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Yokozuna Sushi

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to spend with your spouse, your boyfriend, and even yourself. And its even better when you can go to a nice restaurant together.

My husband, David, took me to Yokosuma Sushi in the Ashland shopping center (the same one as Anthony’s and Martins) and we sat down at a table.

When you first walk in, you notice a professional and romantic atmosphere where you’re approached by one of the waiters. They tell you that you can sit where ever you want, which is a choice between the bar and the dozen or so tables scattered around the floor. Once you sit down, you’re asked what you want to drink with a wide selection of alcohol and only three choices for sodas: Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite*. However, the food choices varied from deep fried cheesecake to delicious sushi rolls and appetizers everywhere.

The food was delicious. Every bite of the tuna rolls and the shumai my husband and I had were divine. My taste buds did a little dance every time I took a bite. And for dessert, we had the deep fried cheesecake. That was the best choice we could have made. Presentation was beautiful.

The staff were friendly and helpful. They also seem to have a few regulars, so that’s a plus. It means that they care about all their customers, treating them more like guests.

I also visited the bathroom while I was there. Admittedly, there must be something wrong with the toilet and the drain in the floor was not in the right place, leaving a hole that someone could trip on, but the bathroom was classy and decorated nicely. It also smelled good.

I give Yokozuna Sushi four out of five stars.

*Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite are all trademarked.


Anthony’s Italian Food

Anthony’s an Italian restaurant in the Ashland area that serves pizza, pasta, sea food, and more. After three visits, I feel like I can give a fair assessment of their food, atmosphere, bathroom, and more.

When you first go in, there are the typical tables and chairs lining the restaurant, but at the bar area start the booths with only enough room between the bar and the booths for one person to walk. Behind the bar, are where they work their food magic. The atmosphere is rustic, sort of what you expect from a vineyard you might be visiting. The windows has painted images of plants and food. Inside, the walls have various pieces of art that run from obvious to abstract. Its cozy and lit a little romantically.

However, there is a modern jukebox that breaks the cozy, rustic feel of the room, and turns it into a claustrophobic nightmare in one spot. Its possible to avoid that spot, but at the same time, you don’t want your customers to feel like they need to make a run for it.

The food is delicious. My favorite dish–stuffed shells, which is on the special once a week at around $9.00–is amazing. The shells are always cooked to perfection and the sauce makes your mouth water. Their calzones are impeccable, and everyone I dine with at Anthony’s loves the food. They have Pepsi products, which isn’t too bad, but if you want tea or water they’ll bring it to you.

Our waiters/waitresses are always courteous and only once have we had any problem with anything coming out in a timely manner.

The bathrooms… the bathrooms… What can I say about the bathrooms? They’re… small. Anthony’s bathrooms desperately need an overhaul. The toilet was not properly attached to the floor and moved while you sat on it, if you shifted your weight. Water–from the toilet–is constantly on the floor, because its leaking. The sink is cramped, and the trashcan is always full. It is not parent friendly, in that there is no where to change your baby’s diaper. Nor is there any room if you have to go in with your child.

I give Anthony’s 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall, I’d say that you should go and eat there. Just don’t use the bathroom.


Need a Review?

I currently have no novels, television shows, movies, etc. to review for this blog. Thus, I will accept requests for reviews at this time. Send me your requests in the comments section below.


Don’t be Overdue

There are somethings its easy to do for a head librarian to do, but is solving a murder one of them?

According to Jenn McKinlay in Due or Die, they’re more than able to juggle a new puppy, a job, and saving a friend from getting framed for murder. Lindsey, the library director in Briar Creek, Conneticut walks in with two friends on one’s murdered husband sitting in his chair. Its a race against the clock to solve the murder before someone else is overdue.

Now, before I begin: this book was given to me by my mother-in-law because it has a cookie recipe in the back. I now regret not writing it down before returning it to the library.

Anyways, I very much enjoyed this mystery novel. The pacing was fantastic and Heathcliff (the puppy) was very believable. If a pet chooses you, it’ll do anything to protect and love you. Lindsey learns that the hard way.

Every character was believable and I felt the frustration of having an attraction from a man who wasn’t showing his interest in dating her. Sully and Lindsey’s relationship was part of the nail-biting suspense. Every one of Lindsey’s friends added a bit of fun to the story, pulling more human characteristics out of our main character. The more human she seemed, the more I liked her.

The ending was hard to see coming, though once you know the ending (I’m not spoiling) you can pick the clues up easier.

Unfortunately, no story is perfect. Trust me, I wish this one was:

I felt more suspense from the budding relationship between Lindsey and Sully than I felt for every scene that was involved with solving the crime. Bulking up some of the supsense would have helped, because then I would have needed to keep reading. Instead, it was a “I’m really bored” type read. Due or Die wasn’t a poptart, but it wasn’t as much of a meal as, say a sandwich. It was kind of more of a bowl of Ramen noodles. Filling enough, but you always want more. I guess, its a good thing Ms. McKinlay has more books in the Library Lover’s Mystery series.

I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.


A Well Spun Tale

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert is about a man named Gabriel, with a secretive past, who is put up against two extraordinary women. His old fling, Frankie, sends her husband, William, to get him to find his son, Robert. Robert’s been the cohort of two women with natures as different as the sun and moon. Gabriel finds himself getting to know these women, but what do they have to do with Robbie’s disappearance?

The book was phenomenal. To me the pacing was fantastically done, keeping the mystery up with clues. However, the clues are not these obvious pieces of literacy, but a hint of a fragrance in the mall. One recognizable, but you’re not sure where from. That is how a mystery and magical book is supposed to feel like. Natasha’s writing style is grand. You get impressive insight into each character, my favorites being Isidore and the two feisty witches. Morrighan and Minnaloushe Monk are these two larger-than-life women whose house is something from my dreams. I want to live in that house, with all the roses and spiders, etc. Morrighan is a risk-taking, daredevil and her sister is this sensual being that all women would love to be.

Natasha Mostert explores several ideas in the book that have their roots in history as well as academia. Everything from the US’ STARGATE program to the memory palaces of old are very well researched. She admits to expanding some connections to make the story smoother, but she does so with spider-like touches. Its like Goliath (the spider in the story that the Monk sisters own) is walking on every word of every page the concepts are mentioned. Season of the Witch makes me want to research it all myself.

I do have a couple of problems with the novel, because nothing is perfect. Gabriel was annoying to me. He did grow and becomes someone better, but the man was annoying me. I cared more about the diary entries and William than Gabriel. Gabriel’s problems didn’t mean a damn to me. As interesting characters go, Isidore should have been the one we saw anything through, but then we wouldn’t have actually had this story. Morrighan Monk was interesting and she does help the reader feel the exhilaration that comes with activities such as bungee jumping. Minnaloushe brings us the femininity that lies within all women. They’re like Yin and Yang. Gabriel did not feel like he was needed for anything more than to introduce these people to us.

Overall, though, it was an outstanding read. I just wish there were more books. There needs to be more about the sisters. Now, I do want to say that I think Natasha put herself in the book as a plucky blond with a kid who wants to write a book. See if you can find her.

I give the book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Note: Thank you to my wonderful husband for the title of the review.

Also, you can find out more about Natasha Mostert on her website. Her Facebook is here. Her reader’s group is here.


Conjure This!

the-conjuring

“Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse” (IMDB, 2013).

 

The Conjuring starts out with the story of this family being terrorized by a porcelain doll inhabited  by an inhuman spirit. However, that is just a real from the Warren’s collection as they talk about their jobs as demonologists and proverbial Ghostbusters (so to speak).  Then we move on to the family moving into the farmhouse before they are terrorized by the spirits that inhabited their home first. Throughout the movie (which is a telling of the true story of the Perron family) the mother is tormented by this woman, and so are her five daughters. Ed and Lorraine Warren leave their daughter, Judy, home and try to save this family from the horrendous past the house holds.

Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, a clairvoyant woman who is the wife of Ed Warren (played by Patrick Wilson). She does a fabulous job, though I must take a moment and say that I really wanted her wardrobe. Lorraine is a delicate character who portrays herself as a strong woman, but she’s dealt blows from devils and witches and spirits of all sorts that make her weak. She needs the support of her husband. Farmiga does a fabulous job keeping the two parts of the character’s personality visually balanced, though when its time to show her vulnerability she doesn’t hesitate to explode.

 

Ed Warren is the only non-clergical recognized Demonologist and is played by Patrick Wilson. He’s a stronger character than his wife, being unable to see the monsters his wife can. Wilson does well, playing a strong, father-like character once again. He’s a good father, a good husband, and does a good job befriending each of his clients. The protective feel you get from his character slowly travels all over the characters. Wilson seems to be unstoppable. His performance is honest and pure.

Carolyn Perron was the typical mother back in the seventies: a loving wife, a wonderful mother, and a hard worker to keep her family together. Unfortunately, that’s everything that the monster in their new farmhouse loves to feed off of. Lili Taylor (from The Haunting) does a fantastic job portraying a woman tormented and terrorized in her own home. Once again, you find that she does such a realistic job playing a vulnerable woman with her own inner strength. You can’t help, but root for Carolyn through the entire movie, hoping she makes it out alive.

Ron Livingston plays Roger Perron, Carolyn’s loving husband. Roger is a truck driver who stays away from the home in the beginning week, doing his job. However, once the proverbial shite hits the fan, he does the right thing and stays home with his family. His strength dissipates over the course of The Conjuring, losing control of his will the more he loses his wife. Caring for his girls, Roger is the typical father figure. Livingston doesn’t seem to cover the role very well.

 

The Conjuring was a great horror movie that is actually real. Everything that happened in the film, happened to the Perron family. The coolest part of the movie was the end credits. You got all the names on actual family photos and newspaper clippings. About 90% of The Conjuring actually happened. My only problems with the movie was that you really got to know the five girls (Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April), but we don’t get to know Judy Warren as well. You only get snapshots into her life with her parents and grandmother. The other problem is that we don’t get a clearer idea of what had happened to Rory, the little boy ghost, at the end.

 

I give The Conjuring 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Work Cited

Amazon.com. IMDB. The Conjuring (2013). 2013. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1457767/?ref_=sr_1>


Still Good – A Review of “Still Alice”

Still Aliceis about a woman who has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease or EOAD. Alice has it all. A husband and three grown children. She’s a tenured professor of Cognitive Psychology and is asked to give speeches regularly. She’s noticed a few memory lapses, but thinks nothing of them until she gets loss in a place she goes to everyday for twenty-five years. When she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease its a conflicted time for everyone. Not just her, but her husband and children as well. Will they be able to make it through or will she succumb without helping others like her?

First, I’d like to mention that this is a textbook for my Sociology class, but I decided to read it early.

Written beautifully in Third Person Limited point of view by Lisa Genova. She easily conveys the emotions that come with any disease as will as the ones that are specifically attached to Alzheimer’s. Alice goes through frustrations, fears, strain from memory loss, and others on a month to month basis.

Separating each chapter as different months was a good device for helping us mark the passage of time as we ourselves grow attached to her as if she’s our own family members and loved ones. We watch her deteriorate with her family and with Alice herself. It is displayed that the victims of Alzheimer’s goes through the same emotions we do, but fifty millions times stronger. You even hear from people from her support group who’ve known they might get EOAD before they get it. The struggles everyone suffer are realistic and strikes a chord in the readers.

You get to really know the characters we follow throughout their months:

Alice was a tenured professor of Cognitive Psychology who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We follow through her point of view as we deal with her frustrations and rewards. Her ups and downs show us what a patient dealing with Alzheimer’s is really going through.

Joh is Alice’s husband who has to watch his wife deteriorate every day. Through him, though not the point of view character, you see how the direct caregiver goes through every up and down of his or her loved one.

Lydia is their daughter who decided to be and Actress. Through her we actually get to see how even though Alzheimer’s is devastating, it can bring family members together.

Anna is their other daughter who got her law degree before the start of the novel. She’s married to Charlie and through her we see how the burden of the knowledge that you may be diagnosed can weigh heavily on someone, but also how it is possible for the grandchildren won’t have to go through the same thing.

Tom is their son and he’s the medical student int the family. He also comes across as a playboy. Even though the joy of not having the mutation should have lifted the weight from his shoulder, but the knowledge that his sister did kept it there. Shows love, but also the misunderstanding that Alzheimer’s patients need to either rely on someone completely or be completely independent.

Charlie is the son-in-law who just has to go through the knowledge that he may lose his wife as he knows her.

There were many believable situations laid out for us, but I can’t believe that there were be such a large gap in support for the patients.  And if there were, then it may have taken longer for the social worker to get even permission to get permission for the other patients to contact Alice. Other than that, all was believable.

Still Alice gets 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks.


Smash Fail–A Review

Smash is a show about creating a Broadway hit from complete scratch by two prominent writers. There are some major cliches in the entire thing (the sweet, naive girl from the south, the as–prick of a director, the seemingly innocent vixen who can’t keep her hands off the hunky singer) as well as somewhat original characters (the straight gay man). Including some major drama that should be shown on stage instead of behind curtains, I’m still not sure how to feel about this show.

The main character of Smash is Karen Cartwright, the naive and dreaming girl hoping to break out in some musicals. Okay, honey, you need to brush up on the jargon before you head into a big workshop where you’ll only be paid about $200 a week. I mean, really? And where the hell are your priorities? A major record owner wants you to meet him for a recording session, you don’t blow it off for a workshop you, again, only receive $200 for! I mean, seriously? Even a small town, legit inbred redneck would have passed on Marilyn the Musical. I would have. The only redeeming quality you have is that you refused to sleep your way to the top, though you could just bribe Derek with how much money your fiancee makes.

Sorry, way off point.

Karen auditions for the aforementioned musical and goes throughepisodes long of tension of whether or not she’ll get the part. And yes, there was more than one episode devoted to it.

Speaking of Derek… Derek Wills is a hotshot director, working on Marilyn because he has a personal friendship with Eileen (who’s going through her own shit). He is harsh and not well like by the only gay male main character who has any depth outside of sports. He tries to sleep with Karen and gets REJECTED. Seriously hard. She might have well dug her heels into his boner. He had that “I-got-kneed-in-the-balls-by-someone-in-eighteen-inch-heels” look on his face. It was pain. He finally gave the part to Ivy (whose a total sl–sexually minded female) because she had sex with him. I’m not sure who the bigger man-whore is really.

Eileen Rand is a producer for Broadway who just so happens to be divorcing her business partner. She’s an interesting character, mostly because she constantly douses her soon-to-be ex with a martini (snicker). Other than that, she really has no depth. I feel sorry for the actress.

Ivy Lynn is a former ensemble member who is a total slu–I mean sexually minded woman. She auditioned, same as Karen, and slept with Derek, obvious knowing that she was having sex with him for the part. I obviously disliked her, because she was keeping what she’d done from her friends. “Rumor Has It” alright, Adele.

There are two writers, who aren’t strong characters past their stereotypes. I wouldn’t bet on them. There are a few minor-ish characters who are only as deep as a piece of rice paper.

I’ve waited seven or eight episodes before I wrote this review, because I was waiting so long for the story to develop into something better. The only things that keeps me watching are the phenomenal vocal talents and the music. I understand that this is just the first season, so there will be some footing that still need to be cemented, but still. It isn’t working for me. Its like a bad fairy tale.

Anjelica Huston, what did you get yourself into? I mean, come on. You have a history of great stories and roles. I mean you were Morticia Addams!

Smash gets 2 out of 5 stars.

 


The Story of Delusions: “Sucker Punch” 2011

 

I got a Sucker Punch that knocked me from my seat. Hehe. Okay, seriously now.

Sucker Punch opens to Babydoll as she sits on a stage, in the bed. A nice segue takes us into her bedroom as she waits to find something out. Next thing we see is a doctor, who shakes his head. We find out that someone had died, her and her sister’s mother by the look of things. A man checks the mother’s Last Will and Testament and doesn’t like what he sees. He locks Babydoll in her room before going to her sister. She runs in a closet and then the man breaks in. We don’t know what he was going to do because Babydoll breaks out of her room and tries to shoot the guy. She kills her sister instead. When she had a chance to kill the man, she ran.

Somehow they find her at a grave, maybe of her father’s, and bring her to an asylum. He checks off all these things on his this form before we meet Blue. We don’t stay long in the asylum because as soon as she hears Mistress Gorski speak to one of the other patients. We spend the entire movie in Babydoll’s delusion of being forced into prostitution.  Blue is in charge of the club, giving the girls to the clients and Madame Gorski teaches them to dance. Babydoll sinks into a delusion while she is dancing, so it’s like Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream.” She develops a plan through the delusion and convinces the other girls to help. We meet Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, and Blondie through two different means towards the beginning of the film.

Abbie Cornish did a good job playing such a clichéd character who doesn’t care about anyone, but her sister, Rocket. However, the character and the acting were both mediocre because Sweet Pea was written that way. Its more than a little disturbing how much like other characters Sweet Pea is like. Maybe giving her a deeper reason than just being over protective might’ve given Cornish something to go off of.

Rocket was an interesting character as was her hair. Unfortunately for Jena Malone, the most of the movie was spent staring at her hair as it changed rapidly. What I did gather from her performance was that I’m looking forward to something that has a bit more depth. Rocket’s only depths were her sister and the cook trying to have sex with her.

Venessa Hudgens impressed me. Having been forced to see all three High School Musicals, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her performance, because of how cliché HSM and her former character were. I was afraid that she wouldn’t be as good playing someone with quite a bit more depth. I’m not worried about that anymore. I am worried, however, that despite Sucker Punch she might be type-casted to only take clichéd roles.

Amber was a clichéd cheerleader-like character played by Jamie Chunq. While Chunq did a good job portraying such a role, there are still a few issues. Amber, the character, is beyond cliché.

Oscar Isaac did a mediocre job of portraying someone’s whose supposed to be a tough cracker without being cliched. He fell short in the performance because it reminded me of a movie I had never seen, but is talked about by my significant other all the time. Blue was not entertaining.

Carla Guqine started out being quite cliché. The doctor  who takes interest in each patient and the strict dance instructor. It deteriorates so that its obvious that there’s a slight attraction between Gorski and Blue before its blatantly explained that her role was to teach the girls to survive Blue. This shows that she has a lot more depth.

Babydoll (played by Emily Browning) was a splendedly played character. Browning knew that the delusions were just in her imagination, but she made it seem like the character didn’t know the difference until the end. She was believable and I couldn’t find many cliched things about her. The fact that she’s the naïve “child” of the film, is a cliché.

The acting over all was well done, though it could have been better. Ican’t believe how many times I’ve typed “cliché” in this review, but it’s the best I could come up with when it came to the actors. The cinematography was superb. It’s a shame that a well shot film with an amazing plot, and decent dialogue had so many cliched characters. It pains me that a film of the quality of Sucker Punch would be brought down by the idiocy of unoriginal characters that weren’t even reinvented.

Sucker Punch is a good film that I more than recommend you either check it out from the library or rent it if you can. Its definitely a buy, though, for those of you who can afford it.

Sucker Punch receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.


Alcatraz Premeire-Review

If you have not seen Alcatraz’s pilot, then do not read this article unless you want spoilers.

 

Alcatraz Notes to write review

The first episode starts with a voice-over of the information that we heard in the trailer for the TV show. As the voice-over speaks we approach Alcatraz by boat. Two men get off and something is obviously wrong. The guy that looks like Tobuscus says something and it starts a conversation for while before they go inside to find it pretty much empty. The voice over comes back and to be honest I can’t tell if the set of the old Alcatraz was actually Alcatraz, which would be ridiculous because there would not be that many people allowed to film in the prison itself.

We flash to the present where a little girl finds a man in one of the solitary confinement cells. The man seems disoriented and on the boat he opens the guide book to reveal a picture of himself. Is name is Jack.

Another flash back finds us with dear Jack following procedures until he is called out by a man in a suit. Guards tear about his cell and the deputy warden “finds” a weapon, though its obvious that he placed it there himself.

Not sure how much later we meet the main character chasing down a perp before we go to where she’s sitting with her boss. Apparently they need to give her a new partner. She’s called out because of a homicide of E.B. Tiller, a fed. The feds take over, giving us the Jurassic Park star Sam Neill as the main fed, and she sneaks off with evidence. Jack is the one who did it, big surprise.

Another flashback to Jack in solitary confinement where he isn’t sprung when he should be, then he’s back in the present with a key to a locker room and a gun. Then, we join Detective Madison in a bar where she speaks with an expert, played by a very slim version of a castaway from lost and his hair is still long and curly. They go to Alcatraz where we learn that the department Madison works for gave her a lock pick. Oh, yeah, that was smart. Then someone throws in one of those bombs that knock you out, whatever they’re called. I’m entertained by Neill’s performance when Madison wakes up.

Aparantly there is a secret lab under Alcatraz, run by Neill’s character. They learn that the transfer and death certificate for Jack Sylvane were bogus and he is too young for the amount of time he was supposedly alive. Much confusion ensues. Back in the past Jack’s blood is taken out and he speaks to another inmate by the number of 2002. Jack kills some cops before a Barkley Flynn is introduced. Jack commits another murder and runs off with a key in a soft, black bag.

The cops arrive on scene and find the dead Flynn. They find out that Jack’s wife remarried to his brother and Jack goes after him. The police break in after Jack left with his brother and left his nephew tied up. Madison finds Jack at his wife’s grave and points a gun at him. Jack is arrested.

Madison is invited to join Neill in his quest that he’s been on since he was a kid. Madison learns her grandfather was an inmate, not a guard at Alcatraz.

The acting was splendid and I was charged with electricity to know that Sam Neill was in it, since I love Jurassic Park. The dialogue was realistic and not just something they pulled out of their asses. The best thing was that they sent Jack to an exact replica of Alcatraz underground. It was awesome. The first episode got me hooked and I can’t wait until I can watch every single one. You can find the link to this episode here. It had a great pace, though the suspenseful music was a bit much in places.

I give the Alcatraz pilot 4 out of 5 stars.