• SAMR – Plane

    How stupid is this action movie?

    If you know anything about avionics, you’ll be working hard to suspend your disbelief. There are other points where you really have to squint to stay with the story. Also, Gerard Butler suddenly becomes proficient at fixing all kinds of things and knows how to move in a military combat way about 1/3 from the end. Despite getting the shit kicked out of him in the rest of the movie.

    Would I let the little’un and the big’un watch it?

    There are a ton of F-bombs, which is standard fare in our house and the worst of the violence is off screen, so yeah. They weren’t interested in it. Come to think of it, they are rarely interested in watching TV these days.

    What I liked:
    • Gerard Butler is always fun.
    • There were a couple of choice comedy moments.
    • I feel like the passenger reactions throughout were pretty spot on.
    • The number of casualties was way less than expected and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Every time one of us said, “Oh, he’s dead,” we were wrong.
    What I didn’t like:
    • Not sure if Gerard Butler’s dad bod was intentional.
    • Gaspare’s story line just … ends. I wanted a post credits scene showing him on a beach somewhere.
    • Watching this with someone who took flight lessons led to several MST3K moments concerning the plane itself.
    Overall impression:

    It threaded the line between good stupid and bad stupid. Watching it once was an entertaining way to spend a random Wednesday night. Once was also enough.

    How to watch:

    Rent on demand for $5.99 currently. I’m sure it’ll be streaming somewhere soon.

    Too stupid even for me.


    It was fun.

    I’d watch it again.

    I own it.

  • 2023 Book Fight!

    That’s right, I’m doing it again! Last year’s book fight tournament motivated me to read books I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

    I did make a few changes for this year:

    • All the books are from my TBR (no recommendations this time).
    • I’ve grouped them by genre, as best as possible, to make the match ups a bit more fair. So for example, an epic fantasy won’t be going up against a non-fiction.
    • I’ve split the tournament into two rounds. This is mainly for visual reasons. Also, if you want to play along at home, you can choose to do only one round of 16 books instead of going the full monty of 32.

    Without further ado, here are this year’s match ups:

    Ψ Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
    Ψ The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

    Ω Savage Lands by Stacey Marie Brown
    Ω The Last Dragon King by Leia Stone

    ζ The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole
    ζ Earth Witches Aren’t Easy by Heather Long

    ℵ The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
    ℵ God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

    ℑ Caraval by Stephanie Garber
    ℑ Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

    ζ Lords of Sea and Sky by Starla Night
    ζ Claimed by J.R. Ward

    ζ Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
    ζ Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

    ℵ Monster in my Closet by R.L. Naquin
    ℵ Catastrophe by Liz Schulte

    δ The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn
    δ A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

    π Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
    π Engineering Fate by Alexis B. Osborne

    θ A Tainted Mind by Tamsen Schultz
    θ Until the Stars Don’t Shine by Joanne Ho

    Ξ I Dare You by Misti Murphy
    Ξ See Me After Class by Meghan Quinn

    Δ Walk it Off, Princess by David Thorne
    Δ Fuzz by Mary Roach

    Δ Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
    Δ Final Exits by Michael Largo

    Φ Scared Witchless by Amy Boyles
    Φ Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

    ℵ Wiretaps and Whiskers by Emigh Cannaday
    ℵ The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff





    Ξ Contemporary Romance
    Φ Cozy Paranormal Mystery
    Ψ Fantasy
    Ω Fantasy Romance
    δ Historical Romance
    Δ Nonfiction
    ζ Paranormal Romance
    θ Romantic Suspense
    π SciFi Romance
    ℵ Urban Fantasy
    ℑ YA Fantasy

    2023 book fight horizontal_1
    2023 book fight horizontal_2

    If you’d like to do your own Book Fight! here’s a blank PDF version of the bracket.

    2023 book fight horizontal blank_1
    Click to Download
  • Book Fight Update

    Here it is! The end of the 2022 Book Fight Tournament. Was Polaris Rising my favorite book of the year? It was certainly one of them. Honestly though, the champion slot could have gone to any number of these books.

    I’ll be doing this again in 2023, because I managed to get a big chunk of books moved from TBR to read. Plus, it was kind of fun to guess which book in any given matchup I’d like better.

    I’ll post again when I have the lineup for 2023, and I might redesign the bracket PDF so I’ll throw that up as well.

    I won’t be taking suggestions for ’23, because I have more than enough books on my TBR to fill several of these, and like any reader, no matter how many books I read it only seems to get longer. I am going to challenge myself to get some of the physical books read next year, instead of relying heavily on ebooks. The idea of moving makes me want to reduce my paperback collection, and that’s a first step.

  • SAMR—Bullet Train

    How stupid is this action movie?

    It’s … actually not that stupid, if you suspend disbelief surrounding the multiple assassins/crime boss plot.

    Would I let the little’un and the big’un watch it?

    I would, with the caveat that my kids aren’t sensitive to stupid action movies from sheer exposure. LOL They weren’t at all interested in this one.

    What I liked:
    • The twists were predictable, but the cameos really weren’t (for me, at least). I had no idea so many big names were in this.
    • The fight scenes were inventive and well choreographed.
    • Parts were very funny.
    What I didn’t like:
    • It seems like the entire film was an excuse for the actors and crew to fool around, and although entertaining, it had so much potential to be great where it relied too much on standard tropes.
    • Brad Pitt’s character was such a caricature, it detracted from the fun for me.
    • The way everything was interwoven was a bit much.
    Overall impression:

    I enjoyed it. Somewhat goofy, but it held my attention and entertained.

    How to watch:

    Amazon Prime Video

    Too stupid even for me.


    It was fun.

    I’d watch it again.

    I own it.

  • Book Fight Update

    You would think these books would be on complete opposites of the spectrum, but they do have one thing in common: they are both raunchy. One is erotic while the other ribald, so even that similarity only goes so far.

    Fool is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear from the fool’s perspective. It warmed my little English Major heart to see the bard upended and I think the man himself would have loved the fun being poked at his work. You don’t have to be a fan of Shakespeare to appreciate Fool (I’m certainly not) but being able to read the speech and mannerisms doesn’t hurt. This book made me laugh out loud and provided a really good experience (which I can’t say about the play itself).

    That being said, The Witch’s Wolves didn’t give me flashbacks of my Shakespeare professor. A man who had the misfortune of spitting when he spoke and the ability to make whatever work he focused on boring as hell. College-aged readers take note—if your English Major compatriots are all warning against a professor and you stubbornly think that he can’t possibly be that bad, you are wrong. He is that bad, and you should find another way to get the credit.

    Luckily, The Witch’s Wolves stands on its own merit as a delightful smut snack.

    I finally snagged Spoiler Alert from my library and really enjoyed it. It’s probably only because it’s been a bit since I read Get A Life, Chloe Brown that Spoiler Alert won out (because I remember really liking the Hibbert novel). This was definitely one of those flip a coin matchups because you can’t go wrong with either of these books.

    Spoiler Alert also won the third round matchup with Wolf Girl, mainly because Wolf Girl ended in a cliffhanger.

    Bond was a super fun, quick read but The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet sucked me in and didn’t let go. A true space opera (there are two romantic relationships, but neither is explored in detail and this book does not bang).

    Despite the lack of banging, I had to give it the win over Girl’s Weekend. I have a feeling that all the third level winners will be a coin toss situation, since I liked both books well enough to advance out of the first matchup. I haven’t read anything I didn’t like, just some things I didn’t like as well as their opponent.

    Six books to go and the champion will be crowned. I’ll be doing this again, only next time I’ll pull exclusively from my TBR list. It’s an excellent way to plow through books on your list you may have otherwise skipped over for longer than you should. (*cough* I have books on my TBR from 2012 and that’s just the digital version *cough*) So look for an updated bracket from me shortly after this champion is crowned.

    book fight full 10-23-22

    To get a blank bracket PDF and see the full list of books included in mine, see this blog post.

  • Book Fight Update

    I actually enjoyed Girls Weekend more than Morning Glory Milking Farm (growing up around cattle tempers your enjoyment of reading sexy Minotaurs), and although Playing for Keeps was entertaining, the idea the heroine was a project the hero needed to fix bothered me.

    Wolf Girl sent me on a binge through all four books in the series. I was very glad all four were available, because each of these books ends in a cliffhanger—something I didn’t know going in. I’m usually NO CLIFFHANGERS so being able to read through to the actual end was the only thing that saved it. Mentions of gang rape (off page) tempered the uniqueness of Stone’s shifter, but it wasn’t over done and it was plot driven.

    I wanted to love Radio Silence, but I didn’t. I’m not sure post apoc romance is for me. I’ve tried several now, and although this one hit the mark much better than any others, it still left me feeling more cabin fever/forced proximity than end of the world.

    I went in to Polaris Rising thinking it was standard space opera fare. I didn’t realize it was a romance, so when it started to bang I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it. The only drawback in my opinion is that I kept waiting for the hero to be a werewolf (spoiler alert: he’s not). Other than that, this was a perfect romp of a sci-fi romance. I hate that it’s so expensive on Kindle, but I was able to find all three books at my library. As soon as I finished this one, I put the two sequels on hold.

    Gray Card was fun, and if you’re looking for a series of novellas to binge, this is your jam (there are 15 books so far). Against a lot of others, Gray Card would have won out, but Polaris Rising will be hard to beat.

    Which is why in the second level matchup between Polaris Rising and Black Hat, White Witch, Polaris Rising came out on top. I really liked Black Hat, White Witch and I’m working my way through the series, but Jessie Mihalik just knocked it out of the park.

    book fight full 10-7-22

    To get a blank bracket PDF and see the full list of books included in mine, see this blog post.

  • It’s fall y’all!

    I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year, and to celebrate, let’s do a fun poll! Don’t like any of the choices? Tell me your favorite pie in the comments.

    Which pie is your favorite?
    • Apple Pie
    • Apple Pie a la Mode
    • Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese
    • Pumpkin Pie
  • Book Fight Update

    Both of these were good, but Love & Curse Making won because it was light, fun, and hot. It does end with a lot of loose ends, but I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger.

    I felt lost through much of Woman of Blood & Bone, only to find out later that it’s a spinoff series. Anderson does an okay job of catching up new readers, but there are enough references to things I assume happened in earlier books for me to feel a bit left out on the joke.

    I can’t believe this is how this one turned out, and if you’d asked I would have told you Seanan would wipe the floor with any opponent, but here we are. Sparrow Hill Road is not bad in any way, shape, or form, but it wasn’t the right time for me to read a collection of serials about a ghostly young woman dealing with some pretty heavy issues. It’s brilliant, but too cerebral for me right now.

    In complete contrast, Wolf Gone Wild is a romp that I devoured and quickly downloaded the sequel. Mateo and Alpha are the heroes I needed, even if Alpha reminds me of Tom Hardy’s Venom. Another one whose sequel I quickly downloaded.

    This also completed my first second tier bracket, and it was hard to choose between Wolf Gone Wild and Artificial Condition. I gave a slight edge to Wolf Gone Wild, simply because it’s a longer work and I never feel like I get enough time with Murderbot. Honestly, it could have gone either way.

    book fight full 7-30-22

    To get a blank bracket PDF and see the full list of books included in mine, see this blog post.

  • SAMR – The Gray Man

    gray man
    How stupid is this action movie?

    It’s standard super-spy stupid. People do things that probably aren’t possible (fighting with serious injuries) but it’s all pretty standard action movie fare.

    Would I let the little’un and the big’un watch it?

    Hmm. The level of violence is John Wick-ish even though it’s rated PG13. My kiddos are used to me watching stupid action movies so are probably a bit numb to it. They wandered through a few times for snacks in the kitchen, but weren’t interested in watching. There’s a torture scene that squicked Jason out. The level of cursing is surprisingly low given the number of injuries sustained, and there are on screen deaths. I’d probably let them watch if they wanted, but at the same time I’m glad they didn’t.

    What I liked:
    • I had no idea what the movie was about when Jason put it on. After the initial sequence I said it was promising and if there were explosions I’d love it. The next scene was fireworks exploding.
    • The fight scenes were well choreographed and I enjoyed the car chases also.
    • Ana de Armas was excellent, as was Julia Butters.
    What I didn’t like:
    • The end fight. Sure, it was fun to watch, but a professional would have just shot him and been done with it.
    • The obvious sequel bait of not revealing the identity of the string puller. I’ve since read there is going to be a cinematic universe around this, so okay, I get it. Still salty they left such a huge plot hole.
    • Billy Bob Thornton’s character arc. I understand why they did it, but I liked him as the guy in the chair.
    Overall impression:

    I enjoyed it. Fun, good story, Chris Evans as a bad guy is a snack and a half. I never saw Ryan Gosling as an action dude, but he works it. I’m glad they’re making a sequel and spinoff, and I’ll watch them.

    How to watch:


    Too stupid even for me.


    It was fun.

    I’d watch it again.

    I own it.