“Scott and Scamp” book review (short story)

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book. It was labeled as “gay erotica” but I just shook my head and was like, it’s probably not really that. (ignorance is not always bliss) By the time I got to the point in the story where I discovered that it was indeed about teenage boys falling in love, I was too hooked by the story to put it down.

That’s how you know a story is good, when you are willing to go out of your comfort zone and read it anyway. Now the writing style was different from what I’m used to as well. It wasn’t written perfectly, but I caught on quickly that it wasn’t meant to be. This story is told in the first person, of a teenage boy. And it is written exactly like you would expect a teenage boy to write it. To me, that made it more real. If it was written all fancy and grammar-ly correct, it would have broken the feel of realism. I actually felt like I was reading this kid’s diary.

To me that’s the goal of any good story, to take you out of your own reality for a while and put you in someone else’s. That’s what this book did. So if you are willing to try something different, that doesn’t fall in the mainstream media eyes, give this little short story a try. I was glad I did.

Scott and Scamp


The Purge: Anarchy, Movie review

In case you didn’t see Purge 1, the plot can be summed up rather quickly. Its a home invasion, made extreme. This movie relied too heavily on having the actors be stupid. If the people had any kind of brain there wouldn’t have been a movie. They were a few attempts at plot twists but they were undermined by the believability of, “would a person really do that?”

The setting for Purge 2 helped it greatly. We are seeing the purge on a much larger scale. So the director had more to work with. The acting was on par with what you’d expect to see in a horror movie. The dialog was a bit hard to listen too. It felt too much like “time fillers” as we had our actors travel from one disaster to another. Someone really needs to tell the director that silence is okay.

There were constant twists in the plot. Most of the time you could predict when one of those “twists” was coming. But guessing what the twist was going to be, not easy. So in that aspect the movie was entertaining.

There were a lot hidden messages in the movie. Well, they weren’t really hidden, but it was nice of them to try to put some meaning behind the gore. Most horror movies don’t attempt that.

If you are itching to see an action-packed horror movie, Purge 2 will fit the bill. Since it’s only 90 minutes long, the shortfalls in the movie are forgivable. Don’t bother with Purge 1 though. There are no tie-ins from one movie to the other. Aside from the fact it’s the some dystopian world that has purge events.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, movie review

My expectations were high for this movie. It has been receiving some very stunning reviews. And it has Gary Oldman in it, one of my favorite actors.  I am happy to report, the movie met my expectations.

The gut wrenching part of these movies is, you know how it’s going to end up. You know the Apes are going to win. So as you see them struggle for peace, you keep rooting for them to achieve it, even though you know in the back of your mind, they won’t. The movie is very dark, and the few uplifting moments are quickly snuffed out by tragic events.

Now this is a sequel. I would recommend seeing the first movie before you see this one. There are several tie-ins to the first movie. The main apes are in both movies. However it is a brand new human cast. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the movie, or you haven’t seen it, don’t worry. They do a little spin-up in the opening credits that fills you in on what happened in the first movie and helps you understand the current status of the world.

The graphics are astounding. If the movie had boring parts, I didn’t notice them because I was so busy trying to see a flaw in the apes. They truly looked real. Only the newborn was a dead CGI giveaway, and really he only felt fake when the human actors had to respond to him. You could tell they had no idea where to look or what they were really looking at.

The apes riding horses, seemed a bit overkill. I’d like to know where these horses are kept when they aren’t riding them—cause they sure seemed tame and obedient for free range.

The camera angles and cinematography was excellent. There were a few first person shooter type scenes and some panoramic shots that really worked well. The most violent and traumatic scenes were often muted, which was a nice break from movies that enjoy trying to make you go deaf.

Overall Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a must see. It’s an action movie that is the opposite of Transformers 4. Instead of assaulting your senses, you are taken on an emotional journey that keeps you grounded in the grim reality of how dark society can be.


Movie review, Transformers: Age of Extinction

I’ll admit I did less research going in to see this movie than I normally do. I didn’t watch the first three transformers movies directly before going. Quite frankly, I’d forgotten the movie was coming out until I saw a sign saying it was playing.

I should have taken that as an indication to avoid the movie, rather than a sign to see it.

The one praise I want to throw out there is, you can enjoy this movie even if you haven’t seen the first three. Wait, I have misspoken. Did I just say you can enjoy this movie? You will not, unless you are under the age of fourteen and enjoy playing with transformer toys. At the end of the movie I turned to my husband and said, “I think this movie was made for kids.” He replied, “I think this movie was made BY kids.” That really quantifies it quite well.

I really don’t know where this movie went wrong. It hired good actors, it had a basic plot ‘idea’ but beyond that, it felt like they planned the movie in a ten minute brainstorming session.

The movie started out, tolerable. But the angles they kept putting the camera at, annoyed me quickly. For some reason, the director thought it would be cool to blind his audience repeatedly with the sun. And in case that wasn’t enough, there were some explosions that also were positioned perfectly to blind you. We are talking about zooming in on two actors and having the sun pop out between them, in the most annoying manner. What was the point of that? I’d really like to know… and it was easily done a dozen times.

The dialogue just added to the frustration. We are talking simple lines like: “Those guys look mean.” “We are the good guys.” “Don’t you get it?” The characters are all stereotypes and cliques.

We won’t go into a plot, cause if there was one, I was too bored to bother figuring it out. But odds are, there wasn’t one. I think it was an odd mashing of subplots.

The one plus to such a big budget movie is it was shot on location. It was cool to see parts of China that you normally wouldn’t, and even the filming in Chicago was nice. When I wasn’t being blinded by a sun that is. (oh yes, that’s right, I’m complimenting the landscape… not the special effects.)

Overall the movie was a giant commercial for transformer toys. The LEGO movie pulled this off quite well. Transformer did not. Save yourself the three hours of boredom, buy your kid some of the cool toys and watch him play with them. I’m sure he will be more entertaining and original than this movie was.


“Breaking Dawn” Movie and Book Review

When I first started reading “Breaking Dawn” I was surprised at how the movie and book… didn’t match up. I was an hour into the movie and only 1/8 into the book, but I was at the same location story wise in both. This worried me that eventually there would be a large portion of book not included in the movie. Strangely, the opposite proved true. The movie had additional scenes that the book did not! This didn’t change the meaning or story at all.
I completely understand why the scenes, two action scenes plus a more elaborate wedding, were added. A movie needs some fight scenes. And the book… deprives of you that. So the action scene at the end of “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” was a much “cooler” way to convey the message of Jacob imprinting on the baby, than how the book just says, it happened and now we are all buddy-buddy with the wolves. Same for the action scene at the end of “Part 2”. The book was kind of a letdown, all talk and no action, if you will. It was a very tense few chapters and you end up feeling disappointed rather than relieved when they resolve things peacefully. Really? All that build up for NOTHING? So I am glad they decided to put in an action scene in the movie.
The book did come full circle. If you’ve read my first review of “Twilight” you’ll see how I believe Bella had no choice but to love Edward. As a predator, he is made to lure people in, people feel drawn and attracted to him. The child Edward and Bella have, take it to a whole new level. She is almost like a siren. EVERYONE loves her; if her super good looks and adorable childlike face don’t win you over, she’ll just touch your face, and mentally make you love her. The book doesn’t say this, but if you think about it, it’s what she’s doing. Did you notice, not a single person can NOT like her?
This brings us to poor Jacob. I get that we are supposed to think that Jacob and Nessie are destined to be together. But… I can’t help but think that little Nessie the siren, would have triggered the imprinting instinct on the first wolf she met. It’s about survival, have you noticed everything about her, promotes her ability to survive? She was doing it from conception, making Bella refuse to give her up, and Bella super suffered for that kid. It would make sense if the kid was working her mojo from inside the womb, since she started working it on everyone else, as soon as she was able. So anyway, imprinting on Jacob, pretty sure Nessie forced that on Jacob so the wolves would be on her side.
It felt wrong how so many of Jacob’s people were turning into Werewolves because there were so many vampires in the area. And they didn’t get to kill a single one. The story didn’t make me feel like it was bad guys (vampires) turning good. And I didn’t feel excited or glad that they (vampires/werewolves) were working together. To me, it was a clever twisted way for the bad guys to make the good guys impotent. Vampires eat people, the Werewolves are supposed to hunt and kill the vampires. This movie; makes it so the Vampires are back on top of the food chain now.
There’s no good morals to be found here. Not in my opinion. As magical as everything is, we could have tried to make all the Vampires into “vegetarians” ie “animal eaters” or something. So the ending of the story wasn’t a complete loss. Instead all the murderous vampires go on their merry way. And we are left with this super awesome siren who makes people love her, prevents werewolves from hunting vampires and, oh yeah, she likes human blood too. GREAT. Happy ending? Not if you ask me.
So… do I recommend this book? No. I struggled through “Eclipse” hoping “Breaking Dawn” would make up for it. But it didn’t. Think about it this way, the two movies that span this book are each 2 hours long and they added in about 30 minutes of material that wasn’t in this book. Everything that was in the book, made it into the movie. So… yeah, the 192,196 word count, 775 page novel… is full of lots of pointless talk and internal thoughts. Cause the entire huge ass book, fit easily into a three and half hour movie. A book that long… shouldn’t have; it should have been six hours at least.


“Eclipse” movie and book review

The beginning of “Eclipse” was very slow and I struggled to get into the story. I think it was because a large amount of time was spent getting the reader spun up on the events from the last two books. Basically the first 100 pages were a drag. I finally had to start skimming the pages or I was going to end up giving up on the book altogether. This is the first time I’ve had that problem with Stephanie Meyer’s books. I never skipped any material in “Twilight” or “New Moon”. But I sure did in this one. I want to say by chapter four things picked up more and I was able to get back into the story.
Again, I am reading this book almost simultaneously with the movie. The flashback scenes with the Cullen family are the only big thing that seems to be out of order. The rearrangement is acceptable though, because the shuffling of things works well to condense down the plot.
My problem… is how Sam and Leah are Werewolves from the get-go in the movie. But they are not in the book. I actually like the dynamics it creates by having them be wolves from the get-go. There was no real reason to drag it out and not have them be. I didn’t think the “awe” factor that the author was trying to create in the book was worth it. So I preferred how they worked this dynamic into the movie from the start instead of saving it for a surprise later.
The book had another “dragging” point for me; a twenty-six page chapter about the ins and outs to why they can’t have sex. I think it wins the award for the longest non-sexual bedroom scene in a book, ever. Very drawn out and boring.
The last chapter in the book truly surprised me. I was worried when I saw that Stephanie Meyer had chosen to change points of view and speak from Jacob’s perspective. This was done in the 3rd book in the Divergent and Fifty Shades trilogies. And both… horribly failed at it. I was expecting the same flaws; either a Jacob that sounded identical to Bella or a strange cardboard-stereotype that seems fake. But no… Meyer got it right and I felt like I was now inside Jacob’s head. And not only that, but for the FIRST time I actually felt connected to a character. During all three of these books, I have been reading them like an emotionless zombie, completely detached from what Bella is going through. But FINALLY, reading the pain that Jacob was going through and getting a taste of the pack mentality, Meyer managed to reach me and make me get a little teary eyed. Consider me impressed.
I still have a hard time recommending this book to people to read. Normally I’d lean toward a recommendation because as the reader you are already two books invested. But… this book really did drag on. If you are okay with saying farewell to the characters after the first two books, I’d so go ahead and quit while you are ahead. You’ll learn some history in book 3 about the characters but honestly… it’ll take you days if not weeks to read it and you’ll find yourself getting bored. I usually finish books in a day, this one took me three… and it wasn’t entirely due to its extravagant length.
I’m hoping book 4, “Breaking Dawn” makes up for book 3. People are telling me it’s the best in the series. So… check out my review on that book and maybe it will help you decide if muddling through book 3 is worth it.


“New Moon” book and movie review

These books are really long… as are the movies. I actually started reading a chapter, then watching a scene in the movie, so that I could take breaks but still make progress, lol. Yes, people told me this process was a bit odd. But the movie and book follow each other fairly well so this was easy to do. There are a few scenes in a different order or combined, something that a person would probably only notice if they were doing this scene/by chapter stuff like I was.
As with the first book, the movie now makes so much more sense. I understand the bond that formed between Jacob and Bella when Edward was gone. And the anguish that Bella feels when Edward is gone is much more vivid. Still… after the reading the entire book, the reasons behind Edward leaving are still just weird. I sorta get the meaning, but the more it’s dissected in the book, the more… stupid and silly it becomes. The comparisons between Romeo and Juliet are frequent in the book. And really, I don’t think they apply to the scenario nearly as much as Meyer wants us to believe.
I was hoping the book would explain the ghostly Edward visions that Bella sees when she is in danger. But… in the book it’s actually concluded that it’s all in Bella’s head. Edward wasn’t reaching out to her at all. Some people who have written movie reviews said comments like, “why doesn’t Edward use this power more?” They obviously haven’t read the book… It’s not a power he has. Bella is just hallucinating.
Another point that I never got is that the Werewolves are only in each other’s heads when they are in wolf form. Totally not what I got from the movies. But it’s stated clearly in the book. And it makes sense, would def help them “talk” to each other when they are in wolf form. And they wouldn’t need this form of communication in human form.
One thing that bothered me was that the wolves can block Alice’s power… but not Edward? I would think if they were immune or blocked one vampire’s gift, they would be able to block them all. Yet another preference Meyer made that I don’t agree with, just like I still think everyone’s powers are a little more excessive than they need to be.
But Meyer did keep her wonderful descriptions in place. I have never been to Italy, so I don’t know firsthand how well her descriptions of the country are. But it seemed very accurate to me. She is definitely skilled at describing her characters and the environments they are in. Again, this is what keeps her books believable, even though the characters are doing utterly fantastical things.
If you made it through “Twilight” I’d say proceeding and reading book 2 in the saga is worth it. But it does drag on with an internal monologue in a quite a few parts, otherwise, no real complaints.


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