Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: The Haunting of Hill House, Season 1

Posted November 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Starring: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Victoria Pedretti
Creator: Mike Flanagan
Release Date: 12 October 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Run Time: 50 min per episode
Genre Type: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Explores a group of siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past, some of which still lurk in their minds while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.

I had seen the trailer for this show online but because I’m not a huge fan of horror and scary movies in general, I had no plans to actually watch it. But my coworkers each took a turn convincing me that I should give it a try and I’m glad that I finally listened to them because holy cow, this show was the bomb!

So this show tells the story of the Crane family. The Crane’s buy a house for the summer with the intent to fix it then flip it for money. The house is known for being haunted but the Crane’s ain’t afraid of no ghosts so they move their kids into that big ol’ haunted house and deflect, deflect, deflect when the kids are scared at night because of the ghosts.

For the most part, I was glued to my seat anxiously waiting for more information on this house, on this family, and just everything but there were a couple of episodes where my attention was divided because the storytelling was on the slow side but episodes 5 & 6 more than made up for the slowness of the beginning episodes. I thought that the writing of this season was pretty neat. I liked that the first episode triggers the events that take place throughout the rest of the season. I also really liked that it set the tone for the madness that was to come. I also really liked that each episode seemed to build on the story and brought to light different things that surrounded the same night (both past and present).

So each episode follows a different character and shows things from their perspective in the past and the present. It shows how their part of the story leads up to where things are in the present and from the jump, I had so many questions. I still have so many questions and I’ve seen the entire season, three different times already. Each episode gifts us with a piece of the story until we get to the end and are gifted with the entire story.

Each of the Crane siblings are dealing with different things and my favorite sibling was Theo, though it was Nell’s episode that was my favorite of all of the episodes. I won’t go into much detail about each episode, or even each sibling because you need to watch the show for yourself to really get it and I don’t want to spoil anything so for the purposes of this post, I will say that this show really knocked me on my ass. The creativity behind the storytelling, each episode building on the next was fantastic and I was entertained left and right.

This show is really worth the hours you’ll invest in viewing it. Each character brought something different to the overall story arc and I quite enjoyed how everything came together. I still have hella questions about the house, the ghosts and other things but I’m hopeful that a new season is forthcoming and we’ll get more answers to those questions? Fingers crossed, anyway.

Still, if you’re looking for a new show to binge on Netflix, you should try this…it’s more suspenseful and thrilling than scary and the story is just too interesting to not watch. I promise you’ll enjoy it…everyone that I’ve forced to watch this has loved it. 🙂

Movie Trailer

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Book Boyfriend: Morgan MacKinnon from Untamed by Pamela Clare

Posted September 21, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

This feature keeps changing because I’m trying different things out but I think I’m going to stick with this format from here on out. Thanks for coming along this ride until I figure out what the hell I want to do here. LOL.

Book Boyfriend: Morgan MacKinnon from Untamed by Pamela ClareUntamed by Pamela Clare
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers #2
Published by Penguin, Berkley on January 3, 2012
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 369
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads

In the breathtaking tradition of The Last of the Mohicans...

MacKinnon's Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.

Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

This week’s book boyfriend comes from a book that caught me by complete surprise. Before starting it, I had no interest in reading the book at all. In fact, I dragged my feet in reading this book for my summer reading challenge and boy was I dumb for that.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished and I’m still thinking about this book. I’m still thinking about how well done the romance was and specifically, I’m thinking about how great Morgan MacKinnon was. Morgan is the middle MacKinnon brother, he took over the leadership position over the MacKinnon Rangers when his older brother Iain took a wife and retired from military life and a better leader you’ll be hard pressed to find. Morgan demanded respect and loyalty from his men and he got that by having their backs just as much as they had his. This book starts off with Morgan refusing to leave one of his men out on the battlefield. He goes back for him, saves his life and is injured then taken captive by the enemy. He’d give his life to save everyone that he can. That was the kind of man he was.

Once he’s taken captive, his plan is to die before they can interrogate him and get him to turn traitor to the side that he fights for. When that doesn’t happen, his plans turn to spy games until he figures out a way to escape. It wasn’t easy for him, playing friend to his enemies even though if things were different, he’d much rather fight with the honor that his captor had then the guy that tricked him into serving his army. He already had his loyalties and he was never going to turn against his brothers. His Rangers.

Then he meets Amalie Chauvenet and seeing him fall in love with her made me love him all the more. He said (and meant) the sweetest things to her.

“I would think myself in hell but for the sight of you, lass.”

“… No matter what happens to me, watch over her.”

“You needn’t ask. You ken I will–wi’ my life.”

“My love lies upon her.”

Iain grinned. “And her’s upon you. I can see it. Now go to her.”

I never knew that I need a man to tell me that his love lies upon me but after reading this book, I need it. Now. Haha.

Morgan MacKinnon was the bomb. He was strong, he was loyal and he made me want to lick him from head to toe. If you’re looking for someone to love, or a story to fall right into, look no further than Untamed by Pamela Clare. Morgan is great but his story is also fantastic. His story takes place in the Last of the Mohican times so there are lots of yummy men to swoon over. There’s war and sexy Scots fighting alongside their Native American brothers and there’s also more quotes like this:

Some of the amusement faded from Rillieux’s face, his eyes betraying the hatred he’d been trying to mask. “We French are renowned the world over as lovers, while you Scots”–he spat the word—“are known for your dourness.”

There was no laughter now, only silence.

“Is that so?” Morgan tossed back the rest of his brandy, set the crystal snifter aside. “Then remember this—in a fort full of Frenchmen, the lass chose a Scot.”

Really, is it any wonder that Morgan MacKinnon is my book boyfriend for this week?

Hero Casting

Buy the Book


MacKinnon’s Rangers Seriers


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Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted August 31, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneHard Sell by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street Series #2
Published by Amazon, Montlake Romance on September 4, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 252
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add It: Goodreads

Brilliantly hot Matt Cannon doesn't mind his "boy wonder" nickname. At twenty-eight, he may be the youngest--and richest--broker at his firm, but the constant string of women in his bed know he's all man. When Matt's boss insists he clean up his image to land a potential investor, Matt knows just the woman to pose as his girlfriend.

Sabrina Cross is Wall Street's go-to "fixer"--a chameleon of a woman who can be anything, to any man, for any reason, with just one rule: no touching. Matt and Sabrina have always been like oil and water, but their new arrangement lights a match to the animosity and leads to something altogether hotter.

Lauren Layne is at the top of my favorite author’s list. I will read whatever she puts out because I’m that big a fan of hers and lately, she’s been knocking shit out of the park. It’s no different with Hard Sell. Matt and Sabrina’s romance was just as awesome as I hoped and I completely adored the both of them.

So, Hard Sell is the second book in the 21 Wall Streets series and it was another rollicking good time. I enjoyed Ian and Lara’s story in Hot Asset but the bickering and angsty love of Matt and Sabrina really worked for me. I thought Lauren Layne did the fake relationship turned real relationship thing between Matt and Sabrina really well and everything just worked for me.

When we first meet Matt and Sabrina, you just know that there’s a history between the two. They bicker constantly and are always having to be separated because of their bickering. They belong to the same circle of friends and while they don’t seem to like each other, they tolerate each other for the sake of their shared loved one, Ian Bradley.

Matt works with Ian and Sabrina is a fixer who is Ian’s oldest friend. When Matt needs a fake girlfriend to fix his image for a potential investor, who better to fix this problem for him than Sabrina? She fixes problems and he has a problem that not just anyone could help him with so even though he doesn’t get along with Sabrina, he does trust her. He also desperately needs her.

They both knew that the situation was a weird one and that it wasn’t going to be easy. They barely get along and having to pretend to love each other is going to take a lot out of them and I laughed and laughed because Lauren Layne’s humor game in this one is strong.

“How’s the Sabrina thing been going?”

“I’m exhausted.”

“It’s only been two days.”

I enjoyed the way that they both understood how they felt about each other and I enjoyed seeing them work through their seperate issues to come out on top. They were a great couple with amazing chemistry and I thought Layne did a fantastic job of telling their story.

Matt Cannon is my book boyfriend for this week because he was flat out the bomb. I loved his cocky attitude, his witty personality and I really adored the way that he came to love Sabrina. The passion was always there for them but everything else was new to him and seeing him come to realize that was so good. I loved seeing him get so jealous and then going after what he really wanted. A jealous Matt Cannon is super sexy.

I’ve been thinking the hardest part of this whole thing will be faking being in love when I don’t even believe in love. Now I know better. The hardest thing is going to be keeping my hands off the only woman I’ve ever wanted.

Here’s my Matt Cannon.

Overall, it’s another winner for me. I enjoyed the characters, the romance, everything and even though there were times when I wanted to junk punch both Matt and Sabrina, in the end, I just flat out loved them. I cannot freaking wait for Kennedy and Kate’s story.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Buy the Book

Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
September 4, 2018
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

21 Wall Street Series


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Throwback Thursday: Castles by Julie Garwood

Posted August 30, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time.

Throwback Thursday: Castles by Julie GarwoodCastles by Julie Garwood
Series: Crown's Spies #4
Also in this series: The Lion's Lady, Guardian Angel, The Gift
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on November 4, 1996
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 354
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads

Orphaned and besieged Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Caineswood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were rekindled.

Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone ... yet Alesandra's tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel ...

Back in the day, I used to be a regular poster on Julie Garwood’s Bulletin Board and it was a lot of fun for me. I needed somewhere to go to discuss my passion for books and love of Julie Garwood heroes, heroines and books in general. The JGBB was the perfect place for that. Every month, we discussed a different JG book, we played online games and you could even compete to claim your own JG hero. Colin was the very first JG hero that I actually competed to claim as my own….and your girl won!!!

Haha, anyway this book was brought back onto my radar after Quinn brought it up on the discord app as one of her favorite Julie Garwood books and I just had to do it. I just had to open this sucker up and read it all in one sitting. I loved this book just as much as I have every other single time that I’ve read it. Colin and Alessandra are serious couples goals and Julie Garwood is second to none in capturing their romance, their humor and their motherfreaking charm because re-reading this book was a good time.

Castles is the last book in Julie Garwood’s Crown’s Spies series and it follows Caine from Guardian Angel’s younger brother Colin as he finds love with orphaned Princess Alesandra. Colin’s parents are Alesandra’s guardians and they’re trying to protect her from the unwanted attention of the suitor’s variety. Everyone wants a piece of an orphaned Princess you know. When her life is thrown into constant danger because someone is trying to kidnap her, Colin steps in and takes over her protection…and that’s when the shenanigans begin.

This book man, it’s always so much fun to dive into old school Julie Garwood books because the hero and the heroine get into some crazy stuff and seeing them come together in love with each other is the best. Colin and Alesandra were one of my favorites back in the day and reuniting with them and reading through that family dinner scene always hits me in my funny bone and gets me all up in my feels. I laughed just as much this time around as I always do and man, I can’t recommend this book enough. The series is a winner for me too so if you want to really get the dynamic of the group of Crown Spies featured in this book, you should start with The Lion’s Lady. All of the books were great and this one is my favorite of the bunch.

There were so many things I had forgotten before re-reading this book. Like that Colin’s nickname is Dolphin. I forgot about Alesandra’s lists. What she did for Colin’s boots and his limp. That her bodyguard Raymond was hurt and just how refreshingly sweet Alessandra was. This was a really good book and if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance then look no further than Castles because seriously, it’s a great book.

Buy the Book


Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Crown’s Spies Series


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Review: The Meg

Posted August 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

The Meg (2018)
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Release Date: 10 August 2018
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1:53
Movie Type: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Five years ago, expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench that forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew. Though the tragic incident earned him a dishonorable discharge, what ultimately cost him his career, his marriage and any semblance of honor was his unsupported and incredulous claims of what caused it – an attack on his vessel by a mammoth, 70-foot sea creature, believed to be extinct for more than a million years. But when a submersible lies sunk and disabled at the bottom of the ocean – carrying his ex-wife among the team onboard – he is the one who gets the call. Whether a shot at redemption or a suicide mission, Jonas must confront his fears and risk his own life and the lives of everyone trapped below on a single question: Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive … and on the hunt?

I’ve been pretty anxious about seeing this movie since I found out that it was coming out. As soon as it dropped, I knew that we were going to make a family movie night out of it and I wasn’t disappointed. This movie was cheesy and it was ridiculous but oh man was I entertained! I laughed, I jumped out of my seat and when it was all said and done, I had a big ol’ smile on my face.

Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered a big ass shark that dented the hell out of a just as big submarine that Jonas was brought in to rescue and when he abandons a few members from his team to save the rest of the people from that big ass shark, nobody believes him and he gets the boot out of the navy and his wife leaves him and he’s dishonored. Dishonor on his family. Dishonor on his house. Dishonor on his cow. Five years later, a new submarine carrying his ex-wife is at the bottom of the ocean and he has to go and save her and her team from…the very thing that nobody believed attacked him all those years ago.

Needless to say, he’s not happy about it and he has no interest in going to save anyone from that Megaladon shark…until he finds out that his ex-wife is down there and then he changes his tune and goes to get her.

The entire movie features a bunch of smart people discovering something new and getting excited about their discovery, only to get really scared when that new discovery starts attacking them and then having to destroy that discovery because it is pissed and starts killing hella people. I was here for it all. The cheesy romance, the cute little kid that ran all over the place and the big ass shark that was killing everyone and taking numbers. There were plenty of moments that I thought I would roll my eyes right out of my head but goodness, even those moments I was here for. I really love how many times Jason Statham took the shark on one on one and lived to tell the story. I also really love how calm he was every time he had to step up and save everyone from the big bad monster in the ocean.

This movie brought back memories of watching Jaws for the first time. I got scared, I screamed out loud and I cheered when all was said and done. I also thought a lot about the Black Sea Changelings from Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changelings series because these marine biologists live in the middle of the ocean in one of those underwater buildings like the one in Ocean Light.

The cast was great, the acting wasn’t horrible and overall, the movie was a hit for me. If you’re looking for a good time and love shark week, then this movie is probably for you.

Movie Trailer

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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