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L. Erickson "Mommy Mystic" RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Gravity
Gravity
DVD ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: $10.99
51 used & new from $6.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked It, Didn't Love It, May 27, 2014
This review is from: Gravity (DVD)
I expected to love this, and I did love the premise, performances, and mostly the amazing space setting. It is beautiful and haunting - having space, stars, and visions of the planet earth as background certainly creates an unparalleled perspective. But I found it a bit too sentimental at times, and the backstory for the Sandra Bullock character was just too over the top for me. I didn't feel it was necessary for her to have such a tragic backstory, and it detracted from the emotional relevance for me. I also reluctantly admit to being a bit bored in certain scenes - there is ALOT of space. But I still appreciate the beauty of this movie, and that it is so different from anything else out there.


Fundraiser [HD]
Fundraiser [HD]
DVD
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seinfeld Sensibility Meets Washington Gridlock - Completely Cracks Me Up, May 27, 2014
I guess it's pretty sad that two of the most popular newish shows - this one and House of Cards - are both based in such cynical views of American politics, but this one is really funny. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in her element as the VP to a never seen President, focused on wheeling and dealing her way into any kind of relevance she can. Her supporting cast is outstanding, and though at the start of the season there are a few episodes that are duds, by the end both the writing and each character have hit their comic stride (and having seen the second season I will say that that continues, if anything it gets even better.) Yes, there's cursing and sexual innuendos and all sorts of lowly sentiments, but that's part of the fun. It's definitely not a feel-good view of politics, with most of the characters self-centered to a staggering degree. But it is funny, very!!


The One & Only: A Novel
The One & Only: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $10.99

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Giffin's Best Writing and Character Development, But If You Don't Love Football, Won't Be Your Favorite, May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Giffin loves to make us uncomfortable, with difficult emotional situations that place her characters in moral/ethical dilemmas. In Something Borrowed, the story forced us to ask "what do you do when you're in love with your best friend's fiance?" The question posed in this novel is perhaps even more uncomfortable - "how about when it's your best friend's father?"

The story begins with the funeral of Mrs. Carr, beloved wife to Coach Carr, the town hero as coach to the local college football team in a small Texas town. He is also hero to main character Shea, who is best friends with his daughter Lucy. Shea is a huge football fan, but realizes soon after the passing of Mrs. Carr (also best friends with her own mother) that her child-crush on Coach Carr has bloomed into full-on love. Although she tries to deny it, and dates other men, her feelings are the center of the story.

This isn't the only dilemma posed in the story through, as Shea takes a job covering the team for a newspaper, and discovers the football program is under NCAA investigation for possible ethics violations. In fact, the story layers complicated ethical dilemmas one on top of the other, related to campus sexual assault, college athlete recruiting and grading, journalistic objectivity, and more. Nothing is black and white, everything is gray.

I think this is probably Giffin's best writing and character development, and I was engaged from the beginning. I appreciated the complexity and two-sidedness (is that a word) of the way she posed her ethical dilemmas. I even appreciated the discomfort she triggered in me, in terms of Shea's feelings for a much older man. A good book makes you think and feel, and this one did. The only drawback for me was the football talk, which I admit to skimming. If you aren't a football fan, this probably won't be your favorite Giffin. This is really the only reason I rated this a 4 star rather than a 5 star, which some people might not consider fair, but these reviews are opinion after all. But it's still worth a read, as everything else is so well done.


The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive Book 1)
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive Book 1)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent World-Building and Writing - A Great Start to a Promising Series, May 27, 2014
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This is the best start to a fantasy series that I have read in a long time. The world Sanderson creates here is very detailed and intriguing, and we are given just enough information about it to keep us interested, without blowing all of the mystery too soon. Pacing is always tricky business in long series like this, and IMHO some popular series get so bogged down in detail and setting up the future that the pacing gets achingly slow (I have felt this way about a lot of the Game of Thrones series, as well as Wheel of Time.) I feel like in this book a good balance is struck.

I also prefer fantasy series' where the supernatural is front and center, and that's the case so far in this one. The world created is somewhat Avalon-like, evolving around Kings, Highprinces, and battles for the crown, with the magic starting subtly and gradually increasing in importance as the story progresses, as two of the lead characters - a young soldier named Kaladin and a young woman scholar named Shallan - both gradually discover they have some sort of paranormal abilities and/or connection to an unseen dimension (we aren't completely sure what yet.) The backstories on them both are excellent, and the fact that Sanderson focuses on them and just a handful of other characters, rather than casting such a wide character net that we can't keep track, also endeared this series to me.

So overall, I think this is a great start and I am diving into Words of Radiance.


ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self Cleaning Litter Box
ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self Cleaning Litter Box
Offered by WebsBestStores
Price: $177.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny!, May 1, 2014
I have only one cat and am very sensitive to odors, and this box has been a godsend. I had tried both conventional litter boxes with many different kinds of litters, and then Littermaid's self-cleaning box with clumping litter. Nothing controlled the smell, and the Littermaid box was very awkward to change and clean. I was reticent to try yet another box, especially at this price, but a friend swore by it, so I finally just did it. I've had it for 2 months now and it is amazing. Yes, there is a little smell when the cat first uses it, but it is gone within 15 minutes. The crystals smell so much better in and of themselves than the clumping litter. And changing is so easy - just replace one tray with another (of course you have to keep buying the trays, but with the Littermaid you have to buy the containers, and swapping them out is not as easy.) I see some of the reviews don't like this for more than one cat, but for one it is working great. I am changing the trays every 20 days or so. I've given my Littermaid to a friend, so at least it's not going to waste (it does work, it's just not as good) - if you are trying to decide between self-cleaning boxes, I think this one is much better.


The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel
The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Author Knows How To Tell a Good Story, and How to Balance Tragedy and Joy, April 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I loved the author's best-selling Me Before You, so decided to try this one, and I appreciated it just as much, although it is a very different novel. This one toggles between Liv, a young, reclusive widow in contemporary London, and Sophie, a young wife struggling to survive in a small French town occupied by the Germans during WWI while her husband fights in the war. They are linked through a painting of Sophie that Liv now owns, painted by Sophie's husband, who was a student of Matisse before the war. I don't often like books that toggle between the past and the present, as they seem too disjointed, but I got pulled into both stories, and love the way it all came together. It was also well-written but very accessible - not self-consciously literary, just readable and well done. Even though there are tragic components, I found it ultimately heart-warming.


Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes
Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Genetics, Though Sometimes Too Tangential, April 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent introduction to the current state of genetics research for laypersons. The author - a leading geneticist - goes to great pains to make the material accessible by presenting each genetic variation he discusses in the context of real people. He tries to tell a story in each chapter, beginning with an individual with a particular genetic variation, and then getting into the science. He explains what it really means to have a genetic propensity for a disease, epigentics (how genes are toggled on and off by our environment and other factors), the genetics of gender identity, and a bit about some of the ethical dilemmas genetics work poses (including how genetic variation, in the form of people with rare genetic diseases, often help researchers discover the roots of other genetics diseases.)

My only complaint is that at times he seems at such pains to make it readable that the science is actually skimmed over a little too much, and he moves between genetic conditions too quickly, rather than taking more time to help us understand each one in detail. He will introduce an individual with a rare genetic condition, get us attached to the story, explain the science, and then move on quickly to the next story. It is very 'chatty' in tone. I think it could have had some sidebars or images or something that were a little more 'science book' like to offer more depth, without turning anyone off.

But really, I learned a lot, and I haven't found another book like this, so I highly recommend it if you are interested in genetics.


The Way of the Bodhisattva: Revised Edition
The Way of the Bodhisattva: Revised Edition
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Wonderful Translation with Great Introduction, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For anyone new to this classic of Mahayana Buddhism (especially Tibetan Buddhism), I don't think you can do better than this translation. This is a step-by-step guide to walking the path, written in verse by the eighth century monk Shantideva, and some other translations include so many footnotes it's impossible to simply read it. I think Shambhala has done a great job of balancing staying true to the meaning and verse with making it accessible. The introduction is also excellent, providing all the background one needs to dive in. This is a book to treasure, and to read over and over.


The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and Moving, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I loved this book, and was very moved by it. The two young characters - both teenagers battling cancer - are unsentimental in their own views of life, and so the book as a whole is saved from being cliche or sentimental (which it could easily have been.) As you journey through their story with them, the questions they and their family members ask about life become your own questions, and that makes it my favorite kind of spiritual novel - one that triggers seeking rather than preaching answers or ideologies. Tragic but worth it.


Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine
DVD
Price: $12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blanchett's Performance Makes it Worthwhile, April 24, 2014
I was reluctant to watch this, as it sounded depressing, but I'm so glad I did, because Blanchett's performance made it worth it. We watch a woman unravel, and hard as that is, there are enough moments of humor to keep it balanced on that fine line between comedy and tragedy. That's a subtlety not many films pull off these days (few even bother to try, of course.)


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