AMC Stubs A-List || January through April

Last year I hoped onto the MoviePass train. Full steam ahead, I loved it. Originally I could see any movie that I wanted to, as many times as I wanted to see it for a yearly flat rate. As many people know MoviePass completely flopped in the later half of 2018 — it became more strict, had limitations, changed their rules of viewing, etc. It was a pain in the butt. Slowly but surely I stopped using MoviePass and I missed going to the movie theater on a random Tuesday evening. It was nice to have an activity to do outside the house that wasn’t costing an additional amount of money every week.

So in late December, being fed up with MoviePass and searching for something new, we found out about AMC Stubs A-List. It has been INCREDIBLE. Similar to MoviePass, I can see any movie that I want – and it started out with a limitation of 3 movies a week, which works out great because I can’t watch that many movies in a week (I’ve only used all three once!). I can also watch movies in any of the 600+ AMC theaters across the United States.

So far it’s been a truly awesome experience and I’ve seen SO many movies that I likely wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

  1. Aquaman – December 30, 2018
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – January 1, 2019
  3. Vice – January 5, 2019
  4. Ralph Breaks the Internet – January 9, 2019
  5. Mary Poppins Returns – January 19, 2019
  6. Glass – January 27, 2019
  7. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – February 9, 2019
  8. What Men Want – February 10, 2019
  9. Isn’t It Romantic – February 17, 2019
  10. Fighting With My Family – February 21, 2019
  11. A Star Is Born Encore – March 2, 2019
  12. Captain Marvel – March 7, 2019
  13. Green Book – March 9, 2019
  14. Us – March 22, 2019
  15. Five Feet Apart – April 6, 2019
  16. Shazam! – April 10, 2019
  17. Pet Sematary – April 22, 2019
  18. Avengers: End Game – April 25, 2019 (upcoming!!)

So as you can see, I watch on average one new movie every week! I made a goal back in January to see 30 new movies during 2019. This goal was to include other movies that were released in the past that I just never took the time to see, but I’m going to hit 30 new movies released in 2019 which is pretty neat to me.

Does anyone else use AMC Stubs A-List? How many movies have you seen so far this year?

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni || ARC Review

Date Published: April 9, 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery
Number of Pages: 437

Synopsis

Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.

Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

Review

Last year I was introduced to Robert Dugoni when I received a copy of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell from NetGalley. Looking back at my review I was entranced by the way Dugoni wrote, so I was excited when I saw another novel pop up written by him.

There are two very different parts of this mystery thriller. The first half of the novel we follow Charlie Jenkins as he travels into Russia in order to work in undercover job for the CIA. He’s provided information by an individuals who he believes is working for the CIA and it’s in order to provoke a response to find a worm within the agency.

The second half of the novel was more of a courtroom drama. Charlie Jenkins makes his way back to the United States and escapes Viktor Federov, but finds that he has a new enemy — the US government. There has never been a US citizen who has successfully defended themselves in a court of law against the US government when it comes to a treason and espionage. Will Charlie be able to prove his innocence? Is Charlie innocent?

I found the first half of the novel harder to get through than the second half, which was incredibly surprising to me. I wasn’t expecting it to be 50-50% spy novel and courtroom drama. From the synopsis, I was thinking it would be more of a complete spy drama where he still had to deal with the consequences when he finally made his way back to the United States. However, when he hits US soil, the entire viewpoint of the story changes and it’s the US vs Jenkins.

But here’s the thing: I picked up the novel thinking it was going to be a spy drama the whole way through and I was excited about it… only to figure out that I really didn’t enjoy the first half of the novel.

I like Dugoni’s writing style — his characters jump off the page and he takes the time to fully develop them throughout the course of each book. I was pulled in with the concept of these sisters operating in Russia and the backstory to find out who the sisters are and what their lives were like. However, the biggest disappointment for me was that it stopped being about the sisters! How are you going to name the book The Eighth Sister and then completely dodge the rest of the story about them….

Rating

I’ll give The Eighth Sister a rating of 3/5 stars. I imagine that this will become a series of novels about Charlie Jenkins and I’ll likely give the next book a shot.

⭐⭐⭐

Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall || ARC Review

So I have to admit that I am very behind on reading this Advanced Reader Copy of Three Little Lie by Laura Marshall. I received it from NetGalley after it was released last September, but I have no good excuse for why it took me so long to get to it.

Date Published: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Thriller
Number of Pages: 352

Synopsis

When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. Then long-buried secrets resurface, Ellen realizes she may not know Sasha — or what she’s capable of — at all.

2005: 17 year old Ellen falls under the spell of glamorous newcomer, Sasha. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their musical, bohemian lifestyle. At a New Year’s Eve party, events come to a dramatic head, resulting in a court case (in which Ellen is a key witness) that means family life at the Corner House will never be the same again.

2018: Now 30, Ellen and Sasha are still entwined in each other’s lives and sharing a flat in London. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. She has gone missing like this before and the police won’t take it seriously, but long-buried events in their shared past mean that Ellen has good reason to be frightened – not only for Sasha, but also for herself. Finding out the truth about what really happened on New Year’s Eve twelve years ago puts Ellen in terrible danger, and forces her to confront not only the past, but how well she really knows her best friend.

My Review

This was the novel that I needed to get me back on my reading game. Three Little Lies was a quick read. I started at around 9:45 AM and was finished by the time I went to bed in the evening after working a shift at the bar. This was the first novel that I’ve read by Laura Marshall. I enjoyed the pace of the story and how she developed her characters, especially the storyline of Ellen. I was impressed by the way Ellen’s perspective changed throughout the novel — a once loyal best friend learns that maybe her best friend isn’t exactly as she always seemed. You can see how friendships and family’s shift in times of grief and tragedy.

Three Little Lies touches on a tough topic, but it was handled well. Seeing the perspective of a mother in the courthouse watching her child sitting on the stand was stressful for me as a reader. Reading Olivia’s thoughts as she hears all of the terrible things her son, Daniel, is accused of, really brings to light the struggle of family trust. Do you always believe your child? Or do you believe the law? How do we know if the criminal justice system is flawed?

I will say that the reason I wasn’t completely blown away by this book is because the ending fell flat to me. As a reader, I was trying to guess how it was going to end, and Laura Marshall was able to pull off a huge twist — but then there were more pages to the novel and it didn’t end as strong.

Overall, I liked this book. I’m going to check out Laura Marshall’s other novels as well because I enjoyed her writing style and the flow of the novel.

Rating

⭐⭐⭐

Working back into the Reading + Blogging Universe (IMWAYR #32)

Hi there readers. It’s been quite some time since I’ve taken the time to sit down and write. This is mainly due to the lack of reading that I’ve been doing, but also due to the lack of reflection going on in my life.

I’ve spent the last month and a half in this book-less trap. My goal of reading one book from my own bookshelf each month placed me in a challenging position because the first two books I picked up from my shelf in January and February I just could not get through. I was feeling defeated. And then I was behind on reading books that I loaned from the library… and it was honestly a downward spiral. So, I chose to not read. I actively made the choice to leave the books on the shelf and not subject myself to more personal annoyance.

Honestly though, I think it was for the best. Yesterday I picked up a book for the first time since the very beginning of March and I demolished it. I tore through the pages of Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall like I needed the words in my lungs to breathe. I don’t remember the last time I finished a book in less than 24 hours. It’s been a while…But it was the perfect novel for me to pick up with its suspenseful background.

So I would like to say that I’m back — but we all know how life goes. I don’t want to be frustrated with my passion for reading. I don’t want reading to feel like a chore because it takes the enjoyment out of the relaxation time. I’m hear to remind you that it is okay to take a break and focus on other aspects of your life. It is okay to remove the general annoyance and return to your passion when you are ready.

I think I’m ready. Without placing too much pressure on myself, my goal is to get through my remaining NetGalley reads in April. There are four books on the list, so it’s possible to read one a week (if my heart desires). We’ll see what happens.

I hope all is well.

What I Read Last Week

Three Little Lies
By: Laura Marshall

What I’m Reading This Week

The Eighth Sister
By: Robert Dugoni