Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Argo - My Movie Review

Argo2012R120 minutes

In 1979, when Iranian militants seize the American embassy, six Americans slip into the Canadian embassy for protection, prompting the CIA to concoct an elaborate plot to rescue them by pretending that they are filmmakers rather than diplomats.

My Review:

The story of Argo is based on a real-life CIA operation, which was kept in a Top Secret file and concealed from the eyes of the public for years.

To solve an Iranian hostage situation, a CIA special agent comes up with the idea to disguise the hiding American Embassy workers as Canadian filmmakers and fly them out of Iran. When you read the summary of the movie you may rightfully ask why the CIA would conduct such a strange and difficult operation to smuggle people out of Iran. But when you see the movie you’ll understand that, in a country where the citizens are Middle Eastern people and they are searching the entire city to find the missing Americans, it’s nearly impossible for a foreigner to go unnoticed.

The screenwriter deftly weaves his political opinion about this situation into the manuscript, showing Americans how our politicians’ careless decisions can enrage an entire nation against America.  And not just any nation, but a fanatical, overly passionate nation, capable of doing anything to take revenge on us.

Ben Affleck has matured, both in appearance and professionally. He directed and stars in the movie, and gave 100 % to both. The movie is different, yet very entertaining. At times I felt as if I were watching a documentary. Well done, Ben Affleck. You deserve every award you receive for this masterpiece. 

End of Watch - My Movie Review

End of Watch2012R109 minutes

Officers Taylor and Zavala patrol the streets of South Central Los Angeles, an area of the city ruled by gangs and riddled with drug violence. Their perilous beat is captured on security footage and with the HD cameras of cops, criminals and victims.

My Review:

The other day an anonymous reader reviewed my book, Fields of Elysium, and called me racist over fairly mild remarks made by my characters. So when I was watching the movie End of Watch I thought if this reviewer, who never put her name or face behind her accusations, watched this film, she would probably have a heart attack.

The story follows the lives of two cops (one white and one Hispanic American) who lives in the cruelest and dirties part of L.A. Because of the authentic slang and cultural elements, the movie seemed very real and extremely entertaining. I do live close to L.A. and I try to avoid those parts of the town. One day following the instructions of my GPS to the airport I took a wrong turn and ended up in Inglewood. My stomach knotted as I tried to find my way out. That area has very bad vibes, is filthy and trashed down. I can’t even imagine how difficult it could be to patrol those streets as a cop. Well, this movie gives you a pretty good idea. Many people hate cops, but let me tell you something: those men and women who swear to protect us even from the worst enemies deserve every bit of respect and support we can give. Their life is at stake every minute of their shift, and their families live in constant worry.

If you are not the kind of person who is easily offended, take a chance on this movie. Jack Gyllenaal and Michael Pena give memorable performances. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Enter to Win $50 and More...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$50 Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a gift bag of one signed copy of Fields of Elysium, a scrabble-tile pendant with a butterfly image on a chain necklace, and a fridge magnet.

Ends 3/11/13

Gift Bag open to US only.  If winner is international they will receive only the gift card or paypal cash.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taken 2 - My Movie Review

Retired special ops agent Bryan Mills and his ex-wife are abducted in Istanbul in a bid to avenge the deaths of his daughter Kim's kidnappers. This time, it's Kim who helps to free her parents -- unleashing Bryan to turn the tables on his abductors.
Liam NeesonMaggie GraceFamke JanssenLeland OrserJon GriesD.B. SweeneyLuke GrimesRade Serbedzija
Action ThrillersCrime ActionSuspenseAction & Adventure

My review: 

First, I have to say that I love Liam Neeson and I found Taken a very original, action-packed, and interesting movie. I was eager to watch Taken 2. This urge wasn’t enough to drag me to the movie theaters, but I couldn’t wait until Netflix listed it either, so two days ago I rented it on Fios and watched it with my husband. The movie was forced and ridiculous. I only enjoyed watching it because my husband and I made jokes about it through its two hours. Unfortunately, Liam Neeson was not able to show any real emotions. I didn’t feel his love for his daughter or ex-wife (he left her bleeding on every corner with a cut on her throat without even attempting to hide her). The action scenes were recorded with a fast moving camera, so the fight scenes would look more real and deadly, I assume. They did not. I had the feeling that Mr.Neeson couldn’t deliver the strength and force a lethal CIA agent should have, so the director tried to compensate with a very annoying way of shooting the scenes.

About the daughter. For a girl who failed her driving test twice, she became such a badass driver in Istanbul, especially when she used the stick shift like a pro, making skids and crazy turns. Let me tell you something. I learned to drive on a stick shift car. However, in the past nine years I have been driving automatic cars. I went back to Hungary two years ago and borrowed my sister’s car. I drove like a student driver, as the routine of switching between pedals got rusty over the years. Therefore, a young girl who is capable of driving in a wild car chase without killing the engine just once is beyond reality.

The bad guys weren’t bad enough. What kind of lowlife Albanian criminal kidnaps the wife of the man who murdered his son, and does not even slap her around a little? Moreover, he leaves her with a trained assassin- husband in a room alone, without even checking his pockets for tools to assist in escaping. Criminals are not that dumb, not even in Albania.

Then Neeson sends his daughter dropping grenades all over Istanbul. Seriously? 
Taken 2 was the perfect example of Hollywood riding the wave of a successful movie. Don’t fall for it. Save your time and money. I wish I had.

Prometheus - My Movie Review

When scientific explorers unearth an artifact that points to the origins of humankind, they're pulled into the unexpected adventure of a lifetime. But if they falter, the very future of their species is at stake.
Noomi RapaceMichael FassbenderCharlize TheronIdris ElbaGuy PearceLogan Marshall-GreenSean HarrisRafe Spall
Sci-Fi HorrorSci-Fi ThrillersAlien Sci-FiSci-Fi & Fantasy

My review: 

If you have ever watched and loved Ridley Scott’s Alien movie, then you probably could not wait to see Prometheus, too. I did go to the theater to see this movie and I was glad that I did. This unique, sci-fi masterpiece didn’t do so well in the box office, I believe from the lack of advertising. Luckily, I came across its trailer and marked the day on my calendar.

As always, Mr. Scott’s images are vivid with detailed space ships and costumes. The scenes are very blue and lifelike. The plot is interesting. The way he wove religion into the storyline is smooth and gets you thinking.

A few things I didn’t like. Every action scene felt as if I had seen it before. It wasn’t that disturbing because the story flowed and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The original idea of where mankind came from was not appealing to me. The idea of how God created us in his image and gave us a beautiful place to live because he loves us so much pleases me more then the idea that some dumb giant, naked alien came to our planet, drank a thick black gooey stuff, fell into a waterfall, and viola! Evolution started and produced us.

I watched it on Netflix a second time and enjoyed it just as much as I did at the movies. I hope there will be a second part. 

Hotel Transylvania - My Movie Review

Hotel Transylvania owner Dracula (Adam Sandler) pulls double duty as an overprotective dad when an unwelcome suitor (Andy Samberg) shows interest in his teenage daughter (Selena Gomez). All the while, he's hosting world-famous monster guests like Frankenstein, his bride and a werewolf family.
My review:

My children have been very excited about this movie, so when my daughter found the red Netflix envelope in our mailbox today we had to cancel our afternoon plans in order to watch it. I loved Dracula’s character, his facial expressions, his over-dramatic reactions to every little thing. The action never stops so this motion picture will glue the kids’ eyes to the screen. It glued mine, too.

The essence of the story is not original: an overprotective single father, deceased mother, rebellious teenaged daughter, and forbidden love. But the storyline is fairly unique. Hotel Transylvania is fun for the whole family. Your kids will love it. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fields of Elysium Has Opened its Wings and Ready to Fly

With a Book Blast on February 27th, the virtual promotional tour of Fields of Elysium will begin. Followed by an online Blog Tour from April 29 - May 10. Over 50 book bloggers signed up to participate. So, it's a very exciting but nerve-racking time for me now. :)

My interview, posted by the tour host: I Am a Reader not a Writer

If you haven't heard of Fields of Elysium, please visit the MY BOOKS page or/and read the chapter 1-3 and 16-17 here on my blog to see if my book is the kind you enjoy to read.     

The list of Bloggers is coming soon!


The newest reviews from all over the web:

Review by: Kate Graef on Feb. 16, 2013 : star star star star star
This is by far my favorite read this yesr!!!! LOVE IT!!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)   - SMASHWORDS
Review by: Denn4 on Feb. 15, 2013 : star star star star star
Loved loved loved this book. I cant wait for the next book to come out.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)  - SMASHWORDS
Danielle rated it 5 of 5 stars false
Recommends it for: Young adults/teens
Recommended to Danielle by: goodreads giveaways
Holy cows and chickens!! I can't believe the effect this story had on my heart from crying to laughing I can honestly say I will never be the same! I eagerly await the second book, because I hope there will be one. Anyways, I hope anyone who's a sucker for a good romance novel or a someone like me, a fantasy lover, than you should read this book. At one point in the book it was a little slow and hard to keep the rhythm but once it started again I couldn't put it down I loved this book!!

Larry B Gray rated it 5 of 5 stars false
I really enjoyed reading Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan. This coming of age sci-fi story involved jumping back and forth between two world and the many exciting adventures had on them. There was plenty of action which kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more.

The storyline was well thought-out and believable. The author did a great job of describing the world of Arkana and the many wonder and adventure the heroine had there. You could easily place yourself there and enjoy the sounds and smells. I like being able to join in the story and feel like I am there.

A.B. Whelan did a great job of developing the characters. They were very believable and easy to identify with. Each character’s part was clear and easy to follow. Again it was easy to get into the story and follow along with the main characters.

I really liked Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan and I highly recommend this sci-fi adventure to all readers.

[Please note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.]

Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars false
I was given this book by the author for review. At this time, I would like to thank the author for the book. I did enjoy the book. It was very creative in the description of Arkana and the characters are enjoyable.

Best Part of the Book: I enjoy the story line of this book. Molly just moved to LA from NJ and was not quite fitting in yet. She was taking a hike and found a "worm hole" and it sent her to a WHOLE other world. In this world Molly meets, Weston. I think of him as of "the boy next door". However, its his friend Victor that really catches Molly's eye. Victor's goal in life is to go to the Sentinel and fight the Terrakas (which as the "Earthlings"). You can see right off the struggle and connection with Molly and Victor, but they are from two different worlds.

Not so great about the book: Like I said before, I liked the book, but its last 40% of the book that was "strange". There is Victor's whole family tree that got thrown into the mix. Then Molly's ex-boyfriend, Adam, that came out of nowhere. Plus, I was expecting more "action". I am going to assume that there will be a second book, because the ending .... well, it just ends.

Overall, the book is good and I will read Book 2 (if there is one)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An interview with Megan Thomason, author of Daynight:

What was the craziest thing you have ever done?

I think I’ll avoid covering all the crazy things I pulled as a teenager :). The craziest thing I’ve done, with the greatest impact, was to pack up our family (on a better weather-induced whim) and move from Seattle to San Diego. I had lived in Seattle for a long time (born there, college there, early career there, had all my kids there) and the weather hadn’t overly bothered me most of that time. But, the last two winters we spent there were brutal and both my husband and I were done with it. So in a week’s time we flew down to San Diego to look at houses, put our house on the market, and made the decision to move. We love San Diego and don’t regret the move, but there were ramifications for our kids (leaving friends, new schools, etc.).

What impact does a bad review have on you?
It is always tough to get a bad review, though it has gotten easier over time. I typically take a moment to wallow in self pity. And then I remember several things:
- I don’t like every book. In fact, I don’t like some very popular books. And a lot of my favorite books and the best classics of all time have negative reviews! No book will ever please everyone.
- In every critical review is a nugget of wisdom that can be used to improve my writing. I’m grateful that the reviewer not only took the time to read, but to share their thoughts.
- The majority of the reviews are positive! I have so many awesome early adopters of daynight that have read, reviewed, and told their friends. I love my readers!

How would you describe your protagonist?
Kira Donovan is fiercely loyal, intelligent, inquisitive, and often a little naive. She has the ability to plaster on a fake smile and poker face, no matter what she is really thinking. 
What is your dream for yourself as an author?
I write because I love to write, not as a get-rich-quick scheme, for fame or notoriety (if anything, I see being in the public eye as a downside). So I guess I’d like to have lots of people read and enjoy my books. And, I hope the ideas for new books keep coming so that I can keep writing.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
In college I was at a party and saw a guy across the room who was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Absolutely gorgeous. Breathtaking, even. It was just like in the movies. I saw him, he saw me. We both felt pulled to each other, and met mid-room… And then he opened his mouth, ruining the whole fantasy of “love at first sight.” He was dumb as a post. And well, that just didn’t work for me. So, I think you at least have to meet the person :). I do think two people can feel an instant connection upon meeting, and that certainly can grow into love. But, I think building a true and lasting love takes a little more time.
Do you have a favorite author? Why is he or she your favorite author?
Given how many books I have read, that’s a tough question. I like different things about different authors. Immersive world: J.R.R. Tolkien. Dialogue: Jane Eyre. Dystopia: Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Fun contemporary: Jillian Dodd. Intense romance: S.C. Stephens and Tammara Webber. Drama: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Every author leaves an imprint.
What inspired you to write Daynight?
As I was hiking in one of the many canyons during San Diego on a particularly hot day, I pondered what it would be like if things were so hot that there would be no choice but to switch days and nights. This was the impetus for Thera, the setting for most of daynight. I had fun researching all the various ways this would impact the Theran people--from differing lingo “daymares,” “daygowns,” “Monnight, Tuesnight, etc.”, to environmental (landscape, weather shifts).

The dystopia, The Second Chance Institute, arose as I thought about what kind of government would rule the night.
Do you have a favorite YA novel?
The Hunger Games (series, though of the 3 The Hunger Games is my favorite). Great writing, action, layer upon layer of meaning, exceptional characters (each with tremendous depth), and a non-Disney, apropos ending.
If you could have only one wish, what would it be?
To be surrounded by happy and healthy family forever.
What was your most embarrassing moment in life?
Set up: I cannot sing. In fact, I’m terrible (the ability must have skipped a generation since my kids all have beautiful voices). My husband and I sat with another couple at an event that involved the audience singing a few songs. A woman with a glorious voice sat behind us during the first audience participation song. The event speaker heard her and thought it was me… he invited my husband and I, and our two friends to come up and sing for the large audience. Although I tried to explain that the beautiful voice he’d heard was not mine, my protestation fell on deaf ears. The song had female and male parts. It was dreadful, humiliating, and if ever asked again I will feign a heart attack right then and there.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
We have traveled extensively, but there are still places we haven’t been and would like to see. We love Turkey, but haven’t seen Istanbul. South Africa is up there. New Zealand. 
If you could go back in time and change something in your past what would it be and why?
I have done so many dumb things; made so many poor decisions. But, honestly, I’ve learned and grown from every single mistake. If I hadn’t gone through everything I went through, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The butterfly effect seems real, and it just doesn’t seem wise to go back and muck with the past. What if changing something meant that I didn’t meet my husband? Have my children? The risk outweighs any potential benefits.
Now that you read criticisms about your work, do you wish you could re-write it and start over or not and why?
No. I definitely would not start over. Overall, I’m very happy with my end product. I gave out a lot of early copies of daynight. The feedback was all over the map. Some people wanted more romance, less action. Some wanted less romance, more action. Some wanted more detail, some less. The fact is, people like different things! Ultimately, I went with my gut, and released a book that I felt best told the story and set up for future books. I do, however, look for common threads in feedback, and I have made updates to daynight to address areas of confusion, things that needed clarification, and fixed mistakes.
Can readers expect more books from you in the future?
I’m targeting a summer release for the sequel to daynight, arbitrate. In addition to the daynight series, I’m working on B*Lies, a story about a girl who makes the decision to run from her abusive father. If time permits, I’ll also do a re-write on the romantic comedy trilogy I wrote prior to daynight: the thin veil, the thin line, and thin skin. Although I love the stories and characters, I’d want to get the writing up to my current standards before publishing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crossroads Review

Crossroads by Mary Ting
Reviewed by A.B.Whelan

Crossroads by Mary Ting is a lovely teen fantasy about an average, well-mannered high school girl and her romantic and protective guardian angel. Ting masterfully leads the reader into and through the story. After the first few pages the reader will find herself entangled in the world of Claudia and get to know her family and friends. The scenes and emotions are so real, as if they were right out of the pages of a young girl’s diary. Boring descriptions and heavy philosophical conversations don’t weigh down on the reader. It’s easy to follow and the reader soon becomes friends with the characters.

I recommend this book for preteens and anyone who is young at heart or wishes to relive the excitement of first love. Older readers often criticize young-adult novels, claiming they are too slow or too melodramatic, or the protagonist was not tough enough. I remember when I was sixteen and fell in love for the first time. My legs shook whenever I walked toward this boy who made butterflies flap around in my stomach. I second-guessed everything I did or said because I wanted to be perfect for him.

So if I had to choose between books filled with violence, hip stuff, and vulgar language (because the author wanted to be so true to how teenagers really talk), or books that teach my daughter to have faith in herself, and be loyal to the one she loves, and show how to recognize true worth in a boyfriend, then I would choose the latter. There is enough suffering in the real world, so kids are better off learning about the beautiful things, such as believing that a guardian angel watches over them, that if some one loves them, he will show it and not only say it.  And Ting’s book does exactly that. These are a few of the reasons I loved Twilight, and I enjoyed Crossroads as well. 

Character Interview: Michael (provided by the author):

Before you met Claudia, what was a typical day like for you?
Since we have no concept of time in Halo City, I can’t tell you what my day is like, but I can tell you what I have been doing: teaching the young ones sword fighting; practice sword fighting-mostly with Davin; reading the bible with Alexa Rose and other children; meetings with Phillip, Margaret, and Agnes; and learning the history of before and after Christ. I also enjoy making things out of my hands, but my favorite thing I made was the butterfly necklace I made for Claudia for her birthday. These are just few of the things I’ve been doing. 
Since spending time on earth, have any of your memories come back?
Spending more time on earth has not brought any memories back. I honestly think it will never happen. The Royal Council does not make mistakes. They were adamant about wiping our memories of our lives on earth. But the emotions have not disappeared. The human emotions are much stronger on Earth, for example, such emotion as jealousy. The thought of Claudia with another guy just drives me crazy, not that she was, but the thought makes me angry. Also, when I’m around Claudia, I can’t think straight. We are forbidden to fall in love, but I can’t help the way I feel. When I hold her in my arms, my heart beats faster.  I melt into her and my human emotions start to take over.
What made you decide to leave Aden?
I followed Aden, thinking that it was the right thing to do. We believe that angels and humans can co-exist. I strongly believed in our quest. I decided to leave Aden when I found out his true motives. Not only did he want to take over Crossroads, he wanted to take over humanity and have them worship him. I finally opened my eyes and I encourage many to follow me to stop Aden. Unfortunately, I was deceived by a friend and Aden knew our plan of attack. That day is very hazy. I remember being injured and the next thing I knew, I was laying on a bed in Halo City, recovering.
What are some of your special talents that we haven’t seen yet?
Claudia called me Superman once. I didn’t know who Superman was, let alone his powers. I asked Davin to find out who Superman is because I wanted to know who Claudia thought so highly off especially if I had to worry about him swooning over her. Now that I know he is a fictional character, I can relax. You can compare my powers to Superman. I have strength. I can fly and see through walls. My wings, soft and comforting, is my secret weapon. Special talents you haven’t seen yet-I am one with nature. I can make it snow, control temperature, levitate things and people and I have yet to discover more.
Other than spending time with Claudia, what is your favorite thing to do?
 Besides spending time with Claudia, I enjoy spending time with Alexa Rose, Davin, Vivian, and Caleb. Also, I enjoy observing human mannerism. For example, I'm trying to understand why Ryan behaved the way he did on his birthday party. He was drunk and acted inappropriately. Why did he behave this way? Did he think he was going to win Claudia back by acting ridiculously? 
What is something you would like to do on earth that you haven’t had an opportunity for yet?
I haven’t had time to see the world. I would love to see the world with Claudia. I can definitely fly us anywhere. I would also like to watch the cool action movies, especially Superman movies. Though I know it is produced by special effects, they look so real. I get a kick out of it. 
Thank you for the interview!

Character Interview: Davin (provided by the author):

Hello there. It’s so good to be here. “Big Smile”

What do you think of the technology?

I think it’s very cool. “Chuckle” I really like the Itouch. I can listen to all sorts of music.  I also like the computer. It’s where I search when I need information about all kinds of stuff. Human lives are full of goodies, celebrations and so much I have yet to learn about. It’s great to be a human.

What’s your favorite holiday?

I didn’t get to experience much except for Christmas. Though Valentine’s Day is not a holiday. I don’t know why it isn’t. We should celebrate love day… don’t you think? So I would have to say Christmas. I like the idea of giving and receiving. And just like Valentine’s Day, there is a story behind Santa Claus, but you already knew that.

Do you get along with the venators?

I feel really bad what happened to Patrick. It can’t be easy for Holly and Austin. I like Holly. She can be cool, but sometimes she is bossy. Austin…he’s alright. He talks too much. I don’t like it that he has a crush on Claudia. Crush is the right word… correct? It better not be love or I’ll have to…. Ooops… sorry, didn’t mean to… where is my manners? I need to be polite in interviews. “Smile” Anyway, Austin is not all that bad… I guess.  “Shoulder shrugs”

If you were a mundane person, what would you do with your life?

I would like to know what falling in love feels like. Seeing Michael and Claudia, the way they are around each other makes me want to feel it too. We can’t be with anyone that way so I might as well forget it.  “Frown”

Thank you!!! Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thanks for having me. This was really cool. “Thumbs up” See you when I see you. “Wink”