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Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

Movie Review: INSIDE OUT

June 21, 2015 – 5:45 pm | 4 Comments

I’m going to start this review by saying if you haven’t seen Inside Out and have any reservations about seeing it, thinking it’s only for kids or girls or whatever, just throw those doubts out …

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Book Review: DISCLAIMER by Renée Knight

June 18, 2015 – 6:14 pm | 4 Comments

disclaimerImagine reading a thriller and suddenly realizing the much-hated main character is you. And the disclaimer about resemblances to real people being coincidental has been crossed out. This is the premise of first-time novelist Renée Knight’s Disclaimer.

Catherine Ravenscroft, a documentary filmmaker in London, finds a book on her nightstand one evening and starts reading it. With horror, she recognizes the story is about her and something that happened 20 years ago, a terrible incident no one—including her husband—is supposed to know about.

Catherine doesn’t recall buying the book or how it ended up on her nightstand. It’s published under a pseudonym by Rhamnousia, a self-publishing entity named for the goddess of revenge. As Catherine investigates the book’s origins and author, her dark secret threatens to surface and shatter her family and life.

Disclaimer alternates between Catherine’s point of view, written in third person, and the first-person point of view of the man who’s tormenting her with the book. This creates an unsettling experience, as if readers are asked to side with the person who stalks Catherine and wreaks havoc on her. It also keeps Catherine mysterious, making it unclear why she doesn’t work harder to defend herself.

But Knight’s technique pays off, and the ending delivers more than one emotional wallop. Readers’ feelings about each character will likely be upended as they’re reminded that sometimes people commit atrocious acts out of love, and those who behave abhorrently can also be honorable.

This originally appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission. Disclaimer also made the May Nerdy Special List.

Big Bear Adventure

May 25, 2015 – 6:11 pm | 7 Comments
IMG_2021

Since we had a long weekend, Mr. PCN and I decided to run away from civilization and the noisy neighbors with their chainsaws and leaf blowers and constantly barking dogs.
We rented a cabin in the mountains near Big …

Guest Book Review: HOLD STILL by Sally Mann

May 17, 2015 – 10:57 pm | 2 Comments
Photo by Liz Liguori

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, editor of Da Mau Magazine.
The cover photograph of Sally Mann’s memoir, Hold Still, shows the author as a prepubescent tomboy, airborne against a gray expanse of sky. She …

When Is a Spoiler a Spoiler?

May 14, 2015 – 10:47 pm | 12 Comments
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I had two extremely annoying reading experiences recently and it brought to mind a question I’ve had for a while so I thought I’d seek outside opinions.
Here’s what happened, with two books in a row. I was reading …

Nerdy Special List May 2015

May 4, 2015 – 7:38 pm | 4 Comments
disclaimer

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
We have a full list this month. After a couple of lackluster reading months, I was happy to read some strong books in April and to see my blogging friends did, too. Hope …

Nerdy Special List April 2015

April 8, 2015 – 8:20 pm | 4 Comments
spinster

April is always a big month for me. Not only is it my birth month, it’s also that of my mother, husband, goddaughter, and two close friends. I should buy stock in Hallmark considering how …

Book Giveaway: THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK

March 19, 2015 – 10:35 am | 8 Comments
MWA cookbook

A couple weeks ago, I received a cookbook for review. Since me in the kitchen is the equivalent of a child running with scissors while chased by wild dogs across a freeway, I might seem …

Book Review: A TOUCH OF STARDUST by Kate Alcott

March 11, 2015 – 10:53 pm | One Comment

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Last year was the 75th anniversary of the movie Gone with the Wind, and now Kate Alcott’s novel A Touch of …

Nerdy Special List March 2015

March 5, 2015 – 11:53 pm | One Comment
life or death

Though we’ve been enjoying gorgeous weather in Southern California, my family and friends on the East Coast are soooo over all the snow and freezing temps. But they’ve had lots of snow days, which means …

Book Review: CANARY by Duane Swierczynski

March 4, 2015 – 9:06 pm | 3 Comments
canary cover

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Sarie Holland, the protagonist in Duane Swierczynski’s Canary, is a 17-year-old college student who’s busted after unwittingly helping another student on a …

Book Review: ONE STEP TOO FAR by Tina Seskis

February 10, 2015 – 5:08 pm | One Comment
one step too far

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
At the start of British author Tina Seskis’s debut novel, One Step Too Far, a married lawyer named Emily Coleman is running …

Watch Oscar-Nominated Film for Free This Weekend

February 4, 2015 – 9:14 pm | 5 Comments

Last October, I raved about the Rory Kennedy-directed/produced documentary, Last Days in Vietnam (my review here). Last month, it was Oscar nominated for best documentary feature.
This weekend, from February 5-7, you can stream this film …

Nerdy Special List February 2015

February 2, 2015 – 11:34 pm | 7 Comments
touch of stardust

January always seems like it lasts a year, with post-holiday blues and crappy weather, and I didn’t have many good reads last month. But February is here, bringing with it more promising books.
Here’s what my …