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Movie Review: THE GIVER

Movie Review: THE GIVER

August 14, 2014 – 8:38 pm |

The Giver, adapted from Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel, opens in black and white, with best friends Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush), and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) living in a dystopian community free of strife. Every …

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Movie Review: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

July 31, 2014 – 10:42 pm | 2 Comments

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy

Disclosure one: I went into the Guardians of the Galaxy screening a few weeks ago knowing nothing about it, other than that it has a weird group of characters at its center and a bunch of name actors are in it, either on camera or as voice talent.

Disclosure two: I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the movie, even if I didn’t understand some of the finer details.

The plot, which seems almost beside the point, involves Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a treasure hunter who obtains a mysterious orb that everyone in the galaxy seems to want. It brings him into the orbit of Zamora (Zoe Saldana), a green-skinned badass; Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), an angry, genetically altered raccoon; Rocket’s buddy, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a talking tree with a limited vocabulary; and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a man hell bent on revenge. They form a tentative bond to stop a bad guy named Ronan (Lee Pace) from doing more bad things.

Guardians has something for everyone: humor, action, special effects, and most importantly, good actors. Pratt is nimble with his zingers and a likable anchor, though he still seems too generic for me, his screen presence not quite remarkable enough to put him into the same category of movie star as, say, Ryan Gosling or Robert Downey Jr.

Saldana is solid, but after Avatar and the Star Trek movies, there’s nothing surprising about seeing her in yet another big-budget sci-fi movie.

I was surprised by Cooper’s performance. His voice is unrecognizable—raspy, rapid fire, and with a slight Jersey accent at times. He brings many colors to Rocket and the raccoon stole the movie.

Oh, and how can I not mention the soundtrack of ’70s and ’80s hits? I cannot hear 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” or Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” now without thinking of specific scenes. What clever use of music.

So far this summer, I’ve been subjected to some mind-numbing blockbusters, but Guardians is something that won’t have you begging for mercy (*cough* Transformers *cough*) before the movie’s over.

Nerd verdict: Fun ride through Galaxy

Photo: Marvel Studios

Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

July 16, 2014 – 7:55 pm | 4 Comments
Book Review & Giveaway: ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
British novelist Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) examines the different shapes of families and the widening gap between rich people and those who …

Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

July 13, 2014 – 8:31 pm |
Book Review: LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell

TV writer Georgie McCool finally gets a shot at writing her dream show. The problem: She needs to stay in L.A. and work on it over Christmas. Georgie’s husband Neal decides to take their young …

Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

July 7, 2014 – 9:57 pm | 11 Comments
Giveaway: THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

On the July Nerdy Special List posted last week, one of the recommendations was Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life, the finale to her Book of Souls trilogy. I now have a giveaway of that book (out July 15), …

Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

June 30, 2014 – 6:00 pm | 9 Comments
Giveaway: WAYFARING STRANGER by James Lee Burke

The good people at Simon & Schuster are letting me give away two copies of James Lee Burke’s new novel, Wayfaring Stranger, which comes out July 15. Here’s the book description from the author’s website:
From …

Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

June 7, 2014 – 12:21 am | 3 Comments
Movie Reviews: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & EDGE OF TOMORROW

Movie-studio execs must’ve thought releasing a sad teenage romance and a big sci-fi action thriller on the same weekend meant they were targeting different audiences, but I don’t belong to any one group so I …

Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

June 5, 2014 – 7:11 pm | 7 Comments
Review & Giveaway: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joël Dicker

When Penguin Books acquired US rights to Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair last year, it announced the book was the publisher’s biggest acquisition in history.
Why so much money for a debut …

Nerdy Special List June 2014

June 4, 2014 – 10:34 pm | 5 Comments
Nerdy Special List June 2014

How can it be June already? This year is flying by so fast, I can almost hear Christmas music.
But before we get there, we still have summer and summer books. Jen of Jen’s Book Thoughts …

Book Review: CLOSED DOORS by Lisa O’Donnell

June 1, 2014 – 5:33 pm | One Comment
Book Review: CLOSED DOORS by Lisa O’Donnell

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission. 
Lisa O’Donnell follows up her award-winning The Death of Bees with Closed Doors, another novel featuring a young narrator. Michael Murray, age 11, lives …

Review & Giveaway: THE THREE by Sarah Lotz

May 26, 2014 – 7:43 pm | 5 Comments
Review & Giveaway: THE THREE by Sarah Lotz

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
South African author Sarah Lotz’s The Three begins on January 12 in 2012—later known as Black Thursday—when four airplanes crash in …

Giveaway: SUSPICION by Joseph Finder

May 12, 2014 – 2:55 pm | 6 Comments
Giveaway: SUSPICION by Joseph Finder

I’m excited to say I get to give away three copies of Joseph Finder‘s latest thriller, Suspicion. This is just the first of several fantastic giveaways I’ll be hosting for the next month. If you’ve …

Nerdy Special List May 2014

May 4, 2014 – 11:44 pm | One Comment
Nerdy Special List May 2014

It’s Monday—are you grumpy and dragging your feet after the fabulous weekend you had? How about I cheer you up a little with the list of May releases my fellow book bloggers and I recommend? …

Book Review: CASEBOOK by Mona Simpson

May 1, 2014 – 9:04 pm |
Book Review: CASEBOOK by Mona Simpson

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
At the beginning of Casebook, from PEN/Faulkner Award nominee Mona Simpson (Off Keck Road), teenage narrator Miles Adler-Hart and his twin sisters …

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