Will Trent #10

SYNOPSIS: Atlanta, Georgia. Present day. A young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead. The police investigate but the trail goes cold. Until a chance assignment takes GBI investigator Will Trent to the state penitentiary, and to a prisoner who says he recognizes the MO. The attack looks identical to the one he was accused of eight years earlier. The prisoner’s always insisted that he was innocent, and now he’s sure he has proof. The killer is still out there.

As Will digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the original case in order to reach the truth. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear. And now he needs medical examiner Sara Linton to help him hunt down a ruthless murderer. But when the past and present collide, everything Will values is at stake… – via Goodreads

Okay so I get ridiculously excited when I see Karin Slaughter is releasing a new book. Every time. I have been reading her books for around 12-13 years now, ever since I stumbled upon her first two books that someone was trying to bin. I read anything I could get my hands on, and they were new books from an unknown author in a genre I loved. I did not know what I was about to embark on was an absolute obsession. #noregrets

I was beyond stoked to see that we would be reading about Jeffrey Tolliver again. I am a fan of his, and I adore being able to go back to some original favourites. I love how the past and the present intermingle so effortlessly here. Reading in the present and flipping back to the past also brought up so much pain and suffering. All the angst, the worry, the fear, the heartbreak!

The Silent Wife is an excellent read. The relationships, as always, are nuanced and detailed and so real (I mean, we have been with these characters for over a decade). It’s awesome how Slaughter manages to keep things fresh, even this long on in a series. The book is twisty and genuinely scary at times, and it is so ridiculously exciting from page one.

So we return to Will Trent (also a huge fan) and Sara Linton and their fresh, icky case. Lena Adams makes a return as well, and it reminded me once again what an absolute nuisance that woman was. Ugh, what a character as well! Anyway, reading about the case and the developments hand in hand with the past is a tough one. I mean, I love Sara and Will together, and that she really does try to be so much more with him than she was with Jeffrey, and it did feel like cheating returning to Jeffrey, but man, it all works perfectly. I know, a love story, but really, Slaughter always works the romance in so naturally. What an emotional roller coaster! I NEED MORE!

All in all, The Silent Wife is yet another excellent piece of work from Karin Slaughter. The story is emotional and drags you right along for the ride, and is totally heart-stopping at times. I loved every minute of it and tried to drag the experience on for as long as possible – ask Natasha, I even did two hours of gardening (gardening!) to ensure I didn’t just tear through it super fast). As always, I highly recommend Slaughter’s work – it’s gory, dark, gritty, violent as hell and super intense, carried by very human characters and relationships throughout. Engaging read!

“I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.”
– Dom

SYNOPSIS: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy. – via IMDB

You know, this came out when I was a rugrat and it was extremely popular then, so naturally it is a movie I saw multiple times when I was like… 11/12. I liked it. Fast cars and family and all that. I’ve grown up a lot and can see where the flaws are, and there are issues in this movie, but it is a good action movie regardless.

The Fast and the Furious introduces us to characters that we will get close to and stick with for more than a decade, and it’s crazy because they don’t even get too intense about showing you everyone and what they are, but they give you enough. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel work really well together, and give the movie a lot of its charisma. Chad Lindberg as Jesse, of course, is a favourite, and I will always be so sad about how his story was concluded before it even really got started. I also really liked that there were more practical effects here as opposed to CGI, gives the movie a much more authentic feel.

The soundtrack though is something I am not a big fan of. It’s supposed to fit but actually comes off as feeling like it’s trying to be too cool, so seems forced. The story is also super generic, no matter how many fast cars they tried to layer it under and wrap it up in. Granted, we got all the tropes we could expect from it, though some were certainly handled better than others.

Anyway, The Fast and the Furious is the first chapter in a massive franchise, and it’s not a bad one. Nostalgia definitely tides me through, but a simple story and a short run time help. The acting is a little off sometimes and sections of this movie are dated and didn’t age well, but overall, as long as you don’t take it too seriously, you can have quite a bit of fun with this.

Eddie Flynn #4

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury? – via Goodreads

You know, this book impressed me because I really didn’t expect much from it at all. I did not know that it was a part of a series because it didn’t read like it was. Sure, references are made which will likely make way more sense if you have read the other books in the series, but did not stand out as an issue while reading, like you were missing something. Mentions of past actions or characters, etc. just felt like musings in the book, or indicators of how certain things came together, and it is rare that a book in a series can be read so successfully as a standalone.

Okay, now that I have marvelled the ability of the novel as a standalone, let’s get to the story itself. It was quite an interesting one, though it does require you suspend reality altogether, otherwise you are going to have a bad time. The pacing is super fast, and the book barrels along, which makes for an entertaining and fast read. The plot is constantly twisting and turning (albeit predictably at times), it is still fun. There are also quite a few characters to like in here.

It was pretty cool to read about this crazypants killer, but the reality of the killer did not quite live up to my expectations completely, but then again, maybe that is just due to the “suspend belief” thing. I found Thirteen to be quite a solid book for the story it tells. I liked it enough that I would happily check out other books in the series at some point. I would definitely recommend Thirteen if you are looking for a fast paced, crazy thriller, as it will definitely deliver on those fronts.

“No longer will our penises remain flaccid and unused! From now on, we fight for every man out there who isn’t getting laid when he should be! This is our day! This is our time! And, by God, we’re not gonna let history condemn us to celibacy! We will make a stand! We will succeed! We will get laid!”
– Kevin

SYNOPSIS: Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night. – via IMDB

See, this was one of those movies for pretty much every coming of age teen in my youth (except Natasha – how the heck did you miss this train?!), and it is a movie I have seen more times than I care to mention. Now, granted, I haven’t seen these movies in years and years and thought it was time to revisit them.

Now, while American Pie is nostalgic as all hell, I also look at it totally differently than I did when I was a rugrat and it came out. It is fun but it is so silly, and such a ludicrous concept that losing your virginity is the be all and end all in your life – though this is also a common teen movie trope. Growing older and wiser in my years (har har har), I have naturally learnt that there are more important things about. Not when you’re a teen though, I guess.

Jason Biggs is totally the perfect guy to play Jim. He is awkward, he is weird, he nails down that vibe and rolls with it. Seann William Scott own Stifler, he is such a total asshat! Finch is a character that I truly enjoyed – uptight, total oddball, but works. Even as a teen he made me laugh, he was just so different from the lot. Eugene Levy is perfectly embarrassing as Jim’s Dad. Alyson Hannigan will forever be “This One Time At Band Camp” Michelle for me, no matter how much How I Met Your Mother I have seen. Needless to say, American Pie touts a range of characters you will remember for years after as they were presented here. *cough cough* Jennifer Coolidge Stifler’s mom.

American Pie really goes for that icky, gross out humour and tons of sexual humour, and I am not really sure how someone who didn’t watch these movies when they came out, or is a lot older, will feel about them. Me? I still have fun, but that is also quite likely fuelled by the nostalgia. Blink-182 (pre-Tom departure) also has a guest appearance, which is quite amusing. This is not to say that the movie is without flaws – seriously, the story is all over the show, the writing and directing is messy at times, and it is definitely clunky.

All that being said, American Pie is nostalgic, silly, and features some gross out humour and is quite raunchy. Uneven but fun, I still think this is worth the watch, though I have no idea how it will work out for people who have never seen it before.

SYNOPSIS: Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.  – via Goodreads

Well, well, well. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and picked it up at random while in Isle of Man forever and six days ago – the book shop had it super cheap and I felt like something to read, and grabbed it. I didn’t expect much – Roberts churns out relatively standard books, but every now and then she gets one that really just works for me. This was one of those.

The book opens with a bang, and it is one intense read, little Naomi following her cuckoo dad, discovering horrors that nobody, let alone a child, should see, and having her life crumble. It was intense, then it skips on to present day. I was so afraid that this would take the route of The Witness – solid intro and then just down the drain, luckily for me, it did not.

I am maybe not the biggest fan of the romance here – because it is super rushed and awfully sudden, like absolutely no tension developed between Naomi and Xander. I also got irritated about “he took her mouth”. I swear, that phrase repeated consistently throughout the book, and gave me a frisson of irritation every time it happened. That being said, I found the story enjoyable and I was hooked. The book barrels along, too, so there is not a lot of filler jammed into it. I also liked the characters in this one, which is what kept me going. Especially Seth and Harry, what a lovely pair!

Now, this book certainly doesn’t reinvent the genre, and is predictable to boot in terms of the villain, but it is a great, fun, light read and that is exactly what I was looking for.

The Deptford Mice #1

SYNOPSIS: In the sewers of Deptford, there lurks a dark presence that fills the tunnels with fear. The rats worship it in the blackness and name it “Jupiter, Lord of All.” Into this twilight realm wanders a small and frightened mouse-the unwitting trigger of a chain of events that hurtles the Deptford mice into a world of heroic adventure and terror.  – via Goodreads

I read these books when I was a kid – and I mean a little rugrat. I recently saw this pop up while I was something totally unrelated on Amazon, and decided it was time to give it a shot again. Why not? How would it stack up after all these years? It was quiet a dark, fun adventure when I was a kid.

Well, let’s just say that this is perfect for the target group – kids. Definitely. Okay, a little darker than most kids books, but that worked, too. I feel that the writing was a little stiff in places, and I especially found the characters to be flat and lacking (most of them, anyway), and the author didn’t really build atmosphere and let you get into it. Like, as a kid this is not bad, the books barrels along and it has a fantasy aspect to it, and enemy, an adventure, all that, but when you get older, you want more spine in your book, you want a more solid story and characters that have more depth.

It’s not a bad read, but it just felt disjointed. Also, an editor needs to look at this. Spelling issues, layout issues, and so many problems with punctuation it was actually a chore at times to not completely lose my cool. I don’t know when last I read something that was this poorly edited! While the characters are flat, you can enjoy some of them sometimes, though it is fleeting. I could still see the characters in my mind as I did when I was younger, so that was pretty cool.

It also frustrated me that the book always felt like it was starting, it never felt like it was actually going anywhere, like it had developed into anything. The conclusion felt super rushed. Like I was reading and then it was suddenly over, and came across as messy. There was no sense of danger, no epiphany, no closure. It was just suddenly happening and then conveniently it was all over. I found it interesting to read about the landmarks in the book and actually have been to some of the places.

Anyway, there is not really much to say about The Dark Portal. It’s very good for the audience that it is intended for (speaking from experience, I really enjoyed these as a kid), but it does not hold up wonderfully for adults, to be honest. I had some nostalgia when reading, but it is not like reading Potter or Dr Seuss or anything like that from my youth. A decent read,  but not something I will be going over again.

“Real love’s hard to come by. So you find a way to cope without it.”
– Elton John

SYNOPSIS: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. – via IMDB

Well, this certainly wasn’t Bohemian Rhapsody. Not that I really expected that per se, because I did watch the preview and I wasn’t sold then, but I didn’t think it would be quite so… bland and generic?

Bryce Dallas Howard knocks it out of the park. Honestly, what a reprehensible character. Excellent. However, that does not detract from the fact that the characters were all incredibly one-dimensional. Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell both perform admirably in their roles, and are the only two with actual fleshed out characters. The costumes were really well designed, and really reminds you how Elton John was this larger than life character.

One thing that really got under my skin is how this movie squeezed these bizarre musical numbers in between everything, making the movie not flamboyant or musical enough to be a musical, but the musical numbers were jarring enough to yank you out of the narrative every single time, leaving you with the feeling that the movie couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be. I know some have praised the choice of it being a musical fantasy, but it just didn’t quite work for me.

Anyway, as you can tell, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie. It is not the worst thing you will ever sit down to watch, but it certainly feels like an extremely one-sided story. The music is really good, the performances are fine, but the movie is long and, ultimately, won’t really be remembered.

Sea Witch #1

SYNOPSIS: Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. – via Goodreads

So I recently read this after I convinced my colleague to purchase a Kindle for herself and she read a few books I recommended, and then branched out on her own to select a book for herself. That book was this, and she told me to give it a squizz, and naturally I decided to do so because that’s how it works – you recommend, and you take recommendations.

So she told me this was a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and after A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I am willing to give these retellings a shot because I quite enjoyed that. It’s crazy, I saw The Little Mermaid so many times when I was a child, and yet reading this I could hardly remember any of the movie and the story, just the broad strokes. So this wasn’t a bad read. It wasn’t a great read, either. It was simply an easy, quick read. Not one of the characters surprised me, and I never felt a real sense of urgency, or attraction, or tension, or anything. But it was a decent little time filler.

The story floats between the present and four years before, and between different characters, but the way the writer chose to present these scene changes was not my favourite thing, such as the raven haired girl did this, the blonde girl did that, the prince saw whatever – they have names and we know them. Use them. This is not generating intrigue or a sense of magic, it’s just annoying. I understand what the writer was going for with this book, I just wish it was darker, especially seeing as we are dealing with a variation of Ursula’s story, and not Ariel in the purest sense.

All being said, I liked it well enough and can recommend it for people who like the re-imagining of classics, I don’t know that I will be continuing with this series. I wanted darker and grittier, and this just didn’t really give me all that I had been hoping for, but it was an alright book to keep me in the swing of reading.

SYNOPSIS: A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. – via IMDB

Alright, so something that I don’t talk about much is the documentaries I watch. Every now and then I am struck by this need and just burn through documentaries like there is no tomorrow and I love them. I love them, but rarely never write about them. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard to write about documentaries. They are the type of things you watch and discuss with people around you, that you go back and forth on. It’s pretty intense.

This is one that I absolutely loved. I really liked the way the documentary was not narrated by a single person. We get snippets of the case, the news, interviews with the accused, their families, the cops, the victims’ families, all of it, and we are left to pretty much form our own opinions on the matter. I really thought this made the documentary a more unique experience. We were essentially elected the jury, to judge these boys accused of a horrendous crime, and we were all left to draw our own conclusions.

And let me tell you, it seems that the conclusions on this case are incredibly divisive. People believe vehemently that these three young guys murdered those boys and should burn in hell, others believe that they were wrongfully convicted. So much raging debate going on about it. I remember coming across this story all those years ago and watching this and being taken in by how bizarre this story was, and is.

Watching this, you get enough information on the case and to watch some of the court proceedings, but I am super grateful to have read Mara Leveritt’s book – all the questions I had before were answered, and it paints a far more complete picture. This documentary shows you two sides, and I liked it for a change not getting the answer, but being allowed to make up my mind.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a seriously good piece of work. It is mesmerising and engaging, put together exceptionally well and it is raw, tough and intense. Metallica’s accompanying soundtrack fits like a glove, and I appreciated the clips being used in here showing you the more positive and negative of all sides involved, so nothing ever really felt glorified. I highly recommend this, whether you know the story or not. It’s a fantastic documentary that will keep you hooked from that extremely graphic and heartbreaking opening.

the originals season 2 poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked: 

  • Elijah and Hayley finally doing something about the things going on between them. Phew, thank goodness, it was getting a little intense.
  • Mikael and Klaus working together. However brief, it was so cool to see what might have been. Sadly, it was incredibly short lived. Oh well.
  • Kol has grown on me. A lot. I haven’t ever really been particularly keen on him, but when he came back as the witch Kaleb, and the way he changed and adapted? I grew rather fond of him. Plus, I really liked him and Davina together, quite nice.
  • The whole Mikaelson clan making an appearance. You would assume this would be annoying, but surprisingly it just works.
  • Vincent. I know that when he was Finn he peeved me, but when Vincent is Vincent and not possessed by a Mikaelson, he is pretty darn cool.

originals season 2 elijah femist

What I didn’t like:

  • Jackson and Hayley. I really, really do want to like them, and he does love her, but the thing is, she went into this marriage due to obligation, and Elijah was crushed because of it, and goodness knows I am a Hayley?Elijah shipper, so just deal.
  • This whole sticky situation with Klaus and Camille the whole time. I mean come on. They don’t actually have chemistry. I can buy into them being friends, but never actually more than that, it just doesn’t seem to come together very well. Plus, the bitch ain’t Caroline. #KlarolineForever
  • Finn got irritating. I have never liked that slimy bastard, but he was just all over the damn show here. I thought that Caspar Xafer did a fantastic job portraying him, but sheesh!
  • Freya. Goodness gracious me. The girl pitches up out of nowhere and just wants to pop in, take over, the whole shebang. Uhm, really?
  • This Gia/Elijah bullshit situation. NOT A FAN!

originals season 2 finn vincentRating:

Plotsies afoot, plotsies afoot everywhere! I really quite liked this season! For one, there was all the crazy work initially with keeping a lid on the fact that baby Hope is alive and well, and Klaus had to look okay. When Marcel spoke of how weird it was that Klaus was not mourning and murdering together, I laughed. He is so right. Klaus and his politics, of course, were all over the show here, and the intensity and depravity of what he gets up to does not escape me.

The entire Mikaelson clan was alive at some point or other during this season, but that didn’t annoy me at all, anywhere. I mean, they are the original pretty much everything, so the regular rules totally aren’t going to apply here. The siblings facing off against Esther and her lackey, Finn, was going to be interested. From the beginning I was sure that Kol was not going to stick with them for long, and I was right. He quite grew on me this season, which was awesome, and he and Davina actually worked well together.

the originals season 2 selfie

What really was sad, though, was seeing how Klaus had to deal with daddy dearest once again. Constant warring, and when you finally think they have made headway? Screw that, stake the bastard. I totally get why Klaus would though, he has always been rejected, bullied, and hurt by his father. It also broke my heart to see Hayley marry Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I like the dude and all, but he is not Elijah, and Elijah and Hayley just click. Like, when they finally gave in to each other? My heart cheered, I was so happy about the whole situation. I knew it was doomed. Ugh. I should stop getting my hopes up.

Naturally, no peace can be known for the Mikaelsons, and one victory over mother dearest meant that they would have dearest Aunt Dahlia on their hands, and that was one hell of a sticky thing. Freya is not a character I can say that I love at all, something just seems off about her, but let’s see where this goes. I was impressed by how much Rebekah has grown on me since I first saw her in The Vampire Diaries. Goodness knows she is still flawed, but she is getting better, especially due to Hope, and getting into a witch body.

I am not a fan of the Elijah/Gia story-line, and I was glad when that was disposed of. So much actually happened this season, but it all worked wonderfully. I really wish they would stop forcing this Camille/Klaus thing, it’s like every now and then the show remembers they are supposed to be interested in each other, and send them to see each other again. I was so sad to see Aiden killed, and Josh’s heart broken, and the chain reaction that came from that was insane. Klaus, of course, for getting screwed over (and it was horribly sad to watch), responded as only he could – nobody can torture quite like our Klausie. Definitely a good season that looks fantastic, flows well, and is interesting throughout. Well worth a watch.

originals season 2 klaus make you suffer

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