Review: The Collector – Nora Roberts

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SYNOPSIS: When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . .  – via Goodreads

Psssssssh, let’s talk about The Collector. This is hands down one of the most forgettable books I have ever read. In my life. If you need further proof, Natasha (who has read damn near all of Nora Roberts’s work and remembers 99% of it) cannot for her life recall having read this, even though she freaking reviewed it! This has been a source of amusement for us for quite some time now.

Okay, now moving along from the best part of this book (which is having a real laugh with my bestie about how ridiculously forgettable this read is), there is nothing else to really redeem it. Seriously, it is not like you pick up a Roberts novel expecting a super thrill or to find the meaning of life, they are good for light entertainment, but this book is so lazy it is unforgivable. I promise you, the plot if beyond preposterous, the writing is just messy, let’s not forget the array of generic, bland characters crammed into the book, and ultimately a super lacklustre romance makes for a bland read. I think when I saw the title, I was thinking blood and guts and bone and gore. Probably because I read The Bone Collector shortly before this one, possibly also because I read too much icky stuff to think like an art collector :/ Judge me, whatever.

Bland, and frustrating at times. My biggest frustration is, of course, Lila, our main peanut. For one, she is grating. Really. She just irritated me, and then there is Ash, who is just as frustrating, and when they get together, it is super trying on the soul. Consent, as always, is an issue here. He snaps his fingers, she must obey. He wants, he gets. Yap, yap, yap. The men are always such control freaks in Nora Roberts’s books, and it is not sexy. It also annoys me how the women are always “strong and independent” until a man rolls up and then suddenly she is a damsel. Something that really worked on my last nerve is that Ash has a troubled relationship with his father. That is between them. Instead, when his father is being a real piece of work and Ash has calmly decided it is up to his father to be nice or piss off, that nuisance Lila speaks up and condemns Ash for his decision. People that get all involved in family drama they know nothing about and judge harshly should just shut the fuck up. What do you even really know about the situation?

Another thing that made me cringe is Lila’s constant obsession with money. She was so vocal about it, and it was awkward. Like shut up! I don’t want to read about those things, because it came across as embarrassing/preachy, instead of a fact of the character. Argh. Also a pity how much Russian history could have been worked with here and been so much more thrilling, but it wasn’t. I suppose one thing to be happy about is that this luckily is not one of Roberts’s fuck fest novels, so there is that.

The Collector is a wasted affair, and so lacklustre and empty. It feels like a filler and reads like one, too. It also really, truly won’t stay with you after the fact, and the sloppy, generic writing is an awful flaw here. At least it is a quick read…

Review: Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets. – via Goodreads

This. Fucking. Book. Ugh. Seriously. What a damn chore to read. I hated pretty much every second of it. I honestly thought there would be more to this, but there really wasn’t. And the fact that this crazy twist was heralded as something, and let me tell you, it’s something alright. Something super grating and infinitely annoying and beyond stupid, that’s one.

Okay, so there is the opening. I guess you can tell from that that I was not really a fan of this. Goodness, I disliked this. The biggest failing here is the useless, unlikable characters. While this is usually a shortcoming in a book, this can be worked around if the story is good. Behind Her Eyes was not, my friends. I say again, a chore to read. Louise, let’s start there, is an insipid, whiny, border alcoholic nuisance that takes up too much of the book. Every single time the book turned back to her perspective I wanted to throw my Kindle. But I love it so much I refrained – though only just. David is a full on alcoholic cheater. Then there is crazy Adele, and that first twist is let out of the bag so early that the “tension” falls flat and the book tries so desperately to rebuild but fails at miserably because come on, we know.

Another major issue I had with this is that it started as one type of novel/story, and devolved into something else altogether messy, crude, and that did not gel with anything that came before it. That made me bristle, because seriously. It’s like The Boy, totally unsure of its identity, and this is the final nail in the coffin lid of this tedious read. Then there is this sordid, alcoholic relationship between Louise and David, and I hated reading about that, and her insecurities and her excuses and explanations for the things she was doing. Shut the fuck up!

All in all, I could go on at length about this, but I will leave it at I deeply disliked Behind Her Eyes, and regret having wasted my time on it. I could not with a clear conscience recommend something so messy, time wasting, and just overall meh. Yes, strong words and all that, but this book? Ugh.

Review: Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago. – via Goodreads

Okay. Uhm, let’s see. Two Nights. Uhm… no. This just wasn’t my thing. It could have been, but it wasn’t, and I should have known better seeing as this is a Reichs novel, and I have never actually enjoyed anything I have read from her. I thought this would be different, as a standalone and not part of her Temperance Brennan series, but boy, I was wrong.

I absolutely could not stand the lead character, Sunnie. Or her stupid freaking name (Sunday Night – I am not even kidding). Or her horrendous sense of humour. She was a gruff character, and not in the good way. She annoyed me, she did not come across and broken or strong or a survivor, but a whiny brat. Also, stupid little details that Reichs insisted on highlighting – such as exactly which shade of OPI Sunnie was wearing on her nails was just grating. I did not like the way the book was written, either. Certain phrases were constantly recycled (the biggest offender was “pro that I am”). So many of the sentences are short and snippy, which makes for staccato reading, nothing smooth. Just jarring.

The books dawdles and runs in circles the whole time, and there are massive chunks of time dedicated to, well, nothing happening. Just repetitive waiting, waiting, waiting, and I just couldn’t stand it. I think the best thing about this mess was Gus, and he was not featured nearly as much as he could have been. Another thing? The history of Gus and Sunnie had so much more potential than was realised in the book. This really could have been the something to draw us in. Instead the constant hinting but no real payoff really just got under my skin. Yes, it really seems that this whole book got under my skin, and it did.

Two Nights is sloppily written, filled to the brim with hateful characters, and has a rather thin story stretched out to within an inch of its life. It is dull and a total waste of time, and took me forever to slog through. Definitely not a book I enjoyed or could recommend. I am not a fan of Reichs and her work, though many people seem to love her stuff.

July Blind Spot Review: Oldboy (2003)

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oldboy 2003 poster

“Your gravest mistake wasn’t failing to find the answer. You can’t find the right answer if you ask the wrong questions.”
– Woo-jin Lee

SYNOPSIS: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days. – via IMDB

olboy 2003 fight

GRADE 4Okay, unpopular opinion time, folks! I didn’t like this movie. At all. I know that it has a huge fan base and people love it and they have praised it from here to Kingdom Come, but I didn’t like it one little bit. I am surprised because, contrary to popular opinion, I actually liked the remake of this, so I was sure I was going to like the original. How sorely mistaken I was. I will have to rewatch the remake again sometime to compare the two films, but I definitely preferred the remake. Oldboy was an uncomfortable watch from the beginning, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the annoying score, I didn’t like the horrible camera work, I didn’t like the sick and awkward sex scene, I didn’t like that goddamn octopus scene in the manky restaurant… obviously this list can go on and on. I found so much of this film to be unsavoury and undignified, and I didn’t like one moment of it. I have no idea why this film has been lauded by so many. I had issues with the pacing, the tone, the way it was shot and how it looked, as well as what I am assuming was supposed to be humour laced throughout. Maybe this is because I don’t really understand most Asian cultures – this is true, for sure. Maybe it is because I am not interested in Asian cultures whatsoever, and never have been. I know that sounds terrible. Most of the world is fascinated by the East, but I am not at all, just doesn’t tickle my fancy. It’s not even the fact that this is a subtitled film that irritates me, because I love watching foreign movies, or subtitled films – especially when they are good. This was not, and I would not recommend it to anyone. Ever. I know, contrary to popular opinion, but I really disliked this movie, and will in no which way be looking into it again. Waste of my time, really. Ick.

Jessica Jones: Season 1 (2015)

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jessica jones season 1

What I liked:

  • The opening credits were pretty cool.
  • Kilgrave. While I feel he has been immensely overhyped, he is the best thing about this show, without a doubt. David Tennant did a great job here, when he was finally allowed to play with the character.

jessica jones tennant

What I didn’t like:

  • Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. I don’t know, she came across as super forced, wasn’t hardcore or scary or cool or anything. If anything, she was annoying, which is a pity.
  • How preachy the show got about race at times. It was unnecessary.
  • The gratuitous sex all over the show. Really, like the third episode featured Jessica banging Luke four times. Four. In one damn episode. And it doesn’t contribute to the plot whatsoever, so it was totally uncalled for and awkward and useless.
  • The build up to actually seeing Kilgrave was way better than the payoff. The whole thing was just meh.
  • The characters. They are flat and uninteresting. I am really not a fan of any of them.
  • How magnificently everything just so happens to line up. Events, coincidences, etc. Not feeling right.
  • Kilgrave’s whole mission? He’s in love with Jessica. Really. After all that, it was some pussyfooting around that the show settled on.

jessica jones asshole

Rating:
GRADE 4
I started this hoping I was going to get another Daredevil. I should have known better. I don’t even know why I got my hopes up – just seeing Krysten Ritter should have been enough for me, but there were rave reviews, and I got hopeful. I mean, private investigator? Dark, gritty, violent? Check. Well, ouch. I really feel that the plot for this show is incredibly messy and all over the show, and introduces absolutely no characters to give a crap about, so it is an exceptionally hollow experience watching continually and not caring. It feels like I was investing my valuable time for no payoff, and that is not a feeling I wish to revisit again. This show is way too overhyped, and so is Kilgrave. While he is, undoubtedly, the best thing about this show, his introduction was sloppy, and his potential was never actually realised. I kept waiting for the really big bad to break out and make an appearance, which never happened. Krysten Ritter, too, is an actress that irrationally annoys the shit out of me (Abbi, you really should copyright that term). She brought nothing to the table, nothing to the character. She always came across as though she was trying too hard and uncomfortable, and not in a sense where you feel that from the character. Heck, she never believably became the character. Another thing I took major issue with is the gratuitous sex all over the show. I really don’t mind sex scenes, I would prefer them to contribute to the story, but we cannot all be so lucky. However, when there is just sex thrown in (four times in one episode!) because you have no plot to work with, things are no longer alright. It was over the top and gross, seriously, I know I sound like a prude but come off it. It contributed nothing. I honestly found Jessica Jones to be a bland affair that was a real chore to get through and brought nothing original to the table. There was potential, but poor casting decisions, storytelling and plot ruined it all completely. I cannot say that I wish to be watching more, and I am really not looking forward to seeing this join up with the vastly superior Daredevil.

jessica jones luke cage fight

Review: The Covenant (2006)

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covenant poster

SYNOPSIS: To the students of the Spenser Academy, the Sons of Ipswich are the baddest boys on campus. But that’s not all they share. The four friends also share a 300-year-old secret: they’re warlocks, the teenage descendants of a 17th-century coven of witches. So when the long-banished fifth son suddenly appears and threatens to kill their loved ones, they realize they must face their enemy in order to prevent him from stealing their powers and shattering the covenant forever. – via IMDB

Well, seeing as this was so bad I am going to turn it into something completely different.

One of the things that sucked on so many levels was how freaking terrible the CGI was. I mean bad, bad, bad!

covenant funny ballthe_covenant_04the_covenant_08

Oki, so the balls of power…

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Then there is the secondary cause of there being like no heat between male and females (like seriously) and far too much sexual tension resting between the dudes. Not particularly comfortable to sit through at all.

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Looking at built mostly naked men is not something ladies normally complain about, but this was pretty homoerotic and said strictly no ladies. Plus really, they look so uncomfortable, and that isn’t sexy. And they look like idiots. And they didn’t tick the hot factor boxes. For me, anyhow.

Well, here was one scene I thought it was going to be more normal (as in maybe something between the guys and the girls or a standard shower scene at the very least). Turned out to be a super let down. Then read in the trivia that a lot of steam was added to the shower scene to obscure the nudity to score that PG-13 rating they so badly wanted. Sorry guys!

the_covenant_06NothingToDoHereBlackWithTextSSThen there was this shit… I mean fucking seriously??

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Then there was the burning building… he looks so super fly!

covenant burning

I don’t know what you folks think, but if someone is in a serious fight, has power balls thrown at them, get flung out of burning buildings and all that bizarre stuff, would you think the suit would look so neat? I sure as hell don’t.

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So I am going to move away from all of this now. I at least got to moon over Sebastian Stan in this. Let me tell you, he started fine, then the cheese was just an overkill, but it doesn’t take his pretty away!

sebastian stan yummy

I won’t even elaborate… but yum!

Pretty damn cute in uniform.

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I would totally let him lope around a shower room looking like that…

sebastian stan shower room

More hmmmmmm…

sebastian stan drink

There’s just a certain way to do demon eyes. While Sebastian Stan was freaking delicious, he lacked the attitude of Dean Winchester, and the backdrop of a decent show…

sebastian stan demon eyesSebastian Stan stars in THE COVENANT.Demon Dean

GRADE 2I had completely forgotten that I had seen this movie when it had came out and that it was so damn lame you can’t help but groan and facepalm throughout. I mean the movie kicks in with some White Zombie, and I am all like hell yeah… I am even prepared to skip over the incredibly dodgy text and effects on it. Whatever. I mean it’s got to be good if it opens with some Zombie, right? Right? Wrong. I think the best things about this film were the Zombie tracks and getting to watch the delectable Sebastian Stan. Outside of that, really?! What the hell?! It is so corny, and not the good kind, either, and so silly. My other half refused to put himself through this again (I was just thinking bring it, it will give me something to rag on), and was giving his two cents from the room for the entire duration, all degrading, all some serious mockery. He was dead on though. The dialogue was simply cringe-worthy, the outfits were absurd, the actors were not great, the plot was just… I don’t even actually know what that was, to be honest, and none of the characters were someone you could identify with. Then the whole thing of Sarah hearing about the Salem witch trials and how it ties in with the Sons of Ipswich and having her be all like “ooooooh creepy” – my eyes just went rolling around, I couldn’t help it anymore. It was hundreds of years ago. Extensive research has been done into it. Interesting, yes. Creepy, not so much. Or my mind is just too rational, I really don’t know. Also, so many things happened that weren’t explained, or later just brushed under the carpet. The Covenant boasts one of the most unsatisfying conclusions I have ever seen in a movie, and that is saying something seeing as I was so happy to have this movie end. It is not that bad that you want to kick your television to pieces and dump it outside, but it is bad enough to groan. Probably good for a rip off and a laugh with your friends if ever you are extremely bored or masochistic enough to test the waters. Have I mentioned the dodgy effects? Damn. This was just silly, not suspenseful, overly predictable and puerile. Skip it, skip it, skip it! If you were unlucky enough to have seen it, we can wallow about this together.

Review: Level 26: Dark Revelations – Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

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dark revelations cover

Level 26 #3

SYNOPSIS: In Dark Revelations, Steve Dark faces the most intricate, intense, and explosive case of his career. The killer calls himself Labyrinth, and the riddles, puzzles, and wordplay with which he announces his new targets have caused a worldwide media sensation. The case has already claimed a number of high profile individuals as victims-not to mention several government agencies, which have tried and failed to stop a growing global panic. But what point is Labyrinth trying to make? Who will be his next victim? It’s up to Dark to assemble a team from among the smoking rubble of the international crime-solving community, find Labyrinth wherever he may be, and put a stop to the mayhem, once and for all.

Can Steve Dark solve the biggest riddle of them all? Only time will tell. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Ugh. Really now! This trilogy is just one of those that just disappoints at every turn. So far the best villain has been Sqweegel, from the first book, though a lot of things were just not right in that book. Then there was the sequel, which started with more potential and ended up being only slightly better than the first. Then there was this one, the final installment, and I was wondering if the game would be upped, if there would be a much more satisfying conclusion, some brilliant finale, something to tie up all the ten thousand loose ends dangling around all over. You can forget it. Really now. The villain was not difficult to guess, the ties linking everyone were not difficult to work out, so that left for a hollow experience. Not only that, this book becomes really repetitive and boring very quickly, so that ultimately this book feels like a really juvenile story because there is nothing that chills you or freaks you out, and the riddles are childish in nature. Then there is Steve Dark. This character, I tell you, not one that I enjoy. The sex again… Dark never initiates anything, but we are to believe that women are yanking their clothes off and throwing themselves at him at every single turn?! What are the writers trying to say with this, exactly? Like, meet him, fuck him, move on. It really pisses me off when you get that in a book, truly. It is annoying and crass and unnecessary in the novel. I have been waiting since the first book to hear what Dark would do when he found out about the Sqweegel DNA, and it turned out to be something that was overhyped and underwhelming. I did not watch the videos for this novel save the last, because the stupid book just ends and you have to go and watch the clip to see how it all really ends. You don’t even really need the clips to understand anything, but to have to watch a final one to end the story? Not cool. Defeats the point of a book. This book was just frustrating in the long run, running around in circles, flat and unappealing characters, a villain that had potential but didn’t work out too well by the end of it all, a writing style that certainly needs refinements, characters (Lisa Graysmith hem hem) just suddenly dropping away, though they were actual love interests… just a disappointing way to wrap things up. Really. At least it is all over now.

Rapid Review: Transcendence (2014)

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transcendence poster

“Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology. And in a short time, its analytic power will become greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world.”
– Will Caster

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed-to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him. – via IMDB

johnny-depp-transcendence-good question

GRADE 3.5What the hell man? Johnny Depp’s redeeming role… that’s what this was supposed to be. Instead I saw a drunk Jack Sparrow scientist in the beginning. However, he was massively improved by the end of the film. I was not a fan of the plot whatsoever, and it was incredibly sad to see such a great cast go to waste. I mean Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, and Cillian Murphy? Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall? It was just such a disappointment overall, and I want to make mention of how stupid it all was. Meh. I feel like I wasted so much time here, and I will never get it back. I mean the reviews came back pretty negatively, but even though I was not necessarily excited to see it, I still wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was hoping for something worthy or Depp’s talent. It started just fine, and then it just lost the plot. And not gradually, either. It’s like the ground opened up and it went into freefall. The script left a lot to be desired, although the plot progression was the one thing that was more sturdy than most other aspects of this. Plus there was Kate Mara, and I really don’t like her very much, so she just irritated me endlessly every time she came on screen. Depp only impressed me more towards the end – those of you who have seen this, I am sure you will agree that it was more of a call back to the older Depp style. Overall, the movie was ludicrous. I just could not slot in with what was going on at all, which is a pity. I really wish it had been something more.