Isn’t It Romantic (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (4.33)

Writing/Story: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

MY 2 CENTS:

I won’t lie, I love romantic comedies… they are my guilty pleasure! Plus, I am a huge fan of Rebel Wilson, her comedic timing is amazing. So, after watching the preview, I was all in!

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was clever! Think of every romcom cliché you can… now, imagine them all in one movie… what you get is ‘Isn’t It Romantic’. The thing is, in this film, it works. It’s a parody on romantic comedies… The movie is making fun of all romantic comedies well being one of the funniest, wittiest, and most beguiling romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while.

This story could have gone south… and tanked, but writers Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman obviously have a clear understanding of what works in a romantic comedy and what we all make fun of. They gave us a perfect balance of comedy and emotion.

Cinematography ★★★★

I have nothing bad to say about the cinematography in this film… nothing amazing either.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Rebel Wilson was amazing, as she always is. Her comedic timing alone could have carried the film, if that had been necessary. However, with the cast line up this movie had, there was no question it would be fun to watch.

Having Adam Devine and Rebel Wilson playing off each other, yet again, seemed like one of the most natural things in the world. Their chemistry on film may have started in Pitch Perfect, but I have a feeling it will continue for years to come.

Liam Hemsworth, as Blake, did a great job playing the arrogant, good looking, rich guy… and a bit clueless too.

Betty Gilpin, as Whitney, was fantastic. The part is a bit underrated but Gilpin made the role something to remember. If you don’t know Gilpen, then you need to watch GLOW… she is brilliant!

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life’s become a mother-BEEPing romantic comedy and it’s PG-13.”

TO SUM IT UP:

If you like Romcoms… laughing… and just an all around feel good movie, then you should watch this one. Grab a cozy blanket, a bucket of popcorn, a couple glasses of wine (or your favorite beverage), your significant other, and settle in for a great date night in!

Have you seen ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ yet? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the movie. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Isn’t It Romantic (2019) Trailer:

Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora & Delia Ephron

Love, Loss and What I Wore
Date/Times:

Oct. 3rd at 7:00pm

Oct. 4th at 7:00pm

Oct. 5th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Oct. 11th at 7:00pm & 12 @ 7:00 pm

Oct. 12th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St., Decatur, AL

Bank Street Players is honored to present “Love, Loss and What I Wore” this October at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Center at the University of Alabama Birmingham. The play by Nora and Delia Ephron is a powerful work about women that is both poignant and humorous as it explores a range of life experiences to which everyone in the audience will find a way to relate.


DIRECTOR: Sam Marsh
CAST: Colleen McNabb Samples, Margaret Bibb, Kailey Burkhardt, Nina Soden, Cherie Elise Evans, and Cathy Bell Altonji

Tickets:

All tickets are $15, general admission, and will be sold at the door beginning a half-hour before each performance. Tickets can be reserved for pick up at the will-call desk before each show by calling 256-318-3265.


Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Center at the UAB.

For more information contact: carolcpuckett@gmail.com or 256-318-3265 or 256-341-0562

Week 32 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 32nd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin the main character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Write about something you can’t forget!

His voice...
Deep.
Commanding.
Angry.
Slurred, from too many glasses of cheap whiskey.

I can hear it, almost as if he were standing right behind me. Yet he's been gone for years. Long since buried 6 feet under.

He used to scream at my mother and I, but his yelling wasn't what scared me. It was when he got quiet... still... that's when I knew he was really angry.

I'd have to strain to hear him. But it was in those moments, trying so hard to hear... to understand... that I knew pain would quickly follow.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write about something you can’t forget!


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


FEAR is INTELLIGENT!

Would you prefer to watch the video tips rather than reading them? CLICK HERE

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: No one likes to feel afraid, so when you do listen to your subconscious and act accordingly. Don’t judge… don’t doubt… don’t brush it off. Your fear is your subconscious telling you something and you should listen.   

Mindfulness of fear, what is it?

Emotional Mindfulness is staying in touch with your emotions. Therefore, Mindfulness of Fear is staying in touch with your fear and what triggers your fear. Staying present in the moment-to-moment embodied experience of feeling afraid. It means experiencing the sensation of fear, without judging it or trying to push it away. At the same time, mindfulness of these emotions means you don’t have to justify the feelings. Just feel them and act accordingly.

Today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Emotional Mindfulness

For the next 24 hours, I want you to be open and accepting of all your emotions. Don’t stifle them, don’t ignore them, and don’t judge! Accept your emotions for what they are, your subconscious talking to you and sending you messages about how you feel about certain situations. Allow yourself to feel… everything… This act of emotional mindfulness will help you better understand yourself and keep you grounded in in who you are.

Mindfulness Journaling:

Throughout the day, as your moving through the emotional mindfulness exercise, I want you to take time to jot down what emotions you’re experiencing. Don’t judge them as right or wrong, don’t try to justify them. Simply write down the emotion and a quick note as to what you believe triggered the emotion. You’ll be able to go back to this journal time and time again to see if there is a pattern to your emotional reactions to situations either at work, at home, or among friends and family.

This exercise and journaling are designed to help you accept your emotions and better understand what events and who might trigger certain emotional spikes.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, I would love to invite you to comment below and share your experiences with the ‘Clean a Room Mindfully’ exercise.


Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

Fear is Intelligent

10 Mindfulness Tips for Everyday Practice!

7 Tips for Bringing Mindfulness into Your Life!


Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

Photo by: Mikel Healy

IT Chapter Two (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★.★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★ | CGI: ★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

MY 2 CENTS:

I have to say, seeing as Stephen King is my favorite author, this film is probably my most anticipated films of the year. I loved the book, thought the mini-series back in 1990 did an amazing job bringing the book to life, and really enjoyed the 2017 version of IT Chapter One. With the whole cast from the 2017 version coming back for Chapter Two plus the addition of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and so many other awesome actors I can’t deny I was very excited going into the theatre.

There is a lot to love about this film… there are also a few things I didn’t really care for. Now, I’ve heard complaints about the movie’s length, at 2 hours and 49 minutes it is a very long movie, but you have to consider the length of the book… Like most Stephen King novels, it’s not short!

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

As I said before, this movie is based on the novel IT by Stephen King. When IT was originally adapted to live action, it was a mini-series on television. I remember eating it up. I had just finished reading the book and couldn’t wait to see it. With it being a mini-series, they were able to really get a lot of the details from the book into the show… something you can’t really do when it’s a movie on the big screen, you just don’t have the time to fit it all in.

Splitting the movie into two parts, Chapter One and Chapter Two, did allow for more detail, but I felt as an audience member that chopping it up so much really made certain aspects of the films uneven. Plus, when you really look at what the movie is about, an evil clown comes to town every 27 years and kills kids… it’s a little surprising how long the movie is. Both movies pretty much have the same plot – Pennywise is back, killing kids, and the members of the Loser Club have to fight and kill him.

I think one of the reasons I really liked the original mini-series and even why I liked the 2017 movie a little more than this one is because you really get to feel what they are going through from a kids perspective. Think about it, evil creepy clown running around town in the sews killing kids… as a kid, that is some seriously scary stuff. However, with these characters, they approach Pennywise in much the same way they did as children, they have all the same fears they did 27 years before. However, that isn’t really realistic, as we get older, we change, people evolve, what we are afraid of changes and we approach our fears in a different way.

Cinematography ★★★

I think there are some really great shots in in this movie. However, I also think that the way it was filmed gave away a little too much too quickly. Sure, as the audience, we already know who Pennywise is and what he looks like, but I just think with a scary movie there is something to say for keeping the monster hidden that amps up the suspense. It seemed that Pennywise got a lot of screen time in this film, which took the scare level down significantly for me.

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI):  ★★

Fun fact about the young actors who played the Losers Club members in IT Chapter One: They grew tremendously in the 2 years following filming that they actually had to be digitally ‘de-aged’ in some scenes because they looked significantly older than before. For me, every time I noticed it – which was often throughout the film – it pulled me out of the moment. I get that there really wasn’t another way to do it, since the flashback scenes with the kids had to look like they were from the same time period as the 2017 film, but for me the technique just wasn’t executed that well.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Let’s talk about Character(s) and acting… First off, there isn’t a whole lot of character building in this movie. I understand that we, as the audience, already know the characters from when they were children in the first movie, however this is 27 years later… people tend to change, a lot, in 27 years. The movie gives us only one scene for each of the main characters to show us what they are like now. It just feels really rushed as the movie pushes the characters together, trying to get them back to Derry. Then, once they are there the pace slows down considerably and it almost feels to slow with not enough action.

In terms of acting… WOW! Everyone is really strong. Both the adults playing the Loser Club as well as their child actor counterparts.

I think one of my favorite scenes is when they all first come together, at the restaurant. They haven’t seen each other is 27 years and yet there is an instant connection. You can see and feel the comradery as if they have remained close friends all their lives. They do a really good job of making it seem like these adults are the grown versions of the kids we saw jut two years ago in the 2017 movie. Mannerisms and speech patterns are all very similar and it helps to be able to connect each of the children actors to their adult counterparts.

Best actor award has to go to Bill Skarsgard who plays Pennywise. Pennywise is just a wonderful role for an actor. Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise in the 1990 mini-series and Bill Skarsgard has done a wonderful job in both the 2017 and 2019 files. He is creepy – Defiantly the thing that nightmares are made of.  

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“See, the thing about being a loser, you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Be brave. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers, and we always will be.” ~ Losers Club (IT Chapter Two)

“Here’s Johnny” ~ Henry Bowers

  • The reason I like this one so much is because it’s a throwback to another Stephen King book, The Shining when Jack Torrance has gone crazy and is chopping down the bathroom door with an axe to kill his wife.

TO SUM IT UP:

Although I enjoyed this film, maybe not as much as the 2017 movie, I have to say it just doesn’t fully live up to the 1990’s mini-series. However, I do tend to lean toward originals more so then remakes and books rather than movies.

Have you seen IT Chapter Two yet? Did you see IT Chapter One, or better yet did you see the Original IT Mini Series? And, even more importantly, have you read the book? Let me know your answers, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the book, the mini-series, or the movies! I’d love to know. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Open the video and watch it on YouTube so you can subscribe to my channel and never miss a video!

IT Chapter Two (2019) Trailer:

IT Chapter One (2017) Trailer:

IT mini-series (1990) Trailer:


Bright Side by Kim Holden ~ Book Review

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

RATING OVERVIEW 4.75 STARS

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

WOW… I ate this book up, binge reading it in just a couple of days. It is a super-fast read with so much amazing detail.

WRITING (★★★★★): Kim Holden draws you right in with her playful dialogue between life long friends Kate and Gus. Immediately we feel their connection and realize that these two friends have just been separated as Kate left for college and Gus is still home in southern California following his dream of being a Rockstar.

The way Kim tells the story, each chapter from one character’s perspective, really pulled me into the book. It makes you, as a reader, feel more involved and it gives the story an overarching personal feeling that telling it from third person just wouldn’t have accomplished.

STORY (★★★★): This story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get pissed… but, if you’re like me, you’ll love every minute of it.

A little warning though, this one is for mature audiences. Topics covered in Bright Side include loss, disease, eating disorders, homosexuality, sex, drinking, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): As an author, Kim Holden understands character development. She has to be one of my top 5 authors for character development. She had me emotionally connected, not only to the main character Kate but also with Gus, Keller, and everyone else. Seriously, even Kate’s college roommate, who is kind of a jerk, is written in a way that makes her misunderstood… I found myself wanting to know more about her. Who knows, maybe Kim will write a book for her at some point too.

Kate, also known as Bright Side, is a beautiful person inside and out. She is optimistic in every sense of the word and sadly, life has just not been kind to her. She has been dealt a terrible hand, but she doesn’t let it get her down. With every line… even when she is saying Dude every other word, we get a sense of who she is. That is the magic of good character development.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): Simple… Intriguing… and totally Bright Side! The cover made me smile even before I opened the pages to meet Bright Side!  

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Today, my life is awesome. I don’t want to think about tomorrow. Or the day after that. So I repeat to myself: Today, my life is awesome.”

“Don’t judge each other. We all have our own shit. Keep your eyes on yours and your nose out of everyone else’s unless you’re invited in. And when you get the invitation, help, don’t judge.”

“Imagine for a moment that you were free of all the expectations in your life. What would you do? How would you live your life with no one watching? What would your future look like?”

“Do Epic.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim lives in what she calls the greatest city in the world: Denver, Colorado. Some of her favorite things: reading, writing, her husband and her son, her bicycle, Facebook, iced coffee, and music. She also loves dreaming. Her advice to anyone reading this, or any of her books… follow your dreams. It’s never too late. Get started today … heck get started RIGHT NOW! Make your dreams reality.
She loves to hear from fellow readers. So, if you want to reach out, find her on Goodreads at author/show/7445352.Kim_Holden

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Also by Kim Holden

GUS (Bright Side Book 2)

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

Note from the author: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is recommended for mature audiences.

FRANCO (Bright Side Book 3)

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.
Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.
Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.
Enter Gemma Hendricks.
She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.
The attraction is instant.
So is their friendship.
It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.
Or is it?
There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.
And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.
Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

THE OTHER SIDE

There are two sides to every story.
The surface reality that’s presented to the world…
And then there’s the other side.
The real one.
The one that matters.
Seventeen-year-old, self-proclaimed asshole, Toby Page, is alone.
No friends.
No family.
He trades maintenance work in exchange for room and board.
Every day he fights demons no one else can see.
Every day he wants to give up.
But he can’t.
Not yet.
When Alice Eliot moves in downstairs, she offers Toby some light in his dark world.
At a crossroads and barely hanging on, it’s hard to have perspective.
It’s difficult to see your own worth when you’re the villain in your story.
Luckily for Toby, Alice brings things out in him that no one else ever has.
As the two sides of Toby’s story are revealed, and the full reality comes into view, truth is gained, unlikely heroes emerge, and improbable alliances prove that kindness is fundamentally human.
The question is, Will it all be enough to save him?

ALL OF IT

Seventeen-year-old VERONICA SMITH has it all: a loving family, a funky car named Jezebel, and a plan to go to college after graduation. On the first day of senior year, she meets DIMITRI GLENN–a mysterious transfer student with gray eyes and a mischievous smile who seems determined to win her heart. But there’s something odd about Dimitri, leading Veronica to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Before long she finds herself in a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true–until a series of devastating events leaves her questioning everything. It’s not until she chooses to think with her heart instead of her mind that she can rise from the ashes to learn the truth of their connection.

SO MUCH MORE

This is a glimpse into divorce: the lead-up, the aftermath, and the redemption that follows.
Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.
I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.
Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.
They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.
So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…
who believes in dreams.

And people.


Week 31 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 31st Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Ava one of the characters in a novel I’m currently outlinging.

Today’s writing prompt:

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?

I could hear the sirens and smell the smoke before I could muster up the strength to open my eyes. I had been knocked out. Again. It was the second time in just under a month and I was sure my handler at Operation Atlas wasn’t going to be happy about it.

When I finally rolled to my back and opened my eyes, there was ash floating from the sky and landing softly on the ground all around me. There had to be two or three thick inches of ash coating every surface within a one-mile radius.

The fire wasn’t supposed to be that big. They had told me just to take out the warehouse, but they didn’t know about the chemicals being stored in the basement. By the time they exploded, it was too late. I was thrown clear across the parking lot and knocked out cold. The fire department came, but even they couldn’t stop the flames from jumping from building to building. By the time they found me, the fire had consumed the entire block.

Luckily, I was able to stop it before it jumped the road and spread deeper into the city.

Starting, and stopping fire… that’s my superpower. Although, lately, it seems like more of a curse.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!