The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Review:

The Amityville Horror left me with mixed feelings. I wanted to love it but there were so many things off I just couldn’t get into it.

The movie opens with a scene of the couple in bed and the youngest kid coming in the room and asking George what he is doing to his mommy. Then a dialogue ensues during which the kid asks him if he has to call him daddy now. The thing is, the couple is married. So they had to have been dating before, right? Shouldn’t this conversation have taken place before? I always felt that the guy just got there, what with the mom asking her kids to give George a chance, which is so weird because, again, they’re married, even if recently.

The movie develops very well, with a couple’s very real concerns with money and beautiful footage of the move-in. And then it begins getting sloppy again. I never figured out who did what. Both adults seemed to always be at the house except to run errands. The husband is supposed to have a ‘business’ which he runs from the basement but I never got what it was.

There’s just too much sillyness going through the movie for me to take it seriously. The man is clearly a threat to her kids when he is in the house and never once did Kathy ask him why he behaved like that when they were out, or try and approach the subject at all. Towards the end, she starts running around like crazy instead of getting help. Seriously, you just figured out there is major evil at play here and you go and face it on your own?

There’s suspense, there’s definitely horror and there is so much potential for a good story here, particularly with the connection between Chelsea and Jodie, what is afflicting Jodie, the explanation for the evil, the degeneration of the the main character throughout the movie and even the house/grounds themselves.
Reynolds was so good in his role but as the narrative didn’t flow and everything felt staged it just didn’t deliver.
Another horror let down for me.

For the record, I did not watch the original version. Maybe it’s better.

Random Chat: On Kindle Cases & Reading Habits

On Watching TV

Step up, take a seat, make yourself at home and let’s chat!

Wow, it has been a while since I did one of these, huh? Actually, exactly 6 months to the day! What a coincidence.

So, I confess I am one of the numerous women whose bag is much too heavy. I have been getting some nasty back pain and my posture has actually been affected, so I figured it was time to do something about it. I took loads of stuff off and still, it weighed a ton!

I tried taking my Kindle out and the change was dramatic.

So what could I do about this?
Buy a new, lighter case, of course!

To me it is very important that I am able to read without using my hands, which means the device needs to stay in a vertical position. Cases that allow that and which can be shipped to Portugal are more difficult to find than you’d think.

Also, they are pretty expensive, especially with shipping costs added. So I figured I would go to this site which has pretty cheap stuff and free delivery, and from which I had ordered before and was pretty happy with what I got.
I searched for quite a while and the closest thing I could find was this origami case:

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I had seen them around and figured the material would be as flimsy and not last long. Also, it looked sort of unstable.

Well, I bought it, got it about a week ago and I was right. The cover already does not close properly. Actually, it never did from day 1:

Worst of all, my Kindle does not go into sleep mode when I close it!!

It just stays there wasting battery unless I manually put it into sleep mode and it isn’t really completely protected…

So, what I am wondering and what I would like to chat with you about is:

Do you figure there are better origami cases out there and should I have gone for a more expensive/brand one?

Do you know of other alternatives to origami cases that will allow my Kindle Paperwhite to stay vertical?

Do you have similar reading habits or do you find it just plain weird that it is this important to me for the E-Reader to stay up?

Personally, I love reading while I eat and also while in bed. My third favourite place is the garden where one of those pictures was taken, it’s near my workplace and I get to go there during my lunch hour.

What are your favourite places to read and how do you read? Do you do other stuff while reading, are you always holding your book/device, etc?

Cujo

Cujo

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

Review:

As usual, when I read a book I like watching the movie adaptation.

This one goes back to 1983 and it was very scary, even without the special effects we get these days.

Several things were changed from the book, also as usual. Other characters are either omitted after a point or dramatically changed. The story is much more focused on just Donna and Tad and their horrible experience.

I definitely gagged quite a few times, what they did to that dog was just gross. The suspense and terror is still all there though, even without the gore. The degradation of the characters as time passes is very well achieved.

The entire cast was very good but Tad and Cujo are the definite stars here. In my opinion it is a shame the ending was changed so radically but I suppose this sells better.

Cujo is a movie guaranteed to give you nightmares even these days. Don’t watch it at night!

Disconnect

Disconnect

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A drama centered on a group of people searching for human connections in today’s wired world.

Review:

This movie approaches a multitude of situations any of us could encounter in today’s world.
We often think tragedy only strikes others, so it is definitely food for thought.

Disconnect addresses situations we are all aware of but probably don’t pay much attention to, as they are outside our little bubble. The movie confronts you with those awful situations and asks you what you would do in those characters’ situation.

The directing was very good. I can tell there was a lot of thought put into the set according to each particular characters’ situations and even filming each scene.

Pretty much the only downsides I found were the couple dealing with the loss of their son – they felt like strangers well before that event, it’s like the husband’s military past did not even happen up to that point, for example -, and the FBI being so inefficient felt like a plot device to get things to where they needed to be for dramatic potential. Also, I had trouble dealing with the slow pace.

It makes sense because there are several different stories happening at the same time and due to the reality of the situations. There are no car chases or big explosions here, this is real life.

The stories reach their climax in slow motion scenes but I just could not feel the impact as expected, for some reason. I guess I found the build up to some of them either too slow or that it did not have enough background/development or I just wanted more.

Still, Disconnect is a very heartbreaking, real movie. The ending was just as realistic and I believe it is something everyone should watch, from as young as teenagers.

Cujo

Title: Cujo

Author: Stephen King

Genres: Horror | Thriller

Length: 304 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

After chasing a rabbit, the usually friendly St Bernard, Cujo, begins acting oddly. He was bitten by a rabid bat but there is something much darker at place.

Review:

After finishing Cujo I am left with a bittersweet feeling. It was less than I had expected, I suppose.

King does a wonderful job setting up the characters and story, as usual, linking several pieces together to create a multi sided, intriguing picture, from the eldest character to the mailman to the more main characters.

I especially loved reading both Tad and Cujo’s thoughts and the alternating narrative points kept me interested. Each character had their own stuff to deal with. Donna was really the only one I could not connect with.

However, I had expected more from the story. Without getting too spoilery, we are told there is a certain evil at play, besides just plain rabies, which is nasty on its own. However, I felt this premise, which was really so important, was not nearly explored enough.

Also, there were too many coincidences to my taste. I realize that was the entire point, to make us wonder how a few well (or ill) timed coincidences can lead to such ghastly situations, but some just felt nonsensical to me, I believe people just wouldn’t act that way in such a situation. I can appreciate the thought, though.

The pacing also felt off but the last quarter or so of the book was unrelenting. The suspense was unbelievable and I can understand why some people would have nightmares reading that stuff.

Not everything was wrapped up nicely in the end but I did get enough closure and the ending was surprising enough.

I know King has a lot more to give so I was not utterly impressed. If it is true he wrote the entire book under the effect of cocaine and doesn’t even remember doing it I would say he did a pretty darn good job.

You can check out the buddy read topic here.

Read from Jul 3rd to Jul 12nd, 2016

GR Review

Equals

Equals

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In an emotionless utopia, two people fall in love when they regain their feelings from a mysterious disease, causing tensions between them and their society.

Review:

The premise to this movie, although not new, was quite promising. A society where emotions are viewed as a disease and people actually do not question it throughout almost the entire movie made me curious enough to watch it.

However, it got overpowered by a romance where I could not even feel the chemistry. Kirsten’s face works well for the robotic layer of her character but when trying to convey emotion, let alone chemistry with her co-star, it just didn’t work.
Also, her excessive thinness and bags under her eyes truly annoyed me. Aren’t these people supposed to look healthy because they are free of pretty much all diseases?

Also, I have to admit, I dozed off from time to time. Granted, a restless night of sleep didn’t help but boy was this movie slow. There wasn’t even a climax, not really, no matter how high the director pumped the soundtrack’s volume up.

The first contact between those two should have been much more intense. Their reactions were pretty muted considering that supposedly they had never even touched anyone up to that point. Just holding hands should have sent sparks all over their bodies, being confined in such a small space and that close and all. Instead there was just a lot of eye, lips and hands close-ups and some panting but no actual emotion or passion that came across.

The development after the plot twist made me bat-crazy. I could not understand why the guy was running around, it just seemed ridiculous.

The ending was a major cliffhanger and did not satisfy me in the least.

I wish I had seen more of the dystopia, the world building, than such a major focus on romance.

It was okay but really, really slow and honestly not that interesting.

Trip Down Memory Lane

I was on the car driving back home, humming Careless Whisper by George Michael and feeling nostalgic, so figured I would share a few videos from my childhood/teens.

These, and others, are songs that combined well thought out, meaningful lyrics with wonderful, touching melodies. I can’t say I have felt towards music in any way even remotely similar to what these made me feel back then, in the past few years, even couple of decades.

It was tough to pick just 10; there were so many awesome songs back then. But here they are.

In no particular order:

1. Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues
That guitar blows me away to this day, it’s almost as if it’s crying, I don’t know.
This is such a superb song.

2. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
There have been so many versions of this song but I still find this one the best.
When I was a kid, my parents got me an organ and, amongst other popular songs, it had this instrumental one pre-recorded.
I did not listen to the original version until much later but it was part of my life from a young age.

3. Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
I was a pre-teen when I first heard this, didn’t really know much English back then so I would just sing along as best as it could. I thought it was a very intense song but did not realize how sad it was until I understood the lyrics later on.

4. Extreme – More Than Words
Possibly the best love song ever made, in my humble opinion – both because of the melody and the lyrics.
And it is proof that you really don’t need many gimmicks to make an outstanding song.

5. Richard Marx – Hazard
I always found this song so eerie and yet was compelled to listen to it over and over again.
It sounded dangerous and immensely sad, at the same time.
Again, I had no idea what the guy said at the time.
Right Here Waiting by the same guy was another that touched me very much.

6. The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody
A classic, if there ever was one. Incredibly romantic and yet unrelenting.
I believe this song can move the stoniest of hearts!

7. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
Who can forget singing IIIII eeee IIIII will always loooove yooooouuu from the top of their lungs?
I know I did!

7. Ben E. King – Stand by Me
This song has one of the coolest rhythms of all time. The gourd and upright bass make such a cool combo!
I still need to watch the movie. I read the novella it was based on and now I really need to get to the film.
But boy the song is an all time favourite.

8. Phil Collins – Against All Odds
There are several Phil Collins songs I could have chosen but this one was definitely one of my favourites.
Such a sad and intense melody… It is one of those rare songs that takes its time building it up and then it just blows you away.

9. Scorpions – Still Loving You
Speaking of songs that build up to crescendo and then blow you away… This has got to be right at the top.

10. Radiohead – Creep

Boy, this song made me nuts! Still does. So deep, it has a way of crawling under your skin and leave you raw.

And the bonus track… I remember dancing this when I was little, usually with my cousins. It was HUGE here in Portugal.

Kaoma – Lambada

As I said, it was really, really hard picking just these, there are so many more I loved, from even before I was born, stuff from The Moody Blues (Nights In White Satin, anyone?) to Nirvana.


So… Which song(s) would you add to this list?
Which still mean a lot to you, taking you back to happy times or even sad ones?

The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

Title: The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel

Author: James Renner

Genres: Horror | Mystery | Speculative Fiction | Thriller

Length: 464 pages

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

The Man from Primose Lane dies in mysterious circumstances. Writer David Neff gets involved in the investigation and will find things about his life and the people around him that he never even imagined possible.

Review:

Well, there goes another book that could have been amazing but was for the most part ruined for me due to the huge spoiler in the blurb.

Yep, the major device is revealed in the synopsis and even the book cover, when it does not even begin to be approached until about 60% of the book. By the time I got there I was completely unsurprised and the entire thing was utterly anti-climatic. Even the characters involved never seemed truly surprised. I am ticked off. It should have been something special.

When I first started reading The Man from Primrose Lane: A Novel I found the book annoyingly descriptive. It didn’t help that the author kept hinting at the value of descriptiveness in a book, both through his main character and his wife.

The narrative is interspersed with accounts from different points in time and, while interesting, it did get quite confusing. The fact is I found my mind constantly slipping away from passages that just felt unnecessary and because too much was going on it all felt scattered and pointless. I kept rereading those passages where I drifted off because I hate skimming books but sure enough, they felt like a waste of time. Granted, most made sense later on, but it was much too long a wait for resolution, at least for me.

As the narrative evolved beyond the twist, I had seen most of the revelations a mile away. There was a particularly gross moment that made a difference but not in a good way.

Several things that just seemed thrown in there for the sake of justifying the plot twist; particularly about the future, names kept being dropped but I did not get a clear idea of what they were, some not at all, as well a couple of plot holes here and there, mostly about how characters dealt with situations, the reactions did not feel organic and I wondered why they didn’t wonder certain things.

The book redeemed itself towards the end, but that does not erase the fact that at times I found reading it a chore, and I felt it should have been more focused. I believe it could have been a very interesting crime investigation novel where the character deals with his inner demons. It didn’t need all the time travel mumbo-jumbo, especially when I didn’t even get how it was done and so much was glossed/skimmed over.

Most of all I felt there were too many things going on, too many characters – I kept forgetting who was who and did what – and I never really related to any of them. At some point I just gave up keeping track, which obviously hindered my enjoyment.

Still, the writing really was quite enjoyable at times. Some passages were very interesting. Even though I must admit this is most likely my issue, I just feel like the book didn’t know what it wanted to be and ended up all over the place, not really meaning much at all until the final stretch which, again, as thrilling as it was, was just not enough to compensate the lost feeling I had throughout the novel.
I can definitely see why some folks would adore this novel, people who are definitely more patient and have a better attention span than me and therefore I still recommend it.

Read from Jun 24th to Jul 2nd, 2016

GR Review

June 2016 Wrap-Up

June was pretty darn awesome, as I had a week off work. I managed to catch some sun, get plenty of rest and especially read a lot!

It was also my birthday so yep, feeling the weight of the years!

I even did an award post, I can’t even remember when I last did one of the sort.

Jolly good month; enjoyable reading, entertaining movies, good company and lovely nature – cannot ask for much more.


Summary:

Total Books Read: 6

Longest Read: Different Seasons (508 pages)

Shortest Read: The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs (160 pages)

Book of the Month: Different Seasons

Favourite Cover:

Challenges Progress:

GoodReads: 29/50
2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss: 18/?


June Books:

 

I decided to read something completely different, so I went for The Gospel at Work, by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert.

The book addressed some interesting points but it was repetitive, I had trouble adjusting to the language and I am not sure I agree with everything stated there but I do feel Christians should read it, as they will surely take something out of it.

I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

 

 

I moved on to a Sci-fi novel, Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay.

It was a fast-paced book with an interesting concept but the main character annoyed the heck out of me and I felt the book was aimed at much younger audiences.

I rated it 3/5 stars.

 

 

Dead Petals-An Apocalypse by Eric Ortlund was a very bizarre book.

I could never get into it because it was just too bleak and it felt a lot of nothing was happening but it is a unique book and I think fans of this sort of writing will love it.

I rated it 2.25/5.

 

 

I was quite surprised by Different Seasons by Stephen King.

The guy is my favourite author for a reason. He can write. Horror or otherwise, he can write stuff that will grab you by the collar and never let go.
These four novellas were very special.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars.

 

 

M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman is an anthology of short stories, some had already been featured in other books.

It is difficult for me to fully appreciate short stories because I am just not a fan of the genre but I enjoyed most of them. I wish I had had more closure to some and a couple took me long to get through but it was still enjoyable and there sure is plenty of magic.

I rated it 3.75/5.

 

 

I can not even begin to tell you how disappointed I was at Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour.

It had such interesting concepts but it never grasped me. Everything felt forced and I got no resolution whatsoever. It has got to be one of the worst books I have read. I simply cannot understand why so many people love it, unless it’s for the feels.

I rated it 1.25/5 stars.

 


Where I got the books:

Book Depository

  • Different Seasons
  • M Is for Magic

Netgalley:

  • The Gospel at Work
  • Broken Skies
  • Dead Petals-An Apocalipse
  • Blood, Ink & Fire

 

Movie Reviews:

 

Reblogs:

 

Other Posts in June:

 


How was June for you?
Do you have a Wrap-up post? Please link it below!