Movie Review: Music and Lyrics

Title: Music and Lyrics
Starring: Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore
Release Date: February 14, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 96 minutes
Storyline: Hugh Grant plays a washed up 80s pop star with a gift for melodies, but no clue about lyrics. He accepts an offer to compose a chart-topping hit for the latest teen singing sensation, Cora. Enter Drew Barrymore at just the right moment. As sparks fly between the two, so do the lyrics.

Cheesy music videos set to cheesy pop music is just one of the great things that came out of the 80s. The opening scene of Music and Lyrics features an insanely hilarious and super cheesy music video that really sets the tone of the movie.

Remember 'Wham!'? Everyone knows who George Michael is, but who was that other guy? In Music and Lyrics, Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, aka 'that other guy' from the 80s group 'POP!' The band split up and one guy went on to fortune and fame as a solo act. The other guy lived in obscurity until he figured out he could still have a small scale career cashing in on his 80's fame by playing theme parks, shopping malls, and reunions. Alex hasn't written a song since POP! broke up, so he jumps at the chance to write a song for a hot new female singer, Cora. The only problem is he is good with melody, but crap at writing lyrics. He needs a lyricist, but instead gets quirky Sophie (Drew Barrymore) with her non-stop nonsense and chit chat. Hugh must then convince her to write a song with him.

The Good:

Hugh Grant does his usual self-deprecating and charming schtick. He's good at it, and I do find it charming, which is why I like him so much. Surprisingly, Hugh doesn't have too bad of a singing voice. I also loved his live performances and his leftover POP! moves, especially the hip thrust.

The Bad:

The only thing I didn't really like was Drew Barrymore's character's back story regarding her professor. I could have done without the confrontation scene because I thought it was silly and it really didn't add anything to the story. While I love Hugh Grant to pieces, and I like Drew Barrymore, I'm not completely sure I liked them together romantically.

Final Thoughts:

Music and Lyrics is a delightful and fun rom/com that pokes fun of 80s music clichés. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore manage to turn in great performances. I thought they were both likable and they had really good chemistry. The soundtrack is catchy, and you'll probably find yourself singing along by the end. This is definitely worth watching if you haven't yet. Or if you are like me, I watch it several times a year, or whenever I need a feel good movie that always beings a smile to my face.

*Movie Reviews inspired by Pinkindle Reads & Reviews Chick Lit Fridays.
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Review: Camouflaged (Hiding from Love, #0.5) by Selena Laurence

Camouflaged (Hiding from Love, #0.5)Camouflaged (Hiding from Love, #0.5) by Selena Laurence

Publication Date: October 27, 2013
Page Count: 124
Published by: C.P. Writes, LLC
Source: Purchased

**Due to sexual content, language and violence, this book is more suitable for ages 18 and up**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Gabe Thompson enlisted to help out his buddy, but three years later he's 100% US military bad boy, serving in the desert of Afghanistan where the days are hot, but the nights are hotter.

Alexis Garcia is out to save the world. The University of Texas freshman has come to Afghanistan to do aid work with the United Nations. She's all about the peace, and she has no use for the camp's biggest, baddest, gun toting player.

But, sometimes camouflage is more than a color, and people aren't what they seem. When conflict develops not only between Gabe and Alexis, but also all around them, they're forced to look deeper, and what they find will rock their worlds and change their hearts forever.

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This was a free novella I picked up on Amazon. At 124 pages, it has a full story arc, but it ends on a CLIFFHANGER!!!! Which, of course, made me go purchase the whole series in a box set because I just had to read it all!

I wasn't too sure about Gabe at first because he was such an asshole. But he showed some great character growth throughout the story, and by the end I started to wonder if he really could change for the better. Alexis was young and naïve, and Gabe was NOT what she needed. I also worried that she wouldn't be able to handle the difficult situation that they found themselves in, but she proved me wrong.

While the story is really interesting, I still found parts to be unbelievable. Maybe that's just me and I should probably enjoy the story for what it is. Overall, I did enjoy reading this novella. But now that I am writing this review, I realize that some of my reasons for liking this novella stem from reading book 2 in this series, which is all about Gabe and Alexis. So if you read this novella, then you absolutely have to read book 2 for the real story of Gabe and Alexis.

4 out of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (188) Damage Done by Amanda Panitch @AmandaPanitch

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday has become my favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: July 21st 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning...

This sounds like a really great thriller!!

What are you waiting on this week?

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Movie Review: Knight and Day

Title: Knight and Day
Starring: Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz
Release Date: June 23, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: James Mangold

Storyline: June Havens finds her everyday life tangled with that of secret agent Roy Miller, who has realized he isn't supposed to survive his latest mission. As their campaign to stay alive stretches across the globe, they soon learn that all they can count on is each other.

The Good:

This is such a fun movie. I really enjoy watching Knight and Day because it has a great mix of action and rom/com that's just perfect for me. No matter how many times I watch this movie, it always makes me laugh. I know Tom Cruise has issues in his personal life, but I try not to pay attention to that and just enjoy his acting for what it is. I like Tom in action movies, and I think he did a good job here with the occasional funny lines. Cameron plays a perky blonde who is cute and convincingly naïve, and only occasionally annoying.

The plot is easy to follow, and there were enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. I liked that the action scenes were broken up with the occasional one-liners and more serious moments.

The Bad:

There's not a whole lot wrong with Knight and Day, but you can throw any thoughts of plausibility and realism out the window. A lot of the action scenes are over the top and unbelievable. but they are entertaining, which is the whole point.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend Knight and Day for anyone who likes comedy and just a slight bit of romance with their action movies. I think this would make a great date night movie.

Some of my favorite scenes/quotes:

June: "You don't seem very happy to see me, Roy."
Roy: "What?"
June: "Not really."
Roy: "I am happy."

Roy: "June. June. June! June! June June June June June June June"
June: "Please stop saying my name. You keep saying my name and it's freaking me out."

Roy: "With me. Without me. With me. Without me."

*Movie Reviews inspired by Pinkindle Reads & Reviews Chick Lit Fridays.
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Review: Killer Within (Killer Instinct, #2) by S. E. Green

Killer Within (Killer Instinct, #2)Killer Within (Killer Instinct, #2) by S. E. Green

Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Page Count: 304
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the heart-pounding sequel, teen vigilante Lane must face the secrets and unexpected consequences that arise in the wake of her first kill.

It’s been three months since the sadistic Decapitator’s demise, and Lane feels both closer to and more alienated than ever from her united, grieving family. Haunted by conflicting memories, she resumes the role of Masked Savior vigilante—but her heart just isn’t in it. For Lane now knows the rush of deeper thrills. Darker thrills. And a growing part of her wants to revisit its seductive power.

To Lane’s chagrin, the Masked Savior inspires its own fan site, where groupies gather online to praise, document, and debate each delivered act of justice. But then one of Lane’s secret admirers becomes a cunning copycat, assaulting the defenseless with escalating violence. And Lane suspects someone is spying on her, edging closer to making contact-someone who knows her secrets.

Will Lane be able to stop the copycat and keep her identity protected? Or will she give in to the thrills that tempt her? Because as her life continues to unravel, the revelations shake Lane to her core.

Killer Within was a really great follow up to Killer Instinct. It was fast paced with some very sick twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat.

It came as no surprise that Lane struggled after what happened at the end of the first book. She was so distracted by the past that she became very sloppy in her actions. She had so many doubts that it caused her to make mistakes. I sort of liked seeing the more human and feeling side of her come out. It showed that she wasn't as uncaring as I thought she was. She still had her murderous impulses, but as the story progressed she was a bit more restrained when carrying out her actions. Lane also had a lot of emotions to deal with in trying to be closer to her family. She struggled to keep up some semblance of 'normal' in her real life while her alter ego and the copycat killer were being scrutinized by the media and hunted by the police.

More of Lane's past was revealed in this book, but it was a lot of information to take in, and most of it felt off to me. I can't figure out if her 'new' memories were meant to be unreliable to throw the reader off. I don't see how Lane could have the same memories from a different perspective that include another person. That part was all a bit confusing to me.

The mystery in this book certainly kept me guessing who the copycat killer was. I never would have guessed it! If you enjoyed reading Killer Instinct, then you should definitely read Killer Within!

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (187) Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday has become my favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: July 21st 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

We Were Liars meets Heist Society in a riveting debut!

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.

This sounds intriguing! I think I first came across this book in 2012, so I've been waiting to read it for quite a while! And on a shallow note, I love that cover.

What are you waiting on this week?
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Review: The Remedy (The Program, #0.5) by Suzanne Young

The Remedy (The Program, #0.5)The Remedy (The Program, #0.5) by Suzanne Young

Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Page Count: 416
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, and studies them through pictures and videos. Soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

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The Remedy was such an enjoyable book! I am a huge fan of the first 2 books in the series, and I was so excited when I learned that there would be a prequel. I couldn't wait to find out what happened before The Program and The Treatment. I'm happy to say that The Remedy did not disappoint!

I enjoyed the characters in The Remedy so much. The protagonist, Quinn, was pushed into being a closer by her father, but deep down she really did want to help people. I felt sorry for her as she was pushed harder than ever to help the family she was assigned to. I liked that Quinn and Aaron were just friends, and not romantically interested in each other. They were always there for each other, and I really enjoyed their unique friendship. For some reason, I absolutely loved Deacon, Quinn's ex-boyfriend. I didn't trust him and I couldn't tell what his intentions were, yet I liked him despite these things. He and Quinn's relationship was messy and complicated, but Quinn knew that she could count on Deacon to be there for her no matter what.

This story was fabulously creepy. There's no other way to describe it. When Quinn started feeling like she was losing her true self, I really sympathized with her. And when the truth started to unravel, I was just as shocked as she was. Her discovery left me quite surprised, even though I should have seen it coming. And then that ending? It was SO exciting and now I need more!!!

This book was SO good! I highly recommend reading the entire Program series. It's been very entertaining so far, and I can't wait for The Epidemic to be released.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Waiting On Wednesday (186) The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday has become my favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: July 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

A new series from this author? Yes, please!!! This will tide me over until the third book in Barnes' The Naturals series comes out in November. I hope I enjoy this new series as much as I have enjoyed The Naturals!!

What are you waiting on this week?
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Movie Review: 50 First Dates

Title: 50 First Dates
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Peter Segal
Runtime: 99 minutes
Starring: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore
Release Date: February 13, 2004

Tagline: Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he's finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.

The Good:

I love this movie beyond reason. I get it out at least twice a year because it's one of those feel good movies that always brings a smile to my face. Love it! Love Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together again. I think they're so cute in this movie, even if the acting isn't the greatest. At least Drew brings up Adams's cuteness factor, because Adam by himself is just a dork.

Realistically, the story is completely implausible. But Henry loving Lucy so much that he gets her to fall in love with him every day is totally romantic, and definitely a bit swoony. Wouldn't we all want to be loved like that?

The Bad:

It's Adam Sandler, so you just know there's going to be some bad. And it's really bad. I wish Rob Schneider hadn't even been in this movie. His part totally ruins everything. It's like slamming the brakes on every time the story starts to get romantic or meaningful. It's as if they tried to throw in inappropriate and immature one liners to make the movie funny. But it's funny on it's own without the distraction of a side story that does nothing to move the plot forward. So the best way to watch this movie is with the remote firmly in your grip so you can just fast forward the goofy crap and get straight to the good stuff.

Final Thoughts:

50 First Dates is a feel good rom-com that is definitely worth watching. I loved Henry's persistence and dedication to win Lucy's heart. And the ending makes the whole movie worthwhile.

Some of my favorite quotes:

Lucy: "Nothing beats a first kiss."

Nick: "Hey, Peanut Butter Cups!"

Marlin (Lucy's dad): "She only sings on days when she meets you."

Henry: "The Beach Boys? How nice of that man to give me a CD that will remind me of all the wonderful times I shared with his daughter. What an asshole!!!!"

*Movie Reviews inspired by Pinkindle Reads & Reviews Chick Lit Fridays.
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May Recap and June TBR

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Waiting On Wednesday (185) Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: June 30th 2015 by Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

This summery beach read sounds a bit serious. I'll be reading this soon, so I'll let you know how I like it.

What are you waiting on this week?
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Review: Lead (Stage Dive, #3) by Kylie Scott

Lead (Stage Dive, #3)Lead (Stage Dive, #3) by Kylie Scott

Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Page Count: 320
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Library
This book may be unsuitable for reader's under 17 years of age due to sexual content, and/or mature themes.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

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I was very reluctant to read Lead because of my severe dislike of the protagonist, Jimmy. He was introduced in the first book in this series, Lick, and he was a HUGE a-hole. So I decided to wait until I felt a little more neutral about him before reading Lead. Well, I'll tell you straight up that didn't do me any good because I could still remember the terrible things he did and the horrible way he behaved previously.

Maybe it would have helped if I had seen Jimmy's struggle to stay clean from the beginning, but that part of his story took place in the background during book 2. I feel like I missed out on some really important character redeeming moments. When Lead started, Jimmy was already clean for 6 months or so. He hired Lena to be his sobriety companion after his a-hole behavior had run off his previous employees. He continued on with his boorish behavior, and Lena seemed to thrive on being mistreated. Things sort of went downhill for me after Lena developed a stupid crush on Jimmy, and he came up with a list of ways for her to get over her crush.

After reading Lead, I'm more convinced than ever that Jimmy is still an asshole. I don't feel that he was redeemed at all. I wanted to see more of a transformation into a worthy character. Having Jimmy's POV would have really helped me to feel some connection to him, so I wish the author had given me that. I wanted to know what was going on in that selfish, self centered mind of his! I think it would have went a long way towards making his motivations clear and helping me understand him.

I didn't like how the author just sort of randomly blamed Jimmy's lifelong problems on his mother, but glossed over the details. His drug and alcohol addictions were swept under the rug and poo-pood away just because he's been clean for 6 months. He's going to have a lifelong battle, and it would have made more sense to portray it more realistically than 'Oh, yay you've beat your addiction...' because it's just not that easy.

For a series that is supposed to be about a rock band, not much rock band stuff ever goes down. Lead was even more removed from the music scene than the 2 previous books because the only setting was Jimmy's house. Boring.

In the end, there just wasn't enough depth to the story or to Jimmy's character for me to care about. I read Lead against my better judgement simply because I wanted to know Jimmy's story, and so I could complete the series without missing one member of the band. I can't say it was worth the time I spent reading, but at least I finished it. So there.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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