Movie Monday: The Lazarus Effect

Movie Monday is a weekly feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

This week I watched a horror movie that was recommeded to me by one of my blog’s lovely followers.

 

The Lazarus Effect

lazarus-effectA few weeks ago I hosted a giveaway on my blog. In that giveaway, I asked you guys to recommend me some horror movies you were fascinated by. Although most of those you recommended I was already familiar with, there was one I haven’t watched before: The Lazarus Effect.

My sister and I were in a mood for something spooky and creepy. As she hasn’t watched this movie either, the choice was easy.

The Lazarus Effect talks about a group of scientists who are working on developing a serum that would be able to bring something (or someone) dead back to life. They are recording all of their steps and experiment on a dog, but when the electricity kills a memeber of their team, they decide to use the serum on that person.

I will admit that, even though the premise of this movie sounds pretty good, when it comes to my expectations, they weren’t too high.
I assume that is a good thing, because I ended up liking the movie. I was surprised by the number of familiar faces I saw in this film. I had no idea it has such a good cast.
The plot itself was pretty solid and all in all, I was satisfied with it.

The Lazarus Effect served it’s main purpose: it was a good entertainment.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but I think horror fans would enjoy it much more then others.

 

Note: Picture in this post is not my property but taken from IMDb site.

Book Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman

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Title: Faithful
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithfulis the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

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Review:

Faithful is the book you can’t help but notice. It’s beautiful cover is what draw my attention immediately, but after I read it’s synopsis, I just had a feeling this book might be something I’d like.
I’m not even sure how to describe it, I just had a feeling this book will be right for me.
I am so thankful I was right.

This book was beautiful. There is no other way to describe it.

And hopeful, because when I finished it, it left me in hope that life can get better, people can make something out of their lives after the fall, even after dark places and hard times.

The story follows Shelby who was in a car accident that left her friend in vegetative state.
Shelby was the one who drove, and now she feels guilty for her friend’s stolen life.
She can’t help but feel responsible for what happened, knowing that she’s the one who had put her friend in the state that she is now, the state that turned her into a sleeping beauty in a way.

Faithful is written in first person. From Shelby’s POV we get to see a life of a young girl during time period of several years, where she do her best to overcome her guiltiness and grows as a person, making her life with no perspective turn into a life with potential to be a good one.

The writing style is simply beautiful. It takes more time to progress everything that’s written, but it is worth it.
This is the first book by Hoffman I have read, and it left me wanting to read more.

Shelby was an interesting protagonist. I understand why some readers might find her unlikeable, but I emphatized with her the whole time.
She had some moves that I wouldn’t approve, but still I understood her.
Side characters were well developed and they radiated with realness.

This book deals with depression in, to me, very realistic way.
It also talks about feeling of guilt that can overtake someone’s life.

I like how love for animals has been present the whole time but it did not overtake the main story.

Everything was just done very tasteful and I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have read this year. 

5

Book Review: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in Christmas Under a Starlit Sky blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Holly Martin for giving me this opportunity.

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Blurb:

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember.

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

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Review:

Last month I read Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky and complitely fell in love with it.
In that book (first in this series), Holly Martin described perfectly a little town called Christmas, filled my heart with happines and woke up my Christmas Spirit.
When you finish a book that good, it is unusual thing that you except for it’s sequel to be highly enjoyable as well.

Unfortunately, what I expected did not happen.
Christmas Under a Starlit Sky was a solid sequel, but nothing more then that.
It was somewhat entertaining book with the happiest end and a lot of drama.
And that is what ruined the whole reading experience for me: DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA.

I couldn’t even enjoy the Christmas setting that Martin described in a really good way (but sensibly weaker then she did it in book 1), because the characters were all into their problems, always fighting or avoiding each other. And keeping secrets.

The main character Neve did one of those things I find manipulative and I pretty much HATE that kind of move(this happens pretty early in the book so I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler): she lied about her pregnancy to her future baby’s father, telling him he’s not a father to “protect” him because, of course, she’s the one who knows what is the best for him.

And practiacally the whole book was about Neve acting like some character from those Latino-American soup operas where the woman pushes away a guy, cries about him because she wants him back, loves him but acts like lunatic and plays the “victim” who believes she’s a hero by “sacrificing” her own happiness… Big eye roll….

Ivy’s story was so much better and more enjoyable.
Honestly, when I read parts about Ivy and Adam, it was like taking a breath of fresh air after being in smoke filled room.
However, I have to stress out that those parts weren’t perfect, but in comparison with Neve and Oakley’s parts, they felt light hearted (and that’s how I like for my festive reads to be).

Writing style is very good, fast paced and I expected nothing less from Holly Martin, judging by her other books I read this year.
She has the ability to pull you into the story with her words and make you read her books faster then you thought is possible, and because of that I admire her.

The ending was really good. It was the happiest ending there could be and I like how it all wrapped up and not one character from the series wasn’t left out.

3,5

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About the author:

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Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * GoodReads * Amazon Page

Novella Review: A Cotswold Christmas by Kate Hewitt

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Title: A Cotswold Christmas
Series: Willoughby Close (#0,5)
Author: Kate Hewitt
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Date: October 17th, 2016
Pages: 112
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Welcome to Wychwood-on-Lea… a not-too-quaint village where frosty evenings, welcoming fires, and second chances will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.

Anna Vere has escaped to the Cotswolds for Christmas to try to heal from her broken engagement and, far worse, her broken dreams. When her reserved room at a bed & breakfast is flooded, she takes up the offer of camping out in Willoughby Close, the converted stables of the nearby manor house… and is taken under the wing of sexy local carpenter Colin Heath.

What starts out as merely helping a neighbor in need turns into far more as Colin and Anna share a surprisingly intense and emotional connection, weaving their own Christmas magic as they spend the holiday together. But Anna has a secret she’s scared to reveal, something that could destroy the fragile bond they’ve just created, and Colin knows she’s only in England for a short time. Can these two sudden soul mates risk their hearts for a love that has yet to be tried and tested?

Get swept away by this poignant and heartwarming story, set in beautiful Wychwood-on-Lea, in the English Cotswolds. And look forward to four more books set in Willoughby Close, where everyday miracles and happily-ever-afters are guaranteed.

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Review:

I always judge books by their covers.
I know I shouldn’t do it, but I can’t help myself.
If the book has pretty cover, I expect pretty story on it’s pages.
This novella wasn’t exception!

This is from where it all went down. Pretty cover seduced me, and my expectations were high as London Eye. I blame the cover, but I also blame some great festive books I read recently.

A Cotswold Christmas follows the story of Anna, a 35 years old woman who had some trouble in her life and needs to get away from everything for holidays.
She booked a stay in village called Wychwood-on-Lea but not everything goes as planned.
The roomes are flooded so she has to find another stay.
That’s where Colin, a hot 36 years old man comes in. At first he’s just a guy who saves the day, but as more time passes, Colin and Anna feel the chemistry they can’t deny.

First of all, the writing style was pretty solid. This book reads really quickly and many people will probably finish it in one sitting.

Characters were okay. I know that does not sound so good, but I guess I can’t find another word to describe them really.
I can’t say I loved or liked them, but I can’t say I hated them either.
What I can say is that I never felt any connection to any of them and that I didn’t quite understand them.

The story wasn’t what I expected, but even if we put all the expectations aside, it just felt flat for me and I can’t say I enjoyed it.

I think that the love was developing way too quickly.
After spending only three days together they already planned their life together and who’ll have to give up on their previous life in order to be together.
If there were teenagers main protagonists, I would tolerate that because when you’re young and experiencing love for the first time, you can act that way.
But seeing grown ups acting like that was just ridiculous!

In fact, characters were mainly acting like teenagers. They felt that huge attraction but were afraid to sleep together, which was insane because we’re talking about single 35 and 36 years old people.
Of course, when they finally shagged, it was all hearts and rainbows…
I almost forgot how it feels to roll your eyes while reading, but this book helped me to remember!

However, I have to say that as the story progressed, the book was getting better and I honestly felt like the end would save it all.
In the end it didn’t go in a way I hoped it would, but it was still better then first two thirds of the book.

Overall, this was an okay book to read in a day.
From other reviews I read, I figured out that I am in minority, that other people liked it better, so maybe it was just me.
Whatever the case is, I won’t continue with this series.

2,5

Book Review: If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid

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Title: If the Magic Fits
Series: 100 Dresses #1
Author: Susan Maupin Schmid
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Date: October 25th, 2016
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two…or a hundred.

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Review:

Do you still remember fairytales you enjoyed when you were young?
If you loved listening about enchanted castles and beautiful princesses, there’s a great chance you will love this story.

If the Magic Fits is a brand new fairytale, and it has everything a good fairytale should have: magic, dragons, friendly mouse, beautiful gawns that come to life at times, magical bird, princess, prince and a strong protagonist.

The only thing that this story does not have are witches.
BUT, you know that word that rhymes with the word witch, the one that describes someone’s personality?
Yeah, that one!
I’ll just say those kind of characters weren’t missing.

I wish I could go back in time and give the young myself this book so she could observe every single page of it.
I am sure 10 years old Irena would be in love with this story and it’s world.

The story follows 10 years old Darling who, at the very beginning of the story got a new job. She is in charge for ironning Princess’s clothes. While living and working in castle, she discoveres the beauty of magic that is presencing in the castle.
In the wardrobe full with old (or outdated) dresses, she decides it wouldn’t hurt if she tries one.
What she didn’t expect was that the dress will disguise her, give her a whole new look.
Looking as someone else, Darling starts an adventure as a spy who’s mission is to save Princess from people who want to use her position and harm the kingdom.

Ever since I heard about 100 Dresses series (back in March) I wanted to read it.
If you didn’t know, I am a huge fan of Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School series) and the first book that pops up as a recommendation for it’s fans is – you guessed it – If the Magic Fits.
So I would lie if I told you my expectations weren’t high.
They were.
As a matter of fact, they were high as enchanted Empire State Building that yet has to be built in Enchantasia.

At first, I found it hard to get into the story. It took me around 40 pages until I started reading it at my normal reading speed.
I blame the fact that this book was written in the style that is similar to the writing style fairytales are written, and as English is not my native language, it took a while until I got used to it.
It also contents words that are not typical for every day life so that had some part too.

Darling was very likeable and admiration worth main character. She is strong, smart and a loyal friend.
The only thing that I could critise is how she acted too mature for 10 years old girl at times.
However, when you take in the picture the fact that she is an orphan since the day she was born, and all she ever did in her life was work, work, work, her acting mature and whise has some logic.

The story itself was very entertining.
I wouldn’t mind to see an animated movie based on this book some day (fingers crossed I will)!

This book is the first in the series, but the story it followed is completed, so it could be read as standalone.

I assume that the next book will follow Darling on some other adventure. Judging by If the Magic Fits, I imagine the next book will be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read it.

Although this book would probably be a good read to readers of all age, I think that who will enjoy it the most are girls in age from 9 to 14.

4

Spells & Sorcery: Book Review + Giveaway (Blog tour)



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I am so happy to be today’s host for Spells & Sorcery Blog Tour.
This ya fantasy was pretty quick read for me and I want to say thank you to Giselle from Xpresso Tours for giving me this opportunity.

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Spells and Sorcery
S. Usher Evans
(Lexie Carrigan Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

You have magic.

One sentence, three words, four syllables. Enough to change my life forever. And I’m not talking about the whole spells and sorcery thing.

Lexie Carrigan thought the weirdest thing about her was she preferred watching documentaries and reading the newspaper to reality TV and Twitter. But on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, her aunt and sisters drop a bomb–she’s magical.

Now the girl who never made waves is blowing up her nightstand and trying to keep from wreaking havoc on her school. When a kind stranger shows up with all the answers, Lexie hopes he’ll be able to help her control her newfound powers. But Gavon may not be as kind as he seems, and soon Lexie finds out that being magical is the least weird thing about her.

Spells and Sorcery is the first YA fantasy from S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series, the Madion War Trilogy and Empath.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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Author Bio:

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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My Review:

It has been awhile since I read ya fantasy, but when I saw the cover for Spells and Sorcery and read it’s synopsis, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

The story follows Lexie who, on her 15th birthday, finds out she has magical powers.
She and her sisters are witches. They lost their parents so their aunt (who is also a witch) took them under her roof.

I went into this book without high expectations, but with a lot of adrenaline (not literary, but you know what I mean).
I was on, ready to love it to bits and to finish it as fast as I could.

First thing didn’t happened, but the second one did!

I read this book in a record time – just one day!
Who’d say I could read 386 pages in just one day?
I certenly wouldn’t!

What I’m trying to tell you here is that the writing style is pretty easy to read and it makes you turn those pages even if the story is not too original nor interesting enough.

I came to conclusion that Evans has put so much energy into describing this world and how the magic system works, that in a way she forgot to make interesting side stories that would keep this book compelling.

There was no secondary stories then the main one. All that this book was about was Lexie finding out about magic and doing researches about this new system. It was like she had no life before her 15th birthday.

What bothered me the most was how she was always alone, without any friends to mention, while she was still going to public school she went to prior her birthday that changed her life.
There are only two people that are mentioned briefly: Joel and Callista, and Lexie didn’t even have a normal conversation with them through the whole story.
If she was a loner, bullied, rebel or someone no one wanted to talk to, I would understand, but in this case it felt like an author simply forgot to create a decent teenage life for her character.

Let me ask you this: do you think Harry Potter books (and I appologize to compare this book with HP because they are not similar at all, the only thing in common they have is magic) would be so good if Harry didn’t have Ron and Hermione by his side? If he was an outcast without friends, do you think people around the world would enjoy reading those books so much? I don’t think so, because friendship has a big part in those stories.

Here, there was a great potential to make Spells and Sorcery so much more interesting.
If Lexie had a friend by her side when exploring this new world and her abilities within it, this book would be so much more fascinating.

It surely wouldn’t feel like reading a magic encyclopedia as it felt at some points.

Another thing I didn’t like was how Lexie’s sisters left her all alone in this new situation she found herself in.
They were not helping her at all, and I can imagine that if they knew Lexie will get her powers at age of 15, they should have prepared her for it years ago.

That leads me to my third complain (or have I lost my count?): If her sister pepared her for what was coming, Lexie wouldn’t have to take instructions from some strange middle aged man who just showed up out of nowhere.

That was too weird (and I could see from the biginning who he really was because that was the only thing that was logical to me).
What was even weirder was how Lexie didn’t have the need to tell anyone about Gavon (that is his name) or how all she wanted to do was spend time with him (and now I’ll probably sound sick to some of you, especially if you read the book and know his story, but she wasn’t even attracted to him).

The last 5 chapters were the best in the story.
Everything before that felt like a slow overtire, and then, in the last 5 chapters, the real story began.

Overall, this was a quick story to pass time, and will probably appeal to younger audence.

3

 

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Giveaway (INTL):

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Paperback copy of Spells and Sorcery + swag
  • ends November 3rd

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You can also enter to win ebook on Twitter by retweeting this tweet !

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Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

In this giveaway, I am giving you a chance to win any horror, spooky or book with paranormal creatures in it, worth 16 US$ or less, from The Book Depository.

The giveaway is international as long as TBD ships to your country.

After you enter this giveaway, don’t forget to visit other blogs for more giveaways.

 

You can enter here:

 

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DISCLAIMER:

  • This giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.
  • You must be 18+ old to enter or have your parent’s permission to enter (because I’ll need to ask you to give me your address so I could send the book to you).
  • I am not responsible for the shipment, but am responsible to order a book on time (The Book Depository is responsible to deliver you a book on time and in a good condition).
  • Once chosen, winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to reply, otherwise another person will be chosen as a winner
  • NO CHEATING! Cheaters will be disqualified

Good Luck!🙂

 

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