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Movie Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

March 15, 2017 – 11:08 pm | One Comment

Does anyone need a refresher on the plot of this “tale as old as time”? The one about a girl whose kindness saves a selfish prince and his household from a curse? No? OK, great. I can jump straight into …

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Book Review: DISTRESS SIGNALS by Catherine Ryan Howard

March 9, 2017 – 1:55 am | One Comment

Catherine Ryan Howard’s Distress Signals—shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards’ Crime Novel of the Year after its UK release—opens with a man plunging off a cruise ship into dark waters, but readers will have to wait to discover why he jumped.

Adam Dunne’s girlfriend Sarah leaves Cork, Ireland, to attend a business conference in Barcelona. She doesn’t return. And no one can reach her. Then he receives her passport in a package mailed from France, with a note saying, “I’m sorry—S.”

Adam sets out to track down Sarah, not believing she would leave him like that. When he digs into her recent activities, however, he discovers a shocking secret, and that Sarah was last seen on a cruise ship called the Celebrate. He books himself on the same ship, but will he find Sarah or encounter his own death?

Though this is Howard’s debut novel, she writes with complete command of language, plot, and the thriller genre. She also knows the ins and outs of maritime laws that often lead to deaths on ships in international waters going unsolved.

The chapters alternate among the points of view of three characters: Adam; a crew member on the ship; and a boy named Romain, whose story occurs mostly in the past and is itself a mystery in how it intersects with the others. In a testament to Howard’s skill, Romain’s narrative is the most moving and resonant—his soul may be distressed but his humanity comes through loud and clear.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.

Nerdy Special List March 2017

March 7, 2017 – 1:18 am | 2 Comments
follow me down

March brings spring, and whoo boy, I could use some spring right now. Heavy rains (causing a tree to fall on a friend’s car—while she was in it) were rough, turning me into more of …

Oscars 2017: And the Winner for Biggest Flub Is…

February 27, 2017 – 2:49 am | 4 Comments
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Wow. I tuned into the Oscars hoping for at least one surprise and I got it, all right.
In case you’d bailed on the very long show and haven’t heard: the wrong best picture winner was announced (La …

Nerdy Special List January 2017

January 11, 2017 – 6:48 pm | 6 Comments
blood and bone

Since almost half the month has passed, I figured I should get this list up. I’ve been moving slowly due to January rains, days that get dark at 1:00 p.m., and my general tendency to …

Golden Globes 2017: Predictable *and* Surprising

January 9, 2017 – 12:27 am | 5 Comments
streep-nbc

Here we go, the first of one million award shows this season. I always look forward to the Globes because it’s usually the loosest, wackiest award show, with drunk celebs and the Hollywood Foreign Press often choosing …

Capsule Movie Reviews: FENCES, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, SING, and HIDDEN FIGURES

December 19, 2016 – 1:18 am | One Comment
20thcenturywomen

The holidays are upon us and the movies are coming out fast and furious, competing for your dollars. Since you’re probably doing last-minute shopping and have no time for full reviews, I’ll keep my comments …

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Spoiler-Free Movie Review

December 13, 2016 – 9:10 pm | 6 Comments
rogueone

 

Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. I might be even more spoiler-averse than you are. In fact, that made me miss the first 5 minutes of the movie.
I went to a screening without …

Nerdy Special List December 2016

December 8, 2016 – 11:29 pm | One Comment
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This month, I asked our illustrious contributors for a December favorite or one from any month this year, as long as it hasn’t appeared on the NSL.
Since you might be looking for gift ideas, how about considering some of these …

Movie Review: JACKIE

December 1, 2016 – 9:58 pm | One Comment
jackie

 

Jackie Kennedy is such an iconic figure, what hasn’t already been said about her? Well, Pablo Larraín’s Jackie tries to give us a different portrait of her by imagining how she was in the private moments …

Capsule Movie Reviews: ALLIED, RULES DON’T APPLY, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA & LION

November 22, 2016 – 11:17 pm | 2 Comments
allied-cotillard-pitt

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, then I imagine your weekend will include not only turkey and stuffing but also football and movie viewing. I can’t help you with the first three items, seeing as how I can …

Movie Review: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

November 16, 2016 – 9:55 pm | One Comment
newt

If you’ve been mourning the fact there are no more Harry Potter movies (for now), the J.K. Rowling-penned Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them should soothe that ache a bit.
It’s about the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander …

Knife-Sharpening Nasty Women

November 9, 2016 – 11:56 pm | 8 Comments
knife

As with millions of people, I have been struggling to process the results of the US election. I wanted to write something about how I was feeling because writing can be healing for me. But my words kept …

Book Review: ESCAPE CLAUSE by John Sandford

November 6, 2016 – 8:58 pm | 6 Comments
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After dealing with dognappings in 2014’s Deadline, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers investigates catnappings in Escape Clause, his ninth outing in John Sandford’s Prey spinoff series.
The cats in this case are no …

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