you may think, it’s not primarily a romance, though it has some romance within. It’s easy to enjoy. Heartwarming!

Go here to learn more about Janette Oke: http://litfusegroup.com/author/joke

**Litfuse sent me a free copy of this book for review. I wasn’t required to post positively or paid in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. **