Friday, 29 July 2016

Movie review: Ice Age: Collision Course directed by Mike Thurmeier

Ice age collision course.jpgIce Age

Release dateJune 23, 2016 (Australia)

Synopsis.

Scrat's epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colourful new characters

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

It pains me to give this movie such a low rating but for me it was the worst of the five films to date.

We were bored of Scrat’s pursuit of the acorn; right off the bat we saw him chasing after it in space and it dragged on and on, it’s also what set of the events that threatened everyone on earth, including the herd of mixed species that we have come to know and love over the past few movies.

We see the original cast of Manny (voice of Ray Romano) his wife Ellie (Voice of Queen Latifah), Sid (voice of John Leguizamo) Peaches (voice of Keke Palmer), Diego (voice of Dennis Leary) and his wife Shira (voice of Jennifer Lopez) as well as Peaches boyfriend Julian (voice of Adam DeVine) trying to divert a giant flaming asteroid from hitting earth, leading them in their journey is Buck (voice of Simon Pegg). Along this adventure and not known to anyone but Buck, they are also being tracked by flying dinosaurs that he had managed to peeve off.

Unfortunately, Collision course has failed to evolve; it’s formulaic at best and doesn’t move away from what we have already seen, it wasn’t fresh and unique and we found the plot to be disjointed and boring.

To say we were disappointed is an understatement, we have thoroughly enjoyed this franchise up until now but I think it has run its course; the only saving grace for us was the geotopia the herd stumbled across and the interesting characters that we met.

Of the movies that we watched during our winter break, Ice Age; Collision Course was our least favourite.

Movies in order:

Ice Age
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Ice Age: Collision Course



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Movie review: Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig

Ghostbusters

Initial releaseJuly 14, 2016 (Australia)

Synopsis.

Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan, a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out. Armed with proton packs and plenty of attitude, the four women prepare for an epic battle as more than 1,000 mischievous ghouls descend on Times Square. 

Review: 4 stars out of 5 (Miss 9 says 5 out of 5 & Mst 11 says 4 out of 5)

I thoroughly enjoyed the 1984 version of Ghostbusters and I was initially hesitant about watching this because of the hype and the controversy but I needn’t have worried because this supernatural comedy was fantastic.

The opening scene was pretty spooky and completely freaked us all out, I instantly pulled my phone out to double check the rating but it was definitely PG. There were a few more freaky moments but nothing as creepy as the first.

Our main characters, a group of four women – Abby Yates, Erin Gilbert, Jillian Holtzmann and Patty Tolan were all fabulous and worked beautifully together; they were all so different but each bought something unique to the film.

For us, the stand out character was Jillian Holtzmann played by Kate McKinnon; she was all sorts of crazy and bought much humor to the film. We also get trademark Melissa McCarthy comedy that bought wonderful banter and many laughs.

The storyline is more or less the same as the original, except it’s now a group of women preparing for a battle against ghouls and a mad man that’s creating the havoc; there were some amazing special effects to keep us entertained from the start to end.

We also get a bit of eye candy with Aussie actor smexy Chris Hemsworth who plays Kevin but his character didn’t come with much depth, he played a ditzy assistant and despite being nice on the eyes I didn’t feel he contributed to much of the story overall.

We have cameos from original cast members, Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd; we also get the original theme song; the old ghostbusters logo and Bill Murray who played an interesting role as a sceptic. It was a nice step back in time.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the new Ghostbusters. With a female main cast, many laugh out loud moments and amazing special effects we all found it to be highly entertaining with never a dull moment.



Monday, 25 July 2016

Movie review: The BFG by Roald Dahl directed by Steven Spielberg

The BFG

Release dateJune 30, 2016 (Australia)

Synopsis.

Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally scared at first, the young girl soon realizes that the 24-foot behemoth is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie's presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After travelling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Quen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all. 

Review: 3 ½ stars out of 5 (Miss 9 says 5 out of 5)

We have just finished our winter school holidays here in Australia so I got to spend a bit of time at the cinema with the kids so I thought it would be a great opportunity over the next week to review a few of the movies that we watched, today it is The BFG, a book by Roald Dahl.

To be honest, I wasn’t too keen on watching this movie but the book is my nine year-old daughters current favourite; I read it many many years ago but I had completely forgotten the complete storyline

Ten-year-old Sophie is an orphan and in for the journey of a lifetime when she is kidnapped by the Big Friendly Giant and taken to Giant Country. Once there, she attracts the attention of the other giants, not as nice as the BFG and all willing to have her for their next meal.

The BFG is a creative and inventive story that takes you on an adventure through giant country and eventually lands them in London to request the Queens help. I enjoyed the dream and nightmares that the BFG controlled, we found this aspect entertaining and interesting.

We loved the kindness that The BFG showed to Sophie and the friendship and trust that they came to have for one another, he protected her and she did the same. They were very much alike despite their size difference. They shared some lovely conversations and learnt a lot from each other.

The pacing at times was very slow and the action in small doses, I was at times a tad bored but the beautiful imagery certainly made up for it. The kids (9 & 11) thoroughly enjoyed it despite some dark undertones and jumpy moments.

The characters were each interesting; as we know Sophie is very different to Dahl’s other characters, she doesn’t show much fear, she is a tad bossy and doesn’t listen despite the BFG’s warnings. The BFG has a unique jumbled language and we learn some interesting new words such as snozzcumber, scrumdidlyumptious and swashbickling. The kids loved the way he spoke.

The book to movie adaptation was done very well despite a few small issues, the ending was satisfying and had us all smiling. I would highly recommend this movie for children 7+ or even adults like me who enjoys a children’s fantasy movie.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Review: No Falling Allowed by Melissa West

No Falling Allowed (No Kissing Allowed #2)No Falling Allowed

Series: No Kissing Allowed
Author: Melissa West
Release date: 18th July 2016
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (Goodreads) My life just went South…

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long it took my life to flip upside down.

Wake up in bed alone after the best night of my life? Check.

Get fired instead of the promised promotion? Check.

Wealthy parents cut me off when I refuse to follow their path for my life? Check.

Now I’m in Cricket Creek, SC—a place where no New Yorker belongs—disowned and broke, with a new job that I can’t mess up. Oh yeah, and staring at my one-night stand, who happens to be the complete opposite of my type.

Southern.

Cocky.

Bartender.

Noah Hunter never should have made it back to my apartment in NYC, and I definitely shouldn’t be in his small town. But fate had another plan. Or a horrible sense of humor.

Who knew Mr. Wrong could feel so right…

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

No Falling Allowed was a one day read for me, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment; it was a feel good, romantic read that had me hooked from the first page. Melissa West is an auto-buy, her books never fail to disappoint.

I loved our MC Grace in the previous book No Kissing Allowed so I was excited to learn that she’d have her own book and paired with smexy bartender Noah Hunter, it was a match made in heaven despite their differences.

Grace is a character that I adored, she is fiercely independent despite her family background and wanted nothing more than to follow her own dreams rather than be forced into a career in her father’s successful business.

Within a short period of time Grace has lost her job, was cut off by her parents and had the best one night stand with a guy who left her without even a note! She was on a bit of a downer until a job opportunity came her way and she ended up in the small town of Cricket Creek and in front of her one night stand, Noah Hunter.

Noah and Grace couldn’t have been more different, they were from different worlds but they connected and he understood her; his life also wasn’t easy, I won’t go into his backstory but I ended up loving their connection and his sexy southern charm.

The setting of Cricket Creek was great! I enjoyed the amazing cast of characters there; they were a nosy bunch but they were close and bought some humor to the story.

This is another fabulous book from Melissa West, her characters and story-lines always draw me in and leave me anxious for more. I am super excited for her next book.

Thank you Entangled Embrace via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.



Melissa  WestAbout the author

Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and YA sci-fi romance,all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn't like kissing?. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Review: ASH (Hive Trilogy #1) by Jaymin Eva and Leia Stone

Ash (Hive Trilogy, #1)Ash

Series: Hive Trilogy
Author: Jaymin Eva and Leia Stone
Release date: 15th December 2015
Publisher: Self

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Are you an Ash?

*Increased stamina
*Lack of appetite
*Anger outbursts
*Insatiable thirst
*Beauty & Strength
*Male

Call the hotline if these symptoms come on suddenly!

Turns out Charlie Bennet was all of those things except the last. Don’t let the name fool you, Charlie was all woman and she wanted nothing to do with the ash … until the day she found out she was one.

It all started when infected bats bit a small group of humans and created what are now called vampires. Then, the male vampires knocked up some female humans and the result was a gorgeous race of all male ash. Superhuman freaks that had looks to kill.

Charlie is the first female ash, aka unicorn of the Hive – the gated compound in Portland that the humans have designated to isolate vampires and ash from society.

Problem? The Hive is full and only a select few will be allowed to live there. To live at all, really. If Charlie wants to earn the right to become a citizen of the Hive, she will have to survive the culling – a series of fights to the death. And guess what? Just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean she’ll get special treatment.

Good thing there’s Ryder, the mysterious lead ash enforcer, who seems to always have her back. But when secrets bubble to the surface, it will take more than one guy to save her.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I haven’t read a book about vampires in such a long time and I found myself completely absorbed in the storyline and the world that Jaymin Eva and Leia Stone have created. Ash is the first book in the Hive trilogy.

Our MC is Charlie Bennett, a regular girl and someone that didn’t have any Ash traits:

*Increased stamina
*Lack of appetite
*Anger outbursts
*Insatiable thirst
*Beauty & Strength
*Male

Charlie was fabulous! I enjoyed her sass, loyalty and her determination; she was a weakling and untrained amongst a group of Ash but she was determined to survive in this male dominated strange world. The initial stages for Charlie wasn’t easy, she was thrust into a place that she didn’t exactly like and was then forced to fight in the culling for her survival, it was tough on her, especially considering her unique blood but she was helped out by Ryder, the sexy lead Ash enforcer.

An Ash is a Vampire/Human hybrid, it all started when infected bats bit a small group of humans and created vampires. The male vampires then got a few females pregnant and the result was a gorgeous race of all male ash; it was an interesting journey learning more about Charlie and how she came to be the only female Ash and I’m excited to learn more.

The plot is steadily paced and the world-building despite not being unique is quite strong, we aren’t inundated with information but we learn along with Charlie.

I adored the secondary characters, Ryder was a mystery but I adored how he looked out for Charlie, we do get a small amount of romance and I am excited to see it progress. Charlie’s new BFF at the Hive is Jayden and his loyalty was amazing, I also thought their banter bought a bit of humour to the story. We also slowly get to know the sexy six; the enforcers that stand by and protect the others; I am looking forward to getting to know them a little more. Lucas was a bit of a mystery to me and I was unsure of his sincerity.

Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone have written a page-turner, the flow was seamless and the plot engaging and thoroughly entertaining. I am really looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

Overall, entertaining, witty and completely engrossing. I highly recommend Ash by Jaymin Eva and Leia Stone.


Jaymin EveAbout the authors: Jaymin Eve is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Walker Saga, a young adult fantasy series, Hive Trilogy, a young adult urban fantasy, as well as the Supernatural Prison series. She loves surrounding herself with the best things in life: her two girls, a good book and chocolate.

Living on the beautiful Gold Coast in Australia, the family loves spending lots of time on the beach. And travelling as frequently as possible.

Leia StoneWhen Jaymin isn't trying to wrangle two daughters, a puppy and her husband, you will find her hiding in a corner desperately to write her stories (without little fingers pressing random keys). She asks forgiveness if you notice the occasional sskkkkssjs appearing in her books, her children are proud of their contribution.

Leia Stone is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Matefinder series which is optioned for flim, and the Hive Trilogy. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband, two kids and her dog. When she is not chasing around her twin son and daughter, or writing, she has her nose shoved in a book. She wrote her first book when she was 23 years old. Keep reading, live with purpose. Freeworld! 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Over the Line (On the Run #2) by Lisa Desrochers

Over the Line (On the Run, #2)Over the Line

Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: On the Run
Pages: 220
Source: Netgalley
Release date: 19th April 2016

Synopis (Goodreads): The USA Today bestselling author of Outside the Lines once again explores love on the edge in an explosive new romance about obsession, betrayal, and a killer attraction.

Lee Delgado never planned on falling in love with the irresistible Oliver Savoca, son of a Chicago crime lord. Considering that their families are rivals, she knew it could never work. And now that both their fathers have been nabbed on racketeering charges, any real chance at a future with the man she loves has been shot to hell. But a greater blow is yet to come. 

Not only does Lee learn that a contract is out on her life, she has reason to believe that Oliver is behind the devastating betrayal. Now she’s working closely—very closely—with Federal Agent Sean Callahan to help bring her man down. But however she’s come to feel about Callahan, Lee is still deeply, hopelessly, unabashedly in love with Oliver.

Where that fearless love takes Lee next is beyond her control—but the risk is worth every beat of her heart.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Lisa Desrochers A LIttle Too Far series so when I saw this book on Netgalley I instantly requested it not realising that it was the second book in the series (oops); but I never at any stage found it confusing or hard to follow.

Lee Delgado and her siblings had to move from Chicago to Port St. Mary, Florida and enter the Witsec program when their mafia father was put in jail. Always looking over their shoulders knowing there is a contract on their heads they lay low and have only each other to trust.

When Oliver Savoca, also the son of a Chicago crime lord locates Lee after months of searching; her whole life is about to become undone because her family have no idea that she had a relationship with her enemy during her time in college and after betraying his trust she believes that he has come for revenge.

The Delgado and Savoca families are rivals in the Chicago underground scene, a life that they have all grown up with and are struggling to adapt to life away from crime.

Lee was an interesting character, she is strong, intelligent and resourceful; there were a number of secrets that she was hiding from her family that I felt could have been dealt with differently but I understood her predicament also. I liked Oliver but I don’t feel like we got to see much of them as a couple; it all progressed very quickly without learning to trust one another again, he did seem to show her how much he cared in his actions but I still couldn’t tell whether or not he could be trusted.

I liked each of the Delgado siblings, they all seem to struggle with their new personas but I feel more so Lee because of the role she played in putting her father in jail. I am really curious about Grant; I am looking forward to reading his book and learning more about him.

We also have an additional love interest, Wes Buchanan who is an officer in charge of looking after the Delgado family; I don’t feel the added romance/angst between him and Lee was needed, she treated him pretty crappy. It seemed like he was added in for additional drama.

This wasn’t an action packed novel; there were flashbacks to the past and discussions of the future, it worked well but I would have loved a bit more edge of your seats ‘mafia’ moments. I thought the steamy moments and the characters interactions were all written well as was the POV’s from both Lee and Oliver.

The ending was satisfying but very rushed and predictable; I am looking forward to reading the next book in the On the Run series.

Thank you to Intermix via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Over the Line.