Monday, October 29, 2012

Movie Monday- Listen To Your Heart

Netflix, Netflix, wherefore art thou, Netflix…

Netflix and I endured a long-suffering battle that ended faux-tearily in what I thought would be a permanent separation. It was annoying to have to turn on the Xbox to use it, the movie selection at the time was poor, the search engine sucked, oh the woes of the First World... (If you haven't read these, they're hilarious.)

For too long, Mr. Netflix and I wafted, teetered on the brink of divorce, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then they raised their prices, split the services down the middle, and Redbox became the reigning Convenience Champion of Movie Nation. So, I shouted: Good riddance eight-ninety-nine piece of crap, don’t let your ass bump my ‘cancelled account’ email on the way out! I breathed a sigh of relief, dusted my hands off on my jeans, and stomped over to the sink to do the dishes. Cable sucks, but so what? I didn’t need TV, and I didn’t need Netflix. But when our TV broke down and his bright red, well-designed outline-fonted button glowed at me from the remote of our new LED 3D TV, I couldn’t look away. We, he and I, were stuck there, momentarily locked with our histories reeling past our eyes, and I felt weak.

But it was short-lived. I fisted my hands, set the remote on the coffee table, gritted my teeth, and walked away. Again. Then the wooing began. A draw of my eye toward his pop of color on our black remote. The hush of his whisper in my conscience with that unmistakable air of seduction.

Mr. Netflix: Give me another chance. I've changed. I have so much to offer. (Like I haven't heard that one before.)

Me: Not from what I remember. (Damn straight.)

Mr. Netflix: You haven’t seen me in so long, how do you know? Check out my new sexy interactive menu. You won’t even recognize me.

Me: I don’t think so, Mr. Netflix. We tried this before, and I gave it my all. It. Didn’t. Work!

I really thought I had him with that. I barreled through. I was strong. But Mr. Netflix did not come to the table unprepared.

Mr. Netflix: But it’s one month free. How can a beautiful, beautiful woman like yourself turn down FREE?

Me: (blushing) Mr. Netflix, please. I’m married. But…

Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Okay, if you’re thinking I fell for that double beautiful comment, you’d be wrong. But another weekend of absolutely nothing on cable totally did me in. I caved, rejoined, and my oh my, Mr. Netflix, you were not kidding. Your new sexy interactive menu is so full of promise, choice, and endless hours of adding fun-looking and inspirational indie movies to my Instant Queue….

Which brings me to my choice of the day.

This little gem would not have found its way to me if it weren’t for Mr. Neflix and my joyous reunion.

Synopsis (from IMDB)
Danny (Kent Moran) has an apartment as small as his paychecks, no family, and a struggling music career. But with unwavering optimism, for Danny, "every day is a great day to be alive." It's love at first sight when Danny meets Ariana (Alexia Rasmussen), a wealthy hearing-impaired girl from Greenwich, CT who tragically cannot hear the music she inspires him to write. Ariana is torn between hanging onto the shelter her controlling mother (Cybill Shepherd) provides and fighting for a love that, if just given the chance, might just change her life. When tragedy strikes, determined that nothing can keep them apart, they must trust in the power of their love, and together discover just how important it is to "listen to your heart."


My first impression of the movie was that it was low budget, maybe less than stellar acting, but duh, I knew what I was getting into when I started it. Other than that, I was very drawn in by the opening song, where the main character (a musician) is singing one of his compositions, and I have to say, I was captivated. And being a late-bloomed addict of ABC Family’s SwitchedAt Birth, Ariana’s disability was a pull to me even before I hit play. (I’ve become only a little hyper-obsessed with signing. I may fake having a deaf friend just so I can have an excuse to take ASL, because I think it’s such a neat and beautiful language.)

Danny and Ariana’s first meet was all eyes. Obviously love at first sight, but so cute, I couldn’t fault them using this tactic for the movie. It felt real to me. Cybill Shephard is perfetto! in her role as Ariana’s controlling, manipulative, heinous wench of a mother, and to see Ariana rise above, not only her disability, but her thousand pound weight of a mother was truly applause-worthy. I literally wanted to stand up off my couch, eyes glazed with tears, and shout WOOHOO at the top of my lungs.

I rooted for these two the whole time, and Kent Moran was pure man-candy to ogle, a bonus. Their story kept me glued, riveted, and feel-good woozy with secondhand love… Right up until the end. I won’t divulge top-secret stuff, but I will outright say that the ending went too far for me. Well, that, and they basically stuffed every clichéd, heart-wrenching dialogue into one movie. Danny to Ariana: “Not everyone gets to say they’ve found the love of their lives.” Danny to his best friend: “You know, man, I’ve never had a brother.” Things like that, that really should be touching, but because we’ve seen them so. many. times, they’re kind of nauseating. If they would’ve weeded those out, or perhaps made them slightly more creative and less recognizable, and stopped it about a half hour sooner, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART would’ve received 5 GIANT SMOOCHES from me! But they didn’t, so they get 4. And a half. And maybe another quarter.


I really did enjoy this movie, and ended up watching it again a few days later with my mom, because I knew she’d enjoy it. It’s about becoming a champion over one’s circumstances, some unfortunate, some not, which I’m a total sucker for. It’s about friendship, brotherhood, rising above our sad economy (a smaller storyline). But most of all it’s about love, and with love as real as Danny and Ariana’s, who can resist a little peek, regardless of my personal feelings.

Danny and Ariana, you made me heart you. Thanks ;)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Belles Giveaway

In honor of reaching 1000 followers, these lovely ladies have decided to gift us with some AMAZING books! Check out their site HERE

Some examples of what you could get:

 Visit The Book Belles

First Comes Love

Then comes… a really sweet book that I just have to talk about.

FIRST COMES LOVE by Katie Kacvinsky (author of AWAKEN, which I haven’t read yet), is a little less than 200 pages of quirky characters that pop off the page, fun adventures, beautiful and bright words of realization and wisdom, and tear-jerking moments of clarity and healing.

Summary (Author’s words)
Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan is the exact opposite – full of light and life. It’s definitely not love at first sight for these two. But slowly, fascination turns to admiration, which turns to caring, until finally these lone souls find love. But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they’re going to have to learn that sometimes love means having to say you’re sorry.

I picked this little book up from the library in a heated moment of wishy-washiness. While three little munchkins used me as their Maypole to bounce around, they chanted a “LET’S LEAVE” mantra, and I swiped this up. “OKAY!” I responded, in the appropriate library hushed tone (of course), and headed out. I thought the cover looked sweet, passionate and lovely, and the summary, while vague, sounded mysterious enough that I thought, what the hey, and gave it a try.

 What I didn’t expect was to fall in love and finish it in a matter of hours. Dylan, the female protagonist, is bursting with life. Literally. She’s kooky, fun, adventurous, and exactly what Gray needs. Gray is suffering. From what, we don’t really know until the story is well under way. When he opens up to Dylan, a blossom begins to unfurl, he remembers how to smile. Dylan is the much-needed voice of reason to his anti-social armor. And before he knows it, he’s in love. But Dylan is a free spirit. She can’t be tied down. What comes next will only be unearthed by the reader.

 While this book received mostly praise in the reviews, there were some readers that disliked this author's methods. And by that, I mean the “telling”. We’re all taught – if we’re taught – that “telling” is bad. Meaning: she told me this, then he did this, the she said this, and so on. As writers, we’re supposed to create a scene so lifelike, the reader can step inside of it, and experience it. But I have to say, in this instance, the “telling” worked. I really liked how the scenes swept by in real time, then he said this, and she told him this, and they did this. It worked for this book. Maybe it wouldn't have if the author's word painting wasn’t so freaking brilliant!

One of my favorite lines:

But pain’s like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There’s no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface.

Beautiful, right?

Level of enjoyment: Loved it.
Recommend it to friends? Yes.
Read it again? Sure. Gotta get through the other million kajillion books I need to read first.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Accomplishments: What if I don’t…?

 That big fat scary word has been on my mind lately. Accomplishments - also known as success. It arrives in my thoughts with such grandeur that it requires a perimeter of lights and mental jazz hands. There’s an oomph to the way it sounds, a kind of graceful bluntness. It’s big and it means big things. It brings glory and victory and leap-for-joy moments of happiness that are gone sometimes before the champagne bottle is even uncorked.

To say that I’ve struggled with this word is a severe understatement. This word has branded my life. As a Type A personality, I feel like I walk around with a tallied list tattooed to my forehead.

What have I done in this life worth anything and was it enough? Have I jumped high enough, ran fast enough, bruised my butt enough times just to prove to myself that I can keep getting up?

Of course, it’s impossible to talk Accomplishments without the addition of its gossipy, evil counterpart: FAILURE. And it seems like half of my accomplishments turn into failure simply because they didn’t turn out the way I first envisioned.

An example of this would be Motherhood.

I remember being pregnant and rubbing my belly shiny while lovingly whispering all my hopes and dreams to the wriggling body inside of me. Even nearing thirty, my naiveté rivaled someone from “16 And Pregnant”. Once that screaming, gooey, writhing thing popped out, those hopes and dreams got sucked into vacuum cleaners, absorbed into puke rags, and wrapped up in 10+ dirty diapers a day. All of my happy ideas of letting my child roam the wheat fields (not literally), carefree and content, were swept under the rug of teaching him not to bite me – or other people. Every single day of motherhood is stacked with success and failure all intertwined into one drooly, tantrum-throwing package. But what will I really remember when I look back on this experience?

Our adventures. His smiles. Favorite books. Little quirks that set him apart from other kids. The timbre of his laugh. The heart-tugging pitch of his voice. The pure joy of just simply looking at him and thinking, “Damn, he’s perfect.”

Years from now, I won’t really remember all the diapers, or the sleepless nights… Okay, yeah I will. Because I never forget. Never. But that’s still not the stuff that’s gonna matter. 

And neither will all these little nomadic periods of my life where I feel like I’m floating and not accomplishing anything.

I have to keep telling myself: It’s okay if the finish line looks a little different or is a little farther off than I originally hoped. It’s okay if I don’t read 100,000,000,000,000 books this year. It’s OKAY if I don’t write a novel this year.

Live in the present, Megan!

Step outside, inhale the smog-filled air for the pure joy of it. Take in a sunset once in a while. Watch a movie without fidgeting thirty times a minute wondering what you really should be doing instead of sitting on the couch like you have Restless Leg Syndrome.


The finish line is there. I just can’t see it yet. And maybe when I get there, there won’t be cascades of streamers or flashing lights or gobs of people cheering me on, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t GET THERE!

Because when I do GET THERE, Oh baby, it’s gonna be beautiful. Even if it’s just my husband and a high five. I’m going to enjoy the moment, suck in the pressing excitement of what I’ve done, then go out and watch a sunset. Or a movie. (Sitting still is optional.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tempest = a violent windstorm? More like a light breeze.

Would We Really Wanna?

Yeah, I'm thinking no. As a whole. I would not want to hold time in my hands. I would not want the ability to jump to the past. But as a novel, I was PSYCHED to read this story.

In Julie Cross's TEMPEST, Jackson Meyer has the incredible ability to travel through time. He and his friend, Adam, test theories as to why his abilities exist and the extent of this strange talent. So far, he has figured out that he can travel, but nothing changes. However, when two men barge into his girlfriend, Holly's, dorm room, and she is fatally shot, he jumps two years into the past and can't seem to find his way out. With this sudden extra time on his hands, he will discover secrets about his family, his painful past will be reopened, and he will attempt to befriend the girlfriend he's not yet supposed to know, as well as figure out his true destiny.

WOW, right? That was my first thought. Cool premise, AMAZING cover, nicely tucked-in romance... Yawn, yawn, yawn. Boo. I was amped to read this book, and I, unfortunately, found my eyes drooping through almost every chapter. I found Jackson as a main character to be very indecisive and somewhat weak. But - BUT - I think those qualities mostly stemmed from the weak plot. Clues about his family took too long to come to light, and by the time they did, I'd already guessed them long ago. I had questions, but no burning itch to have them answered. At times I was confused, but had no motivation to enlighten myself. Holly was sweet but flat. I wanted more from her. I wanted more from Adam. More from his father.

And writer-to-writer, WHAT WAS WITH ALL THE ELLIPSIS'!!! ( I hope that's the correct plural). For those who don't know that term it's the "..." in the dialogue. Well-placed, they provide nicely staggered dialogue. In this story, they were used almost every time someone spoke. Okay, weird hangup, I know. But come on! Those three little periods stunted and crippled the dialogue to the point where I wanted to put the conversations in wheelchairs!

Okay, enough. This story wasn't awful. The romance was sweet and touching. I loved Jackson's motives.  Sadly, though, I wasn't connecting to him, therefore had no true desire to see him succeed. I'm so sorry, Julie Cross. You're are a great writer, this book and I just didn't click. I do intend to give your future books a go!

I give this story 3/5 
Did I enjoy it? At times.
Would I recommend it to friends? Maybe.
Will I read it again? No.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

During A Dark Week

**Note: This review was originally posted in March, 2012. Since I've rebooted my lovely new blog, I am reposting. So keep in mind, this is old, but SO WORTH THE READ!!

About three weeks ago, I got “sick”. And, yes, that means exactly what you think. I wasn’t sick in the physical sense, more like I needed a vacation from life. Now, with a husband, job, a house and child in constant need of attention, that is not an easy feat, but I somehow managed it. I got my week.

Though my job is extremely flexible, I’m still only allotted a certain amount of time off. Since we’ve had a relatively snowless winter, I haven’t had to take any days off for weather so – I got sick.

Although, I did actually start the week off sick, honestly. We’d gone camping in the rain the weekend before, and I woke up Monday with the swollen throat, the bodily “icks”, etc. Nothing worthy of canceling work for, technically, but I have no DNA samples to prove it, so there!

During this week, I snuggled up with my nook, set my TV to an endless reel of Sesame Street (don’t judge me), and bunkered in for a glorious couch-ridden week of READING ESCAPE.

 Here's three I won't forget:

Tamarra Webb’s deliciously wonderful heart-skipping series BETWEEN THE LINES. I had to review these three as a set, because they just can’t be separated!

 BETWEENTHE LINES is BOOK 1 in the series. It begins the story if Hollywood actor/current heartthrob bad boy Reid Alexander and emerging actress/Future-America’s Sweetheart Emma Pierce. First, I have to say to Tamarra Webb, BRAVO! The writing is fantastic, thought-provoking, and swoony all magically interconnected. These characters were a tricky business. Reid could’ve easily been hated. This kid wore cockiness like a suit tailored to hug every manly curve. The way he spoke of women, constantly throwing themselves at him and easily discarded, had me gagging at moments. I wanted to pinch his cheeks and slap him around a bit, but I never felt that loathing stir I would’ve felt for an antagonist. His unexpected depth pokes through the surface at odd moments to remind you that, yes, he is still human, and has that basic human need: to be loved. Emma Pierce was enchanting, mature, and strong. Naïve sometimes, but who isn’t? I loved her. The ending will throw you for a loop and leave you salivating for the 2nd. If you’re anything like me, you'll jump to your computer the minute you finish the last word and purchase the last two books.

Which brings me to –

WHERE YOU ARE, BOOK 2, is a continuation with the added voices of Graham Douglas and Brooke Cameron. Some steamy stuff going on in this one. Whenever Graham’s chapters came up, I seriously couldn’t tear through them fast enough, and yet I savored every morsel-y word. He was one of the most sexy, romantic, vulnerable, and yet mature, men I have ever read. Every bit of his behavior made complete sense with his history. He was respectable and gosh darn-it, if he didn’t have a girlfriend in this book, I’d snatch him up quick-like! This book will leave you breathless, heart-stricken, and rooting so hard, you may have to watch and make sure no one’s watching before you punch the air. You’ll return to sections of it, reread, and reread… And reread.


 GOODFOR YOU is the final chapter to this crazy-good saga. Certain characters will not continue in this book, so without giving anything away, the only testament I can give is that when I read the synopsis for this one, I wasn’t all that thrilled. I wanted my favorite characters from the last novel. BOO! But the reviews were so phenomenal, I had to give it a try. And try I’m SO GLAD I did. While the second was beautiful and pulse-pounding, this one was a slow burn. Usually, I don’t have the patience for that kind of build, but this was in a world all its own. Again, the writing was incredible – the author is a freak of nature! Before I knew it, the book was over. Unlike WHERE YOU ARE, I wasn’t content to just reread sections. I reread probably the second half of the book. No joke.

These books are rated: YA-Mature

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Which one are YOU?

Me - second row back, third from the left...

As the eccentric and torturously deep person that I am, I often wonder about our Uniqueness VS. Likeness. Our intrinsic internal desire to not only stand out, but also to look like everyone else. It’s interesting how we all start off the same way – naked and hungry, with only the basic needs on the brain. Then we grow into kids and we begin to watch.

Struggles against conformity and the detrimental desire for beauty and trend obsession are not new, but how do we get there? And why do we always want both?

We want to be a size two, but – WAIT – now we gotta have the curves to go with it. We want to be skinny with giant rear ends. We want to wear trendy clothes that go out of style in 7.5 seconds. We want to have a baby and a post-delivery tummy tuck to go with it. I’m surprised doctors don’t offer this as a package deal now (because I would’ve signed on the dot, not ashamed to admit that).

I’m not faulting anyone for wanting these things. I’m just trying to get to the root of  

Which brings me to: What do you think God sees when He looks at us?

 I’m not trying to be preachy by mentioning God – I’m a God-girl, just can’t help it. But I do wonder about these things. I think we all do.

Do you really think God looks down at us and expects to see THIS?

                          Um, no.

I think He sees the ducks. Regardless of what we look like to each other, to Him we’re a huddle of fluff just begging to be scooped up and cuddled, feathers to the cheek. All different, but, in the end, all the same.

I’m not saying we’re never going to procedure ourselves or want these things. It is the unfortunate state of the world we live in, and the expectations brought on us as women. (And men.)

Sometimes, I just hate that we have to care.


What would YOU do?

This may seem a little late for many, but my original first blog was a review on The Hunger Games movie. Since that blog was lost in transit, I'm reposting this for the very few that will read it, ha :)

Those who truly know me, have come to accept my obsession with books and movies-turned-books. The Hunger Games is only one of several I hope to experience this with.

I must say, my first take on the cast was not impressive. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence, who was she other than the girl who played what's-her-face on X-MEN FIRST CLASS (which was also awesome, BTW). Liam Hemsworth, getting warmer. But Josh Hutcherson? Halt right there, No Namer. I do not know you. You do not seem fit to don the shoes of my beautiful Peeta. Are you worthy of him? Hmm... So I wasn't sold on Peeta to say the least.

Now, Amandla Stenberg as Rue? Sold, hands down. Anyone who hasn't seen her in COLUMBIANA needs to! Stellar! Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, sure. But Stanley Tucci as Caesar? Fricking brilliant! And the rest of the cast, I had to wait and see.

My sister and I went with all these pre-prejudices, but with an open mind. After the disaster that shall remain nameless (ahem*cough*Twilight), I tend to keep my standards low these days. Which is really unfortunate, because they shouldn't have to be. With all the movie making geniuses out there, they should be able to do a simple adaptation, GOD! But I digress. Back to the topic. So, my sister and I are in the theater. We're excited, we're holding hands (because we do that, we're awesome, I know), our eyes are bright with excitement. The movie starts. The beginning is lame, but we eagerly move past that. The first shots start, and we get dizzy. P.S. That camera shake thingy does not make us feel more like we're "a part of things". The Reaping takes place. Peeta looks lame and awkward, par for my expectations. But as the movie progresses, I found myself... elated. And surprised. Overwhelmed. Drawn in.

When Katniss overcame her challenges, I was riveted. When little Rue reached her demise, I was a puddle. When Peeta professes his feelings, I was stolen away. Not in a movie seat anymore, but a part of everything with them.

Maybe this sounds dramatic and over-the-top, but after going into something that I was overly eager and yet wary about, it was a nice feeling to (finally) come out feeling fully satisfied.

Things that were well done:

1.) Pretty much everything, aside from the poor character development of the other contestants, which I realize is difficult to do in a two hour span.

2.) The tie-in of the districts falling apart and the behind-the-scenes game control panel. (Or whatever they call it.) Basically, scenes that were able to be in the movie but not in the book because in the movie we weren't only in Katniss' head. That was very interesting, and helped draw us in.

It goes without saying that I LOVED the book. But after watching the movie, everything felt so real, it had me wondering: What would I do? If I were in Katniss' shoes, what would I do?

Anything I could to survive, no doubt. It's in our nature. Innate. But would I be able to drive that weapon home, stop the heartbeat of another human being? Honestly, all we can really do is hope and pray that nothing like this ever really comes to fruition. But it certainly makes me wonder.