Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: Dumplin’

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

Dumplin’ (2018) Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, Odeya Rush, Luke Benward Director: Anne Fletcher Release Date: 7 December 2018 Rating: PG-13 Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes Movie Type: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Willowdean (‘Dumplin’), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.
I’ll be honest, I went into this movie a little hesitant because the last big girl movie that I tried watching, the big girl pissed me off. I didn’t want another Sierra Burgess is a Loser so I crossed my fingers and hoped Jennifer Aniston wasn’t going to let me down. I’m super happy to report that this movie, Dumplin’ was exactly what I hoped Sierra was going to be and I adored watching it. I didn’t read the book so I can’t compare them but I really enjoyed the movie. I thought the actors portrayed their characters well, the acting itself was great and the story was solid. So this movie follows our main character, Willowdean Dickson. Will works at a diner, has the bestest best friend and a mother who is a former beauty queen who is still very active in the beauty pageant world in their small Texas town. She also has a giant crush on her coworker and friend, Bo. Will has a bright personality and her love for all things Dolly Parton was delightful. The movie revolves around her Aunt dying and Will trying to move on while finding some common ground with her beauty queen mother. They are as different as night and day. Will is bigger than her size 0 mother and not at all into the things that her mother is into so they don’t have a lot in common and that gets in the way of them having a close relationship with each other. Will’s Mom won’t talk about Will’s Aunt Lucy and Will desperately wants to connect with her Mom over their shared love of Lucy but she never gets the chance because her Mom is so unwilling. Will gets made fun at school because her Mom continues to call her Dumplin’ so when she’s at her lowest, she comes across an unsubmitted beauty pageant application of her Aunt’s and she decides that she’s going to sign up for the beauty pageant herself. She’s going to finish what her Aunt Lucy couldn’t. Aunt Lucy and Will were close. Aunt Lucy understood Will in a way that Will didn’t think her mother did and Lucy raised Will to be kind and to be happy. She introduced Will to Dolly Parton and introduced Will to Elle. Will and Elle became the best of friends and I really loved the strong friendships we see in this movie. From Will and Elle to Will and her weirdos Millie and Hannah, Will’s friendship game is strong. I loved seeing Will come into her own. I loved seeing her gain the confidence to be happy with herself and letting others around her be happy with her as well. I adored the tiny romance between her and Bo and though Bo was fantastic and adorable, he wasn’t in the movie long enough to take over my adoration for Peter Kavinsky. The movie was more about Willowdean and the romance was such a small part of that but when she gains the confidence to return Bo’s crush, I cheered because I was super happy for her. This movie was all that and a bag of chips for me. I adored the girl that played Will, I loved seeing her bond with her Mom and I loved that her Mom wasn’t the villain. I loved that the Mom really did love Will and was so proud of her, but didn’t know how to connect with her. I loved that they got it right in the end and this movie was just the bomb. Lots of fun scenes mixed in with sweet scenes, this movie isn’t to be missed.
Movie Trailer
My Rating
4.5 out of 5

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

Posted November 15, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Buddy Review: Wait for It by Mariana ZapataWait for It
by Mariana Zapata
Published by Mariana Zapata on December 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View:First Person
Pages: 670
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn't been one long enough. Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn't know what the hell she's doing half the time. How she's made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn't supposed to be so hard. With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for. Except for a boyfriend. Or a husband. But who needs either one of those?

Wait for It is a follow-up novel to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Kulti. It follows Vanessa’s best friend, Diana, as Diana finds her soulmate and falls head over heels in love with him. Things aren’t easy for Diana because when she meets and even when she falls in love with Dallas, there are complications. Complications of the “he’s married” kind. But a friendship blossoms between Dallas and Diana when Diana moves in across the street from Dallas with her two nephews, that are for all intents and purposes, her kids. She’s much too busy to entertain the idea of her and Dallas but Dallas is hot and he’s always around offering his help so it was inevitable. Dallas is a lot older than Diana and doesn’t have time for another relationship with a woman who takes and takes and takes. He’s busy trying to untangle himself from a marriage that shouldn’t have happened in the first place but he can’t seem to stop wanting to be there for Diana, Josh, and Lou. Before either of them know what’s what, love happens. Rowena: Wait for It was another hit for me so THANK YOU for suggesting we read this one for this month’s buddy review. I liked this book so much that I read it all in one sitting. ONE SITTING. There are 670 pages of story in this book and I read them all in one night. So, what did you think of this one? Ames: I am so glad you enjoyed this one! As you know, I love this book and it is right up there with Kulti as one of my favorite books ever. LIke I re-read this book almost as much as I have Kulti. Diana and Dallas are quite the pair. But they definitely get off to a rocky start, what with Dallas being wary of her and thinking she wants him so he acts like a jerk. I love that Diana had to keep telling him she didn’t want in his pants. LOL I know when you saw the page count you were a bit hesitant to start this, but didn’t it pay off? I love the way Mariana Zapata writes relationships. Sometimes with current contemporary romances characters are so quick to jump into a relationship. I like the slow burn MZ creates. She builds up a solid foundation for her characters. And she invites us into their lives. Not just the relationship. Like we get to see Diana and Dallas’ friends, the neighbors, their families. How Josh plays baseball and Diana’s interactions with the other players’ parents. I like that. Rowena: Yes, that was probably my favorite part of the reading experience as a whole. That we were invited into every aspect of their lives and not just their romance. I loved that we got the day to day stuff, the good and the bad, and were able to rejoice in the good times and hurt along with them in the bad times. Mariana Zapata is really good at pulling emotional strings for the reader to latch on to and ride out throughout the entire book. I loved that we see both Dallas and Diana meet, get to know each other and then fall in love with each other. I loved that they both acknowledged the complicated mess that a relationship between them would be with Dallas’ situation and yes, like you, I LOVED that Diana was forever reminding Dallas that she didn’t want in his pants. This was just a great contemporary romance that I adored from beginning to end and honestly, didn’t want to end. I thought Zapata wrote this story exactly right and I was here for it all. This definitely gets a 4.5 out of 5 for me. What about you? Ames: Another thing I liked were the boys! Its such a heartbreaking topic Zapata handles with these two little guys and I thought she was very realistic in the way she wrote their story and how Diana stepped up for them. I loved them! The way Lou was with Dallas just made me love the story even more. And how loyal Josh and Diana were. Dallas was right when he called them savages. LOL I agree with your grade. 4.5 out of 5 from me. I highly recommend. And now I need to find me a Dallas!
Final Grade
Ames: 4.5 out of 5 Rowena: 4.5 out of 5
Other Books Set in this World
four-half-stars

10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

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
four-half-stars

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
AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE
MacKinnon’s Rangers Seriers
four-half-stars

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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
four-half-stars

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
four-half-stars

10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,