Gina’s Review: Wild (movie review)

WildWild
directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
premiered December 19, 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble (Blu-Ray link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I have to say I really enjoyed the movie. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about both the movie itself and Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl, and people had every right to say those wonderful things. Witherspoon does a wonderful job showing the emotions Cheryl wrote. I think it must be hard to portray a real person, but this is a believable performance. I’d also like to give an honorary mention to Laura Dern for her amazing performance as Cheryl’s mother. Seriously, she is exactly as I pictured and I CRIED. That woman truly knows what she’s doing.

The only real thing I missed in the film that was in the book was some of the relationships Cheryl formed while on the trail with the male hikers. She became friends with these men in the book and they became a part of her journey. I know the director probably wanted this to be focused on Cheryl, but I just thought that some of the scenes with the male hikers fell flat.

I did appreciate seeing the Bob Marley shirt, however. It was such a meaningful piece of clothing in the book, but again I was disappointed that we didn’t get to meet the man who gave it to her. However, having read the book I’m glad that we at least get to see Cheryl wearing it.

Overall, I loved this film. My husband, whom I didn’t even have to beg to watch it, even liked it. He’s done some backpacking in his time and related a lot to the backpacking and hiking part of the film. I don’t think this is a good date movie, though. I think you’d have to be genuinely interested in the content to enjoy this film, and although I loved it, I think the book is better.

everyfree4

ginasig

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild 
written by Cheryl Strayed
published by Knopf, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

You can read Gina’s 4-star review here.

About the book – from Goodreads: #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER, SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.

Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: The After House by Michael Phillip Cash

The After House

The After House 
written by Michael Phillip Cash
published by Chelshire Publishing, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this novel. I thought it was going to be more like Amityville Horror, but instead I got a cross between Casper and Touched by an Angel. It was a pleasant surprise. I liked the fact that the ghost that haunts the house is friendly and has flaws. I mean, the ghost was a human before it became a spirit. I’m also a huge fan of Remy. She’s relatable and her daughter is smart and funny. I liked this book for its simplicity and its heart.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“Gasper the friendly ghost.”

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: I think it’s a perfect read for someone who doesn’t want scary but wants a little ghost story.

 

ginasig

About the book – from Goodreads: Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?

 

efchappy

The EFC Writer – Identifying Subjects

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: Identifying Subjects

Having a little trouble figuring out where the subject of your sentence might be? Here’s an easy, simple trick to get the job done:

Turn the sentence into a yes/no question—it’ll restructure things so the predicate comes first, leaving the subject hanging on at the end instead.

Check it:

“All Whovians are geeks.”  becomes  “Are all Whovians geeks?”

See how you’ve bumped the verb (“are”) to the front? Now you can easily identify “all Whovians” as the subject! Want to try it again?

“River Song is an awesome chick.”  becomes “Is River Song an awesome chick?”  Did you guess the subject?  Yup! It’s “River Song”!

 

REMEMBER: There can be lots of bits and pieces involved in just once sentence, so don’t let all those extra words distract you . . . you’ll learn their places eventually. For now, just remember that every sentence needs a two-part foundation: SUBJECT + PREDICATE, and do your best to work on identifying examples of each in your own writing.

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

This rule doesn’t ALWAYS work . . . sometimes subjects and predicates aren’t right next to each other. All sorts of pesky things (like adverbs and prepositional phrases) can muddle your sentence order, and not only can the order be reversed in a question, but the subject can sometimes come smack dab in the middle of a complete predicate. Yeah. It gets tricky. Break things down as best you can, and remember: subjects always contain nouns and predicates always contain verbs. Your subjects and predicates will almost always have more than one word to them (that’s why we call them “subjects” and “predicates” instead of just using “noun” and “verb” again), but you should ultimately be able to split every sentence into its two basic parts.

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Y our Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

efchappy

The EFC Writer – Predicate Types

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: Predicate Types

How’ve you been doing with the different subject types? Feeling comfy slipping them into your prose? Great! Now, let’s add another layer of depth to the game: the different types of predicates!

Predicates, or the action bits of your sentences, also come in three varieties.

SIMPLE PREDICATE: a verb (and any helping verbs)

Examples: 

  • bounce
  • was drooling
  • could have driven

COMPLETE PREDICATE: a simple predicate and its modifiers

Examples:

  • bounce on the trampoline
  • was drooling uncontrollably
  • could have driven to the airport

COMPOUND PREDICATE: two or more predicates with the same subject

Examples:

  • (She) was bouncing on the trampoline and drinking a margarita.
  • (The hipster) drooled uncontrollably and fixed his bowtie.
  • (Your mom) could have driven or could have taken the metro.

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

If you’re interested in the names of all those modifiers, take a peek at adverbs, complements, and prepositional phrases. Also, if you’re using a verb that ends in -ing, don’t forget that helping verb (“was bouncing”)!

Now go do some editing, friends!

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

predicate

noun pred·i·cate \ˈpre-di-kət\

grammar : the part of a sentence that expresses what is said about the subject

Full Definition of PREDICATE

a :  something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a proposition in logic
 b :  a term designating a property or relation
2:  the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject and that usually consists of a verb with or without objects, complements, or adverbial modifiers
pred·i·ca·tive \-kə-tiv, –ˌkā-\ adjective
pred·i·ca·tive·ly adverb

Examples of PREDICATE

  1. In the sentence The child threw the ball, the subject is the child and the predicate is threw the ball.

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

efchappy

Gina’s Review: The Maze Runner (movie review)

 

The Maze Runner MovieThe Maze Runner
directed by Wes Ball
premiered September 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble (Blu-Ray/DVD link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. The second novel in the trilogy, The Scorch Trials, is a stronger story, and I have yet to read the third book. The fact is I really wanted the characters in the book to come alive in the film. Wes Ball is the director of The Maze Runner film, and although I am not familiar with him, I think he did a good job. The movie is entertaining but definitely not perfect.

The film rushes the story line, which in some ways is good but in other ways not so much. I wish they would have taken time to explain the situation a bit better and allow for some more character development. Thomas didn’t have enough time to show us why he is one of the main characters, and we definitely didn’t see enough of Teresa to even care that she was there. In the books, she and Thomas are special and stand out; while in the film, they are awkward and don’t have much of a connection at all.

I also didn’t like the way Ball changed some of the personalities of the characters. The book portrays Alby as a guy who is hard to get to know; he’s cautious and untrusting at first, but he’s the opposite in the film, which was just simply okay. On the flip side, I’m just glad Ball didn’t change Gally’s personality. Will Poulter’s performance stands out in the film. He plays Gally well,  and I actually wanted to punch him in the face a few times (which I think is the perfect compliment for someone playing an unlikeable character).

everyfree3

The movie gets three out of five stars, and I am sorry to say that the book wins out.

Would I recommend it: The film wasn’t an overall failure for me. I had friends that were disappointed and hated the film. I think if you read the book first you have to keep an open mind. I definitely think I would recommend this movie to people who liked The Hunger Games and Divergent.

 

ginasig

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

 The Maze Runner
written by James Dashner
published by Delacorte Press, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

See Gina’s 3.5-star review here

About the book – from Goodreads: 

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

 

efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: The Aubrey Rules by Aven Ellis

The Aubrey RulesThe Aubrey Rules (Chicago On Ice #1)
written by Aven Ellis
published by Soulmate Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
YES!!! I LOVED IT!!!! I could end the review right here, but I won’t. I will warn you: this is a gushing review. It was that good.

Seriously, I love this book. I was supposed to read another book for a tour before I read this one, but I really needed an Aven Ellis fix. And, boy, did I get my fix! I may have read this while eating meals. I may have read this while walking from the parking lot to parent orientation at my kids’ school. I may have read it while waiting in line for something at said orientation. I may have read it while walking back to my car. And while I may have been doing this reading, I was smiling, giggling, and stifling a few SQUEEEEEs. I’m sure I received a few “looks,” but I was too busy reading to notice. 😉 I love Ms. Ellis’s books. Love them.

The Aubrey Rules was fantastic. I haven’t laughed, squee’d, or been downright giddy over a book as much as I did with this one. It was a fun story. The characters were great. Aubrey made me laugh. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. I loved how she spoke her mind at the end. Beckett was a sweetheart. He was a great leading guy. And I’d call him Captain Smart (or Sexy) Ass as well. These two had phenomenal chemistry. I can’t wait for the next Chicago On Ice book. Hell, I can’t wait for the next Aven Ellis book!!

Would I recommend it: Read it. Now. Go.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Some of the Aubrey Rules to Live By:

*If I’m going to indulge in French fries, I must add extra time to the treadmill the next day.
*Always keep your work and private life separate.
*Being open to new experiences will never involve eating kale.
*Never, ever date a professional athlete.

For Chicago social media professional Aubrey Paige, the rules are everything. So much so that Aubrey has painstakingly written her rules for living into a polka-dot Kate Spade notebook that she carries with her at all times. It’s her personal guidebook to living her life. These rules are the Holy Grail—ones never to be broken. They guide her actions for everything, from dealing with workplace drama to finding a great guy to date. After all, these are her own rules, built from her life experiences and observations. So they have to be perfect, right?

Or are they?

Because when Aubrey meets a cute Canadian, she suddenly finds her rules being tested and challenged in ways she never dreamed possible. Beckett Riley is the shy, quiet, determined captain of the Chicago Buffaloes, a hockey team on the verge of turning the corner to becoming a winning organization. He’s Aubrey’s opposite, with so many qualities that Aubrey had listed as ones she’d never want in a man.

Yet Aubrey finds herself drawn to Beckett in ways she’s never known. And when she unexpectedly finds herself working with Beckett, she wonders if rules are meant to be broken after all . . .

 

efchappy

Melissa’s Review: The Empyrean Key by J.L. Tomlinson

The Empyrean Key (Ardentia, #1)

The Empyrean Key
written by J. L. Tomlinson
published by Side Eye Publishing, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: If it weren’t for the plethora of grammatical errors, I’d give this book five stars.

The story is AWESOME, and I’m excited to read the next installment. The characters are well developed and memorable, and though I wish Tomlinson had split the two storylines a little more evenly, her world building is spot-on. We’ve all read this plot before, but it’s a good one. I’m especially pleased with Jahna’s side kicks . . . I need a friend like Lilac! I’m tempted to compare The Empyrean Key to the Mistborn  series, but again, without proper revision it just falls short.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“I’m invisible and holding hands with a six fingered man. I’m not sure how I feel right now.”

everyfree3

 

Would I recommend it: Yes. Do your best to ignore the editing errors—this story is worth it.

UPDATE 8/1/15: The author hired a new editor, re-edited the book, and sent updated copies to all reviewers since I wrote my original review. I don’t have time to re-read the book, but I applaud Tomlinson’s efforts, and I’m going to upgrade my rating to 4 stars. Well done, J. L.  

everyfree4

 

melissasig
About the book – from Goodreads: 
The first book in a new epic fantasy series…

Jahna Mornglow is a thief, a liar and an unassuming misfit, a half-breed of the loathed and ostracized Narcean race, born with the abilities of prophecy and telepathy.

The dull monotony of her beachside home is eased by nights in the outer villages, scamming unsuspecting fishermen out of their hard earned coin. It is the most fun and profit Jahna and her friends, a brawling barmaid and a bullied bookworm, can expect from their lower class lives.

The land of Ardentia is vast and magical, carved by the Celestial gods and ruled by their mortal descendants. With a once great king now mysteriously ill, a hundred years war raging in the east and whispers of the return of an ancient evil, Ardentia’s fate balances on the tip of a blade.

The ghosts of Jahna’s past will call upon her, revealing hidden enemies, precious secrets and a fragmented artifact that will breath new life into the myths of old.

Can Jahna keep safe a world that has shunned and discarded her?

efchappy

 

The EFC Writer – Subject Types

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer — a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: SUBJECT TYPES

Remember last time when I told you there’s more to a subject than just one word sometimes? Well, as promised, here’s a little peek at the different types of subjects.

Just as a refresher, the subject of a sentence is a noun or pronoun (person, place, thing, idea) that a sentence describes. There are three different types of subjects:

SIMPLE SUBJECTS: A noun or pronoun.  Easy!

Examples:

I

Steve

she

Tardis

 

COMPLETE SUBJECTS: This is where some of the extra words fit in . . . a complete subject is a noun or pronoun along with its modifiers.

Examples:

your mom

that guy’s sweet beard

the One Ring

 

COMPOUND SUBJECTS: It’s just what it sounds like—two or more subjects hooked together.

Examples:

Amy and Rory

your mom and that guy on the internet

she and I

 

Not too tough, right? Take a look at your most recent draft and see if you’ve used all three types of subjects. If you haven’t, try editing in a few compound or complete subjects—it’ll give your writing more depth and keep readers interested.

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

For the record, the “modifiers” I’m talking about in complete subjects can include articles and adjectives, and compound subjects get joined together with conjunctions: and/or/nor/but/yet/for/so.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

Merriam-Webster was decidedly less than helpful with the definitions I needed for this post, so instead I humbly offer this: 

Full Definition of TRAMPOLINE

:  a resilient sheet or web (as of nylon) supported by springs in a metal frame and used as a springboard and landing area in tumbling
tram·po·lin·er \-ˈlē-nər, –ˌlē-\ noun
tram·po·lin·ist \-nist\ noun

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

efchappy

The EFC Writer – Subjects & Predicates

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer—a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: Subjects & Predicates

So this one may seem like a no-brainer, but EVERY SENTENCE YOU WRITE NEEDS A SUBJECT AND A PREDICATE. Every. Single. One.

Pretty obvious, right? I mean, really. Label things as you’d like: subject/predicate, subject/verb, topic/comment . . . whatever. The point is that a sentence must contain two basic components, and you, as a writer, must use them correctly and appropriately. Every time.

 

SUBJECTS are nouns located near the beginning of a sentence that give that sentence it’s meaning.

PREDICATES are verbs located after the subject that comment on the subject.

 

Here are some examples:

I ate.

Barry is tired.

Your mom is in my bed.

The Tardis travels in space and time.

Bears hibernate.

 

SUBJECTS: I, Barry, mom, Tardis, bears

PREDICATES: ate, is, is, travels, hibernate

(Yes, I know I didn’t label all the words. It turns out there are different bits and pieces to both subjects and predicates; we’ll get to those later. For now, let’s keep it simple).

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

“A SUBJECT is the word (or words functioning as a unit) that’s the focus of the action or state of the predicate within a sentence or clause.”

“A PREDICATE is a part of each sentence that’s neither the subject nor its modifiers. It must contain a verb and may include objects and modifiers of the verb.”

– from Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

 

 

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

subject

noun sub·ject \ˈsəb-jikt, -(ˌ)jekt\

: the person or thing that is being discussed or described

: an area of knowledge that is studied in school

: a person or thing that is being dealt with in a particular way

Full Definition of SUBJECT

1:  one that is placed under authority or control: as

a :  vassal

b (1) :  one subject to a monarch and governed by the monarch’s law (2) :  one who lives in the territory of, enjoys the protection of, and owes allegiance to a sovereign power or state

2a :  that of which a quality, attribute, or relation may be affirmed or in which it may inhere

b :  substratum; especially :  material or essential substance

c :  the mind, ego, or agent of whatever sort that sustains or assumes the form of thought or consciousness

Full Definition of PREDICATE

1a :  something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a proposition in logic

b :  a term designating a property or relation

2:  the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject and that usually consists of a verb with or without objects, complements, or adverbial modifiers
pred·i·ca·tive \-kə-tiv, –ˌkā-\ adjective
pred·i·ca·tive·ly adverb

Examples of PREDICATE

  1. In the sentence The child threw the ball, the subject is the child and the predicate is threw the ball.

 

Further Reading/Sources: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

Have a suggestion or request for an EFC Writer topic? Want to complain about something? Want more info about EFC Services?

E-mail me: everyfreechance@gmail.com with EFC Writer in the subject line.

 

melissasig

efchappy

Story Time with Sara: Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

storytime

Good Dog, CarlGood Dog, Carl
written by Alexandra Day
published by Little Simon, 1985

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I have to admit that I was expecting not to like this book. The cover is a bit of a drab brown, and it didn’t seem like it was going to be very fun . . . but BOY was I wrong!

My three-year-old ATE THIS BOOK UP! We were at my mother’s house and “Oma” pulled out this book (given to her by her student teaching mentor Mrs. York in 1992) and told my son that this was a book he could “read” to us. My son replied sadly, “But, Oma, I don’t know how to read yet . . .” Oma promptly informed him that this was a special book that even he could read! His face lit up as though the stars were shining through his sweet little eyes! (I may have been a bit teary . . . and yes, please take your time to stop gagging on my shmaltzy-ness before you go on).

He had so much fun “reading” the story to Oma; he was so proud of himself that as soon as his Daddy came home he had to “read” it to him several times as well. I was a very proud mamma!

Now here it comes. You are probably thinking, “Wow. This chick is a hard a**. She just said this book made her son’s eyes glow like stars and even that didn’t warrant a 5-star rating.” Well. After I got over the initial awe of seeing my baby reading a book by himself, I noticed what it was about.

For the love of PETE, this lady leaves her BABY home alone with a DOG!?!?! I mean a real dog with four legs, fur, who licks his . . . erm . . . himself . . . All I can think is,”Holy Crap, someone needs to call CPS on this woman!” Seriously. I can’t get over it. I went back to the publication information and saw that it was originally published in 1985. I took a deep breath and tried to remind myself that this is fiction from 30 years ago and a children’s story. I can’t believe that this a children’s story! Wait. I think I already said that. OK, so I don’t care if my kid loves it, I can’t condone a story where a baby is left home alone. Wait. Who am I kidding? My little boy thinks he can actually read this book. OK, well at least I can dock it half a point on the review . . . that will show my anti-support! I feel much better now.

everyfree4.5

Would I recommend it: I really would! It’s a sweet little story with which children can practice their storytelling skills. While it might make my Mom Spidey senses tingle about a baby left home alone, it really is a cute little adventure story that I’m sure my son will read to me again and again!

sarasig

About the book – from Goodreads: The original, bestselling Good Dog, Carl is now a board book. This classic, wordless story will find a new audience in a chunky board format which includes the complete story and the original full-color illustrations. Children follow with delight as Carl leads his infant mistress on a wild adventure–the instant after her mother has left the house. (Baby/Preschool)

 

efchappy