Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Golden Lily

                Well I finally got to finish this book.  It took me for longer than it should have.  Now, that is no fault of the book, it was everything I expected and more.  This is the fault of my crazy schedule.  Yep, real life interfering in my reading, writing, movie watching time, how rude.  Seriously though I hope to get things settled down and back in the swing of things now that I’m officially in my new place.  By officially I mean I’m sitting with my laptop surrounded by boxes. 

                Anyways, enough with me more on the amazing book.  The Golden Lily, by Richelle Mead is the sequel to Bloodlines, the first book in the spin-off series of the Vampire Academy books.  As per usual, my reviews contain as little spoilers as possible for the book/movie in question, however, there will be spoilers for the prior stories so you have been warned.
                The Golden Lily takes places directly after Bloodlines and has our little gang returning.  Sydney is pushed further into a world she has spent her whole life training for.  She has grown rather fond of her ‘family’ at Amberwood and if she thinks about it too hard the though unnerves her.  Her whole life she was brought up to believe that Mori and Strogi are evil and bad.  She has come to slowly realize that everyone, Alchemists and humans alike can be just as bad.

                In this tale there is a new threat to their covert life.  This book has more of our dear socially ignorant Sydney still trying to learn the ways of ‘normal’ teenage life.  She’s brilliant and beautiful but doesn’t see it in herself.  She is completely insecure like more other people in school, hell in life.  There is also more of our favorite young guardian Eddie and even more about our new guardian that was briefly mentioned at the end of Bloodlines, as she takes over as Jill’s roommate, Angeline.  There is of course the crazy teacher we got to learn was really more than she let on.  Trey, Sydney’s friend who also supplies her with her favorite substance, coffee.  Also at the end of Bloodlines, we had the arrival of Sonya and Dimitri to work on experimenting with spirit magic and see what makes reformed Strogi different.  Much to Adrian’s dislike.

                Now you thought I’d forgotten about Adrian didn’t you?  Nope not a chance.  I adore Adrian.  He’s such a great and complex character you can’t help but enjoy.  Now don’t get me wrong I loved him in The Vampire Academy books but I was always 100% for Rose and Dimitri, I couldn’t help myself.  I liked him yeah but Dimitri and Rose had captured my heart before he came along.  Anyways, we do get much more Adrian in The Golden Lily.  We get the good and the bad.  One of the things I love most about him is that he is so complex.  He can be completely sweet and adoring one minute and a complete ass the next, all while battling with the darkness that accompanies his gift of being a spirit user.

                This book is so complex I hated every single time something came up and I was forced to put the book down.  The mysteries that unravel and the thrills wrapped up in the perfect balance of romance and drama was a captivating read.  I easily give this book 5 stars, my only regret is that, as usual with all good books I read it seems, I must wait for the next one to find out more.  So if you haven’t read The Vampire Academy series and the first Bloodlines book then you need to get on it right away.  Already read them?  Tell me what you think.  Now off to go unpack a few more boxes before work.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

                Okay so I was super stoked to see this at the midnight showing Thursday night and I would have posted before now but I was feeling rather irritable with the AC not working yesterday and not even remembering the joy that was the midnight showing could not help.  Now here I am though with my review.

                So for those of you who live under a rock The Dark Knight Rises, is the 3rd and final movie in the Dark Knight series.  So…if you by some great miracle haven’t seen the others yet (shakes my head in disbelief) then be wary there will be spoilers for the first 2 movies.  Now for those of you who just haven’t seen Rises yet then don’t worry I won’t give away any major spoilers.  I promise.  Ask anyone who has known me for any amount of time and tried to get a spoiler from my lips…not happening*.

                Now this movie picks up 8 years after The Dark Knight where Batman takes the blame for Dent’s final demented acts to preserve his reputation and keep the faith everyone had in him.  He became the monster the city needed him to be.  The years have not been good on Bruce either as he also lost someone he cared for.  Then a new force comes to Gotham and Batman is needed once again.

                Yep, you guess it.  Bane.  Now I won’t lie I knew there was something familiar about Bane from the posters but honestly I never looked to see who the actor was.  Then just as I was sitting to write my review I had to make sure it was Bane and not Bain, can’t have that, I found out it is Tom Hardy.  Wow had no idea but now I see the similarities once I knew it.  Anyways, Bane was awesome in his bad ass way.  He was a cool foe and let me just say that mask thing really added to the creep factor.  He was everything that a good bad guy should be to me, he was strong, dangerous, smart, and oh so psychotic.

                Now Bane wasn’t the only great performance.  Nope we have new faces of Catwoman and Blake played by Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Now my old favorites are there too like Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Fox and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, wonderful group.  And if I need to say it as well then well…Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne, though I think that goes without saying. 

                Now the story in this isn’t completely about Batman.  Like the others there are multiple story lines going on that meld into one larger story.  Now this movie runs at almost 3 hours and I never felt bored.  There was gripping stuff, tear jerking moments, and the amazing action we come to know and expect.  The cool gadgets of Batman continue from Fox’s special department.  Yes the story continues to unravel and you see things from the other two films tie into this one.  There are twists and turns and great shocks and action throughout the journey and I had a blast. 

                Let’s see great acting, check.  Amazing story, check.  What else?  Oh so much and I could write for a long time about this but I think I will leave it with just one more thing.  The look.  The look of everything on there was so amazing visually.  I do admit, and my movie partner in crime (one of them anyways) pointed out that this movie wasn’t as dark as the others having more daylight stuff.  This is true but it did give a new feel to Gotham.  A new way to see things.  Plus the actions, the explosions (come on what would a movie be without explosions), and chases so much fun to watch.  I think they have a home run.

                The only thing I will say about the ending of the movie was that I find it fitting.  See I managed to make it through a whole review without any real spoilers.  If you didn’t know something I put then you clearly didn’t watch the first two movies or seen the previews.  Now I suggest you go out and see this movie ASAP and then tell me what you think.  I can’t wait to see it again, and look forward to when it comes out on DVD and I can do a Dark Knight marathon.  With that I end this review with my rating of 5 Bat signals in the sky.

Rating: 5 Bat Signals

*Yes I have to amend this as two friends of mine did manage to get a spoiler out of me once.  To be fair it was a reward if they could solve a puzzle.  So yes once I did.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Magic Mike and Brave

                So as promised more movie reviews.  The other day I went and saw a double feature of Magic Mike, the movie about male strippers, and Disney’s Brave.  Yes, they are an odd pairing to be sure but hey this is my head we are talking about. 
                First was Magic Mike.  So if you know anything about this movie you know it is centered around male strippers.  There is a plot yes, but I freely admit I went for the eye candy.  Yep, all those movies that have women objectified for males to ogle at…this one is for the ladies.
                Now as for those pretty things I mentioned seeing…those would be Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Boomer, and Adam Rodriguez.  I have to admit they all have some moves.  Primarily the movie is about Tatum and Pettyfer but the others still get some memorable air time.
                But for the plot it is about Mike, a stripper who wants to do more with his life but is waiting on things to fall in line.  He meets The Kid, who he then takes under his wing in a sense and shows him how he can make his way.  The Kid brings both good and bad into Mike’s world and makes him take a harder look at what is going on around him.  That is the story.
                Nothing too deep but then like I said I didn’t go in expecting to see something nominated for an Emmy.  So if you liked the previews, and you have all seen them, then you will enjoy the movie.  It made me laugh and smile so hey it was a good time.  So I give it a 4.5 rating for being everything I expected.

Rating: 4.5 Handcuffs (I couldn’t resist)

                Now onto the second movie I saw, Brave.  Now this is the Disney Pixar film about a new kind of Princess.  Yep it’s animated and even I can see the twisted sort of head case I am to watch this after Magic Mike but then again I never claimed to be anywhere near normal.  I can switch just that quick.
                Now Brave, is about Princess Merida with her crazy out of control red locks and her stubborn defiance to be the proper lady.  Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty (in case the whole Princess thing didn’t give that away).  Merida makes a reckless choice trying to change her fate and unleashes unintended peril.  She must then fix her own mistake and take action to right the wrong and learn that to change your fate, you must take control of your destiny.
                So this movie is totally ubber cute.  I was giggling with the other little kids in the theatre.  I do admit I was the oldest person there without a small child at my side…my little kid is inside me ready to burst out at any moment.  Anyways back to the movie, it is cute and I have to say I love the accents.  The settings were beautiful and it had the true Disney vibe for me.  Plus I love Merida for her strength.  She isn’t the damsel in distress like so many others she is strong and a true force of nature and that is also a liability.  Plus she does archery and I have to admit the part of me that is still so craving to see The Hunger Games again was totally thinking how she would be good in the games. 
                This is a family movie for anyone really.  Let your inner kid run free and go see this movie.  I do warn you if you have estrogen it will probably act up on you and get you a bit mushy at parts.  I warn you to bring a tissue.  So without much more, I give it a full 5 for the rating because hello Disney cartoon, Scottish accents, magic, strong female character, action, self discovery, oh and a great soundtrack, need I say more?

Rating:  5 Arrows

                So there you have a much long overdo movie review.  I hope to be making more reviews for both movies and books again here soon.  In the mean time as usual tell me what you think?  Have you seen Magic Mike or Brave?  Share your thoughts below.