Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Am Number Four Movie Review - 4 stars

*mild spoilers*
Summary: You don't learn what planet these numbered kids are from until about the last 5 seconds of the movie. Pretty much all you know is that there are a bunch of tall, creepy dudes who look like they crawled out of a grave to go numbered kid hunting. John Smith - Number Four - senses it as Number Three gets killed, so he knows he's next. He ends up fleeing with his guardian, Henry, to Paradise, Ohio, but he hates hiding, so he goes to the local high school.

Okay, so this is a movie with an identity crisis. Despite starting out with a long distance shot of earth then focusing in closer, it indeed starts out like a campy horror film. Then, we switch over to sun and fun with our hero riding a jet ski and pulling off lovely tricks, keeping a real low profile. That part has more the feel of baywatch for a moment. Once they flee to Paradise, we start on the sappy teen romance phase. There are also brief parts that are reminiscent of the Hardy Boys and The X-files. When they get to the high school for the final showdown with the baddies, there's a definite Jurassic park and star trek feel.

Conclusion: It was all right. It has that definite, we're going for a sequel here, vibe at the end, but there's an okay sense of closure that the good guys win the battle and are now entering a wider war. Parts got boring. I think that's pretty inevitable when you've got this much of an odd mix of genres involved in a movie.

After Earth Movie Review - 3.5 stars

Summary: Basically a survival story. Cypher's son, Kitai, fails to be elevated to Ranger status, so the mother sends him with Cypher on a bonding experience. The ship crashes and Kitai needs to make a 100 kilometer journey to set off a beacon or they're going to die.

Comments: Decent movie. Nothing Earth shattering in terms of plotting, but it's got pretty visuals and good imagination in terms of monsters and nature-like things that could kill the hero. Music fits. In terms of it being a sci-fi movie, it's just mediocre. They try to deepen the characters through flashbacks, but even so, they don't come across as very deep. It's worth watching once.

Conclusion: If you're a Will Smith fan who likes sci-fi, give it a go.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nancy Drew Mystery #76 The Eskimo's Secret Review

 Hey look, I'm actually semi-consistent. It's only been about 5 days since I last posted a Nancy Drew review.

Case: Nancy Drew Mystery #76 The Eskimo’s Secret
Rating: 4.5 stars
Date Finished: 8/22/14
Client: Case 1 – Carson Drew disappears while investigating the mysterious people out to ruin Helen Haggler’s import business. Case 2 – Somebody’s walked off with a beautiful Eskimo carving called the “Tundra,” and the only person who might give Nancy answers is her friend, Alana Steele, who’s also missing.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: No, well that’s a surprise.
Which friends are present?: Usual suspects are absent on this one, but there’s a new friend, Alana Steele.
Danger/action level: I’d categorize the action here as medium. There’s probably more “intrigue” than “action.”

- One of Alana’s mini-speeches alone earned the extra half-star.
- The descriptions of Nancy’s emotional turmoil at her father’s plight are adequate. I like that the events seem to give her more emotional depth than we’re used to seeing.
- With the inclusion of tape decks and pay phones, this book is quite dated, but it’s still fun.
- I found 5 grammatical errors in my copy of this book. I always thought they were super clean grammatically, since they were published by a pretty reputable publishing house, but that could just be I read most of them before really paying attention to that sort of thing.
- The title actually has an integral part of the plot. It’s not just there to sound cool.

Conclusion: If you want to see more of Nancy Drew the thinking detective, this is a great choice.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nancy Drew Review Project

Okay, so I keep hearing about bloggers giving themselves challenges. One of my major downfalls as a blogger is consistency. So here's my new plan. I have tons of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I can't remember which I've read and which I haven't, but I'm going to try and review as many of them as I possibly can. Here are the first two reviews:

Case: Mystery #67 The Sinister Omen
Publisher: Minstrel Books
Date: 1982
Page Count: 193
Rating: 4 Stars
Date Finished: 8/17/14
Client: Case 1 – Senor Segovia and Carson Drew are hot on the trail of a bunch of stamp thieves and smugglers.
Case 2 – Somebody has been breaking into Mrs. Palmer’s house. The perpetrator(s) haven’t taken anything, but they are making a mess of her house.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: Yes
Which friends are present?: Whole gang (Bess, George, Burt, Dave, and Ned)
Danger/action level: medium
Comments: The action shows up early in this one.

Conclusion: Worthwhile read. I enjoyed the fact that the ghostwriter weaved two stories into one here. It’s fairly predictable, but still satisfying.

Case: Mystery #98 The Haunting of Horse Island
Publisher: Minstrel Books
Date: 1990
Page Count: 151
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Date Finished: 8/18/14
Client: Friends of George’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Steadman, own a resort, but somebody’s going around sabotaging things for an unknown reason.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: Yes, KO-ed
Which friends are present?: Bess and George
Danger/action level: high, lots going on here

Comments: Bess’s worry over ghosts gets a little tiresome, but there is a lot of action, adventure, and danger.

Conclusion: If you had to pick one Nancy Drew book to try, give this one a go.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Join Julie's Special Agents Street Team #JuliesSpecialAgents @authorgilbert

Do you want to join the most awesome young adult street team? If so, now is the time! We are recruiting members to be part of Julie's Special Agents and help spread the word about Team Jules!

Who can be one of Julie's Special Agents?

Anyone that has read about Jillian Marie (Devya's Children)or Julie Ann (The Collins Case) can be a Special Agent! Even before she was kidnapped Jillian was bright, brave and headstrong. Special Agent Julie Ann takes on more than she can chew when a personal case lands on her desk. Join our team and find out if you are as bright and headstrong as Jillian? Or if you have what it takes when a case hits too close to home?

What does the Street Team do?

The street team is a vital part of Julie Gilbert's growth. Members will be helping us spread the word about Devya's Children, Heartfelt Cases and Julie Gilbert. You can tweet, Facebook, blog, etc.. There will be giveaways so re-tweeting and using the hash-tags #JuliesSpecialAgents #TeamJules, #Devya'sChildren and #HeartfeltCases with the link will be important. We will also post new missions often in the group and I will email the missions to members as they are available. So, what do you say?

What do Street Team members get?

Street Team members will have special buttons and badges they can place on their blogs. If you'd like, please also post them as your avatar, Facebook image, or anywhere else you see fit. We have several images that can be posted on Pinterest as well. If you do post images and want to know where to link it to, please use You are also eligible for prizes and free books that are earned based on participation.

How do I sign up?

Are you ready to join us and accept your first mission as part of Team Jules? Fill out the form below to get started!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Author Minispotlight - J. Michael Gallen - Fantasy

J. Michael Gallen is a fantasy novelist from Central Texas who has published three novels and two novellas in the Saga Terra series, his franchise focusing on anthropomorphic animal characters that find themselves caught in the ongoing war between two superpowers dominating the world: the Holy Kingdom of Asgard and the Empire of Niflheim.

The recommended reading order of the books is:
Saga Terra: Odysseus
Saga Terra: Jordan the Wanderer
Saga Terra: Judge of The Haven
Saga Terra: The Lone Star Adventure
Saga Terra: Judge of Stellasolum

The books are available at the following outlets:
J. Michael Gallen's Amazon books
Barnes & Noble: