Dirty Book Club

DirtyBookClub

The Dirty Book Club

Written By: Lisi Harrison
Published: October 2017
Grade: B+

M.J. Stark thinks she has built the perfect life in the wake of losing her mother, father, and sister in a tragic accident. She has a gorgeous doctor boyfriend, a fantastic Manhattan apartment, and is a shoo-in to take over running New York’s City magazine when her boss retires. However, when her boss informs M.J. that, due to her asocial way working, she’ll have to share her promotion with another coworker, M.J. impulsively decides to take her boyfriend up on his offer to join him in California. After weeks of self-pity, M.J. decides to bring a thank you gift to a neighbor after Dan, M.J.’s boyfriend, borrows their patio furniture while they’re out of town. There she meets Gloria, a sassy older woman with a taste for strong martinis and juicy gossip. After Gloria’s husband dies suddenly, Gloria decides to pack up and move to Paris in honor of a decade-old pact with her friends, leaving M.J. alone and friendless. Then, shortly after Gloria leaves, M.J. is sent an invitation to a secret club, along with a date and time for her first meeting. When she arrives, M.J. meets the other members: Addie, a women’s clinic nurse with a healthy sexual appetite; Britt, an overworked mother of two who’s tired of husband’s lack of interest in her; and Jules, a hopeless romantic who’s blissfully ignorant of her husband’s affairs with other women. Together they learn the purpose for the club: to read quote/unquote dirty books and cultivate a lasting friendship. Intrigued, the four women decide to give the club a try for the summer before returning to their own, hectic lives. However, as the group begins reading the selections and the letters the original group wrote to accompany them, they find they have more in common than they originally though, and learn that sometimes the strongest friendships are forged in the most unusual circumstances.

While author Lisi Harrison usually write for the YA set, her adult novel debut is solid. Her characters are well-developed, including the original club members, whom we mostly learn about through the letters they wrote to accompany the books. While M.J. is clearly the main character, the book is written in the third person and rarely deviates from her, though it would have been interesting to read firsthand what we learn about as the information is being relayed to her.

Chick lit is usually a safe bet for authors, as there are many who enjoy a light, simple read. I was able to finish the novel in a little over a morning without missing any of the information. The plotline manages to hold your interest and doesn’t read like it was originally meant for teenagers.

Anyone looking for a fun, easy read who doesn’t mind books gear towards women should enjoy this. It’s a little jarring in the beginning to start with Gloria and her friends and then jump over to M.J. I spent a little time wondering if M.J. was somehow related to one of the original club members until I figured out that she wasn’t, but aside from that, the book is easy to follow.

Check your local library or bookstore for availability, or purchase through any participating on-line retailer.

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Incredibles 2

Incredibles2

Incredibles 2

Directed By: Brad Bird
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Sophia Bush, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Eli Fucile, Michael Bird, Brad Bird, Isabella Rossellini, Phil LaMarr, Jonathan Banks, et. al.
Rated: PG
Grade: A

After failing to defeat the Underminer, who showed up at the end of the previous film, the Parr family and their friend, Lucius Best, are threatened with legal action for illegally partaking in super hero activities. After being released from government custody and sent to a motel while they await relocation, they’re approached by wealthy businessman Winston Deavor and his sister, Evelyn, who want their help in an endeavor to reverse the laws making super heroes illegal. Believing that the public will once again wish to embrace supers once they see how helpful they can be. Soon after agreeing to be the poster girl for their campaign, Elastigirl is encounters a new villain, the Screenslaver, who wants to destroy all supers.

This sequel to the beloved Pixar movie is carefully crafted to exude the same sense of adventure and fun that the first one gave. The storyline feels like a natural progression, instead of the forced stories that plague most sequels. Most of the voice actors from the first movie that have characters in this movie returned, with only a couple of exceptions, mainly with the voice actors for the younger children. The voices all seem to work well together, and from what I could tell, it seems like the actors had fun performing. It was nice to see Elastigirl get some time in the spotlight after being relegated to simple housewife in the first movie, and Bob being out of his element as the at-home parent was a fun change.

Pixar is well known for high-quality animation, and this movie is no different. The colors are vibrant without being too bright, and the blacks are dark and fuzz-free.

All in all, this is another great Disney/Pixar movie. The storyline is fast-paced and engaging and doesn’t pander to children, the characters are well-developed, and the villain’s motivations are believable. Despite there being nearly 15 years between the movies, this sequel doesn’t miss any steps. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, and something that everyone can watch.

Incredibles 2 isn’t available free to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.

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Killer Elite

KillerElite

Killer Elite

Directed By: Gary McKendry
Starring: Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, Clive Owen, Dominic Purcell, Yvonne Strahovsky, Aden Young, Ben Mendelsohn, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Whiteley, Matt Nable, Lachy Hulme, et. al.
Rated: R
Grade: C+

Loosely based on a true story, Killer Elite follows a group of four hitmen-for-hire several years after a job went wrong. After having retired to his native Australia when a hit went bad, Danny receives word that his friend and former partner Hunter has been taken hostage by a disgraced sheik wanting vengeance for his dead sons against the British SAS officers responsible for their deaths, Danny takes it upon himself to figure out how to kill the men. Recruiting his other old teammates and calling in favors from old contacts, Danny enters into an unwitting game of cat and mouse, as he soon learns that there is another killer protecting the SAS officers and threatening the success of Danny’s mission.

What little story exists in this movie seems to solely be a means to get to the next action/shootout scene, of which there are many. While the actors seem to have a decent chemistry, some of the accents are off. Jason Statham is supposed to play an Australian, but seems to maintain his natural, rough English accent, and Dominic Purcell is supposed to play a Welshman, but ends up sounding more like his native Australian instead. It’s usually not a good sign when my untrained ears can hear an accent that’s off, but I’ve stated in other reviews that, at the very least, Statham isn’t good at hiding his natural accent.

The effects are alright. There aren’t many effects-heavy scenes, with most of the CGI being used as background filler. There are also lost of explosions, but they seem to have been done well.

As stated before, despite being (somewhat) based on a true story, the movie itself uses as little plot as possible in order to get it from one action/shootout scene to the next. While the movie could have used a few scenes to show why DeNiro’s character is so important to Statham’s (and the other characters that were part of the crew), or even why they all decide to help, most of the interim scenes are basic setups for the next action sequence, which leaves you with characters you don’t actually care about taking on the rescue/assassination mission because… reasons.

Killer Elite can be streamed free through Netflix for now, and it can also be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.

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