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Homer’s Odyssey [Book Review]

I picked up this book in the States last summer at Barnes and Noble.  After going through a period of time when I missed my own pets back at home, I decided to feed my sorrows and finally read this book.  Now, here is my review.  Enjoy!

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Title:  Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat

Author:  Gwen Cooper

Synopsis: “The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.”

ISBN: 0385343981

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat

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 My Review:

Everyone loves a good pet tale.  Whether it is about a naughty dog or a curious cat, stories about animals are both entertaining and emotional.  And Homer’s Odyssey, a true-life account of a naughty and curious kitty, is no exception.

After adopting an eye-less kitten who nobody wanted, Gwen Cooper realized her life had suddenly changed.  When she was not blind-proofing her numerous homes, she was making sure Homer, the newest addition to her now three-cat family, was not getting into too much trouble.  But, sure enough, Cooper had her work cut out for her, and realized quickly that though Homer was blind, he was more than a normal, curious cat.

Filled with chapters of Homer’s antics, Cooper takes you on a journey from kittenhood to the elder cat years of twelve.  The different stories of Homer’s adventures are engaging, and whether Homer is annoying his two cat sisters, or making friends with practically every human he meets, his shenanigans are quite entertaining.  Two chapters though really stuck out to me.  The first consisted of Homer literally saving the life of the author from an intruder, and the second of the harrowing ordeal the author and her cats endured during 9/11.  Both of these chapters were two of many which portrayed how much Homer truly impacted Gwen Cooper’s life.

The writing itself is captivating, though I did have a few issues with the author.  At times Cooper came across as a know-it-all and slightly self absorbed, but to be fair, this is a memoir about her life and experiences.  However, throughout the whole book she preached how important her cats were to her, especially Homer, and it seemed her entire life revolved around the care of her cats; throughout the the 9/11 chapter, she was more concerned about her cats’ safety than that of her own.  So, it honestly surprised me when she ended up falling in love with a man who did not like cats to begin with.  Though her future husband did eventually warm up to her three kitties, I was still a little taken aback by how unperturbed Cooper was by what I would consider a huge flaw.

All in all, Homer’s Odyssey was a compelling and sentimental read.  It made me smile at the mischief of my own cat, and forced me to examine how important my own pets are to me.  We all need love in our lives, and whether you are a cat-person or a dog-person, this book is for everyone.

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Purchase it at Amazon.com here:  Homer’s Odyssey

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Has anyone read this book?  If yes, what was your take on it?  If not, do you plan on reading it?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis and photo were taken from Goodreads.com.  The review above is written by me.  © Kalie Lyn 2013*

A Primate’s Memoir [Book Review]

I picked up this book at a garage sale about a year ago for a dollar – what a deal, right?!  I began it before NaNo, but due to the frenzy that entails when writing a novel in a month, I left it alone during the month of November.  I finally finished it before the New Year, and I am very excited and ready to share my review with you.  Enjoy!

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Title: A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

Author: Robert Sapolsky

Robert M. Sapolsky

I just had to add this picture of the author! He’s amazing!

Synopsis: “Over two decades, Sapolsky survives culinary atrocities, gunpoint encounters, and a surreal kidnapping, while witnessing the encroachment of the tourist mentality on the farthest vestiges of unspoiled Africa. As he conducts unprecedented physiological research on wild primates, he becomes evermore enamored of his subjects — unique and compelling characters in their own right — and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevents him. By turns hilarious and poignant, A Primate’s Memoir is a magnum opus from one of our foremost science writers.”

ISBN: 0743202414

A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

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 My Review:

This is the true story of one man’s life among the baboons of Kenya.   Scientist Robert Sapolsky had only prepared to study the mental and physical behaviors of the baboons, but instead he found a life of adventure and formed his own primate family.  From developing close bonds with the baboons, to learning the way of the Masai people (and often messing with them), Sapolsky takes readers on his more than twenty year journey through Africa.

Naturally hilarious and honest, A Primate’s Memoir is an exciting and entertaining read.  His writing is quick and to the point, and his witty, often sarcastic humor makes this book that much more enjoyable.  Each chapter contains a unique story, and whether he is being kidnapped and shot at, or playing a “wizard” in the Masai village, Sapolsky’s true-life tales never disappoint.

The chapters highlighting his time with the baboons were a personal favorite.  Sapolsky describes each member of his primate troop as if he were describing close human friends, and even admits to developing a baboon crush, along with a special human-baboon friendship.  However, it is not all fun and games, and his research of the baboons is detailed throughout, allowing the reader an in-depth look into the exhilarating, yet tiresome days of a scientist.

A Primate’s Memoir is a funny, clever, and ultimately heartbreaking account of Robert Sapolsky’s experience in wild Africa.  Highly recommended, this is definitely a book for animal lovers and science enthusiasts alike.       

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Purchase it at Amazon.com here: A Primate’s Memoir

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Has anyone read this book?  If yes, what was your take on it?  If not, do you plan on reading it?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis and photo were taken from Goodreads.com.  The review above is written by me.  © Kalie Lyn 2013*

Life of Pi [Movie Review]

I have been in love with the book, Life of Pi, ever since I read it years ago.  When I found out that a movie was coming out based on it, I just knew I had to see it!  Here is my review.  Enjoy!

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TitleLife of Pi

DirectorAng Lee

Writer(s): David Magee (screenplay); Yann Martel (novel)

Cinematographer: Matthew Jensen

Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and Rafe Spall

Year Released: 2012

Synopsis: “A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor … a fearsome Bengal tiger.”

Life of Pi Poster

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My Review:

Life of Pi, the novel, is a magical read.  It expands your imagination, begs you to dream, and is a tale unlike any other.  Life of Pi, the movie, is the exact same thing.

Most films based on books tend to inadvertently stray away from the sensation readers felt when they read the written words they fell in love with.  The Life of Pi movie is the complete opposite of most book adaptations.  It opened the pages of the novel and brought the author, Yann Martel’s, words to life.  With the vibrant colors, and realistic very high-tech CGI, viewers were transfixed every step of the way, as if they too were shipwrecked and living with a Bengal tiger on a lifeboat.  Props go out to Ang Lee for staying true to the already amazing novel.

The acting was superb.  There was humor, grief, and surprise, and each actor seemed 100% dedicated to their role.  But my round of applause goes to newcomer Suraj Sharma, who played Pi Patel.  This was his first acting role, and he did absolutely wonderful.  According to IMDb in the “Trivia” section of the movie, a live tiger was never actually in the boat with Suraj Sharma.  Well, you could have fooled me, because Sharma did a hell of a good job acting as if he was actually face-to-face with a real Bengal tiger.  And for a first time actor, that can be a feat.

 I did see it in 3D, which the movie was shot in, however I do not feel that the 3D aspect added anything special to the film.  The only significant difference between seeing it in 3D and seeing it without, was the hummingbird popping out of the screen in the opening credits.  Otherwise, a lot of money could be saved if not attending the 3D screening, and nothing majorly important would be lost.

All in all, Life of Pi the movie is definitely recommended.  It is a film that can be seen with the whole family, and one that will sincerely touch your heart.  However, I also recommend that you either read the novel before or after seeing the film, because without Yann Martel’s marvelous tale, there would be no compelling movie.

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*


The Guinea Pig Diaries [Book Review]

I am a little obsessed with author, A.J. Jacobs at the moment.  Back in Spain, I flew through his book, The Year of Living Biblically, and once I got to the States, I immediately bought and read another of his books.  So, here is my newest review.   Enjoy!

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Title:  The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

Author: A.J. Jacobs

Synopsis: “Now comes a collection of his [A.J. Jacob’s] most hilarious and thought-provoking experiments yet. In his role as human guinea pig, Jacobs fearlessly takes on a series of life-altering challenges that provides readers with equal parts insight and humor. (And which drives A.J.’s patient wife, Julie, to the brink of insanity.)” 

ISBN: 1416599061

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

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 My Review:

Life is an experiment in and of itself.  Whether it’s when we fall in love, attend college, or have kids, each event brings a new and exciting adventure.  However, what happens when we decide to go beyond these common and everyday goals, and instead intentionally experiment with the bizarre and out of the ordinary?

Well, just ask A.J. Jacobs.  He has been living as his own personal guinea pig for most of his adult life.  From posing nude at the request of Mary-Louise Parker, to living like George Washington, to being his wife’s servant, Jacobs lives his life as if he is constantly being studied by a team of mad-scientists.  Add on more zany life-altering experiments such as being a human unitasker, having no filter between his brain and mouth, and outsourcing his entire everyday life, and you have yourself a book!

Jacobs is hard not to fall in love with.  His writing is witty, organized – his notes in the back of the book are as good to read as the actual stories themselves – and he’s hilarious as hell.  When you are actually able to laugh out loud at a sentence, or read a paragraph to your spouse, then you know you’re reading something good!  Not to mention that he is the definition of an “average Joe” (in a good way!), which makes all his books even more interesting to read.

The Guinea Pig Diaries is one of those books that is hard to put down.  Once one chapter – or experiment – is finished, the next one instantly calls as you want to see how crazier Jacobs’ life can get! 

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Purchase it at Amazon.com here: The Guinea Pig Diaries 

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Has anyone read this book?  If yes, what was your take on it?  If not, do you plan on reading it?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis and photo were taken from Goodreads.com.  The review above is written by me.  © Kalie Lyn 2011*

Chronicle [Movie Review]

My boyfriend just got this movie in a steel book edition, and we both have been waiting to see it.  We just finished watching it, and I think this movie deserves an instant review.  Enjoy!

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Title: Chronicle

Director: Josh Trank

Writer(s): Max Landis

Cinematographer: Matthew Jensen

Starring:  Dane DeHann, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan

Year Released: 2012

Synopsis: “Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.”

Chronicle Poster

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My Review:

I am not a big fan of movies about superheroes, or super-human powers.  I usually find them predictable, and wonder why the main character always has to be the “good guy”.  Surprisingly however, I have been wanting to see Chronicle, and I’m very glad I did.

Shot in the “shaky camera” or “found footage” style, copying movies such as Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle revolves around the perspectives of  three boys, Andrew, Matt, and Steve, all of whom gain telekinetic powers.  The main character, Andrew, who carries around his camera everywhere, and is usually the one filming, is your typical awkward, anti-social high school student.  Along with Matt, a young philosopher, and Steve, the popular school jock, the three of them document their powers.

Andrew annoyed me from the beginning of the movie.  He was shy, weird, and seemed to always complain.  Since he was the most advanced out of the three boys with his powers, you could tell from the start that he would start using them for evil, instead of good.  However, that seemed to be the last predictable element of the movie, as more and more unexpected things began to happen.  It was constantly filled with action, destruction, and the boys’ enviable abilities, and never once was the movie boring.

I enjoyed that there was no “world saving” mission, and the fact that the boys’ powers eventually led to chaos kept Chronicle a watchable movie.  A few major deaths, a couple of fun telekinetic pranks, and the last 20 minutes or so of the movie was amazing.  It was an overall entertaining film, and did not make you as nauseous to watch as Cloverfield did with all the shaking and moving of the camera.  Whether you like science-fiction or not, Chronicle is definitely worth seeing.

 

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*


The Year of Living Biblically [Book Review]

As I have mentioned, I do not follow any type of religion, but I do enjoy learning and researching about religion.  I asked my mom to get this book for my birthday, and she did.  So, here is my review.   Enjoy!

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Title:  The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Author: A.J. Jacobs

Synopsis: “Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.” 

ISBN: 0743291476

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

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 My Review:

The Bible has been described as many things.  Some look to the Bible as a guide and source of rules to live their life by, while others only think of the Bible as a collection of stories and myths.  Even those who believe the Bible as fact, do not necessarily follow it in its entirety.  However, what happens to someone’s life when they do in fact follow the Bible as literally as possible?

A.J. Jacobs takes us on a year-long journey as he strives, and sometimes struggles, to follow the Bible as literally as he can.  Interested in religion, though a self-proclaimed agnostic, Jacobs is searching to find many things throughout his year of biblical literalism.  Can and should the Bible be taken literally, especially in the modern era?  What happens to one’s faith when they devote their lives to the Bible?  And what can be learned about everyday life from the Old and New testament?

Jacobs takes on the role of a naïve but interested student as he consults many different religious teachers and mentors to aid him throughout his journey.  He takes his biblical project seriously, and tries to adhere to every commandment and lesson in the Bible.  From stoning adulterers – which I laughed hysterically throughout – to using a specific hyssop paint brush to paint his door with lamb blood during Passover, it seems as if the rules never stop and his beard continues to grow.

The Year of Living Biblically is a thought-provoking and hilarious read.  Broken down in different sections pertaining to different Bible passages and their corresponding rules and lessons, it is an easy read, and I had trouble putting it down before going straight to the next month’s chapter.  Filled with humor and pure honesty, Jacobs’ writing is captivating, and this factor has made him my newest favorite non-fiction writer.  Whether you are a religious person, interested in religion, or just looking for an entertaining read, The Year of Living Biblically is a must-read for everyone.  

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Purchase it at Amazon.com here: The Year of Living Biblically

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Has anyone read this book?  If yes, what was your take on it?  If not, do you plan on reading it?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis and photo were taken from Goodreads.com.  The review above is written by me.  © Kalie Lyn 2011*

Horrible Bosses [Movie Review]

Yes, I know this movie has been out for about a year, but this was my second time seeing this movie and thought it was about time to share my review.  Enjoy!

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Title: Horrible Bosses

Director: Seth Gordon

Writer(s): Michael Markowitz & John Francis Daley

Cinematographer: David Hennings

Starring:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day & Jason Sudeikis

Year Released: 2011

Synopsis: “Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.”

Horrible Bosses Poster

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My Review:

For the past couple of years, it has been hard to see a genuine good comedy.  Most “comedies” being released these days are either semi-funny with a bad, unoriginal story line, or are not funny one bit with a bad, unoriginal story line.  However, with Horrible Bosses it seems that the comedy genre isn’t completely lost.

A lot to do with the success of this movie was the cast.  Jason Bateman brought back his mature yet often phased character, Michael Bluth, from his days of Arrested Development.  Bateman is an essential component of this movie and is both a great actor and a funny comedian.  Charlie Day is, well Charlie Day.  Like Bateman, Day played pretty much the same role he plays on his TV show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: eccentric, hyper, and hysterically funny.  And that suits him just well.  Mix in seasoned actors like Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston (side note: it was so nice to see Aniston playing a different type of role aside from her romance-comedy ones), and Colin Ferrell – all great performers and natural comedians – and you have yourself a damn good movie!

The movie’s script was both original and well thought-out.  The majority of the jokes and puns were genuinely funny, and we can all relate to a terrible boss we’ve had during one job or another.  Each of the movie’s three bosses had their own different antics that made them hateable yet enticing, and their fed-up employees’ plans to kill them was the crazy, watchable icing on the cake.  Of course it wouldn’t be a movie if their plan had gone off without a hitch.  Combine a few mishaps like hiring a guy who does “wet work”, taking killing advice from Mother Fuckah Jones, and accidentally saving a boss who is on the kill list, and the laughs continue throughout.  

I did not finish this movie feeling disappointed or as if I had been cheated out of some laughs – two emotions I often feel after seeing what was supposed to be a “comedy”.  Instead, I felt satisfied and even some relief as the feature exceeded my expectations, and was actually better than the trailer previewed it – which is often not the case. Horrible Bosses shows that with the combination of a good cast and script, a movie can be both entertaining and a truly well-composed film.  

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Check out the trailer here:

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Have any of you seen this movie?  If yes, tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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*Note: The synopsis, movie information, and movie poster were taken from IMDB.  The trailer was taken from YouTube.  The review above is written by me:  ©Kalie Lyn 2012*