Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Snapshot is Back!


Currently reading:

Dewey Decimated by Charles A Goodrum: I seem to be on a books-about-libraries kick lately. I spotted this one while my mom was purging her shelves and decided to give it a try.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig: This is the first Pink Carnation book I've picked up. We'll see how it goes.

Posted:

I finally posted my review of The Art Forger last Sunday in lieu of a Sunday Snapshot.

Movies watched:

the nice guys
The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice

First of all, I'm a sucker for noir crime movies set in Los Angeles, which is probably why my list of favorite movies includes LA Confidential, Mulholland Drive, Heat, etc. etc. And second of all, I love buddy cop stories. So this movie was pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. The plot, which centers around a porn film and political corruption, is suuuuuuper dumb; but this a minor point. Most of the movie is about watching Crowe and Gosling travel around LA getting into hilarious hijinks. The two have fantastic chemistry and are fun to watch, but the real star of the movie is Rice, who plays Gosling's preternaturally self-possessed 13-yo daughter. I wish this movie was a series so I could keep watching these characters! An entertaining flick for sure.

This week in heidenkindom:

It's been a busy few weeks, friends. I was working double time at my day job to help out while the owner and his wife were on vacation. I also got a new writing gig (hopefully, if my first few articles are what they want–fingers crossed!), so I had to focus on that and try to make some really great words. hooray words

Then on Wednesday my mom and I went to Palisade to visit some Colorado wineries. After that and the wine course I'm taking and the article I wrote on rosé wine, I am wined out! I think the trip will be a good investment for future articles, though, and we had fun.

My favorite part of the trip was actually visiting Colorado National Monument. Here are a few pics:

Grape vines

Ninety-nine barrels of wine on the wall, ninety-nine barrels of wiiiiiiine...

The Book Cliffs

Canyon

Pretty cactus flowers

There were A LOT of loudly decorated VW minibusses in the Grand Junction area.

More scenery


Bonus:

I'm hosting Tech Month in June over Book Bloggers International! If you have any favorite apps, tips, websites, or blogging tools you'd like to write about, email me over at BBI.


Have a good week, everyone!




Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: THE ART FORGER by BA Shapiro

the art forger

Claire Roth, expert Degas art reproducer and aspiring painter of original works, is approached by gallery owner Aiden Markel to paint a copy of a Degas masterwork. It would be business as usual for Claire, if only the painting wasn't the one stolen in the infamous 1990 Gardner Heist. But is the painting *really* the one painted by Degas? And will Claire and Aiden get away with switching one painting out for another?

Setting the very dodgy art history in this book aside–which I'm willing to recognize few besides myself would care about–The Art Forger had some major narrative issues that prevented me from thoroughly enjoying it.

Spoilers ahoy, mateys!

First and least of all, The Art Forger is a bit predictable and some plot points rely way too heavily on convenient coincidences. For example, Claire's only friends include a curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, plus a lawyer with a passion for art. You can see where this is going, can't you friends? Hint hint: the curator will intervene on her behalf and the lawyer will keep her case from turning into the next Netflix true crime documentary series.

Secondly and more annoyingly, the plausibility issues were occasionally mind-boggling. The one I kept getting stuck on was that she approaches her curator friend with the story that: 1., the recently returned Degas painting is a copy that she painted; and 2. that she thinks the "real" Degas is hidden in a museum sub-basement.

This is not suspicious in and of itself, but given that said curator friend knows she's been shacking up with the man recently arrested for selling the stolen Degas painting, I find it incredible he didn't add two and two and come up with THEY WERE IN ON IT TOGETHER. I mean, that's a pretty odd coincidence, no? Yet instead of exhibiting natural skepticism, he swallows Claire's story whole and winds up endangering his job–something I can tell you for a fact is NOT easy to come by–by letting her into the museum after hours. Don't even get me started.

Another point that made my brain hurt was Claire's belief that if she found this mythical "real" Degas painting, Aiden will no longer be charged with selling stolen goods.

what gif


OKAY, BUT WHAT???? Just because the stolen painting wasn't a real Degas doesn't mean Aiden didn't sell stolen goods. It was still the painting that was stolen from the Gardner. Whether it's a Degas or a Dr Seuss isn't really relevant to the question of his guilt or lack thereof.

Not to mention there's this whole thing about intent and, since far as Aiden was concerned the painting WAS a real Degas, and he did fully intended to make money off it, you can't really argue he's not guilty. Unless you're delusional, have never watched TV, and can't be bothered to read up on basic US laws.

Finally, there's a whole bunch of pointless, boring stuff. Tip: go ahead and just skip over Belle Gardner's letters. The characters sum up what they were about for you at the very end of the book, which is handy. The scenes in the prison, which I imagine were supposed to make Claire seem like not quite as much of a greedy sad sack with a broken moral compass, were simply irritating; and the flashbacks to her contretemps over her first forgery didn't impress me with her emotional maturity or intelligence.

Basically, I found this book to be pretty difficult to buy into. Maybe I just know too much about art, but I'd like to think whatever knowledge I posses or don't wouldn't matter with an author who does their homework and takes the time to establish character motivation. And besides, at least half of the stuff that bothered me wasn't about art at all.

I did enjoy Xe Sands narration on the audio, but I probably won't be checking out any of Shapiro's other books.





Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Snapshot for Mother's Day 2016

Sofie guarding the reading nook from intruders.
Happy Mother's Day!


Currently reading:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman: Fun if not exactly original.

Still Life by Louise Penny: Ben totally did it, guys.

Movies watched:

I haven't watched any movies recently. I am working my way through Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, about a woman who goes to NYC after being trapped in a bunker for 15 years. It's a cute show! I definitely recommend it to anyone who went through middle school in the '90s.

This week in heidenkindom:

Busy! Last week the gun store moved locations and I helped out with that. The owner and his wife are also away on vacation, so I've been working double time there to help out. Fortunately I haven't gotten any major writing assignments in so far, so I'm not too stressed out.

Bonus:

This is bizarrely the most popular thing I've tweeted in months. Possibly years. Via xkcd:



But seriously guys, enough with the full-width justification.

Have a great week!




Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Salon is Wrapping Up the Readathon

The first time I got to use my reading nook for the Readathon!

Currently reading:

Same as last week, pretty much, except I finally finished The Art Forger on audio and started Still Life by Louise Penny. I'm not sure this is the greatest book to listen to–there are a ton of characters and the narrator puts no effort into giving them their own "voice." I keep getting to confused as to who is whom.

Posted:

I wrote a review. I did not post it.

Movies watched:

sriracha doc
Sriracha, directed by Griffin Hammond

A short documentary about the famous hot sauce. Warning: you will want to have some sriracha after you watch this. It was pretty informative; I'd always thought of sriracha as an Asian import, but it was actually invented in California by a Chinese man who immigrated from Vietnam, and his story is pretty incredible.

Worth watching and the perfect length for what it is.

the katering show
The Katering Show, starring Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan

Okay, not a movie, but I had to include it. This is a webseries that satirizes reality cooking shows and it is hilaaaaarious. Definitely recommend it to all foodies!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

Whelp, the Readathon was yesterday and TBH I didn't get that much reading done. Let's move on to the closing meme:


1) Which hour was most daunting for you?

Honestly, it seemed like every hour was daunting this time around.

2) Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

I think Craig Johnson is good choice if you like mysteries. His books feel very past-paced.

3) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

No?

4) What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I thought the Facebook page was great. Lots of activity and conversation.

5) How many books did you read?

ZERO.

6) What were the names of the books you read?

Not applicable.

7) Which book did you enjoy most?

nada

8) Which did you enjoy least?

wall punch

9) How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I will if I can!

And final stats:

Read: About an hour of Still Life and 40 pages of As the Crow Flies.

Ate: A breakfast burrito, one coffee, three glasses of diluted apple cider vinegar, a "sausage sandwich" with green chiles, one cupcake, one vanilla milkshake, a turkey burger, and one snack of bread and cheese.

Non-bookish Activities: Watched ATK, went to lunch, did a wine tasting, and watched SNL and The Da Vinci Code.

Bonus:

Does expensive alcohol make a better cocktail? According to this highly scientific tasting, sometimes yes, but better to save your money.



Have a great week!





Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

24 Readathon Today!

readathon

Hello my little cabbages! Today is Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon. As usual I got a late start, but I'm awake now and ready to get started.

The Dewey Ladies have some questions for us to begin, and I'll be updating this post with my progress as the day goes on. Chat with y'all soon!

Readathon Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Colorado

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I don't really plan to start a new book. If I do I guess maybe The Invisible Library. But I'd really like to finish my current Craig Johnson read.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I didn't plan any snacks. #fail

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm currently mildly obsessed with apple cider vinegar as cura-all for everything.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my bazillionth Readathon. Kidding. I don't remember how many Readathons it's been, but I think I've only missed four since it started. ANYWAY. One thing I'm doing differently this time is only having the one Readathon post to update throughout the day. Usually I do at least three, but now that cheering has moved to Twitter this way seemed more efficient.

Mid-Event Survey:

(Side note: So, does this mean the Readathon starts at 5am my time? I can't image getting up at 5am to read. Going to sleep at 5am after reading all night, sure. (And this is why I always sleep in.))

1. What are you reading right now?

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

2. How many books have you read so far?

None. Nada. Null. Niet.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Hmm, I guess dinner. I'm pretty hungry.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I did! My aunt came over just after I finished my initial Readathon post this morning. We chatted for a few hours and then went to lunch, so I couldn't start reading until mid-afternoon.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I'm really enjoying the Facebook group.

And some stats just for my own edification:

Read: Listened to about an hour of Still Life by Louise Penny while I was working up the motivation to get out of bed and performing my morning ablutions.

Read a whole 37 pages in As the Crow Flies. Whoa! I am really ripping through those pages!

Ate: A breakfast burrito and coffee; one glass of diluted apple cider vinegar.

A "sausage sandwich" with green chiles, one cupcake, one vanilla milkshake, and another glass of diluted ACV.

Non-bookish activities: Watched America's Test Kitchen, petted doggies.

Lunch.

Disappointed by: The weather. I was super psyched to sit outside in the sun, but it's all cloudy and yucky out. Maybe the sun will peek out later.

The sun did come out briefly, but I was only able to sit outside for about 30 minutes before the wind picked up and it started raining. WHOMP WHOMP.



I will be updating on Twitter and Instagram as the day goes on, also. Happy Readathon, everyone!






Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Snapshot is trying NOT to be a criminal

Sofie's new hobby is imitating art historical monuments. Today we're practicing The Sphinx.

Currently reading:

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

How to Steal the Mona Lisa by Taylor B-something (too lazy to look it up): So far no one has responded positively to my, "Have you ever thought of doing something crazy, like stealing a priceless work of art?" query.

The Art Forger by BA Shapiro: OMG just end already.


Movies watched:

criminal movie
Criminal, starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones

After Ryan Reynolds is killed by a baddie, the CIA needs to find out where he stashed some techie dude. They *could* just figure it out with logic and footwork, but instead they decide to go with the much cheaper and simpler option of implanting Reynold's memories into someone else's brain using a highly experimental procedure previously only tested on rats. Bonus: the someone else is a psychotic inmate who makes Charles Manson look normal. Let this guy loose in London and watch the hilarious social contretemps, not to mention widespread property damage and bodily injury, ensue!

LULZ I have no idea how so many great actors were roped into this movie, but they weren't enough to save it. I do have to give Costner props for his performance, but the plot was too silly to be believed, and there were soooo many things that simply did not make sense. Not to mention this movie had a split personality, trying to be Le Carré and The Avengers all at the same time (I swear to god I thought Elsa was the Black Widow for 80% of the film). My personal favorite was the final line: "I'm not just going to let him go, I'm going to hire him!" HAHAHA, so I'm supposed to believe that the Jenga Tower of yes men known as the US Federal Government is going to hire an unpredictable ex-con just because he's suddenly sentimental?

hahaha no


This week in heidenkindom:

A slower week than the previous few, so I've been doing what the freelance writing websites refer to as "reinvesting in my knowledge base." I completed the knife skills course and I learned a lot! It was awesome, I definitely recommend it. Then I started a wine course that I heard about from Beth Fish Reads, called The Everyday Guide to Wine. It's a video course that's normally really expensive, but I realized I could stream it on Hoopla for free! That means all I have to pay for is the wine. I'm on lesson four and so far it's also been super informative.

Bonus:

dewey's 24 hour readathon

Next week is the 24-Hour Readathon. Yeah!!! Make sure you sign up and join in.





Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Snapshot

Sofielicious (so delicious)
Currently reading:

The Art Forger by BA Shapiro: Some pretty dodgy history going on in this book.

The Witch's Market by Mingmei Yip: I'm only a chapter in, but so far I am not impressed. At all.

How to Steal the Mona Lisa and Six Other World-Famous Treasures by Taylor Bayouth: If this is humor, it's pretty dry.

Posted:

My recommendations on where to start with Agatha Christie. I don't actually consider myself a "fan" of Christie's (I mean, I can appreciate her writing and see why she was so popular, but I'm not going to go out of my way to read her entire oeuvre any time soon), but that's why I think these books are perfect for Christie newbies: they're solid, entertaining reads no matter what kind of books you enjoy.

Movies watched:

Pet sitting this past week, so lots of movies!

spinning plates doc
Spinning Plates, directed by Joseph Levy

This documentary looks at three different restaurants and their owners: the haute cuisine Alinea in Chicago; classic diner Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa; and Mexican family restaurant La Cocina de Gabby in Tucson, Arizona.

Honestly, I thought this doc was pretty boring. The only restaurant I had any interest in was Alinea, just because the food was so weird. Stopped watching about a half hour in.

tracks movie
Tracks, starring Mia Wasikowska

Based on the National Geographic story and memoir of Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 got it into her head that she was going to go on a walkabout across the Australian desert with her dog and three (four?) camels. It took a bit of time for this movie to get going, but once it did it totally sucked me in. I also really enjoyed Adam Driver's character, I'm not sure exactly why, and loved the scenery of the Outback.

That said, I'm still pretty bitter about the dog death.

crimson peak
Crimson Peak, starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain

A part of me wanted to see this because of Hiddles McGriddles, the living embodiment of Prince Charming. But another part of me didn't want to see it because the plot summary made me come down with a massive case of eye roll. However, Anachronist convinced me it might not be so bad, so I decided to give it a try.

I have to say, I LOVED this movie! Yes, the plot is your typical, cheesy Gothic fare, but in the hands of excellent actors, directed by Guillermo del Toro, and with insanely gorgeous sets and cinematography, it's elevated into something spectacular and super entertaining. It reminded me of Hitchcock's Rebecca, it was such a deliciously perfect balance of fairy tale and horror. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie and would watch it again in a heartbeat. Highly recommend!

when marnie was there
When Marnie Was There, Studio Ghibli

Anna, in grips of the terrible twelves (something I can sympathize with), is sent to a tiny seaside town to visit some distant relatives. There she becomes fascinated by an abandoned mansion on the edge of a marsh. But is it really abandoned? Because Anna makes friends with Marnie, who claims to live there and only appears at night. Hm...

I mostly enjoyed this movie. There were two things I thought were very successful: one, I liked how Anna looked asexual, almost boyish, and only ever hovered at the edge of appearing "girly." It underscored how she was hovering between childhood and womanhood, and gave her relationship with Marnie an interesting nuance. I also enjoyed how the story was a classic YA Gothic, yet set in contemporary Japan.

That said, I could have done without the wrap-up at the very end, which felt way too convenient and unnecessary. Overall still a movie worth checking out though, I think.

frequently asked questions about time travel
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, starring Chris O'Dowd, Marc Wootton, and Dean Lennox Kelly

After getting fired from his stupid job at an amusement park, Ray goes to the pub with friends to get pissed. There he meets a young woman who claims to be a time traveler. He thinks his friends are putting one on him, but then strange things start to happen after a trip to the loo and they begin believe time travel might be possible after all.

Uhg. Why did I waste an hour and a half watching this? I enjoyed parts of this movie, especially the sci-fi references, but it never came together enough to manage even stupid entertainment value. If given the choice between Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and this movie, I'd say go with Bill and Ted's.

This week in heidenkindom:

The past few weeks have been crazy busy, because everything always happens at once. Just some highlights:

  • Pet sitting
  • Hair appointment (I shave the sides of my head. It's kind of hard to see, but I really like it.)
  • Working at the store
  • Tons of things to write
  • Took a moped out for a test drive because my tax refund came in. Was all set to buy, but then...
  • My Mac finally kicked the bucket for good this time and I had to spend all the money I was going to use to buy a moped to purchase a new computer, instead. I still haven't been able to boot up the old Mac to the point where I can erase the hard drive. I'm thinking of applying a chainsaw to it.
  • Knife skills class!
 I also finished a pretty good historical mystery this week called Lady in the Smoke. It had some problems, but for the most part it was enjoyable.

Bonus:

chase me giveaway

The Book Bloggers International community newsletter is running a giveaway for Laura Florand's new novel, Chase Me, through April. I loved this book and think you should all read it! Just click on link in the newsletter to enter.







Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...