Vanish by Tess Gerritsen: 52 in 52 Book #36

Vanish

Another Rizzoli & Isles book and somehow, I didn’t love this as much as previous novels. It’s still a great read and if you’re a fan of the Rizzoli & Isles series or crime writing in general, you’ll find this hits the mark. But here are my grievances:

If the maternity care in this book is even vaguely close to the reality in America then I feel really sorry for American women. Waters broken for two hours and already wanting to induce… really? My midwife brain took over and a similar reaction occurred that happens when I watch birthing programs. As daft as it sounds, American obstetrics and poor support for new mothers ruined several parts of this book for me!

The plotline itself felt a little lacking. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with intricate and twisting plotlines but I felt no surprise as the revelations came about. This is an even bigger shame as reading the first few chapters I felt excited about where the story was going. As I said before though, the plotline is good, I just feel it didn’t address the elements I like in a crime novel.

With big changes for Jane Rizzoli, we get to see another side of her character: new mother. Despite the horrific aforementioned maternity care and maternal support systems, it was good to read about her developing into this new role in her life and I feel that Tess Gerritsen did do an excellent job at conveying the huge range of emotions and stresses a first-time mother goes through. It’s often difficult to portray this well and I feel this was one of the best aspects of this book.

Not bad, but I was hoping for better. The Mephisto Club is next on my list so I hope the series will return to its usual high standards and I can enjoy some good old murder again.

Kat

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen: 52 in 52 Book #35

Body Double

Firstly, I’m sorry for how long it’s been since my last review! I’ve recently started a new job and have been very busy. Over the next week, my backlog of reviews will be written up and published for you all to enjoy!

So back onto the Rizzoli & Isles series by Tess Gerritsen (I plan to read all the available ones by the end of my challenge) and in Body Double we delve into Maura Isles’s roots after a woman who looks exactly like her is murdered outside her house. Determined to find out who this woman is, Maura goes on a journey of self discovery and what she finds is a family… but is it one she wants to be associated with?

The character development for Maura is very good in this book. Obviously with a lot of the book focusing on Maura’s discoveries this needed to be the case. We also learn a lot about Jane Rizzoli and her expanding personal life (and uterus!). We also meet new characters who help to deepen both the book specific and series-arching plot lines.

As for the murders, a compulsory part of this book series, they are interesting. The gore of some of the previous novels is not present here but that doesn’t take away the disgust and horror at the way these deaths occur and the motivations behind them. I found this novel particularly creepy in terms of its murderers.

A very installation in the Rizzoli & Isles series and one I would wholeheartedly recommend! Just start the series from the beginning as it will help with understanding the series-arching plotlines much better.

 

Kat

Introducing 52 in 52 2: The feature film sequel!

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Over the last year Kat embarked on a literary challenge to see if she could read 52 books in 52 days; essentially one book per week; and to kick off 2015 with something new and fresh, we are pleased to say we are going to continue tradition. This time, however, 52 feature length movies will be in the spotlight but rather than having Kat just do all the hard work, I am also taking part in the challenge as well. Again, like last year, we will have a few rules, as followed:

  • The films have to be at least one hour long - Some early or specialist feature films are therefore not permitted
  • At least one of us cannot have seen the film before - This is so one of us watches the film as new experience but the other is not allowed to spoil any of the plot.
  • The one who hasn’t seen it previously will have to write the majority of the review - The other will be contributing however
  • Mediums allowed - DVD’s, Blu-Rays, Online Streaming services (i.e Netflix), Network broadcasts and of course, the actual cinema
  • Sequels are permitted - However, only if they are a new cinematic or home entertainment release during 2015 or the preceding film has been watched first. Prequels are also allowed regardless if the original film has been watched or not

Like the book challenge, it’ll give us both an opportunity to watch some great films that we have always wanted to watch but never really got round to do so. Some films will be watched at around about the same time they become relevant, so we could watch a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day or a Christmas film during December.

So which films are we going to watch? Here is an extensive collection of the films that have been shortlisted for our challenge. You may notice that collectively there are more than 52 films on our watch-list. This is so if we can’t come by a copy of one thing, we will still have a back-up to watch.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Science Fiction; directed by Stanley Kubrick

2012 (2009) – Disaster; directed by Roland Emmerich

50/50 (2011) – Comedy Drama; directed by Jonathan Levine

A Christmas Carol (2009) – Christmas; directed by Robert Zemeckis

A Long Way Down (2014) – Black Comedy; directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – Comedy; directed by Tom Shadyac

Airplane! (1980) – Comedy; direct by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Around the World in 80 Days (2004) – Comedy Adventure; directed by Frank Coraci

Beetlejuice (1988) – Comedy; directed by Tim Burton

Dirty Dancing (1987) – Romantic Drama; directed by Emile Ardolino

Divergent (2014) – Science Fiction Action; directed by Neil Burger

Donnie Darko (2001) – Supernatural Drama; directed by Richard Kelly

Enchanted (2007) – Fantasy; directed by Kevin Lima

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Comedy Drama; directed by Michael Gondry

Godzilla (2014) – Science Fiction; directed by Gareth Edwards

Goodfellas (1990)  – Crime Drama; directed by Martin Scorsese

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) – Animated Drama; directed by Isao Takahata

Groundhog Day (1993) – Comedy; directed by Harold Ramis

How to Train your Dragon (2010) – Animated Comedy; directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

I Am Number Four (2011) – Science Fiction; directed by D.J. Caruso

Indian Jones and the Curse of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Jaws (1975) – Horror; directed by Steven Speilberg

Jingle All The Way (1996) – Christmas; directed by Brain Levant

Kindergarten Cop (1990) – Comedy; directed by Ivan Reitman

Maleficant (2014) – Fantasy; directed by Robert Stromberg

Monsters University (2013) – Animated Comedy; directed by Dan Scanlon

Need for Speed (2014) – Action; directed by Scott Waugh

Never Been Kissed (1999) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Raja Gosnell

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Fantasy; directed by Guillermo del Toro

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) – Comedy; directed by John Hughes

Pulp Fiction (1994) – Black Comedy; directed by Quentin Tarantino

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Ratatouille (2007) – Animated Comedy; directed by Brad Bird

Sharknado (2013) – Disaster; Anthony C. Ferrante

The Blue Brothers (1980) – Musical; directed by John Landis

The Breakfast Club (1985) – Comedy Drama; directed by John Hughes

The Godfather (1972) – Crime Drama; directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Hangover (2009) – Comedy; directed by Todd Phillips

The Hunger Games (2012) – Science Fiction; directed by Gary Ross

The Karate Kid (2010) – Martial Arts; directed by Harry Zwart

The Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Christmas; directed by George Seaton

The Wind Rises (2013) – Animated drama; directed by Hayao Miyazaki

There’s Something About Mary (1998) – Comedy; directed by Peter Farrelly and Robert Farrelly

Top Secret! (1984) – Comedy; directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Wayne’s World (1992) – Comedy; directed by Penelope Spheeris

When Harry Met Sally… (1989) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Rob Reiner

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) – Comedy; directed by Robert Zemeckis

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Action; directed by Bryan Singer


Not contempt with enough films to watch at home, here is a list of the films we could potentially see that are being released whilst we do our challenge. These include films that will be shown in cinemas during the 2015 period:

Fifty Shades of Grey (releases February 2015) – Drama; directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

Avengers: Age of Ultron (releases May 2015) – Action; directed by Joss Whedon

Jurassic World (releases June 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by Colin Trevorrow

Furious 7 (releases April 2015) – Action; directed by James Wan

Minions (release June 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

Spectre (release TBC but possible October or November 2015) – Action; directed by Sam Mendes

Fantastic Four (releases August 2015) – Action; directed by Josh Tank

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (releases February 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Paul Tibbitt

The Little Prince (releases October 2015) – Animated Fantasy; directed by Mark Osborne

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (releases December 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by J. J. Abrams

As you can fully see, there is a diverse range of films; from cult classics to big blockbusters as well as some highly anticipated titles such as Star Wars and James Bond’s new outing. There’s some that I haven’t seen and others that Kat hasn’t seen whilst the rest neither of us have seen. This challenge not only gives us the chance to put across double-perspective accounts from both of us but also gives us the chance to say why we thought it deserved a place on the list whilst the other gives their verdict, for the better or possibly worse. And because of the social nature of watching a film, we can include guests to give an even more in-depth discussion.

As always, if you think we’ve missed out a critical film that we must see, send us a tweet @Reviewinators; send a comment on Facebook or comment on this post below. Don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll be updated on the new articles as and when they come out. You know it makes sense!

Jimmi

‘The Reviewinators’ is due an update!

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It’s the blog cliché to end all blog clichés but to keep everything fresh and swish, we’re going to be doing a few updates before 2015.

We’ll be updating the our blog to coincide with a new year with an updated layout and some new features that’ll hopefully be a welcome addition to our little slice of the wider Internet picture. We’ll be improving our social features too so keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook as we’ll be posting more updates, what we’re doing and also what we have done. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing our reviews reach a large scope of like minded individuals.

We’ll be introducing a new about section that’ll teach you about who the Reviewinators are and what they do. We’ll also be trying out new reoccurring posts for the new year hopefully a replacement for the 52 book challenge will be replaced with something similar! You heard it here first. We would also like to record some new videos and maybe an occasional Tubecast or similar as we have a YouTube channel with not a lot on. Also we are thinking about bringing in some of our friends as guest bloggers to give us a broader reach and a different outlook on something that we might have missed or something that needs bringing to the table.

Aside from a new lick of paint, everything else will remain. We’ll still go out of our own way to show you what the unavoidable (and the avoidable) world has to offer!

So if things are a bit barren, there’s a few rough edges or things don’t match up then hold tight whilst we try out new layouts, colour schemes and everything else WordPress offers us that doesn’t cost a bomb to make The Reviewinators a little bit better and fresher.

As always, if there’s something you think we should give our outlook on, then hit us up with your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. You should totally follow us and like the page and please subscribe to the blog to keep in the flow.

Kat and Jimmi

Online Window Shopping with The Bradford Exchange – World Wide Wednesday

Someone once said ‘Money can’t buy you happiness but it can you chocolate and that’s kind of the same thing‘ and in this day an age, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to buy something to treat yourself or someone you hold dear; and with Christmas just around the bend (and don’t we know it), online shopping is a crucial and useful tool to have at your disposal. What with the big contenders like Amazon and eBay at your beck and call, you can buy yourself anything from a new CD or a smart jacket to big household appliance like a washing machine or vacuum cleaner. If you want something more specialised, you go to a specialised stockist. IWOOT is a fantastic place to find gifts for those who you just can’t find gifts for, I can’t recommend them enough. They sell kitsch, quirky and useful gadgets and household items that you could do without but you want anyway. Most of the time they have offers and their home delivery is prompt. But, this isn’t an article about how good IWOOT is, but more or less how good an online store can be. I have done my research and even though I personally haven’t used their services, there are a few pages on the internet dedicated to feedback about The Bradford Exchange; it’s not a pretty sight. So with that in mind, ‘People of The Internet’ I thank you for going over this already and saving me the job of actually having to buy something.

I will add that I did ‘review’ this almost four years ago on my own ‘Observation Blog’ and I was going to update some of the core text and undo all the hard work the spellchecker did when it clearly was on holiday. Simply it would have been a word for word copy and paste job in a vain attempt at recycling some old jokes and then I’d just sit and see where it went. That was until I looked back at the original Bradford website and noticed things had changed. It was at that time I thought ‘I’ve got to re-review this’ and ‘I can still get away with recycling jokes.’

Jimmi

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The Bradford Exchange is an online stockist that provides novelty gifts; they are normally advertised in TV magazines so you may have already come across something they sell already. Whereas IWOOT claims their products are ‘Something you don’t need but really, really want,’ The Bradford Exchange’s tagline should be ‘something you don’t need – fullstop.‘ Just imagine this:

So when you’ve risen out of your John Wayne bed sheets in the morning to eat your John Wayne toast that came out of the John Wayne toaster; presented lovingly on a plate from the John Wayne ‘Hero For A Century Collector 100th Anniversary Plate Collection’ and sliced with a knife from the ‘Hard-fired porcelain John Wayne Knives Collection'; all washed down with some orange juice from out of a glass that belongs in the ‘Lone Cowboy John Wayne 100th Anniversary Glass mug set’ (with a whisky chaser in a ‘Handcrafted John Wayne Shot Glass’ might I add?); whilst you listen to ‘America Why I Love Her’ billowing proudly from the ‘John Wayne Authentic Handcrafted Radio'; until you glance at the date on the ‘John Wayne Perpetual Calendar Collection’ and then at the time on your ‘Illuminated 3D John Wayne Cuckoo Clock’ realising you’re late, so you have to pick up your ‘John Wayne Straight Shooter’ and your rifle in the ‘John Wayne: Legends of the West replica rifle sheath’, turn off your ‘John Wayne: American Legend 16-inch Accent Lamp’ before walking out of your ‘John Wayne Personalised Welcome Sign’ emblazened front door and finally climbing into the driving seat of your John Wayne Van to do your day job of being John Wayne, then you absolutely have to purchase the ‘John Wayne: An American Hero Illuminated Tribute Sculpture.’ Limited to only 10,000 units and costing a reasonable £99.96, there’s absolutely no reason why you should miss an opportunity like this!

I wish I was making this up

I wish I was making this up

But no! You’re a bigger John Wayne fan than that and you have the £125 ‘Framed Illuminated Portrait Of The Duke Canvas Print’ to prove it. How do you possibly prove it to lesser John Wayne fans though? That’s right, you can spend almost £200 on a cuckoo clock with John Wayne’s face on it!


What about’s jewelry then? There’s no way that can be ruined? I mean, fashionable items suit different personalities and you’d be correct if anything Bradford sold was fashionable. Recently becoming engaged I know first hand that buying a ring is a difficult task, especially as a gift. Imagine your delight when you get given the 7 birthstone ring with matching personalisation for all the six kids you inevitably have, likely all from different fathers and all with different name variations with the suffix -ayden.

I don't think I've ever had so much fun with a personalisation option before

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun with a personalisation option before

Or this ring for the man in your life who just can’t afford those knuckle dusters but you still want him to have a chance when someone “spills ‘is pint.”

Suitable for use with Burberry and Special Brew

Suitable for use with Burberry and Special Brew

How abouts gambling? You surely must love gambling right? Bradford has the perfect product for you; this gambling penchant with actual moving parts and ‘hit the jackpot’ embossed on the back for when you need to show yourself what you need to do when you spend £70 on something like this.

Are you a winner?

Are you a winner?


Okay, let me get one thing clear. Dolls are weird enough as it. With their glazed over eyes, ridiculous facial expressions and limp limbs it’s hard not to see why they aren’t in your nightmares already. As collectibles, they are sometimes highly sought after, I can understand that. One or two is fine but once you start going into double figures, suddenly being in close proximity to them all can make you feel a tad uncomfortable. After tracing my steps from The Observation Blog, the number of these added up to grand total of one. You could only buy one and one only. Even that one was a bit weird but that was that, end of conversation. However, one quite clearly wasn’t enough! What I don’t understand is why anyone with an iota of sanity would consider this a thing.

This should come with a warning

This should come with a warning

Or this…

Like seriously, I'm warning you

Like seriously, I’m warning you

How about’s this one?

Make it stahp!

Make it stahp!

I counted them all and now you can buy almost thirty similar products! I just can’t seem to grasp the concept of a group of tight-lipped business men and women sat around a table for a discussion on ‘the next hot products’ and they came up with these. And to add fuel to the fire – ironically, the same fire that could have sunk this Titanic a long time ago (and by fuel I mean snow and by fire, I mean ‘big iceberg’) – they all said yes, deemed it a success and called it a day! What gets me more worked up is that people are flocking to buy these chimp-children like they were going out of fashion. The descriptions state that ‘these are in high demand, so order fast!’ Who? Who is buying this? Who looks through the ornamental dolls and think ‘that’s what I need staring coldly at me from across the room slyly grinning and plotting my demise.’

"I know all your secrets..."

“I know all your secrets…”

Actually no. Fundementally, who is making this? Oh, of course; ‘Renowned doll artist Wendy Dickison’ and ‘serial lunatic…’ sorry, ‘Master Sculptor – I keep getting them two terms mixed up – Simon Laurens’ who is famous for his Happy Meal Lord of the Rings Nativity scene and something that really should be in the horror category. The descriptions go on: “features handpainted nails, and wispy hand-applied auburn hair that is topped with a blue ball cap for the perfect fun-filled touch.” Fun-filled? Alton Towers is ‘fun-filled!’ A bouncy castle filled with Skittles and cherryade is ‘fun-filled.’ Heck, even spending a night in the abandoned hospital would be more fun than having these abominations as room guests. Someone is paid to make this and someone else throws money at him and at the end of it all the ‘creator’ (I use the term like Frankenstein was ‘creator’ rather than a ‘butcher’) gets a lot of money and the buyer gets something that resembles the missing link in Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Together, they have carefully and meticulously crafted your nightmares for the next fortnight. One Amazon review hits the nail on the head perfectly…

Kids grow up real quick when they share their bedroom with a doll that is hell bent on murdering them in their sleep and transporting their blood to the depths of hell to be cast in molds to build an army of murderous monkey-child-doll brothers and sisters.

[…]

Kids that do not deliver Mollie’s required nightly ritual sacrifice don’t usually make it. Parents need to take responsibility here and assure that plenty of kitten blood is always on hand (and puppy blood will do in a pinch, but don’t push it – this is your child’s life we’re talking about here).

Just don’t trust Bradford when they mention that the “gentle brown eyes with long lashes seem to beg you for a cuddle” as it may be the last thing your mortal soul would ever do…

Didn't want to sleep anyway...

Didn’t want to sleep anyway…


Speaking of glazed over eyes, limp limbs and ridiculous facial expression, the Royal Family has captured the pure essence of British culture by storm and The Bradford Exchange have hit the ground running. But we’re not talking about the Head of the Royal Family and the Crowned Monarch that is our dear Queen Elizabeth II. Far from it, we’re talking about Kate Middleton. Y’know, the common-as-potatoes-Princess-which-could-totally-be-you-one-day. 

"I knew the unsold Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Fernandez-Versini would come in handy someday"

“I knew the unsold Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Fernandez-Versini would come in handy someday”

The Bradford Exchange lets you own a delightful and not at all tacky representation of the Duchess of Cambridge, forever immortalised as a figurine (re: action figure). Never has anything been so dull and uninspiring in this retrospect since John Wayne became part of the Barbie Sunhouse and Cool Pool Collection. Well what if you want an even more unrelated member of the Royal Family to straddle your mantel piece to collect dust? Too bad; you’re fresh out of luck. Wait, what am I on about? No you’re not. Alas, Pippa Middleton can join the your obsession of peculiar stuff that you’d be ashamed to show off to relatives and friends.

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I totally didn’t read satiny sheen as sanity sheen. As if sanity every crossed this path…

Some of them don’t even look like who they’re supposed to represent! For those of you who don’t know, this charming gent is Prince William.

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And below is the Commemorative £145.95 figurine

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The same applies with Kate…

Uncanny!

Uncanny!

…And even our beloved Queen herself!

Lifelike!

Lifelike!

Reading through Amazon reviews, It’s hard not to notice that these show up in the American market quite predominantly and understandably so. I don’t know why but America love a fairy-tale wedding with the beautiful princess bride; the charmingly foppish prince groom; all well and good.  But the bride’s sister? Who’s next, the guests? David Cameron? The Beckhams? Ben Fogle?  Someone’s review stated that they were saving up for the Pippa Middleton action figure for their collection and that it will take pride and place in the ornate cabinet made with actual British glass. That one person, you can keep it. Keep them all.


Finally, back down to Earth now, although I understand if you don’t want to return at this stage, I move onto Christmas. I wanted to find something that stood out from the rest of the decorations. Christmas is all about the celebrations, the lights, the music and the magic and so everything seemed to just fit. You only have decorations up for six to seven weeks, despite some thinking Christmas begins as soon as the last firework is set off, and then they all go back into the dark, cold attic never to be seen again until ten months later. Even the mind-bending substance induced Father Christmas playing a Christmas tree shaped grand piano that has a tiny village in the middle which also plays music and lights up didn’t phase me (much). But I found this; the cherry on the top; the crème de la crème; the quite possibly most creepiest of the bizarre.

Nothing to see here officer...

Nothing to see here officer…

A jolly snowman, fit for the winter celebrations. It wasn’t until I read into the description things then swiftly went downhill. It takes some skill and depravity to think ‘my home needs this.’  It reads “open his coat and an entire, glowing holiday village scene is revealed, complete with a hovering Santa’s sleigh…

So that's what they're calling it these days

So that’s what they’re calling it these days

Yep, for £99.96 you can own a decorative snowman that slowly opens his coat to reveal his ‘sculpted village.’ Because nothing say Merry Christmas more than being flashed by snowman. No, Bradford Exchange. No one wants this. Not as a gift. Not as a peace offering. Not as an ornament. Not even as a doorstop. Flasher the Snowman and his “glowing village scene” is not permitted in this reality or even the next regardless if it plays 8 festive carols or is skillfully handcrafted by trained artisans. It is not allowed. Thank you Bradford Exchange, I’m done. That’s it.

Expensive, tacky, downright ugly and uninspiring gifts; I have never more desperately wanted to come down to Earth more than this after browsing the internet shops (not even after my preliminary article in 2011) but then I realised. Earth is responsible for the creation, selling and purchase of every one of these products so instead, this year, I have decided to spend Christmas on the moon. I’ll send you a post card.

moon

Jimmi – From the Moon