Friday, April 22, 2011

Book 6/15, "Off the Shelf" Challenge

Book cover courtesy of
The next book I chose to read for the "Off the Shelf" Challenge was The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks.

Let me just start by saying that for me, liking a book like this is a bit weird.  Yes, I am a bit of a hippie and I believe in things like love and equality and such.  Yes, I am madly in love with my husband, and I believe him to be my soul mate.  But, other than that, books like this - cheesy romance novels, I guess you could say - I normally don't want to read.  Don't get me wrong - I love a good love story, and I think that most stories have to have some type of love included, whether it be romantic love, friendship love, love between parents and children, whatever.  But most of the time I cringe when I see something too sappy.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I loved this movie, and I really liked the book.  It wasn't the best writing in the world, and while the author tries to give you a bit of mystery, you know what's going to happen in the end, who she's going to end up with.  I've only read one other Nicholas Sparks book - The Last Song - which was a book club pick, and I really didn't like that book at all.  But I don't know what it is exactly with this story (The Notebook) that makes my heart feel like it's going to burst and makes me worry that I'll start crying and never stop.  I think, though, when I first watched the movie, it was simply the love story that did it to me, and the pain of watching your love slip away with Alzheimer's.  But this time around, as I read it, I think I also had strong emotions towards the details about them watching their children grow, which makes sense because now I am a mother myself.

Anyway, you might call me a hopeless romantic or whatever, but I'll always love this movie and I really liked the book as well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book 5/15, "Off the Shelf" Challenge

Book cover courtesy of
For my 5th selection for the "Off the Shelf" Challenge, I read The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This was another book that I should have read in high school, but I don't think I ever finished.  Looking back, I'm really not sure how I passed some of the tests I took in school.  I must have skimmed over it and found out the major details, or maybe used Cliffs Notes.

So, reading this book now, it took me a while to get into it.  But I think that was partly because of the writing style, and partly because the book just didn't get interesting until about two-thirds of the way in.  Therefore I ended up liking the book more than I thought I was going to, but I think I really only enjoyed the last third of the book.

I'm interested in seeing the film now, especially since a new adaptation is set to come out in 2012, and is starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and possibly Ben Affleck.  Overall, though, I think I still have to give this book a medium rating, like a 3 out of 5, because, even though it's considered a major classic, it doesn't rank up there with my favorites.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reviews in 5

Happy April Fool's Day!

It's been a long time.  I shouldn't have left you...without a dope beat to step to... (Sorry, Timbaland's part at the beginning of that Aaliyah song always gets in my mind when I hear the phrase "It's been a long time.")

So I haven't posted in forever.  Surprise, surprise.  But I've been busy.  So busy, in fact, that I'm not going to even attempt Script Frenzy this year, and that kind of makes me sad.  But I've been reading up a storm.  I recently finished reading my friend's manuscript and I really really liked it!  And she didn't think my comments and suggestions were a load of crud so now I can officially say that I am a Beta Reader extraordinaire!  Or maybe just a Beta Reader.  But reading her book makes me realize that I need to get to work on the second draft of my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel.  I guess I'll just add it to the to-do list.

Photo courtesy of

Also, I guess some of you will think this is crazy, but my friend Courtney and I have gotten a bit nostalgic lately because of the recent release of Sweet Valley Confidential:  Ten Years Later.  Yes, I was an avid reader of Sweet Valley Twins when I was a child.  I didn't read Sweet Valley High - I was a bit young, so I started with "Twins" and by the time I was old enough for "High" I wasn't really reading anymore.  So Courtney and I went on a mission:  to find Sweet Valley High (and Sweet Valley Twins, for me) books to read before we read "Confidential."  I looked at our local library - nada.  Just a few of the "Jr. High" spinoff.  So we both ventured online, and I stumbled upon eBay.  Now, I had an eBay account but I had never bought or sold anything before.  So I was amazed when I found tons of people selling Sweet Valley stuff!  So I found a lot of 32 Sweet Valley High books and bid on them, and ended up winning!  My first eBay experience and it was a success!  (Courtney warned me not to get hooked, so I'm staying away from the site for now.)  So I got 32 books for only $39 (shipping included), and out of the first 15 books, the collection is only missing #1 and #5!  Talk about a score!  So we'll have to find #1 and #5 soon.  I hope to post some blogs about it once we've started.  Yeah, we're dorks, but we're not ashamed!  Sweet Valley, here we come!  ;)

But the big, huge, wonderful, exciting thing that I really want to tell you guys about is my new project.  I was a bit vague about it in a previous post, but now that the site has gone live, I can tell you about it!  

I had an idea recently to start a blog about movies - but rather than just being the normal movie review, I wanted to focus on one actor or actress at a time, and to look at several of their movies.  I also wanted it to be a collaborative blog, where there were a few people posting, so that there would be more than one opinion featured on the blog.  So I mentioned it to my husband, Jeremy, and he loved the idea, and came up with the idea to limit it to 5 movies per actor/actress.  Then we mentioned it to our friend, Courtney (aka my Sweet Valley co-dork) and the three of us came up with the name Reviews in 5.  

So here's how the site works.  We take suggestions from our viewers as to which actor or actress we should review.  Then, once we've decided on an actor/actress for the upcoming month, we will post a poll where viewers can vote on which of the five movies they want us to review by that actor/actress.  Then, starting on the 1st of the month, we will post one movie review every five days, and then finally we will have an overview of that actor/actress.  We will also have individual pieces every Monday where, say, I blog about my Top 5 Childhood Movie Obsessions (this actually will be my first individual piece, which is slated for Monday, April 18th).  We also plan on doing a few different features, where we have guest posters or focus on one movie series for a month.

For this month, since we're just starting and have no suggestions as of yet, we decided to start with some of the winners at this year's Academy Awards.  So we started with Natalie Portman, who won Best Actress for her role in Black Swan, and will be reviewing The Professional, Beautiful Girls, Garden State, The Other Woman, and, of course, Black Swan.  Our site went live today and our first post for The Professional is up!  Next month we will focus on Colin Firth, winner of Best Actor for his role in The King's Speech.

Please go to our site, "like" it, add it to your RSS feed, send in suggestions for actors/actresses, and comment on our posts!  And share the heck out of it!  We plan on making a facebook page for it soon, and also, if anyone links to our site on their blog/site/whatever, let us know and we will link to your page as well!  We're very excited about it and have lots and lots of posts coming in the future!  Here's the address:, or you can just click on the picture below!  Hope to see you guys there!