Beauty & The Beast (Film Review)

Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney Pictures
PG | 2h 9min |  17 March 2017

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" is a live-action re-telling of the studio's animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. "Beauty and the Beast" is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

Disney strikes gold again with another live action re-telling of one of their classic animated films. Disney fans of the original will not be disappointed with the brilliant presentation.

Your favourite characters come to life in beautifully done CGI that doesn't destroy the imagination instead only adds to it.

Disappointments? While she did a fantastic job in the role, I'm not sure that Emma Watson was truly the right choice for Belle. This isn't any fault of her own, however as she both acted and sang beautifully in the film. However, I have a tendency to find with her that she does not become her role. When I watch her in a film I am not lost in the story in the sense that I feel I should be. I do not see Belle, I simply see Emma Watson.

Josh Gad, while hilarious in his role as Le Fou left something to be desired in his singing for the much beloved Gaston performance, though the scene itself was brilliantly presented.

Speaking of the Villain you hate to love, Luke Evan's performance as Gaston was utter perfection! He was my Gaston in every way I could have imagined.  I simultaneously loved and hated him a lot more than the original!

The gem of the film however is Dan Stevens in his performance as Beast/Prince Adam. He perfectly embodied the man turned creature turned man and shifted your emotions for him from annoyed, to sympathetic to nothing but pure love. By the end of the film, you too were in love with a the Beast.

So well done! If you're a Disney fan this is an absolute must see!

The Cutaway (Review)

The Cutaway: A Novel
By Christina Kovac
320 pages | March 21st 2017 | Atria / 37 INK

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

The Cutaway is an intriguing mystery that holds your attention. I'm easily lured into a book where I don't have the answers right away. This one keeps you guessing and that is what makes it such a good read. Some of the characters do come off a little flat, unimaginative but I was willing to read through it because the plot was well done and the book written well overall. 

I didn't absolutely love it but I was intrigued and entertained which is what I believe the author intended. I would recommend it for a quick read to anyone who loves a good intrigue.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC copy of this book

Christina Kovac managed newsrooms and produced crime and political stories in the District. Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5's Ten O'Clock News, followed by the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. For the last nine years, she worked at the Washington Bureau of NBC News. She lives with her family outside of Washington D.C.

Confessions of a High School Disaster (Review)

Confessions of a High School Disaster (Chloe Snow's Diary)
By Emma Chastain
March 7th 2017 | Simon Pulse

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

On the plus side, I got the lead in the musical!

On the down side…

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, the most popular senior guy, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom tells me everything is copy. So I’m writing down all the horrible things that happen to me in this diary.

This is the worst year of my life so far, unless maybe it’s the best.

I instantly loved this book. Chole is a funny, honest teenager dealing with a lot of changes in her life. While I'm not sure that I see the Bridget Jones references (other than the fact that it's told in the form of her diary), I was refreshingly reminded of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. 

While I'll admit a lot of what we see from Chloe in this story is tedious and somewhat annoying, it's pretty honest for a teenage girl. She is witty, snarky, petty and exceptionally observant of her surroundings which creates a funny, entertaining read. However, I probably wouldn't give it to my Thirteen-year-old sister anytime soon. I would pitch it more to mid-late teens or young adults looking for a flashback.