Book Review: Something Great (Something Great #1) by M. Clarke

Something Great (Something Great #1)
By: M. Clarke

Something Great

Fresh out of college, life was predictable and comfortable for Jeanella. She had the strength of her friends, the security of her job, and she was dating a reliable man; it was all smooth sailing. That was until one night, when she met someone who made her feel things she’d never felt before—dangerous, heart pounding, breathless heat.

Never imagining she would see him again, Jeanella has no idea what to do when fate steps in and thrusts Maxwell Knight into her life, just as things were beginning to change around her. When she lands her dream job and travels to New York for Fashion Week, can she focus on her career instead of on Maxwell?

Will she ignore all the danger signs and jump straight into his arms; or would she miss out on the chance of finding something great? – Goodreads

As I work through the books (mostly free deals) on my Kindle to work on some saving habits and spending less habits, the next on the list was this one. To be honest, I haven’t been in much of a contemporary romance mood but then they usually are such easy reads that I couldn’t pass it up with the low energy levels I’ve been doing. Ironically, Something Great was not something great. I mean, look at the tagline up there, “She didn’t know what she was missing..until he found her.” Oh and believe me, the main guy here, Max is a pretentious rich guy. There is a difference in being self-confident and being pretentious and while the girl here, Jeanella seems to view him as self-confident, I couldn’t quite buy into it. With that said, half of Something Great already dropped to Something Good as we got to know this Max fellow more.

However, luckily, while I wasn’t a big fan of Jeanella’s choice in Max and how she changed her views so quickly and such, her character did start off rather on the right track. Her character’s heart is in the right place as she holds onto some of her values. But then, she also has some parts of her that are my absolute pet peeves when it comes to these novels. The main thing being that the moment any girl sees a hot guy, she just burns up and forgets everything and just wants to have sex with them. I’m not sure there is any enjoyment in it. I get the nervousness of seeing someone you are attracted in and Jeanella does have those moments but it is quickly masked by her desire to go to bed with him regardless of in the beginning when he is just a sexy stranger or when they get into a relationship and she get mad at him. Wanting to sleep with someone doesn’t measure love, at least not to me. So you can already see where Something Great falls apart for me.

All in all, I think I’m just not the audience for these books anymore. I sometimes find some that work well within my standards and I don’t know, create a man that I find is desirable within what I would think has those characteristics and makes me feel like its romance. Many times, it just feels like there’s a whole lot of lust in the way any scenario is described and that doesn’t link to what love is. If only authors didn’t confuse these two emotions so much, it would make for great contemporary romance. I guess, I’ll just keep hoping for the next one to hit the target better. Something Great was just something okay.

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Battle of Ingredients #9: BBQ 2018 – Take 2!

Battle of Ingredients

Welcome to the next Battle of Ingredients! July was a busy month (you must be sick of me saying this if you follow all the different topics here) but we came back in August for another BBQ. Its almost tradition now that summer months are focused around more BBQ oriented meals. Its easy and fun and we can enjoy the weather. You have to live in Montreal (or the majority of Canada with the exception of maybe British Columbia or Vancouver, I’m not sure) to understand that we live half the year in winter and then another 3 months in rainy spring and autumn and then just like 3 months of warm/hot/unbearable weather. We did get a heat wave which also stopped a lot of the normal activities (notice the lack of hiking posts…). Anyways, we are back and the weather luckily after July’s heatwave is also cooling down a little.

Let’s just jump right in and see what Phoebe (aka Starry Traveler) and I came up for this battle!

Drinks

Sangria

Beringer

  • Pepito White Sangria
  • Beringer Rose – White Zinfandel

A sweet wine and a delicious white sangria that matched perfectly with the season and the event.

Dinner

Inspiration: http://moneysavingsisters.com/3-ingredient-soy-sauce-coca-cola-chicken-drumsticks-slow-cooker-meal/

Phoebe’s husband loves veggies so she added in some asparagus, corn and peppers to grill.

Aside from that,she found inspiration to make chicken that she used to have as a child and the recipe above was the one she used to change a crock-pot version to a BBQ version with this first platter of drumsticks. Normally, its easier with chicken wings but we have friends who don’t eat wings so she accommodated this one.

The drumsticks didn’t get the flavor quite so well. I would imagine that the crock pot would work better when doing drumsticks to get the flavor in it. It wasn’t not tasty by any means. To be honest, I love soy sauce chicken drumsticks. Its one of my fave things to eat. Simple but very yummy. My mom still holds the crown (because I’m biased) but Phoebe’s was pretty awesome also. Everyone enjoyed it. However, the goal was to have the cola flavor pop out and in that sense, it didn’t quite make happen.

Chicken Wings (left): Normal Biftheque spiced wings
Chicken Wings (right) inspiration: https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/betty-whites-chicken-wings-13707

Phoebe decided to do chicken wings anyways for everyone else. We made one normal variety with some typical steakhouse spices. It was delicious and a guaranteed success. For her second inspiration, it was to do the recipe above but adding in a fourth ingredient, white sugar. The recipe she saw above asks for brown sugar but she didn’t have any on hand. Chicken wings work better for BBQ and for this recipe, the cola flavor definitely did pop out much more. This recipe is an absolute hit. There may some freestyling with how the recipes are as most of the recipes here were inspirations and added in our own flair.

Chard Rolls

Inspiration for Chard Rolls: http://vegdept.com/asian-style-rainbow-chard-wraps/

My contribution was luckily a lot of my own harvests. I found this chard roll idea and decided to work with what I had. I scrapped the Asian way and didn’t simmer the leaves either but on the grill, they cooked everything through as it wrapped in aluminum foil. My version ended up looking like that and the size varied to the size of the leave. Inside, there were homegrown cucumbers, bell peppers and store bought carrots. I didn’t season it but let everyone add what they wanted. Chard leaves were a little overcooked so it was slightly bitter, bit still the whole tasted fairly good.

Dessert

Campfire Cones

Campfire Cones

Campfire Cone recipe: https://hip2save.com/2015/06/25/campfire-cones-fun-easy-summer-dessert/

When figuring out dessert, I searched up what we could do on the grill and it was this easy and fun idea. Mine had blueberries instead red berries because of allergy issues (not me but others). The cook time should have been longer so it would turn into a gooey delicious mess but still, it was a pretty good one. One that can be replicated in the oven, I would think also. I would do this one again with some raspberries and I’d imagine that it would turn out fantastic. Let’s face it..these are s’mores cones with a twist, right? How can you hate on that…well, unless you hate dark chocolate or marshmallows, I guess. You can see the ingredients that I used on the top. I used a local dark chocolate maker, Rochef and it had sea salt so added a different layer of taste.

And..this wraps up this Battle of Ingredients!
We are back to monthly editions for a little bit and see how things go from there.
September’s edition is still BBQ themed with some more look at what else to cook..seasonal and whatnot.
If you have any suggestions, go ahead and suggest away in the comments and we’ll take a look at what we could do next time.

Double Feature: Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) & Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

Welcome to the next double feature! Its been at least a month since the last one and I’m slowly feeling up to writing reviews after a 2 week (or so) break after Fantasia! I did watch these two around the beginning of Fantasia Festival.

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Director: James Bobin

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anne Hathaway

Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to help the Mad Hatter. – IMDB

Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to the live action Alice in Wonderland. While this live action adaptation is usually negatively rated, I see the flaws but somehow these  whimsical things work okay for myself. It becomes quite entertaining. Alice Through the Looking Glass has its issues and sometimes it doesn’t work as well as it might have hoped for but there are a few redeeming traits here. Lets just get it out there that as many times as I have started reading the source material by Lewis Carroll, I haven’t finished it so I have no idea how similar it is to the book. I do feel that some things were a little over the top in possibly the way it was portrayed however, the whimsical suspension of belief is expected and never a surprise. I like over the top fantastical elements so its why I still watch these movies.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

There is a lot of silliness in Alice Through the Looking Glass. The redeeming character is still always Mia Wasikowska as Alice. She is such a spectacular actress who takes on different types of roles but excels in them. In this one, I loves her outfits and the journey she takes and altogether, keeping to how Alice is with the character traits. To be honest, most of the characters from the previous film did keep in character. Which pretty much means that if you didn’t like the first one, chances are that you might not like this one as it feels a little bit even more odd than before. Something here doesn’t fit together completely and yet I never pinpoint what it is. Perhaps its the weird Anne Hathaway performance as the White Queen and the story behind her and the Queen of Hearts. There is a slight entertainment value to Sacha Baron Cohen as Time.

Visually, Alice Through the Looking Glass delivers just like the first film. The characters also carry a lot of fun elements to them and are a joy to watch. However, the story behind her fighting to retrace the Mad Hatter’s childhood and learning about the White Queen and  Queen of Hearts story as well as having Time chase her through time and space felt a little lacking. Maybe its just not so personal when Alice does learn something about herself through this but the link of everyone in those stories just doesn’t feel like it adds up to more than it should.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Director: Simon Curtis

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly MacDonald, Will Tilston, Alex Lawther

A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne. – IMDB

I’m not much of a biopic person. If you haven’t noticed, I try to stay away from biopic or drama or something like that. Movies are a means of entertainment to escape from drama so its one of the reasons why they tend to be the least chosen genre in film. I still watch them but they are infrequent. With that said, its hard to resist the biopic of A.A. Milne, the man who brought to life Thousand Acres Woods and Winnie the Pooh and his gang. As much as this is about the fame of Winnie the Pooh and this world, this biopic focuses on A.A. Milne’s relationship with his son and the reason of why this fun and fictional world even exists in the first place.

goodbye Christopher Robin

If there’s something more than Pooh Bear that I can’t resist, its a father and son relationship, well any parent and child relationship usually tugs pretty hard at my heartstrings. It feels pretty genuine in the way that this whole thing is portrayed. Domhnall Gleeson has a huge part in this because he does a fantastic job at portraying A.A. Milne. His character and the father he is and the man that he is and just how what he has gone through has changed him but no one quite understands him, especially his wife, played by Margot Robbie. However, we all have something to thank in this world and even adults sometimes make the choices when they get carried away with a situation and this is how Winnie the Pooh may have saved a lot of kids and was the world for so many people but in the end, it somehow deteriorated this father and son relationship and created a misunderstanding. Its this story and this human relationship that makes this film really good.

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a fairly simple story and the feelings and relationship is so genuine that it makes it tug at our heartstrings even more. There’s a lack of communication and a bonding that grows over time because of the choices made by everyone. In some ways, it makes us wonder about this world that has given joy to so many people and yet the bittersweet feelings that come with learning about how there were sacrifices to sharing this world that A.A. Milne created with his son with everyone else and the fame and popularity ate away at their relationship. After you watch this, it feels like its a conflict that never quite gets resolved and whether it feels like everyone else had invaded into someone else’s imaginary world. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it but this movie is pretty bittersweet by the end.

What’s Up #6 A Month-Long Recap!

Its been over a month since the last What’s Up! I should be having another What’s Up special coming up soon-ish. I talk about it in the video, I think (unless I edited it out). Either way, I changed things up a little and hopefully you like it.

Other than that, I hope you enjoy it and have fun!

Bloggers mentioned:
Drew’s Movie Reviews: https://drewreviewmovies.wordpress.com/
MovieRob: https://movierob.wordpress.com/

Related links
Go Home Afton
Mermen
Death Race: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/moviesandtea/episodes/2018-07-12T15_25_42-07_00
The Three Musketeers: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/moviesandtea/episodes/2018-07-27T05_36_09-07_00
Pompeii: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/moviesandtea/episodes/2018-08-14T00_30_29-07_00
Mobile Game Roundup: http://www.thatmomentin.com/july-top-5-mobile-games/
Nailed It S2

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After Hours #1 – The Meg

Who would have known that we’d both head out to see The Meg this past weekend! And of course, it paired up perfectly as one of our anticipated films for 2018 and also a perfect selection to kick off our After Hours over at Movies and Tea!

Check out our discussion on The Meg over on Movies and Tea Podcast!

Movies and Tea

Hey folks and welcome to the first episode of “After Hours” a series of bonus shows were we will be looking at the films which mean the most to us, but whose directors don’t need require us to work through the director’s filmography.

Kicking things off is “The Meg” whose troubled production history we look into as we finally got to see the rampaging Megalodon brought to the screen.

We not only look at the film, but Elwood perhaps geeks out hard on the comparisons to Steve Alten’s books.

So come join us in the booth!

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My “Weekly” Adventures: Fantasia and More Events

Are you ready? This past month was so busy that I’m still trying to get grips and find back all the energy. Its why well…a lot of things have been behind. The one thing that we haven’t left behind is the heat wave because its still as present as ever. Not really a bad thing because I can now have time to go back into the pool once I catch up a little more. This post might be a little heavier on the Instagram since its easier to do that than to just keep uploading photos. Its going to be heavy on pictures on the things that happened. To be honest, Fantasia took up most of my life so not all that much happened.

Let’s just jump right in!

Fantasia Festival

Boy was this a festival and a half this year. I pushed really hard and covered 5 more movies than I normally would. Of course, I had work because if I didn’t, I would be at the screening rooms and covering even more. However, this year was a really nice selection of films. Most of the films delivered fairly well. There were some odds and ends that didn’t quite land as well for myself. I probably will still do some sort of Fantasia wrap-up within the next week. Its a little after the event but I still would like to highlight some of the films.

As for my Instagram game, I even impressed myself when I went to do some press work and took pictures of the directors and cast and such whenever they were present.

So yeah…A lot of fun times here. I didn’t take any pictures with the cast and crew although you could, except for the director of Big Brother but then my shyness came out since I’m really a behind the scenes person (except when I do Game Warp, I guess). That picture is just for myself since I looked like an elephant. The roster of lists from when I posted the Weekly Adventures a month ago definitely did end up changing a little since I ended up missing a few other films but adding in some other titles.

You can find all the reviews now. The full roster of films: A Rough Draft, Big Brother, Bleach, Cam, Fireworks, Knuckleball, Laplace’s Witch, Lifechanger, Nightmare Cinema, The Nightshifter, Our House, The Outlaws, Playing Hard, Pledge, Rondo, Searching, Tigers Are Not Afraid, Under the Silver Lake, The Vanished, The Witch in the Window.

Wedding in Toronto

Wedding

One of my best friends had her wedding in Toronto. It  was absolutely lovely despite the heat with both the church and the dinner reception. These moments also have the time to see everyone dressed at their best and partying together and wishing happiness for our dear friend as well. It was a great time. Of course, it helps that my husband also was able to be there. I talk about that a lot but thats because my husband used to work the graveyard shift so now its always grateful to have this new shift where he can live normal human hours and do things and attend events.

Some people take for granted how amazing it is to spend time with the ones we love but sometimes different situations make it hard but hey, you work through it and it all comes together in the end. Rambling again…

Brossard Festin Culturel

Mon Ami Restaurant – Korean Food

Street Monkeys – Cambodia Food

Mucho Burrito – Mexican Food

Every year, the last weekend is always a busy one. We would hit two festivals. This year, we decided to not head out to the Matsuri Festival. A few key reasons is honestly the crowds and the parking and the traffic going out since road works are ridiculous right now. So, we went to check out earlier the Brossard Festin Culturel  which is a cultural festival in the Montreal suburbs. Its primarily a family event and this year, it moved locations so we wanted to see how it all went down and actually this new location works really well, even better than before. We tried out some cool restaurants also and enjoyed the sun a little and walked around. Fun times!

 

Matinee Movie Date

I feel like every time that I tell you all about going to the theatre it will be for some popcorn flick where its not outstanding terms like Oscar films but just a pure entertaining film. Most of the films that I look forward to and will watch in theatres (aside Fantasia) is honestly films that I feel the big screen will make a difference. Just to be clear, my suburban theatre only offered UltraAVX and 3D had more choice in times than the normal which had one showing only. Either way, I don’t really regret it at all. The experience for The Meg was quite unique since I honestly really got into the film and had some moments where I literally was startled and jumped back in the seat. Its a pretty awesome shark film experience. I know this movie has its issues. Either way, my review will be going up. In the meantime, we did a Movies and Tea After Hours kickoff show reviewing The Meg that literally just went live today.

I’ll still reblog the post tomorrow or something but just to have a fun listen!

Tranquil Dreams on Facebook

In case you missed the announcement post a few weeks ago, we are officially on Facebook! It was meant to happen eventually but you know circumstances changed  for Facebook linking here so I got that set up quickly. Head over and give us a like or follow! I’ll share random stuff there every once in a while so it’ll be a fun time. Check it out HERE.

That’s it for this adventures! 🙂
Things are getting back on track. Hopefully summer has been treating you all fantastic!

Movies and Tea #9 – Pompeii

And we’re here at the final episode of Season 1 of Movies and Tea Podcast as we take a look at the final movie in the selection from Paul W. S. Anderson’s filmography, Pompeii. Head over to Movies and Tea Podcast to check it out for our thoughts and how it is as a Paul W. S. Anderson directorial effort and give us your thoughts on this movie that blends a Gladiator-esque story with a disaster film.

Movies and Tea

Our season one re-evaulation of the Paul W.S. Anderson filmography comes to a close with a film that sees him taking a note from James Cameron, Anderson’s “Pompeii” sees him deliving a sword and sandel / disaster flick the end result being a film which disappeared off the radar of most movie goers as quickly as it appeared.

We also reveal our favourite, worst and hidden gems of his filmography.

Come join us in the booth!!

Further Viewing

Gladiator
Kingdom of Heaven
Conan The Barbarian
Volcano
Dante’s Peak
San Andreas
Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Music on this episode

Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
Clinton Shorter – The Mountain

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