I've moved bookishwhimsy.com to tumblr! This blog is now an archive of my past posts.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Suspense Sundays (151) Murder Off Key

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"Murder Off Key"
Air date: November 15, 1945
Starring Zachary Scott
>>Episodes here<<

Franklin Carlson has just arrived at his friend Morley's apartment to stay while Morley is on vacation, and he discovers that Morley has a next door neighbor who loves to sing.  Loudly and off key.  Unfortunately this older lady is so rich that the manager won't make her stop, and everyone has to live with it.  When one of the lady's sheet music makes it's way on to his balcony, Carlson reluctantly makes her acquaintance.  Just a few days later she is found dead, and suspicion falls on Carlson.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one (and not just because I'm a fan of the actor Zachary Scott).  I thought it was so intriguing to have this mystery set up where the listener is not entirely sure if Carlson strangled the lady for her money or not.  Carlson certainly seemed bewildered by all the evidence mounting against him, but it was not clear until the end if he was just pretending, crazy, or completely innocent.  And as I was listening, I was trying to figure it out myself but it was made difficult because some of the evidence against him is so damming and completely negates what he believes to have happened.  It was very suspenseful to finally find out the truth!
Friday, May 29, 2015

Jane Eyre & The Sound of Music

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,

After watching The Sound of Music recently, I was impelled to write this post. I know that seeing the similarities between Jane Eyre and The Sound of Music is not new.  It seems to be common among Jane Eyre fans to wonder at the similarities, and although I have seen this posted about on other blogs, I thought it would be fun to point them out on my own.  And perhaps go more in depth (because I have thought about this far too often!)  I do wish I could find out whether or not the writers who created the stage show for Sound of Music or rewrote it for the film did get some influence from Charlotte Brontë's novel.  Because even though The Sound of Music is based on a true story, there are a couple Janian elements to the musical that are not true to life.  And I would love to know if it's all just coincidence or if there really is a connection!
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: The Secret

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Secret (Highland's Lairds #1)
by Julie Garwood
Historical Romance
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud, as purposeful as she was loyal. The dear Scottish friend of her childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean...Nothing prepared her for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land...Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.

In a clash of spirited wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain's searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan...not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!

Review:

The relationship between Judith and Iain is utterly romantic!  They are drawn to each other very quickly, with an intense attraction, and the romantic tension in their verbal sparring and and little power struggles made up a big chunk of why they were so fun to read about.  Judith's strong personality also makes for a fun read as she has to deal with a limiting, prejudiced and misogynistic 16th century Scottish culture.  And even though Iain can be overbearing and imperious to a vexing extent, he's of course caring, loving and would do anything to keep Judith safe and happy.  He always knows when to give in to her.  It's a glorious (unrealistic?), and perfect mix for a strong romantic hero.

There is another aspect to this story that really touched me, and that was Judith's friendship with Frances Catherine, which was just as strong as the love Judith felt for Iain, and a very touching tribute to the beauty of friendship.  The strength of Judith's character was also proved when she had to help the women in the clan deliver their babies, when each and every time she was terrified of the duty.  And yet when she had to, she was calm and assured for the mothers-to-be.  It made me love Judith as a character so much, and made what was mostly a straightforward historical romance, more of an intriguing study of character and personality.

There is a personal issue that Judith has to deal with as well, which gave more drama to the story, especially with the resolution.  This is a quick, effortlessly entertaining read, and despite the speed at which Judith and Iain fall in love, I was totally invested in their romance.

Thanks again to Quinn for recommending this book to me! :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview with Danielle Jensen, Author of Hidden Huntress

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
I'm so happy to present this interview with Danielle Jensen, who wrote the amazing novel "Stolen Songbird", and the equally amazing sequel "Hidden Huntress"!  The second book comes out on June 2nd, so definitely prepare to devour it!  My review will go up next week, and I'm eager to share just how much I loved it!

Many thanks to Caroline and Penny at Angry Robot Books for including me in this tour, and of course to Danielle for taking the time to answer these questions!



1. How did you come up with the titles for your books "Stolen Songbird" and "Hidden Huntress"? Was it a process to find the title that fit the best?
The short answer is that I didn’t! Stolen Songbird was sold under a different title with the caveat that the title be changed ☺ Lists of suggestions circulated between me, my agent, my editor, and the sales reps, and my agent came up with Stolen Songbird by combining two suggestions. She also came up with Hidden Huntress and the title for the third book, which we will call WW for now! The title of the series, The Malediction Trilogy, came from one of my suggestions.


2. How much of the series was planned out from the beginning?
I don’t enjoy outlining. I like to figure out plot and character voice as I write, but I do have certain scenes in my head, which I call milestones, that I write towards. The bonding scene, the lake scene, and the beach scene were significant milestones in Stolen Songbird. And I always know how a book will end quite early on. That said, part of selling a series to a publisher is that you must provide a synopsis of the unwritten books, so I had to outline Hidden Huntress and WW.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Suspense Sundays (150) The Legend of Robbie

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"The Legend of Robbie"
Air date: May 8, 1960
Starring Larry Robinson and George Matthews
>>Episodes here<<

Robbie is convinced by his friend, Dutch, and the girl he likes to steal his employer's Mr. Harris' money.  He's worked for Mr. Harris for a long time and Robbie is trusted to take the weekly earnings to the bank.  But his friend convinces him that he can just pretend he was robbed on the way, and no one will know the difference.  Robbie is very reluctant but for the girl he'll do it.

Ooh this was a great episode - such a good twist midway that I just can't reveal!  But I loved how what seemed like a sad tale of how Robbie was lead down the wrong path, was turned into something unexpected with Robbie being much more than he seemed.  And then the ending is another twist.  And so funny that the real villain turns out to be the girl I think!  This was a great episode.
Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: The Day of the Triffids

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham
Science Fiction
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

Review:

Although this story took a little time to really get going, it was a very chilling tale.  It's an account of the aftermath of two disturbing events - that a majority of the world loses it's sight, and the mysterious Triffids are at large and preying on mankind.  And I want to talk about both events individually.

The story sets up some sort of explanation about what this blinding meteor shower could have been, but there is no conclusive answer.  But what is more important is how completely it changes mankind's superiority on Earth.  That aspect is well explored, and creates some very disturbing circumstances and raises many morality questions.  I have not thought of how utterly we are dependent on sight as a species to thrive.  I don't completely agree with the point made in the book that humanity's superiority is mostly due to sight (because obviously has to be our brains) but it is so essential to how we function and it's distressing to read how people deal with blindness in this book.

The origin of the Triffids is never explained, but then it seems that nobody knows where they came from.  It's funny though that just because of their novelty, they become very widespread and even grown in household gardens, despite the deadly stinger (which can be removed).  They are weirdly threatening, since they seem so passive, but as the story develops there is a stronger sense that they are smarter than anybody thought, and they are filled with purpose - or at least a drive.  The story is named after them, but so much of the drama that occurs in this book have the Triffids just in the background lurking.  It's so nervewracking!

As the story did kind of info dump the set up and the circumstances that led to this post-apocalyptic world, I felt it began slowly, but the human drama of survival, and the difficult decisions the main characters had to make, really made this a riveting story.  It's a very thoughtful science fiction read too, because there were more than a few relevant ideas and scenarios that were explored and those ideas felt important even to our modern times.  I will say though that the characters aren't as vivid in my imagination as the intensity of the plot, but I did feel very sympathetic to what the characters went through.   I was entirely engrossed by this unsettling book!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: The Band Wagon

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
In Movie Musical Challenge, I'm watching all 25 picks for AFI's Greatest musicals starting from the bottom.  Number 17 is the 1953 film The Band Wagon starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.

I'm a bit conflicted about this film.  On the one hand, I've heard lots of positive things about it and about the dance sequence in Central Park.  And of course a match up with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse (I love Cyd!) is a winner.  I've also even read staunch supporters say it's better than "Singing in the Rain"!  So I was totally expecting to love this musical.  And let me say, this was no "Singing in the Rain."  But I hope my rather ... not lukewarm, but just not excessively warm thoughts about this musical isn't because I was comparing it to that incomparable film.

It wasn't the dancing that left me less than warm though - there were some great numbers (although I was surprised that the first song Fred Astaire sings features no dancing - zilch and nada.  Astonishing.  I was so distracted during that song, waiting for Fred to take off!)  Cyd Charisse shows off some serious ballet skills - all en pointe gracefulness - she is so talented! I loved the supporting cast too - it was nice to see Oscar Levant again (looking forward to re-watching him in An American in Paris) and Nanette Fabray was adorable!  I thought the whole dynamic between all the actors was interesting - it's kind of a downbeat musical at times, and there is a lot of drama between all the characters.
Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Signing: Patricia Park "Re Jane"

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , ,
Last week, I was able to go to Patricia Park's book signing for her novel "Re Jane".  (Which I reviewed over here!)  It's a modern Jane Eyre retelling with a Korean American heroine, that takes place in New York and Korea.  It was a wonderful read for me - very intelligent with a main character who grows so much as the story progresses.

It was also much fun to listen to Patricia talk about her novel at the book signing.  She was so friendly and kind - she happened to sit in front of me before the event to talk to someone and said hi to me and remembered me from twitter!  During the talk she read different excerpts that highlighted different and interesting things in the novel - one descriptive of Queens, New York, one about Korean dramas (I loved how fond and yet gently teasing Jane, the character, is in the book about the obsession with them), and the last excerpt was about language.  I thought it was a great way to get an overview of the novel, and Patricia also talked about her experiences with those things.  Since she lived in Queens, grew up watching Korean period dramas, and went to Korea to do research for her book.  (And that is very evident since I felt the part of the book where Jane goes to Korea was so detailed, vivid and culturally enlightening!)
Sunday, May 17, 2015

Suspense Sundays (149) Bitter Grapes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"Bitter Grapes"
Air date: May 1, 1960
Starring Rita Lloyd
>>Episodes here<<

Hypochondriac extraordinaire Mrs. Blake is sure she's going to die soon, and she's angry because she's also sure her husband is cheating on her.  So she makes a special dish for him with poison in it at their country home with a letter to him, and then makes a message on a record telling him that the food he just ate was poisoned and that he will die along with her.  Just after recording her message and putting it in the box to be mailed, she realizes she's not actually going to die soon and she is now desperate to get that recording back before it reaches her husband's private P.O. box.

An alternate title for this episode could be Overreaction, since Mrs. Blake seems to go off the deep end in everything she does.  In her hypochondria, in her attempt to first break the box that contained the records, to running about town trying to follow the mail truck.  It's a tragic and ironic end though, when she discovers that she was sent a record from her husband as well, and her husband explains why he's been so distant.  Well almost tragic though, since there is a happy ending.  I was actually very happy for that, it was nice change of pace because I was really expecting the worst.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
In Movie Musical Challenge, I'm watching all 25 picks for AFI's Greatest musicals starting from the bottom.  Number 18 is the biographic patriotic spectacle from 1942 - Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring James Cagney.

This film is based on the real life of composer, actor, writer George M. Cohan, and made for an inspiring tale of a self-made man.  The story was told in vignettes almost - with snapshots of each stage of George's life shown.  I'm not even sure where to begin with this muscial, so I'll begin with the lead James Cagney.

I was mostly familiar with James Cagney as sort of a gangster type - it seems like he was in a lot of those roles, but as a song and dance man he did very well in this.  I mean his singing is only so-so though, and his dancing was oddly stiff, but the tap dancing was fantastic.  I think it's just that he played the role with so much charisma that I felt he was wonderful in the part.  And for a character who was conceited and bratty at first, it was great that his character turned around for me.  Since the film shows most of his life, it was also poignant to see how he changed from brash upstart to seasoned, respected professional.

The story was good - sweetly comic - but I was often wondering what the major dramatic moment would be.  Would he have a big falling out with his family?  Cheat on his lovely wife?  Have a breakdown?  Nothing.  The story is just a nice, heart-warming, kinda predictable tale, and I found it hard to understand why it was so highly regarded to rate on this list.  The music - while classics in their own right, and of a genre that I do enjoy - were all kind of similar to me in the end and I didn't really feel that it was such a highlight of this musical.  I can't even pick a scene or song that I would say was a highlight for me.  The title song is perhaps the one that sticks in my mind the most though, but it is the most familiar.  All in all, I think this is a pleasant film, with some elaborately staged musical numbers, but it doesn't seem to me to be worthy of top 25 status.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: Wouldn't It Be Deadly

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Wouldn't It Be Deadly
by D.E. Ireland
Mystery
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins make an incomparable pair of sleuths in the start of a delightful new series

Following her successful appearance at an Embassy Ball—where Eliza Doolittle won Professor Henry Higgins’ bet that he could pass off a Cockney flower girl as a duchess—Eliza becomes an assistant to his chief rival Emil Nepommuck. After Nepommuck publicly takes credit for transforming Eliza into a lady, an enraged Higgins submits proof to a London newspaper that Nepommuck is a fraud. When Nepommuck is found with a dagger in his back, Henry Higgins becomes Scotland Yard’s prime suspect. However, Eliza learns that most of Nepommuck’s pupils had a reason to murder their blackmailing teacher. As another suspect turns up dead and evidence goes missing, Eliza and Higgins realize the only way to clear the Professor’s name is to discover which of Nepommuck’s many enemies is the real killer. When all the suspects attend a performance of Hamlet at Drury Lane, Eliza and Higgins don their theatre best and race to upstage a murderer.

This reimagining of George Bernard Shaw’s beloved characters is sheer pleasure. Wouldn’t It Be Deadly transports readers to Edwardian London, from the aristocratic environs of Mayfair to the dangerous back alleys of the East End. Eliza and Henry steal the show in this charming traditional mystery.

Review:

As a reimagining of Eliza, Higgins and Pickering all together again in another adventure, I found this a delightful read.  Eliza, especially, is such a fun character to me - so full of surprises and a flair for improvising.  She's so smart too and I love that the other characters underestimate that.  Higgins felt a bit more brusque and unkind than I remembered, but it fit in well with the dynamic the authors were going for in this story.

As a mystery, I thought the story felt a bit cobbled together.  There were clues that I felt were disregarded for too long, and then so many red herrings, that it was hard to get any sense of where the mystery would go.  But then again, because it was all over the place, I guessed who was involved pretty early because I mentally simplified the story down.  Sort of.   I don't want to say anything that would hint towards who the murderer was though, so I won't say any more than that.  I think the best aspect to the murder mystery was in how it was resolved - with a very farcical, and entertaining finale where everything is explained.

I wanted to read this because I loved the idea of the characters from My Fair Lady as detectives and overall I think this story delivers very well on that.  All of the memorable characters are back and we even get more development with them - especially a surprising revelation about Henry Higgins.  I enjoyed this mystery, and will probably pick up the next if there is another mystery novel involving these characters.
Monday, May 11, 2015

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - a Musical

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Last weekend, I went over to the La Mirada Theatre to see a new production of Pride and Prejudice as a musical. The book and music is by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs. I had no idea of the cast or the songs, but hey, it's Pride and Prejudice!  It had to be enjoyable.  And it was!

The musical has an interesting framing structure, in that it begins with Jane Austen as a character in the show, trying to revise her novel First Impressions at the insistence of her sister Cassandra.  Jane Austen takes part in the show by telling the story and sometimes the characters will look to her for help or in confusion, and it was very funny to see how Jane sometimes did not know what to do about certain situations.  For example, she was very distressed when Elizabeth turns down Mr. Darcy's proposal.  (Which was suitably awkward and confrontational!)  I liked the idea of Jane Austen needing to reign in her characters and of their sometimes doing things she wasn't expecting.  It's a very author-sensitive view of the story.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Suspense Sundays (148) One More Shot

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"One More Shot"
Air date: April 24, 1960
Starring Joseph Julian and Frank Thomas Jr.
>>Episodes here<<

Bernie and his son work for the newspaper as photographers and are covering an event.  Bernie sends his son along with the photo negatives to the office, but on the way the son has a fatal accident.  Bernie can't believe his son was so reckless and looking over the scene of the accident, he's convinced that his son was murdered instead.  The police discover that a certain gangster was at the event, and he would be unwilling for anyone to know that he was in town, so he probably had Bernie's son killed to keep the photos out of the newspaper.  The police want to take over the investigation from there, but Bernie is determined to catch the gangster himself.

This is not really suspenseful as I'm sure it's obvious there will be justice in the end - it's more tragic to me though that the son had to die for such an idiotic reason.  And it's great that the father does get that closure from it.  But since he doesn't ever really seem to be in danger in the episode, I found this just an average story.  Not as memorable as it could have been.
Friday, May 8, 2015

Star Trek VOY Season 2 - Top 5 Favorite Episodes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Season two of Voyager was a wonderful season for me - I had seven episodes listed for my top favorites, and it's been a long time since I had to whittle down my list to five!  One episode that I decided not to go with was "Death Wish" which had the wonderful, unexpected return of Riker for a brief scene and the alright return of Q (the Q we are all familiar with).  Well actually it was kinda nice to see Q.  And the other episode was "Investigations" in which Neelix tries to discover the traitor on board Voyager.  And although I didn't note it (because it was so close to the end of the season) I really enjoyed "Resolutions" where Janeaway and Chakotay face the possibility of living the rest of their lives on an uninhabited planet.

The season was not really memorable in any overarching theme - some of the stories were interesting, and I was happy to see the characters develop further.  I don't yet feel deeply attached to the crew, although I do look forward to seeing what unfolds in each new episode.  This season had a cliffhanger ending involving Seska though, which I was glad to finally get on with, as I wanted her storyline resolved a long time ago.   I did not care for her as a character at all!

5.  The Thaw


Voyager comes across a planet where most of it's people have been cryogenically frozen to endure a natural disaster, but something happened and only three people survived.  Yet their system has not woken them up yet, so the Voyager crew try to revive them.  This episode almost didn't make my list because the whole creepy clown thing is not appealing to me, and it was annoying to have to watch the figment of the machine be overbearing and superior - holding the lives of anyone's consciousness hostage.  But that ending though!  Janeway gets the better of him, and the episode ends on this weirdly solemn note, as it touches on fear of death, and then fade to black.  It was such an impactful ending, that I felt like I had to include it on my list. 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: Re Jane

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Re Jane
by Patricia Park
Contemporary
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:


For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. Re Jane is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.

Review:

I have read quite a few "Jane Eyre" retellings, of various quality and variety, but I am happy to say that I've never read one quite like this book.  Many retellings put the focus on the romance which is always lovely, but "Re Jane" is much more about the main character Jane's development into an adult - dealing with her family, an affair, and her cultural heritage.  There's so much more to this story than just a reimagining of "Jane Eyre" - Jane Re is a powerful character in her own right.

I do want to touch on the Jane Eyre aspect first however.  It definitely wasn't what I thought it would be, but it was everything it should have been for a modern version of Jane Eyre.  It was realistic, with serious consequences for Jane's actions despite her youth and naiveté.  The story has quite a few differences from Charlotte Brontë's work, but the basics are there, and it's interesting to see how the author, Patricia Park, brings it all up to date for the New York setting.  There's also tons of little nods to the original novel - from short lines sprinkled into the narrative, to names reminiscent of their Victorian counterparts.  I think a "Jane Eyre" retelling works best when it remains true to the spirit and the intent of the original, while also making it's own statements that are true to the characters and the setting of the retelling.  And in this way, "Jane Re" is wonderfully imaginative and intelligent.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1)
by Sarah J. Maas
YA Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Review:

Oh my goodness.  This is everything a fairy tale retelling should be!  Enough of the original to get the same emotion and the beloved story, while also introducing new, fresh twists to the world-building and the characters, all with tension, enchantment and danger.  This story is so addicting as well, it captures your imagination from the beginning as the main character, Feyre, is thrust into a situation where the reader can instantly see her ferocious resolve and you know her strength of character will be very important as the story progresses.

Feyre is a gorgeous character.  Nuanced, flawed, but strong and persevering.  And believable - we get to see that she is scared but she does what needs to be done, and she gets put through a lot in this story!  Tam as the fae Beast, is an interesting character as well.  Although there were times when I found it hard to get into him - I suppose it was consistent with his character though, as he keeps himself closed off for quite a bit.  It did make the romance feel a little lacking for me in the beginning though.  It was really good, but I initially found it hard to understand why he fell in love with Feyre so quickly.  I could understand Feyre's love for him (or her fascination with him) much more easily.  But once I got past that, the fact that they would do anything for each other, made the romantic tension very fiery and intense, which was especially evident in the last half of the story.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Suspense Sundays (147) Tonight at 5:55

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"Tonight at 5:55"
Air date: April 17, 1960
Starring Louis Van Routen & John Gibson
>>Episodes here<<

A small group of government men are locked in a room to decide on a very important matter.  Earlier the U.S. received a telegram stating that if the nation didn't surrender they would be attacked by nuclear missiles.  They have until 5:55 to respond.  The men are there to decide if they should attack first or call the other country's bluff.

This is one kind of Suspense story that I think would be fun to write.  To have a dilemma and to explore all sides of it through this small group of characters.  We can see different prejudices, opinions, and thought processes through this select group and it reveals a lot about humanity.  While I'm not the biggest fan of the political intrigue story, especially with something as ill-advised as nuclear warfare, this was still an interesting story because of how the characters had to deal with the potential consequences.  What was also interesting was the way this story ended, with no clear resolution/explanation of the consequences of the decision.  I normally don't like open-ended stories, but it was clear that this episode was made for everyone to think about the reality of the situation and make up their own mind.  
Friday, May 1, 2015

Father Brown

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

I've been quietly falling in love with this new-ish throwback BBC mystery series called Father Brown, and I have the urge to talk about it on my blog.  The show stars Mark Williams as Father Brown (whom you may know as Arthur Weasley - Ron Weasley's father).  and the show centers around a very kindly priest in 1950s England, who has a knack for solving crimes.  And who actually can not be stopped from pursuing his investigations even when the local constabulary want him to stop.   I find this show so delightful, and for this post I'm going to list the reasons why I love it and perhaps convince other people to give it a try!