Book: Fatal Distraction
by Diane Capri
I’m so glad I took a break from science fiction and fantasy to read Fatal Distraction. It’s smart, fast-paced, personal and, dare I say, thrilling. It’s the kind of “this could happen to me” thrill that really chills me to the bone if I think about it too much. I could not put this book down until I found out if everything was going to turn out okay. Does it? Well you’ll have to read it and see!
This story features two fantastic women: Jess, a reporter who is on a personal crusade for victim’s rights, and Helen, the governor of Florida. I wish all of our politicians were like Helen. She is solid in her beliefs, fair, and she stands for something. She follows the law, even if it doesn’t necessarily make her happy. I can respect that. Jess strives for the truth, even if it’s painful, and even if she doesn’t like the answer. I can respect that too. What hooked me about this story was watching these two women, both with their unique opinions and point of view, each just trying to do the right thing. I think they made quite a team. One I wouldn’t mind joining.
The other hook for me was the relationship between Helen and her husband Oliver. I don’t want to give away plot twists, but I will say poor Oliver is having one hell of a week. He’s still grieving the loss of their son, he’s had a stroke, and in general he’s not in a happy place. And then he’s…well, go read the story. Through it all, Helen stands by his side. That, more than anything, tells you what kind of person she is. I loved this couple for their strength, courage, and dedication to each other. Even in the face of politics, and loss, and crap that life throws their way. We should all be so lucky as to have a relationship like that.
I also love that in the end, both Jess and Helen are two women who can kick some ass. The world needs more ass-kickers.
If you like legal thrillers, and you like strong women, you’ll love this. It’s Grisham meets a female Jack Reacher, with a twist. Helen is the legal mind. Jess actively seeks situations where she can make a difference. She does that with a sharp mind and pen/computer, instead of lethal force, but the effect is just as devastating to the bad guy in the end.
I hope they make a movie out of this. I’m already casting it in my head. Give it a read, and let me know who you think would play Helen and Jess.
Movie: Snow White and the Huntsman
Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron
I’ve been looking forward to this for months. The trailers led me to believe it would be full of special effects and deliciously evil moments by the queen. It didn’t disappoint in that regard.
I left the theater less than thrilled, and analyzing just what went wrong. I love fantasy. I love fairy tales. I love anything that combines them with a new spin or twist. This, however, I didn’t love. It had so much potential, and fell unaccountably flat for me. I didn’t expect a Disney movie. I didn’t expect flowers and sunshine and light. I didn’t expect it to exactly follow any of the traditional fairy tale, although it did try. So why, then, was I so disappointed?
As I think back to what I did enjoy about this film, the thing that strikes me is the beauty of it. The special effects team deserves a medal. They were amazing, and the entire look of the movie was complete eye candy. I found myself watching the scenery because it was that beautiful (in a dark, forbidding sort of way).
You see the problem? I had time to notice the scenery. Why? Because the story was flat, the dialogue nearly non-existent and the characters, with the exception of the evil queen and the huntsman and one of the dwarves, stiff and unappealing. I honestly didn’t care if they lived, died, or defeated the queen. And usually I’m a sucker for all of those things. So again I have to ask, why?
It’s the writing. And the acting. The first thing I noticed was a plot hole that was never filled. When the evil queen takes over the kingdom, she leaves little Snow White alive. Why? There was no logical reason for someone that evil to leave a loose end around like that. To me, it would have made a lot more sense for Snow White to have escaped in the confusion when the Queen took over the kingdom. She could have been raised in the Dark Forest by fairies or something, ignorant of her status until later. Trapped as she was in the castle, with the Queen siphoning beauty and life from all the women around, I have to ask why she was so stupid as to not do that very thing to the one conveniently locked in a tower?
Later, much much later, they do give an explanation that would have worked. By then I’d stopped paying attention. There are also several scenes that had no reason for exiting. They did not further the story, they didn’t reveal character. At most, they let the special effects people play. But that’s not enough to waste screen time in my opinion.
The dialogue, or lack thereof, was stilted and lacked any sort of emotion. Even the passionate speech by Snow White as she tries to rally the troops is cheesy and lackluster. I felt no passion, no excitement, either from myself or from the crowd she addressed.
That might have been due to Stewart’s acting ability. She felt flat and cardboard, with the same type of line delivery that she had for Twilight. She felt all wrong for the time period, and for the character. This was a bad casting call, hands down. She’s not strong enough to save the bad writing.
The huntsman, Chris Hemsworth, did all he could with the part. I appreciated his efforts, but I have a soft spot for him. The highlight of this movie, by far, was Cherlize Theron. Excellent job. Even with the lack of material.
See it for the cinematic eye candy and the fun of watching a larger than life evil queen. But don’t expect much else.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with you completely about SWOTH. About halfway through the movie, I could tell my husband was bored, and I couldn’t blame him because I felt like the traveling went on FOREVER.
And Kristen Stewart…I wanted to give her a chance. I’m not a Twilight fan, I didn’t watch the movies because I got bored part way through the first one, so I thought it might have been the role she was given. But it wasn’t. She spent 80% of SWOTH either running or staring in open mouthed awe. When she finally got to her big motivational speech, what should have been confident and inspiring turned into her screaming and looking frenzied. It just didn’t work. (The terrible writing didn’t help her out at all.)
My husband was bored too! And that motivational speech made me want to hit someone. Even the people she spoke to looked unmotivated and bored with it. Bad directing, bad acting, bad writing…bad bad bad. And it should have been GOOD. This is right up my alley and it just made me so mad that they screwed it up. I was like you, I wanted to give Stewart a chance because let’s face it, it’s not like she had a lot to work with in Twilight. But a really good actor can help bad dialogue. Hemsworth did the most with what they gave him. So did several others. She, however…ugh. Not sure I’ll ever watch another movie with her in it. My husband reminds me that she was great in Panic Room. I reminded him at that point she hadn’t reached puberty yet. Someone screwed her up on the way to adult acting.
Fatal Distraction sounds like an awesome read. I’ll have to add it to my every growing list. Thanks for the recommendation.
I haven’t seen the movie yet and now I think I’ll wait for it on Redbox just to see the scenery. 🙂
To be honest, the effects look fantastic on the big screen. I’m not sure how well they’ll play on a TV unless you have a big one. REALLY big one. It’s worth seeing in the theater. I suppose, in the end, that’s what made me so frustrated. It’s truly amazing looking and darn it, the story didn’t live up to the look. I didn’t HATE it, I just didn’t LOVE it either and I expected to. It’s all about disappointed expectations for me I guess. I hear they are planning a sequel which I don’t get AT ALL. And I sure wouldn’t go see. Not unless they used different writers, directors, and and and.
What a great review of Diane’s latest! I prefer the personal reviews to the scholarly ones myself. 🙂 This one rocks. Fatal Distraction is on my to-read list, and you’ve made me more excited. 🙂 Fun to genre hop, right?
I’m glad you liked it! I’m still very unsure of myself when I write reviews. I never seem to write them like everyone else. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, or a bad thing. And I love to genre hop! I’ll read just about anything, except the “let’s wallow in real life misery and then die” books. Otherwise known as most literary fiction LOL. But give me a good genre story and I’m all over it. Can’t wait for y’all to read this story, as I really want to talk about Oliver and I really can’t without spoiling the plot. So I won’t. But I want to! I need a forum discussion group for it LOL. Maybe I’ll start one on Goodreads.
Great post! That was a fabulous review of Fatal Distraction. You’re really good at these! Diane’s book is on my TBR pile. I loved George’s Game and have Annabelle’s Attack, Carly’s Conspiracy and now Fatal Distraction still to read. I need to find the TIME!!
Hmm, I usually love a good fantasy film too. It’s not out here and I’m not sure I’d go and see it. As a writer, the plot hole is glaring to you. I hate films that get bogged down in the ‘journey’ too. Although Lord of the Rings managed it, but then they had plenty of stuff happening!! Again a great in-depth review.
I noticed that ten-foot wide hole right off, and it was so frustrating. I kept shaking my head. My husband kept shushing me lol. Then later, the Queen actually says “I should have killed you.” And I said YES! My point exactly! and my husband shushed me again, along with the person on the other side of me lol. But I mean come on, even the evil Queen knew it was a problem! And Marcy’s right, they spend an awful lot of time showing us pointless travel. I had forgotten that part. I did love the fairies though, they are so cute! Someone should scoop them up and make a new movie with them.
Melinda, I love your reviews and this one is no different!
I like “Don’t Know Jack” and now because of your review I’ve got to read “Fatal Distraction.” You hooked me girl!
Now the Snow White movie, I don’t know. I appreciate the heads up on the plot hole. To be fore-armed is to be fore-warned. Thank you Melinda! Have a great weekend! :0
Thanks! I’m glad you like them. Definitely put Fatal Distraction at the top of the list. It’s a fun read :-). As for Snow White, I think if you go in expecting less, then it won’t bother you as much as it did me. That’s my theory anyway.
Yikes, another book on my TBR pile! Thanks for the great reviews and steering me toward entertainment and away from a waste of time. LOL By the way, I love that you got shushed by the person sitting next to you, I’d have been saying “Yes!”, too. 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m happy to help you build a giant, tottering TBR pile :-D. I do try not to talk in movies but I was pretty passionate about this one hehe. I think I also made sweeping arm gestures which my husband tries to surpress lol. I behaved myself for most of the movie, really. *whistles innocently*
Wow. I really need to start moving through my TBR pile faster. Diane’s book sounds fantastic.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, I think it’s funny that you got hushed. My husband’s always hushing people, no matter how we feel about the flick. We are always quiet. I don’t know what to think. See it on the big screen for the effects, or wait.
My advice is go ahead and see it on the big screen. The effects need a BIG playground. They are worth it. And now you won’t be expecting as much as I was so you’ll probably like it just fine 🙂
WOW, Melinda! What a GREAT review of Fatal Distraction! I’m soooooooo thrilled that you loved the book, and soooooooo grateful for your amazing review! Thank you!!!
Yay! I’m so glad you stopped by :-). And you’re very welcome. It’s all true, and well deserved.
Hey, Melinda. I made my husband go to Snow White over a couple of other choices and was sadly disappointed for the very reasons you mention above (he was bored too). One of the things that was distracting and bothersome to me is why they needed the character of William. I figured it out later (delivery of the poisoned apple) but I felt like his presence just diluted the relationship between Snow White and the Huntsman. Same goes for the Huntsman’s dead wife. Almost like they were afraid to have Snow White slumming or something. Charlize Theron saved the whole thing I thought by not playing it too over the top and being luminously beautiful too. 🙂 Thanks for the review, Melinda.
As I thought about what I’d get rid of in the movie, William was first on my chopping block. He really didn’t serve any purpose at all. The apple could have been delivered by anybody. That part was so contrived and painful I wanted to slap someone. Plus they seemed to half-think they needed a love triangle, but someone didn’t agree so they made it sorta icky and obscure. It’s like they were afraid of it being too much like Twilight, but then again thought that might make people like it more? To me the whole plot felt like they couldn’t make up their minds on what sort of movie this was going to be.
Hmmm… thanks for the review. SWOTH just hit theatres around us and I was thinking of going with my hubby, because we really liked Once Upon a Time this year. But after this review… maybe we’ll see something else! Did you see Mirror, Mirror (the other Snow White movie out this season)? Is it any better? We were talking about the way there’s so much interest in Snow White Lately, between SWOTH, Once and Mirror. 🙂
I adore Once Upon a Time! I loved what they did with Snow White, which might be why I was so disappointed in this movie. One of the many reasons. I haven’t seen Mirror, Mirror although I’ve heard from someone else that it’s better. I need to watch it now just to compare :-).
Don’t let me scare you from the movie though. It’s worth seeing in the theater for the effects alone. And who knows, you might not be as irritated as I was 😉
How did I miss this review??? I still want to see it, but I’ll now see it with reservations. Ho hum!