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Kona (Emerald City)

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Go Set a Watchman
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If you did not want anything, there was plenty.", 17 July 2015
This review is from: Go Set a Watchman (Hardcover)
A woman comes back home, finds the townsfolk are all bigots and she's outgrown them all, and yells a lot. End of story.

This is an okay book with little action and way too much talk. The protagonist, Jean Louise, and her family and friends talk everything to death and I grew impatient. I think it would have worked much better as a short story, because the plot is so paper-thin.

If you loved TKAM, this might be a good sequel, because we do find out what happens to the Finches. The best scenes are Jean Louise's childhood flashbacks, which seem sweetly familiar to those who love TKAM, but without the charm. This book is narrated by a proper third person and there is virtually none of the rural vernacular that made TKAM so utterly lovable and memorable.

All in all, I was disappointed in (and bored by) the book.

And where's Boo?

Before I Go To Sleep [DVD]
Before I Go To Sleep [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicole Kidman
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm your husband...Ben.", 21 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep [DVD] (DVD)
Nicole Kidman stars as a woman with a brain injury who forgets everything each time she goes to bed. Every morning, her husband (played by Colin Firth) has to reintroduce himself and tell her about their life. When her new therapist takes a very personal interest in her, she starts to get back bits of her memory.

This movie is extremely intense and creepy, which would be good, except that you know right off the bat who did what to whom. The powerhouse teaming of Kidman and Firth means the acting is very good; it's just too bad they got stuck with such a dopey, plot hole-ridden script. After the movie was over, I was really shocked at how implausible it all was. Nothing in the story makes sense or could really happen.

Recommended for fans of Kidman and Firth as long as you don't look too closely at the plot.

Jason Priestley: A Memoir
Jason Priestley: A Memoir
by Jason Priestley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars From the Peach Pit to fatherhood, 13 Jun. 2015
Jason Priestly's memoir is a fun read for his fans. He details his years starring in "90201," his relationships with his castmates, and the overwhelming phenomenon of worldwide stardom. I didn't realize he never stopped acting and directing. He talks about his near-fatal race car crash and lengthy rehabilitation, life-changing events that led to a more mature outlook on life.

The book is very well-written, full of energy and self-deprecating humor, honestly describing the fun and pitfalls of fame. For his fans, this is entertaining and insightful and reveals an intelligent, likable, and hard-working man.

This Is Your Captain Speaking
This Is Your Captain Speaking
by Macleod Gavin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars "Set a course for adventure...", 12 Jun. 2015
Gavin MacLeod's memoir is a fun, quick read for his fans. I wasn't familiar with his work pre-"Mary Tyler Moore Show," and it was interesting to see how much work he had done on stage and in films before his TV success.

While he doesn't reveal any new information about his "MTM" and "Love Boat" days, he does talk a lot about them and says he enjoyed all his co-stars and loved becoming famous at long last. He has a lot to say about his two marriages and why the first one ended, which was surprising to me.

MacLeod comes across as a likable, level-headed, sincere man with an interesting life to share. The book is well-written, contains many photographs, and I recommend it.

San Andreas [DVD] [2015]
San Andreas [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Dwayne Johnson
Price: £9.99

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars California gets the big one, 6 Jun. 2015
This review is from: San Andreas [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

I'm a fan of disaster movies and expected to love this one, but I'd already seen most of it in "The Day After Tomorrow":

1. Brave dad goes off to rescue independent teen child from natural disaster
2. Teen falls in love while dodging doom
3. Tsunami (coming from the wrong direction) pushes ship into city street
4. Dad easily finds child despite impossible odds
5. World almost ends but divorced parents still reunite

And all this happens without the lead actresses' makeup even getting smeared!

It was just too corny for words. Dwayne Johnson is the only likable/sympathetic character in the film and he's stuck uttering the dumbest lines ("We rebuild!!"). There are two young, cheerful guys with such sickeningly sweet English accents, I expected them to break out in songs from, "Oliver!" The worst offense was to film many of the big disaster scenes with a very shaky hand-cam and to focus on the stars' faces instead of the crumbling landscape. None of the effects were believable because, though millions were killed and maimed, the stars emerge completely unscathed and looking effortlessly handsome/beautiful.

Bottom line: It held my interest but it's been done before and better.

Mr Turner [DVD] [2014]
Mr Turner [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Price: £4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Off--putting, to say the least, 9 May 2015
This review is from: Mr Turner [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Turner's later life is portrayed in a series of often unrelated vignettes, showing his deep love for his father, his loyal housekeeper, his famous artist colleagues, and his lady love, but mostly it showcases his blustery, growling, nasty personality.

Timothy Spall does an excellent job of conveying Turner's irascibility; he is forever grunting and groaning and getting away with it because of his wonderful talent. The movie is filmed in such glorious colors that each scene looks like an oil painting by a master; visually this film is a delight. The 19th century sets and costumes are also perfect.

On the down side, each scene begins intriguingly but goes nowhere; there is no continuity or build-up to a dramatic end. But it is the man himself, Turner, that I found so utterly loathsome that I can't recommend the movie. It does show many of his art works but everything is secondary to the repulsive blowhard himself.

by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Chris and Emily and the night everything changed, 5 May 2015
This review is from: THE PACT (Paperback)
Chris and Emily grew up as neighbors, playmates, best buddies, and later, high school sweethearts. They were two halves of a whole, people said. And then, one night, they had a gun and their lives exploded.

The basic plot is a very good one and the author, for the most part, writes engagingly. A lot of it was can't-put-it-down-good, but unfortunately, a lot of it was just filler. At 500 pages, the book is about 200 pages too long. There are endless (and ultimately pointless) pages of courtroom testimony that I found dull. Worse than that, the (non-) ending: It was such a disappointment! We waited all this time to find out WHY and then, sorry, reader, you lose!

The descriptions of Chris and Emily's developing romance and the backstories of their parents were all very interesting and I found the jail scenes especially riveting. However, being so let down at the end, I really can't recommend the book.

Change of Heart
Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking but slow, 14 April 2015
This review is from: Change of Heart (Paperback)
Shay Bourne, a convicted rapist and murderer, is about to be executed. As he is moved into a new prison wing, he meets the residents of the nearby cells, a young priest, and a lawyer. They all want to help Shay because, it seems, he may be Jesus.

This story had a good basic plot: Is this man divine or a monster? If it's the latter and you needed an organ transplant to live, would you take one of his? Is the death penalty moral? All good ideas, but the story was at least twice as long as it should have been, packed with unnecessary characters and a truly silly and awkward romance.

I like that each chapter was narrated by a different character so we see many sides to the story. It's just too bad that it dragged on so slowly in the middle that I almost gave up on it.

Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth
Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth
by Lana Turner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life!, 7 April 2015
If a movie were made based on Lana Turner's autobiography, no one would believe it. Her life was a living melodrama lived at breakneck speed with romance, infidelity, abuse, murder, and betrayal, and all while being a top movie star.

She discusses in great detail her seven marriages and multiple affairs, which included Tyrone Power and the infamous Johnny Stompanato. She careened from man to man and movie to movie with reckless abandon, never seeming to learn from her mistakes.

I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough and was often shaking my head at Lana's poor judgment, but the book is still very entertaining. Fans of the golden age of Hollywood will enjoy hearing about Turners' life and famous contemporaries.

The Imitation Game [DVD]
The Imitation Game [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninvolving, 4 April 2015
This review is from: The Imitation Game [DVD] (DVD)
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a brilliant mathematician and cryptologist who developed an early version of a computer that decoded German messages in WWII.

This is based on a monumentally-important story, but the movie is rather dull and flat. The eccentric Turing is neither likable nor especially interesting and I couldn't feel connected to him. The code-breaking plot was too technical for me, and while I did appreciate the acting and the underlying story, I didn't like the movie too much.

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