Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Movie, mystery, Review on May 5, 2017

For a long time I have wanted the Hallmark channel, but more importantly, the Hallmark Movie & Mystery channel.  Thanks to a deal I struck with the cable company I started receiving these channels in March…and that was the downfall of my reading!  I have heard of various cozy books that have been made into movies and once I had this channel the TiVo was set up to record all of them.  This made for great binge watching weekends!

The first series I decided to watch was The Garage Sale Mysteries by author Suzi Weinert.  These movies star Lori Loughlin as Jennifor Shannon, owner of an antique type store that frequents garage sales and estate sales for bargains….never expecting she would stumble across a murder (or two).  With her eye for detail she is able to help the police solve the crime but not without putting herself in a little danger along the way.

There are 7 movies out as of this date and I am hoping there might be more to come!  (I can’t believe there were 7, didn’t seem like I watched THAT many!)

Photo from Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel website

Garage Sale Mystery

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) can always find a diamond in the rough – when it comes to garage sales, that is! Whether it’s a new antique to sell at her consignment shop, an Atari game for her son or a piece of furniture for her handy husband Jason (Rick Ravanello) to refurbish, she has made a career out of her treasure hunting prowess. But, when a string of burglaries hits her town, Jennifer must use her keen eye for detail and her natural problem solving instincts to help her piece together the clues and catch the criminal, before it’s to late!

Working with Detective Adam Iverson (Andrew Dunbar), Jennifer puts together a theory that the perpetrators of the burglaries are fellow garage sale regulars. The case escalates to dangerous levels when Jennifer discovers the dead body of her friend. And, even though the vicitms husband, Ben Douglas (Cameron Bancroft), finds nothing missing in their house, and the police label the death as accidental, Jennifer suspects that the death may be related to the burglaries.

So, with her treasure hunting skills and problem solving instincts, Jennifer finds and pieces together clues to the burglaries and her friend’s death. But as she gets closer to the truth, Jennifer learns that crime solving can be far more dangerous than any garage sale! Can she uncover the “Garage Sale Mystery” before it’s too late, or will her investigation create problems that not even Jennifer can solve.

If you click on the links it will take you to Hallmark’s Movie & Mystery website and you can see previews of each movie.

Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) has a gift for finding rare treasures hidden in garage sales that she can resell at her consignment store, Rags to Riches. But her keen eye for finding valuables also gets her involved in the criminal investigations that happen at the very second-hand sales she frequents. When Jennifer’s friend and self-storage facility owner Martin (Michael Kopsa) turns up murdered just hours after auctioning off an abandoned storage unit full of unique items to Jennifer, she is immediately pulled on the case as a key eyewitness. Working with Detective Lynwood (Kevin O’Grady), Jennifer helps single out a disgruntled customer as the prime suspect, while she and her business partner, Danielle (Sarah Strange), sift through boxes from the auction. As her husband Jason (Steve Bacic) worries about her safety, Jennifer starts to get over her head when there is a break-in at her store and a run-in with Martin’s angry wife. Then, Jennifer and Danielle discover their new merchandise contains the sparkly evidence they needed all along to nail the surprising real culprit. They must race to save a life and put their own on the line. Will they succeed before times runs out?

Garage Sale Mystery: The Deadly Room

Jennifer Shannon uses her sharp eye when finding rare garage sale treasures to resell at the consignment store she owns with business partner, Dani. When her friend dies trying to disprove rumors that a multi-million dollar home she is trying to sell has a deadly curse, Jennifer puts these intuitive skills to the test. Though a police investigation led by Detective Lynwood finds no evidence of foul play – even on the webcam footage from the night of the death – Jennifer has an ominous feeling that her friend has been murdered. Putting her keen instincts to work, Jennifer researches the history of deaths that all occurred in the room where her friend died, and examines a few key suspects with motives to murder. Jennifer’s husband Jason worries about her safety, but supports her efforts as she continues to investigate. As Jennifer uncovers clues that bring her closer to the truth, she also puts her own life in danger.

Garage Sale Mystery: The Wedding Dress

Jennifer Shannon (Lori Loughlin) has made a career of finding rare garage sale treasures to resell at the consignment store she owns with her business partner, Dani (Sarah Strange). When she finds a wedding dress that was worn on the day a groom went missing, Jennifer uses her knack for solving puzzles to investigate this unsolved cold case. After meeting the dress’s original owner, Helen (Cheryl Ladd), and finding traces of blood on the dress, Jennifer digs deeper into the decades-old mystery with the help of Detective Lynwood (Kevin O’Grady), and the support of her husband, Jason (Steve Bacic). With every clue that Jennifer uncovers, she gets closer to either finding the long-missing groom, or uncovering a wedding day murder.

Garage Sale Mystery: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Jennifer Shannon has an eye for antiques and a mind for solving mysteries. Her old friend from college, Sandra, has an antiques store that is closing. An ecstatic Jennifer gets first pick on all the goodies. She expects to find a few exquisite pieces for her store, “Rags to Riches,” but she doesn’t expect to find a dead body. To make matters worse, Sandra is arrested for murder. Jennifer has no choice but to get involved and find the real killer to prove her friend’s innocence. This won’t be an easy case to crack, because cleverly planted clues all point to Sandra.

Garage Sale Mystery: The Novel Murders

Jennifer Shannon (Loughlin) is a garage sale shopping expert whose sharp observation skills allow her to uncover valuable antiques, as well as help her local police department investigate crimes and solve mysteries. When an impoverished man enters Rags to Riches – a consignment shop where Jennifer sells the gems she’s found at garage sales – and asks to have an item home-delivered, Jennifer agrees. Upon her arrival at his run-down apartment, Jennifer finds the man murdered. As the police survey the crime scene, Jennifer cannot help but think there is something familiar about the details of the killing – and soon realizes that the victim’s cold- blooded demise is a re-enactment of a murder in a classic mystery novel.

Garage Sale Mystery: Art of Murder

Jennifer Shannon is a garage sale shopping expert whose sharp observation skills allow her to uncover valuable antiques, as well as help her local police department investigate crimes. While arranging a charity garage sale event, Jennifer finds a body in the attic of a local residence. While working to crack the case, Jennifer offers support to her loving husband, Jason, whose upcoming birthday has sparked a mid-life crisis. As Jennifer prepares to buy him the perfect gift, she receives an urgent voicemail from Tina, pleading for her immediate assistance. When she responds, the garage sale-expert-turned-sleuth finds herself standing face-to-face with a killer.

Review

I really enjoyed all of the movies, some more than others, but all were enjoyable.  I have never read this series so I don’t know how much the movies might differ from the books.  I thought the actors chosen to play each character were very believable and likable (unless they were then the villain then of course we don’t like them!).  I was amazed at what I learned about how to look at different items at sales and who knows what sort of treasure that you could find just waiting around the corner.

Each movie drew me in to the case and also the personal lives of the characters.  What they dealt with from friends, family and work situations and how it impacted those around them.

I’m not sure that there is an order to watch these but I think  you have to start with the first one to get a bit of background and their personal stories develop with each subsequent movie.

We give it 5 paws up!

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Posted in 5 paws, Movie, Review on December 20, 2016

Synopsis

It’s Christmas Eve, and Leland Jeppson’s hope is gone. Struggling to get by in their rustic homestead, he had at least wanted to give his family a special Christmas. But with a blizzard blowing in and the train bearing their gifts nowhere in sight, it seems Christmas is just one more thing they’ll have to do without. But as dusk falls, the Jeppsons’ packages unexpectedly arrive at the post office in the not-so-nearby town. Half-blind Postman George Schow is hesitant to brave the storm, but his son, Sidney, will stop at nothing to bring Christmas to the Jeppsons—and ask their daughter, Ellen, to the New Year’s Eve dance. Now it’s up to father and son to battle fierce elements in an attempt to deliver a Christmas miracle. Don’t miss this heartwarming reminder that while God helps those who help themselves, sometimes He does so through others.

Review

While this movie is just 27 minutes long, it packs in a lot of emotion and beliefs into that time frame.  We all know that Christmas is a time to help one another, especially those less fortunate, but there is always one “Scrooge”, and in this movie that is the postman George Schow.  He seems to imply that the Jeppsons’ have brought their situation on themselves which can be no further from the truth.  All it takes is his son (who has a crush on the Jeppsons’ oldest daughter) to convince him that we all need a little holiday cheer.

The movie reminds us of why we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus.  It also reminds us to reach out to our friends and family and help them however we can and the Jeppsons’ feel the love from their family near and far and it is a reminder of how we should all be in this world, not just during the Christmas holidays.  As a side note the movie is set in 1927.

This is a very touching and heartwarming movie and if you get the chance to see it somewhere then watch it.  Only 27 minutes but well worth the time.

We give it 5 paws up.

Watch the trailer here

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Christian, Movie, Review on January 19, 2016

just let go

 

Synopsis

In the face of tragedy, Chris Williams made the most important decision of his life.

On a cold night in 2007, a devoted father of four and a seventeen-year-old drunk driver both received life sentences. In one violent, devastating instant, each face a drastically different future. But as Chris Williams sat in a demolished vehicle, realizing that his wife, unborn baby, nine-year-old daughter, and eleven-year-old son had just been killed, he committed to do something extraordinary: he would forgive. Chris Williams’ story is the cinematic tale of how someone can forgive despite the desire for revenge that surfaces within the dark corners of the human heart—showing the world that hope, love and forgiveness can overcome all when you just let go.

Henry Ian Cusick, Emmy Nominee, as Chris Williams in the true story “Just Let Go”.

As we begin the New Year, this message of forgiveness is an important reminder, that forgiveness can bring peace to your soul. “It has allowed a terrible tragedy … to be turned into, in many aspects, a tremendous blessing. That has been one of the most fascinating things to experience,” Williams said in a interview with the Deseret News. “To see the lives blessed since the crash, it has been overwhelming how many positive things have come from it.”

Rated PG-13 for accident images and thematic material
Movie Run Time – 106 mins

Movie website * Facebook

Trailer

Review

This movie is a reminder as to why we should Forgive those that have wronged us because we aren’t always blameless in life.

The movie starts out and we see Chris being taken to the hospital and we know there has been a car accident, but you don’t actually see what happened until much later in the movie.  There is a lot of back and forth between present and the past, mostly with Chris remembering bits and pieces of the night that took most of his family, but also of happier times with his wife and children.  Now not all of his children died in the car, his oldest son Michael wasn’t in the car (my guess is he is around 16-18 since he can drive) and one of his sons, Sam, survived the car accident, but not without some serious injuries.

The movie comes across as dark and/or depressing, but that is to be expected due to the subject matter.  However, have tissues ready for about 3/4 of the way through.  We learn some things about Chris and why he is struggling with what was done to his family by Curtis – the 17 year old drunk kid that hit them.  Sometimes a life can be turned around by faith and forgiveness and this might be one of those stories…but you’ll have to watch it to find out the ending.

We give this 4 1/2 paws and it will make me think about how to handle a situation the next time I feel that I am wronged.

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Posted in 5 paws, DVD, Movie, Review on November 12, 2015

Miracle Maker key art

Synopsis

The residents of Woodhaven are feeling discouraged—work is scarce, money is low, love is lagging, and spirits are down. Then a mysterious telegraph arrives, and a handsome stranger walks into town with nothing more than his dog and a chicken. Throw in a mean-spirited landlord, a love-sick preacher, a pair of delightfully charming old biddies, and an enchanting little girl—and what happens next will warm the heart and create a healthy dose of the Christmas spirit as the entire town is changed for the better.

Miracle Maker—based on a story written by Covenant author Ann Acton—shows what happens when seeds of love are planted and people create their own miracles by performing acts of service.

The movie is filmed primarily at This Is the Place State Park in Salt Lake City, old town Heber City, and American Fork, the film features a diverse cast of well-known actors, including Brian Krause (Charmed TV series), Jasen Wade (17 Miracles, Saints and Soldiers, Cokeville Miracle), Adam Johnson, Jake Stormoen, Melanie Stone, and eight-year-old Kalea Atkinson.

John Lyde and Sally Meyer once again combine their talents as director and screenwriter. The two have previously collaborated on popular films Christmas for a Dollar, Christmas Oranges, He Knows My Name, Abide with Me, , Minor Details, , and You’re So Cupid.

“It’s my hope that after watching Miracle Maker, families will understand that you can make your own miracles,” Lyde says. “Our message to audiences is that if you need a change in your life, you can create the change yourself.”

This full-length feature film was released on DVD on November 3.

Review

I’m a sucker for a feel good movie that warms the heart, and this movie does not disappoint!  Think of it of A Christmas Carol meets the old west – although there aren’t any angels of Christmas Past, Present or Future.   Mr. Booth pretty much owns Woodhaven and isn’t very gracious but luckily doesn’t throw out families if they are a little short – although his attitude is that the people in the town do not work for what they have or want, and this is the furthest thing from the truth.  Booth also has a daughter, Lily, that loves the preacher Thomas.  However, a tragic accident has turned Booth against Thomas and forbids him from seeing Lily, and even letting her leave the house.  Crazy, I know!

There is a wide cast of characters that add depth to this town and the story.  I think one of my favorites is plucky little Rae who is a spitfire and doesn’t take anything from anyone.  But more than the characters, this movie is about hope, faith and kindness.  The stranger that comes to town that everyone thinks is a Miracle Maker is just a normal human like anyone else, but what he teaches the citizens of the town is that everyone is capable of acts of kindness and when you have a small community you have to take care of one another.  It’s a lesson that is timeless and hopefully anyone watching this movie will realize that for themselves.

When the movie first started I was trying to determine what else I have seen with the actor that plays Mr. Booth.  Well, as mentioned above, it is Brian Krause from Charmed (loved that show!).  The rest of the cast may not be big names, but they all play their part well in conveying the message of the movie.

We give this 5 paws up and highly recommend watching the movie.

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Posted in Movie, mystery, women on September 21, 2011

Usually we have to wait a whole year between releases of the Stephanie Plum series but for some reason Explosive Eighteen is coming out November 22nd!  Who am I to question the release 8 months early?!

Here is the synopsis from Janet Evanovich’s site:

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a rag-tag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo–Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the Bail Bonds Agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

Did anyone catch what the first word of each paragraph spells?  Tricky!

And for those of us waiting for it to hit the big screen, One for the Money will be in theaters on January 27, 2012.  I’m still not picturing Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum but I’m sure she will do a great job.

Posted in California, fiction, Movie, suspense on September 16, 2011

Today I am reading The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly for my book club.  We are meeting on Sunday and watching the movie and discussing the book…nothing like waiting until the last minute to read the book, right?!

So something I just learned by looking at the author’s website….there are several books with the same character – Mickey Haller.  I didn’t know this was a series….guess I’ll be picking up the rest to read at some time in the near future because I know I have had a hard time putting this book down to do work or go to sleep at night!

Synopsis from the dust jacket:

Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him.  But what he should have been on the watch for was evil.

Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind.  Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers – they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list.  For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence – it’s about negotiation and manipulation.  Sometimes it’s even about justice.

A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up  in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high paying client in years.  It is a defense attorney’s dream, what they call a franchise case.  And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career.

Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face to face with evil as purse as a flame.  To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal – this time to save his own life.

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