Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fast and Furious 7 Review




















After his beloved by both critics and audiences horror movie The Conjuring, director James Wan steps in Justin Lin's place and takes over the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. He transitions really well from the low-budget horror movie genre to the massive, action blockbuster one. This results in an enjoyable experience at the movie theatre where you just go with the action and stop thinking for two and a half hours.

Furious 7 follows the gang after the events that happened in Fast and Furious 6. Owen Shaw's brother, Deckard(Jason Statham) is out for blood, wanting to revenge his sibling's crippling by Vin Diesel's family and Hobbs. And after Deckard kills Han and destroys the Toretto home, Dom is also on the hunt. Consequently, this takes everyone except for Mia, who is in a safe heaven in the Dominican Republic, to a variety of exotic locations like Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan where a lot of the action and mayhem occur. You get sky-diving cars, flying cars and lots of action.

On the other hand for the first twenty minutes or so I noticed something odd for this type of movie - character development. The characters are shown living their lives with the few difficulties they had. By the end you feel emotionally connected to most of the characters. The acting is great, but I felt the Rock was underused. I have to applaud Wan's desire to incorporate everything into one feature film. However, this is also the biggest problem; the movie is something between action, comedy, drama and thriller and therefore the tone is inconsistent.

After Paul Walker's devastating death many were concerned about what would happen to the character. The studio and the filmmakers were considerable enough not try to commercialise Walker's death by promoting the movie as his last one. They've managed to pay a tear-jerking good tribute to him at the end of the movie.

The directing is well done but it lacked Justin Lin's slick look. Even though it's one of the franchise's trademarks, I felt the camera lingered a bit too much on the behinds of the hot girls. The other problem I had was the quick-cut hand combats; the fistfights are cut way too often, there is a lot of shaky-cam and those reminiscent of Michael Bay and Nolan when they are doing human fights. Conversely, the movie is, most of the time, gorgeous to look at. The soundtrack and visual effects are favorable too.

Furious 7 is a nice continuation of the Fast and Furious series which pays a wonderful tribute to Paul Walker. For the over-the-top franchise this is, the movie is ingenious enough to make the paid money for the cinema worth your while.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by C.J. Dushinski


The Thorn and the Sinking Stone
Release Date: March 2015
Entangled Teen
313 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape...

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth's Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future...

To avenge his father's death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud...and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love...


The Thorn and the Sinking Stone – 5 Sources of Inspiration
Along the way the story of the Thorn and the Sinking St
one changed quite a bit from one draft to
the next, inspired by one source or another. Here are
the top five sources of inspiration that
helped me craft the Thorn and the Sinking Stone to what
it is today:
1)
Romeo & Juliet:
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has alr
eady read the
story. The Thorn and the Sinking Stone was heavily inspi
red by Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet. Two warring families, young, forbidden love... the ge
neral plot is true to the
play. I’ve always loved Romeo and Juliet, like a lot of
people, and I wondered what the
story would be like told in a similar place several hundre
ds of years later, given similar
circumstance and a whole new set of rules. And since B
az Lurhman is one of my
favourite movie directors, of course I was inspired by hi
s modern twist on the classic tale.
Something about his version with guns and fast cars with a
dark setting really inspired the
About the Author
While attempting to navigate life as a responsible human being, CJ graduated from university with a B.Comm and worked her way along as marketer, copywriter, and graphic designer to earn a paycheck while pursing her passion for creating fantastical stories set in dark and wondrous corners of the world.  Born amongst the wheat fields and open skies of the Canadian prairies, CJ’s imagination has always run wild, taking her on adventures across the world from modeling in Seoul, South Korea to backpacking through Europe and surfing (poorly) in Hawaii.

After wandering through ancient cities and civilizations, learning from diverse cultures, and surrounding herself in new experiences, CJ was inspired and began work on her debut Young Adult novel THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE, to be published by Entangled Publishing 2014/15. CJ currently resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada – home of the Canadian Rockies – and keeps one hand on her passport and pen at all times, ready to pick up, see the world, and weave her experiences into stories. 

CJ is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency LLC.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

The Thorn and the Sinking Stone
Release Date: March 2015
Entangled Teen
313 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape...

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth's Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future...

To avenge his father's death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud...and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Deviate by Tracy Clark Release Day


Release Date: 03/03/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...

On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them,  Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.

No longer will she hide.

No longer will her loved ones be hunted.

And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.



Buy Links:

Book One:
(cover linked to Goodreads)

Buy Links:

About the Author
Tracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through, they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.
She grew up a “Valley Girl” in Southern California but now lives in her home state of Nevada, in a small town at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Her two children teach her the art of distraction and are a continuous source of great dialogue. She’s an unapologetic dog person who is currently owned by a cat.
Tracy was the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant. A two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program where she was lucky enough to be mentored by bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins, who taught her so much about the art of writing and cured her of her ellipsis addiction.
Her debut novel was inspired by her enchantment with metaphysics as a teen, seeing it as the real magic in life. Tracy is a part-time college student, a private pilot, and an irredeemable dreamer.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Dream Catcher by Anya Monroe Release Day + Giveaway


The Dream Catcher
Release Date: 02/19/15
300 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
***Paddle boards, bonfires & bikinis won’t help Penny. She craves the boy from the woods; not knowing she’s already caught in his nightmare. ***

Penny’s nightmare is ruling her life and she doesn’t know why. It started a few months ago, and since then Red Bulls, 5-hour Energy Shots, and Starbucks drive-thru are her lifeline.

When Penny’s parents decide to take their research of a rare Native American cult to a remote cabin for the summer, she's less than enthused.

Then Penny meets Delsin in a clearing in the woods, and her view of the world awakens. Apathy defines her, but Delsin lives life to it’s fullest. A shaman-in-training, he is everything Penny is not.

Each morning she comes to the woods, handing pieces of her heart to him, but when Penny is confronted with her worst nightmare, Delsin asks for a sacrifice Penny didn’t see coming.





Excerpt:   


“Listen, Penny. I know we are different in many ways, but you have this gentleness about you, and I don’t see it in many people. Most of the girls I’ve known are so intense. You are different.”
“So you keep saying.” But I relaxed a bit with his confident words, knowing that he liked me, straight up. “I should probably get back. We’ve been gone for hours.” I thought about Ollie looking for me. I didn’t want him to find me here. I didn’t want to share this place with him. With anyone.
“I know. I don’t want you to get in trouble, on my account.” He stood and took my hand.
He climbed out of the cave quickly, and then gave me his hands to hold, pulling me out easily. His arms were strong and he helped me to my feet. Once again we were on top of the rock, looking out at the woods, breathing in the mid-day air. But Delsin’s eyes were looking above, into the sky, as if searching for something far from his reach, and he raised his hands, too. As if wanting a hand to part from the clouds, to reach out and take him away.
I didn’t stare. I let him have his moment, even though I didn’t understand it. And I looked out, straight ahead, over the trees.

I didn’t know what I was looking for.

“Listen, Penny. I know we are different in many ways, but
you have this gentleness about you,
and I don’t see it in many people. Most of the girls I’
ve known are so intense. You are different.”
“So you keep saying.”
B
ut I relaxed a bit with his confident words, knowing that he
liked me,
straight up. “I should probably get back. We’ve been gone fo
r hours.” I thought about Ollie
looking for me. I didn’t want him to find me here. I didn’
t want to share this place with him.
With anyone.
“I know. I don’t want you to get in trouble, on my account
.” He stood and took my hand.
He climbed out of the cave quickly, and then gave me his
hands to hold, pulling me out easily.
His arms were strong and he helped me to my feet. Once a
gain we were on top of the rock,
looking out at the woods, breathing in the mid-day air.
B
ut Delsin’s eyes were looking above,
into the sky, as if searching for something far from his r
each, and he raised his hands, too. As if
wanting a hand to part from the clouds, to reach out and t
ake him away.
I didn’t stare. I let him have his moment, even though I d
idn’t understand it. And I looked out,
straight ahead, over the trees.
I didn’t know what I was looking fo
Buy Links:

About the Author
Anya Monroe likes to write stories and paint words on her walls. She believes in love at first sight and fights for happily-ever-afters. As a wife and mom to six kids, she carves out time to write between carpool pick-ups and date nights because words are her heartbeat. She lives a ferry ride from Seattle and is a total Pacific Northwesterner who drinks chai lattes and wears Birkenstocks and has dreadlocks. She's a cliché, but doesn't mind it. Not even a little.

She documents her lovely-messy life on IG @anyamonroe. Find her there!


Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Дякон Левски - рецензия

Колкото и да искам не мога да си кривя душата, филмът на Максим Генчев е красиво заснет, но с огромни проблеми в сценария и изпълнението.

Да започнем с хубавите неща. Симеон играе ролята на малкия апостол добре, макар и да преиграва на места, но Веселин Плачков е звездата, която се справя идеално с ролята, която му е поверена. Допринася към образа на Левски и винаги, когато се появи на екрана, блести. За съжаление, самият Левски се появява във филма за много по-кратко време от очакваното. На това се дължи и липсата на емоционална обвързаност с героя, която до края на тричасовия филм става осезаема.

Главният проблем на филма са множеството сюжетни линии. Режисьорът е преценил, че в дългия филм ще може да разкаже много истории и с това ще впечатли зрителите. Ефектът, обаче, е точно обратният - част от тях остават незавършени до края на филма и, следователно, не впечатляват зрителя. За филм, който се казва "Дякон Левски" човек ще си помисли, че Левски е главният герой. Това е така, но филмът по-скоро следва стила на сериалите на HBO, като "Истинска кръв" или "Игра на Тронове", където има множество персонажи, чиито сюжети текат успоредно и всички са главни. Главният проблем на филма, поне според мен, е фактът, че е твърде наблегнато върху турските герои и техните случки. За български филм, около почти една втора се говори на турски, което не позволява от филма да излъчва патриотизъм.

За нещо, което би трябвало да възхвалява и да показва в най-добрата светлина най-известния ни апостол, филмът не успява да пресъздаде образа му правилно. Искам да отбележа, че това няма нищо общо с актьора, а със сценария. Истина е, че режисьорът не може да създаде версията на Левски, която всеки един българин си представя, но в героя липсваха основните черти, с които е описван. Една от тези черти е оптимизмът му, който го прави тази светла и бодра личност както Ботев го описва "дърво и камък се пука от студ, а той пее ли пее". Друг голям проблем с образа на революционера е, че нито една от култовите му реплики като "Ако спечеля, печели цял народ, ако загубя - губя само аз
ако изгубя, губя само себе си!" не присъства.


Героят на Левски понякога е представен приемливо, но през повечето време - изключително зле. За герой като него този филм е подигравка. Представен е като един човек, който просто е говорел и нищо не е правил. Да, имаше няколко силни момента с него, в които има няколко речи, но те са напълно 2 или 3 и това е. Колкото до прословутата реплика "Да ти е*а майката!" не се обидих от нея, защото Левски е бил човек и е нормално понякога да изпсува. Това, което ме обиди дълбоко беше частта със залавянето му. Едва ли не турците тръгнаха да го търсят и веднага го намериха, той не е бягал и не се е дегизирал. А фактът, че просто се предаде ме фрапира напълно. Имаше момент, когато с чук счупиха глезените на Левски, а в следващия кадър ходеше. За съжаление в сцената, когато обесиха апостола не можах да изпитам нищо, въпреки че в продължение на няколко минути гледах как виси на бесилото.

Британският лорд Бонър е персонаж, който няма никакво място във филма. Главната му цел е да търси мощите на св. Игнатий. Чужденецът си служи с български и го говори толкова добре колкото и българин и само обикаляше манастирите. Жената, която се мъкнеше с него пък нямаше абсолютно никаква цел. Просто беше там…

Ботев, от друга страна, е единственият герой, към когото изпитах някаква симпатия. Толкова е позитивен и добре представен. Точно лудата глава, която е бил. Видях повече отколкото предполагах от него, което е едно от малкото неща, които ми харесаха във филма.

В тези повече от три часа и половина филм се появят множество персонажи, които не са представени и правят някакви неща, които са напълно несвързани с мързеливо написания сценарий.



Освен Ботев и играта на Плачков ми харесаха режисурата и музиката. Тук ще отворя скоба и ще кажа, че озвучаването, диалога, беше лошо. В част от сцените на филма не се разбират репликите на героите. Гледките и самото движение на камерата ми допаднаха. Музиката беше добра, но все си мисля, че можеха да ползват повече народна музика, освен тъпана и една-две песни. Монтажът не беше добър, защото имаше много непостоянства като факта, че в единия момент виждаш герой в разцвета на силите си, в следващия е ранен и едва живее или по-горе споменатият момент с чупенето на краката на Левски. Изглежда сякаш са снимали много неща и по-сполучливите неща са скалъпени набързо.

"Дякон Левски" е без емоционален филм с мързелив сценарий, който не позволява на зрителя да се свърже с героите, а непостоянстово и накъсаността не дават възможност на зрителя да се наслади на филм с красива режисура, който би могъл да е на нивото на класиката "Време Разделно".

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard Review

The Madmen's daughter circles around Juliet Monreau who lives in London, whose father was involved in some sort of scandal few years ago, when he left, and her mother has recently passed away so she's forced to take care for herself. She works as a cleaning lady, although before she's been rich and all of her friends are different from her. One day when she runs into Montgomery, who used to be part of their household staff and she has not seen him since her dad's disappearance. He tells her that her father is alive and they are working together on a remote island. Soon Juliets finds herself on this island and not everything is as it seems.

The book is fast-paced... sort of. When I picked up this book I was amazed by how fast it moved, but then I started to get disappointed. Every time something interesting is about to happen, it happens and then we're reading her confusion for a couple of pages. I closed my eyes for the first couple of times but it was a constant problem for me throughout the book.

Also the love triangle is weird. You've got Montgomery, who she knows for a very long time and then you've got Edward, who they find in the sea somewhere. It was pretty obvious who she liked more and just there was something about the triangle that spoke... boring. It's nowhere near as sophisticated as the one in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Dark Elements series. 

Nevertheless, the plot is gripping if you leave out the stretching. It is thought-out and there are quite a few questions asked like 'What makes us human?' or 'What makes you civilised' which is both connected to Juliet and the creatures living on the island. Her father pretty much thinks he's a god of the island and can do whatever he likes. There also quite a few twists I did no see coming. The writing is so beautiful and detailed. It really lets you enter this girl's head.

In short, The Madman's Daughter is a good book if you are looking for historical fiction/fantasy/drama and good writing. However, be warned about the weird pacing and strange love triangle.

                                    
                                      Rating: 3.5 Stars